I’ve owned an Edmond Astroscan since the early ’70s and although I have six other telescopes, SCT’s, Refractors, NewtonianDobsonian, the ‘ol Astroscan is the most convenient scope I have ever used. With it’s shoulder strap and plop it anywhere base (which by the way connects to any standard photo tripod) and rugged plastic housing, it is by far THE most grab and go telescope out there. I have gone hiking and camping with it on many occasions, and to just sit down on the ground and nestle it in your arms and slowly scan the sky at 11,000 ft. elevation is a truly inspiring event. As a beginners scope I don’t think you could find a better choice. If Edmond has kept its quality up, I am glad to see this reappearing on the scene.
I work as a docent at the Rose Center for Earth and Space (which replaced the Hayden Planetarium). Part of what I demonstrate is what one can do with mirrors and lenses using a laser light source. This all leads up to the anatomy of telescopes. I have used the Astroscan as an integral part of my presentation for more than 10 years and wish that I could sell them to the public for their quality, simplicity, and affordability.
These are all nice telescopes for the money, but the best value for a small scope like this goes to Orion’s 4″ Skyscanner mini-dob for $99. It uses a mount similar to the StarBlast but includes a tripod mount on the bottom. It has a 4″ parabolic mirror and a 1.25″ focuser. It comes with an Orion EZFinder II red dot finder and 2 eyepieces (20mm & 10mm 3-element, not Plossls but nice starter eyepieces none the less).
I bought one recently as a ultra-portable grab’n’go telescope and have been very happy with it. I have a heavy duty photo tripod that I use with binoculars and can mount this telescope and adjust the tripod to to give me the sweet spot for using it comfortably for the night. Having the tripod mount is very handy as there isn’t always a table available (which all the telescope above would also need).
I am a proud, field rich, Astroscan owner for over 25 years. One thing not mentioned is that it never needs collimating (thank goodness) since both mirrors are perminately mounted and small scopes might get knocked around a little. Newer models come with Plossel eyepcs (my original Kellners work great). I have had countless “WOW” comments from Star Party attendees who said it was so easy to look through. Seeing the whole Pleaides in one view is wonderful. Also, it fits easily in overhead airplane compartments with the base attached. In all, I love my little “bowling ball” and when my fellow club members encourage me to get a BIG scope like theirs, I usually just smile and ask, “when was the last time you used yours. My Grab-n-go goes out a lot!” I enjoy looking through everyone’s scope because of all the differing views and strengths. But, in the long run, mine is a great performer.
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