37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
An amazing gift...,
This review is from: Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope (Electronics)
More than a year ago, I received this telescope as an appreciation gift. I had several options to select from, but I have always wanted to have a telescope since I was a child. It doesn't get better than free!
This telescope arrived in a large box. One screw was broken, but otherwise it was delivered in good condition. Fortunately, I didn't miss the screw. Once I put this telescope together, I was able to appreciate it's quality. This telescope is of a good size. The tripod that it is installed on is very stable, and swivels smoothly side to side and up and down.
I gave it a try that night, and for the first time in my life I was able to watch many details of the moon at my own time. The moon filled up most of the view in the 25mm piece. Then I tried the 9mm. The level of details was amazing, but at that magnification level I could not see the whole moon.
I tried a few stars later, but they were no more than bright spots. Without using a star map, or software I was lost. I did not have time to try the software, and after a while I put the telescope away.
Just a few days I ago, I noticed a bright star at night which I thought must be a planet. I tried Google Sky on my phone, and soon I realized I was looking at Jupiter. The next night, I set my telescope in the dining room and from a window I spotted Jupiter again. I looked through the telescope, and there it was a bright small disk. I couldn't spot any features, but I noticed one or two bright spots which I took for its moons.
The only negative about this telescope is that it may leave you wanting for more. This telescope is perfect to watch the moon and its details, and adequate to look at some planets. However, I think I would have bought it if I had known what I was missing.
-- Update: October 12, 2011
After a brief introduction to amateur astronomy (via internet) I tried to watch Jupiter again. After I got Jupiter as a bright small disk, I adjusted the focus so Jupiter grew larger but dimmer. This time, I was able to see the bands on Jupiter at various shades, but not colors.
-- Update: January 10, 2012
I finally venture outside, in front of my own driveway. It was early night. I targeted Jupiter with my telescope with the 25 mm piece, once in target, I switched to the 9 mm piece. There it was in focus and clear, a small white disk with two small streaks crossing it, and four small bright dots floating at the side. Beautiful! Will be hunting for Saturn early morning any time soon!
-- Update: January 18, 2012
I woke up by 3:30 AM and I decided to look for Saturn from the comfort of my living room. Saturn is not as bright as Jupiter, but I got it in focus with the 25 mmm piece. With the 9 mm piece, Saturn looks like a 3 mm white disk with "handles" at the sides. Very cool! Now, I'm really tempted to buy the 6.4mm piece!
-- Update: January 28, 2012
I bought Meade #126 1.25-Inch 2x Short-Focus Barlow Lens to use with the 25mm or 9mm piece that came with this telescope. I was worried it would be a bit too much, and in a way it was. The first issue was to get Saturn on the center of the field of view of my telescope using the Barlow Len and 9mm piece. Once I got it in the center, I have about 10 seconds before Saturn would slid outside the field of view again. The second issue was to get the telescope to focus with the Barlow Len and 9mm piece. Even the slightest tap on the nob would change focus, and cause the image to vibrate. However, once I got past these issues (not as easy as it sounds), I was able to observe how the shadow of Saturn darkened the ring behind. Awesome!
-- Update: December 14, 2012
During the time of the Venus Transient, I used the telescope to project the image of the Sun to the wall. It actually worked like a charm using the Barlow Lens (no eye piece). I think I had to extend or retract the telescope all the way (forgot which one), but I go a clear view of the Sun and Venus on the wall, I'll post a picture.
I had tried a similar experiment with the eclipse prior to that, but without the barlow, so I had to place a pad close to the mount for the eye piece for a smaller picture. Anyway, be very careful if you try a similar experiment since the telescope does heat up and remember to look only at the projected image.
Also, I need to mention that one of the plastic rods that keeps the leg of the tripod from spreading too far from the center broke at a screw. Someone on my household stumble upon my telescope, but I keep it handy on my dinner so it was prone for such an accident. Fortunately, it's still usable.
I reiterate, this is a great beginner's telescope and superb as a gift.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 14, 2012 4:43:23 PM PST
Allie C says:
Your review made me decide on this one! Thank you!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 10:02:54 PM PST
Oh boy! I do wish you years of enjoyment with your new telescope.
I have, but one warning for you. Recently, one of the plastic rods that keeps the leg of the tripod from spreading to far from the center broke. I think someone stumbled upon telescope when I was away. However, it's still usable.
So with care, it should last.
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