The Celestron 70mm Travel Scope was a pleasant surprise to stumble across. I have covered a lot of telescope kits in my day and this one snuck up on me. I don’t know how I missed it before but now that I’ve found it, it has quickly become one of my favorite telescope kits available today.
Celestron is offering a no-frills, portable, solid and accessory laden telescope aimed at the traveling astronomer or beginner alike. They have tried to cram as many features as conceivably possible into this kit without raising the price too much. In fact, it is available for less than $100 from most retailers.
At first, I thought this was going to be another good but not great budget telescope aimed at the new or budget conscious astronomer but I quickly realized that it is much more than that.
- Type: Refractor
- Aperture: 70mm
- Focal ratio: f/6
- Highest theoretical magnification: 165x
- Assembled weight: 4.2lbs
This telescope kit is one of the best values on the market today. If you are someone who is looking for a great deal, looking for an affordable gift, wants to start a new hobby or looking for a scratch and dent travel scope, then you definitely need to take this into consideration.
This telescope has a modest amount of optical power. There is nothing special about the aperture or magnification potential of this scope. In fact, the 70mm aperture size and 165x magnification ceiling are pretty much standard for this level of a telescope.
While they won’t knock your socks off, they aren’t bad either.
As long as you are not expecting a super powerful telescope with a ton of light gathering ability, this scope still gets the job done.
It has a low focal ratio of f/6 due to its diminutive size giving you wide-angled views. Many refractor telescopes in the 70mm aperture and less than $100 range have much higher focal ratios because they are long and narrow. This telescope is squat because of the focus on portability.
All of the optics are coated which helps to increase image quality and clarity. That means less fuzzy images, better colors and smoother views for both night sky and day time observations. You notice the difference and it is a nice touch to have added to a telescope at this price point. Many times, things such as coated glass optics are one of the first things cut in order to save on costs when putting together budget friendly telescope kits.
This telescope has enough chops to see things such as the moon, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn with very little issues. The wide angle means that it will be able to also capture bright star-scapes and distant galaxies easily as well.
Put it all together and you have a servicable telescope which makes up for its lack of power with clear images and a small frame on which to work from.
One of the biggest upsides to this telescope is the focus on portability. If you are someone who likes to take your telescope out when you travel or on outdoor adventures, this is a great scope made just for that.
There are many people out there who have an “at home” telescope and a “road” telescope. Celestron has designed this scope to be the perfect road telescope. It is durable, light and available for cheap.
There are many telescopes out there that are fragile or expensive which give you a lot of anxiety when traveling with them. You will not get that kind of stress when traveling with this telescope. That is a huge weight that can be lifted off your shoulders.
The OTA is solid and small allowing you to store it away easily without having to worry about it getting damaged or scratched. It even comes with its own travel backpack included so you can put it away in a bag made specifically to protect your telescope. Most models do not come with that.
The optical tube itself weighs just over three pounds and even with the tripod the whole thing comes in at less than five pounds. That means that you will not be bogged down by bulky or heavy equipment when traveling. Whether you are walking, hiking, driving or flying this telescope can easily come with you without causing any additional stress or headaches.
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Bang For Your Buck
One of the biggest draws to this telescope kit is the number of extras that come included with it. Many telescopes at this price point are bare bones and come with little to nothing in terms of accessories and upgrades. That is not the case with this telescope.
This kit is chocked full of extras and value added upgrades which immediately caught my eye. I already mentioned the coated optics which come standard on this model as one such example.
In additon to that you also get a travel backpack which is designed to hold and store the telescope plus all of the accessories in an easy to carry pack. You get a tripod equipped with a smooth and fluid altazimuth mount for easy viewing and object locating. They include two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), an erect image diagonal which allows this scope to be used in terrestrial viewing as well as astronomy viewing. It comes with a basic finderscope to help pinpoint your desired objects.
It also comes with access to Celestron’s new app, SkyPortal and a free download of Starry Night, the industry leader in astronomy software.
Altogether, this adds up to one heck of a value. If you are someone who likes to stretch their dollar, you are getting a lot for less than $100 here.
It Keeps On Giving…
The versatile Celestron refractor body also takes 1.25” eyepieces and accessories which means you can use that extra money you’re saving to further kit out your telescope with a whole host of accessories. You can add filters for better planetary viewing, a moon filter, a sunset filter. You can get a larger array of eyepieces to increase your magnification levels. Or if you want to do some nature spotting, get an eyepiece that decreases the magnification levels.
The choices are almost endless. The versatility of this scope is fantastic and anyone with a few bucks for some upgrades and a little bit of creativity will be able to turn this scope into the perfect viewing platform for all kinds of uses.
If you are looking for a powerful telescope, you are probably going to want to keep looking. In terms of raw power, this telescope leaves a lot to be desired. If you are looking for a more focused telescope with a higher level of magnification or a higher focal ratio you are going to want to check out a larger telescope in terms of both objective lens and focal length.
If you are not planning on traveling with this telescope, you can also probably find better stationary telescopes for the same or similar price that add more to the optical power and less to the idea of being a grab and go scope.
Then there is the age old complaint about builder grade tripods. It’s wobbly. While this telescope is super lightweight, it is very compact and still prone to vibrations. Unstable tripods are nothing new and this one is simply one of those tripods which can’t help but bump and jiggle on uneven surfaces. This is an easy fix or upgrade but one that you might want to keep in mind if you plan on roughing it with this telescope. It might not do so well on rocky ground.
This Celestron 70mm Travel Scope telescope can appeal to a broad range of audiences. It is cheap enough and easy enough to be an ideal target for a new or first time astronomer. Also, it will be able to show a new user all of the most basic sights that are perfect for practicing on and is not complicated.
It would make a great gift for someone who is in that category. Anyone looking for a telescope for a birthday or Christmas would love to get this kit as a gift. In fact, astronomy is the perfect outdoor activity to start up in an era where cramped indoor activities are starting to become less popular.
It can appeal to the avid travel astronomer. Some people enjoy taking their telescope on vacation or trips to see their family. This telescope can ride in the car, on a bus, or on a plane and won’t be bothered one bit.
It can appeal to the outdoorsman who loves to spot wildlife, scenic vistas, sunrises, or the night sky with their telescope. This scope has the ability to do all of those things and be carried without adding too much additional weight. With all this going for it it makes itself into our Best Telescopes Under $100 range.
This is all done through its fantastic size, weight, power, and price which come together to create a telescope kit that will make a wide range of astronomers happy.Check Latest Price