I was always impressed with tech toys as a kid. That inspired me to learn, and later to go and obtain engineering degree which permits me now to live comfortably while doing exactly what I like. Now I feel obligated to do the same for my children, to direct them so that they devote their time to learning and not just entertaining themselves. So I decided to get them a gift that will sincerely stimulate them, fully aware that no cheap gimmick would do.
So I selected to get them a telescope, Celestron’s NexStar 114 SLT to be exact. It proved to be a good idea.
Setting it up was easy and done in minutes. And it was light enough so we could easily move it around. Right away, with the first look though it, I was impressed at how much these new models had advances since I was a kid. The lens with the 114 mm reflector works so much better than the old models based on a 90 mm design. It has over twice the light-gathering capacity and color-corrected feature that makes everything look closer and color rich.
However, the true surprised came with its computerized mount features. It uses something called SkyAlign alignment technology and the StarPointer Finderscope together with a red LED to pinpoint objects in the sky. Most impressively, it has memory of more than 4,000 objects. This way I could swiftly locate ones like the globular cluster in Hercules (M13), or the Orion’s Great Nebula in (M42).
All of these meant that once my children got hold of it, it was hard to get them off and send them to sleep. Now they know better to operate the telescope than I do. Even when their friends come over, they run to it to show them this or that. It proved to be not just a toy, but a great learning tool, exactly what I wanted.
I do not know for how long their obsession with this will be…maybe I will have to feed it with other gadgets soon. But then maybe it is the best thing I can do for them.