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Birthday present question

PostPosted: 19 Jul 2016, 20:44
by qbm
This is totally dull - sorry!

E is desperate for a telescope for her 5th birthday. She's been asking for one for ages. Not quite sure what prompted it and I thought she'd forget about it by the time her birthday came round but no, she really wants a telescope. Thing is, it's summer. In Scotland. It's not even dark when we go to bed so she'll not get any use out of it. I mentioned this to her a few days ago but she said she still wanted a telescope.

Do I tell her she's going to end up with a present she can't use? Save that one for Christmas and suggest... a microscope or something if she has no other ideas??

Feels a bit mean but a telescope in August will be pointless!

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 19 Jul 2016, 20:50
by Kanga
My dd just got a telescope last week. We have said to her that it will be good in the winter with early darkness etc but she's enjoyed looking at the leaves/birds etc in the daylight so not totally useless.

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 19 Jul 2016, 20:54
by qbm
Tell me more! What kind did you get? I've bookmarked an old thread on here with lots of info so I have some idea of what I'm looking for. And of course, I'd forgotten that it can be used for other things. Thanks for the reminder!

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 19 Jul 2016, 21:12
by lisbeth
Just a thought, but the moon is awesome through a telescope, and twilight would be ok for that I'd think.

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 20 Jul 2016, 08:31
by Kanga
I'll go & find the box later & let you know which make it is (we didn't buy it!) The other dd was keen on was binoculars so if you didn't want a telescope yet maybe that would be a good interim?

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 20 Jul 2016, 09:49
by qbm
Good point lisbeth.

Thanks Kanga - no rush though. I spoke to her this morning and as soon as I mentioned the word Santa (as opposed to just Christmas) she decided she really wanted Santa to bring the telescope and was happy with a microscope for her birthday. Will sound her out again later though!

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 20 Jul 2016, 12:30
by Treeb
Another option could be binoculars if she doesn't have a pair yet.

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 21 Jul 2016, 08:32
by yorkshirepudding
No idea how much they cost, but my fil just bought a small digital microscope so you can attach it to the tv, v cool for looking at insects, and anything Moo can find! Easy to share what you can see and help explain it.

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 21 Jul 2016, 15:22
by qbm
Oh wow! That sounds great. Will have a look around. Thank you.

Re: Birthday present question

PostPosted: 23 Jul 2016, 01:45
by Brigitte
lisbeth wrote:Just a thought, but the moon is awesome through a telescope, and twilight would be ok for that I'd think.


This is good advice.

I've done a fair share of amateur astronomy and have my own telescope. Binoculars really are the best entry into amateur astronomy, because you can get good quality optics without paying an arm and a leg. There is SO much interesting stuff to see with a decent set of binoculars: the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, various star clusters, and any good comets that happen to be in the neighbourhood, not to mention the moon of course.

If you do really want to go the telescope route because that's what your 5-year-old has fixated on, please know that a rickety wobbly mount/tripod will render event the best telescope useless. For my first telescope purchase, I was told that I should expect to spend equal amounts on the tripod/mount as I do on the actual telescope. The best entry-level telescopes are often larger Newtonian reflectors with a Dobsonian mount (these are generally built together as one unit, so there is no separate pricing for the mount from the telescope). They can be large, but there are some sweet little tabletop models that might be perfect for your daughter. Just be sure that the telescope will hold *perfectly* still when you want it to, and that it can be aimed gently and smoothly in the tiniest increments, otherwise your daughter will surely become frustrated and stop using it shortly.

Another note: If you are buying your optics from an astronomy store or website, be aware that astronomers generally don't care if their optics render the image upside-down because that doesn't matter in space. If your daughter is going to be using her telescope to look at birds or trees or landscapes, make sure whatever you buy won't flip the image upside-down! Having the image flipped side-to-side is also annoying for land use but not as critical.