For generations now, my family (father’s side primarily) have been telescope fanatics.
And ever since my grandfather’s peculiar inclination towards this particular brand, a Celestron scope has always been a part of the family, with a special space reserved for it in the attic by the window.
So, it’s with a lot of nostalgia that (on reader demand) I am writing a review on some of the best Celestron models out there in the market today.
Celestron, apart from my father and our Big Bend Camping trips, was indeed a huge part of why I went into astronomy and in particular stargazing, to begin with.
They have a versatile range of scopes to choose from, and in my list, I bring you some of my absolute favorites, which are bound to catch your fancy as well.
So sit back and read along.
Table of Contents
- Best Celestron Telescopes of All Time
- Celestron Telescopes – Top 7
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Celestron Telescopes – Top 7
1. PowerSeeker 127EQ
The scope is one of the easiest to use on my list and perfectly balances out power and affordability to make it a highly sought after model.
- Comes with a sturdy mount and slow-motion control knobs for smoothly tracking objects.
- Is lightweight and portable, making it just perfect for camping and hiking trips.
- Has a bonus Starry Night Astronomy Software Package for beginner astronomers.
Now, the highlight feature of this Celestron model for me is going to be the ‘easy to use features’ along with the informative astronomy software.
I often recommend this scope for amateur stargazers, who are quite new to the hobby and are in need of a high-powered yet affordable and beginner-friendly scope.
The bonus Starry night Astronomy package is just amazing when it comes to getting them hooked onto star gazing. The basic edition alone is free and contains information on over 10,000 celestial objects, along with printable sky maps and constellation charts.
The lightweight and portable body is surprisingly durable if you ask me, and can make PowerSeeker 127EQ, the perfect companion for any trip.
However, one gripe that I do have with this model is with the optics alignment. It takes a decent amount of time to adjust the optics and cancel out the haziness, which can honestly test your patience during mild cloudy days.
2. 70mm Travel Scope
It comes with features that cater to the needs of both amateur and seasoned stargazers. But I would say it best fits globetrotting astronomers, who like to indulge in their stargazing hobbies while on the go.
- Comes with a high-quality, 70mm objective lens, which produces fantastic clear images.
- Allows great views of both terrestrial and celestial objects, making it just perfect for wildlife viewing.
- Has a convenient backpack and tripod as an added bonus to the pack.
If you love going on long camping trips and just pitch your tent in the middle of nowhere under a clear, star-studded sky, then I suggest you don’t leave home without this scope.
This Celestron model is also the one I frequently use with my son when going out on our weekend getaways, and has over the months been able to provide us with some of the most memorable views of the galaxy.
The higher quality of the lens can help you to effortlessly view objects such as star clusters, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, and her craters, the Andromeda Galaxy, and even the Orion Nebula.
The scope is also not that hard to use, so my son is able to track objects on it as well, and this is precisely what makes it so very versatile.
But, the tripod that comes with the scope is not to my liking at all. It’s not even remotely sturdy when fully extended, and tracking objects through it by keeping a constant angle is an incredibly difficult task, to say the least. I’d suggest getting better tripods separately.
3. 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ
Now, if you’re particularly looking for a very affordable scope with which you can see both celestial and terrestrial objects, then the Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ will fit your requirements perfectly.
From wildlife viewing to amateur stargazing, this scope can indeed turn out to be your favorite companion.
- Comes with a permanently mounted StarPointer finderscope to help you spot objects rather quickly
- Is designed with a quick-release dovetail attachment, which allows for a no-tool setup.
- The inbuilt German Equatorial Mount can help you keep track of the viewing object.
When trying out this telescope for yourself, don’t expect to get incredibly detailed celestial images. This scope is more for viewing far-off terrestrial objects and certain outer space objects like the Moon, her craters, Jupiter and Saturn.
Planets and celestial objects which are much closer to Earth can be very conveniently seen through the scope and kept track of with the equatorial mount.
The body is relatively lightweight, and much like the 70mm Travel scope, it can be an amazing choice to bring along on your next camping trip.
However, what disappoints me about the scope is the lense that comes with it. Unlike the rest of the models on the list, this one doesn’t exactly come with a reliably powerful lense.
Sure! In the price range that this scope falls under, you honestly cannot ask for more, but I felt the image quality to be lacking in comparison. I would suggest you invest in a better lens kit if you do consider to go for it.
4. NexStar 127SLT Mak Computerized
Though a bit more expensive than the previous scope models, with the variety of modern features that it’s equipped with, I really do not think that price is a factor here.
It’s by far one of the best’ value for money’ scopes out there today.
- Has an automated and computerized star locating system.
- Compact and portable design, with great magnifying power.
- Maksutov-Cassegrain Optics for amazing light-gathering potential.
This Celestron model is best used for educational purposes, and suits settings such as schools, planetariums, and astronomy clubs perfectly.
The SLT of the NexSat stands for ‘Star Locating Telescope,’ and will allow you to choose from a database of over 4,000 stars, galaxies, and nebulae to view.
And this feature is what makes the scope so very valuable as a teaching tool when orienting the young minds to the field of stargazing. The students can very easily use the scope to automatically track any celestial object they want with pinpoint accuracy.
The ‘Sky Tour’ program is another convenient feature that the scope comes with.
If at a given point of time you aren’t sure of what to observe in the night sky, then this scope is capable of generating a list of the best objects which are currently visible based on your exact time and location.
But if you’re willing to go for this scope, be wary of the mount. The scope seems to be prone to shaking, which I found to be more of a mounting issue than a tripod one.
5. PowerSeeker 70EQ
It’s perfect for both amateur and adept users, especially with the easy setup and the Starry Sky software.
- Comes with a 3X Barlow lens, which is capable of significantly improving the magnifying power.
- Has slow-motion controls which makes tracking objects easy.
- Optic glasses have a high transmission coating which enhances image brightness and clarity.
In my book, when it comes to image clarity, I don’t think that there are many models out there that can compete with the PowerSeeker 70EQ.
Because of the 3x Barlow and the specially coated lens, the resulting image through the telescope is incredibly detailed, to say the least. In fact, I can easily make out the stripes on Jupiter as well as Saturn’s rings.
While the Barlow lens is capable of magnifying the image by almost three times, the high transmission coating, on the other end, improves the light-gathering power and keeps the image from blurring.
However, the PowerSeeker 70EQ is not as compact and as durable as I would have liked it to be. Traveling with it is quite tricky, and is one of the reasons why I hardly ever take it out of my room, even though it has easy setup features.
6. 114LCM Computerized
The scope has an amazing computerized technology that will help you locate thousands of celestial objects automatically, without much problem at all.
- Uses the Nexstar along with the hand control features to help you track objects automatically.
- The 114mm Newtonian refractor offers some of the best light gathering potential.
- Allows for a sky alignment feature for easy setup and object tracking.
This Celestron model, in my opinion, is simply one of the best telescopes if you’re looking for a very family-friendly model.
So what makes it such a huge hit among a family of budding stargazers?
Well, it’s appeal has a lot to do with the LCM system that it’s designed with. Apart from the easy setup with the SkyAlign, the LCM will help you orient the scope with the night sky.
All you have to do is put in the time, date, and location, and you’re all set.
Additionally, you can then browse the hand control’s database and select any star, planet, galaxy, or nebulae present in the database.
However, there is one aspect of the scope, which doesn’t exactly make it user-friendly to be very honest. It has a bird jones lens in the focuser which makes it an incredibly difficult job to collimate the scope with a laser collimator.
Sure! You can take out the lens and do it, but that’s a rather inconvenient way of going about it.
7. AstroMaster 70AZ
If you’re searching for a superior scope which apart from being ‘professionally-designed’ is ‘long-lasting’ with a ‘dual-purpose’ build, then this model from Celestron might just be able to give you what you’re looking for.
This is an incredibly powerful scope, to be honest, and this is precisely why I will not be recommending it for newer stargazers. Aligning and focusing it will take expert knowledge.
- Comes with a ‘fully coated 70mm glass erect image optic’ which will allow you to observe celestial bodies at night and wildlife during the day.
- The lightweight frame of the scope comes with a panning handle and an Alt-Azimuth mount for smooth and accurate pointing.
I had the opportunity of trying this scope out in the local planetarium near Big Bend, and I must say, that for me it was able to provide one of the most thrilling deep space viewings.
The two eyepieces that come with the scope, when combined with the 70mm Aperture, produces some amazing magnification.
The 20mm eyepiece is able to provide a 45x magnification, while the 10mm will give you a zoom of up to 90x.
I was able to spot the furthest of nebulae clusters with ease and with fantastic clarity and perception, which I don’t believe any other scope of its class can provide.
Additionally, the Alt-Azimuth mount, along with the panning handle allows for smooth tracking of the object.
However, this very smoothness and elasticity acts as a double-edged sword, and doesn’t allow the scope to lock onto the mount all that well; making it spring back to its starting point every now and then.
Aperture and Image Quality
In layman terms, the Aperture of the telescope is the diameter of the primary mirror or lens which is used to capture the light that bounces off of objects.
So, the larger the Aperture, the more light, can the telescope capture, thereby resulting in much brighter images. Telescopes with larger apertures provide much more detailed images as well, along with a higher resolution and sharper details.
Aperture and Magnification
Quite contrary to popular belief, the aperture of a telescope doesn’t affect its magnifying capabilities at all.
It’s the focal length of the telescope that affects the magnifications along with the quality of the lens and the type of eyepiece that you use.
Focal length is essentially the distance between the main lens through which the light enters the scope and the focal plane where the image is formed.
So if a telescope model has a number written along it, let’s say 600, then 600mm is the effective focal length of the telescope.
However, the telescope’s main lens isn’t the only one with a focal length; eyepieces have a focal length as well.
Therefore, the magnifying power of a scope can be calculated by dividing the focal length of the primary lens, by that of the eyepiece.
So, if my math is correct, then a 600mm telescope with a 25mm eyepiece will have a magnification of 24.
You can always try and improve the magnifying capabilities of your scope with an eyepiece of a shorter focal length. But that will tax the image quality severely, and without the adequate Aperture, the resulting image might just be very blurry.
The stability of the scope
Without a scope mount which is stable, the Aperture or even the magnifying capabilities will not amount to much.
The base of the scope needs to be sturdy and solid to allow it to rest without making it sway to and fro in all directions. This would make focusing on the object that you want, incredibly hard, and tracking it almost impossible.
So, try to go for a model which has a great mount, so that you track the celestial objects you want to view with ease and lock onto them while at the same time taking Earth’s movements into account.
Size and Power vs. Portability
Telescope which boast larger apertures, are primarily chosen by those space observers, who wish to view specific dim and deep space objects like nebulae and star clusters.
As the image needs to be bright and clear, the scope should be able to gather as much light as possible.
Hence, deep space objects are viewed with scope that have a lower power, but they are often very expensive and out of reach for most amateur stargazers.
However, if you have the budget to go for these expensive, larger aperture scopes, the question of portability always comes in. A larger than average amateur scope would require a permanent observatory so that you never have to move it, or the help of others in transporting and setting it up. Hence, there is always a compromise between convenience and power.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a great Celestron telescope to purchase?
The following 7 Celestron telescopes are my all-time favorites (in random order):
- PowerSeeker 127EQ
- 70mm Travel Scope
- 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ
- NexStar 127SLT Mak Computerized
- PowerSeeker 70EQ
- 114LCM Computerized
- AstroMaster 70AZ
Is Celestron a good telescope brand?
Celestron is one of the best brands to look at if you’re looking to buy a beginner or a professional grade telescope. Regardless of your requirements, we’re sure you’ll find what you want.
What aperture telescope should be the best for you?
The telescope you get will primarily depend on the objects you wish to see. Keep in mind that a high-end telescope with a large aperture is usually very expensive. So, if you’re planning to just see the Moon and other closer celestial objects, then there is no point in investing in one.
A low-cost, low-aperture telescope will suite that requirement just fine.
Moreover, the build quality of the scope also affects the overall image resolution. Lenses or glass mirrors which are finely-ground will be able to bring out much more detail from the viewed object. But they are not all that budget-friendly.
How much is a decent telescope?
A decent telescope will cost you somewhere between $150-$250. Note that these aren’t necessarily models for enthusiasts; they’re mostly for those who want to get into stargazing or expand their knowledge on astronomy.
Which telescope is perfect for kids?
Celestron as a telescope brand has been in the stargazing field for a very long time now. So they know what their customers are looking for, and that is precisely what they try to cater to with their versatile range of telescopes.
I hope this guide today was able to help you out on knowing the best telescopes made by Celestron.