Review of Celestron - PowerSeeker 70AZ 70mm Refractor Telescope
I have been in a long hiatus from observing. Gave my 8” Coulter Dobsonian to my nephews a long time ago. Also formerly had a Meade 6” f/8 Newtonian and a department store 60 mm refractor.
I know many of you will scorn my choice of scope, but I don’t have a lot of money. (Yes, I have binoculars). I decided to risk $70 and order a Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ 70 mm, f/10 refractor. I know you get what you pay for, but for $70 there’s not much to lose either. And since Celestron has a good rep, I decided to give it a chance. (I actually got some acceptable use out of that 60 mm department store refractor I had long ago.)
The Celestron arrived with 20 mm and 4 mm eyepieces, and a 3X barlow. When I assembled it in the house, the OTA and mount appeared to be of solid construction. I still haven’t figured out how to adjust the finder scope.
I found it very difficult to use the finder scope. It’s mounted just to the left of the focuser, intended for use with your right eye. Unfortunately, my left eye is my dominant eye. It gave me the same problem many guns have given me. I shoot rifles and shotguns left-handed due to my dominant left eye, but most of them are made to be shot right-handed. I need to figure out some way to mount it on the right side of the scope.
I looked at a few bright objects that first night: the moon, Venus, Jupiter, and M42. The views with the 20 mm eyepiece were decent. The 4 mm was close to worthless. And the 3X barlow was completely worthless. I was unable to focus the scope with the 20 mm eyepiece stacked on top of the barlow. I think the barlow may be defective. It will not focus at any position the focuser can reach.
I got decent views of the moon with both the 20 mm and 4 mm eyepieces. But getting the scope pointed in the right direction was very difficult, due to the problems with the finder. I could not get very good views of the gibbous Venus with either eyepiece. Between the glare from that bright planet and the small apparent diameter (about 14 seconds), I was unable to resolve the disc satisfactorily.
Jupiter was much better. I got a decent view of it with the 20mm eyepiece. I could see all four of the moons clearly and also the two belts near the equator. Between the high altitude of the planet and the difficulties with the finder scope, I was unable to get the planet in view with the 4mm.
M42 looked very nice in the 20mm eyepiece.
I do not understand why they included a 4mm eyepiece with this scope. 175X is well beyond the useful magnification of the instrument. I think 100X may be the practical limit. Celestron offers an accessory kit that has 15mm and 9mm eyepieces. I think I will order that next.
Considering the price, the quality of the optics and stability of the mount were decent. I didn’t see any excessive color problems. But there was a bit of stray light.
I turned around the mount for the finder scope, so now I can look through it without banging my ear against the focuser. I still have not figured out how to adjust the finder. And when I tried to use it on Jupiter which was near the zenith at the time, it was very difficult to look through the finder. I had to sit on the ground whilst craning my neck up to the finder.
Had a nice view of the crescent moon with the 20mm eyepiece. Venus was the same problem as the previous night. Between the bright glare of the planet and the small apparent diameter, I was not able to resolve the gibbous disc. I need some more eyepieces and a filter or two.
Once I was able to point the scope at Jupiter, I got good views. I even tried the 4mm eyepiece and got reasonably decent views of the cloud belts. I think a 6mm or 7mm would be better.
M42 looked very nice again. I wanted to have a look at M81 and M82, but it began getting very hazy, and had to quit for the night.
For any scope and mount, you have to learn their idiosyncrasies in order to use them well. Plus the fact I haven’t observed in decades. I am slowly learning with this scope. And I must say I have been pleasantly surprised so far.
I shall make follow-on posts as I make further use of the scope.