The Celestron Explorascope 114az is one of the most affordable Newtonian telescopes available on the market – but is it any good? This review and guide will be providing you with an in-depth look at this telescope, the pros and cons and whether or not you should go ahead and purchase one.
We’re going to be taking a closer look at the specification, the features and providing some thoughts and observations on this Reflector from the prestigious Celestron brand.
The Celestron Explorascope 114az is an excellent entry-level telescope that combines premium Celestron technology and Accessories with ease of setup, use and portability. It was designed specifically for new astronomers in mind, providing great optics to observe the Moon, Planets including Saturn/Jupiter and other fascinating celestial objects like the Orion Nebula. Setting the telescope up takes all but 5 minutes, and can be done so with limited knowledge and experience. While this is not the most powerful telescope available on the market, at this price point you’re going to struggle to find a better alternative. It provides great light-gathering ability through the fully coated glass optics and has a number of useful features that set it apart from some of the other options. In particular the included illuminated red dot finderscope makes navigating the sky, sighting objects and centering them in your telescope’s eyepiece effortless. You are also provided with all the items and accessories you need to get started with amateur astronomy: 2 eyepieces, a 3x Barlow lens to triple the magnifying power of each eyepiece, an erect image diagonal for correct image orientation, and a full-height aluminum tripod.
If you want to start getting into astronomy, have children who are showing an interest and when you consider the spec, performance and design of the Explorascope, its going to be a sensible cost-effective choice.
Celestron Explorascope 114az Review
What is a Newtonian Reflector Telescope?
The Celestron Explorascope is a Newtonian Reflector, so its good to know what this is actually is and how it works.
A reflecting telescope, sometimes just referred to as a Reflector – is designed with a simple set of optics and a combination of mirrors that form images by ‘reflecting’ light. They typically sit on Alt-Azimuth and Equatorial Mounts.
The Optical Tube Assembly has a primary parabolic mirror and a flat secondary mirror, then there is the focuser (an eyepiece) that is included on the side. Light enters the optical tube, bounces off the primary mirror at the foot of the telescope and is then focused onto the flatter secondary mirror. This is then placed through the eyepiece.
The first reflecting telescope was invented by Sir Isaac Newton – it was the first real alternative to the refractive telescope. The purpose was to overcome what is known as chromatic aberrations that typically occurs in Refractive Telescopes (when a lens is cannot focus all of the required colors at a single point.)
Newtonian telescope are very versatile and are considered ideal for both amateurs and professional astronomers. They are normally very cost-effective when compared to other telescopes.
What is an Alt-Azimuth Mount?
An Altazimuth Mount (sometimes called an Alt-Az/AZ) is one of the most common types of mount due to its user friendliness and ease of use. It has a simple straightforward design and how you need to operate it. There are two axes – the altitude (vertical) and azimuth (horizontal) axis which need to be maneuvered.
This mount enables you to move the telescope in two directions, whether this be up and down or side to side. The better models provide knobs that you can alter in slow motion. This enables you to make minor adjustments which makes it easier to observe and follow objects in the sky. There’s an element of freedom using an Alt-Az mount and telescope.
(Read more: Telescope Mount Types)
Celestron Explorascope 114az Performance
The Celestron Explorascope is a compact and versatile Newtonian Reflector, which was built and designed with a beginner in mind.
Compared to other telescopes at this price point and specification, the Explorascope provides great light gathering ability and a lot of flexibility on what and how you observe. The two eyepieces included provide a range of magnification to benefit from and utilize. Visually it looks fantastic too.
The new and improved Alt-Azimuth mount was only recently released and comes with added stability of the optical assembly that it supports. You can also benefit from the slow motion knobs that enable you to more precisely identify, point and follow objects as they move across the sky. Whether this be planets, the moon or the brighter start galaxies.
The Explorascope 114az is delivered in concise well padded box. Setting up the telescope is simple, taking only a matter of minutes, even for complete newbies who have not set up a telescope before. At a total weight of 6.7 pounds, its ideal for impromptu observing sessions or transporting with you on the go.
Regarding observations, one of the major benefits is that you get an erect image diagonal included which provides correct image orientation. Basically, you can observes objects the right way up and the right way round. Images are not inverted unlike a lot of other telescopes on the market.
On all objects , whether it the Moon or planets like Jupiter, you’ll get fantastic clear and concise views.
The Explorascope at low power (22 or 44x) is great to scan the sky with. The field of view at 44x is 1 degree, and even wider at 22x. There’s a lot of stars you can see with this setup.
Final Words and Verdict
Overall, The Explorascope 114az is a brilliant Newtonian Reflector for beginners, young children and anyone who is looking to get into astronomy. Being so user-friendly makes it a very practical telescope and ideal for amateur astronomers. With its relative power, ease of use, portability and sleek design then it ticks a lot of boxes.
Pricing and Where to Buy
You can purchase this telescope for competitive and often discounted prices over at Amazon.
Click here to check the current price of the product on its Amazon listing.