Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't feel like a bad way to start., July 15, 2012
This review is from: Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope (Electronics)
I have absolutely no idea what makes a good telescope from a bad one other than if I can see planets and details it's better than the one I got for Christmas as a kid. I picked up this scope as an impulse by because Google SkyMap showed that Saturn was in good view early in the night. I took it home, put it together in ten minutes, and put the view finder on Saturn.

Saturn:
I was expecting to see a little planet with rings. With the 25mm eyepiece, you get a really little, oblong (but well defined) image. I switched to the 9mm lens and there it was. You could see the planet, the rings and the area in between the rings and the planet. But let me make this clear: it is not a large image. It's quite small actually. As is there is no detail (moons, ring division, cloud bands).

Mars:
You can technically see Mars with this telescope. Even with the highest power lens Mars looks like this period: . only reddish. It's actually a very bright, reddish period.

Stars:
Yeah, stars look like what they look like without the telescope. They have no detail. Don't buy telescopes for better views of point lights.

The Moon:
The moon is bright and you can make out some cool details of the craters. Like stars, the moon is somewhat a lame target for telescopes.

Jupiter:
So far Jupiter is only visible in the early morning and I'm lazy. It's larger and closer than Saturn, but lack rings. I'm assuming it's probably not as cool with the stock scope (probably awesome with the barlow though).

With 2x Barlow lens:
I got one of these today. An el cheapo Meade off e-Bay for $7. A very cost effective upgrade.

Saturn:
Saturn now takes up a good portion of the field of view. Sighting it in is more difficult and I fared better switching to lower power lenses to sight it in. I could make out a faint band at the top. I thought I caught a glimpse of a moon or two. Still no ring division but really cool. Really happy with my investment at this point.

Mars:
Mars is still little and featureless. It's about the viewing size of Saturn without the Barlow. I'm not sure, but there did seem to be a visible polar cap, but I'm not advertising it.

Quality:
My finder scope fell apart on me on day two of owning it. I called them. They asked me to scan my receipt and email it to them. I took a picture with my phone and sent it to them. They sent me a new finder scope. It took about a week. It happens.

Bottom line:
The stock scope provides a good starting point for viewing Saturn (and likely Jupiter). Mars and Venus are either too small or too featureless to be of much value to beginners to worry about. Seeing a planet with nothing between you and it but a few pieces of glass I found to be really enjoyable and an almost spiritual experience. Don't get mad because you spent a small investment to see microscopic Saturn for a few minutes a night, a few bucks more will get you a semi impressive image. Meade really should put a cheap Barlow in this kit though. It definitely alters my perception of the product.
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Review Details

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4.2 out of 5 stars (78 customer reviews)
5 star:
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4 star:
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Location: St Louis, MO

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