274 of 280 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2010
Before buying this scope I read all the reviews even though this scope a some negative reviews I decided to buy it anyway. I am honestly very happy with this scope I can see how someone impatient can get frustrated with it but if you do not have patience then astronomy is not the hobby for you. Given that do not expect Hubble like images from this scope but I live about twenty miles out side of the city and so far have been able to se the orion nebula, lagoon nebula, M57 (the ring nebula), galaxies M81 and M82, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus , and the Beehive cluster. I personally am very pleased with the views from this scope but the max magnification for this it is about 150X. given that you will almost never be able to use the 4 mm eye piece mainly because of seeing conditions just aren't good enough. So I recommend getting anywhere from a 7 mm to 10 mm eye piece to add to this scope other than that this is a good scope and will show you some amazing thing in our universe.
371 of 393 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2008
I received this telescope as a Christmas present, and have been mostly satisfied with it.
On the plus side: the optics are good, it has a large aperture, a solid mount, and comes with one useful eyepiece.
On the downside, the 4mm eyepiece is completely useless. It yields blurry images and is so small it is nearly impossible to look through. Likewise the 3x barlow lens is very cheap and will only work with the 20mm eyepiece, and poorly at that.
One word of advice: you will need to put a piece of tape in the center of the primary mirror if you want to collimate it properly, which is needed for sharp images. Almost all reflecting telescopes come with a mark in the center of the mirror that is used for this purpose. You can easily find instructions on how to do this online.
That being said I would still recommend this telescope because it is the most powerful one you can get in its price range. You will most likely want to invest in another high zoom (~10mm) eyepiece and barlow lens. When used using my Ccelestron Powerseeker 127 eq with a quality eyepiece, I have show my roommates views of great views of Saturn that "look fake". Several hundred craters are easily visible on the moon when conditions are favorable.
236 of 249 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2008
This is a great little beginner scope. Most entry level scopes at this price range are junk but this one holds its own. 5 inch Aperture for under 150 bucks is very reasonable. I saw the same scope on several other websites for similar price, however most were charging at least $27 for shipping or more. I got this little number for $148 and free super saver shipping and still received it in 3 days. Two day shipping from some of the other companies I looked at cost over $50 so all that being said you can't complain about the value.
As for assembly I have noticed some reviews for this product stating it was difficult to assemble and parts were missing and/or broken. I must say I was fortunate not to run into any of these problems. I was able to assemble everything in about 20 minutes and this is my first experience with an equatorial mount. everything fit together logically and I didn't require a manual to put it together. It was a case of open the box containing the next part,look at the picture on the box, and slap it on and move to the next piece and so on. Once assembled it took about another 10 minutes to balance the scope on the mount. This I used the manual for since as I mentioned before I have never used an equatorial mount. The Manual could have been a little more detailed for a beginner like me, but it wasn't exactly tedious either. Performing the Polar Alignment was a snap. The Hardest part was trying to find something to keep me occupied while I waited for the sky to get dark.
Navigating the sky using the included software was easy and straight forward. My wife and I were able to navigate to the moon, mars, and Saturn very easily. Deep Sky objects are still difficult currently but I am sure this will improve as the Phase of the moon begins to cooperate more.
The only cons I have to note is the quality of the 4MM eyepiece, Barlow lens, and finder scope, which are kind of worthless but these are items that are subject to preference anyhow. These are usually the first things people upgrade on their scopes. It is almost expected nowadays for these items to be of poor quality. You can't buy a telescope for 150 bucks and expect it to come with high precision eye pieces any more than you can expect to buy a car for $9,000 and expect leather seats, power windows and a moon roof. Most good eye pieces sell for about 50 bucks or more so it only makes sense that you are not going to get top notch eye pieces that are going to cost more than the total price of the scope.
Overall a good investment if you want a good entry level scope that won't break your bank and are willing to upgrade a few things somewhere down the road, this scope is a winner.
132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2014
I got this one as a Christmas gift. It seemed like a good telescope for basic astronomy, with many nice features. But I was initially quite disappointed by the fact that the images seemed rather blurry. It took me two weeks to correct this problem, to the point where now I am finally starting to like it.
I should add that the telescope had probably traveled a few miles around the globe when it got to me, but the box and packaging were in pretty good shape when it arrived.
When I got it, I initially compared it to another $50 reflector, the Celestron 76 mm Discovery, and the results were very disappointing, the smaller one was much sharper. I spent hours reading on the Celestron and other sites on how to adjust collimation with a simple "hole in the cap" and got nowhere. The image was always relatively blurry. Day or night, polaris or no polaris.
I later bought the Celestron 24mm to 8mm zoom eyepiece, which allows me to zoom in without changing eyepiece, and it works very well on the smaller 76mm telescope, but again blurry images on this one.
After quickly becoming an expert on reflector collimation, I noticed that nothing seemed collimated properly. I guess they don't even try at the factory on this one? I decided to order a Celestron 1.25" collimation eyepiece ($30), which can be useful in aligning the optics (the two mirrors) in reflectors like this one. I tried it out on this one, and got repeatedly confused on what should be seen in what reflection when you adjust this or that. I spent entire afternoons fiddling with secondary versus primary mirror adjustments, achieving virtually nothing as far as improved sharpness is concerned. I did replace the secondary mirror alignment screws with better stainless steel ones that would not strip, they are metric m4.
I then tried to collimate this thing on the North Star (Polaris) and that is, for this one, another pure fantasy. The reason is that Polaris is faint, and every time you move a mirror by a tiny bit (as explained in the Celestron instruction) the star just darts out of view in the eyepiece. More frustration and still no luck in getting this thing in focus.
Lastly, I ditched all the Celestron recommendations on day and night collimation (using either the celestron collimation eyepiece or the "ring pattern" for out of focus point sources) and did instead the "EYE-DOCTOR TEST" :
I wanted to see how sharp I can get this one, when there is no wind, no shake, no atmospherics, no moving planet, no mist etc. So I placed the telescope at one end of a long corridor in my house, and a nice clean printed envelope with some sharp text on it at the other end. With this method (which I seemingly invented, as it is not described anywhere in the instructions nor on the Celestron site) I was finally able to adjust (by very small increments) the three screws on the secondary mirror till I FINALLY got a nice sharp picture of the writing on the letter. Note that this last procedure did NOT require the collimating eyepiece! Just the regular 4mm eyepiece that comes with the telescope. Success!
As a by product, I found that in fact in the end all three eyepieces work rather well, down to the 4mm which is a bit faint, the 20mm with the 3X Barlow is better.
Now I can finally see the main two stripes on Jupiter and the Orion Nebula with some clarity. In conclusion:
Plusses : Potentially sharp optics and large aperture. Reasonable price. Sturdy mounts. Useful eyepieces.
Cons: Imo optics needs to be carefully aligned by the method described here. Mine was definitely NOT aligned and, initially, as a result disappointingly blurry.
EDIT: After a few more weeks of use (February 2014), I spent some time using the Celestron collimation 1.25" eyepiece ($28 here on Amazon). My conclusion is that it is a very useful, if not essential, tool for this telescope. To avoid any further issues due to my previous messing around, I first screwed in the secondary mirror (by loosening up the three alignment screws, and pulling in the secondary mirror all the way in until it barely touches the mount), and later pulled out the primary mirror as well(by pulling out all six screws until the whole unit comes out, then reinserting the mirror after making sure the secondary was pointing the right way, straight to the back). Then, using the Celestron collimation eyepiece with its crosshair, I carefully adjusted the secondary and primary orientations (three screws for each mirror) until all the crosshairs overlapped perfectly. In other words, the crosshair in the eyepiece has to overlap perfectly with its reflection through mirrors 1 and 2, and back to the eyepiece. This takes time and patience. After having done that, the image quality seems pretty good and rather sharp. I went down to about 8mm, I don't recommend getting lower than that. The best setup for this one is the 20mm eyepiece, either by itself or with the included 3x Barlow (which then gives 20/3 = ca. 7mm). I also got some Ploessel eyepieces, but they will do you no good if the mirrors aren't aligned first.
PPS. I found (April 2014) that the best way to collimate this (Bird-Jones or catadioptric design)telescope and get nice sharp images is to remove the focusing lens at the bottom of the focusing tube (takes 10 mins), align the secondary and primary mirrors with an inexpensive LASER collimator (mine is an LK1 $30 from seben dot com, takes another 10 mins to do this part), put the corrector lens back in and reinsert the focusing tube (don't touch the lens with your hands, takes around 5 mins). With this method the results are guaranteed to be reproducible and consistent. The images are then consistently sharp.
PPPS. The other day (June 2014)I talked at length to a very nice and helpful person at Celestron technical support (Will?). He suggested to check the following thing. The secondary (smaller, flat) mirror is oval-shape and mounted right under the focusing tube, held in place by three (outside)-plus-one (center) screws. Now put a focusing cap (just an eyepiece cap with a small 1mm hole in the center) at the (top) end of the focusing tube. Then make absolutely sure (after you take again very carefully the correcting lens out of the focusing tube) that the inside of the focusing tube and the secondary mirror, as viewed through the focuser, are perfectly concentric when you view them through the hole in the cap. That is, the secondary mirror has to be perfectly centered when viewed from the top of the focusing tube. Note that the secondary mirror is oval shaped, but will look like a perfect disc when tilted at about 45 degrees. On mine this required several turns on the (secondary) center screw. After this is done, make also sure that the tilt on the secondary mirror is such that you can see the center of the primary mirror (on mine I put a black pen mark at the dead center). Now re-align the secondary and primary mirrors with a laser (in my case), with the cap with a hole, or a cheshire eyepiece. Then put back the correcting lens in the focuser, and you are done. The end result is that on mine it improved the sharpness a bit (I did the eyedoctor test again). I was also able to see more detail on Saturn with a standard 9mm eyepiece, will try taking a few pictures soon.
PPPPS: This telescope really shines (due to the light gathering abilities of it's fairly large mirror) when you want to look at fainter objects. Recently we had good viewing conditions and I had a chance to look the the Great Cluster in Hercules (M13), the Lagoon Nebula (M8), the Omega Nebula (M17), and two more star clusters in the same general region (M4 and M62). I took some fairly nice pictures of these objects with a Sony HX200 camera (30x zoom) mounted piggyback on the telescope, using the Celestron motor drive for the 127EQ and long 30sec exposures at 800ISO. See the pictures I posted on the right. I was surprised how well the telecope mount, equipped with the Celestron $30 clockdrive, works when taking long exposures.
PPPPPS: It's October, seven months after I did the laser collimation, and everything is still fine and exactly the same. That tells me that the collimation on this one only needs to be done once, maybe if it gets out of whack during shipping. After that there's no need - unless you bump it or drop it badly. At least that's my experience.
PPPPPPS: It is end of February 2015 now, and I had some very good views of the great Nebula in Orion M42. The scope is still perfectly collimated since almost a year ago, last time I did the collimation with a laser. Again, the message here is that if you spend the time to collimate it properly and don't bump it after that, it will stay sharp almost forever ... Btw I love the $32 celestron R/A single axis motor drive on these telescope, and in my opinion it is a very worthwhile investment. Objects stay in view for almost an hour w/o adjustments.
148 of 159 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
I want to start by saying this is a very good starter beginner - intermediate level scope, I decided on it for it's price and images that had been taken with it, I did quite a bit of research before buying one, as should you. I was nervous after reading some of the reviews for the scope, but when it arrived a lot of those worries were gone.
When it arrived it took me more time to get it out of the box than to get it assembled (Kind of a good thing showing it was well packed) a total of 35 minutes to get it out of the box and put together. The instructions were a bit tough at first but once I caught on it was pretty straight forward. Only had one small hiccup putting it together and it my fault.
The first time I used it I made a couple mistakes but the scope did exactly what it was supposed to, it came with a 4mm Eye piece a 20mm Eye piece and a 3x Barlow lens, That was complete German to me when I got it, but the manual that came with it was very helpful as well as a little bit of online research. It was absolutely breath taking the first time I found something in the scope. The quality is great as long as you remember to focus it.
With this scope I have been able to see the Moon in great detail, I was able to see the rings of Saturn, The Storm on Venus, and Mars, other than that you may have a hard time seeing things, You can see the shapes and forms of distant galaxies on clear nights and with a good star map.
To sum it up take your time and learn how to use it before attempting to blame the scope. And also don't expect to see Hubble type images with this scope, it wont happen, and then the disappointment follows.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2014
I have no comparison for this other than the more simplistic Refractor Telescope my father got me as a kid...so now the circle continues, as I got this for my own son. This is the type I always dreamed of getting as a kid, but back then these were in the $500 range and easily too much for my parents growing up. The price point on this for what it offers is awesome, and I selected this after about 6-8 hours of reviewing specs, feedback, and much contemplation. It was this or the 114mm longer tube version, and I opted for this in the end (I figured this had a little more power and it looked more portable than the longer tube of the 114, since we have to go somewhere to view the sky due to the forested yard we have). We have taken it out twice now, & I was NOT disappointed, HOWEVER, a few pointers will definitely help if you're thinking of getting this, to give you the best success chance possible:
1) What i read about was VERY true--buy a telecope for the tube itself, NOT the eyepieces it comes with. After MUCH searching I decided upon a zoomable eyepiece to buy along with this:
I figured this would be a nice way to avoid having to replace eyepieces (it comes with a 20mm and 4mm, and comparing those to this zoomable one is night 7 day difference...the quality and the versatility of the zoomable blows the stock ones out of the water). Its especially nice to start in the 24mm (24x) place, align everything, find your target & focus, then zoom in on it (even with the barlow for additional zooming power), refocus slightly and then enjoy the sight! We successfully located and watched both mars & saturn on our first 2 attempts (using only the free google skymap app for Android to help us locate the planets). What they say about the rings of saturn are so true...you will never forget the first time you see them. It IS a bit small, but you can make them out if everything is in focus and you dont touch the the telescope once everything is in view (until the planet moves out of the field of view, in which case the fine-tune movements of the telescope really shines!). All in all, buy this telescope NOT for the eyepieces, but for the tube itself, which is one of the bets values from everything I have seen. If you pair it with any non-stock eyepiece you will not be disappointed! If you choose not to go with this zoomable one I mention here (that the only additional thing I got for this when I first bought it), even though the price is very reasonable currently @ $51, I'd recommend the 9mm one from Celestron (currently about $20). The stock 20mm eyepiece is "ok" but the stock 4mm I found utterly useless. At least the 9mm aftermarket eyepiece gives you about a 2X zoom vs. the stock 20mm. And then you have to decide if the stock 3X barlow (see next) is worth using at all either.
2) BARLOW. Had no idea what this was before I bought this or started researching info about telescopes. Basically its a zooming piece for your normal eyepieces. The stock version that comes with this is "ok" but I dont have anything (yet) to compare it against. Lets just say it "works" to some extent, but all the reviews I read about said this one sucked...to go after an aftermarket 2x or 3x. From all the reviews and research I've gathered, and now using the stock version, I'd say I'd have to agree in all likelihood. Due to this, and since my son seems to have really enjoyed our first 2 outings, I decided to take the next step & get a combo 2x barlow that also serves as a T-adapter to allow for photography! At only $45, that seems like a really good deal, especially since the 3X barlow I found from Celestron was around $80. The 2x combo can be found here:
I can't say for sure how this will be, but I can tell you it certainly cant be worse than the stock 3x, which seemed very cheaply made (again you buy the telescope for the mirror & tube). Paired with the zoomable aftermarket 8-24mm eyepiece mentioned above and I think itll be a slam dunk. Plus it allows for adapting for use with a digital camera (well possibly non-digital as well, but we have a sony DSLR that should work with the T-adapter for the model we have, which was only about $10...for $55 I get an aftermarket 2x barlow that adapts to allow a DSLR...pretty decent!).
3) Other accessories: I have not chosen to get any more than I have listed here, but there was 1 have to mention that I may have to invest in at a later time. One of the concerns about the Newtonian scopes (this is one) was the possibility of having to correct/adjust the mirrors. I chose not to buy the collimator (adjusting tool) out of the box, but was prepared to buy either the cheaper $20 one or possibly the more expensive but from all I can see, more worth it, laser-optics one for about $70. Thankfully it seems my scope did not need it out of the box, but I suspect the lower star reviews that say it didnt work out of the box either had the rare scope that needed it from the get-go, or else the more likely scenario, is that the patience needed to align the finder mini-scope on top of the tube, with the eyepiece view (using the 20mm or in my case, the much better zoomable 8-24x eyepiece, which allows for a much wider field of view than even the 20mm stock) was probably the major factor in most of the low reviews. Having done my research I knew it would require patience when using (see more on that below) and it paid off hugely when you have a 6 yr old and an 8yr old wildly ecstatic with waiting a half-hour to get Saturn's rings into view...see below for details).
3) With the accessories out of the way, lets talk about SETUP & USE. First, for setup, I was very meticulous about it and very careful, but from opening the box to final setup & cleanup, I was done in an hour. NO TOOLS were required. Just a touch of patience and carefulness. Seemed very reasonable to me.
4) USE: as I mentioned we have taken this out on 2 outings already (have had it less than a week) and both times were widly successful. I have to say that its really useful to have google's free skymap with you when you use this, or even another product I got from Amazon, called Stellarium. Both are good apps and do things a little differently. Together they made finding the planets a breeze and helped us find, focus, and enjoy the views VERY quickly. Both mars & Saturn were easily found using the apps, mars being the easier one to figure out even without the app, due to its orange-tinge color.
First, we aligned the mini-scope on top (finder scope) using a distant cell tower as a target (rem the images are UPSIDE DOWN, which when viewing stellar objects is not a big deal). Once we had this aligned (took about 5-10 mins) we located mars, and due to the patience of doing the finder scope, we saw mars in the unzoomed 24x eyepiece ON THE FIRST TRY. So do not skip this step if you can!
Now, when we first viewed mars it was a huge fuzzy, hazy blob, with the crosshairs intersected it (in the eyepiece, not the finder scope). I knew we had to focus. So in less than 30 seconds we had it focused and viola! The orange "star" (aka, mars) was seen! The kids were ecstatic! But i told them this was just the beginning :). I zoomed in with the zoomable eyepiece and we could actually make out the slightly crescent shape of mars. But the real goal was saturn's rings! One of the kids had to use the restroom but they said they'd hold it till we saw saturn. I was up against the clock now. but in my 30 mins of use thus far I knew we could do this!
In less than 5 minutes later I had saturn in view at low power with rings clearly visible! Kids were in awe (as was i!) and we even tried the 3x barlow (stock). For this, i found that zooming in past about halfway was not very useful. the image was a bit fuzzy. the 3x barlow at 20-24x was good though. I later discovered that this was probably the upper end of the scope's ability to magnify, roughly 250-300X maximum without image distortion/loss. Thus, going back to the barlow section eariler, is why I think a 2X barlow will be great, using the maximum zoom of the eyepiece (8mm).
FURTHER THOUGHTS: I hope you have enjoyed my "journey" described here and maybe help someone else decide if this telescope or Astronomy endeavor is worth it and which one to go after. The more expensive motorized ones are probably worth it if you are really into Astronomy, but I could nto afford them (they start around $300 for 114mm scopes, which is pretty reasonable), or the $250+ Dobsonians (non motorized but even more powerful than this one) are a good option too. But i suspect with the low-cost additions I already have ordered noted above, this scope will do just find for now. Plus they have an motorized addition for this thats only around $35, but it does not auto-track. If you align everything properly reviews have said it does help a lot. Thats something else I may invest in down the line. All in all, for under $200 starting, I got this scope & the aftermarket zoomable eyepiece which I almost call a must. For around another $50 you can get an aftermarket barlow that even opens up some astrophotography (but I am sure thats going to take a lot of patience to be successful from what i have read). Good luck and REACH FOR THE STARS! :)
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2008
I got this telescope to replace my old 60mm refractor which had fungal growth at the objective lens. Unlike the other customers, I bought this telescope at a local store with a 2-year warranty. Thus, the telescope was unbroken and packaged properly. The instruction manual was detailed and the telescope came with a software known as theSky, which is a useful program that allows you to locate celestial bodies at the place and time which you are at.
The telescope itself is a sturdy unit, and was properly collimated. With its 127mm aperture, I could easily view planets, stars, and also the moon with great ease. The telescope mount is german equatorial, which was useful as it allows you to track down the star you want to find in the night sky by countering the earth's rotation. As this type of mounting also causes the telescope to move in a slow motion, it is easier to pinpoint a star as compared to an alt-azimuth mount.
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2014
Help, I can't figure anything out. I look through the lens and only see white. I have no idea how to set it. Obviously I have never used a telescope so I know it isn't the scope. Anyone got any simple instructions. I will try to watch a you tube video too. Is it just me or is the lens to center the view really small and hard to look through? Picture, blood moon over Johnson City!
152 of 181 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2008
This is a good scope - not great. Would not recommend. The focuser was sloppy, too much play. Disassembled it, added more teflon shims, relubed it with silicon and tightened the gear. The tripod, despite it's rugged looks is flimsy. If you have even a moderate breeze expect your image to be shaky and blurry.
The finder scope is cheap, awkward and poorly mounted.
As an aside - I bought a 70MM Mead refractor ($50). Is easier to use, less bulky and gets just as good an image.
UPDATED COMMENTS: I have had this scope for about a year now. Still not happy with it and will use my recent acquisition, a 40+ y/o Sears Stargazer Refractor, rather than set this thing up. I have been to star parties where there are terrific Celestron Scopes being used - all Schmidt-Cassegrain - with superb images.
My rating has not changed and my humble opinion is that this telescope is not worth the money. I have had the mirror out, cleaned it, have a laser collimater, keep the scope protected in a padded case, yet despite my TLC cannot even get a decent view of Saturn's rings. Forget the details in the Orion Nebula!
If all you are interested in is the moon . . enjoy.
79 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2012
FOR THE SEASONED STAR-GAZER:
There will be faults no doubt with this platform; and this package will be readily overlooked. What do you expect for <$150.00 telescope??
FOR THE BEGINNER:
The beginner will undoubtedly wish to view the moon and it's features, and be inspired to see the four moons of Jupiter and be awed by the rings of Saturn. They will LEARN how to MANUALLY OPERATE the telescope and mount, rather than have some gadget do it for them. This telescope is an EXCELLENT bargain for this purpose.
If then, they (you) get out of the hobby, you won't have a high price scope collecting dust. If you remain engaged in the hobby, you will be inclined to seek improvements and learn more about how to get the best from this scope. You will learn how to collimate this scope; which is necessary for ALL reflector scopes. You will learn how to operate an equatorial mount and find its advantages. This learning curve is mandatory for all astronomers. I feel that electronic gadgets (aside from a Telrad) dumb-down the potential observer and remove the essence of true observing habits.
WHAT TO IMPROVE:
1. Get rid of the junky stock eye-pieces (EP's)(lenses). Invest in some bargain budget plossl' EP's.
2. I would not recommend a Barlow-lens (magnifier tube) for this scope, due to the already built-in 2x magnification; which allows the scope to achieve its focal length in its compacted length.
Excessive magnification blurs and distort objects. I figure a budgetary three-EP kit ought to do it (25mm, 16mm and 8mm suggested). You should not need anything with more magnification than an 8mm.
This platform is not good for DSO's (deep space objects) like nebulae and galaxies. It just does not have the light-gathering ability of a much larger aperture (diameter) reflector-scopes. This does not mean it is a bad scope. There is no such thing as a do-it-all telescope. This is geared for the beginner.
This platform is great for observing the moon, looking at other planets (in our system), with reasonable detail. I do plan on using this for solar observation, with a MANDATORY solar filter. You WILL outgrow this scope...but not before learning the NECESSARY basics of operation, maintenance; and researching through experiences what you would like your next scope to do.
Be thankful that the bulk of the value went into the telescope and not the EP's. Aside from the stock EP's, you will DEFINITELY get your money's worth. Get better Plossl' EP's. You can always use them in other telescopes, after you outgrow this platform.
WOULD RECOMMEND for a beginner
WOULD NOT RECOMMEND for a seasoned astronomer.