Jump to content


* * * * *

Review of Explore Scientific First Light 8

Discuss this article in our forums

Review of Explore Scientific First Light 8

By Ed Wawrzaszek (CN member Red Brick)




I received this as a gift from my wife of nearly 40 years.


The scope arrived in two boxes. It was well packaged and arrived undamaged considering the journey it must have made.


The instructions were poor - I was lucky that they were in English. My experience assembling kids’ toys on Christmas eve saw me through. Given the hype and probable expense I was expecting something a little higher class. Still, it was a gift, and I was grateful. I assembled the mount in just over an hour, although solid it felt flimsy when picking it up and moving it. I ended up getting my pipe clamps and gluing it overnight. In the morning it was rock solid.



I was unable to initially install the altitude wheels due to the missing fixing screws not included in the packaging. I promptly placed a service call to explore scientific and got an immediate response. This was impressive. However, the next day I cancelled the service request when the fixing screws were discovered packaged as part of the packing material embedded within the Styrofoam corners that kept the scope from moving during shipment. This was not defined in the instructions whatsoever. It was a discovery on my part when re-inspecting the packing material figuring they may have moved during shipping. In effect they were actually placed inside the Styrofoam on purpose.


The next day the scope was complete. It was nightfall, lucky me. I was blessed with fifty-five degrees and not a cloud or moon in the sky. The viewing conditions were perfect.


The red dot viewfinder included with the scope was too small to have any value. I quickly discarded it for an extra 50mm right angle viewfinder I had with a dovetail mount it fit perfectly on the dovetail mount provided. I would recommend finding a true rad viewfinder or a large right-angle viewfinder like myself they are a relatively inexpensive add-on with this size scope.


A word on the optics. Given the journey and god knows how long this item sat on the shelf, the optics collimated dead on. I was impressed.


The focuser was easy to use and had no backlash, it came with an extension tube as it focus was long from the secondary, but it needs to be removed when adding a camera. The altitude wheels were balanced true, and the scope needed no counterweights as the scope appeared to self-balance with the large altitude wheels the scope stayed in position.



I don’t have words to describe my first view other than wow. The views from light polluted suburbia was beyond comprehension. In a 25mm Plossl included Jupiter was crisp edge to edge I discerned color in its banding amazed at the realization that the universe was in color and not shades of grey as in my four-inch scope. I spent the night scanning the skies and the review of once patches of fuzz in the sky with my smaller scope are now defined by galaxies and nebulas. I now had a better understanding of the word zillions. I can only imagine the viewing away from city lights.



PROS: Optics, Customer service.


CONS: Mount, assembly instructions, included red dot finder.


CONCERNS NEITHER PRO nor CON: Would advise a comfortable observing chair that meets the length of the Tube of nearly five feet. Would also advise on the scope's weight. The scope itself is heavy and will appear heavier after several hours of viewing. It would be a sound investment in a sling which is available at many telescope accessory stores or suction clamps like the ones to handle glass windows available at most hardware stores.



  • paul hart, Bob Campbell, coopman and 16 others like this


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics