An Overview of the Powerseeker 80EQ’s Optical Tube
The Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ is an 80mm f/11 achromatic doublet refractor. At this focal ratio and aperture, there is some slight chromatic aberration, but it is not very detrimental to the view. It is quite good optically and performs quite well on the Moon, planets, and double stars.
The finderscope included with the PowerSeeker 80EQ is a terrible 5×24 unit with a singlet plastic objective with an aperture stop. It is almost entirely useless, as the view is terrible and the cheap design of the bracket makes it all but impossible to align.
The scope’s focuser is a 1.25”, metal rack-and-pinion. It is quite well-made and sturdy. Conveniently, the focuser has a slot to attach a real, quality finderscope or red dot sight with a standard Vixen/Synta-style foot.
The PowerSeeker 80EQ comes with 2 adjustable tube rings, one of which has the standard ¼ 20 piggyback screws. Unlike most other telescopes, these rings do not use a Vixen dovetail bar and saddle to attach to the mount; they instead bolt directly onto it. This is mildly inconvenient as you’ll have to transport the mount with the rings attached and remember the balance point of the OTA, but this was true of most telescopes before the late 1980s anyway, and people got by with this system just fine back then.
The Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ refractor telescope comes with two eyepieces: a 20mm Kellner (45x) and a 4mm Ramsden (225x). The 20mm Kellner is functional, though 45x is a bit much for “low” power with an 80mm telescope. The 4mm Ramsden not only provides too much magnification to be useful with the telescope, but it has a tiny eye lens that you have to press your eyeball right up against to see anything at all, and the field of view is narrow and fuzzy.
Like all PowerSeekers, the 80EQ comes with the standard all-plastic 3x “Powerseeker Barlow”, designed to allow it to achieve the “675x” Celestron advertises when coupled with the 4mm Ramsden eyepiece. This is too much magnification for any 80mm telescope, let alone even a 500mm (20”) telescope on most nights due to atmospheric seeing. And of course, the Barlow and 4mm Ramsden have the optical quality of cheap toys, so they’d be useless even if the absurd magnification weren’t an issue.
The diagonal supplied with the Powerseeker 80EQ is a cheap Amici unit designed to provide erect, non-reversed images (i.e., you can read a newspaper without it being flipped left-right). It has an ergonomically-friendly shape meant to facilitate it being grabbed and used as a handle. However, the Amici design produces an annoying spike on bright objects (e.g., planets and bright stars), which is detrimental to the view.
The Powerseeker EQ1 Mount
The Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ comes with the same EQ-1 German equatorial mount supplied with all of the Powerseeker EQ telescopes.
PARTIALLY RECOMMENDED FOR THE MOUNT & OPTICS
While not the Rock of Gibraltar, the mount supplied is quite adequate for an 80mm f/11 telescope and has smooth motions. You can attach Celestron’s “Logic Drive” to it for hands-free motorized tracking if you wish, and the mount comes with nice manual slow-motion control knobs.
You may be wondering why I’ve given this mount a bad rap in my other Powerseeker telescope reviews. It’s because Celestron has a habit of putting telescopes way too large on the poor little EQ-1, straining the mount and causing the motions to be jerky and wobbly, as well as the whole telescope to be unstable, which overshadows the surprisingly nice features of the mount.
At the same price point as the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ refractor telescope, there are a few larger and better-made telescopes you might want to consider. Most of these are tabletop Dobsonians:
- The Zhumell Z114 provides significantly brighter and sharper views than the PowerSeeker 80EQ thanks to its larger aperture. Its accessories are a lot better, and its tabletop Dobsonian mounting is steady and easy to aim.
- The Zhumell Z100 and Orion SkyScanner 100 – essentially the same telescope – offer a bit more aperture than the 80EQ, a rock-solid mounting, and the included eyepieces and finder are easy and comfortable to use.
- The SarBlue Mak60 offers little in the way of aperture, accessories, or physical size, but it’s a lot simpler and more convenient than the PowerSeeker 80EQ.
What can you see with the Celestron Powerseeker 80EQ?
Being a small refractor, the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ is mainly meant for viewing the moon, planets, and bright objects like double stars. You’ll be able to see the phases of Venus and Mercury, loads of detail on the Moon, and perhaps the ice caps and a dark spot or two on Mars. Jupiter’s cloud belts, the Great Red Spot, and its moons are easy to see. Saturn’s rings, a few of its moons, and some dull cloud bands can also be spotted, along with the Cassini Division in the rings on a crisp night. We’d like to say you can at least see Uranus and Neptune as teal and azure “stars” with the PowerSeeker 80EQ, but you’ll have a hard time getting the scope pointed at them with the included finder, let alone identifying the planets themselves.
Besides its small aperture, the biggest limitation to viewing deep-sky objects with the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ refractor is its accessories. The 20mm eyepiece is not really a low enough magnification for easily locating targets, and the included 5×24 finderscope is absolutely atrocious. If you can get past that, expect to see the following:
- Galaxies: Even under pristine skies, most galaxies are likely to present little with the 80EQ”s meager aperture. You might be able to pick out the dust lanes in M82 and the Andromeda Galaxy; everything else will remain a smudge.
- Globular star clusters: A 6” (150mm) telescope is widely considered the minimum aperture to resolve globular clusters, and that’s nearly twice as big as the 80EQ. You’ll be able to spot globulars as big fuzzy balls–with some hint of definition if you’re really lucky.
- Planetary nebulae: Most planetary nebulae are really tiny, and even a large scope might not show details in them. With the 80EQ, you’re pretty much limited to the Ring (a tiny, donut-like smudge) and the Dumbbell (a small fuzzy patch that vaguely resembles an apple core).
- Even from suburban skies, emission nebulae like Orion and the Lagoon look pretty good, albeit only the brightest parts of them are visible.
- Open star clusters are perhaps the most impressive deep-sky targets with a small telescope thanks to their high brightness and contrast. Hundreds of them are absolutely delightful with the 80EQ, such as M35, the Pleiades, the Double Cluster, and M29.
Pricing and Availability
When we published our Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ review, the price was hovering around $120. After COVID, the entire astronomy field underwent a price boom. Given the overall price hike percentage, we’d say a price of less than $180 would still be a good deal for getting the telescope. Anything more than that should be avoided. For current retail pricing and availability, we recommend you check out our top two retailers out of the 23 reviewed US telescope vendors, including Amazon: HighPointScientific (#1 rank) and AgenaAstro (#2 rank).