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I bought this knowing nothing about telescopes and not knowing what I could expect to see through this thing.

Now I know more, I think this is a decent value, but it comes with A LOT of cons.

In telescopes, the aperture size matters much more than magnification. The bigger the aperture, the better the image will be. This is a 70mm aperture (2.75 inches), which is about as small as you can get. It’s typical for an “entry-level” telescope, and a decent value for the money if you want to get into stargazing without dropping 500 bucks or more on a bigger scope.

However, if I could do it over again, I would’ve spent more and gone with a better one.

First, as with all beginner telescopes, it is actually much harder to use than a more intermediate level one. This is something well-known in the amateur astronomy group I’ve joined, and they never, EVER recommend buying a beginner telescope, ESPECIALLY for kids.

Because most kids like looking AT stuff more than looking FOR it. And with this telescope, far more time is spent hunting for objects than actually looking at them.

My kid doesn’t have the patience or attention span for that, but I rather enjoy the challenge, so I do it. Which brings me to the next problem.

This is made for kids. As such, the stand is very short. Which means that all the time you spend hunting for things, you’ll having to be hunched over, crouched down, or kneeling on the ground.

And if you live in a place with a lot of light pollution, you won’t be able to see much more than stars, the Moon, or the brightest planets. Even Mars is difficult to see through this telescope, and you can’t make out any detail whatsoever on the surface.

You can make out SOME faint detail on Jupiter, especially if you go away from light pollution on a clear, moonless night. And you can just make out Saturn’s rings.

Venus, on the other hand, is very easy to see. Especially now, near the end of April 2020, it is the brightest it’ll be all year, so we’ve been looking at it every night. It’s too bright, even at its dimmest, to make out any detail, but you can see what phase it’s in.

Galaxies, most nebulas, and many star clusters are beyond the ability of this telescope, but that being said, I was able to see a planetary nebula called The Ghost of Jupiter last night.

For perspective, I’ve had a few weeks of use and practice, and feel comfortable with the telescope, and have a number of apps, charts, and star maps to help me find things, and it STILL took over an hour for me to finally find it, put it close enough to the center of my field of view to use with max magnification, and put it in focus.

And even then, it looked like a hazy, bluish star. We couldn’t make out any detail or the distinctive eye-shape that can be seen with even slightly larger scopes.

Still, it was cool and the kid loved it. I consider it worth the effort, but my back is killing me today.

Don’t get me wrong, for an entry-level telescope, this is good. It’ll serve our needs while we save up for an upgrade. But, like all entry-level telescopes, this is harder to use and not powerful enough to see much.

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