Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ Refractor Telescope Review: Stylish Mediocrity
ExploraScope 60 has modest power and build quality. Its price tag is accordingly.
At this price range telescopes are as low powered as they can be. They are mostly for watching the Moon from time to time and viewing a couple of major details in the Solar System. This telescope is mostly for campers, kids, and hobbyists who would like to use it for terrestrial viewing for some reason.
If you are serious about astronomy, don’t buy this telescope. You will start to lose your interest in a small amount of time. A serious beginner astronomer should get a tabletop Dobsonian at this price range. Telescopes like Zhumell Z100 and Orion SkyScanner 100 are around 100$(You can find them for even cheaper second-hand.). They provide vastly better images. But they require collimation, and naturally a sturdy table. They are simply less convenient.
60mm aperture gathers below-moderate amount of light.
That is why, although not a great astronomy device, we recommend this telescope. It delivers what it promises: a decent quality, budget telescope for multiple purposes.
First things first, Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ is one of the lowest-powered telescopes you can buy. Therefore the optical performance is equal to a decent pair of binoculars. The highest magnification you can go with this telescope is around 70x with this telescope. And out of the box, you are going to get 35x with the 20mm eyepiece. The 4mm eyepiece is useless.
The price tag reflects the aperture.(Pun intended.)
You will be able to get views of significant Solar System details around the 30x-60x range. These include 4 Galilean Moon’s of Jupiter and Rings of Saturn. Mars will look like a red dot more than a planet. Titan may be visible with an eyepiece that costs more than the telescope itself. Venus will appear as a yellow dot. And thats about it. As long as you don’t get a huge Dobsonian, the detail you get from the Solar System is about the same with budget telescopes.
For watching the Moon, we usually recommend budget refractors. ExploraScope 60 is one of them. The Moon doesn’t require huge apertures and long optical tubes. It only requires decent color accuracy with a decent amount of magnification. ExploraScope 60 easily provides both. Watching the Moon is a joy with this telescope.
Deep space performance is OK. As I’ve said before you can think of this telescope as a good pair of binoculars on a tripod. You will get decent views of the brightest deep space objects. These include Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy and the Hercules Star Cluster.
This is definitely not a telescope for deep space viewing. The optical tube is too long, and the aperture is too narrow.
The mount is the best part of the telescope which is quite surprising. Celestron usually provides useless CG-3 mounts that are almost entirely useless.
But the ExploraScope 60 comes with an astonishingly sturdy, black, aluminium tripod. The altazimuth mount provides enough sturdiness for a decent viewing experience.
The mount is impressive for such a low priced telescope.
There is a slow-motion control for altitude implemented in the mount. It is definitely useful since gravity gets annoying in no time with refractors. But there is no slow-motion controls for the horizontal axis. Slightly disappointing but it is not a big deal.
The base is surprisingly good for a telescope at this price range.
The accessories are not good at all. This is not surprising with a budget refractor. There are no telescopes at this price range that come with multi-coated, metal eyepieces.
The 20mm eyepiece is usable for the beginning. It provides 35x power with decent brightness and sharpness.
ExploraScope won’t go higher than 100x.
The 4mm eyepiece is included so that Celestron can write “175x!” on the front page of ExploraScope 60. This telescope won’t go higher than 100x with the best of eyepieces. The 4mm eyepiece is a mere marketing-scam.
The same is true for the 3x Barlow. A decent 3x Barlow is incredibly hard to manufacture and damn expensive. This accessory is useless and belongs to thrash.
The red dot finder is surprisingly solid and doesn’t bring up any complaints.
The focuser is a 1.25″ rack-and-pinion. It is mostly plastic but it does its job.
The 4mm eyepiece and the 3x Barlow are useless. Don’t even spend time with them. They will only create frustration.
The optical tube is at the same power as a decent pair of binoculars.
People who buy this telescope are usually not serious astronomers. They buy it for their kids, spouses, friends or to use it on camping. It is also useful for people who’s hobby requires a scope for viewing the Earth on daytime.
If you are one of those people, buy all means, get this telescope. Celestron has exceptional customer service. The optical tube and tripod are pretty solid. You won’t worry about anything after you’ve purchased this telescope, which is what most people want.
ExploraScope 60 is a humble choice.
If you are a person who’s decided to do some serious astronomy, I would advise you to save a little more for a good tabletop Dobsonian. The slightest increase in aperture creates a vast difference in budget telescopes. Trust me, you won’t regret getting a wider apertured telescope.