I was not looking for a fancy telescope or a complicated one and I definitely didn’t need an expensive one. I wanted a telescope I could take out on the weekends when the skies were clear but not one that I had to build my life around. I was looking for something basic that would get the job done when I wanted it done but that I could put away and forget about when I wanted.
Not all telescopes have to stretch your budget and your brain, some of them are just simple and fun. That is where the Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ comes in.
This telescope is a basic refractor telescope that comes in on the low end in terms of specs but can do everything you want a basic telescope to do.
- Refractor design
- 70mm objective lens
- f/13 focal ratio
- 165x highest theoretical magnification
This 70mm refractor has the chops to take on the solar system. With an f/13 focal ratio, it is perfect for focusing on the planets and the moon and comes with enough power to view both. It is lightweight and durable which makes it great as a collapse and take with you or collapse and store away telescope. It requires little experience, little worry, and little hassle to operate.Check Latest Price
Despite being one of the cheapest telescopes available the Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ offers a lot of versatility that can add a lot of uses and value to an otherwise basic telescope set up. The refractor telescope is already a very versatile base to build a telescope kit from but this one is especially so. If you want a basic telescope that is durable and able to be used in a variety of different ways then this is a great telescope to get.
Air, Land, and Sea
The very first telescopes were not designed with the stars in mind, in fact, that was an unintended side effect of inventing a spyglass that was to be used first as a gimmick and then as a looking device for ships and surveyors. This heritage can still be seen in the Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ because this telescope can be used for viewing the stars or it can be used as a capable terrestrial spyglass as well.
That means in addition to getting great views of the moon and Jupiter you can also use it while hiking or camping to get stunning views of distant mountain peaks, deep canyons or lush valleys. You can also take this with you on your boat and use it to get views of the horizon to spot passing birds or ships or other sea life.
It is able to do this because the optics are not too magnified, unlike some telescopes, and the images come in right side up. Some telescopes have extreme zoom levels that make using them on land impossible or their images come in rotated ninety or one hundred eighty degrees which also limits their terrestrial use. This telescope does not have any of those issues and functions more like a traditional spyglass would have from the earliest days of telescopes.
This is a tried and true design and function of these telescopes and this makes the Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ extremely versatile and a device that can wear many different hats.
The design of the Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ is very simple. There are no complicated parts or accessories. There is nothing explicitly fragile or worrying and it is not very expensive. That means it is a great device for the complete beginner, someone with kids or someone who wants to travel with their telescope.
You won’t have to worry about getting sand in it at the beach like you would with more expensive telescopes. It is great for kids because they would have a hard time messing it up or breaking it. There is nothing to bump out of alignment and no fancy mounting system to learn.
The manual altazimuth mount is as basic as it gets. Just point the telescope skyward or towards the horizon using the handles and take a look. Adjust slightly or focus on what you want to see. There is nothing more to it.
That is why I found this telescope to be a joy to just fool around with. It is not a particularly serious telescope in that you do not feel the urge to be particularly scientific or advanced while using it. I had the most fun simply swinging the lens around skyward and seeing what popped into my eyepiece.
It is extremely easy to assemble as well. Simply take the optical tube out, attach it to the included tripod and pick an eyepiece. It takes hardly any time and no skill to put this thing together and use.
It is a simple telescope that does not require much in the way of thinking to use which makes it a lot of fun for a casual night or just something to toy around with on the weekends. Parents and their kids would love it for that.
Refractor telescopes are great for people who love accessories. Their tubular design and the way that their optics work makes it easy to make accessories for a refractor. This includes a plethora of eyepieces, finderscopes, dot sights, terrestrial viewers and more.
The Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ gives you a taste of this variety with the included accessories which include two eyepieces, a finderscope and the erect image diagonal. The erect image diagonal is what makes the views right side up and perfect for viewing things on Earth.
This is a great example of what kind of accessories can be used with this refractor telescope. There are other image diagonals as well as different eyepieces specifically for use on the water or on the land. You do not get this kind of variety with other kinds of telescopes.
The accessories included here are a great place to start from and build on. The finderscope makes it easy to focus in on specific small objects in the sky and on land. The eyepieces are standard but since the Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ comes with a 1.25” eyepiece size this means that the potential additional eyepieces and accessories available for this model are almost endless.
Low Price, Low Power
The biggest gripe people are going to find with this telescope is the lack of power it gets while viewing the night sky. If you are in an area with high light pollution or have your sights set upon distant or deep space objects then you are going to be disappointed in this telescope’s performance.
The Celestron Astromaster LT 70AZ is going to excel the best while looking at planets or bright stars. This is due to its relatively small objective lens and high focal ratio. It is going to struggle to see dim objects and very distant objects. If that is your end goal for getting a telescope then you are probably going to want to look elsewhere.
This telescope also does not offer much room to grow as an astronomer. It is a great and fun scope to fiddle around with but if you are planning on advancing in the astronomy field and growing to more intermediate pursuits you are going to leave this telescope behind.
If you still don’t want to spend a ton but want a similar design with more power there are other affordable refractors that offer a bit more in the way of magnification or focal ratio. This includes other larger models in the Astromaster line by Celestron.
For the offered price, the Celestron AstroMaster LT 70AZ is an extremely fun and versatile little scope. It is not bulky, not fragile, not pretentious, and not complicated. If this is the kind of telescope experience you are looking for then this is a great scope to drop a little bit of money on.
It is going to offer fun viewing sessions that can show you some of the most common sights in the solar system in great focus and detail. Also, it can be used to scan the sky for unique and interesting things or to get more acquainted with the constellations. It is not going to peer deep into the galaxy or stretch your astronomy skills.
It can be used on land or on a boat or in your backyard. Also, it can be used with kids or set up with accessories to view pretty much anything you can think of within its optical specifications. If versatility and fun are more important than power and high-tech features then this is the Best Beginner Telescope to buy. A telescope that doesn’t just make it into our best beginners categories but Best Telescopes Under $200 and Best Budget Telescope.