Celestron Astromaster 70AZ Review: Best For Beginners

Celestron Astromaster 70AZ Review

The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is a great telescope for beginners. Its 70mm aperture lets in plenty of light, and the two eyepieces give you different magnification options. 

It has a focal length of 900mm and a focal ratio of f/13, making it ideal for observing faraway objects such as stars and planets or birdwatching during the daytime. 

But is it really worth it or should you look elsewhere?

If you are seriously considering buying this telescope then make sure that you read this unbiased review of the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ telescope.

The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is an affordable, beginner-friendly telescope. For a decent refractor telescope that comes with good accessories and can be used for land-based observation for under $150, it’s a good buy for the beginner, novice, or older child as a starter telescope. With its 70mm aperture, you’ll be treated to crisp and sharp images of many of the solar system’s showpiece objects, including the moon, stars, and planets. The optics alone justify the price, and if you’re after a starter telescope to dabble in both land-based and astronomy viewing, the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ will prove worthy.

Pros

  • Affordable refractor telescope.
  • Decent optics and accessories.
  • Can be used for terrestrial viewing.
  • Simple and durable design.
  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Coated lenses offer clear and crisp images.

Cons

  • Unsteady mount.
  • Not a lot of magnification power.
  • Small aperture.

Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Review

The AstroMaster 70AZ telescope from Celestron is an ideal starter scope for anyone interested in astronomy, particularly for beginners and children. 

This telescope is a basic refractor telescope that comes in on the low end in terms of specs but can do everything you want a basic telescope to do.

It comes with bonus software for use with a PC, Mac, or laptop, the Starry Night Basic Edition. Very helpful for beginners, this will allow you easy access to maps of the night sky so you can figure out exactly what you’re looking at. 

Who Should Buy the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ?

The AstroMaster 70AZ is designed to be most suitable for beginners and novices. You can use this telescope at night to view celestial objects and during the daytime, this telescope can be used for terrestrial viewings such as viewing the ocean, mountains, architecture, buildings, or people. 

I should also tell you that its build and optical quality are only good for recreational and amateur use.

At this price, the AstroMaster 70AZ represents a very low-risk opportunity to break into astronomy. 

You’ll want to temper your expectations from the outset, always remembering that this is a beginner telescope intended for beginner astronomers. 

Optical Performance

The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ has an aperture of 70mm (2.75”), a common size for an entry-level telescope, and will give you clear, sharp images. 

The lens is set in a long tube giving a focal length of 900mm, which gives good color clarity by pretty much eliminating chromatic aberration.

This means that you will be able to see more than you may have expected as image quality is good enough for most users that are looking for a multi-purpose, recreational instrument.

It also comes with two Kellner eyepieces. One of them, at 20mm, offers 45x magnification, and the other one, 10mm, offers 90x magnification. 

The combination will allow you to focus on distant objects with great clarity. 

Both eyepieces are fully coated. If you’re looking for higher magnification, you can also purchase a Barlow lens that attaches in between the telescope and the eyepiece to double or even triple the magnification. 

The AstroMaster 70AZ comes with a decent red dot type finderscope which makes it easy to see and center the object you’re trying to view within the center of the telescope. 

A 2x Barlow lens is an inexpensive way to boost your telescope’s magnification capabilities and double the number of eyepieces in your arsenal if you feel it is necessary.

What Can You See With Celestron Astromaster 70AZ?

With the telescope’s 70mm aperture, DSO (Deep Sky Objects) viewing will be a challenge although some targets can be seen. 

Faint and dim objects will be difficult to locate and resolve details. However, you will achieve excellent lunar observation and you can extend magnification to get a better look at planets.

The AstroMaster 70AZ provides fantastic views of the moon and its craterlets, mountains, ridges, etc.

You’ll also be able to see Jupiter, its moons, the Red Spot, and cloud belts

When it comes to Saturn, you’ll be able to identify the planet, see its rings, and the Cassini Division

Uranus and Neptune appear as tiny bluish dots that will be difficult to distinguish from stars.

Outside the solar system, the 70mm aperture limits you to a handful of deep-sky objects such as the Orion Nebula, some open clusters such as the Double Cluster and M35, Ring Nebula, and a faint view of the Andromeda Galaxy.

Terrestrial Use

Celestron includes an erect image diagonal with this telescope for terrestrial use. It means that you can observe with correct image orientation for land-based use. 

So in addition to getting great views of the moon and the planets, you can also use it while hiking or camping to get stunning views of distant mountain peaks, deep canyons, or lush valleys.

You can also take this with you on your boat and use it to get views of the horizon to spot passing birds or ships or other sea life.

Mount Capabilities

Given the low price of this scope, you shouldn’t expect very much from the mount. All things considered, Celestron provides an acceptable quality mount considering the price of this package. 

The manual altazimuth mount is as basic as it gets. Just point the telescope skyward or towards the horizon using the handles and take a look. Turn the handle to loosen it for movement and then lock it back in place. There is nothing more to it.

The lightweight construction of the mount makes it prone to vibration when using the telescope. 

This is not a deal-breaker and if the vibration bothers you too much there are several simple ways you can fix this issue – such as using an old rag or piece of carpet under the legs.

This is an issue with almost all low-budget branded telescopes.

On the positive side, AstroMaster 70AZ is a simple telescope and it is extremely easy to assemble as well. 

Simply take the optical tube out, attach it to the included tripod and pick an eyepiece. It takes hardly any time and no skill to put this thing together and start using it.

Astrophotography

The optical quality of the AstroMaster 70AZ is quite good for an entry-level telescope, but it simply doesn’t provide the brightness or clarity necessary for astrophotography.

Also, its lightweight Alt-az mount too is not suitable for tracking sky objects to photograph them. 

Moreover, the mount can not bear the weight of the camera and other accessories required for astrophotography.

Included Accessories

The accessories are good because they’re appropriate for the telescope.

Beyond the optical tube and mount, Celestron also includes two eyepieces, a finderscope, and the erect image diagonal. 

The erect image diagonal is what makes the views right side up and perfect for viewing things on Earth.

The finderscope makes it easy to focus on specific small objects in the sky and on land. 

Celestron also provides an accessory tray for the mount, which allows you to keep eyepieces and other accessories within arm’s reach.

Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ: Drawbacks

The telescope has an Alt-azimuth mount that is limited in capabilities. With no slow-motion controls, you’re essentially limited to lower magnification and manually tracking objects.

Also, without slow-motion controls, you’ll struggle to keep objects centered or even in the field of view at all when tracking at high power. 

This isn’t helped by the fact that the tripod isn’t the most stable, as the legs are quite thin – though it works well enough, especially considering the price.

Fortunately, using a different mount and tripod is possible. If this concerns you, buy the setup for the optical tube and swap out the mount.

The Celestron Astromaster 70AZ is going to excel the best while looking at planets or bright stars. This is due to its relatively small objective lens and high focal ratio, but it is going to struggle to see dim objects and very distant objects.

Conclusion

If you are a beginner astronomer or even an intermediate, a hobbyist stargazer, or a beginner scientist, the Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ telescope is one of the best products on the market to buy. Its best traits are good optics, portable, lightweight, ease of use, and the viewings obtained. 

With a telescope like the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ, you can observe anything from planets, moon to birds in distant trees, expanding your mind and broadening your world.