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What are the Best Telescopes for Beginners and Kids?

These are reviews of some of the best telescopes for beginners, whether for kids or parents in the $100 to $500 range. The tabletop models are made to sit on a table, so take this into consideration when considering those models. These are not deep space telescopes, but give a great view of the moon and a nice view of some of the planets. Don’t expect views like photographs seen in magazines. Do expect to create a love for space exploration in your child.

Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope

The red Orion SkyScanner is a good beginners telescope and cheap. Buy this one if you are not sure your child’s interest will fade or grow over time. It is good enough to see the craters on the Moon and some details of planets.  It has a 100mm lens with a 400mm focal length. Eyepieces provide 20x and 40x magnification. It’s possible to see Saturn’s rings and moon features. The tube is about 12” and total weight is 6.2 pounds.

best telescope for kidsOrion SpaceProbe 3 Altazimuth Reflector Telescope

The Orion SpaceProbe 3 is another good cheap telescope for kids who are just developing their space exploration interest. It has a diameter of 76mm and focal length of 700mm. Two eyepieces provide 28x and 70x magnification. The tube is about 27 inches long and total weight with tripod is under 9 pounds.



good telescope for beginnersOrion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope

If you have a more serious stargazer then he will like this telescope. Easy to use, kids can find and identify nebulas, star clusters, and more with this. The Orion StarBlast 4.5 is a Newtonian reflector that has a 4.5” aperture and 450mm focal length. Eyepieces are 17mm and 6mm. The tube is 18 inches. Total weight is 13 pounds.


telescope reviews and ratingsOrion GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor Telescope

With this your child will see craters and mountains on the moon, Saturn’s rings, and more. The Orion GoScope 80mm is a compact portable telescope. It has an aperture of 80mm and 350mm focal length. Eyepieces magnify 17x and 35x. The telescope is about a foot long and entire unit weighs less than 6 pounds.


good telescopes for kidsMeade Star Navigator 102

The Meade Star Navigator 102 is a refractor telescope with a computer GOTO system that is easy to set up and align. It is 102 mm (4”) with an 800 mm focal length. It comes with 2 eyepieces, 32X and 89X. The Mead star navigator 102 is 32 inches long and weighs 16 pounds.


best entry level telescopeCelestron NexStar 130SLT

Being a Newtonion reflector telescope, the Celestron NexStar 130SLT provides correct color images. It’s computerized with a database containing 4,000 spacial objects. It features SkyAlign to go directly to a celestial object. It is 130mm (5.5”) with a focal length of 650mm. It comes with 2 eyepieces, a 26X and a 72x. The Celestron NexStar 130SLT is 28 inches long and weighs 18 pounds.

top telescopeCelestron NexStar 4SE

This is a high-priced telescope – easy to use for beginners but only worth the investment if your child spends every night staring at the starts. It’s computer database contains 40,000 spacial objects, keeping any child busy studying the stars and planetsfor years. The Celestron NexStar 4SE is a 102 mm (4”) Maksutov-Cassegrain type telescope with 1325 focal length. It comes with eyepieces of 106X and 230X. It is 32 inches long and weighs 30 pounds.

best telescope for planetsOrion StarBlast 6i IntelliScope

A mid-range telescope for serious kids, the Orion 27191 databases contains more than 14,000 celestial objects. This light bucket has a 6 inch lens and 750mm focal length. This will stick around for a while as it is considered an intermediate telescope as well as for beginners. Eyepieces provide 30X and 75X magnification. This Orion is 28 inches long and weighs 23 pounds. You will be able to view planets, such as Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter with this highly rated telescope.

Click here for info on using binoculars for stargazing with kids.

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