Recently, there has been an influx in nice refractor telescopes aimed at the novice or dabbling backyard astronomer. The days of lousy $70 junk telescopes that encourage you to beat and bang on them to decide if you want to stick around are gone. Now, you can skip that step and go straight to a decent refractor without the hassle.
The Inspire, by Celestron, is a refractor telescope that bills itself as the perfect fit for the beginner stargazer. It has some nice upgrades; also, it looks sharp and comes with some accessories in the box to keep you busy for a while. It is quite a bit more expensive than those junky box store endcap telescopes but also a lot nicer.
Celestron Inspire 100AZ Specs
- Refractor telescope
- 100mm objective lens
- f/6.5 focal ratio
- 241x highest useful magnification
- 20lbs assembled weight
This telescope is going to be a great fit for a beginner or anyone who does not want to fiddle or fuss with more complicated telescopes. It is a great starter scope or just a great general scope that can do a little bit of everything.Check Latest Price
The Renaissance Telescope
A Renaissance man is someone who does a little bit of everything. This telescope is kind of like that. As it has the ability to cover the whole range of telescope behaviors and perform admirably at each. It won’t knock anyone’s socks off in any given department, but it is extremely versatile. It is a jack of all trades and master of none.
This is generally what makes it a good beginner telescope. It will introduce any prospective astronomer to the different aspects of astronomy and won’t get too bogged down in any complicated details which can overwhelm new people.
The main pillars of the hobby of astronomy are stargazing including, object finding, and object tracking. Then there is the educational side, which is learning about the objects that you are tracking and locating. Lastly, there are the accessories that can turn your telescope into a specialized tool in pursuing one of the previously mentioned attributes of the hobby.
In all of these things, the Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor performs well and is a great way to fool around and learn each in turn.
What Can It See?
Following the theme of this telescope, the Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor can see a little bit of everything. This is because it has solid optics that are well suited for a variety of different stargazing types.
This is possible because of the large 100mm objective lens, fairly low focal ratio, and smooth altazimuth mount. This combination gives you the ability to scan the sky and get great views of each different kind of celestial body.
It has enough light gathering ability and focal ratio to see distant objects such as nebula, galaxies, and star clusters. It far outperforms smaller refractors which are geared more towards seeing the moon and the nearby planets.
Being a refractor, it can also get great views of the moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and other objects within the solar system.
Despite that, it will not get as clear and sharp views of deep sky objects as a dedicated reflector geared for deep space viewing. It will also lag behind more focused refractors that excel at getting views of high contrast things like the rings of Saturn. Again, it can do everything well but nothing spectacularly.
For most people, this will be more than adequate. You will not run into the problem of running out of things to look at. If you get bored of the solar system, take a look at deep space. If deep space is too vague for your liking, take a look at the planets. Just because the images of each individual thing aren’t as sharp as its more focused competition doesn’t mean the views aren’t great. Because they are great, for the most part.
This jack of all trades ability flows from the setup of the telescope itself. The refractor tube is made from durable plastic and has a lens cap and lens protrusion that protects the most important part of the telescope.
The mount is a free form altazimuth mount that moves very smoothly and has functional settings that allow for you to cruise around the night sky with fluid ease or hone in a specific spot with the same amount of precision.
The altazimuth mount is perfect for beginners because it allows you free fluid motion to look at and try to find whatever you like. There are no complicated alignments or rules or knobs to contend with. Once the telescope is assembled, the sky is ours to behold with your own hand. The whole experience is very nice and very freeing.
Speaking of which, the telescope can be assembled in minutes without tools. Everything unfolds and hooks together without having to deal with small screws or specific tools. Some telescopes require tightening and configuration with specialized tools or small screwdrivers which can be a bear to deal with when all you want to do is look at the sky. There is none of that frustration present here.
This telescope also features fully coated glass optics which decreases potential anomalies in the viewing and increases image quality. Not all telescopes have coated optics, in fact, you would be surprised how many do not. These coatings are a great addition to an already solid telescope and really make the views pop.
Everything works as intended and works well. There are no hold ups, or complicated parts that will hold back the young astronomer or beginner from diving in and getting situated quickly and easily.
What’s In The Box?
For anyone who likes getting a good deal or enjoys extras and addons, they are going to get a kick out of this telescope. One of the most fun parts of owning a refractor telescope is the sheer number of potential add-ons and accessories that are compatible with your scope at any given time. This allows you to customize and configure your setup to very specific specifications in order to completely change how it performs.
The included accessories give you a great value right out of the box and enhance this telescope’s strengths immediately.
This kit includes two eyepieces. One eyepiece at 20mm for a lower magnification level and one eyepiece at 10mm for higher magnification. The eyepiece connection on this scope is 1.25” which is the most common meaning you won’t have trouble finding additional eyepieces for this telescope in the future.
Inspire Telescope Series Video OverviewCheck Latest Price
It also includes a professional grade red dot finderscope, a ninety-degree erect image diagonal, a foldable steel tripod with a max extension of 47”, a red light flashlight, an attachable accessory tray and access to Starry Night Basic astronomy software.
The finderscope is really a nice upgrade and works well with the altazimuth mount. The ability to hone in on specific objects with the scope makes it easier than ever to really get a bead on specific points in the night sky. This will immediately help new astronomers learn to sharpen their navigation skills with the mount by being able to see exactly where they are pointed.
The erect image diagonal ensures that all of the images are upright when you are looking through the telescope. Without it, refractor telescopes naturally display images upside down due to the way they collect light and process images. This also makes it so you can technically use this telescope as a terrestrial scope where you can take a look at things right here on Earth as well. Just make sure never to look at the sun if you are using it during the day!
All in all, this is a great accessory kit that gives you two eyepieces, a solid finderscope, and access to some helpful software. Not only do you get the tried and true Starry Night software which is an instant help to any new astronomer, but you can also find support and more detailed information via Celestron’s new app which the purchase of this telescope also gives you access to.
Between the SkyPortal app and Starry Night, you will have everything you need to start looking and learning about every object in the sky.
This is an all-around solid telescope that has few to no issues at all. Some people have complained about the tripod being loose, but that is a complaint every factory grade tripod gets at some point. The price is a bit higher than I would normally like to see for a kit like this but it is not priced unfairly.
Overall, if you are a new astronomer looking for a telescope you can take out of the box and start using right away, or if you just want a customizable general use refractor with some power behind it, this kit will fit the bill for either and is Best Telescopes for Kids.Check Latest Price