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Best telescopes for kids: Top picks for seeing the moon, stars, planets & more

If you’re looking for the best telescopes for kids, you’re in luck as we’ve got a selection of them in this handy guide. Another great bit of news is you won’t have to spend a great sum of money to get your hands on them either, as it’s possible to find a perfectly suitable instrument for under $100. There are options that are robust and portable, that can withstand minor knocks and be taken on camping trips. A lot of the best telescopes for kids come ready-to-use and are easy to set up, which you’ll see if you read on below. 

Telescope glossary

Aperture: Diameter of the primary mirror or lens, which allows a telescope to collect light.
Field of view: Area of sky visible through the eyepiece.
Focal length: A telescope’s tube length. Short focal lengths offer a wide field of view and a small image.
Focal ratio: Also known as the telescope’s speed. Small focal ratios provide lower magnifications, wide field of view and a brighter image.
Magnification: Relationship between the telescope’s optical system and the eyepiece. 

There are a few things to consider when picking out the best telescopes for kids, the first being what kind of subject you want to see. This will determine the type of telescope you pick: a reflector, refractor or a catadioptric telescope – the latter coming in the form of the Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain. If you want to see high magnification targets such as the moon or planets, a refractor telescope is your best option. But if you want to see fainter objects, like galaxies and nebulae then a reflector would be a better choice. Catadioptric telescopes can often be more user-friendly, are more modern and often computerized and are great for viewing a wide range of objects.

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