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7 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great starter telescope
We bought this for our 7-year-old son who wanted a telescope for Christmas this year. I knew I didn't want to get one that required a big tripod since he would never be able to handle that. I considered the Astroscan from Edmund Scientific, but, while it's a far better product, it's way too pricey for a first telescope. This one is cute (looks like a penguin standing on...
Published on January 2, 2007 by ricracrum

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, frustrating instrument
PROS: lightweight, fairly rugged, included eyepiece will not fall out if it's screwed in, collimation (optical alignment) can be fixed by user, includes tripod adapter, focuser works smoothly, can be used with other 1.25" telescope eyepieces

CONS: no finder and no place to mount one, collimation is not easy and included instructions will probably not be enough...
Published on May 13, 2008 by black thumb


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great starter telescope, January 2, 2007
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This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
We bought this for our 7-year-old son who wanted a telescope for Christmas this year. I knew I didn't want to get one that required a big tripod since he would never be able to handle that. I considered the Astroscan from Edmund Scientific, but, while it's a far better product, it's way too pricey for a first telescope. This one is cute (looks like a penguin standing on its base), is easy to point and focus, and is great both for studying the moon and for terrestrial use. And the price is right! My son can sit in a chair outside with it in his lap and point and focus, which means he can use it himself whenever he likes. If he shows enough interest, I'll look into a more serious telescope we can use together.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, frustrating instrument, May 13, 2008
By 
black thumb (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
PROS: lightweight, fairly rugged, included eyepiece will not fall out if it's screwed in, collimation (optical alignment) can be fixed by user, includes tripod adapter, focuser works smoothly, can be used with other 1.25" telescope eyepieces

CONS: no finder and no place to mount one, collimation is not easy and included instructions will probably not be enough for first-time telescope users, tripod adapter hooks to telescope instead of base, focuser loaded with too much sticky grease, using other eyepieces requires some forethought

Contrary to what many have claimed about this telescope in online forums, it does not have a non-standard eyepiece diameter. The included eyepiece is 1.25", which is the standard for most small amateur telescopes (some use 2" eyepieces). And 1.25" eyepieces from other manufacturers will fit the focuser tube. But changing eyepieces is not easy. Let me explain.

The included 12.5mm (44x) eyepiece has a threaded barrel (like many telescope eyepieces, which are threaded for filters), and it screws onto a threaded ring that raises and lowers as you rotate the focuser knob. To use other eyepieces, all you have to do is unscrew the eyepiece and screw in another. But that's easier said than done. The threaded ring is real cast-iron you-know-what to screw anything onto. Part of the problem is that it is only held in place by two little metal pins on opposite sides, so it's free to rock back and forth just the slightest amount. It can't rock when an eyepiece is screwed into it, but it can and does when you're trying to thread a different one on. Which makes changing eyepieces an exercise in almost terminal frustration.

That wouldn't be so bad if the scope had some kind of finder, even a non-magnifying peepsight. But there's nothing included, and no flat space to mount one of your own. So getting the scope pointed at anything other than the moon is pretty tough. What I usually do with small scopes like this is put in a low-power eyepiece that will let me see a wide swath of sky, use that to find my target, and then swap in a high-power eyepiece to show the details in whatever I'm looking at. For most telescopes that's a 2- or 3-second operation. But with this thing you'd have to rotate the focuser all the way out, unscrew the eyepieces, screw in a new one, rotate the focuser back in...by the time you get all that done, no way will the telescope still be pointed where you need it to be.

There is another option, which is to unscrew the included eyepiece from the threaded ring, rotate the focuser all the way down to put the ring at the bottom of the drawtube (be careful that it doesn't try to rock sideways and get stuck), and just use the empty drawtube as a push-pull focuser for your other eyepieces. That's what I finally ended up doing. I also ended up taking apart the entire focuser assembly and cleaning off most of the grease, which was really gunking up my eyepieces. Be warned.

There is a tripod adapter that can be bolted to the telescope, which is a terrible idea. First, it seems that about 50% of the time the nut will fall off inside the telescope, which makes the tripod mount unusable at a minimum, and might scratch the optics at worst. Second, the whole point of a ball scope is that it can be quickly, easily, and smoothly pointed in any direction. Not if you bolt it to anything other than a premium tripod, it can't, and I doubt many people will be putting a bargain telescope on a tripod costing 20 times as much. However, there is an easy solution. The bowl that the scope rests in has the same curvature as the bottom of the scope. So you can epoxy the tripod adapter to the bowl, put the bowl up on the tripod (even a super-cheap tripod), and rest the scope in the bowl. Presto, now you've got all the benefits of a ball scope but at a convenient height. Why they didn't just build the tripod adapter into the bowl in the first place is beyond me.

Lots of folks have complained about the screw covers on the back of the scope interfering with smooth operation, but I didn't have any problems. They're pretty low, and if they do catch against the felt pads on the bowl you can just nudge the scope to get it unstuck.

So much for the mechanics. How are the views? Well, if you're used to bigger telescopes they're small and dim. If you're used to binoculars or nothing at all, they're great. You'll be counting craters on the moon forever. The rings of Saturn are--just barely--visible with the included eyepiece, and easy with higher-power eyepieces, and the moons of Jupiter are a cinch at any magnification. All of the problems aside, it is pretty amazing that you can get a functional telescope at this price.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Starter Scope, February 19, 2007
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This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
Good telescope. I would suggest buying the extra lenses (only two others available for this model). Very light and easy to travel with.
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21 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact telescope, August 24, 2006
This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
Incredible for the price and size. Very clear and secure.

Good deal.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ARRIVED DEFECTIVE, January 13, 2007
By 
J. W. Coleman "OmensAuthor" (Port Orchard, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
I have owned numerous Celestron telescopes up to 11-inch apertures, so I expected better. I ordered this for my daughter - it arrived defective; the primary mirror had slipped from its bracket, making collimation impossible. In Celestron's defense, it likely happened in transit. Amazon's return policy is not a hassle, and I'm upgrading her to another telescope. I'm sure that had this particular scope not arrived in a defective condition it would have made a great scope. Only criticism is the plugs on the back to cover the collimation screws pop out a bit too easily.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope, February 6, 2007
This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
The eye piece that comes with the scpe is practicaly unuseable.

But of course you can 'buy' the eye piece that really works separately from the manufacturer.

The whole thing was a waste of time...I gave it to my five year old to trash. At least he will have some fun with it that way....it's realy just a childs toy.
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2 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a good telescope for children, January 18, 2007
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This review is from: Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
This is not at all suitable for young children. It's awkward and difficult to use. We're sending it back. Totally inappropriate for children.
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Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope
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