Telescopes available on the market today have numerous features, many of which contribute to the success or flop of a product. Beginners often have no idea what specifications to focus on. The essential features a first-time buyer should take into account are the pricing, visual capabilities, durability, and level of difficulty. The affordable price, high durability, ease of use right out of the box, and optical clarity to view planets and stars make the Celestron 21024 Firstscope an ideal purchase for beginners interested in learning more about amateur astronomy.
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The Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope offers excellent potential as a first telescope for beginner astronomers eager to learn more about reflector style scopes and their optical capabilities. Although priced towards the lower end, the Celestron 21024 easily stands up against other competitors. Aesthetically pleasing, this particular model features a chic and modern look. The compact design, lightweight frame, and portability make the Celestron 21024 easy to grab on the way out. Do not let the term lightweight fool you, as both the structure and scope are composed of durable materials. Larger celestial objects including the moon and planets are easily viewed with the included 4mm eyepiece. The sturdy, swivel base allows one to quickly make pinpoint adjustments and aim the scope without the assistance of a viewfinder. The large field of view of each eyepiece enables one to view entire star clusters easily. An adjustment tension knob makes focusing simple.
Despite the cheap price, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope Telescope, does fall short in comparison to other models. The optical potential of the two included eyepieces leaves viewers wanting more, making the additional purchase of an accessory kit necessary. The Celestron 21024 Firstscope provides viewers with a full field of view, easily capable of finding star clusters, nebulae, and larger planets. However, limitations in power make it nearly impossible to see fine details, such as craters or the rings of Saturn. Unlike other telescopes offering a higher maximum zoom, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope possess a 120x magnification and becomes unable to focus at higher powers. The spotting scope requires additional equipment and must be placed on an elevated surface, as using the device on the ground inhibits one’s field of vision. Optical clarity becomes an issue if magnification increases beyond a 2.5x Barlow lens, resulting in an out of focus image. The 3” mirror included serves the purpose but results in the inability to sharply focus images.
Additional accessories including eyepieces and a compatible finder scope are required to maximize the optical capability of the Celestron 21024 Firstscope.
- Eyepieces – The two eyepieces included are limited in their optical potential. The Celestron accessory kit, which includes filters and a 9mm and 15mm lens, works well with the 21024 Firstscope model.
- Finder scope – Although not mandatory, the use of a compatible finder scope simplifies the process of tracking and locating celestial objects in the sky. As a reflector scope, objects viewed through the lens projects a backward image, confusing to some. The use of a finder scope corrects this mirrored image.
- Carrying Case – Due to the small and compact size, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope fits in most bags. To protect against damage, the use of a carrying case is highly recommended.
- Astronomical/Stargazing Guide – The importance of an astronomy guide should not be overlooked. As a helpful addition to the travel bag of any amateur stargazer, these guides provide readers with valuable information on terminology, star charts, background knowledge, equipment, and other useful tips.
- Price – Easily rivals the competition, at a price one-third of the cost of other models. A great initial investment for anyone not wanting to spend a large sum of money before getting better acquainted with the field of astronomy. The Celestron 21024 Firstscope possess similar specifications as other beginner telescopes but costs two to three times less.
- Durability – Built with durable materials, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope holds up well when carried around and used out in the field.
- Simplicity and Convenience – Unlike competitors, the compact and lightweight design of the Celestron 21024 Firstscope make it incredibly portable. As apart of a line of telescopes designed for beginners, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope offer beginner friendly mechanics. The swivel base provides stability on flat surfaces and easier tracking of objects viewed through the scope. A great feature for amateur stargazers, as tracking celestial objects can be complicated and confusing. The mechanism to adjust optical focus is simple to use.
- No Assembly Required – The Celestron 21024 Firstscope comes ready to use out of the box with no set up necessary.
- Optical Capabilities – The Celestron 21024 Firstscope can reach a maximum magnification of x120. Using an x2.5 Barlow lens further increases this magnification. However, at magnification levels exceeding x120, optical clarity and focus begin to diminish. Both eyepieces provide enough power, allowing one to view larger celestial bodies and star clusters.
- Short Lifespan – Designed as a beginner telescope, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope faces severe limitations in power and configuration options. While providing immense value to those new to the field, novices or individuals interested in a long-term hobby will quickly outgrow this model.
- No instructions/Supplementary Information – A lack of instructions or supplementary information may pose as an issue for individuals with little prior knowledge of astronomy or equipment. Many other telescopes provide the buyer with basic knowledge of equipment and stargazing techniques.
- Additional Accessories – The Celestron 21024 requires the use of other accessories to get the most out of this particular model.
- Lackluster optical power – While the Celestron 21024 provides enough power to view larger, brighter objects, the small amount of light the focal lens draws in makes displaying dimer objects difficult.
Overall, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope works best as an introductory telescope. Unfortunately, individuals at the novice, advanced or expert level will want to purchase a more sophisticated telescope. The scope comes fully assembled, great for those possessing little to no prior knowledge of astronomical equipment. While this model allows users to perform basic stargazing, the Celestron 21024 Firescope demonstrates obvious limitations. Average power, optical capability, and lack of configuration options will have buyers upgrading within a few years. The use of additional equipment is required to achieve the maximum potential of the Celestron 21024 Firstscope. With no supplementary information, the use of a field guide is required, especially for beginners. Taking into consideration the basic model, capabilities and with reasonable expectations, the Celestron 21024 Firstscope is an excellent purchase for first-time astronomers. Other models available on the market with similar specifications cost twice as much. For anyone learning the ropes of backyard stargazing, the included two-year warranty will help extend the longevity of the Celestron 21024 Firstscope until the time comes to purchase a more powerful telescope.