Celestron FirstScope telescopes

If you’re looking for telescopes as gifts for children then a telescope from the Celestron FirstScope range might be the best option. Celestron has specifically designed these telescopes with children in mind.

The range contains 4 telescopes each having the same 76mm aperture with a newtonian reflector build and having relatively the same in design. They differ in price slightly as each has a few characteristics that makes it unique. We’ll go through each of the models in the range and also over the “FirstScope” accessory kit which is optional but might be an interesting addition to a FirstScope telescope.

celestron firstscope range

As you’ll find, all these telescopes are ready from the box, all you have to do is insert an eyepiece and you’re good to go. This is one of the main reasons why they are very good for children wanting to discover the night sky.

FirstScope Telescope

Celestron FirstScope telescopeYou’ll find the first model from the range under the exact name of the range, “FirstScope”. This is the most popular telescope from the range. It’s also the most basic and the least expensive while also being the one that can benefit the most from the accessory kit that can be added.

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Like all the models from this range it’s a tabletop design with a Dobsonian style stand. The optical tube has a design which contains the names of important scientists and astronomers marked on it, as a pay to pay tribute to the men and women who brought us one step closer to understanding our universe.

The actual box contains the telescope along with 2 eye-pieces, a 20mm and a 4mm one.

Overall this might be an ideal first telescope for your kid as it has enough power to enable the discovery of the moon and our solar system. It’s also very portable weighing only 4lbs (2kg) in total which is a very strong point for this telescope.

Full technical specifications:

Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
Aperture (mm): 76 mm (2.99 in)
Focal Length: 300 mm (12 in)
Focal Ratio: 3.95
Focal Length of Eyepiece 1 (mm): 20 mm (0.79 in)
Magnification of Eyepiece 1: 15 x
Focal Length of Eyepiece 2 (mm): 4 mm (0.16 in)
Magnification of Eyepiece 2: 75 x
Highest Useful Magnification: 180 x
Lowest Useful Magnification: 11 x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 11.9
Resolution (Rayleigh): 1.83 arc seconds
Resolution (Dawes): 1.53 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power (Compared to human eye): 118 x
Secondary Mirror Obstruction: 1.1 in (28 mm)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter: 37%
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area: 14%
Optical Coatings: Aluminum with SiO2
Optical Tube Length: 10 in (254 mm)
Total Telescope Kit Weight: 4.3 lbs (1.95 kg)

National Park Foundation FirstScope

Celestron National Park Foundation FirstScope telescopeThe second telescope in this range in the National Park Foundation one. As far as actual design and functionality goes this telescope in many ways is the exact same as the “FirstScope” the only difference being the National Park Foundation wrap on the optical tube.

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By buying the National Park Foundation special edition of the FirstScope you’re supporting the National Park Foundation in its mission to preserve America’s National Parks. And as a further incentive you’ll also be receiving a free download of the National Parks Guidebook and the SkyPortal planetarium app. Other than that it’s the exact same telescope with the first model.

Full technical specifications:

Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
Aperture: 76mm (3”)
Focal Length: 300mm
Focal Ratio: f/4
Mirror Type: Spherical
Optical Coatings: Aluminum w/SiO2
Secondary Obstruction: 28mm, 36% by diameter, 13.5% by area
Eyepiece / Magnification: 20mm Kellner (1.25”) / 15x; 10mm Kellner (1.25”) / 30x
Resolution Rayleigh: 1.83 arc seconds / Dawes Limit: 1.53 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power: 118x the unaided eye
Highest Useful Magnification: 180x
Lowest Useful Magnification: 11x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 11.9
Optical Tube Length: 10″
Total Telescope Kit Weight: 4.3 lbs

Cosmos FirstScope

Celestron COSMOS FirstScope telescope

The third telescope from this range is the COSMOS FirstScope. It’s again the same build as all the telescopes from this range.

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But unlike the previous two models, it has some additional features that partly justify it’s slightly higher price point.

First the optical tube has the COSMOS – A space odyssey wrap on it. It gives the tube a nice look but doesn’t chance the optics or the power of the telescope at all. Also keeping aligned with the COSMOS theme, the telescope comes come with a poster highlighting the evolution of the universe starting from the big bang up until the creation of Earth.

A finderscope is also included in the box along with the standard two eyepieces and a free planetarium software and app.

The finderscope is a nice addition but overall the first model in this range along with the FinderScope accessory kit is a better option.

Full technical specifications:

Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
Aperture (mm): 76 mm (2.99 in)
Focal Length: 300 mm (12 in)
Focal Ratio: 3.95
Focal Length of Eyepiece 2 (mm): Kellner 10 mm (0 in)
Finderscope: StarPointer
Highest Useful Magnification: 180 x
Lowest Useful Magnification: 11 x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 11.9
Resolution (Rayleigh): 1.83 arc seconds
Resolution (Dawes): 1.53 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power (Compared to human eye): 118 x
Secondary Mirror Obstruction: 1.1 in (28 mm)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter: 37%
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area: 14%
Optical Coatings: Aluminum with SiO2
Optical Tube Length: 10 in (254 mm)
Total Telescope Kit Weight: 4.3 lbs (1.95 kg)

Cometron FirstScope

Celestron Cometron FirstScope telescopeAnd the last model from this range is the Cometron FirstScope. As far as design goes, this model has to be the one with the most advanced look, and although it has a few extra benefits with the original model, the overall performances are the same.

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One thing to mention here is that the finderscope is much better than the one from the COSMOS model. Other than that it’s the same with the rest of the models, being just a question of which design option you choose.

Full technical specification:

Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
Aperture (mm): 76 mm (2.99 in)
Focal Length: 300 mm (12 in)
Focal Ratio: 3.95
Focal Length of Eyepiece 2 (mm): Kellner 10 mm (0 in)
Finderscope: 5×24
Highest Useful Magnification: 180 x
Lowest Useful Magnification: 11 x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 11.9
Resolution (Rayleigh): 1.83 arc seconds
Resolution (Dawes): 1.53 arc seconds
Light Gathering Power (Compared to human eye): 118 x
Secondary Mirror Obstruction: 1.1 in (28 mm)
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Diameter: 37%
Secondary Mirror Obstruction by Area: 14%
Optical Coatings: Aluminum with SiO2
Optical Tube Length: 10 in (254 mm)
Total Telescope Kit Weight: 4.3 lbs (1.95 kg)

FirstScope accessory kit

Celestron FinderScope accessory kitThe FirstScope accessory kit was specially designed for the FirstScope telescopes. If you intend to buy the original first model, this accessory kit will be a great addition. The kit contains the following items:  a finderscope, 2 eyepieces (12.5mm, 6mm), a moon filter and the SkyX First Light edition software.

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The finderscope is most useful to the first two models in this range as they don’t include any finderscope.

The additional eyepieces are also very welcomed as it add the possibility of additional zoom power.

The moon filter is something that is most of the times overlooked by new astronomers, but it’s a great accessory to have as it puts the moon into an entirely new context. With a moon filter you get better viewing images of the moon and it’s craters as well as less strain of the eye when you have a full moon or almost full moon.

And last there is the SkyX software which contains a database of 10,000 celestial objects and printable sky maps as well as 75 enhances images. It’s a great addition for a new astronomer.