How to Buy a telescope as a Christmas Present

Do you want to surprise someone by giving a telescope as a Christmas gift? This article will guide you to find the best one.

A telescope is a superb gift, especially for someone who loves astronomy or stargazing. This is not a kind of time-pass toy or game. A telescope is not only an elegant gift, it upholds that you really care for the recipient’s passion. A telescope is a symbol of enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, intellect, and a scientific mind. So this can be an outstanding and exceptional gift for the person you want to present if he or she has a real passion for science. And in return, you will get an amazing face with a wider smile! Because by this, you can really open a new world of experience to him. You are making his way easier to know more, flourish, and explore!

Now, a telescope is a wonder if anyone knows how to use it. But if someone does not know how to use it, and finds it difficult, it can be a nightmare too. And you will find that the person has kept your gift in the showcase instead of using it. To avoid this situation, you can make him feel that a telescope is really easy to use. At first, he may have no idea how to operate it, but with a little practice, you will be able to master it. It is just like learning how to drive a car or bicycle. Besides, if anyone just goes through the manual or a book beforehand, he will become far more confident to use it. So along with your telescope, do not forget to give a book on how to use that telescope too. And you will find plenty of books on telescopes for amateur astronomers or experts on amazon, eBay, and other online shops.

Moreover, you will find telescopes of different sizes. So you need to understand them. The sizes of the telescopes are generally measured in mm or inches. The length of the smaller telescopes is expressed as mm and the larger ones are as inches. Now, these designations are not for the total length of the telescopes. They define the size of the aperture i.e. the diameter of the light-collecting region. However, you will get an idea of how big a telescope is by that.

Here is the list of different sizes of the telescopes in order from larger to smaller:

8 inch

6 inch

127mm (Just about five inches)

4 1/4 inches

80mm ( A little over 3 inches)

70mm ( Just shy of 3 inches)

60mm ( a little over 2 inches)

 

Tips while Choosing a telescope

To find the best telescope as a gift, you need to make three considerations: the cost of the telescope, the age of the recipient, and the experience level of using telescopes. The list is given below with some awesome tips for you.

  1. Your budget and the cost of the telescope

Budget is always important while buying a gift for someone. Now, you have to consider that the price of telescopes ranges from around 100 dollars to more than a thousand. If your giftee is just a beginner-level astronomer or a kid, you can easily find some entry-level telescopes for him at cheaper rates. For example, you will find Celestron – AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope at only 92-100 dollars on amazon. But if the recipient is an expert or already owns a telescope you may increase your budget to find a better one. At the end of the article, we have enlisted for you some telescopes based on prices, age, and level of experience.

  1. The age of the recipient

If the recipient is a child of age 10 or less, you can start with beginner smaller telescopes. In that case, you do not need to bother about the power, because higher power facilities do not exist in smaller cheaper telescopes. This is just used to attract the buyers as a marketing trick. You have to focus on only 2 features here. The first one is- to try to buy a refractor telescope having a lens rather than a reflector telescope i.e. a telescope with a mirror. The output is far better in refractor telescopes. Secondly, select a telescope with an “Alt-azimuth” mount. Alt-azimuth mount allows the telescope to move up-down and left-right easily.  

  1. The experience level of the person you want to present the telescope

Till now we have suggested an entry-level telescope assuming that the recipient does not have any experience in using telescopes. But what if he or she already has a telescope? The only way to choose the perfect telescope for him or her is to have a conversation with her about which telescope he owns, what the problems or limitations of that telescope are, which telescope he dreams of, and what are the reasons for planning to have that telescope and so on. You will get a clear idea then about his experience level and the category of telescopes you have to look at.

Below I have added some telescopes based on the ages of the recipient. 

For 8-11 year old child:

Fig 1: Celestron – 50mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope 

If the kid is only 8 to 12 years old Celestron – 50mm Travel Scope is the best option as a gift as it fits in your budget with some amazing features that you will get on Amazon at the cheapest price. It is handy and small enough for a child and user-friendly. It is a refractor telescope and includes an alt-azimuth mount as we suggested before. They will give the whole thing in a backpack which will not only make it easy to carry anywhere for the child but also give a thrill to him or her. The most amazing feature is that it includes a full-size tripod whereas other such kinds of telescopes either have no tripod or have a small one which you have to put on a table; otherwise the child has to lie on the ground to use them. The tripod of this package is a big one that will offer the kid some wonderful experiences. It also provides a free astronomy software package. 

Moreover, Celestron is a well-known brand for all kinds of telescopes which means that you can be fully sure of its quality. It provides the best lens within that budget and ensures proper views. 

For 12-16 year old child:

Option 1: Celestron – PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope 

If the case is like this that you want the recipient to be interested in astronomy, and you are giving this telescope to him just to inspire in sky observation then this telescope can be the best one to introduce. 

This telescope is a perfect beginner-level telescope. This is also a refractor telescope with an alt-azimuth mount though it is better in quality than the Celestron – 50mm.

FIg 2: Celestron – PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope – Manual Alt-Azimuth Telescope

It adds a yoke mount in its feature which has an altitude rod to point the object smoothly. This is portable, lightweight, and compact. This package also includes free top-rated astronomy software programs. And you will receive a 2- year warranty and unlimited technical support.

This is a little bit more expensive than the previous one, but hope will fit in your budget. This may cost around 120 dollars. You can check the price on the internet. Generally, Amazon offers the best price. 

 

Option 2: Celestron Powerseeker 70EQ

If the person you want to present the telescope is passionate about stargazing and shows his interest in it, or already owns a beginner 50 mm telescope, Celestron Powerseeker 70EQ will be the best gift.

Fig 3: Celestron Powerseeker 70EQ

The difference between these two telescopes is the mount. It has a German Equatorial mount which allows smooth and accurate pointing though it needs a bit of setup. The young astronomer has to learn how to set it up and use it before. If the recipient is really interested in astronomy already, he can find this thrilling to learn to set up his own telescope. This 70EQ telescope will last enough before his next level sky observation.

The youngster 17 years old or adults 

Here, 6 telescopes are enlisted by price, the cheapest first.

  • Celestron 127 EQ Powerseeker Reflector Telescope

Fig 4: Celestron 127 EQ Powerseeker Reflector Telescope

This telescope has a larger mirror of about 5 inches which offers a better view of the night sky objects but at a cheaper rate of around 200 dollars. You will get a 2-year warranty and unlimited service with this product too. It is basically a Newtonian reflector telescope with a Manual German equatorial mount. You can definitely rely on the performance you get from the telescope at this price. 

  • Celestron – AstroMaster 90EQ Refractor Telescope

Fig 5: Celestron – AstroMaster 90EQ Refractor Telescope

This is a high-quality refractor telescope having an equatorial mount. It has a 90 mm primary lens, and anyone will love the telescope as it gives a wonderful view of night sky objects. But for this, you have to make a budget above 300 dollars.

  • Celestron Astromaster 90EQ with accessory kit

Fig 6: Celestron Astromaster 90EQ with accessory kit 

Everyone will love the telescopes as a gift if it provides more accessories. If you think that the giftee will use this telescope well for a long time, this can be a unique option. The kit includes 2 different eyepieces for different fields of view, high performance filters for better views of the planets, and a foam-padded backpack. You just have to add around 60-100 dollars for this extra kit.

  •  Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope 

Fig 7: Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

This is a wonderful beginner telescope with 6 inch aperture and a lifetime of wonderful views. It offers a stable base that ensures zero vibration or shaking while viewing a night-sky object even at high powers. If the recipient is pretty much serious about astronomy and already has an inexpensive telescope, you can give this telescope to him to upgrade. But for this, you have to make a budget of more than 550 dollars.

  • Celestron NexStar 6 Telescope

Fig 8: Celestron NexStar 6 Telescope

This telescope is a professional high-power computerized telescope that features an iconic design with the latest technology, especially for experienced observers. It can offer an outstanding experience to the kids and amateur astronomers too as it includes a database of more than 40,000 deep-sky objects. You just have to select the object and the telescope will automatically find and track the object to you. Besides, it has enough light-gathering capability to observe the best views of our solar system. You will also get a 2- year warranty and unlimited technical support. And for this quality gift, your budget has to be above 1000 dollars. Undoubtedly, this is the best one to take outstanding astro photos of moons, planets, and deep space things.

But we will suggest that you can select this telescope as a gift if and only if the person has a real passion to get into serious sky observation and already has a telescope and sky viewing experience. Otherwise, this advanced technology can lose interest too. 

  • Celestron NexStar 8 

Fig 9: Celestron NexStar 8 

This is an updated version of the Celestron NexStar 6 Telescope; the only difference is the aperture. This includes 8 inch aperture which offers an extraordinary view of the sky objects which cannot be seen by the other inexpensive telescope. This is a high-quality professional telescopes for experienced astronomers. To get one of these, you have to make a budget of around 1500 dollars.

In short, it is really appreciable to think about presenting a telescope to our close ones. You might have noticed that the bigger the telescopes become, the higher the prices will be. But it can change the whole world or motive of life of a person.