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, it’s going to be a sensible cost-effective choice.
- 114mm manual Newtonian reflector telescope with fully coated glass optics and a lightweight frame.
- Observe in no time with a quick and easy, no-tool setup.
- Accessories include: (20mm and 4mm), 3x Barlow lens, and a finderscope.
- Slow motion rod control for smooth and accurate pointing.
- Adjustable height tripod includes an accessory tray.
✔️ Ideal first telescope for beginners with limited knowledge or experience in Astronomy. Ideal for ‘testing the water’ and seeing if Astronomy is truly for you and you want to pursue it as a hobby further.
✔️ Very user-friendly – the included illuminated red dot finderscope helps you to navigate the sky, sight objects, and center them in your telescope’s eyepiece.
✔️ Provides views of various celestial objects; the planets, moon, star clusters, and brighter deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy.
✔️ Easy and simple to set up and put together (although it is recommended you follow the included instructions the first time around)
✔️ You can easily follow objects as they appear to move across the sky using the altitude slow motion rod. This offers smooth, precise control and assists with pointing accuracy.
✔️ Plenty of uses and applications. It works for daytime terrestrial observing and astronomical viewing
✔️ Comes complete with everything you need to get started with amateur astronomy: 2 eyepieces (4mm and 20mm high and low magnifications), 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.
✔️ Access to download Celestron’s SkyPortal app for iOS and Android devices to help locate and learn about celestial objects.
✔️ Very portable and easy to move – the tripod is lightweight and the telescope is not too heavy. Total weight 6.7 pounds.
❌ This is a very hands-on manual adjusting telescope. You’ll need to keep making adjustments when observing the night sky.
❌ 114mm (4 inches) Aperture is limited in terms of depth of detail on observed celestial objects. A 6-8″ Aperture telescope is going to provide considerable more ‘seeing power’ with greater clarity.
❌ Aligning the finderscope appears challenging for first-time users.
Celestron Explorascope 114az Review
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 providing 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 the 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 is planets, the moon, or the brighter start galaxies.
The Explorascope 114az is delivered in a 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, it’s 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 observe 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 is 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.
What Is A Newtonian Reflector Telescope?
The Celestron Explorascope is a Newtonian Reflector, so it’s 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 telescopes are very versatile and are considered ideal for both amateurs and professional astronomers. They are normally very cost-effective when compared to other telescopes.
Newtonian Reflector Pros
✔️ Enhanced light-gathering ability. With more light collected, fainter celestial objects can be observed.
✔️ Cheaper to the manufacturer which makes them generally more affordable.
✔️ Operate via a Mount. The Alt-Azimuth of the Explorascope 114az enables manual movement by hand and the Altitude (up/down) and Azimuth (left/right) axis.
Newtonian Reflector Cons
❌ Slightly more expensive than a Newtonian Telescope that has a similar Aperture.
❌ Unless a GoTo Mount is used, manual adjustments are required when tracking celestial objects.
❌ Lower contrast compared to Refractors of equal power and size
❌ Thermal air currents are possible, which can affect the quality of the image
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 make 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)
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.
Hey, my name is Jeremy. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.