Telescope on the Hill? Review of the Celestron 70 Travel Scope

Dave Roberts reviews the Celestron 70 Travel Scope out on Snowdon.

Have you ever fancied a bit of star gazing on the hill? It’s often darker there than nearer civilisation and you certainly won’t get your night vision ruined by passing cars every five minutes, but it’s just impractical to take a proper telescope on the hill. So we got our hands on the lightweight Celestron 70 Travelscope to see if a telescope this cheap and light would be any more use than two toilet roll tubes and clear cellophane for star gazing.

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While the RRP is £99.99, this package is available for significantly less online. It was only around £60 from Amazon when we picked our up, and you may get luckier. It comes complete with a carrying bag, lightweight tripod with mount, 10mm and 20mm eyepieces. We also received a 4mm eyepiece, a 3x barlow lens and a “The Sky X – First Light Edition CD-ROM as part of an exclusive package although it seems that the software comes as standard. You also, of course, get the 70mm refractor telescope. Another bonus is that you can connect this scope with an adaptor to a DSLR without the need for a t-piece adaptor and it can be used as a lens of sorts.

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We’ll start with the bad. The tripod may be light, but it feels cheap and unstable and easily replaced with a photographic tripod. The bag’s nothing to write home about, but perfectly good to store all the kit and to carry the kit a short distance. If you’re going on the hill, you’ll probably pack the ‘scope in your pack padded with a down jacket or similar. At this price, you can risk it!

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While we normally use the excellent Stellarium on PC (free!) and Android (£1.56), the free software with the telescope is good enough to get going as you can also print star maps off with it. We stuck to what we know and are comfortable with, especially as we could access it via smartphone on the hill!

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In use, this ‘scope is easy enough for a beginner to set up and we found it was fine for lunar observation, the easiest target. We even managed to view Jupiter and even a few moons, which was exciting, but it was hard work to keep it in view and it moved quickly out of view.

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The final easy target was the Orion Nebula, which was clearly visible, though hardly what you’d call impressive. I’ve viewed it through more expensive (dare I say, ‘proper’!) scopes where you can see the colour, whereas the Celestron only magnified the blob for us.

night shots (18 of 21)

This scope is good for a bit of fun, and doubles as a spotting scope, and so long as you don’t expect too much from it then it’s fine. We’d try and rig it up to a better tripod, as the one provided is poor. Despite that, it’s great value

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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