Astronomy is one of my daughter’s prominent interests and her favorite planet is Saturn. While reading her book on astronomy, she asked us if we could buy her a telescope.
So I scoured ebay for telescopes to check how much they were being sold locally. Then I saw a friend’s post about the UP Observatory, googled it and found their number. They told me I could drop by with my kid after asking if I could bring her on a Saturday night.
She was thrilled to see an actual telescope, much less hold one in her hands and she went back to take a peek at the moon a few times – but I am getting ahead of myself here.
We arrived at the UP Observatory after dinner at the Chocolate Kiss Cafe and had to wait for 15 minutes for their astronomer to be ready for us but it was well worth it. He set up a chair and a huge telescope in the middle of their parking lot and looked for heavenly bodies for us to see. Unfortunately, Mars and Venus were evasive that night. Only the Moon was out and about. So much for us showing her Saturn.
We took turns looking into the telescope and she wanted to look multiple times, trying to understand the craters. “It looks scary, mommy”, she says.
I mentioned how much of an interest celestial beings are for her right now and asked which starter telescope would be good for little kids. The astronomer told us he would really not recommend kids looking into telescopes for a long time or too often because it would cause them to have poor eyesight. Mental note: I am putting that off for a few years. He says it’s the reflection of the sun that we see when we look at the moon and that carries a little bit of radiation that could be bad for the eyes.
After an hour of talking, ohh-ing and ahh-ing, then viewing a couple of stars, we decided to start our hour trip home. We then found out that the viewing was FREE of charge. Everything that’s FREE is the best thing ever!
We gave a donation, logged it in their book and were asked to come back when Venus was in full view- but that would be after 11pm and too late a bedtime for our little one.
Til our next moon gazing!