Review: The Celestron Travelscope 70

Inspiration can come from anywhere. For me it often comes from looking up at the stars. So when I was gifted my first telescope a few Christmasses ago, I couldn’t wait to start stargazing. If you’re looking to get started on some observations of your own to inspire your art or just for fun, the Celestron Travelscope could be perfect.

As a child, my house was full of encyclopaedias. Christmas and birthday gifts, everything from Big Cats, Elephants, Bears and Whales to beautiful, glossy photographs of lionfish, dinosaurs and the planets.

I’d always had an interest in space as a child, fascinated by astronauts bounding across the moon but rather frightened of those fishbowl helmets (they still do make me nervous). But it wasn’t until much later that I got hooked on the cosmos.

I watched Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe obsessively, awestruck by how beautiful and complex everything is, and how delicately explained it was explained. Physics was exciting for the first time in my life. Stephen Hawking’s television series Genius and the stunning remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos further planted the seed of wonder.

There’s very little of the cosmos to be seen from my urban corner of this little island, but a growing fascination with looking up at the stars was ignited when I acquired my first telescope.

The Celestron Travelscope is the ideal telescope for beginners. It doesn’t have extraordinary magnification capabilities compared to some beasts out there, but you can view the moon and all its craters in exquisite detail, Jupiter and its four largest Galilean moons, and you can just about make out a bulge around the rings of Saturn.

There’s a sense of pride and serenity when you start observing the sky for yourself. Those clear, windless nights when it’s just you and your telescope. Knowing that you’re looking at stars that may no longer exist, watching light flicker that could have been flickering since the beginning of everything. Even with the smallest scope, a pair of binoculars or just your naked eye, it’s tranquil up there.

If you’re looking to get started, then the Celestron Travelscope is perfect. A small, basic telescope, marketed for “terrestrial and celestial viewing”, the Travelscope is lightweight and easy to set up. There are 10mm and 20mm eyepieces plus an additional 4mm eyepiece and 3x Barlow Lens for boosted viewing capabilities.

The scope is quick and easy to assemble and comes with its own backpack and a basic tripod, so you can disassemble your scope to take it on hikes or even on holiday. I wish I’d had it for my trip to Patagonia!

However, the tripod and scope are that lightweight, a moderate wind could make a night of observations difficult. The little scope could potentially blow right over! Plus, you’re best off getting out of urban areas and finding yourself a Dark Sky spot for the best views.

Don’t forget too, to download a handy app so that you can check out the night’s best viewing opportunities, and what constellations and planets are visible in your corner of the world. I use Celestron’s own SkyPortal app to get myself acquainted with the night sky, and you can even check out how the sky will move over the next few hours. So, if you want to spot Jupiter you don’t need to freeze for hours, you can just set up and pop outside when it’s in prime position!

With a gentle hand and a bit of patience, here are some of the views you could experience with the Celestron Travelscope.

Pros

  • Lightweight, easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Ideal for lunar observations
  • Great for terrestrial observations such as birdwatching

Cons

  • Tripod is very lightweight and can easily tip over
  • Limited viewing capabilities for anything further away than the moon

I hope this informal review helps you on your astronomical journey!

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