telescopesToday it’s all about telescopes! Read on to learn about 3 of the best telescopes to give as Christmas gifts this year. If someone in your life is a budding astronomer, then this is a must read blog for you! One should never buy a telescope without doing some research first. Today’s blog is not the comprehensive lesson that should be undertaken, but it is a good start. Read on for full details!



The first model I’m considering is the Celestron ExploraScope 70AZ 70 x 700mm Telescope, which is a 70mm refractor telescope that boasts a 700mm focal length and an f/10 focal ratio. The ExploraScope also has a number of other great features that make it ideal for beginning & amateur astronomers alike. For example, with the aid of the StarPointer finder, users are easily able to locate the even the slipperiest of celestial objects. This is because the StarPointer shoots a helpful red dot skyward that aids in the alignment of your scope, so you never have to miss out on an interesting astronomical event. This Celestron scope also comes with 2 different eyepieces, one of which provides 35x magnification while the other offers an amazing 175x magnification. The astronomer in your life will certainly like that! Other features here include fully coated glass (i.e., lenses) for superior optics & enhanced clarity, a lightweight aluminum tripod that’s both powder-coated & scratch-resistant, a 3x Barlow lens (that increases each eyepiece’s magnification from 35x & 175x to 135x & 525x respectively), and special interactive software that helps users to take their first bold steps in the exciting field of astronomy. Overall, the ExploraScope is one highly impressive entry level telescope!



Coming in at No. 2 is another Celestron model. This one is the Celestron PowerSeeker 114 x 900mm Telescope with Motor Drive. This telescope—a Newtonian Reflector, has 2 eyepieces (offering 45x & 225x magnification) as well as 3x Barlow lenses that triple the magnification abilities of each. Add to that an aperture diameter of 114mm, and you’re giving someone a telescope that can easily examine the Moon’s many fascinating craters due to its considerable light-gathering capabilities. For that matter, this scope can even see the polar caps of Mars, which is seriously impressive! Other features include an RA motor drive (which is both easy to install and fully compensates for the rotation of the Earth). This means that you can easily track a given body’s movement (a star, for instance) across the evening sky as our world goes slowly round. Very cool! Finally, a 900mm focal length contributes to the PowerSeeker’s impressive 7.89 focal ratio, its glass components feature high transmission coatings (to enhance both the brightness & the clarity of each and every spectacular image), and you can even photograph these amazing images by attaching your DSLR camera to the scope via a special attachment accessory (though you’ll have to acquire this piece separately).



Finally, the third telescope on our list is the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ 130 x 650mm Telescope. This model combines a 130mm aperture with a 650mm focal length for an overall focal ratio of 5. A nice, even number! Of course, this model is a reflecting telescope, meaning that it uses a mirror to collect light—a key differentiation from refracting telescopes, or light benders. Among the main features of the AstroMaster are its German Equatorial Mount (with setting circles) for easily locating & tracking specific celestial bodies, its convenient StarPointer device (which is permanently attached), its fully coated glass optics (for the clearest possible image quality), and its ability to be used for astrophotography. Simply attach your DSLR camera to photograph all of your greatest sky finds. Of course, this last feature requires you to purchase some separately available attaching devices (such as T-Rings or T-Adapters, depending on your camera). In any case, this telescope is excellent for both terrestrial & astronomical use, and it also sets up very quickly & easily, with no special tools required. Offering up to 65x magnification and a tripod with steel tube legs, the AstroMaster may be the ideal telescope for the amateur astronomer in your family. With it they can find the many moons of Jupiter or the beautiful rings of Saturn. Truly amazing!



So ends another blogging adventure. As usual with products as complex as telescopes, I’m barely scratching the surface with respect to the features of any individual model discussed above. You may wish to rectify this by visiting each telescope’s Best Buy product page and seeing those features for yourself. Good luck and happy hunting!


Leonard Bond
Leo enjoys writing about everything from secret agents to tech toys and gadgets to professional hockey. Find his reviews and other product related commentary right here on the Best Buy Blog and his latest hockey rants at