Review: Celestron Eclipsmart 50mm Solar Telescope

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Cost: $99.99 (as of my purchase date)

Summary:
Optical Design: Refractor
Aperture 50mm:
Focal length: 360mm f/7.2

Comes with:
20mm Kellner EP
Hybrid mirror diagonal, accepts 1.25” eyepieces
Tripod
Backpack

 

First Light Impression:

The weather was partly cloudy so I had to wait for the clouds to pass, look quick, and then wait again. This, of course, limited any serious observing. Based on the time I had with it here is what I think:

  1. Tripod is close to worthless. There was a light breeze and the scope was shaking at higher powers making it hard to get focus. I may try hanging a weight, but a better plan would be to replace it.
  2. The scope is TINY. I could easily put the entire thing – with tripod- in my laptop backpack and still fit all my laptop stuff. This makes it great for traveling.
  3. I used three different EPs:
    1. Included 20mm Kellner. Clear image of the Sun, but it was tiny. Hard to make anything out.
    2. Orion Hyperion 13mm. This is a massive EP and probably weighs more than the entire scope. It also worked well, but the Sun was still tiny in the view and hard to make out much detail.
    3. Orion Expanse 6mm. This ep did remarkably well. I could finally make out some detail on the Sun and spotted 2 sun spots before the clouds came back.
  4. At 6mm the slight breeze nearly made the view unattainable. I have a 3x focal extender I will try if I get a still day.
  5. The scope uses a standard tripod mount, so if you have a good tripod for your camera already just use that.
  6. The finder is really cool. It looks like a sundial. You line up a shadow with a bullseye and the sun is in the 20mm EP. It was also in the 13mm Hyperion, but just out of the 6mm Expanse. Easiest sun finder scope I have used yet.

Overall, for $100 it delivers a view similar to Baader film. My other telescope is a 8″ on an AVX EQ GOTO mount with more than double the focal length. If I planning any camera work I would break out the 8″ for the better mount and etc (I have a 50mm aperture homemade Baader filter for it). But for grab and go viewing, not unlike what you might use binos for, this scope is great. I will probably invest in a more stable tripod for it in the future and definitely want to try the focal extender.

Bottom Line: If you already have a small refractor, then you are better off spending the money on a full aperture glass filter rather than buy a new small refractor. Since I did not, I think it was a good purchase.

More information: http://www.celestron.com/browse-shop/astronomy/solar-observing/eclipsmart/eclipsmart-travel-scope-50

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