Over the span of nearly 50 years Scott Roberts has visually used everything from a small 40mm Department Store Telescope to the Palomar 200-inch Telescope at Coudé focus. To him all telescopes, used effectively, become tools of exploration and will reveal details that are impossible to see with the unaided eye.
In order to benefit from decades of experience with telescopes, most of us will have to start in young childhood. Most children receive their first telescope in the form of a gift, and this usually means that that the gift is modestly priced. This creates a huge challenge for manufacturers and sellers of telescopes. Parents and Grandparents want to satisfy a child’s curious mind. Amateur astronomers shun the idea of a small telescope thinking that they are a waste of money spent, some lumping all inexpensive “department store” telescopes into a category called “Christmas Trash Telescopes”. But it is a fact that if Galileo’s telescope was exactly reproduced, optically and mechanically to the original, that it too would be considered a “Trash Telescope”, and Galileo changed the world of science with his. So why would experienced amateur astronomers think so? Because larger, better performing telescopes can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars, or you can possibly make your own for even less. In addition there are astronomy clubs that you can join where they may allow you to borrow a telescope.
But what if you can’t spend a few hundred dollars, or you don’t have the skill and time to make your own? Should you ignore a young child’s interest? Scott Roberts would not have devoted a large portion of his life towards astronomy education and telescope making had it not been for the fact that his parents purchased a small 40mm Department Store telescope in 1970, and many astronomers, engineers, scientists, educators, and doctors had their initial interest in science further stoked by a small department store telescope.
In this video, Scott Roberts shows the differences in the most modest of department store telescopes, the 50mm refractor that can be purchased for a very modest price. Using precision polished optics and building the telescopes using tried and true methods, even a 50mm telescope can give a rewarding visual experience.
While there is are many brands to choose from, some areexcellent and some very poor in comparison to what you can obtain for virtually the same money invested. Scott will show you what to look for, and what to avoid as he compares the National Geographic 50mm Field Telescope to another 50mm telescope sold in the marketplace today.
Learn more about the National Geographic 50mm Field Telescope: https://shop.nationalgeographic.com/product/gear—gadgets/telescopes-and-microscopes/national-geographic-50mm-field-telescope