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Too low to display $279.95 list($299.99)
1. Meade ETX70AT Telescope with 882
$69.88
2. QX5 Computer Microscope
$259.95 $259.88 list()
3. Nikon Sky & Earth 15-45x60
$999.99 $899.95 list($1,630.00)
4. Celestron Nexstar 5i Computerized
Too low to display $499.88 list($995.00)
5. Meade ETX90EC Telescope with 884
Too low to display $945.00 list($1,850.00)
6. Meade ETX125EC Telescope w/ UHTC,
$189.80 list($358.00)
7. Celestron Firstscope 114EQ 114mm
Too low to display list($1,450.00)
8. Meade ETX105EC Telescope w/ UHTC,
$45.99 list($74.95)
9. Celestron Powerseeker 60 Telescope
$153.99 list($319.99)
10. Bushnell 20-60x60 Multi Position
$649.99 list($1,100.00)
11. Meade ETX90EC Telescope w/ UHTC,
$399.99 list($599.99)
12. Celestron C102HD 102mm Refractor
$69.99 list($112.95)
13. Celestron Powerseeker 60EQ Telescope
Too low to display $399.88 list($998.99)
14. Celestron Nexstar 4GT 4" Computerized
$259.95 list($349.99)
15. Celestron Nexstar 80GT 80mm Go-To
$339.88 list($899.00)
16. Meade DS2130ATS Telescope
$159.95 list($378.99)
17. Celestron Firstscope 114 Short
$199.99 list($229.95)
18. Galileo FS120DX 1000x 120mm Newtonian
$139.99 list($358.00)
19. Celestron Firstscope 70EQ 70mm
$69.99 $59.88 list($79.99)
20. Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector

1. Meade ETX70AT Telescope with 882 Tripod and Software
by Meade
list price: $299.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005ATSR
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Meade
Sales Rank: 1256
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Exclusive multicoated, air-spaced achromatic objective lenses
  • Razor-sharp images of both astronomical and terrestrial subjects
  • Extremely portable at only 6.8 pounds
  • Telescope can be used on any flat surface
  • Meade 882 tripod included

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not a Televue but . . .
This is a great little telescope for the money. Two previous reviewers (who gave it a low rating) had quality control problems with it. I've had none with mine but I have had 3 of them with my Meade 4" refractor. The Meade customer service people were wonderful in correcting these problems, but it seems their quality control could be better.

Optically, this is an achromatic refractor with a very fast focal ratio. That means it's good for viewing extended objects like star clusters, Milky Way star clouds, large nebulae, pretty conjunctions, etc. Dark skies help alot -- the darker the better of course -- but good clear rural skies in Ohio are plenty wonderful. It doesn't have the aperture for dimmer objects but the brighter Messier objects, for example (and there's plenty of them!) are great. It isn't at its best on planets and the Moon but you can definitely see Saturn's rings, the phases of Mercury and Venus, Jupiter's moons and belts (the red spot is difficult at best) and the Moon simply can't help but look wonderful in any telescope!

The Autostar is really good. It's best when you align it carefully: use the north star to point it to north and use a bubble level to level the tripod and tube. You can find brighter Messier objects, comets, asteroids, the planet Neptune, etc, so easily! (But of course not Pluto, quasars, black holes and some other ridiculous objects in the Autostar database.) And you get better at aligning it as you practice. Be sure to check out the "synchronize" feature (in the owner's manual under the "enter key").

As others have pointed out, the focus mechanism is bad, and the tripod is not terribly sturdy. Together they make higher magnifications (which are not optically optimum either) just about impossible. But 50X is still reasonable with a good 7mm orthoscopic eyepiece. Also a good 32mm eyepiece will eliminate the need to buy a finder and give you wonderful wide views. A dew shield is a must in Ohio (reduces glare too).

It ain't a Televue, it's true, but for the price, this scope is hard to beat.

5-0 out of 5 stars A lot of telescope for the price
The ETX 70 AT is a great little scope, very portable and easy to use (with a couple of nights practice!). A Barlow multiplying lens (x3) is a must to get good sharp close ups of the moon and planets. A set of filters also helps for a sharper contrast and cuts down the brightness of the moon. Once you have mastered the Autostar alignment procedure any object can be tracked automatically, ideal for photos. I have used the scope with and without the tripod, but the tripod does give a much more solid base (ie. less vibration when looking at the object).
The manual focus can be irritating (about 15 turns) when switching between eyepieces or adding a lens. Deep sky views are a bit faint but this is after all an ideal beginners scope.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good, Easy to Use Telescope
...I can only offer praise and Kudos to Meade for offering such a wonderful instrument at a value price. For the past 30 years I have used a 60mm refractor from Sears without any problems. I finally decided it was time to get somthing a little more modern but didnt want to spend over a thousand dollars. After researching the market for 3 months, I finally decided on the ETX 70-AT. After adding 2x and 3x Barlow lenses, a 5mm plossl, a basic filter selection, and hard case I have spent less then $700.00. Once you have a realistic idea of what to expect when viewing through a small telescope, you will find that the image quality offered in the ETX 70-AT is outstanding for a 70mm telescope with such a short focal length (f/5). Autostar also makes easy work of finding subjects for the evening. The ETX 70-AT is a highly versatile instrument for both novice and experienced amateur astronomers. The rings of Saturn are clearly visible as is the Cassini Division. Jupiter is outstanding with the Red Spot visible under good conditions, and 5 moons visible. The Orion Nebula is very distinct as are the Plaedes. The only shortcomings I have found are: battery life could be better, focus knob is awkward, and dew shield should have been included as standard. Also, if this is your first telescope, dont expect to see images like those on the box. All in all, a Very Good Telescope for the money, and highly recommended for the astronomer on a budget.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Let Meade Focus!!
At first I thought this scope was an excellent beginner scope. Soon I returned it as the motor would not train correctly. I received a brand new one. Same or similar problem. Returned and again received a new one. Problems are; training motor is a negative, If you are using in a city or with much light pollution you can't really go much higher than 70X so don't worry about purchasing 1000x+ eye pieces as you might as well purchase Captain Crunch. The focus knob is in a terrible place and just assume that Meade placed it there so they could focus! I have to admit though, Meade did replace the scope (twice) and their service dept. seemed great! However, back to reality, If you are interested in purchasing this scope...I would strongly suggest either; 1) Spend more money and receive a better quality scope or 2) spend the money you are going to spend on this scope and purchase yourself a very nice spotting scope and a cold beer!! You will not be disappointed by this advice. Now go out there and get the job did!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Scope!
This is a great scope. At first I had trouble aligning it because when I tried to center the star with the autostar it didn't move. Later I found out that I had the speed to like 64X or 8X. Which is very slow. Then I moved it to 0.5 and I got it to work perfectly. The first night I got it to work I saw jupiter and its moons and I saw the moon. If you would like to see more detail of planets I would suggest buying a 3X barlow lense. You may not see things like you would in a planetarium but hey this is an ametuers scope and for the money you can see things well enough to say you had a great night in the field. ... Read more


2. QX5 Computer Microscope
by Prima Creations

(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002HLKI2
Catlog: Toy
Manufacturer: Prima Creations
Sales Rank: 964
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Features

  • Simply connect this microscope to any PC and watch as the tiny things are magnified to incredible size -- and displayed on your monitor
  • Up to 200X magnification for seeing the tiniest particles and microbes, bigger than life
  • Requires USB port and 4 AA batteries(not incl.)

3. Nikon Sky & Earth 15-45x60 Spotting Scope Outfit with Slik Tripod
by Nikon Sport Optics

our price: $259.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006GF1K
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Nikon Sport Optics
Sales Rank: 1022
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Lightweight,water resistant polycarbonate body.
  • Fully multicoated optics for bright, clear image.
  • Built - in sliding sunshade.

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings the Maine islands alive!
I purchased this for my Dad for Father's Day, and he has not stopped raving about it. He can now look out his window in coastal Maine and read the names of sloops rounding islands far offshore. The price was so good, I hoped it wouldn't turn out to be cheaply made. Thankfully, the optics are powerful, and the housing is sturdily built for years of use. Note that a good tripod is included (not made clear on the product detail page). I'm VERY pleased with this purchase.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good Product (but not Excellent)
I shoot in the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The true test of a scope for me is if one can see a .223"-round at 100 yards (lighting conditions apply). The key thing here is the focus. To see a .223" hole in black paper with a black background can be very demanding on a scope... this scope will do it. I don't rank it as excellent (5 stars) because that would insinuate that this scope is as good as an equivilant aperature Kowa or Swarovski. Nevertheless, Nikon has produced an excellent product. If you're trying to get a good bargain at a budget price I recommend this scope.

5-0 out of 5 stars This thing is amazing!
I just got back from a seaside resort on the Pacific Ocean.The hotel provided one of these scopes on our balcony for whale watching. I was incredibly impressed with the clarity, zoom ratio, and image width. In fact, I just bought one from Amazon. A bit pricey perhaps, but absolutely without question worth every penny.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect
It was just perfect. I could not be more delighted with this scope. It saved me a great deal of money buying it from you guys, thanks again. ... Read more


4. Celestron Nexstar 5i Computerized Go-To Telescope Kit w/ Hand Control & Tripod
by Celestron
list price: $1,630.00
our price: $999.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00007AP9Q
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 2641
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

The Nexstar 5i is the computerized version of Celestron's legendary five inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Although I own larger telescopes, I find myself getting out the five inch SCT more than the others because it combines good optics with excellent portability and easy operation. The Nexstar 5i's optics are sharp enough to bring out pleasing detail on the Moon, on the planets, and on star clusters and galaxies, yet the optical tube is less than twelve inches long. It's small enough to carry outside (even when it's already set up ready to go), small enough to take on high desert camping trips, and easy to transport to public star parties.

The NextStar handset is your user-friendly guide to more than 40,000 celestial objects.
What can I see with the Nexstar 5i? On a good night I like to use an optionalUltima 7.5mm eyepiece for a magnification of 166X. With the Ultima 7.5mm, I can see the Cassini division extending all the way around Saturn's rings. I've been able to watch the shadow of Jupiter's moons glide across the face of the planet, and sometimes the moons themselves. I can see the famous Great Red Spot on Jupiter (it's actually tan this year), and when Mars is favorably placed, I can see the polar cap and dark surface markings on Mars. From a dark viewing site in the country, I've been able to find all the Messier galaxies. When I look at M86 in the Virgo galaxy cluster with the standard equipment 25mm plossl eyepiece (about 50X), for example, I can see five galaxies at once, including M84 and three fainter NGC galaxies. When I look at brighter globular clusters like M13 and M22 with a 12.5mm plossl (100X) I can resolve many individual stars.

The included Nexstar computer is much easier to use than earlier generations of computerized telescopes. You can choose from four different alignment modes, from the traditional two star alignment to the latest GPS-aided automatic setup using the optional CN-16 GPS module. I especially like the flexibility of the new "quick align" feature. I took two computerized telescopes to a recent public viewing session. Using the "quick align" mode I was able to set up the Nexstar 5i and start letting folks look at Venus a full half-hour before sunset! Meanwhile the older computerized telescopes, including my own, were waiting more than an hour before the first alignment stars appeared in the twilight.

The biggest drawback to the Nexstar 5i is the short life of its AA batteries. Low batteries can cause the Nexstar computer to crash and lose its alignment. I've been able to avoid these computer crashes by using Celestron's car battery adapter with a rechargeable jump-start power pack. Like all Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, dew forms easily on the front corrector lens, but Orion's #4209 Flexishield dew cap works well to prevent problems with fog on the lens. --Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Proven optical performance of Celestron's five inch SCT
  • Small enough to keep set up ready to go
  • Nexstar computer is easy to use
Cons:
  • Short battery life
... Read more

Features

  • Includes a special kit for adding a computerized hand control and a sturdy Celestron tripod
  • 127mm (5-inch) diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain refractor
  • Focal length of 1,250mm and focal ratio of f10
  • Fully enclosed high-speed motors on both axes
  • Auxiliary port for adding optional accessories

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Go one better than a starter scope and you won't regret it
If you're thinking of an entry-level scope but can go a few dollars more, the "kit" form of the NexStar 5i that includes the computerised hand control and the tilt-plate wedge tripod is a great place to start. You won't have the mediocre tracking issues you find in the under $500 scopes, and you have classic, well regarded optics in the Celestron "C5" 5" Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube assembly (OTA).

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this scope. It tracks extremely well for a non-worm driven telescope and it is good enough that even in alt-az (non-equatorial mode) you can do short exposure astrophotography. If you utilize its tilt-plate wedge and use the built-in polar alignment routine (on the hand control -- it talks you through polar alignment) you can do even better, taking many good 90 second to 2 minute images. You will have to toss some of them because tracking isn't wholly consistent, but still, we're talking about an under $1000 kit so this is good stuff!

The whole unit can stay put together if you've got the room, which means that a smallish person can carry the whole thing in one hand and be set up in minutes (assuming you've given the scope enough time to reach the outside temperature of course). If you add an external power source -- rechargable 12V DC of at least 7 amp-hours like a "jump start" type battery) and a dew shield straight away, you'll have everything you need for some incredible viewing for a long time. You'll want to add eyepieces so look at the Celestron eyepiece kit as a good starter package.

All you need to do after ordering or before if you're smart, is check out the Yahoo NexStar group to ask for help in learning your new cool toy. And check out the NexStarSite dot com for an "i" series specific alignment guide. You'll need to follow it to get the best GOTOs and tracking.

After that, if you kick yourself because you didn't buy an 8" OTA, don't worry. You can add it later. Ask how on the group and they'll direct you to the hardware you'll need. I regularly swap OTAs on my NexStar 5i.

This isn't a long exposure astrophotography platform (for CCD imaging) but if you are interested in starting somewhere, it isn't half bad. And even if you upgrade later to a more appropriate platform for imaging later, I bet you'll keep this little guy. ... Read more


5. Meade ETX90EC Telescope with 884 Tripod and Software
by Meade
list price: $995.00
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008K7N7
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Meade
Sales Rank: 2343
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

The Meade ETX90EC is a compact telescope with excellent optics, packaged with a sturdy tripod and the remarkable Autostar computer control. Even though I own several telescopes and belong to an Astronomy club, the first night I took out the ETX, it showed me objects I'd never seen before. The ETX90EC is the computerized version of an affordable Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope first introduced by Meade in 1996. Every reviewer since then has commented on the excellent optics. How excellent? When I presented a session on optical testing at my local Astronomy club, I brought my ETX90 so that everyone could see what a "textbook" star test actually looks like.

What can you see with an ETX90? You won't see the flag on the Moon, but you will see sharp, color free views of mountains and valleys, craters, and lava flows. The planets are also a delight. I'll never forget seeing Saturn's rings with my own eyes for the first time. Although you can see the rings of Saturn and the cloud bands of Jupiter with the included 26mm Plossl eyepiece (about 48X magnification), you'll want to increase the magnification to bring out more detail. I find that a magnification of about 100X is ideal on most nights. You can reach 100X by using a Barlow Lens, I like the Celestron Ultima Barlow, or a smaller eyepiece such as the Celestron Omni Series 12.5mm . It's tempting to crank up the power to 200X or more, but on most nights I didn't see any more detail.

The Autostar controller makes it easy to find 30,000 celestial objects.
As good as the optics are, however, the most amazing feature of the ETX90EC is the Autostar computer. The ETX90EC with Autostar was the first computerized "go-to" telescope for under a thousand dollars. While bright objects like the moon are easy to find, the Autostar excels at finding the galaxies and star clusters that make space so fascinating. Maybe it's because I play with computers anyway, but I found the Autostar easy to use. The owners manual instructs you to begin the alignment by pointing the telescope North and tilting the telescope to level. I don't use a compass or a spirit level to do this, I simply point the telescope at the North Star, Polaris, and lower the telescope 44 degrees using the setting circles. This works because my home is near 44 degrees latitude. Don't know which star is Polaris? You'll want some kind of star chart that identifies the stars by name, NightWatch by Terence Dickinson is one of my favorites.

Many of the best galaxies and star clusters were discovered by a French comet hunter named Charles Messier. These so-called "M" objects looked to Messier like comets in the small telescopes of his day. My first night with the ETX, I switched on the "tour" mode. After looking at a few favorites, the cluster M52 came up on the Autostar. I pressed GO TO, and the telescope aimed itself at a cluster I hadn't looked at before. And darned if it didn't look just like a distant comet passing in front of a few small stars! I was so impressed, I bought an ETX for my step-son who works for the Air Force.

It's only fair to warn you, however, that if you find yourself enjoying Astronomy, you may start wanting a bigger telescope! --Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Excellent optics
  • The Autostar computer finds objects and describes them for you
  • Small and easily portable

Cons:

  • It's small--the only way to see more detail is with a bigger telescope
  • When using small eyepieces, you might bump the finder scope with your nose

... Read more

Features

  • Includes Autostar controller and deluxe field tripod
  • Cordless motor drive for fully automatic tracking
  • Equatorial fork mount, flip-mirror system
  • Maksutov meniscus corrector lens of Grade-A BK7 optical glass
  • Includes a Meade Series 4000 Super Plossl 26 millimeter eyepiece for 48 times magnification

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Meade Does It Right
The Meade ETX90EC lives up to its billing. It's a high-quality piece of gear that exudes craft and workmanship. The bundled package w/Autostar and Tripod gives you most of what you need. If you have any intent of doing terrestrial viewing, you should consider the 45 degree erecting prism. Also, the package does not come with any power adapters. If you plan to be out for a long evening of star gazing, you will probably want the adapter that lets you plug into a cigarette lighter. I wish Amazon had the UHTC version available, but no luck. Finally, I haven't been able to find the correct T-mount adapter for this scope on Amazon. I do want to use it for photography eventually. The main thing I would say is that this is not a toy, but it is ideal for beginners to intermediate enthusiasts. I've had more fun in just a couple sessions than I've ever had before.

4-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in Meade
This was my husband's big present for Christmas, something he has always wanted. While unwrapping and unpacking, he heard a rattle in the spotting scope. Upon investigation, he fished out a broken set screw and discovered that it had sheared off the outside of the spotting scope. Another screw was badly damaged. The eyepiece covers had all been left off when shipping. Also, all the settings were loose and had to be reset. Meade does not have an 800 number and you are put on hold interminably when you try to contact them. All in all, he likes the scope BUT was very disappointed in the quality of the manufacturer and lack of customer service. What a disappointment for Christams day!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Telescope
I've only used my telescope a couple times, but it has been great. It takes a little while to get used to it, and I highly recommend reading the manual. Also, Meade has a deal going on that you will probably want to check out (http://www.meade.com/promo.d/plosslpromo.html). You will definitely want to take them up on this offer. ... Read more


6. Meade ETX125EC Telescope w/ UHTC, Autostar Controller (497) and Tripod (884)
by Meade
list price: $1,850.00
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008IOVZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Meade
Sales Rank: 2561
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

From the Manufacturer

The ETX-125EC permits a broad range of astronomical study. In deep space, the ETX-125EC's larger aperture enables the observation of galaxies and nebulae in much wider extension and permits the resolution of celestial objects as faint as magnitude 12.5. The entire Messier listing of 110 objects is now not only visible, but, in addition, every object takes on a readily discernible structure. The Autostar controller turns the ETX-125EC into an automatic celestial object-locating system.

The UHTC Difference
Each time light encounters a mirror (above) or lens (below), some light is lost. In the case of a lens, light is lost at both the entrance to and exit from the lens. UHTC dramatically decreases this light loss.
Image brightness in a telescope is crucially dependent on the reflectivity of the telescope's mirrors and on the transmission of its lenses. Neither of these processes, mirror-reflectivity or lens-transmission, is, however, perfect; light loss occurs in each instance where light is reflected or transmitted. Uncoated glass, for example, reflects about 4% of the light impacting it; in the case of an uncoated lens 4% of the light is lost at entrance to and at exit from the lens, for a total light loss of about 8%. Meade standard mirror and lens coatings equal or exceed the reflectivity and transmission, respectively, of virtually any optical coatings currently offered in the commercial telescope industry.

Ultra-High Transmission coatings (UHTC), recently developed at the Meade Irvine coatings facility, however, have permitted the vacuum-deposition of a series of exotic optical coatings precisely tuned to optimize the visual, photographic, and CCD imaging performance of Meade telescopes. This telescope includes primary and secondary mirrors coated with aluminum enhanced with a complex stack of multi-layer coatings of titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide. The thickness of each coating layer is precisely controlled to within 1% of optimal thickness. The result is a dramatic increase in mirror reflectivity across the entire visible spectrum; at the important hydrogen-alpha wavelength of 656nm. - the predominant wavelength of emission nebulae -- reflectivity is increased from 89% to over 97%.

This telescope presents dramatically brighter images on the full range of celestial objects — from emission and planetary nebulae such as M8, M20, and M57 to star clusters and galaxies such as M3, M13, and M101. Observations of the Moon and planets, since they are observed in reflected (white) sunlight, benefit in image brightness from the full spectrum of increased transmission.

And more
The computer-driven Autostar controller makes it easy to find 30,000 celestial objects.
Just plug the Autostar into the telescope's HBX port in place of the standard-equipment electronic controller, do a quick telescope alignment, and you're ready to observe any object in the Autostar's 30,000-object database.

ETX optical systems include a Maksutov meniscus corrector lens of Grade-A BK7 optical glass. High-transmission magnesium fluoride (MgF2) coatings on both sides of the correcting lens, as well as aluminum-silicon monoxide coatings on the primary and secondary mirrors, are provided as standard equipment. Use the standard pushbutton electronic controller at any of four dual-axis speeds: 8x sidereal for image centering in the main telescope at high power; 32x for image centering at lower powers or for pushbutton object tracking in the altazimuth mode; slow mode for image centering in the viewfinder or for terrestrial tracking of nature and sightseeing; or medium speed for fast slewing across the sky. The observer can instantly select any of these speeds simply by depressing the speed button on the controller.

The telescope’s ultraportable design allows the viewer to view from any flat surface, be it a window sill, car hood, or picnic table. The optional tripod can raise the telescope to any comfortable height.

The Nuts and Bolts

1. Eyepiece
2. Viewfinder
3. Eyepiece Holder Thumbscrew - Tightens the eyepiece in place.
4. 90° Eyepiece Holder - Holds the eyepiece upright for easy viewing.
5. Optical Tube - The main optical component that gathers the light from distant objects and brings this light to a focus for examination with the eyepiece.
6. Vertical Lock - Controls the manual vertical movement of the telescope.
7. Fork Arms - Hold the optical tube in place.
8. Focus Knob - Moves the telescope’s optical tube in a finely-controlled motion to achieve precise image focus.
9. Horizontal Lock - Controls the manual horizontal rotation of the telescope.
10. Computer Control Panel
  • A. ON/OFF Switch.
  • B. Auxiliary Ports - Provide connection for current and future Meade accessories.
  • C. Handbox (HBX) Port - for the Electronic Controller or the optional Autostar handbox.
  • D. The 12v connector, designed to accept an external power supply such as the optional AC Adapter or Power Cord.
  • E. LED power indicator light.
11. Base Housing - Supports the telescope for placement on a flat, level surface, such as a tabletop or optional tripod.
12. Holes for Optional Tripod - See your tripod’s instruction sheet for mounting information.
13. Right Ascension (R.A.) Setting Circle.
14. Flip-Mirror and Flip-Mirror Control Knobs - ETX telescopes include an internal mirror. With the flipmirror control in the "up" position, light is diverted to the eyepiece. With the flipmirror control in the "down" position, as shown in Fig. 2b, light proceeds straight out the photo port for photography.
15. Photo Port - Attach any 35mm camera with a removable lens to this port using an optional adapter.
16. Declination Setting Circle (on left fork arm).
17. Viewfinder Alignment Screws - adjust these screws to align the viewfinder.
18. Viewfinder Alignment Bracket.
19. Dust Cap
20. Battery Compartment (not shown, underneath base).

.


... Read more

Features

  • Includes AutoStar controller and deluxe field tripod
  • UHTC coatings are on all optical surfaces for enhanced detail
  • 500x maximum magnification
  • Maksutov meniscus corrector lens of Grade-A BK7 optical glass
  • Includes a Meade Series 4000 Super Plvssl 26 millimeter eyepiece for 48 times magnification

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Meade EXT125EC /uhtc w/ autostar
A novice to astronomy i bought this unit with extra bells and whistles, thinking it would be a good intro to astronomy. I am completely disappointed and would never recommend it to anyone for any purpose other then a door stop. Unless you already have some knowledge of telescopes avoid it at all costs. Set up is difficult to impossible, and what eventually appears is not much better then what you can already see on a clear night. As far as i am concerned this purchase was a waste of money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Telescope!!!!! Beginner or Expert!!!!!
This is an awesome scope that is so much fun to use and makes it easy as can be to learn about astronomy. It comes with everything you need to see some of the most amazing outerspace objects, nebulas, other galaxies,and more. I can not say enough how easy and fun you will have with this scope. You can use it for terrestrial or space exploration. The only negative to the scope is do not expect to get many hours out of the AA batteries. Buy rechargeables, or build you a 12volt power supply like I did with a lead-acid battery and small battery box. It will last you for several weeks of viewing and plenty of power. The price is not cheap, but remember you get what you pay for these days. I started with a lesser scope and had to upgrade a month later to this one. Just do it right the first time and get the ETX-125 now instead of wasting your time and money with other smaller scopes. Again, this is an awesome scope you will be proud you purchased and impress your friends!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Versatile Instrument
This is a great instrument for beginners and amateurs alike. Highly portable and easy to set up, which is important in light polluted areas such as Natick, MA. This allows me to get up and go to dark sky areas for fantastic viewing. Even in light polluted suburbia, the Moon, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Andromeda Galaxy, and the Orion Nebula are clearly visible as well as many other Messier objects. If you're a beginner, don't expect to see the flag on the Moon, Hubble Space Telescope can't even see that, or canals on Mars. Do expect to see amazing craters during crescent Moons and polar ice caps during Mars opposition. Jupiter is impressive to look at due to it's shear size. You can make out cloud belts and the famous eye of the 300 year storm. Jupiter's four largest moons show up as small points of light and they change location each night. It's as if you're looking at a miniature solar-system. Saturn and it's rings are among the most beautiful objects to observe. On very clear nights you can make out the Cassini division in Saturn's rings as well as it's largest moon, Titan. Andromeda Galaxy is viewed as a fuzzy cloud with more detail observable in darker skies. Use a CCD camera to overcome your eye's limitation by capturing the color and detail that are shown in pictures. The Autostar is an excellent educational tool with detailed information on each object. It allows you the hands-on experience of learning which makes it fun. Follow the instructions carefully for configuring the Autostar. The more accurate the motor calibration, the easier it will be to align to the stars. It helps to set your watch to the atomic clock which can be found at www.time.gov and use that for the time entered. This will give an accurate position of the stars according to the Earth's rotation. Make sure your telescope is pointed "True North" and follow the instructions for the fork arm location on the telescope. Learn the locations of a few stars during the different seasons in order to make the alignment procedure simpler. I found that if I placed the telescope slightly to the East of "True North" then each time the star it was aligning to was in my 26mm eyepiece. Don't be afraid to pick up the tripod and move it clockwise or counterclockwise until the star your aligning to is shown in the eyepiece. Then you can use the motor to center the star in the eyepiece. The less you use the motor for aligning the more accurate it seems to be and the faster it slews to the object.

5-0 out of 5 stars My childhood dream- works like a champ!
Like many of you out there, I have dreamed about owning a telescope since I was a little boy. The time finally came to fulfill that dream and after a great deal of research and sweat, this was the telescope for me. I purchased from Oceanside Photo and Telescope (Amazon did not stock it at the time) and they were very helpful with timely delivery. I had owned a cheap, "Wal-Mart" scope before and it was an exercise in frustration to see anything at all. As far as optics go, one gets what one pays for. I wanted a top-quality scope but also one that was fairly portable. Buyer beware: a scope with enough light gathering power and focal length to be really versatile tends to be one that is best left in place. This one seems to be as close to a no-compromise scope as it gets. It has more than adequate light gathering ability, the design allows an impressive focal length in a very small package, the optics are first rate, and it is reasonably portable.
My first attempt at getting it up and running failed- my fault because of impatience. I didn't take the time to align it properly and (no surprise) couldn't find anything. The manual says to take your time and do it as carefully as you can and they're not kidding. PLEASE take your time and do it right. Once I got the hang of the whole process it was quite easy and the Autostar system would place the scope pretty close to dead-on target everytime. The scope itself is made very well and the limiting factor in everything I've tried to look at has been atmospherics and light pollution, not the scope. Necessary accessories- my opinion- would include the AC converter (comes with a jack for auto use. The scope will work with batteries (needs eight AA's) but is very slow and the batteries get used up fast), a few extra lenses (it comes with one low-mid power lens), and possibly the dew shield. I found the even a little condensation really spoiled my view and the water can damage the optics. I would also advise anyone to talk to someone knowledgeable or invest in a good basic book before investing in lenses so you don't end up wasting a lot of money. Back to the scope: This scope is a precision, professional quality instrument and if you can afford it and take the time to learn how to use it, you will not be disappointed. ... Read more


7. Celestron Firstscope 114EQ 114mm Reflector Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $358.00
our price: $189.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000051TN3
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 1807
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

The Celestron Firstscope 114 EQ is a Newtonian reflector telescope packaged with two eyepieces and a sturdy equatorial mount. Invented by Sir Isaac Newton, reflector telescopes provide more light gathering power per dollar than any other telescope design. The Firstscope 114 EQ, with 114mm (4.5 inches) of aperture, provides images that are twice as bright as 80mm telescopes, and more than three times brighter than 60mm beginner scopes.

The Firstscope 114 EQ features a classic Newtonian reflector design.
What can I see with the Firstscope 114 EQ telescope? On clear, calm nights I've been able to see the Cassini division in Saturn's rings and multiple cloud bands on the surface of Jupiter. The Firstscope 114 EQ even brings out pleasing detail in deep space objects. Many of the best galaxies and star clusters were discovered by comet hunter Charles Messier. The Pleiades cluster (M45) is known as the seven sisters because sharp-eyed people can make out six or seven stars with the naked eye. A telescope turns M45 into a beautiful cluster containing dozens of blue- white stars. In 1764, Messier described another deep space object, globular star cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules, as a glowing nebula without a star. That's just how M13 looks to this day in smaller 60mm and 80mm telescopes. When I observe M13 from a dark rural location with the Firstscope 114 EQ however, at 90x magnification, M13 takes on the distinctly grainy appearance of a glowing snow ball full of tiny stars.

The Firstscope 114 EQ, like any Newtonian reflector, is a telescope that rewards patience. The mirrors in the Firstscope 114 EQ may need to be aligned or "collimated" from time to time--I find the Celestron Collimation Eyepiece helps get this fine-tuning just right--but the reward is sharp images of the planets even when using the 4mm eyepiece in Celestron'soptional accessory kit for a magnification of 225x. The CG3 equatorial mount can be equipped with an optional#93515 motor drive to track the planets at high power, although I find that manual tracking with the standard slow motion controls works pretty well up to magnifications of 120x or so. You'll want some star charts to help find your way around the sky, I like the monthly star charts in Night Sky magazine because they help to find the planets as well as stars and galaxies.--Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Reflector design good value
  • Pleasing detail on brighter star clusters and galaxies
Cons:
  • Optics may need occasional fine-tuning
  • Terrestrial images appear upside-down
... Read more

Features

  • Manual slow-motion controls
  • Newtonian reflector optics
  • 900mm focal length
  • Comes with adjustable aluminum tripod
  • 227.5x maximum magnification

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive
Ordered this scope on a Monday from Amazon and it arrived four days later from Adorama in perfect condition. Celestron does an excellent packing job. The user manual was easy to follow. Assembly took about 90 minutes. I was viewing that evening from my suburban townhouse patio. The views of the Moon, Mars and Saturn were very clear. Not bad for the first night!

In my opinion this is a far superior piece of equipment for half the price of an ETX 90 by Meade. I purchased one of these about two years ago. This proved to be a mistake. The Celestron is far more user friendly.

4-0 out of 5 stars good beginner scope
I originally bought this scope to give me something to watch the sky with while building my 14 inch scope hehe. I think it's a fantastic scope for the price if you know what your expectations are. It's a great scope for a beginner, because it's light , easy to transport and set-up which means that you'll use it often. What's the point of getting a monster scope if it'll end up sitting in the closet because it's just too painfull to have to lug it outside and set it up. With that scope you'll see all the planets and all the messier objects and it'll keep you busy for years. Don't expect to see Hubble type pictures though. All you 'll see is faint fuzzy glows. But that's the case with all small scopes.
Optics: the optics are good. Star images are clean with no major defects. Collimation is easy and the primary stays well collimated through all the abuse you can think of. You'll have to adjust the secondary often though due to the single-stalk spider. The focuser is nice and stable and the knobs are big enough to give you good control. The supplied eyepieces are ok. Not spectacular. I recommend you get the accessory kit at the same time, becuase it's discounted when you get it with the scope. It contains 5 eyepieces plus a barlow and all the planetary filters, which is a real bargain
Mount: the mount is good and very stable. The fine controls barely induce any vibration even at high magnification. The mechanism for the declination control is a little flimsy, since it consist of a screw pushing against a metal block. The setting circles are useful to get the scope pointed approximatively in the right direction, but you still have to exactly align the scope by eye with your target. Don't expect to be able to dial in the coordinates of an object and voila. The only part where you get a lot of vibrations is if you touch the focuser. That can make focusing at high magnifications a little tricky, but even the worst vibrations die down after a few seconds. The only thing I have issue with is the azimuth adjustemnt of the polar axis. The lock screw will move the axis just slightly when you tighten it, so that to get good polar alignment you have to overshoot a little to compensate for the shift caused by tightening the lock screw. Let me point out that this is a minor annoyance only and that overall this is a great mount for that price
Performance: So how good is this scope? I put it to the test in my back-yard in light polluted Los Angeles. Here's a sample: during this year's opposition (2003) I was able to easily make out the polar caps of mars and glimpse some surface feature (300x). I've split close double stars (2 arcseconds separation), and the ring nebula (M57) is definitively a ring. Stars have colors. Based on performance, this scope will keep you happy.
who is this scope for?: this scope is ideal for a beginner who isn't sure about astronomy and wants to get a scope to check out whether or not he/she would like the hobby without breaking the bank. The main problem used to be that beginners would want to get cheap scopes so as to not have a very expensive coat rack but would end up getting such low quality that their dissapointing experiences would turn them away from the hobby. This scope is definitively an exception since it has superb quality for the price.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Good First Scope
Quality is first rate, and the German Equitorial Mount (GEM) and tripod are beefy enough to avoid irritating vibration. This scope is still small enough to fit in the corner of the room, ready to be taken outside for quick viewing, but large enough to see the rings of Saturn (and make out the Cassini Division on clear nights) and get resolution of the bands on Jupiter and track the path of its moons as their shadows march across Jupiter's orb. Saturn is a tiny jewel in the eyepiece, about 3/8" across, with the 10mm eyepiece. Jupiter is larger, about the size of a pencil eraser. But you see an amazing amount of detail on them. Lunar viewing is outstanding, with the 20mm presenting the globe of the moon filling all but the edges of the eyepiece. The 10mm gives you close up views of the craters and mara.

Everything you need is included, although like most people, you will probably buy some accessories later. The included eyepieces are good, not fantastic like [...] Naglers, but for starting out they are fine (in fact, I still use mine regularly).

Using the 10mm or 20mm eyepieces (included) for observing nebula, you can make out the gas clouds of the Orion Nebula, and split double stars, with good clarity. The 6mm eyepiece is about the most powerful you will want to use with this scope and mostly for planets, as the width of field narrows considerably. The 6mm might be included in this package; check the description. I bought it separately, as well as a 2X Barlow, but the Barlow seems to degrade the quality of the image so much that I don't recommend buying it ... investing in extra eyepieces or a different brand of Barlow might be a better idea if you want to spend the money. I also bought a motor which fits nicely on the GEM, but when the scope is properly aligned, turning one dial to keep the planet or star in the middle of the eyepiece is no trouble at all. I hardly ever use the Barlow or the motor.

For serious astro-photography, deep sky and "close up" planetary viewing, a more expensive scope is probably required, one in the 8" to 10" range. But you'll expect to pay prices starting at about [...] for that type of setup. And to set up those larger scopes, count on 20 - 45 minutes with "cool down time" and the like. And they are heavy. So if you already know you want to go larger, take a look at the Celestron G8N, an 8" reflector that runs about [...] on sale. But if you're stepping up from a department store scope with a two or three inch apeture, the Firstscope 114 EQ is a great step up. And for the beginner, it is a serious beginning scope that will let you see well into the night sky at an affordable price, without the frustrations of buying those cheap department store telescopes.

Couple it with the books "The Backyard Astronomer" and/or "Turn Left at Orion" and you'll be set to start discovering the world above.

4-0 out of 5 stars i dont know
i thought this is a very good telescope ameratuers but for pros dont by this product ... Read more


8. Meade ETX105EC Telescope w/ UHTC, Autostar Controller (497) and Tripod (884)
by Meade
list price: $1,450.00
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008IOVX
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Meade
Sales Rank: 1158
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

The latest model in Meade's popular ETX line, the ETX105EC with premium Ultra High Transmission optical coatings (UHTC), is one sweet portable package. The included Autostar controller delivers excellent tracking and pointing. The #884 Tripod combined with the aluminum frame and ball-bearing chassis delivers vibration-free viewing. And the optics are simply the best I've ever seen in a small Maksutov-Cassegrain or Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Although Meade recommends the UHTC coatings package for improved brightness, I find the improved contrast is much more impressive. I compared the ETX105EC, at 4.13 inches of aperture, side by side with my 5 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain. The view of Saturn at 200X magnification in both telescopes was nearly identical. The Cassini division in Saturn's rings was obvious, and I could see 5 moons around Saturn with both scopes. The inner moons Tethys and Dione were easier to spot with the larger SCT. The ETX105EC with UHTC, however, was the clear winner on contrast and color. The UHTC coatings simply eliminated much of the scattered light that robs contrast from the views in my SCT. Saturn's equatorial belt was the same apricot color in the 4 inch ETX that I see in much larger scopes. When I looked at Jupiter with the ETX105EC, the pale orange-tan color of the famous Great Red Spot was plainly visible.

The Autostar controller delivers excellent pointing accuracy. My usual set-up starts with centering Polaris in the scope, then leveling the optical tube. This automatically sets the telescope's "home position" within one degree of true North and level. After a careful setup the other night, the "easy align" routine put the first alignment star, Rigel, inside the field of view. And the second star, Procyon, was just outside the edge of the field. Easy as can be. (Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson will introduce you to these brighter stars by name.) Even without precise alignment to North, the alignment stars were close enough that I had no trouble with the setup. Autostar's guided tour of "tonight's best" still placed every object but Saturn in the low power field of view, and Saturn was just outside the field.

The model 884 tripod included in the ETX105EC package is well matched to the telescope. I saw very little vibration while using the straight up Alt/AZ position. I find the telescope tracks very smoothly in the equatorial position as well, although putting the full weight of the telescope over one tripod leg doesn't inspire confidence.

The only flaw in the whole ETX105EC package is the right angle finder scope. The finder works well enough - in fact I like the image orientation that matches the main scope - but it's so close to the eyepiece that my nose gets in the way when I try to use smaller eyepieces. I was able to use my favorite Ultima 7.5mm eyepiece for 200X magnification only by replacing the right angle finder with the smaller straight thru finder from my ETX90. You can also live with the finder by using a barlow lens or a taller eyepiece such as the Orion 10.5mm Lanthanum (about 140X) for high magnification views of the planets.--Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Superb optics
  • Small and portable
  • Autostar controller finds and describes things for you
Cons:
  • The finder is too close to the eyepiece
... Read more

Features

  • Includes AutoStar controller and deluxe field tripod
  • UHTC coatings are on all optical surfaces for enhanced detail
  • Electronic controller for slew speeds and built-in clock drive
  • Maksutov meniscus corrector lens of Grade-A BK7 optical glass
  • Includes a Meade Series 4000 Super Plvssl 26 millimeter eyepiece for 48 times magnification

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Optics but poor assembly
We had our new ETX 105 inspected and tuned by the astronomer at the Arkansas Observatory. The optics were measure at 1/8th wave and were rated as A++. Only slight tub alignment was necessary to optimize optical performance. Meade has a reputation for excellent optics - especially with the UHTC coating. This is probably the biggest reason to choose this brand! The optics are all made in the USA at Meades Irvine California factory. Most other scopes in this price range are made in China and have inferior optics.

If the previous reviewer has experienced poor optical performance he should contact Meade as this is not what most owners report. That said, at lot of factors affect your ability to view distant objects, such as Saturn, clearly. Not the least of which is the atmospheric conditions where you are viewing from. I have viewed the moon through this telescope using a 6mm objective and found the image to be very sharp. The same night I viewed Saturn and found it to be somewhat fuzzy.

For a good idea of what the capability's of this scope are see the pictures taken through it at:
http://www.thedirks.org/astro/

The biggest problem with these scopes is there Vertical and, to a lesser extent, Horizontal gears used for tracking objects. Often they have a lot of backlash and can easily become stripped as one tends to over-tighten the Vertical locking mechanism to compensate. Instead the Astronomer rebuilt the gears in our scope so that they now work perfectly. The Arkansas Observatory, which houses a large Meade Telescope of its own, offers this tune-up service for around $250 per scope.

An excellent source of information about these scopes along with pictures taken through them can be found at: http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html.

For information on haveing a Meade or other brand of telescope tune-up by the Observatory click on "Services" at: http://www.arksky.org/

1-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as advertised
They claim a maximum magnification of 420. I have the following accessories: UWA 4.7mm eyepiece, SP 6.4mm eyepiece, Barlow 2x and the erecting prism.

Due to the poor quality of the mirror/reflector I can only magnify up to 114x (the standard 26mm with the 2x Barlow).

I do not get a clearer nor a better image with the Ultra Wide 4.7mm eyepiece and the 6.4mm eyepiece also has the same effect: a larger image but with very poor clarity. ... Read more


9. Celestron Powerseeker 60 Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $74.95
our price: $45.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002CTZAC
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 260
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Amazon.com Review

Celestron's value priced Powerseeker 60 telescope takes a basic "just the facts" approach to affordable entry level telescopes. The package includes an adjustable aluminum tripod with an alt-azimuth mount and stabilizer, a Kellner type K20 eyepiece, a Ramsden type SR4 eyepiece, a 3x barlow lens, and a 5 power cross-hair finder scope.

The Powerseeker 60 comes disassembled in a compact box, but it won't take long to put everything together. Go ahead and try it out in the daytime, that's the best time to align the finder scope while looking at a distant tree or telephone pole.

My first view of Saturn's rings and star cluster M13 in Hercules came with a 60mm telescope, and I enjoy celestial viewing with the Powerseeker 60 to this day. The secret is to use the low power K20 eyepiece and only extend the tripod legs half-way. This gives me sharp and steady views, whether I'm looking at nearby hills, craters on the Moon, the Double Cluster in Perseus, or even the Andromeda Galaxy!

With a 1.25" focuser and diagonal mirror, it's easy to add better eyepieces. The Kellner type K20 eyepiece yields a 1.1 degree true field of view, better than the Huygens or H-type eyepieces still found in many beginner scopes. Adding an optional Celestron 25mm E-Lux eyepiece is better still. With nearly 2 degrees true field of view, the 25mm E-lux makes it much easier to find objects, either on land or in deep space. The SR4 eyepiece is less impressive; it's like peeking through a pin-hole. Adding the 3x barlow to the SR4 to get that 525x proclaimed on the box is peeking through a dim, fuzzy pin-hole.

I'm surprised that a telescope this inexpensive can be this good. It's good enough to show me Saturn's rings at night or a Steller's Jay at 100 yards during the day. In my opinion, the Powerseeker 60 would be an even better bargain if it came with a K10 eyepiece in place of the 3x barlow and the SR4 eyepiece. Also take a look at Celestron's Firstscope 60AZ; it's only a little more expensive, but it includes two useable eyepieces, a red-dot finder, and planetarium software for your computer. –Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Low cost
  • Decent optics
  • Accepts 1.25" eyepieces
Cons:
  • Too small for serious astronomy
  • Only one good eyepiece
... Read more

Features

  • Affordable telescope for beginning astronomer; portable yet powerful
  • All-glass optical components with high transmission coatings for enhanced image brighness and clarity
  • Refractor optical design with a 60mm aperture and 700mm focal length
  • Altazimuth mount suitable for terrestial viewing as well as astronomical use
  • Includes 3x Barlow Lens (1.25"), 20mm eyepiece, 4mm eyepiece, aluminum tripod with accessory tray

10. Bushnell 20-60x60 Multi Position Spacemaster Spotting Scope
by Bushnell
list price: $319.99
our price: $153.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006HO4T
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Bushnell
Sales Rank: 3714
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Exclusive multi-position eyepiece offers infinite viewing positions between straight through and 90 degrees, for comfortable viewing in every situation
  • Field of View @ 1000 Yards -88' @ 20x, 40'@60x
  • Exit Pupil -3mm@20x, 1mm@60x
  • Weight -36.5 ounces
  • Length -14.5

11. Meade ETX90EC Telescope w/ UHTC, Autostar Controller (497) and Tripod (884)
by Meade
list price: $1,100.00
our price: $649.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008IOVV
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Meade
Sales Rank: 937
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

The little Meade ETX90EC, one of the most popular telescopes ever made, is a 3.5-inch f/13.8 Maksutov-Cassegrain designed for maximum portability while also delivering outstanding images.It certainly succeeds on both counts, and at a terrific price.The telescope comes with a 26mm Meade Super Plössl eyepiece, an 8x21 finderscope, a very nice screw-on dust cap, a fork mount, an adjustable tripod, and a built-in computer for finding and tracking sky objects.

Images through the ETX90EC are absolutely textbook perfect. The excellent optical quality produces some wonderful views of brighter sky objects, such as the Moon and naked-eye planets. Meade's recently introduced UHTC optical coatings further strengthen optical performance by enhancing image contrast. Given the amazing low price for what you get, the ETX90EC is a great triumph in low-cost, mass-production optical fabrication techniques.

The computer-driven hand controller makes it easy to find 14,000 celestial objects.
Once properly set up and initialized, the onboard Autostar computer control can guide users to more than 14,000 sky objects.I have always found the Autostar navigation system to be extremely accurate, even if it does include many more targets than a 3.5-inch telescope could possibly see under the best conditions.

As good as the optical assembly is, the finderscope leaves something to be desired. I find it difficult, if not impossible to look through because of how closely it is mounted to the tube of the telescope.The problem only gets worse as the telescope raises in altitude, causing my nose to scrunch up against the eyepiece.I would recommend augmenting the finder with a small one-power aiming device, such Orion Telescope's EZ Finder II Reflex Sight.Another drawback is the focusing.Although the focuser's movement is smooth, the small, aluminum knob is very difficult to grasp when looking through the eyepiece.

The tube assembly comes mounted on a miniaturized, clock-driven, fork equatorial mount made mostly from molded plastic.The DC-powered clock drive runs for more than 20 hours on eight common AA-size batteries.The clock drive tracks the sky quite accurately after it has been properly initialized.

Consumers should note, however, that since the tube is longer than the fork arms, the telescope cannot swing all the way through the mount.This could limit the telescope's ability to look low in the sky, depending on how and where you have it set up.What that point is exactly will depend on the angle at which the ETX is tilted for polar alignment, but it worsens as you head south.I also feel that the plastic fork mounting is just barely solid enough to support the weight of the telescope.It is certainly not strong enough to hold both it and a camera.

Overall, despite the weaknesses mentioned above, the ETX90EC is a well-made instrument and has an amazingly low price.Computer tracking and slewing coupled with outstanding optics in such a compact package would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.Yet, here it is. --Phil Harrington, author of Star Ware

Pros:

  • Outstanding optics
  • Compact size
  • Amazing value for the money
  • Accurate computer control and tracking
Cons:
  • Poor finderscope
  • Weak plastic mounting
  • Focusing knob very close to eyepiece
  • Small aperture only suitable for the brightest sky targets
... Read more

Features

  • Includes AutoStar controller and deluxe field tripod
  • UHTC coatings are on all optical surfaces for enhanced detail
  • Cordless motor drive for fully automatic tracking
  • Maksutov meniscus corrector lens of Grade-A BK7 optical glass
  • Includes a Meade Series 4000 Super Plvssl 26 millimeter eyepiece for 48 times magnification

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rating Optics on ETX90EC Very Good Near Excellent !!
Rate the Optics as exceptional on ETX90EC w/UHTC are near excellent!! Easily see the north star companion (9th magnitude), for the 1st time watched a Jupiter Shadow Eclipse, small in my 97X, but jet black circle, beautiful !! Focusing is abit coarse, but fast ! Have yet to use it in a nice Dark Sky, watched the Jupiter eclipse between two street lights !! Two Dark Bands on Jupiter stand out well, hint of polar markings, the bands are irregular show hints of detail !! Large Red Spot shows easily when in view. Saturn is low in horizon now, tho division not visible large Jet Black area between Planet and Rings ! Have only 97X waiting for my 9 MM eyepiece. Star images are nice and compact, have owned a F/10 6 inch reflector, 6 inch Dynamax Schmidtt Cassegrain, but the ETX blows them away, fantastic, Best WARREN ..<>..

4-0 out of 5 stars ETX90EC W/UHTC AUTOSAT & TRIPOD PURE FUN !!
First Rate myself as a casual observor, wanted maximum portability, and the ETX90EC certainly does !! First night aligned the finder and used manual control, only using 47X Jupiter was beautiful and moons snapped into view nicely. Over all image(s) look Good to Very Good, nice and compact stars as they should be ! 2nd night (using Autostar) able to align on the 3rd attempt, viewed more in 1 hour, infact lost count ! Was locating many from horizon to horizon, simply amazing feat ! Noisy in operation and dislike the small finder and needs more info on use, otherwise would give 5 stars !! Was Pure Fun, LOVE IT !! questions feel free to inquire wnppmy@yahoo.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Great product
This is my second telescope and I took the opportunity of the Meade special offers. Shipping arrived on time, I was a little bit worried about shipping such an equipment, but packaging was great.
Strongly recommending buying the hard case.
This is a wonderful telescope, very easy to use, and I recommend this for anyone, even beginners. Calibration is easy, just a few clicks on the Autostar, and then you can start the great show. Planets and objects are bright and offer fantastic contrast (buy the optionnal UHTC it's worth).
Prepare not to sleep at all the first few nights, but you'll be amazed at what you can see. ... Read more


12. Celestron C102HD 102mm Refractor Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $599.99
our price: $399.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000051TIA
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 1798
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

The Celestron C102HD telescope is regarded as a major bargain for good reason. Instead of computerized bells and whistles, you get the solid optical performance of a full sized four-inch achromatic refractor combined with a serviceable German Equatorial mount. Experienced observers frequently recommend the C102HD to beginning astronomers for one simple reason: it delivers great views of the planets.

How great are the views?In side by side tests, the C102HD consistently showed better contrast and more detail on Jupiter and Saturn than my five inch Schmidt-Cassegrain.On a night when my C5 showed five or six cloud belts across the face of Jupiter, the C102HD showed seven. On Saturn, when I push the magnification to 200X, the Cassini division is crisp, I see cloud belts on the planet; I see shading in the A and B rings, and even glimpse the Crepe ring.When looking at the star Epsilon Lyrae, the famous double-double, the C102HD showed me four crisp bright beads of light, without the bright diffraction rings and scattered light that I see in my C5.

One drawback: the CG-4 equatorial mount included with the C102HD is only barely adequate to support a forty-inch plus telescope. I found that it was better to set up on grass or gravel and leave the tripod about a foot short of full extension--this significantly reduces the vibration problems that otherwise trouble this mount.

What accessories would I recommend?Adding a CG4 motor drive significantly increased my viewing pleasure by allowing the telescope to track for long periods without my touching the controls.As with any equatorial mount, you need to point the Polar axis at the North Star, Polaris, for the tracking to work properly (don't worry, this is all explained in the manual). As for eyepieces, the included 20mm plossl eyepiece gives a magnification of 50X and a one degree true field of view.You'll want a 32mm eyepieceto take in the full view of star clusters like the Pleiades and the Double Cluster in Perseus.The Ultima 7.5mm is ideal for high power views of Jupiter and Saturn.I usually suggest a good star chart with any telescope, but for viewing the planets, a subscription to Sky and Telescope magazine might be even more useful; the planets, after all, move from one month to the next! --Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Solid optical performer
  • Great views of the planets

Con:

  • Barely adequate mount
... Read more

Features

  • Refractor telescope for serious astronomers and terrestrial observers
  • Rigid German equatorial mount for following objects
  • Slow motion controls on both axes object
  • Magnification: 241x
  • Objective lens: 102mm

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars WoW
I finally had a clear night although it was a bit on the windy side, and I was very impressed with the performance of my C102HD refractor. I have never really had a real Telescope I alway's Fell to the ads of those high powered store sold 60mm. refractors, those are junk. I saw more on that one night than I have all of my life, I saw the Orion Nebula for the first time,it was great at 50 power with the 20mm. eyepiece, also the moons of Jupiter were very sharp plus the rings of Saturn, I also bought the Celestron accessory kit so I have plenty of options when it comes to power. I just can't say enough to express my delight with my new scope and probably can't say it right. But this a real quality item,and amazon.com is a great place to purchase it, they have great service and the scope came very well packed. So I would really recommend one of these scopes you will really be pleased and amazed at it's performance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Every bit worth the wait!
I used to work on 10" and 12" refractors and in comparison this scopes only lacks in size. I started running around in circles after looking at the amazingly sharp views of Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon, and the Orion nebula the first night. Stars are sharp pinpoints. Plan to buy additional eyepieces as this 20mm Plossl (pretty decent per se) is just a starter. My 6mm eyepiece works beautifully at 150x. With the 2x Barlow lens, the 20mm gives you 100x. In a light polluted city (like where I live), the best I could get was around 200x.

I saw the Cassini division and bands on Saturn, bands on Jupiter and its 4 moons as pinpoints of light. The full moon gives a purple halo, but only at high mags. A moon filter solves that problem. The finderscope takes some fussing with the get it centered and the mount is VERY shaky. I plan to buy a better mount anyway. From reading other scope review sites and from my personal experience, this Celestron 102HD is a definite ***** winner. Everywhere I asked, "pro-amateurs" were telling me its the perfect scope for a beginner. Its still very portable - just carry the weights separately out to the field/backyard for viewing. From a beginner's perspective, to really learn how to navigate the stars, this scope gives you the best bang (optics) for the buck as opposed to smaller apertured GOTO scopes (ahem Meade 90etx) for the same money. You won't be disappointed!

5-0 out of 5 stars Low-Contrast Detail and Portable Too
This is a good scope for the price. It provides refractor-sharp views of the Cassini division in Saturn`s rings and cloud bands as well as the shadow of the rings on the planet. I`ve also seen as many as 8 cloud bands on Jupiter and the two reddish equatorial belts. The bands look like they`ve been colored in with a very sharp pencil point. The 4 Galilean moons are easily seen and, with good seeing, the Great Red Spot is also visible. Also, views of the moon are contrasty and filled with lots of details. Mercury, the phases of Venus, Mars, 100`s of deep space objects, etc., are also easy targets. For instance, the Orion nebula is a spectacular sight with it`s greenish glow.

Most images are extremely clear, sharp and bright with almost no spurious color on bright objects. One has to sometimes look for the spurious color to see it.

IMHO, the mount-tripod seems to be fine even for high-power views if everything is tightened up all the way and vibration suppression pads are used. In fact, this makes for a very portable set-up which can be carried around pretty easily and can be ready for use at a moment`s notice.

Conclusion: This scope excels at showing low-contrast details. This is one of the refractor`s most superior features and is one of the main reasons why they often make better planetary scopes than other types of scopes much larger. The C-102HD is no exception!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great buy
For the money this telescope is hard to beat. The OTA is well made; the 102mm Achromat being housed in a adjustable metal lens cell. The tube has three internal baffles and has a nice focuser which will accomadate 2" eypieces. My focuser was originally rather sloppy but after tinkering with several screws it tightened up nicely and is now quite serviceable. It also includes a 5.5" removeable felt lined aluminum dew cap. The 30mm finder scope is to small and it would be good to replace it with 50mm. The equatorial head is solid and well matched to the OTA. It has the standard(rather small)setting circles with a vernier. The slow motion controls work fine with no backlash although the locks have to have a slight amount of tension otherwise there may be some slippage. It's also supplied with two conterweights one large and one small. The small weight tightend all the way to the end of the counterweight shaft leaves the scope perfectly balanced. The larger weight is to be employed if photography is desired. I added the single axis clock drive and it tracks well. Again there has to be a slight amount of tension(via RA lock)on the RA axis or there will be some slippage. The weakest point of this model is the aluminum legs. Aliminum has the advantage of being light but has a very low dampening coeficent. Thus, focusing at higher powers can be a challenge. My remedy to this problem was to add a JMI electronic focuser. Focusing is a breeze now as I don't have to touch the OTA when adjusting. Another alternative used by some is the addition of wooden tripod legs. The scope is supplied with a nice 20mm Plossl; But figure on buying a couple more plus a barlow as this scope handles 200mag. well. Optically it does very well on the star test with only a slight amount of spherical abberation present. Ronchi grating test shows sraight lines in and out of focus. There is some false color, as to be expected from an achromat, around bright objects. All and all a very nice package. I would have given a five were it not for the tripod. Keep in mind this is a telescope best used for planetary use and double star splitting. Deep sky object are best served by more aperture. So if that's your fancy consider a "light bucket"(Dobsonian). I have heard of some cases of people getting poor optics with this scope, but that seems to be the exception not the rule. So if that happens to you, send it back to the factory till you get a good one.
Cheers.

3-0 out of 5 stars bought too quickly
This was the first real telescope I purchased. The product description fits, but, as I found out later, I should have started with a good pair of binoculars. The mount is the culprit that caused me to give the telescope a 3 rating. It isn't the quality I expected from Celestron. After carefully carrying this heavy (equatorial mount) scope in and out of my van numerous times, there is evident play in the mount. Other than that, I have seen beautiful views of Saturn, Jupiter and Orion Nebula. Another problem is straight up viewing, virtually impossible. Would recommend a good pair of binoculars (7X50 or 10X50) and a dobsonian mount at least 8 to 10 inches for starting astronomers. As you may or not know, what you see in this telescope (as all others) will not look like the beautiful pictures in astronomy mags and books. It takes a lot of viewing to start dectecting any colors, and the size of the object won't be very large, other than the moon. I know I am adding a lot about astronomy, but I learned the hard way, join an astronomy club,and try out all the scopes they offer before you commit to something that will collect dust. Clear Skies, don ... Read more


13. Celestron Powerseeker 60EQ Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $112.95
our price: $69.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002CTZAM
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 2770
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Features

  • Affordable telescope for beginning astronomer; portable yet powerful
  • All-glass optical components with high transmission coatings for enhanced image brighness and clarity
  • Refractor optical design with a 60mm aperture and 900mm focal length
  • Equatorial mount for tracking the sky
  • Includes 3x Barlow Lens (1.25"), 20mm eyepiece, 4mm eyepiece, aluminum tripod with accessory tray

14. Celestron Nexstar 4GT 4" Computerized Go-To Telescope (Telescope Only)
by Celestron
list price: $998.99
our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005BAJ0
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 2604
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

The computerized Celestron NexStar 4GT joins a 4-inch f/13 Maksutov tube assembly to the same "goto" mounting used with Celestron's other small NexStar telescopes (such as the NexStar 80GT refractor and NexStar 114GT Newtonian reflector).Introduced in late 2001, the NexStar 4GT is intended to go head-to-head with Meade Instruments' successful ETX series of small Maksutov telescopes.It comes with 25-mm (53x) and 10-mm (113x) SMA eyepieces, a hand controller, and a StarPointer red-dot finder (which I find far more useful than the tiny finderscope that comes with the Meade ETX90EC.

See a detailed view of
the NexStar 4GT's features
Like the Meade, the NexStar 4GT is designed to take the guesswork out of finding sky objects.Setup is very easy.Take the telescope out of the box, install 8 AA-size batteries, plug in the hand controller, attach the StarPointer, and the telescope is ready to use.The one-armed mounting, which is permanently attached to the telescope, can be placed on a flat surface, any sturdy photographic tripod, or Celestron's own tripod/wedge combination.

Once the telescope's computer has been initialized to the sky, any of over 4,000 targets can be selected from the onboard database by using the hand controller.Choose each target by scrolling through menus while reading object names and information from the controller's LCD readout.Large, softly backlit control buttons are easy to see and press, even when wearing gloves on cold nights, although I have found that the brightness of the LCD readout tends to drop off as the temperature approaches freezing.

In practice, the NexStar 4GT's goto system works adequately provided it was properly initialized and has a fresh set of batteries.Although the motors are noisy when slewing from object to object, the selected target is usually within the field of the 25-mm eyepiece.Once in a while, however, the telescope will go into a "death slew," seemingly spinning around aimlessly. To bring the scope back to its senses, press one of the direction keys, then "Enter" to try again.Sometimes, this will happen when the batteries are running out of power, for which the NexStar 4GT has quite an appetite.A fresh set of batteries will be fully drained after only a night's worth of use.To save the expense of new batteries every clear night, buy the optional AC adapter or Celestron's Power Tank, which allows portable operation.

Optically, the NexStar 4GT has its pros and cons.Images are rather dim due to the small aperture, although most that I have examined seem to give reasonably sharp views.The Moon and brighter planets certainly put on a good show.Jupiter shows two or more belts and Saturn's rings display Cassini's Division, although not as clearly as through a 4-inch refractor. Double stars, such as Castor in Gemini, are cleanly split.

Like the Meade ETX telescopes, the NexStar 4GT has a built-in "flip mirror." By turning a small knob, an internal mirror diverts light either up through the star diagonal into the eyepiece or directly through an opening where a camera body can be attached for photography.The NexStar's mounting, however, is really only suitable for short exposures of the Moon or terrestrial scenes.

One reason why longer exposures are not recommended is the accuracy of the motor drive's tracking.While aiming precision is adequate, the telescope does not track the sky as accurately as some other telescopes, including the ETX.Even after the telescope has been initialized precisely, objects tend to drift out of the field of view, requiring users to press the direction buttons on the hand controller to keep up.

Overall, I'd judge the Celestron NexStar 4GT a good second telescope for someone who is looking for a "grab and go" instrument for quick viewing sessions.Although slightly larger than the Meade ETX90EC, its small aperture still limits it to brighter objects only.If money permits, I would recommend the Celestron NexStar 5i or Meade ETX125EC, both of which have better optics and larger apertures. --Phil Harrington, author of Star Ware

Pros:

  • Compact, light weight design
  • Goto computer control
  • Ease of setup

Cons:

  • Small aperture
  • Short battery life
  • Poor tracking precision
  • Noisy motors
... Read more

Features

  • Ideal telescope for observing and photographing the wonders of space
  • Incredible light-gathering and a full degree field of view give you views 189% brighter than a 60mm refractor
  • Computerized capabilities like Auto Align, automatic Tour Function, easy-to-use hand control and 4,000+ object database
  • Star Pointer is the quickest and easiest way to point your telescope exactly to the desired object in the sky
  • 102mm (4 inch) diameter Maksutov-Cassegrain optics

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Must buy the RS232 cable!!!!!!
I hope this is going to be a great product. I just unpacked it and discovered that although it's computerized, and the software is included, THE FREAKING CABLE TO CONNECT IT IS NOT! To quote the Installation Instructions, "establishing a link ... will require the use of an optional RS-232 cable (#9320)." How a product that lists for $995 claim a "required" part is "optional" is beyond me. Amazon should be ashamed of the listing for this item.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome telescope for beginners
I found that this telescope is great for the hopeful to find out more about the heavens. This scope is awesome at capturing light for photographing and is study when you perches the tripod, which is the only down I found with this scope is all the stuff you have to buy on top of getting the scope its self, so be conscience when buying this scope that you need to buy other things to make it fun to use. Other then that this scope is light and durable which makes it user to bring with you on camping trips and hikes. Better then caring around a 50+ pound scope and doing some damage to your back. This is also a good spotting scope if you want to take it out and look at areas that are far enough away in the day light or when observing nature as it is.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not ready for Prime Time
This scope has great optics for the money and is fairly easy to use. It also falls short with it's tracking abilities, at first I
thought it was user error untill I talked with several dealers and
found that this was a common complaint. If you spend just a little
more for the 5I or the 8I you will be very pleased, its like money in the bank because they hold there value quite well.

5-0 out of 5 stars a good scope
...The scope is just great. I am a newbie to astronomy, but this telescope is so easy to use. It takes about 5-10 minutes to setup the telescope. The 4000 objects database it has is great and the alignment is rather good.
I would recommend a good tripod and a more powerful eyepiece if you are interested in serious astronomy.
Overall I rate this telescope rather high (Maybe because this is my first!) and would surely recommend it to anyone interested in astronomy. ... Read more


15. Celestron Nexstar 80GT 80mm Go-To Refractor Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $349.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004ZD37
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 2291
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

Celestron’s little NexStar 80GT is a popular scope at an attractive price. It features a short 80mm f/5 optical tube assembly, mated to a single-sided swing arm assembly, tripod, and the motorized computer system. The scope also comes with 25 mm (16X) and 10 mm (40X) eyepieces, a red dot finder, star diagonal for easier viewing, and a basic version of The Sky on CD ROM.

The NexStar handset is your user-friendly guide to more than 4,000 celestial objects.
If you think you’ve seen the optical tube before, you have -- it’s the same Chinese-sourced tube sold by other retailers.The optics are decent at low powers, but as you climb in magnification, the fast f/5 focal ratio optics start showing some aberrations -- there’s false color (purple halos) around brighter objects, and as you get near 100X, image quality starts to break down.The moral: Take it easy on the magnification, and you’ll be OK.Even without pushing it, you can still easily see the rings of Saturn, four moons of Jupiter, and a lot of lunar detail. And aberrrations aside, the little NexStar 80 is a fun low-power rich field telescope.You’re going to have a lot of fun looking at the Pleiades, the Double Cluster in Perseus, the Andromeda galaxy, the Orion Nebula, and dozens of other objects.

The telescope’s Goto system will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s initialized a NexStar (or Meade’s similar Autostar system.)If you haven’t done this before, the scope needs to be told some basic information: the current time, date, location on the planet, etc.Then you center two known stars to the best of your ability.The scope takes over from there, automatically slewing to the desired object, and keeping it in the field of view as the earth rotates.Mostly it works well, but there are a few minor glitches here and there.The battery pack has a loose connector, which is prone to falling off, forcing you to reinitialize (hint: try attaching the pack to the fork arm itself using velcro.)The computer sometimes takes the "long" way around, strangling itself with its own cord.And the unit’s light weight -- only 11 pounds -- won’t break your back, but it’s so light that any accidental bump (easy to do in the dark) will knock the scope out of alignment, forcing another reinitialization.

The hand held controller contains a wealth of information.The 4,000 object database is probably optimistic for such a small scope (you won't be able to actually see all those objects), but it’s a nice touch, and besides, silicon’s cheap, right?In fact, one of the fun things you can do with a scope like this on a rainy day is to do a "fake" initialization indoors (yes, even in the daytime.)Then, just start pushing buttons on the controller and read all about the objects in the sky.

So, in the end, what we have here is a nice telescope that offers good value for the price. No scope in this price range is perfect, of course, but there are few other options in this price range.Meade’s ETX70ATis similar to the NexStar 80GT.If you‘re looking for more light gathering ability, go with an Orion XT6or XT8.If you like the NexStar system but want a more serious telescope, consider saving up for Celestron’s NexStar 5i.--Ed Ting

Pros:

  • Light, compact, versatile, and inexpensive
  • On-board computer makes finding objects a snap
  • Good at low power

Cons:

  • Optics only so-so at higher powers
  • Cords tend to tangle
  • Relatively small aperture (80 mm)
... Read more

Features

  • 400mm focal length, with a 3.25-degree wide field of view
  • 2 eyepieces (16x and 40x)
  • Observe immediately with the computerized auto align feature
  • Automatic slewing to over 4,000 celestial objects
  • Common sense menu descriptions

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Beginner Telescope, But Not for Serious Starters!
Here are some things I like about this product:
- easy to assemble, lightweight, and very mobile
- sturdy tripod
- great auto goto feature and easy to calliberate. Can find stars, messier objects, etc, in a matter of minutes. Very cool and slick feature
- decent quality eye pieces
- RS-232 connection is a little tricky, you may need assistance from Celestron to get started there.

Here are some things I don't like about this product
- the hand controller wirings and the batter wirings can get all caught up if you are not careful.
- it does not have enough magnification and aperture to see detail of celestial objects other than the moon. It is a great spotter type telescope which may supplement your high powerered manual telescope to cut down time in finding objects
- check all the parts before you setup the telescope, I received damaged, missing parts and had to get replacements
- I was able to find a number of deep sky objects in the sky with this telescope but could not see much detail other than bright dot(s), still it is pretty neat to locate these objects at the touch of a button

Another Recommendation
Buy the Dobsonion from Orion. It costs the same amount of money (about [$$$]), it doesn't have the auto goto features like Celestrons, but you get a lot more viewing power i.e. focal length of 1200 mm vs. 400 mm, aperture of 150 mm vs. 80 mm, better view finder etc.

Andy

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharp images, poor magnification
I'm a novice as far as telescopes goes. Actually this is my first one. Getting it to work won't take more than 5 minutes (including the unpacking) Assembling it is very straightforward.

For terrestial objects I am very happy with it. I was able to see crisp images of objects more than 20 miles away.

The hand control is also easy to use. It is a battery eater. And be careful, if you leave the battery pack connected, the next day you will realize they are gone.

As far as magnification, I feel a little bit dissapointed. I was able to see Jupiter and 4 of it's moons, also Saturn is visible along it's rings. However the image is so small you'll get a headache after a couple of minutes due to the strain on your eyes. The moon looks great. I was also able to see what I presume was a satellite. It was like a very small lighted dot blinking and moving very fast on the sky for 1 or 2 minutes.

Overall it is a good telescope, but if you are a first timer, don't expect to see the planets as big balloons with all kinds of patterns.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very nice telescope
Having shopped around, a lot, and keeping it below $$$, this is a great telescope. The red diode star finder makes zero-ing in on objects a snap! Really! What a neet invention. This telescope is too easy to set up. And the computer control works great too. For the $$$, this IS a very nice product. My ONLY suggestion is to also order a stronger eyepiece than what comes with it. The two that come with this scope dont do it justice. Mars looks great, and with a stronger eyepiece, you can see the dark bloches/spots on Mars. It wont be like the big close-ups from the hubble, but you'll enjoy what you see. And the moon is so clear and close up, you will feel like you can take a walk on it. The tripod is ok, a little flimsy but does its job. A happy purchase...

3-0 out of 5 stars Wow! Too much telescope for beginners
Bought this as a gift for hubby. We live with 360 degree view from Sierras to Sacto/Mt. Diablo, etc. but found this too much to figure out. Spent hours with little books that glow to find constellations...much easier than waiting for Celestron 80 to "skew" and then haven't a clue where it is or what it's doing. Mom bought it so will spend precious hours doing a techno. but feels overwhelmed. Suggestions? Classes at JC?

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Beginner Scope - Some Small Annoyances
I've wanted a telescope for years, and finally decided to get one this Christmas. I bought the Celestron Nexstar 80 based on what I deemed as a good compromise between optical capabilities and ease of use. For the most part, I'm very happy with the purchase.

Setup could not be easier. I was ready to rumble in minutes.

Being a pure beginner, I needed the GOTO functions to help get me started. Within five minutes of bringing the scope outside, I was checking out Saturn's rings and scoping out Jupiter. I even managed to find the Orion Nebula. And I had no idea how to find these things without the scope's help. Now, after only a few days, I can find them on my own - which saves lots of battery life.

There are some annoying design problems. As many other reviews have noted, the battery pack is a pain. The connection to the scope slides out far too easily, dumping alignment. Also, the wiring on the battery pack itself is fairly fragile. As soon as you break the scope out of the box, you should Velcro or tape the battery pack to the motorized mount (not the tripod legs). This will save you some disappointment.

I was also disappointed in the readability of the hand controller. As the text scrolls by, it's very difficult to read. Don't fret too much about this, though. After you align it once or twice - you won't need to read the display that often, anyway.

Lastly, while I have found the optics very good, I would recommend purchasing a 6mm and/or 4mm eyepiece right off the bat when you order your scope. The 25mm and 10mm eyepieces that come with the kit are great, but you're going to want more magnification the first time you look at Jupiter, Saturn, etc. And while you're buying an additional eyepiece, grab a moon filter and a solar filter as well. My daughter loves looking at the moon with the telescope, but it's so bright that it destroys your night vision for ten minutes without the filter.

Overall, I'm very happy with the telescope. I have really enjoyed it, and look forward to exploring the night sky for years to come. Who knows, maybe this is the first of more telescopes in my future. ... Read more


16. Meade DS2130ATS Telescope
by Meade
list price: $899.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005QWYO
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Meade
Sales Rank: 1961
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Electronic Control Panel
  • 10,000 object database
  • 9-speed dual-axis operation
  • GoTo capability
  • Autostar controller

17. Celestron Firstscope 114 Short Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $378.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000051TN5
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 2979
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Celestron's compact Firstscope 114 Short Telescope offers three times the light gathering power of 60mm refractors in a system that's light, portable, and affordable. The package includes the CG-2 equatorial mount, an adjustable aluminum tripod, two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), a red dot finder scope, and an introductory version of "The Sky" astronomy software.

With this telescope its easy to see Saturn's rings and Jupiter's cloud belts. When the night air is still and clear I've been able to see the Cassini division in Saturn's rings and even spot the shadow of Jupiter's moons crossing the planets cloud tops! Deep space objects like star clusters and galaxies also show up nicely. The Ring Nebula M57, for instance, shows up as a pale smoke ring, and globular clusters like M13 and M15 begin to reveal their individual stars.

The compact 18-inch long optical design of the Firstscope 114 Short is very similar to the computerized Nexstar 114-GT. Like the Nexstar 114, this telescope uses a short focal length mirror combined with a corrector lens to simulate a traditional long tube reflector. This works best at moderate powers; at low power the stars seem out of focus near the edges. Planet views are OK if you keep the planet near the sweet spot in the center, but again sharpness declines toward the edges. If you're willing to spend a little more, Celestron's long tube Firstscope 114EQ is capable of sharper images.

To get the best views from a Newtonian reflector, the optics may need to be tuned up or "collimated" occasionally. I find a Collimation Tool helps get this fine tuning just right. The other essential accessory is a guide book like NightWatch or a subscription toNight Sky magazine; once you own a telescope you'll want to know where to look for cool sights like planets and galaxies!Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Compact and affordable
  • Includes all the basics
  • Good (but not great) optics
Cons:
  • Views are soft around the edges
  • Optics may need fine tuning
  • Terrestrial images are upside down
... Read more

Features

  • Manual slow-motion controls
  • Newtonian reflector optics
  • 1,000mm focal length
  • Comes with adjustable aluminum tripod
  • 18-inch tube is compact and portable

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars good scope...
i took delivery of this scope about a week ago, and though i haven't used it much for astronomical observing, i have had a whale of a time with terrestrial stuff. for the price i paid, it's an excellent VFM product, and i'm looking forward for the skies to clear so that i can really freak out with this telescope, with astrophotography being at the top of my list.

now to specifics...

the equatorial mount is not 100% rock-solid - it's a little shaky sometimes, specially when i set it up in a hurry - but any trembles settle within about 5 to 6 seconds. the 4.5" aperture is fairly decent, and i have found that contrast provided by the included eyepieces is pretty decent. i'm not sure what kind of eyepieces are included, as i'm yet to hear from celestron on this query. the 10mm ep doesn't have as good eye-relief as does the 20mm, but that's to be expected (and is not specific to this scope), i guess.

the scope was delivered by adorama.com, and was fairly well packed. collimation was near perfect, and i haven't meddled with this one yet.

i'll need to transport this one back home to india - more than 8000 miles away by air, and still need to find out what will happen to alignment on that journey - according to all accounts, i'll need to collimate it when it lands back home. celestron doesn't include much by way of enlightenment on collimation - they only say to visually eyeball alignment - this is sketchy at best, and i'll need to read up on this one and not trust the manual totally.

while on the manual... looks like this was written by some sweatshop employee without much grasp of the language, the component break-up image is missing some part number indicators, etc., etc... don't go by the manual much - just look at it as something that celestron needs to include with the scope, and they have done it - absolutely no quality there.

parts... the scope is of pretty good quality - mostly metal parts; a little plastic, though bearable. the ota looks like it will take a lot of abuse and seems to be sturdily built. parts of the mount may need to be shimmed to get close tolerances - to ensure less shaking than current. an optional t-ring has to be bought to plug an slr camera to the unit, so that feature is available on demand, too.

my personal conclusion: it's an excellent scope for my money, and i'm very happy with the purchase. am looking forward to carry out some decent astrophotography with it, and shall try to update this review, if at all possible.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good scope
This a very portable scope. Its aperture is big enough to show pleasing views of fairly bright deep sky objects. The planets are good,but not as good as a refractor of similar aperture. Its mount is not that shaky. I recommend this scope for anyone starting in astronomy. ... Read more


18. Galileo FS120DX 1000x 120mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope
by Galileo Visions, Inc
list price: $229.95
our price: $199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00013Q3SY
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Galileo Visions, Inc
Sales Rank: 3488
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Features

  • Newtonian reflector telescope with slow motion controls
  • Zoom eyepieces change power levels without having to change eyepieces
  • Pre-assembled tripod for fast easy set up
  • Focal length: 1000mm
  • Objective lens: 120mm

19. Celestron Firstscope 70EQ 70mm Refractor Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $358.00
our price: $139.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000051TMZ
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 2700
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

Celestron's Firstscope 70 EQ combines the solid optical performance of a classic achromatic refractor with a German-style equatorial mount. This telescope has half the light gathering power and half the weight of Celestron's well regarded C102HD telescope, but for much less than half the cost.

The optics in my Firstscope 70 EQ are quite good by any standard. Achromatic refractors have two objective lenses, the second lens acts to compensate for "chromatic aberration", the false color or blue fringes seen in low cost telescopes. In daylight tests, I see very little blue fringing with the standard equipment 10mm eyepiece (90X), and none at all with the 20mm eyepiece (45X). The views of stars and planets are also quite good. Bright double stars like Castor (one of the "twins" in the constellation Gemini) and Algieba in the constellation Leo are cleanly split at 90x with the 10mm eyepiece. I can begin to see detail in Saturn's rings and I've even watched the shadow of Jupiter's smallest moon Europa glide across the planet's cloud belts. This performance is close to the theoretical limit of any 70mm telescope.

The Firstscope 70 EQ features a classic achromatic refractor design.
The performance of the Firstscope 70 EQ is limited somewhat by the included accessories. The equatorial mount needs to be assembled when it comes out of the box, the instruction booklet has sketches rather than photos to guide the assembly. This telescope "kit" is easier to assemble than the typical model airplane, which is good because model airplanes usually come with better instructions. The included "star pointer" finder scope is easy to use when looking for bright stars and planets, but it's hard to use for spotting faint objects like galaxies. The best accessory you could get for this telescope would be an introductory guide book like Nightwatch by Terrence Dickinson, or NightSky magazine. The best additional eyepiece would be a7.5mm plossl eyepiece (120X) to bring out more detail on the moon and planets.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality and value of Celestron's imported telescopes. Reviewers often recommend avoiding any telescope under $300, but I have to tell you, if all beginner telescopes had optics as good the Firstscope 70 EQ, beginner telescopes would have a much better reputation. -- Jeff Phillips

Pros:

  • Classic refractor design delivers great views of the moon and planets.
  • Package includes everything you need to get started.
Cons:
  • Equatorial mount could be more solid.
  • Instruction booklet could be more user friendly.
... Read more

Features

  • 2 eyepieces (45x and 90x)
  • German equatorial, CG-2 mount
  • Star Pointer finder scope
  • Slow-motion controls and setting circles
  • f13 focal ratio

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't spend the money
This is my second telescope.
It is difficult to set up.
You can see just as well with a good pair of binoculars.
Save your money. It is not fun.
I'll probably donate it just go get it out of the house.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great starter scope!
When this scope first arrived I was very pleased. It looked great and I couldn't wait to try it. I immediatly began setting it up, which was a difficult task. The instructions gave a photo that had tiny arrows pointing to different parts of the scope. [I still can't figure out what angle their photo was taken from.] The directions started out easy to follow, but later on it seemed that their writer had taken them from a guide-book on flowers found in the Sahara. I'm 14 though, and even I managed to use common sense to put the scope together.[It doesn't hurt to have a couple of magazines handy, such as Sky and Telescope or Astronomy.]
After setting the scope up and fingering with the controls while the sun went down I eagerly set it up outside. I live out in the country so I didn't have to worry about street lights, and using the finderscope attachment I easily located Jupiter. Bringing it into focus, I was able to easily see 7 of its moons. From that point I have steadily grown more accustomed to the controls, and for the cost I paid this scope has turned out to be wonderful!

5-0 out of 5 stars great first time telescope !!
After looking at the night sky with binoculars all these years I decided to get my first telescope.WOW ! I was amazed at what I can see with this celestron firstscope 70 EQ !! Iv been looking at the rings of Saturn !!(which are at their peak viewing this year and next),the moons of Jupiter where I can also see some of the bands on Jupiter.And the moon is a grand site with this scope also.It very easy to use once you get it put together. I had to have my son help me put it together. The Star Pointer finder scope makes it easy to locate what your looking for. I would recomend this scope to any first time users.
I also like the fact that you can buy other eyepeices and filters for this scope.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good starter scope for some people
This is a good starter scope for some people, most notably those who don't know if they want to spend more than $500 to buy a better starter scope, and don't mind spending more later if they enjoy the hobby. I own a few scopes, and have used dozens, so I had an idea of what I was getting with my money. This scope will let you have fair views of Jupiter including the moons and the two equatorial belts, nice views of Saturn, although the Cassini division isn't clear, spectacular views of the moon, and not too bad views of Venus and Mars, given the size of the scope. Deep space objects will take a lot of time and patience to appriciate them. Make no mistake, these will not be great views compared to Hubble, but if you could get great views with a $200 telescope on the ground, why would you spend millions to put a telescope in space. You get what you pay for.

And you'll need to pay for more. You'll want at a minimum one or two additional eyepieces (I never use the high power eyepiece that it came with, as it's a piece of junk), a moon filter, maybe a couple of colored filters. I also have an external motor and some astrophotography supplies, but note that this scope is not recommended for astrophotography. Of course, if you like spending dozens of hours taking three rolls of film for 2-5 decent (but not spectacular) photos, go right ahead, but there are much better scopes on the market for that part of the hobby. The equatorial mount is also difficult for many folks to work with, but if you plan on putting a motor on the scope it is essential. Best use of this scope for me is setting it out on the front drive, put Jupiter or Saturn in the view, turn the motor on, and let the neighbors come round and learn a little astronomy.

Overall, a great scope for under $300, but know what you're buying and realize this isn't the greatest scope out there. Still, it's a dandy scope! ... Read more


20. Celestron Explorascope 80mm Reflector Telescope
by Celestron
list price: $79.99
our price: $69.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001M2AXC
Catlog: Photography
Manufacturer: Celestron
Sales Rank: 1098
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Features

  • 11% more light gathering than a 76mm telescope
  • Tripod adaptable
  • Carrying strap included
  • Allows for collimation adjustments
  • Erect Image eyepiece for terrestrial use

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