Celestron is one of the most trusted brands around, and the Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ is one of their most popular telescopes. If you’re talking about cheap Dobsonian reflectors, then you’re definitely going to have to consider the Astromaster.
Whilst I don’t typically recommend Dobsonians to beginners, this is actually quite a decent model to get started with. It’s not super complex to come to terms with, and it can be a great place to learn what’s required to set up and use a telescope properly. If you’re looking to see deep sky objects clearly, then it’s definitely important that you know exactly what you’re doing.
The Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ should be on your list if you’re looking for a reflector telescope. Anyway, lets get on with the review and go through the products in great detail.
Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ Review
Now, you can actually get different variations of the Astromaster series, in both reflector and refractor format. The Celestron Astronmaster 114 EQ is a Newtonian reflector, so that’s what I’ll be talking about today – I can’t talk on the refractor version because I haven’t used it myself (yet, anyways!).
Typically Newtonians can be a little harder to get set up than say, refractor telescopes, due to the alignment. Refractors are generally easier to set and a better choice for those completely new to astronomy.
However, you can get a telescope with a much higher aperture if you get a reflector. So, it could be worth putting in a little more effort setting your telescope up in the first place.
Celestron Astromaster 114 EQ Mount
Another thing that’s pretty good about the Astromaster 114 EQ is the mount that it comes with. As I’ve said to every beginner and newbie who’s just started their astronomy journey, one of the most important things about your telescope is which mount you use with it.
It’s definitely the most commonly underestimated thing that beginners don’t realise, and if your mount sucks, then you are going to struggle. Fortunately the mount that comes with the 114 is very sturdy, but still lightweight enough to carry around with you.
It has an equatorial mount, which is the best type of mount if you want to take your astronomy seriously. This is a little different than many other cheaper telescopes that come with an Alt-az mount. A German equatorial mount uses two axes to follow along the skyline, which is ideal for picking out stars and planets.
If you’re interested in astrophotography, then you can easily set this telescope up with your phone and the smartphone adapter provided. This isn’t going to give you the highest quality pictures possible, but actually iPhone and other smartphone cameras are surprisingly powerful, so you’ll be pretty surprised by just how much detail they can show.
From a negative perspective, this isn’t the telescope for you if you need something lightweight. If you want something you can carry around with you easily, you’re much better going and looking at my list of the best portable telescopes and picking one from there.
If you want a beginner telescope to simply use at home, then this would be a perfect fit. But for travelling with, this model is too heavy.
If you purchase this telescope, you’re also going to get the accessories that comes with it. This includes two eyepieces (both a 10mm eyepiece and a 20mm eyepiece) and a sturdy tripod which should be good enough for most people. This should be enough to get you up to 50x magnification or even more.
You don’t need an additional finder with this telescope, as it has one attached to it already. A red dot finder is a crucial part of your home astronomy setup. Also, you get a smartphone adapter as mentioned too, which will allow you to practice your astrophotography skills.
So, this should definitely be enough to get you started, but you’ll likely want to add more accessories as you become more comfortable with your telescope.
Pros & Cons
Overall, the Astromaster 114 isn’t in the top tier of telescopes, but it’s also nowhere near the same price range as some of the most expensive scopes either. For those that don’t have a ton of cash to spend, this isn’t a bad choice at all.
The telescope has a sturdy and lightweight frame that’s easy to carry with you anywhere for terrestrial viewing. It has smooth and accurate pointing, and a sufficient focal length.
It’s straightforward enough to use, and it’s a great entry point telescope for those completely new to telescopes. If you’re looking to get your first telescope, then the 114 might be one of the best choices out there.