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.
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.
on March 21, 2013
If anyone out there ever wanted to try out amateur astronomy but didn't know what telescope to buy or if you're an amateur looking for a lightweight smaller scope without compromising quality of views too significantly.
Let me say from the start that I'm a refractor man and proud of it! I've always found chromatic aberration a minimal disturbance compared to the sharpness of resulting image due to a clean unobstructed tube of light. (and, yes, I know about and use off-axis aperture stops on my reflectors when higher magnification, but they are only practical with 8" mirrors or larger.) Refractors are virtually maintenance-free and, except for rare occasions, the tube remains completely sealed (i.e. nothing can fall in). I still have two old 8" and 13" Coulter Odysseys that I take out occasionally, but I've always found them awkward to use and move around and the views not all that satisfying despite their greater light gathering power (a slightly overrated attribute).
I have two large refractors (a 6" Celestron and a 4" Tal) that I use and love, but they weight a ton and hard difficult to haul around. The Celestron takes at least 15 minutes or more (depending where you are) to set up properly. For several years, I've been looking for an inexpensive, lightweight scope with good optics I could keep fully loaded and assembled that I could quickly and easily take outside and start viewing.
Several years ago I picked up a 90mm Meade refractor which was so overall terrible I didn't think the scope I wanted even existed. In November, I came across the Celestron 70 AZ Powerseeker for a super low price and sent to a young but sharp cousin of mine. I got such a favorable report, I decided to gamble on one for myself. I was so pleased with the quality of this scope, I decided to go one further and try this 80mm equatorially mounted version for only about twice the price.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this scope without the slightest hesitation or reservation. You can find it on many online sources for only around $100 and $20 shipping...an unbelievable low price and easily the best telescope deal I've seen in my over fifty year "career" as an amateur astronomer. The cost scope is actually less than the fifty year old price of a nearly equivalent (though inferior in EVERY respect from lens to mount to eyepieces) scope the Edmund Scientific Company sold back in the the 1950's and 60's. The Edmund 3" refractor was considered by most to be the best for the money back then.) This Powerseeker has 3.15" high quality objective lens, comes with eyepieces that are actually usable, as well as a sturdy tripod (providing you don't extend the legs more than half way) AND an equatorial mount which is the preferred mount for astronomical use. Once you get used to it, you'll be hooked. Besides, if you rotate the polar axis all the way back until the back end rests on the adjustment screw, it becomes a first rate alt-azimuth scope, perfect for terrestrial applications. So a German equatorial mount is actually both mounts in one.
I would belabor the point but the optics are unexpectedly good. Even deep space objects come through with unexpected clarity and detail, (I've long felt that the supposed "great" advantage of reflectors over refractors with respect to viewing deep space objects has been greatly overrated), stars focus to near pinpoints, the mountains, craters and other features of our moon come through with striking detail. Saturn's rings are clearly visible and resolve nicely even at low power, Jupiter's bands are clearly delineated, (the famous Red Spot is hard to spot these days as it is more orange than red and doesn't stand out as it did years ago), the greenish tinge of the Orion nebula is visible even when viewed only three miles west of downtown Miami, the tightly knit four-star trapezium in Nebula are beautifully resolved.
For those of you that may be scared of an equatorial mount, don't be. Positions of celestial objects are located using the same latitude and longitude system on earth. Imagine a hollow earth with a bright light at the center projecting the latitude and longitude grid onto the celestial sphere. The only difference is that they use the old nautical terms: declination for latitude and right ascension for longitude. Point the tube and mount to geographic north, set the polar axis to your latitude then rotate the tube around the declination axis and right ascension axes to locate your object. You lock the declination (latitude) axis and then you just have to rotate the R. A. axis to track the object.
I'll only be separated from this scope when they pry it from my cold, dead hands! I've been using it almost nightly since I got it. Fortunately, I live in Miami where the skies are clear most nights throughout the year and we have a nice stable turbulent-free atmosphere. On most nights stars twinkle so little, they look more like planets.
Though it's possible, I would not ever attempt astrophotography with this or any scope. I agree with John Dobson that amateur astrophotography is not a hobby but a disease! For a tiny fraction of the cost of the necessary equipment, you can buy books of Hubble photos of nearly anything in the universe whose quality will so far surpass any photo an amateur could possibly achieve through our atmosphere ridden planet as to make the effort seem a complete and useless waste of time, energy, resources and certainly money.
In closing, you cannot go wrong with this amazing little telescope, the views of everything are great and it's just so damn easy to haul around and set up. If you support it under the polar axis, it can be lifted with one hand EASILY.
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.
on December 12, 2012
I am really enjoying this telescope. I was able to see Saturn, Jupiter with 3 moons and a gorgeous full moon craters big as can be. I did buy an accessory pack including 2 additional lenses and moon and planet filters which have enhanced this nicely. I would recommend this to the casual star gazer, I love it.
on February 6, 2014
This is a review specifically for the Celestron PS 114mm EQ.
I got this as a gift from my daughter. After using it a few nights, I did check the mirror collimation with the $28 Celestron 1.25" collimation eyepiece (which I already had). The mirror alignment was very very close, so it needed only minimal adjustment which had no observable effects.
On the third night I was able to see the moon (again) and the Orion nebula at various magnification (20mm eyepiece with and without Barlow). I was also able to see - with a Celestron Ploessel 9mm eyepiece - Jupiter and it four moons, the two main cloud stripes on Jupiter itself, and maybe some weaker ones. And the shadow of one moon on Jupiter itself, a tiny black dot near one of the poles.
I do like the lightweight aluminum mount as well, it is solid if the legs are not completely extended, and it is light enough to carry around without getting a hernia. The finder scope works well for me, just in case I re-align it every time I take the telescope out.
This telescope is very sharp, and a very good value right out of the box. And easy to focus. Five stars!!
EDIT: Recently (February) I did buy and install the Celestron motor drive ($33 on Amazon) and it works perfectly. Once the motor drive speed is adjusted properly with the small knob (which is fairly easy to do), it keeps say Jupiter centered for close to an hour with a 7mm eyepiece. Note that the drive speed only needs to be set once, for a given latitude.
Note that the Celestron 127EQ and 114EQ are quite similar in design and price, nevertheless this one has a much longer tube and does not have a correcting eyepiece in the focus tube, which seems to make it significantly sharper, or at least much easier to collimate.
Recently (April) I got an inexpensive laser collimator (lk1 from seben dot com, identical to the orion lasermate) and tried it on this scope, even though it did not seem to need it. The whole job is very easy, takes less than 5-10 mins if you know what to do (there is no focuser lens in the focusing tube, this is NOT a Bird-Jones design!). The adjustments were minimal and there was no noticeable change in sharpness, as I said above mine was flawless out of the box. Look in the picture section to see my recent picture of Jupiter.
Best additions to this telescope are imo the $30 Celestron motor drive (I love it!), a better quality achromatic $40 Celestron 2x Omni Barlow, and a 9mm Celestron Omni eyepiece($20 ; the telescope seems capable of a lot more than what the rather basic included eyepieces suggest). You will then be in telescope heaven, for very little money.
I have also found that this scope is quite well suited to astrophotography of the planets, in my case in combination with the very reliable Celestron clock drive (have not changed a battery yet on that on in three months of use) and an inexpensive webcam (a logitech C310 in my case).
PS. Added pictures of Jupiter and the Moon (April 2014). Added more pictures of Jupiter and Mars, on the latter I can clearly see one of the polar ice caps (April 2014). Took a nice picture of the Cassini division on Saturn (May 2014). Added another excellent picture I got of Jupiter on a very clear day (March 2015), you can clearly see multiple rings as well as details of the main ring clouds.
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.
on May 11, 2013
Well it all started with 10X50 binocular than 20X80 which was good enough to see moons of the Jupiter but I needed more. After a long research, I have decided to go with this budget beginner telescope since didn't know much about them. I made the right decision. Installation was easy and this telescope does not look cheap. 20mm was good enough to see the rings of the Saturn and the moons of Jupiter clearly but 4mm makes a huge difference, it gets dimmer but I was able to see color of Jupiter with two dark belts and Saturn with more detail but still a single ring around it. It was kind of difficult to focus with 4mm. 3X barlow works only if you insert in the tube directly and the view becomes spectacular with 20mm, but 4mm has a 5 second window and not very clear with 3X. I had a hard time adjusting finderscope but once you get it right it is right on target.I was not able to check the moon, Orion nebula and other planets because they all decided join the Sun this time of the year. Don't expect much with deep space viewing since this is not a Newtonian telescope. That's why my next purchase will be a 10 inch dobsonian. I would recommend this telescope for the beginners. You wouldn't be disappointed.
on September 27, 2012
Received my Celestron 70EQ and was very pleased with the packaging as it appeared that the "gorillas" at UPS had dropped the box on its end...But it was double boxed so no damage..except for a "bent" inner and otter box.. I was relieved.. AND...Amazaon came through again... with overnight shipping ..as a "Prime Member"
Very nice "scope" for the price.. I have two 4.5" Newtonians... one Simmons.. one Meade.. and "back in the day" .. as a teenager.. I had a 12" Newtonian with a 10' tube in my back yard.. So.. I have some experience with telepscopes and viewing the night sky...
Was looking for a small refractor to take to the desert (my back yard) for night viewing.. did not want to spend a lot of cash.. Found this Celestron.... checked all the reviews.. as usual.. and "pulled the trigger"
Nice build quality, good design.. a lot of telescope for the money.. I like the camera attachment feature..on the tube mount.. and the set up for a "clock drive".. which I will purchase.. soon.. on Amazon for $45.. also a Celestron product..
I have only done limited "terrestrial" viewing ..so far.. the unit performs.. fine. Will start evening viewing soon... The included software is nice.. dated.. but adequate. I have several "star finder" software titles.. The "SkyX First Light Edition" is a good starter CD..
Would recommend this one for a beginner or occasional "star gazer".. NOT a "serious" scope..
But you really can't go wrong for the price.. also like that it has an "actual", printed owners manual and "back up" CD...
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.