Celestron FirstScope is one of the most popular beginner scopes. It has a good build quality and its optics are powerful enough to amaze first-timers.
It has a 76mm aperture. Surprisingly, it is enough to see Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moon’s, Rings of Saturn and a good amount of detail on the Lunar Surface. With a good eyepiece, you can also see Jupiter’s stripes. But unfortunately supplied eyepieces are not good enough. You may wish to change them with better ones in the future.
The mount is great. It moves up, down, left and right which is as simple as it gets with telescope mounts. It is rock solid and the base is Teflon so it has a really smooth motion.
This telescope has no finderscope but since the magnification power is around 20x-30x there is no need for it. The telescope itself acts as a finderscope.
There is no finderscope, but there is no need for one anyway.
Obviously Celestron FirstScope is not a powerhouse. But it has considerable power and good build quality. It may be a thoughtful gift for someone or a nice tool to get your kids interested in astronomy.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
Celestron FirstScope is a budget-friendly gateway to astronomy. It has a good built quality and a considerable amount of optical power for the price. It is perfect for kids or for someone who wants to see what a small telescope can do. Be warned, you may find yourself yearning for larger models in the future.
Optics and Eyepieces
The 76mm aperture is the smallest aperture that can actually do some serious astronomy. It is able to gather enough light to see Jupiter and its 4 Galilean Moon’s. It is also able to show images of Rings of Saturn, but not so clearly. Rings appear as small extensions of the planet. Keep in mind planets will appear as bright disks. In contrast, the Lunar Surface still looks spectacular.
Surprisingly deep space objects such as the Orion Nebula and many star clusters still look bright and detailed.
One huge drawback is the primary mirror. It is not collimatable. Meaning if your optics get misaligned the only thing you can do is call Celestron’s customer service. Thankfully their customer service is excellent compared to other telescope companies.
The primary mirror has a cheap design.
Another drawback is the spherical design of the primary mirror. It creates aberrations around the edges. Combined with low-quality eyepieces they don’t provide anything that might be called great. But if you use better quality accessories you might get some performance out of them.
The eyepieces are dreadful.
The eyepieces that come with the telescope are the cheapest options in the market. This is understandable since the telescope itself costs under 100$. The 20mm Huygens eyepiece is OK and does its job, providing 15x magnification. It has a really small field view therefore using it is a little uncomfortable. The 4mm Ramsden eyepiece is unfortunately useless.
We strongly recommend you to change the eyepieces with better ones such as Plössl’s. This will allow you to use to telescope to its full potential. For example cloud stripes on Jupiter will be visible if you use a better eyepiece.
The mount is the best part of the telescope. It has the same build quality as a 400-500$ Dobsonian telescope, which is a huge win. Thanks to its tabletop design it is rock solid and the base provides really smooth motion.
The base is a delight to use.
As you might guess Celestron FirstScope is extremely portable. You can carry the telescope with only one hand. This is especially great for kids.
There is no finderscope included which is understandable. The telescope is able to go up to 20-30x magnification, which makes it a big finderscope. But if you really wish to get a finderscope there is a slot for it on the optical tube.
In contrast to the eyepieces, the focuser is well-made.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion model, which makes us wonder how did Celestron fit a rack-and pinion on a 76mm telescope. It works well and we have no complaints about it. It will work nicely with any 1.25” eyepiece.
The optics are not decent quality. The primary mirror is spherical and creates aberrations. It is also not adjustable. The eyepieces are the cheapest versions available. If you are willing to go up 20-30$ Orion FunScope 76 comes with much better accessories.
What makes Celestron FirstScope attractive is its price. At the moment it is only 50$, which is almost absurd when it comes to telescope prices. Even though it doesn’t have top-notch optics and accessories, it is able to show any beginner what a telescope is capable of.