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Celestron Powerseeker 114 OTA Review

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#1 Charlie Hein

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 08:04 AM

Celestron Powerseeker 114 OTA Review

By Terry Nakazono

#2 Gert K A

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:06 PM

A very nice revue
I love the well working reflector/refractor combo for the extreme budget and portability
That right there is probably the most sky for the buck ;)

Good job thank you for sharing
-Gert

#3 tnakazon

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 10:06 PM

Thanks Gert, you're welcome!

#4 Ed D

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:00 AM

I enjoyed reading your review of the 114mm OTA. Well done and informative.

Ed D

#5 tnakazon

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:25 PM

Thanks Ed - I've enjoyed reading your postings on the various CN threads the past few years. I see that we joined CN only 2 months apart in 2010!

#6 GeneDiG

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:33 AM

Good work on the review. We need more reviews of entry level equipment. My workhorse is a long tube 114mm/f8 on an EQ2. I use it more than my 5" Mak. They're hard to beat for beginners.

#7 tnakazon

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:41 AM

The EQ1 that came with the Powerseeker makes a good equatorial mount for my Orion Short-Tube 80A.

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#8 tnakazon

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:14 AM

Good work on the review. We need more reviews of entry level equipment. My workhorse is a long tube 114mm/f8 on an EQ2. I use it more than my 5" Mak. They're hard to beat for beginners.

Thanks Gene! Was this 114/900 Tasco your first scope? Mine was a Tasco 66TE (50mm achromat) I bought in 1980 for $125. I wouldn't mind having one of these classic 4.5" Newtonians as a twin for my Powerseeker.

#9 condensermike

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:59 PM

hey, thanks for this great review! I am considering purchasing one of these.

#10 tnakazon

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 02:59 PM

hey, thanks for this great review! I am considering purchasing one of these.

Great! Truly an overlooked scope - many first-time telescope buyers pass this by in favor of the more expensive but optically inferior bird-jones Astromaster 114EQ.

Can easily find these online new for less than $130. I got mine at Overstock.com for $110.

Let me know if any questions.

#11 Darren

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:26 PM

Enjoyed reading your review, very informative. You have certainly squeezed every photon out of that Newt! I had a similar experience with a very similar OTA some years ago. The brand was Bushnell, but it was probably a Guan Sheng or Synta OTA, as virtually all of these are. It was a spherical f/8 114mm Newtonian on an EQ1 mount with substandard accessories. With upgraded EPs, etc, the OTA gave me some surprisingly good views.
However I would advise anyone considering purchasing such a scope to re-mount it, as you did. The rickety EQ-1 supplied with it will give you no end of frustration.

#12 tnakazon

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:43 PM

Thanks Darren! It's been my main observing scope since April. So far, I've used it to observe, log, and sketch 105 new DSO's.

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:30 PM

Terry:

A nice review.

I imagine had you tried some more difficult doubles like Porrima, Alula Australis and the double-double you would have gotten clean splits. I have a Celestron C4.5 and it takes it a while to cool but it's quite a good performer on doubles.

Jon

#14 tnakazon

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:20 PM

Hi Jon -

Actually, I've not tried it out on any other doubles besides the two mentioned in my review. Also, besides Omega Centauri and the two Messier globulars I mentioned, I've not even used it to re-observe other deep-sky objects I've seen before.

I've been using it mainly to seek out "new" DSO's not seen previously. Added 105 new objects to my deep-sky observing database with this scope since April.

Robin Scagell, UK author of Stargazing with a Telescope (3rd ed.) has this to say:

Only a few years ago, the standard 114 mm Newtonian reflector was a basic f/8, but now the manufacturers have shortened their focal ratios, presumably to make their telescopes shorter and more portable...A telescope with an aperture of 114mm, while by no means large, begins to open a real window on the Universe. You can see meaningful detail on the planets, given good conditions, and can cast your net wide in search of deep-sky objects. No longer are you restricted to the nearest galaxies and the brightest nebulae. This is the minimum size of telescope that a serious amateur astronomer can use...Regrettably, the standard classic long-focus 114 mm reflector is no longer widely available...

#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 05:18 AM

No longer are you restricted to the nearest galaxies and the brightest nebulae. This is the minimum size of telescope that a serious amateur astronomer can use...Regrettably, the standard classic long-focus 114 mm reflector is no longer widely available...



That doesn't quite jive with my experience.

I consider myself a "serious amateur" and I do quite a bit of observing with telescopes smaller than 4.5 inches. I also do quite a bit of observing with telescopes larger than 4.5 inches.. There is a lot to be seen in a good 80mm or even a good 60mm. J. Reynolds Freeman is well known for having completed the Herschel 400 with a 55mm refractor.

As far as the shorter focal ratios, a favorite scope of mine is the 130mm F/5 Newtonian with a 2 inch focuser. Very capable of both high magnification viewing and low power viewing of large faint objects.

That doesn't take away from the usefulness of the classic 114mm F/8, both have their place.

Jon

#16 tnakazon

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:18 PM

I agree with you - just wanted to share the thoughts of someone who holds the 114mm F/8 Newtonian in high regard. Skywatcher no longer distributes this scope in the UK, so I think this is what he was referring to regarding availability.

He also goes into some length as to what a 70mm & 80mm achromat can show, seeing that they are common beginner's scopes. I don't think he's dissing smaller scopes (I rather like his book).

Despite owning many smaller and a few larger scopes (aperture-wise), I see the Powerseeker 114 as being my main observing instrument for some time to come. I can boost the magnification up to 150x (using a 6mm EP) without recourse to a Barlow. Good for seeking out the smaller galaxies, star clusters and planetary nebulae that require higher power.

I should start looking at more double stars as well with this scope, per your suggestion.

#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 10:40 PM

Despite owning many smaller and a few larger scopes (aperture-wise), I see the Powerseeker 114 as being my main observing instrument for some time to come. I can boost the magnification up to 150x (using a 6mm EP) without recourse to a Barlow. Good for seeking out the smaller galaxies, star clusters and planetary nebulae that require higher power.



There is a lot to be said for a 4.5 inch F/8, the coma free region is almost 3/4 of a degree, it has little field curvature so the field is quite sharp. Collimation is not critical. The one challenge they face is the mount, they are much better on a mount like the AZ-4 or a Porta-mount.

My C4.5 is on loan to a guy at work. They are good loaner scopes because one does not have to be too concerned about collimation and finicky focus.

Jon

#18 tnakazon

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 06:44 PM

Yes, the sharp field of view makes viewing open clusters a pleasure. Observed quite a few in Scorpius (the Collinder, Trumpler, Bochum, Antalova, and other non-Messier ones) in Yucca Valley (north of Palm Springs) on the July 4th weekend. Views are very steady with the VersaGo II (identical to the AZ-4), even in slight breezy conditions.

Was at the OPT Southern California Astronomy Expo at Oceanside yesterday. Sad to see quite a few of these OTA's - along with the smaller 3" F/9.2 Newtonian versions - lying around at the swap meet storage room there. I have one of these 76/700mm Newtonians (Astromaster 76) and they are excellent performers as well, despite their size.

#19 themos

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:16 AM

I use mine for astrophotography, sometimes

http://astrob.in/56214/

#20 tnakazon

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:31 PM

I use mine for astrophotography, sometimes

http://astrob.in/56214/

Wow, that's awesome! Didn't think anyone would use this scope for imaging.

Added three new "kills" to my observing log/sketchbook with this scope last weekend:

IC 5271 PsA Glx 10.8 (visual mag.) 12.3 (s.b.)
NGC 7727 Aqr Glx 11.2 (visual mag.) 13.3 (s.b.)
NGC 7723 Aqr Glx 10.8 (visual mag.) 13.7 (s.b.)

The first required averted vision since it was low on the horizon - it's really a Southern Hemisphere constellation. The other two I was able to spot with direct vision - these are becoming harder to find as I've already scope'd out most of the galaxies visible in suburban (orange-zone) skies using scopes in the 4"-4.5" aperture range.

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