Celestron AstroMaster 90EQ Telescope Review: Usable
AstroMaster 90EQ is the only telescope in the AstroMaster line that is close to “usable”.
90EQ still has a wobbly, plastic mount. But its accessories and optics are vastly better than the other AstroMaster’s.
AstroMaster 90EQ is slightly overpriced. Meade Polaris 90 is almost exactly the same with this telescope with a %10 shorter optical tube. But it is almost 50$ cheaper. We think it is a better deal.
Celestron is famous for pricing its beginner telescopes unnecessarily high so that they can make a profit. AstroMaster 90EQ is one of those, but at least its optics and accessories make up for the high price and save this telescope from becoming yet another marketing scam.
The optical design is powerful and convenient. The long optical tube reduces most image defects, and the 90mm aperture is barely enough for crispy planetary and deep space observations.
The optical tube also has the advantage of overcoming light-pollution and atmospheric effects more easily thanks to its long optical tube.
You can get sharp images of Jupiter and its moons, Rings of Saturn, and with a good eyepiece some detail on Mars. The Moon looks great with AstroMaster 90EQ, but it does with most telescopes anyway.
You can get images of brighter deep space objects such as Pleiades Star Cluster, Andromeda Galaxy, and Orion Nebula.
The optics don’t require collimation or any kind of maintenance. This is especially important for beginners.
Overall the optical design is the best part of AstroMaster 90EQ. It is convenient and powerful enough for decent images.
If only the mount wasn’t this bad. Then AstroMaster 90EQ would become one of the most recommended models for beginners.
It is sad to see such good optics being drawn back by such a cheap mount. The CG-3 mount, as Celestron calls it, is mostly plastic and frustrating to use. Its metal parts start to get worn down immediately and don’t provide enough smoothness for high-magnification observations.
Celestron surprisingly provides two, usable Kellner eyepieces with AstroMaster 90EQ. The eyepieces have 10mm(100x) and 20mm(50x) apertures and work fine for the beginning. Of course, changing them with better ones would vastly improve your experience.
The red dot finder is a simple accessory that projects a red dot in the sky. It works fine.
The CG-3 mount should have been better. At this price range, equatorial mounts are not good, but they are not this bad.
If you can make up for the mount is some way, by fixing it or changing it, AstroMaster 90EQ is actually pretty good. Its optics are powerful enough for decent stargazing, it is easy to use, and the accessories are actually usable.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
AstroMaster 70EQ and the 90EQ are the only models in the AstroMaster line that are “legit”. These models are real refractors with good optics.
The problem with the 70EQ is its aperture. It is simply too narrow. A 70mm aperture is acceptable with a 70$ telescope like the Infinity 70.
A 90mm aperture is almost %30 percent wider. This allows it to take in %64 percent more light, and the difference is huge. The images you get become much brighter and sharper.
Jupiter’s shows its stripes, 4 Galilean Moon’s become clearer, Rings of Saturn are easily distinguishable from the planet, and Titan can be seen with a good eyepiece.
Brighter Messier objects and exceptionally bright deep space objects are a joy to look at with AstroMaster 90EQ.
The Moon show incredible detail, enough to mesmerize any beginner.
The only problem, unfortunately, is the mount. It is a little more than a camera tripod. It is mostly made of plastic.
To be fair to Celestron, the mount has expensive, heavy metal parts. But these parts get worn down quickly, and they don’t provide the smooth motion you desperately need for a pleasant stargazing experience.
The tripod is fairly stable, but it doesn’t matter since it is holding a useless mount.
The accessories are the best ones provided in the AstroMaster line.
Celestron provides a real 20mm(50x) Kellner eyepiece(Thank God for that). The other eyepiece is a 10mm(100x), Kellner.
The eyepieces are below-average, but they are the best ones you can get at this price range. And they are usable for the beginning.
Keep in mind a Plössl eyepiece will greatly improve your experience.
The only drawback is the mount. Plastic equatorial mounts are a common problem among beginner refractors. But at least some companies like Meade or Orion provide something usable.
The CG-3 mount becomes a frustration in a short amount of time. For an item that you expect to use for years to come, this is unacceptable.