Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

assasincz

Celestron Firstscope 76 IYA

Recommended Posts

:laugh: "Come take a look at what I brought for tonight's session."

:cool: "What the hell is this pathetic little thing? It's just a funny little toy!"

One hour later:

:laugh: "Stop fooling around with that Firstscope already and come take a look through the 12" dob."

:cool: "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!

post-15189-0-31978300-1351546130_thumb.j

post-15189-0-95574700-1351546175_thumb.j

post-15189-0-38393300-1351546212_thumb.j

post-15189-0-08419100-1351546238_thumb.j

post-15189-0-11555500-1351546274_thumb.j

post-15189-0-49832800-1351546307_thumb.j

post-15189-0-79173600-1351546347_thumb.j

post-15189-0-72754300-1351546378_thumb.j

post-15189-0-86260300-1351546396_thumb.j

post-15189-0-24082200-1351546423_thumb.j

post-15189-0-05459200-1351546469_thumb.j

post-15189-0-42743600-1351546506_thumb.j

post-15189-0-56445200-1351546520_thumb.j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the skywatcher heritage, same unit different sticker. Got it for my sons birthday £28.

the other evening we were doing some lunar and I was bopping between my etx and the 76. Pretty amazing performance for the money confirmed by my son not wanting to us my scope at all "his was better"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks assasincz a very worthwhile review, I was thinking of getting one as a Christmas present for my nephew as his first scope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the skywatcher branded unit, superb starter -probably one of the cheapest ways to get a genunely useful telescope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a great little scope, I had one...The only challenge I found was lining it up on the stars....

I find a bigger dob easier to point...

But having said that the image from the little scope was great, crisp and sharp..

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a stack of them for the grandkids (boys and girls 8-12yrs)

before I could even finish telling them about telescopes and how to.........they had it out the box, on the table looking at the Moon , and later Jupiter!!!

Bang per buck - highly recommended.

(I also kept one to pull the mirror out for a spectrascope project....where else would you find a good 75mm/ 300mm mirror for 25 gbp!!!!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this review assasincz.

For that Price you can't really go wrong for a portable scope! might pick one up for a relative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got one for christmas, I think it's a great scope! Very strudy and doesn't wobble when it's windy, I am amazed at the sharp clear image it produces. Extremely easy to use and doesn't take ages setting up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a great little scope, I had one...The only challenge I found was lining it up on the stars....

I find a bigger dob easier to point...

But having said that the image from the little scope was great, crisp and sharp..

Mark

I remember yours at SGL6 Mark, with the dirty great Hyperion in it. On the basis of the views I sawe through that little scope I bought one myself and its a great example to folks of just what you can see with a scope like this

philj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son also has the SW Heritage version. A little more expensive but has a finder scope and better supplied EPs, SW's usual 25 and 10mm Super MAs. A search will turn up my review.

Sent from my LG-D802 using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By StarGazingSiouxsie
      Hi,
      Now, I know that Cubble likes to keep fit. I try to keep all of my telescopes healthy and feed them only the best planets and DSOs. 
      But - why is that Cubble just LOVES to go all around the houses on some of his GOTOs?! Talk about taking the long way home!!!  I could have sworn that I had 'Cordwrap' set to 'Off'............. 
      I have set Cubs up with a totally cordfree / wire free system and therefore find this going 340 degrees around to an object that is 10 degrees away incredibly annoying and time wasting.  
      Well, I think I may have found the answer today. Some of you may already know this but for those that don't, I hope it helps relieve some of your frustration. 
      What I disovered is that the Star Sense hand controller resets the Cordwrap setting (MENU>>>TELESCOPE>>>CORDWRAP) back to 'ON' each time a new alignment is completed. So, one can spend time seemingly making sure that it is set to 'OFF' (if that's the setting you want, of course) only to find that once you have completed an alignment, the hand controller defaults the Cordwrap setting back to 'ON'.
      So, if you don't want or need Cordwrap set to 'ON', make sure you change the setting after completing each new alignment.
       
      Siouxsie 
    • By Spacecake2
      Hello,
      Does anyone know if I should upgrade my telescope? I have a Celestron Nextar 127slt and I've been using it for a few years now. I want to see more detail on Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
      Does anyone have any suggestions from Celestron?
      Kind Regards
    • By Spacecake2
      Hi, 
      I'm just wanting some advice on the eye relief and the quality of the 6mm Omni ep. I have a Nextar 127slt MAK. Can someone please tell me if I should buy it?
      Thank you,
      Spacecake 
    • By randomic
      Celestron's EdgeHD product line features an integrated field flattener. As with all flatteners, these produce optimal results when the imaging plane is a specific distance from the flattener. In the EdgeHD whitepaper Celestron describe the optimal backfocus of 133.35mm (5.25") for the 8" model, and 146.05 (5.75") for the 9.25", 11" and 14" models. They suggest that the image plane should be placed within 0.5mm of this distance.
      When putting together an imaging train it can be quite hard to determine the actual backfocus. You could add together all the optical lengths quoted by manufacturers, you could get calipers and actually measure each part or even try to measure the entire thing (although it can be quite hard to figure out where to measure from. At some point, you have to trust some manufacturer spec (unless you fancy risking your sensor).
      Once all this is done you might, however, find that things vary ever so slightly; everything from the tightness of threads to the T-ring not quite giving exactly 55mm. How do you work out if you've done it all correctly?
      In a table in the whitepaper (page 13), focal lengths are given for each OTA (for example 2125mm for the 8" model). Hypothetically then, it should be possible to measure whether or not you're at optimal backfocus by plate solving for your image scale. In the same table, an image scale is given for a sensor with pixel size 6.4 micron but you can use a calculator (such at the astronomy.tools one) to work out the expected image scale for your particular sensor. This does require that your image is as close to perfect focus as possible.
       
      Putting all this into practice. I used my calipers to try to get the image train as close to 133.35mm as I could and then plate solved some resulting data taken with a DSLR with 5 micron pixels. From my calculations, if I'm in focus at the correct spacing, I should have an image scale of 0.485"/pixel.
      However, my astrometry.net solves gave an image scale of 0.495"/pixel. Working backwards, this indicates that I was at a focal length of 2083mm, quite a way inside 2125mm. Although I can't find a reference I've read that, for an SCT, the focal length changes by approximately 3mm for each 1mm of backfocus, this implies that my sensor is 14mm too close!
      Now, I'm no expert with calipers but I feel like I couldn't have been more than a few mm out, and if anything I thought I was too far. I suppose I could have been a bit out of focus but surely not ~10mm.
      Is there a mistake in my logic of aiming for 2125mm focal length?
    • By JacobiteJake
      Hi Everyone
      For the first time in 57 years I'm having the itch to look up  , I'm fed up with looking at people wearing masks, moaning there's no loo rolls and 2mtr distance markings on the floor, so I think me needs to take a deep breath and look through some quality glass and see the amazing views above the clouds.  The problem I'm having, after watching many YouTube videos, is lots of different views on what your first scope should be, so, I need your help please.
      My budget started at around £500 but I'm starting to think I need around £700 to get something I'm going to be pleased with, unless I come across a used one of course.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be mostly visual star gazing I'll be doing and then perhaps as my interest and curiosity grows, I'll have a dabble into astrophotography, although this side of it does look very complicated, not to mention much more expensive.  I have noticed in many videos that there is a push for newbies to get a reflector scope but they do seem a bit too big and cumbersome, and storage is an issue where I live, so I'm thinking more of a refractor. 
      There's a few nice 80 ed scopes out there but as I understand it, the moon will look nice but I'll have a hard job making out the planets like Saturn at maximum power.  102's and 120 seems a good starter but the jump in cost to an ED version is BIG, so I'd like some help on whether or not it justifies the extra money please to remove much of the Chromatic Aboration that many complain about of the cheaper scopes.  I've also noticed that some scopes out there, although different in colour and name, the build is exactly the same and it's said by some, but it's pretty obvious it is, that they are just re-branded and come from the same factory in Shenzen.  So, can you help/advise please, is a 102 or a 120 a good choice, should I pay the extra for ED, and which brands should I consider, i.e. Skywatcher, Celestron etc.  Also, any advise on what extras I will need, I can see most advise on upgrading the 10mm eye piece that comes with most scopes for a better one, and a decent 2x Barlow, but anything else I'll you'll think I will need please and any tips and tricks for a very keen, getting on a bit, newbie, thank you very much.
      Just so you know, I've made my first purchase, it's a planisphere and I'm learning how to use it from a nice chap I've found on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbz3QnAbzFM&t=962s&ab_channel=AstronomyandNatureTV
      Take care, stay safe and clear skies as they say
       
      Kindest regards
      David 
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.