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GREAT 5" BEGINNER TELESCOPE
As a beginner in Astronomy, it is not necessary to have the biggest and best Telescope you can buy. I started with a three (3) inch Refractor Telescope and was completely satisfied. However, if you are involving your children in this as a hobby, I would go for an intermediate level Telescope. I will make suggestions about types and brands, so you can make an informed choice.
Galileo FS120DX 39.37 inch x 4.7244 inch Newtonian Reflector Telescope Best Low Budget First Choice: Priced about $200.00: Click to shop Amazon.com
View my reflector telescope article on Hubpages: Click here to learn how reflectors work
This telescope is and excellent choice for a beginner with a small budget. Most of us think that a Telescope is hard to use, or they will be frustrated by not knowing enough. It’s simple really, and this Telescope is great for a beginner. Once you remove this Scope from the package you'll see its easy to use set-up. It’s already attached to its mount and only needs to be set upon the tripod that comes with it and screw the mount cap down. Once placed on a level surface outside, you need only adjust the counter balance rods properly. In this, you are simply finding the balance point where the scope holds position when released by your hand. A little fine tuning may be necessary, but you'll get it.
The mount compensates for Azimuth and Altitude once balanced, and is easy to set for the beginner Astronomer. A child can easily learn the basic idea with a little help from you. It has a simple spotter scope allowing you to point the scope and align it automatically with a star or a planet. Once properly aligned, you simply view it through the secondary lens. This scope has a concave (collector) main mirror, which is best in my opinion, at gathering available light. The secondary lens', as all are, is a convex shaped lens and used at the focal point to pinpoint the collected light and reflect in into you eye via the reflector mirror itself. The reflector mirror extends on a mount just under the eyepiece and inside the main telescope tube. Thus, the name reflector telescope.
There is no limit to the viewing of near earth objects with this scope. The moon is easiest to spot, so share that with your children first. The planets are easy to spot also, simply look for brighter stars that do not twinkle. Planets do not twinkle like a star does, with an exception here: In the city, atmosphere can give the appearance that an object is twinkling, but it’s really not. Simply spot on the objects that shimmer or twinkle less. Look through the lens, and you most likely will have a planet in sight. You might want to also purchase a primer to astronomy book, nothing complicated, just the basics please. A star chart is very helpful, and the primer book will help you use it. There is not steep learning curve; you will pick-up on the basics really fast.
This telescope has a 39.37" focal length, and a 4.72" mirror. The longer the focal length and bigger the mirror, the higher the resolution is when viewing. The scope has a nice resolution for that reason. For the price it is a very capable telescope that will offer interesting views of planets, stars and star clusters. Using the star chart, you will be able to find constellations and know when to look for comets, etc. All of this comes with little real investment of your time to learn. It's very easily learned, and you'll have fun teaching your children; they will be excited with you spending time with them, and you’re teaching them.
All told, this is a good basic telescope. You can learn with this one and later upgrade to higher powered scopes and trick equipment as you master the fine hobby of astronomy. As with everything in life, you get what you pay for, but this telescope delivers very well. You might also order a lens cap and cleaning solutions for the lenses.
As a beginner, I hope this helps you make a determination on where to start. This scope is a nice one and I feel you will be happy with the choice. Take time and review it online, read reviews and make a decision. There are many choices you can make, but for the dollar, I believe this to be a very good choice for a budget conscious choice.