Celestron PowerSeeker telescopes are a great way to open up the wonders of the Universe to the aspiring astronomer. The PowerSeeker series is designed to give the first-time telescope user the perfect combination of quality, value, features and power. Amateur astronomy is a great family hobby that can be enjoyed year round, and Celestron’s PowerSeekers are the ideal choice for families looking for an affordable and high quality telescope that will provide many hours of enjoyment for children and adults alike.
Celestron's value priced PowerSeeker 70AZ is an affordable entry level telescope with some nice extras like a correct image prism and "The Sky" astronomy software included. The package also includes an Alt-Azimuth mount with adjustable aluminum tripod, high and low power eyepieces, a 3X barlow lens, and a 5 power cross hair finder scope.
The PowerSeeker 70AZ comes disassembled in a compact box, but the fully illustrated quick set-up guide makes it easy to assemble. Go ahead and try it out in the daytime, that's the best time to align the finder scope while looking at a distant tree or telephone pole.
The optics of the PowerSeeker 70AZ are surprisingly good, especially when I use the low power 20mm eyepiece. The correct image prism and the 20mm eyepiece give me a magnification of 35X, so backyard birds seem five times closer than with my seven power binoculars. The PowerSeeker 70 can be upgraded with standard 1.25 inch telescope eyepieces. A 25mm plossl eyepiece for example gives a true field of view of almost 2 degrees for delightful views of star clusters like the Pleiades, while a 6mm eyepiece provides a magnification of 117X, just right to see the rings of Saturn or the cloud bands on Jupiter. The included 4mm eyepiece (175X magnification) might be too much power: I can see Saturn's rings but at 175X it's not easy to focus and it's not easy to keep planets centered in the field of view.
The Alt-Azimuth mount included with the PowerSeeker 70AZ is lighter and easier to use than an Equatorial mount, but it does not track stars and planets. As soon as you get the Moon centered in the eyepiece it starts drifting toward the edge, this is caused by rotation of the Earth. The Moon may stay in the low power eyepiece for two or three minutes, but with the high power 4mm eyepiece (175X magnification) a star will disappear in only twenty or thirty seconds.
Celestron's PowerSeeker 70AZ is a real value because it has very good achromatic optics in a package that's light, portable and affordable. The drawback is that it has a lot of plastic parts, including the finder scope and the 3X barlow. For a more rugged alternative, take a look at Celestron‘s AstroMaster 70 AZ which comes with better eyepieces and includes a sturdier Alt-Azimuth mount. --Jeff Phillips
- Very good optics
- Correct image prism
- Easy no tool set-up
- Light, portable, and affordable
- Light weight tripod
- Does not track stars and planets
- Plastic finder and barlow lens
Moon as seen with the low power eyepiece, 35X
Crater Clavius shot with a Neximage camera, 280X
Planet Saturn shot with Neximage camera, 280X
Deer over 100 yards away shot at 35X
Birdfeeder about 50 feet away shot at 35X