The fascination for myself about the topic of astronomy really started to develop back in Junior College circa 1995.
I spent two semesters learning about this science and was really only ever engaged during practicum as it included three things I truly love;
- Looking up at the stars
The romance of huddling around a telescope that was large enough to see planets but small enough to fit in a passenger vehicle in mid-August created the illusion of happiness.
Well that and the spiked hot chocolate with spiced rum and a girl named Julie made those optional nights under the stars even better!
As you may have already read in “A Good Beginner’s Telescope, The Celestron Travel Scope 60“, I’ve recently decided to give astronomy another go but this time with my family on an upcomimg camping trip. Where the stars will be in abundance under the darkened skies above.
In that other article above, I did a bunch of research which is ongoing and I bought the EduScience 114mm AZ SM for $125 CAD at the local Toys R Us because (insert jingle here… drum roll please… I dont wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid, they got a million toys at Toys R Us that I can play with…)
Last night I read the instructions manual, built the telescope and awaited night fall in condo comfort.
This “less expensive” Newtonian telescope has an aluminum tube, optical glass, a 500mm focal length, 114mm or 4.5inch aperture, two eye pieces 10mm and 20mm, and a red dot finder scope plus heavy duty 52inch tripod. It took ten minutes to set up.
Its a bit tricky at our condo in the city to see many stars but it was definitely easier to view through then the refractor Celestron Travel Scope 60 from the other day!
Afterwards I packed it for the upcoming camping trip to Pembina River Provincal Park Campground.
After pitching the tent, making dinner and hanging out with the family the first star popped its head into the blue dusk skies above. Another ten minutes and I had the telescope out of the truck to begin unpacking and assembly.
Within minutes of setting it up with the 20mm eyepiece my right fingers adjusted dials bringing into focus a cluster of stars that my naked eye couldn’t observe!
“Awesome!” I exclaimed to my Tacoma sitting nearby. “You should really see this…” I said to no one, as the trees above began to sway and their leaves flutter in the wind.
For twenty-ish minutes, I swiveled, turned, tilted and focused on clusters of stars. Honestly I did not know what I was looking at but I was enjoying myself under the stars. Then I heard a crack of lightning and the thunderous boom that followed it. Counting 1, 2, 3 and a second boom! Immediately everything went back into the truck.
Saturday evening turned out to be even better. As dusk approached I caught a glimpse of the waxing sliver moon in the sky and sprung into action.
Telescope, tray, spare eyepiece and tripod I began setting up as clouds rolled into the view covering the moon. Which started a conversation with Brian about why the moon was in the West and not the East.
Clouds out of the way the moon shifted and so did I picking up the tripod and making adjustments, tilt, turn, focus.. and viola! The sliver waxing moon.
I had done it and immediately called my wife over… “see take a look, its the mooooon!” She laughed then took a look. Followed by Brian, then Ken, then Donna.
We all laughed as Donna standing on her tippy toes could just see into the eyepiece. “Oh shoot,” I said, “I will shorten it next time.”
The rest of the evening during the shuffling of cards I twisted here, turned there and focused into clusters of stars and planets until midnight.
At one point Ken says, “this is nice, a bit unclear but nice.” I stood looking at the Edu Science smiling then said, “for the on sale price of $125 bucks I will take it. Plus it just makes me want to have a better scope! Its a perfect teaser for a kid hence it being sold at Toys R Us!”
We both laughed and agreed a better scope would be awesome as we both wanted the stars, and planets to be closer, larger and more focused.
Plus a bigger aperture and longer tube would have the ability to take amazing photographs of the solar system!
Conclusion: the Edu Science telescope for a kid ages 7 to 12 will thoroughly get them interested in astronomy. And if you’re an unsure adult about getting back into astronomy, this is the perfect device for an inexpensive price tag to test the waters.
I’d rank this 3.5 out of 5 stars.
- Small enough to travel with in a car
- Decent viewing of stars
- Light weight
- 4.5 inch aperture
- 500mm focal length
- Good for seeing star clusters
- Can see the moon!!