Celestron telescopes for beginners – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’ve never looked through a telescope before and you wish to try one, then you are probably confused as to which one is the best beginners’ telescope and therefore suited to learning. There are so many things to take into account, from the aperture and focal length to computerized mounts, tripods, and last but not least, price. The good news is that we have scanned the market for the best Celestron telescope for beginners to ensure that you get a model that’s easy to use comes with great features and also sells for a low price. Out of the many models that we have reviewed, the Celestron 80LCM is our top choice. Compact and lightweight, this portable telescope comes with a decent aperture and good focal length, intuitive controls and a database with info on thousands of celestial bodies. In case you find it sold out, then the Celestron 60LCM is our second-best recommendation.
You may have heard of aperture, focal length, eyepiece and other terms, yet have no idea what they mean or what they do for a telescope. You don’t have to be an astronomer to learn these, and thankfully, we have created a short guide that will walk you through the basics of telescopes. By reading our tips, you won’t just find out what an aperture does, but also what to look for in a telescope and which one to choose as your very first model.
Aperture and focal length
The aperture is a term which describes the diameter of the main optical component of a telescope, which is usually a mirror or a lens. Think of it as a bucket used to capture light: the bigger it is, the more light it can gather. The more light you get, the brighter objects in the sky appear.
A large aperture also means a higher resolution, meaning that with higher apertures you get to see more details and sharper images. Most beginner telescopes have relatively small apertures, yet they come at a great price and provide the perfect opportunity to practice astronomy.
It’s not all about magnification
Magnification is given by the focal length of the lens and the focal lengths of the eyepieces you choose. So for a 500-mm telescope with a 20-mm eyepiece, the magnification is 25x. You can increase magnification by selecting eyepieces with shorter focal lengths.
You should know, however, that magnification isn’t that great if you don’t have a large enough aperture. That is because you have a lower resolution to magnify in the first place when you use a telescope with a small aperture, and the more you magnify objects, the fuzzier they’ll appear and the fewer details you’ll be able to observe. So you need to think about both aperture and magnifying powers, as well as the fact that, as a beginner, you’d best start out small.
Usability and design
It doesn’t matter how much your telescope can magnify celestial objects if it takes you an hour to set it up and another to dismount and pack it. More complex (and more expensive) telescopes offer indeed higher performances, but if you’re just starting out, chances are you’ll barely know what to do with the main controls, let alone align the telescope with multiple targets or use finer adjustments.
The best thing to do is to get a simple model first so that you get to enjoy your first stargazing experiences without losing track of which knob does what and losing the interest to get out to watch the night sky in the first place, knowing that you’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure it out before you can actually use it.
Top beginners Celestron telescopes reviews in 2017
Now that you know some basics about telescopes, it is time to take a look at some of the popular models fit for beginner use. Here we have chosen 5 Celestron telescopes which are simple to use yet offer great performance at a relatively low price. Check out their features, and don’t forget to follow our tips when looking for the best telescope for sale.
The Celestron 80LCM is a high-quality refractor telescope that’s suited to both beginners as well as stargazing enthusiasts. With an aperture of 80 mm or 3.15 inches, this telescope will provide you with plenty of details as well enough brightness to study craters on the Moon or other distant planets or star clusters.
With a focal length of 900 mm or 35 inches, this telescope can provide you with a standard magnification of 36x with the 25-mm eyepiece and 100 x with the 9-mm eyepiece. Thanks to the computerized mount which features the NexStar computer technology, you gain access to a database containing information about 4,000 celestial objects, which can also be extended by 10,000 more with the bonus Astronomy software.
Celestron 80LCM is lightweight and also comes with a sturdy aluminum tripod which is light, meaning that it’s easy to carry around with you anywhere you go.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($241)
When it comes to choosing the best telescope from Celestron to suit a beginner, the 60LCM is one of the top favorites. This is a 60 mm (2.36 inch) computerized refractor that will help you learn the ropes of sky watching. The computerized mount is easy to use, can be easily removed with a quick-release clamp and it offers extensive info on 4,000 celestial objects.
You can also start learning constellations and galaxies thanks to the StarPointer finderscope which will help you align and locate with high accuracy objects in the night sky. You also get to benefit from the SkyAlign feature which uses 3 bright celestial objects to provide you with easy and fast alignment.
The Celestron 60LCM also comes with flash-upgradeable software and the ability to download info on tens of thousands of celestial objects such as star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies as well as planets closer to Earth.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($190.75)
Astro Master 102AZ
The Celestron Astro Master 102AZ is an entry-level telescope that’s great for both celestial and terrestrial observation. It boasts a 102mm or 4-inch aperture and a 660mm or 26-inch focal length, providing useful magnification of up to 66 x with the 10-mm eyepiece. With this kind of magnification, even beginners can observe distant planets and star systems without having to pay a load of money on professional equipment.
The Celestron Astro Master 102AZ is a refractor telescope that’s designed to be installed in a few minutes, offering easy-to-use controls which are ideal for a novice. The steel tripod comes with 1.25-inch tubes which will ensure greater stability for the telescope, allowing you to obtain crisp views of distant objects without annoying movement.
With a compact body and foldable tripod, the 102AZ is easy to carry around so that you won’t miss the opportunity to admire a bright and clear sky even when you’re traveling.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($195.12)
When it comes to beginners’ telescope reviews, the Celestron PowerSeeker 70EQ ranks quite well in terms of positive feedback. The 70mm/2.76-inch aperture ensures bright and clear images as well as a good amount of detail even on distant objects.
With a focal length of 700 mm (28 in) and two included eyepieces, you get to study distant celestial objects with ease, thanks to the 35 x and 175 x magnifications provided. All optical elements are multi-coated to remove color fringes and other optical defects, resulting in accurate and clear images. The Celestron PowerSeeker 70EQ is also equipped with a 3x Barlow lens which can triple the power of magnification provided by eyepieces.
Thanks to the slow motion controls, you can easily and smoothly track both celestial and terrestrial targets and improve your focusing abilities. You also get to start out with a 10,000-object database and printable sky maps to guide you through the main constellations.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109)
The Celestron 60mm Equatorial PowerSeeker is yet another great telescope for beginners.
With intuitive controls for smooth tracking and an easy setup, you can start observing the night sky in just a few minutes.
You can easily make room in a backpack or in your car to take it with you on both daily trips and longer journeys – thanks to its lightweight body and an aluminum tripod.
With a 60-mm (2.36 in) aperture, the Celestron 60mm Equatorial PowerSeeker can provide you with bright and highly-detailed images of both close objects such as the Moon as well as further-away constellations and nebulae.
When it comes to magnification, this model is quite potent, thanks to the long focal length of the lens (900 mm or 35 inches) and the two eyepieces of 20 mm and 4 mm, with magnification powers of 45 x and 225 x respectively.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($86.37)