Thinking about buying a *good* telescope - someday? I'm glad you are, because I've got some news for you about telescopes, generally, that might just help, 'someday', arrive a little sooner...
Most people who are considering having a telescope in their lives, look for them where they are, probably, most conveniently found - like, in a department store. Now, department stores are great! At least, I love them. But they are limited in scope (oh, what a perfect spot for that pun!), naturally, where specialty items like, telescopes, are concerned.
Some of the names of the telescopes found in some department stores, will be familiar to you, such as, "Celestron®", or Meade®, or Tasco®. Though, these are three of the *big* names in mass-maeketed telescopes, the models you'll find are built for the masses - i e., for those who aren't likely to be very discerning - in an area you really, *need*, to be very discerning with. The associated advertising agencies use a factor in telescopes, regarding, "magnification", as their main selling point which is, inherently, not exactly 'wrong' - but, not relevant, either.
You'll see such wording on their packaging, as: "300x", "300-power", "300 times", etc., meaning that the instrument will/can magnify an object to 300 times its normal diameter or, its 'apparent', size, as seen with the unaided eye. DON'T, DON'T, DON'T - DO IT! There are two areas that I know of, personally, where the quality of an instrument can make or break a beginner, particularly, and especially, children: guitars, and telescopes...
Any telescope can achieve any of the "powers", or magnifications allotted it by optical physics. All you have to do is insert a 'high-power' eyepiece (known as an 'ocular'), into the focuser's draw-tube. Most telescopes are supplied with a small assortment of eyepieces of various focal-lengths, which will change the 'power' (in that context) of the instrument. That action can make, or, break a telescope.
The real 'power' of a telescope is in the size of its
If you're considering a telescope for a child, and are concerned about putting up an amount of money for something that may just end up getting abandoned, then you need to avoid the department stores, absolutely. You'll save money and get a far better instrument from a well-known, reputable manufacturer of telescopes for the amateur astronomer.
Orion® Telescope Center™ is such a place and, in my opinion, is who you want - take my word for that. Every astronomer - amateur, or professional - would most likely agree with this, if they're at all familiar with this company. There are a few other manufacturers of good telescopes out there (but not many), but, Orion stands out by their reputation for product integrity, alone. They are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy a customer. Their company was started, by amateur astronomers, for amateur astronomers. I've been dealing with these telescope 'specialists' since 1982.
The two scopes, shown here, are probably THE best buys in telescopes, period. They are real optical instruments, rather, than the *toys*, found in the department stores that I've referred to. It IS possible to find a good telescope at a department store - but it isn't likely, or, worth the risk.
The scopes shown below are two configurations of the Orion XT-6, and Orion XT-8 'SkyQuest' series of Dobsonian-mounted, Newtonian reflector telescopes. The numbers refer to the diameter of the instruments primary apertures, respectively. As telescopes go, they would be considered *medium-sized* telescopes. Moreover, scopes in this size range are perfectly suited to adults as well, of course. They are - in every respect - "two-steps", up from the typical department store telescope.
With these instruments, you will not only be able to observe the moon and planets, you will see many of the gaseous hydrogen nebulosities of the Milky Way, known as, "nebulae", as well as many of the other galaxies beyond our Milky Way galaxy! And - you're not going to beat their price. Orion also makes smaller and less expensive instruments, all the way down to tabletop telescopes - and - they make much larger instruments, as well - up to 16"-inch; entirely, computerized, observatory-sized beauties! You can download one of their catalogs at: www.telescope.com
So - good luck, and, good judgement - and, as we say:
"Clear Skies!", to you!