As any telescope aficionado will tell you, the virtue of refractors lies in their pristine image quality. The problem has always been the price: refractors cost more per inch of aperture than any other telescope design. That's still true, but steady advances in precision lens manufacturing technology are bringing those prices down.
Down to below $350, in the case of our remarkable AstroView 90. And without compromising the quality of the equatorial mount or standard accessories, we might add. This is a soundly constructed, great performing telescope that any new backyard astronomer will appreciate from the first night out.
A Revealing Night Out
When we took the AstroView out for an evening spin recently, we first targeted Jupiter. Cloud banding starkly visible, as were all four of its major moons. Then, the crescent Moon. With the 10mm eyepiece (91x power), the rugged relief and shadow play along the terminator were transfixing. On to the Orion Nebula, where at 36x the four Trapezium stars appeared as perfect blue pinpoints surrounded by a pretty patch of greenish gas. We then powered up to 91x, and — Wow! — the nebula seemed to sprout wings, which spanned nearly the entire field of view! An occasional tweak of the equatorial mount's R.A. slow-motion cable kept the glow centered in the eyepiece. Next, the Beehive Star Cluster (M44) in Cancer. A dazzling splash of bright speckles filled the field at 36x. And so the evening went. The multi-coated 90mm achromatic objective lens (910mm focal length, f/10) served up surprisingly high-contrast images — despite our being awash in neighborhood porch and street lights.
The AstroView 90 will provide you with many such evenings of heavenly browsing — at an unprecedented low price. It comes fully equipped with a 6x30 achromatic finder scope, two fully coated 1.25" Sirius Plössl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), mirror star diagonal, dust cap, and 1/4"-20 adapter on one of the tube rings for piggyback camera attachment. The precision EQ-2 equatorial mount provides a firm foundation. It features dual setting circles, slow-motion cables, oversized lock knobs, and a height-adjusting aluminum tripod with large accessory tray. Add an optional electronic drive for hands-free star tracking! Weighs 23.7 lbs. One-year limited warranty.