The Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ is a step up from basic beginner telescopes. It has a wider aperture, high quality optics and an equatorial mount that makes celestial exploration easier and more fun. For the price, it’s a pretty good deal for anyone looking for a good quality entry-level telescope.
With a 114mm aperture, the 114EQ is ideal for viewing the moon, planets and some bright galaxies and nebulae.
It uses an equatorial mount for easy and accurate tracking of objects. It comes with two eyepieces, a laser scope and a pre-assembled tripod.
Read on for my full review.
Celestron Astromaster 114 review
What are you buying?
1. 114mm reflector telescope
Reflector telescopes have some advantages over refractor ones.
They have larger mirrors, meaning they let in more light resulting in a brighter image. They also don’t suffer from chromatic aberrations, an issue that results in colored fringes around objects.
The AstroMaster 114EQ’s excellent viewing performance is not just because it is a reflector telescope, though that helps a lot.
It’s the fairly large 114mm aperture that makes all the difference. It greatly improves image clarity and makes it possible to peer deeper into space.
Unlike a basic 70mm telescope that’s only good for observing the moon and Jupiter, with the 114EQ you can see some of the craters on the moon, explore Jupiter’s moons and see Saturn’s rings.
You can also see some brighter nebulae and galaxies in deep space especially if you use a low-power, wide-field eyepiece.
Of course, being a reflector telescope, it comes with some inherent downsides.
For one, it’s bulkier than a refractor telescope. Secondly, you have to regularly align the mirrors (collimation) to get a good image.
2. Equatorial mount and steel tripod
Equatorial mounts are much better than the more basic Alt-Az telescope mounts. It does take some time to learn how to properly adjust it but once you get used to it, it makes it really easy to observe objects in the sky.
The AstroMaster 114EQ uses a manual equatorial mount, not one of those fancy motorized ones. But it still provided more versatility than an Alt-Az mount.
You’ll need to first Polar align the mount before using it. This allows you to accurately track planets and other objects.
With the mount aligned, it’s also easier to use astronomy software or maps to locate objects in the sky.
The telescope and mount both rest on a steel tube tripod. It’s lightweight but sturdy to prevent vibrations and shaking.
3. Mounted laser scope
This is one of my favourite features in Astromaster telescopes. A laser scope mounted on the telescope barrel makes it much easier to find and focus on celestial objects.
Use it along with the Equatorial mount to quickly find and track planets.
The scope has its own batteries, so you don’t have to worry about plugging it in when you are out in the garden or outdoors.
4. Portable design
Though bigger than a comparable refractor telescope, the AstroMaster 114EQ is still small and light enough to carry around.
The total assembled weight is 7.7kg.
If you are looking for a reflector telescope you can travel with, the 114EQ is a good choice. It’s also light enough for older children.
How easy is it to use?
Setting up and adjusting the AstroMaster 114EQ takes a bit of time and practice. It takes a few tries to learn how to adjust the mount and mirrors.
It also takes time to get used to scouting objects with the laser scope, though you can skip using it if you prefer using just the eyepiece.
But once you have everything set up, the telescope is actually very easy to use. The Equatorial mount makes finding and focusing on objects a breeze.
It’s especially handy when you are using a high-magnification eyepiece, though which objects drift out of view quicker. You can keep track of a planet as it moves.
Overall, the AstroMaster 114EQ very beginner-friendly.
What accessories are included?
Here’s what you get with the AstroMaster 114EQ telescope.
Two 1.25” eyepieces: 10mm and 20mm
Permanently mounted laser sky pointer
“The Sky” Level 1 CD-ROM with high quality images and celestial maps
Celestron Astromaster 114 Pros and cons
Ideal for lunar, planetary and some deep space observations.
Comes with two eyepieces.
Easy-to-use equatorial mount.
The telescope and mount takes some time to set up and adjust.
A bit bulky and heavy (but still easily portable for most people).
Not ideal for all deep space observations (only shows bright galaxies and nebulae).
Anything else you should know?
The tripod has an adjusting mechanism that allows you to raise and lower it. This lets you set the telescope at the most comfortable viewing height.
Also, the tripod has an accessory tray that provides handy storage for your eyepieces and other accessories.
The Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ is a step up from basic beginner telescopes. It has a wider aperture, high quality optics and an equatorial mount that makes celestial exploration easier and more fun.
For the price, it’s a pretty good deal for anyone looking for a good quality entry-level telescope.
Jack Bennett is the founder and editor of Stargazing in the UK. He lives in London and have started this blog about stargazing and amateur astronomy for beginners to keep track of his attempts to explore the Universe.