Telescope for a 10-year-old girl?

My daughter wants a telescope, she's only 10 and really about the size of an 8-year-old. We live in suburb of Los Angels, so the Skys aren't really clear. She also has ADHD so might not be patient to deal with collimation. The two I am leaning towards are grab and go refractors: The Meade Adventurecope 80 and the Celestron Travel Scope 80mm (a new model). My reasoning is, it will be light enough and easy for her to just set them up in the driveway whenever she wants to, take with us on trips or drives to areas with clearer skies. She has a lot of other hobbies, so I don't want to spend lot. I have access to better tripods, but don't want to upgrade lenses until I see that this is going to stick. Thoughts?


Trips to Griffith Park and the observatory and planetarium could be a good idea. Library books on Astronomy for all ages are available. There are local astronomy clubs to join, get free views, lots of answers. Several local shops have good scopes of all sizes. Woodland Hills is a good one. I do some buying with Oceanside Photo & Telescope, both in person and on line. They match any advertised price. Telescopes age well. You can save on a nice used one at Better chance of good one than at Edmunds Scientific sells the popular Astroscan. Orion has some smaller scopes as well as the big one.

Ronald 7

I have been crazy about Stars since I was nine I have two old Newtonian Telescopes and a great set off Binoculars I am now 59 and still as crazy I could handle any Scope


That sounds like a great starter scope for her - simple to use but enough scope that she can see some great objects (the moon, the planets, many nebulae and galaxies).


If at all possible, arrange for your daughter to have a look through a telescope before you buy one - children that young tend to be distinctly underwhelmed by the views of anything other than the moon. Quite a few can't even use one - they look across the eyepiece rather than through it. I think it's very unlikely she'll be able to use one without help, so it's more about what you can use, rather than your daughter. Another problem is that young children have a habit of hanging on to the eyepiece / focuser and moving the 'scope away from what they're trying to look at. Bottom line - stick with binoculars for a few years.


A recent issue (within the past 4 months) of "Astronomy" had a very extensive article on telescopes. Look up the magazine online


I think for kids, not going overboard on these things is the proper way to go, that is. Unless you are planning on using them also. As they get older and show more and more of an interest, pursuit of these hobbies, then upgrades to equipment and such can be made. I know nothing about this particular hobby, although there is a 15 year old telescope still sitting in my closet that was the kids. I know kids.


Meade Adventurecope 80 available on Amazon is good for hikers, beginners, etc.


I would recommend the refractor, though you might want to buy a low-power, wide-field eyepiece for it. Set her up to explore Galileo's discoveries: the phases of Venus, Moons of Jupiter, features on the Moon, and the stars of the Milky Way. There are some fun naked-eye exercises she can do: compare colors of different stars. Even Target sells small Celestron binoculars which can be used for a few brighter star clusters: the Pleiades, the Alpha Persei Moving Cluster with its graceful S curve. In the 19th century, opera-glasses were popular but they did not have such severe light pollution to contend with. They are light, easy to use, and a new pair can be bought for about $25.


I would suggest a pair of binoculars. 7x35 mm or 7x 50 mm from a company like Bushnell, Celestron or Nikon. These will allow here to see the Pleiades, and Hyades star clusters. And can be used for other things, plus they are portable so if you go out to the desert bring them along. I used to go up to Mt. Laguna in San Diego county with my binoculars, the view was great. Enclosed is a picture of the Pleiades (dipper like) and the Hyades ( sideways V)


At ten years old I would take small steps. Try binoculars first and a book on binocular observing. If that works well and binoculars survive, try a 3.5 reflector; that will provide a view of Jupiter's four larger moons, perhaps colored bands on Jupiter on a very clear night. Saturn will take some imagination added to see very bright rings.. but that may need colored filters to give added detail on the rings. Still I would go in very small steps; Astronomy is very unlimited and requires great amounts of effort, work, and/or money! A few issues back Sky and Telescope magazine had an issue spotlighting a young teenager who ground his own primary optics and built his own telescopes … With stellar results!!! Exposing her to star parties and experienced observers is very cheap and rewarding … but those people have very large optics (and budgets) and that could perhaps easily lead to her frustration and personal disappointment… Or.. be very exciting for her?


How about binoculars? Then she can have the strap around her neck, Be able to sit, and hold them. Lightweight, and may even help her focus. The one below weighs in at 1.6 pounds, and has a couple of useful goodies included. Now, the downside of these is that they are not rugged. Drop them, and the optics will be knocked out of alignment. And they are not waterproof - leave them out overnight in a heavy dew, expect moisture to creep inside.


Thoughts - not commenting on her ADHD. Kids "want" telescopes, play with them for a very few hours, become bored with them and abandon them quickly. I know of literally dozens of cases where this is factual. Your money might be spent better elsewhere.