Everyone may have heard that recently there was a comet which flew by the Earth in the Northern hemisphere for nearly the entitr month of July.
It was called C/2020 F3 or Neowise. I spent my fair share of nights (eight to be exact) searching the sky without success.
This weekend we are headed out to a town called Entwistle about two hours West of the “big city” for a camping trip with the local family.
During last years’ weekend camping trip we were up late (midnight to 2am) drinking, talking and checking out the stars with a pair of high powered 7×35 binoculars trying to catch a glimpse of a nearby planet.
These memories struck the idea cords for the upcoming weekend and I decided to go on the research hunt for a decent telescope to take with us under the blackened skies.
Research being my closest friend (other than my wife), I started with
- Best beginner’s telescope
- Top 5 telescopes for a beginner
- Best telescope for travel
- Best telescope for photos
These searches lead me to a list of five possibilities all under $200 and another list of five under $500.
I had my work cutout but I was up for this challenge.
- Celestron Astromaster 114EQ
- Zhumell 114 Table Top Dobsonian
- Meade Infinity 80mm
- Celestron Astromaster 70LT
- Celestron 76mm FirstScope
- Celestron Astro Fi 102
- Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector
- Meade Polaris 130 EQ Reflector
- Orion StarMax 90mm Tabletop
- Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ MD
After searching the net and reading a few reviews I found a less expensive starter telescope by Celestron called the Travel Scope 60.
From the reviews, I knew it would not be AWESOME or blow me away with its clarity but its compact versatility should do well for a camping or hiking trip.
How wrong could I be?
As it turned out my pocket book was very happy with the $99.99 CAD on sale for $49.99 that’s when I should have walked away.
Instead I bought it from the local Canadian Tire (similar to Walmart) and took it home for assembly. Within 10 minutes it was ready and so was I.
Darkness finally fell about 10:33pm and I took the Travel Scope outside instantly the flimsy tripod shook. Fine tuning was not an option with my overly large fingers on the tiny tripod controls. I spent at least 10 minutes on my knees trying to focus in on anything. Another ten drifted on by when I started aiming it like a rifle scope. Then took it back inside to wrap it all back up for its return journey to Canadian Tire.
This morning I conducted further research into a possible first beginners telescope and learnt that like photography the larger the aperture the better it will be to capture light coming from outer space.
It took thirty-two minutes to decide on which would be the next telescope?
Option 1: Celestron AstroMaster 114AZ $299.99 CAD at Canadian Tire
Option 2: EduScience 114mm AZ SM $179.99 CAD at Toys r Us
Both have the following similarities:
- Optical glass
- 500mm focal length
- Aluminum tube
- 114mm or 4.48 inch aperture
- A red dot finder scope
- A heavier tripod up to 52″ (1,320mm)
- Multiple eyepieces
- Celestron 20 mm (50x) and 10 mm (100x)
- EduScience Plossl 26mm and 9.7mm
- Easy assembly
As the EduScience is the spitting image of the Celestron and currently on sale for $124.97 CAD. I opted to return the first telescope and anti-in another $75 bucks for scope two.