Celestron - AstroMaster 76EQ 3" Newtonian Reflector Telescope

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$155.95

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SKU: CEL-31035
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This little scope is an decent place to start for anyone that would like to get more experience with Newtonian optics and equatorial mounts. I have only three complaints about this scope; the finder reticle is difficult to align and use, the included erect image 20mm eyepiece is of poor quality, and the lack of tube rings to reposition the focuser, requires you to look through the eyepiece at sometimes awkward angles. These problems are easily remedied by upgrading to a red dot finder, getting a couple of low priced Plossl eyepieces, and getting a set of tube rings and a new dovetail bar; however, these upgrades will require you to spend about another $100.
The telescope tube and mount are fairly durable and stable, but also light enough to be very portable. The optics are very good; I was able to push the magnification up to 200x with a 2x Barlow lens and 7mm eyepiece on the moon and planets, and still get sharp images during favorable atmospheric conditions. The image is much better than what can be seen with a 60mm achromatic refractor. Low power views at 28x magnification with a 25mm eyepiece give nice, sharp views of the brightest nebula and star clusters.
The equatorial mount can handle a DSLR camera with a 200mm lens fairly well, and with the addition of a motor drive and separate dovetail bar to connect the DSLR, makes a good intro mount for beginning astrophotography.
Overall an okay scope, but in need of upgrades which almost double the cost of the scope.
(Posted on 8/2/2017)

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