5 Stars By simon pratchett on 2017-06-03
This scope catches a lot of flack in the forums and here. Let me demystify some of the bad reviews.
This telescope can be collimated easily by eye, if you want to collimate with a laser, you'll have to remove the corrective lens in the focuser tube. If you love to tinker knock yourself out however, this isn't the most powerful scope you can buy so, eye collimation is more than enough to be happy.
2) The finder scope is unusable
While I agree, it's not the best finder scope out there and lining it up with the telescope can take a long time but, it is possible with time and patients. It's also replaceable so if you don't like it, get another one. (note: it is a scope and not a finder, the image is reversed in the finder)
3) I can't see anything out of this thing
You need to collimate the scope and line up the finder scope, the instructions are in the manual for eye collimation (tip: back the focuser tube all the way out when you collimate, doing this will let you see both the secondary mirror and the primary, also note, this went through shipping and if it arrived with all the mirrors aligned and ready to go, get a power ball ticket because you'd be the luckiest person on the planet
4) The Barlow is useless
Please google and youtube what a barlow is and how to use them, it's not a true lens and once you find out its true purpose, it'll make more sense
5) The 4mm lens is useless
See my comment on the barlow, using the barlow with the 4mm will tame things a bit, also, get a lens and filter kit with a 15mm and a 9mm lens.
6) The Telescope doesn't stay put on the tripod.
The counterweight on this telescope is not for looks, you need to use it to balance the telescope on the eq mount. when the counter weight is properly balanced, you can put the telescope in any position on the right ascension axis and it'll stay put. The Telescope itself also has to be balanced front to back in the mounting hoops (youtube it, there are a billion tutorials on how to do this.) One last comment on this issue is, do not try to push the telescope into position with the clutches locked, use the controls on the tripod to position the scope, if you need to make big adjustments, loosen the clutches (should be OK because your telescope is balanced) position the scope to the general area of viewing, lock the clutches and use the controls to fine tune. If you push the scope around with the clutches locked you're manhandling the gears that the controls are attached to and you can push them out of whack, don't do this.
Here's the deal, this is a marvelous telescope for UNDER 200 American green backs!!! When properly set up, balanced and overall ready to view, it's a great scope and it's a lot of fun. Buying upgrades for the scope will add to your viewing pleasure. Yes you can see our planetary neighbors, the moon looks fantastic, in a dark place, you can see some deeper space stuff.
Is this a good scope for beginners? Yes I think it is, backyard astronomy is not a plug and play out of the box and looking at Jupiter kind of deal. A telescope is a pretty sensitive thing that takes a little love. If you're just starting out and collimation, calibration and generic tinkering is not your thing, this may not be your hobby, heck aside from sitting on the couch, I don't know what hobby doesn't require a little hands on setup and tinkering.
Finding stuff in the sky is hard, small movements at the scope have a huge impact on where you're looking in the sky, youtube is your friend, so is google.
4 Stars By Herb H on 2014-01-09
Nice Telescope with a few Mirror Alignment Issues
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 BTA-MALL). 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.
3 Stars By Patrick on 2016-07-16
then the views are pretty good for the price you pay
You definitely will need some patience to use this scope. The collimation process on this scope is a nightmare. The instruction manual is weak in this regard and Celestron really should update it to help getting this telescope aligned. This is a bird-jones type reflector. Do your research on this before purchase. If you visit various astronomy forums and ask about this scope, most people will tell you to avoid it because of the time you will be spending collimating it.
After you spent time collimating it, then the views are pretty good for the price you pay. Not great, but you get what you pay for. I could see the 2 main bands on Jupiter and the moons, the rings of Saturn, but struggled to see the Cassini division. The moon looks great. M4 and M13 could also be seen and looked decent.
I highly recommend some better eyepieces. The 20mm with the 3x barlow isn't too bad but the 4mm eyepiece was garbage. Maybe I just got a bad one.
The tripod and mount is the real weak point here. The slightest breezes will cause shaking. With a good polar alignment, the slo-mo controls will help with tracking your object. This is the benefits with using an EQ mount where you will only need to turn one knob to keep your object in view.
The finder scope isn't to great either. It is to easy to bump it and lose alignment with the OTA. The mounting of this finder scope could be better, but it will work.
Assembly of this scope was super easy for me. Barely needed the manual to put this together. It is pretty straight forward.
I am on the fence about recommending this scope. If you don't have any patience, then no. If you have a cool calm head and willing to take this apart and get things aligned, then for $150 this scope really isn't that bad. Like I said, the views are pretty decent.
5 Stars By M.P.I. on 2014-07-27
REACH FOR THE STARS!!
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 BTA-MALL, 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! :)
1 Stars By keert on 2015-12-09
1 star for the amazon reviews on this product and not for the product
I am giving 1 star for the amazon reviews on this product and not for the product. I am trying to research to buy a telescope for my son and not sure if I can trust these reviews because amazon displays the same set of reviews for several of the products that belong to a particular family. I am attaching a screenshot of what I noticed. Also here is the link where I search for celestron powerseeker eq and got a list of product with different EQ ranges like 70EQ, 127EQ, 80EQ etc but all of them have the same reviews. Below is the link that shows my search. Also attached pictures of reviews I have pointed out. I really question the quality of reviews provided here.
3 Stars By Jay A. on 2014-12-09
Could not get this scope to work little too complicated
The scope itself came nicely packaged. Price was nice for what is being sold as well.
- The scope did not come collimated and I could not see anything'
- Tried to get it collimated from a gentlemen that happen to be at the star gazing event I took this too to surprise my wife and he was un able to do so in the time giving.
I would not recommend this scope for Telescope rookies such as myself unless by chance I just happen to get a telescope that was out of collimation but there were no clear instructions on how to collimate your scope and searching the web I got more lost but in the end this again could be because I am a rookie and maybe it was setup for use when it left the warehouse and got bumped out of collimation during shipping in any case just be prepared to collimate this scope when you receive it.
4 Stars By Zbrushman on 2017-03-22
Great Telescope with Lots of Power
It's a great telescope with lots of power, and I would only recommend this telescope for serious amateur astronomers who don't mind taking the extra steps to use it properly; collimation can be tricky, and if not dealt with correctly can lead to frustration. It is a variation of the Newtonian design (Bird Jones); in order to correctly collimate the secondary and primary mirrors, I recommend a laser collimator. Once the secondary mirror is laser collimated, you only have to adjust the primary mirror from time to time, which takes no time at all once you get the hang of it.
2 Stars By BTA-MALL Customer on 2016-07-10
Side finder scope is ridiculous, flimsy.
This is so fiddly. The side scope used to get a general area (with less magnification) is very cheap feeling, difficult to impossible to get calibrated/aimed properly due to cheap plastic parts. I think the actual telescope is probably pretty good, but you need this finder scope to aim, so it is pretty hard to use. I almost sent it back but got caught up in work and couldn't box it up in time.
5 Stars By BTA-MALL Customer on 2017-02-27
Very well made scope.
I got it for Christmas. Have had it out about 5 times since. It came fairly aligned, but I know it could do better. I put a center spot made from a notebook paper hole reinforcerment donut sticker. I stuck this donut sticker on the center of the primary mirror. I used a small magnifying glass up to the eyepiece. If you don't use the magnifying glass as you align you will have a hard time seeing. This due to the internal lens beyond the focusing eyepiece makes a smaller image. I had no eyepiece in the focuser, just a homemade (film canister) crosshair sight in place of the eyepiece lens. You can get very close with this. The ultimate is to look at a star outside and see the airy disk rings. The weather wasn't cooperating, and had to use homemade artificial star. I did manage to visually align the primary using the center sticker aligned very close to center. I don't have a laser. I'm not sure if a laser would work properly due to internal lens beyond the eyepiece focuser. I did this using a homemade artificial star. It's close to perfect alignment now. It's a Jones bird lens design..Be very patient turning the alignment screws in very tiny increments you can align this scope well. I'm happy with it. Many folks hate this scope design. It took about 3 hours for me to align.
I looked at Orion nebulas in very bright stunning detail. It got WOWS from grandkids and my wife. This is not a beginner scope for younger kids. It the next step up for me from a 2.5 inch refractor scope and a spottter scope.
5 Stars By David P. on 2015-11-05
Very happy entry level astronomer here.
I am very pleased with this as a first telescope. Beautiful views of the moon, stars and planets. I would recommend the purchase of the add-on filters. For example, to properly view the moon, a moon filter is required. The add-on kit includes additional optics and filters that really round this telescope out nicely. Setup was simple and straightforward, and there are lots of additional components that can be purchased. For example, a camera mount. As an entry level person, I'm very happy with this purchase.