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Found 3 results

  1. Hey guys,im currently on a school trip and brought my celestron firstscope with, tonight we ll be trying some dsos and maybe saturn and jupiter,the telescope itself is not collimated and dirty (on the mirrors)So I wanted to ask.in the scope, there is no primary adjustment screws,only the ones to take it off .Does that mean that its set , allowing me to take it off wash it and back on without having to recollimate the primary? Thanks Kronos
  2. I recently had to move from my residence and amongst the items in my store was the first telescope I had ever used. It as a Celestron FirstScope 114 that is no longer in production, a 4.5 inch f8 classic newtonian. Unlike the current model PowerSeeker 114, it has a EQ2 mount rather than an EQ1, and a red dot finder instead of the unusable 6X30 plastic unit on the PowerSeeker. So after probably a dozen years since last using it I decided it might be interesting to put it through its paces. I fondly recall seeing things like the polar ice cap on Mars at opposition, the GRS spot on Jupiter, the Cassini Division on Saturn and some deep sky objects like M7, the Double Cluster, the M81 M82 pair and a lot of more with this scope. After using a CPC 1100 almost exclusively since, I wanted to confirm to myself that I had really seen those object through the scope. The carton it was packed in was not completely sealed so it was covered with a great deal of dust. Looking down at the primary I could see some dark smudges - I didn't know if it was dirt or deterioration of the aluminum coating but luckily very little dust. I decided I would try the scope out before attempting to dismantle and do anything with the mirror. I cleaned it up the best I could and assembled it with more difficulty than I recalled having in the past. I used to keep it fully assembled with the latitude set at 9 degrees, the counterweight midway between two of the tripod legs and set it down with the polar axis roughly pointing North. I found that this way a could track an object with the RA slow motion control with only occasionally having to adjust the Declination. I tried to do the same this time but was constrained by having to set up on a narrow balcony rather than on the open ground. After having to wait a few day for the unseasonal clouds to clear (It looks like the bad weather issue also applies when you resurrect an old scope?) first target (Drum roll!!!) Albireo which was high up in the eavening sky. I had difficulty finding the target - I guess it was too much to hope that the battery in the red dot finder would still be alive after a dozen years. Using a 20mm eyepiece that came with a Celestron 102SLT I anxiously searched around and after a few minutes located the unmistakable colorful pair. Encouraged I switched to a 9mm eyepiece from the Celestron Eyepiece and Filter kit - and I must say I was pleased. At 100X the image was sharp and somewhat surprisingly, the collimation seemed very decent. The big difficulty was the stability of the mount. A touch of the slow motion controls would start it shaking, taking maybe 5 to 7 seconds to settle. Focusing was the real challenge. I would make a tiny adjustment to the focus wait for it to settle then try again till I felt I had achieved the best possible. That was all I had time for the first evening and packed up not too disappointed. A couple of days later I had the scope out again. I first tried Jupiter low down in the SW. The seeing was bad but I could clearly see the two equatorial bands and three moons. In the past I had used the 4mm eyepiece from the above mentioned kit for a magnification of 225X. There is a 2X barlow in the kit but I had wanted to use the minimum amount of glass possible. This time I used the barlow with the 9mm eyepiece from the same kit for a magnification of 200X but with a more comfortable eyepoint. When the seeing was more steady for brief moments I though I could see some structure in the belts. My next target was Epsilon Lyrae - the double double. After some difficulty finding the pair and battling with the focuser, I had a rewarding view with both pairs clearly separated at 200X - nice airy discs (almost points) with some hints of diffraction rings. And finally for the pièce de résistance, I turned my scope to Saturn about 50 degrees above the horizon. With the 32mm eyepiece the rings were obvious. I carefully changed to the 9mm barlow assembly and frankly was amazed! The Cassini Division was in your face visible - no challenge at all. I felt the coloring of the bands on the planet was move vivid that through the CPC 1100. I could clearly see the shadow of the planet on the rings. Titan was visible with direct vision. The view was crisp to the extent that I thought it could take more magnification. With the CPC 1100 I once had the magnification up to 400X and though I could see the Enke gap as a darkening in the outer ring - but the FirstScope does not break your budget or your back! In conclusion I remember reading a review of a 4.5 inch newtonian (I think in was the Orion XT4.5 Dobsonian) and the reviewer mentioning the apo like views given by the diffraction limited spherical f8 primary. Having never had the chance to look through an apo refractor I can't confirm either way but clearly these cheap reflectors are nothing to sneeze at. Were it not for the unsteady mount I would have loved to continue using this scope. I imagine this scope but on a good quality altazimuth mount would make a very good beginner instrument. Hopefully I can pass it on to a youth who is passionate enough about astronomy to tolerate its quirks as I did and put it to good use. Thanks for reading!
  3. "Come take a look at what I brought for tonight's session." "What the hell is this pathetic little thing? It's just a funny little toy!" One hour later: "Stop fooling around with that Firstscope already and come take a look through the 12" dob." "Nah, I'm good." Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the mighty Celestron Firstscope 76; and I put thit to you, this funny little thing is probably the best astro purchase I have ever made. Ok, now, I'm fully aware that most of you will skip this review with derisive grin, but before you do, consider the following: Optically, It is a fully capable newtonian refelctor with a primary mirror diameter of 76mm, which, given its inherent lack of chormatic abberation, will outperform most of the cheap entry-level acrhomats. And it gets better. With just 300 mm focal length, it gives low magnification and amazing widefield views, which is especially handy with some large objects you will struggle to fit in your large telescope's field of view. For example, Adromeda Galaxy is way more enjoyable in the Firstscope than in my 12" dob (despite the fact that the dob allows me to see the dustbands clearly), and I really mean it. Same goes with Pleiades, or moon/planet(s) conjunctions or large star clusters. Supplied eyepieces are, as you would expect, fairly poor, but at least totally functional. But, if you are already into this astro business, chances are that you have some fairly decent eyepieces lying around unused, so why not use them with this little toy? I had a spare TS 17mm 70° ERFLE eyepiece myself, so I assigned it to this half-pint for good. Ok, the scope is 76/300, which means it is an F/3.9, which means, in case you are bad in math, that its a pretty "fast" scope. That means that you can't expect to see point-sharp stars across the entire field of view, even with a decent sort of EP, and distortions around the edges of the field of view are very noticible, but hey, don't be picky. It's a firstscope for Chist's sake, not some fancy hi-tech japanese triplet. Whatever eyepiece you stuff into this thing though, it will probably give something like 15-20x magnification, which means that all of the advantages describe above apply. And, since it has so low magnification, it means that you probably will do without a finderscope. But if you require one, there are some pre-prepared fixture bolts, intended for those terrible 30mm plasticky finderscopes you probably have buried deep down in your astro stuff drawer that is full of stuff you were too fond of to throw away, so problem solved. The primary mirror sits solidly in the back of the tube, which means its uncollimateable (is that even a word?). However, the primary mirror is somewhat adjustable, so if you are skilled enough, alligning the optical assembly properly will not be a major issue. I myself made a centre spot on the primary and alligned the optics as best as I could using laser collimator; it was fiddly, but doable. Build quality of this little dwarf is, considering its class, amazing. It is not some cheap department store telescope that breaks into little pieces in a light breeze. The tube itself is made from metal and the plastic focuser assembly feels solid enough to withstand for ages (if you treat it well). It all sits on a sturdy alt-az (dobsonian type) chipwood mount, which means that it is very stable, giving it advantage over a pair of big binos. Oh, and did I mention that it is a table top? What was I thinking - guys, it's a table top scope, allright? I bet most of us use table or a surface of some sort when observing, so no big deal. The scope then is small, robust and very light, so it is an ideal grab-and-go; I call it grab-and-throw actually, because I just take it as it stands and throw it into a boot of my car when I'm going observing. It's designed to take some battering (with children in mind), so it is unlikely that you will ever knock the optics out of allignment, or break anything. Practicality-wise, it is as straight forward as it seems. You just grab it, put in on a table, remove the dust covers, and without it cooling down (image distortion with such low magnifications is negligible) you are ready to use it. No finderscope needed, you just aim from the hip and fire. One thing that seems a bit odd is the positioning of the focuser on the OTA, which makes it a bit awkward when you try observing something near the horizon, but hey, drill some extra holes in it an rotate it anyway you want it - even a toddler can do that. Most significant I think is the Firstscope's didactic value - it scores high in quite a few areas. First, it is absolutely superb for when you want to explain to someone how a newtonian telescope works, because it is as simple and as clear as it can be. Then, it is utterly foolproof and totally intuitive to use; you must be a total idiot to not know how to use it. Learning-wise, it is not wrong to point out that the views from the scope are very basic, which gives you some idea as to what the pioneer astronomers saw with their modest equipment. It is wonderful to think that you see the Jupiter and its moons roughly as Galileo did. Moreover, the IYA edition was designed with astronomy outreach in mind, so you have the OTA covered with names of notable astronomers, so if you get even a little bit curious, you can google for hours, finding out why were they so significant to deserve a place on this telescope, which is absolutely magnificent in my book. Then, you have the fabulous IYA sticker on it, which, for me, was the main reason (I am not ashamed to admit it) why I bought this pigmy scope. The IYA project allowed me to access a wide range of educational resources on astronomy otherwise unavailable in my country, so I fell I owe it one. And I bet I'm not the only one. So why was this little nipper the best astro purchase I have ever made? Well, I bought it brand new (auction of a last piece in stock) for the equivalent of only £24!!! I bet you will have little problem finding one second hand) Allow me to point it out: BRAND NEW FOR ONLY £24 !!! The eyepice I use with it was almost twice that price! Your significant other, your child, your toddler, your grandpa, your grandpa, your dog, your friends, they all can use it with ease. The wide field of view, the simplicity, the quality, the practically and above all, the amazing didactic value, and only £24 ??? I rest my case!
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