|Choosing a Telescope for a Child|
Recommendation 3: Get a ReflectorThere are three main types of telescopes and all three are popular among stargazers.
Reflectors (mirror-based telescopes) come in the widest range of sizes and are usually the least
expensive at any size.
Refractors (lens-based telescopes) offer sharp and contrasty views but most
are small (2"-4") because larger ones tend to be bulky, difficult to manage and expensive. And, except for most
expensive models, they also suffer from a problem called chromatic aberration which causes purple
fringing around brighter objects.
Compound telescopes are mirror-based telescopes that use a special design to make them the most
compact of the three types. It also
tends to make them more expensive.
We recommend a reflector for a child's first telescope simply because of cost. We know that refractors have that
'cool telescope look' but, in the 6" size that we recommend, a
refractor is a huge telescope and at least double the cost of
a 6" reflector. A 6" compound telescope is nice and small but still easily double the cost of a reflector.