Celestron PowerSeeker 127eq Review
- in depth Review of Features
Telescope Reviewed: Celestron PowerSeeker 127eq
- Good beginner telescope with more features than expected
- Larger aperture than usually seen at this price range
- Good quality optics on a stable mount
- Jones-Bird configuration makes for some focusing difficulty
- Light-weight tripod introduces some instability
The Celestron Powerseeker 127eq provides good value relative to its cost. Beginners will enjoy having access to some of the features commonly found only on more expensive telescopes, such as the German equatorial mount and the larger aperture size.
Its smaller tube length also makes it a good candidate for someone who's looking for a more portable telescope.
The Powerseeker might be a good option for those wanting to get started in astrophotography, but who only have a limited budget available. While collimation can be somewhat time-consuming, the stability of the mount and tripod allow for results usually found only on more expensive scopes.
The Celestron Powerseeker 127eq is a high-magnification Newtonian telescope with a Jones-Bird configuration. Its 127 mm aperture, coupled with its 1000 mm focal length, is large enough to gather adequate light and create a bright image for viewing. While it's probably not right for the dimmest of deep sky objects, this could be a good telescope for those looking to view a broad range of brighter objects.
As we've discussed elsewhere on this site, a Newtonian is a type of refracting telescope that uses a concave primary mirror to gather light. The light is then reflected by a diagonal secondary mirror to the eye of the viewer. This style of telescope is simple and effective, but as it requires a large concave mirror, it can result in an expensive telescope.
The Jones-Bird configuration attempts to solve the problem of the high cost of Newtonian telescopes. It is a catadioptric variation (which means that it uses lenses and mirrors in the same telescope) that uses a spherical primary mirror (instead of the concave mirror) to gather light. Spherical mirrors are considerably less expensive than other concave mirrors.
The light is then reflected on to the diagonal mirror as normal. However, because of the spherical distortions that can sometimes be created by the use of a spherical mirror, before the light reaches the eye of the viewer, light first passes through a corrector lens that compensates for the spherical distortions.
The weakness of this configuration is that it can reduce the overall clarity of the image. This makes collimation (the proper adjustment and alignment of the optics) even more important.
Ultimately, for beginners, the Jones-Bird isn't ideal, but it does make a more feature-laden telescope available at a price point that wouldn't otherwise be possible. However, those who choose this telescope will want to familiarize themselves thoroughly with its operation. Moreover, it is important to become adept at collimation. The manual gives a good description of this process so that you are working with the clearest image possible.
German Equatorial Mount
One of the attractive features of the Powerseeker 127eq is its German equatorial mount. This means that the telescope is mounted with two bars that cross like a letter "T". One of the bars controls the right ascension axis. The other bar controls the declination axis. The Telescope is located on one end of the declination axis with a counterweight on the other end.
This type of mount is typically more expensive than manual, non-computerized alt-azimuth mounts. That makes this telescope even more of a bargain for those who are looking to buy on a tight budget: more features, less money.
The primary advantage of the German equatorial mount is its stability, which allows the viewer to feel confident that the telescope will remain trained on the object they choose. This type of mount reduces vibration.
This stability could make the Celestron Powerseeker 127eq a good choice for those who are looking to use it for astrophotography. The image stability created by this sort of mount is great for image clarity. In addition to the stable nature of the mount, the German equatorial mount also operates in such a way that the alignment of the telescope with the object is maintained. The sky doesn't appear to rotate the way it can with an alt-azimuth mount. Again, this can be helpful in astrophotography because it avoids the problem of trailing images on longer exposures.
For those looking to view objects that move across the sky, the mount has slow-motion controls that allow for manual operation to move through both axes. The controls allow for a smooth, quick tracking process to keep your eye on the objects of your choice.
The Powerseeker's tripod has a lot to offer in a simple package. While the tripod itself doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, it is light, highly adjustable and can be set up quickly. Seriously: if you look at the instruction manual, only four instructions are needed on setting up the tripod, and the first of those four is the one that tells you how easy it is to set up.
This ease of set-up makes it even more user friendly for beginners. As we mentioned earlier when talking about tube length, this is another factor that could contribute to this being a good travel scope for beginners.
The 127eq comes with some other features that could make it a good choice. The storage tray for accessories contributes even more to its portability.
Another feature that is often found on other, more expensive telescopes is the set of eyepieces that comes with the 127eq. This allows for greater versatility, and could extend the useful life of the telescope as the beginner gains experience and wants to broaden his or her horizons to other types of objects and observations. One of the eyepieces is a 3x Barlow lens that allows triple the magnification of each lens.
Finally, if there's some issue with the telescope, Celestron provides a 2-year materials defect and workmanship warranty. This will help ensure that you're getting what you pay for.
How Does It Compare?
The PowerSeeker is generally lower priced than the 114eq and the 127eq, unless it's bundled with some additional accessories that bump up the price. Because it's a refractor without any internal light folding, the PowerSeeker is also a bit longer and more cumbersome to transport. It does come with a full German equatorial mount, but can also demonstrate some stability issues. The PowerSeeker is an all-around good beginner scope.
We did a full review of the StarMax 90mm here. Check it out.
The StarMax 90mm offers greater stability because of its tabletop mount. The trade-off is that it doesn't offer some of the flexibility of the 127eq. Because of its Mak-Cass design, which "folds" light within the tube, the StarMax also offers a smaller package, which is a boon for those looking for a grab-and-go scope, or for one that they can travel with.
The 114eq has a smaller aperture than the PowerSeeker, which results in a slightly smaller field of view and reduced image brightness. The 127eq also offers a more stable tripod. That added stability means it could be a much better option for those looking for a scope they can use for astrophotography.
The GoScope, just like other the other tabletop scope on this list, offers good stability and supremely easy setup. The trade-off is the flexibility it lacks because it doesn't have a full mount and tripod. The 127eq might appeal more to you if you're looking for that flexibility, or if you're looking to do some astrophotography. In the final analysis, it's hard for the beginner astronomer to beat the GoScope's optics at such a good price.