Telescope choices

(kendra) #1

Hello fellow homeschoolers! I was wondering if any of you would recommend a brand/type of telescope that I could purchase and use with my kids as we go through our astronomy and space unit? Something that is below the $200 range?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

(Phil) #2

Quite frankly, i have found messing around with cheap telescopes frustrating. If you do not have a motorized mount it is tough to find and keep an object in your field of view. However, there are probably others with more informed opinions, so will watch and learn as others chime in. I would maybe hope to go up a bit in price and get something like this: Celestron Astro Fi 102 Mak-Cas Wi-Fi


See if you can find an astronomy club nearby. No need to buy when you can attend a viewing party. And they would have much better scopes than you could hope to buy.


Binoculars are something to consider. With a decent 8x or 10x set, you can easily see the moons of Jupiter & Saturn, the phase of Venus, many features on the moon, and even the disk of the Andromeda galaxy. For astronomy, you’d do best with larger opening lenses.

(kendra) #5

Thanks Phil for your thoughts. I have read the same kinds of comments on Amazon and most people do recommend the motorized mount. I’ve researched the Celestron brand a little and people either love it or hate it:) I’ll take a look at the one you recommended. Thanks again…

(kendra) #6

There is a local amateur astronomical association in our area that is open to the public in late spring through the fall. It will be a great option later in the school year! Thanks for the suggestion.


One other thing…
If you’d like to get more hands on, some astronomy groups give instructions on how to grind and polish your own mirror. Grinding your own doesn’t save a lot of money, particularly given the amount of time it takes, but it does expose people to the details of how scopes are made.

(Casper Hesp) #8

It isn’t exactly a telescope, but there is this special piece of equipment that allows you only to see the stars that are close enough to be in accordance with the young-earth timeline! I am sure your kids will love this.

Portable Young Universe Goggles™

I apologize for this joke, couldn’t resist.

(kendra) #9

Love it! Should work great:) A gentle poke at the YEC “view” is usually a hard thing to resist.

(Juan Romero) #10

I’ll leave a comment here, since I’m also looking for a new telescope, because the one I had bought years ago when I was 10 is too small and it is too difficult to look at anything.

(kendra) #11

That would be quite the field trip to have that experience! I’m leaning towards a really good pair of binoculars that are specific for star gazing…per your recommendation and my research. Thanks.

(Phil) #12

By the way, would second to see if you can find an astronomy club viewing party, as they will have good instruments and will make things interesting. One meets near us monthly, and I suspect they are pretty common.

(Dennis Venema) #13

I agree - for ~$200 you’re much better off with a good pair of binoculars. Nikon or higher-end Pentax might be good options.

(Ronald Easley) #14

I realize that this is an old thread, but I am new here and thought I would weigh in. Last summer, I wanted a telescope for our homeschooled children that would show the planets clearly, and wanted the best bang for my buck under $200. I settled on a Meade refractor, the Polaris EQ 80. It has slow motion controls in both axes so once you have the objective centered in the eyepiece (and the equatorial mount properly set) you just rotate one knob as needed to track it. I ended up investing in a set of Celestron lunar and planetary filters, a right ascension motor and a carrying bag that put the total up to about $300, but all were worthwhile purchases. With the 6.3mm eyepiece, you get 143x which is sufficient to see some details in Jupiter’s belts as well as the Great Red Spot, Cassini’s Division in Saturn’s Rings, and the polar caps and larger surface features such as Syrtis Major and Hellas on Mars during this summer’s opposition. Even their $60 70mm altazimuth Meade Infinity model does a nice job with very good optics. Deep sky objects such as M81, M82, and nebulas and globular clusters show up surprisingly well. It’s easy to overpay for a glorified toy, but with a little research and patience, a quality instrument can be found in your price range. Hope this helps!

(Phil) #15

Thanks for the report! Was just out looking at Mars, Saturn , and Jupiter, (Venis just went down), thinking how neat it would be to have a telescope.

(Ronald Easley) #16

We bought the $60 Meade for guests of a vacational rental that we own, so I thought I would put it through its paces. In some ways, it feels like a toy but the optics are first-rate and even with a smaller 70mm objective and 9mm eyepiece (about 80x) I could see Jupiter, Saturn and Mars pretty well, although I couldn’t quite pick up Cassini’s Division. Titan, on the other hand, was clearly visible. At low power (30x), globular clusters were visible as hazy, circular balls, the nebulas M17 and M8 were magnificent, and galaxies M82 and M81 clearly visible together in the same field. Not bad at all for $60.