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Thread: A Decent Scope For Lunar and Near- By Planets Observation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Question A Decent Scope For Lunar and Near- By Planets Observation

    Hi, I wants to know about Celestron Travel Scope 70. Is it suitable for planets or it is a pile of junk ?. My friend told me that he got blurry view of Jupiter and Saturn, is it correct ? . Friends I am new in Astronomy and wants to have a scope for heavens view. Please suggest some good scope. My budget is 130 USD. Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    WA state, USA - Seattle area
    If your budget is US $130, I recommend a decent pair of 10X50 binocs. You'll get WAY more use out of those than a $130 scope. Your friend could have gotten blurry views for a number of reasons:
    1) Poor seeing/atmospheric stabilty
    2) Too much magnification for the scope
    3) Out of focus
    4) Questionable eyepeice quality
    5) etc.

    Here is HIGHLY recommended reading for any first time buyer. Don't buy anything till you read this:
    Also, search this forum, plent of 'what scope should I get' threads here. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Hi Galaxian, I can't tell you anything about the Celestron Travel Scope 70, but I can recommend their Astromaster 70mm refractor - it's excellent ! I have one and also have their 90mm Astromaster. They are very good. I also have a 5 inch refractor and a 12 inch sct. So, I know a good scope when I use it.

    Don't be put off and think ALL the small refractors are 'department store junk'. The 70mm here: ... just read the reviews. It's only $102.09 & free shipping, a deal and a steal,lol. I see they also have the EQ 70 for only $119.95 & the 90mm alt-az for $189.95.

    The 70mm Astromaster is a great starter scope. It's one you'll never give up - even if you move up to the biggies ! I've had my 70mm out looking at the moon - just a 'grab & go' scope.. to check out the seeing - so I know if it's worth it to open up the observatory roof for the 12 inch. Anyways, I've had the 70mm cranked up to 150x and it's still sharp as a tack. I'm sure I could get 180x or 200x out of it. I did check out Mars a few months back, at the not-so-great opposition, I could easily see the ice cap & some of the dark areas like Syrtis Major. Saturn is super in that scope. And Jupiter shows tons of detail ! I think you'll love this scope - a long tube 70 is so much better than ANY pair of binoc's. And this alt-az I can use for long range views of the mountains, etc.

    Hope this helps you !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

  5. #5
    Hi there Galaxian,

    The thing about that Celestron Travel Scope is that his has a very short focal length. The way to determine magnification of a telescope is to divide the focal length of the telescope by the focal length of the eyepiece used. So at 400mm focal length, the 20mm eyepiece it comes with only nets you 20x magnification, and the 10mm eyepiece 40x. To really see much detail on the planets, you're looking at needing 60-75x magnification or more.

    Don't misunderstand about low magnification; that can be a good thing for astronomy observing - but that's where aperture matters too. A 70mm scope has a limited aperture. Couple that with the short focal length, and being an achromatic lens design (which introduces an optical aberration called chromatic aberration), it can be a rather limiting scope design for astronomical use.

    But I understand the budget-limiting factor too. Redshifter makes a good point about binoculars, and that is often a best starting point for those interested in learning the stars and sky. But if you are intent on a telescope, consider one of these options that Sky and Telescope reviewed a while ago - decent options around the $100 price point, albeit each with strengths and weaknesses:

    Hope that helps.

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