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Hi, I am just starting out with astronomy and was looking for some advice.

I have a Celestron model #31044 Firstscope 114 EQ 4.5" Newtonian Telescope (lived up my loft for years and just brought it back down!!)


I was just looking for some advoce on how good a telescope this is and what i will be able to see through it. Will I be able to see the two ice planets and possibly pluto through this? How likely will I be of seing any nebula?

I have also looked at the celestron eyepiece kit and wondered if this is worthwhile investment? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Celestron-94303-Telescope-Piece-Filter/dp/B00006RH5I/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456527086&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=celestron+eyepiec+kit


Lastly, would anyone be able to recommend a decent solar filter and is gazing at the sun for sunspots/mercury  wothwhile?

Thanks, Gary


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The eye piece kit would not be a worthwhile investment. I am not familiar with your scope, but it should be good enough to get you started. You will be able to see Neptune and Uranus, but they will just be pinpoints of light and star like. You need a much larger telescope to find Pluto. You will be able to spot the brighter nebulae such as the Great Orion Nebula, but if your telescope has not been used for a while you will probably have to collimated it first. As to solar filters, you should look at the Baader filters available from First Light Optics. Whatever you do, do not use a filter which attaches to an eye piece and never look at the Sun without a safe filter in place. Welcome to the forum and never be shy to ask questions.

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Hi Gary, I agree with others, do not buy the kit, better to buy individual eyepieces.  On your other question, no, you will struggle to see the ice giants (Uranus & Neptune) with your scope, and certainly not Pluto.  You will, however, be able to see the closer giants very well (Jupiter & Saturn).  Small bright DSO's are also within your grasp.  Also, buy any gear from dedicated astronomy shops such as the forum sponsors, FLO, you will also likely find things cheaper there. Good luck!

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1. Do not buy the eyepiece kit. It's better to buy 1 or 2 good quality eyepieces. If you're on a budget, have a look at Baader Hyperion - their modular design means you can convert 1 eyepiece into effectively 4 different focal lengths. And their optics quality is much higher than those found in starter kits like the one you asked about.

2. You will not be able to see Pluto. I doubt scopes with much much higher aperture would even be able to do this since it's too small and way too far away from us. You will, however, be able to see Jupiter, Saturn, Venus etc.

3. Yes, you will be able to spot nebulas - have a go at the Orion nebula, it's probably the best one to begin with. There are many DSO in the sky that will be visible through your scope.

4. If possible, do not buy astronomy equipment from Amazon. I recommend FLO simply because of the fact you get good support if a problem occurs, proper handling of your goods by people who know how to handle astronomy equipment, and good, honest advice instead of trying to sell you the most expensive kit. It's definitely worth the few extra £ you would potentially save somewhere else.

5. Solar filters ? I always recommend Baader Planetarium products because I used them a lot and are generally happy with anything they release, brand trust I guess and a good price/quality ratio.

6. Whatever you decide on, hope you'll have lots of fun with your scope :)

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Hi, and welcome from me ,I disagree with all above ,my first scope was a12" reflector my dad brought me the same kit your looking at ,and I was very pleased  with the kit ,every one always says get one or two for the money am not convinced  because only have in a few eps limits what you can see  your also getting a few filters that would,show,diferent details on the moon and larger planets  ,you could always  sell the kit on once you want to move on to exspensive ep's  tits ust my opinion 


Edited by todd8137
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EP choices are a personal preference to a degree, and something you find your feet with over time.  Whatever you buy now, you wont have in 2-3 years time !   Look for second hand (on the classified section of SGL, or astrobuysell), that way further down the line you can sell on without too much loss (or better still break-even or small profit !!).   As has been said, avoid the likes of amazon/ebay

I started with a revelation set which was given away with my first (2nd hand) scope.  I still have the box, but the EPs are long gone

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Thanks everyone for your help! Will look into what eyepieces to invest in and I look forward to more star gazing! Unfortunately I won't be doing much of that as it is meant to be cloudy for the next 14 years or something like that haha!


thanks again 

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On 2/26/2016 at 16:52, Garys90 said:

Hi, I am just starting out with astronomy and was looking for some advice.

I have a Celestron model #31044 Firstscope 114 EQ 4.5" Newtonian Telescope

This is the manual for the kit... http://www.celestron.com/media/795693/Firstscope_114eq_short_31041.pdf

In future, and for the long term, I would suggest acquiring better-quality oculars, one at a time, and so to build a fine and useful set over the months, and years even.  There may come a time, if the interest holds, when you may consider upgrading the telescope to a 150mm f/5 Newtonian, like this one...


...or, a 200mm f/6 Newtonian on a Dobson-style mount.  The specs of the current Celestron kit, specifically the optical tube, are as follows...

Aperture: 114mm (4.5")
Focal Length: 900mm
F/ratio: f/8
Standard Oculars (or Eyepieces):
20mm 1¼" (45x)
10mm 1¼" (90x)
Resolution:  1.0 arc seconds
 Light gathering Power: 267x unaided eye
Limiting Magnitude: 12.8
Highest useful Power: 270x
For the first eyepiece, wouldn't it be nice to see a larger portion of the sky with the telescope, and with the 30mm within this listing...
I have the same eyepiece, and for my 6" f/5 illustrated above.  It's quite well made, inexpensive, and with a large "window" or eye-lens...

Click on the image for a larger view.  To find the amount of magnification per eyepiece, simply divide the telescope's focal-length by that of the eyepiece...

900mm ÷ ?mm = ?x

900mm ÷ 30mm = 30x

The eyepiece would aid in the finding of objects in the sky, and with the help of the finderscope, too.  The spring and summer are almost upon us, and the 30mm would be ideal for scanning the star-fields of the Milky Way.  Whilst touring our galaxy, one might spot an object of particular interest, yet too small to make out any detail.  That's where the following eyepiece would come into play...


900 ÷ 9mm = 100x

Or... http://www.365astronomy.com/8mm-BST-Explorer-ED-Eyepiece.html

900mm ÷ 8mm = 113x

A replacement for the existing 20mm might be in order, too.  The GSO SuperView 20mm has a wide actual field-of-view of 70°...


900mm ÷ 20 = 45x

Further down the line, and to enhance the set, a 12mm and 15mm eyepiece, along with a 2x barlow may be had.

If the kit appears as this one...


...then the mount is an EQ2; not bad.  The mount can be motorised; and for hands-free, automatic tracking of any given object...



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Hi. Short answer is it's a beginner's scope, but a pretty good one and it will show you a lot if you let it.

  • It will show star clusters and brighter nebulae. Maybe a little faint, but you'll be able to see them. 
  • Push the magnification up to x150 or so and you'll get the banding on Jupiter, rings of Saturn etc.
  • You will be able to see the ice giants - but don't expect too much. At x150 you should just be able to make them out as tiny disks. No detail, but definitely non-stellar. Bear in mind that a larger scope won't get detail on these either. You won't get the moons.
  • Pluto - no chance. Too small and far away. You'd want at least 200mm (250-300 more realistically) plus dark skies and you would never see anything other than the faintest of dots. Even Hubble struggled with Pluto!

On the kit, I'm on the "buy it" side. Any Celestron or Skywatcher Plossl will do the job reasonably well. I tend to use Skywatcher Superplossls (20 quid a pop) and a few others (Revelation Plossls, ES Maxvision, Celestron Ex-Cel and AH Orthos). Eye relief and field of view differ. In terms of lunar / planetary image quality, the plossl and ortho are dead tied for on axis, slightly ahead of the ExCel and Maxvision. Given that the ortho was #70, the Excel about #60 and the Maxvision #105 I have no hesitation in saying Chinese plossls give by far the most bang for your buck.

Another option would be to buy just one or two plossls and put the money saved towards a bigger scope in the future. I'd advise against spending more than the price of that kit on your eyepiece collection until you get the tube upgraded. 

Just my view though. Hope this is some help.


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To clarify on my previous, not saying you should be in any rush to upgrade the scope, as the one you have should be a good performer and keep you going for a good while. More a caution against splurging on an expensive set of glass this early.

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