Celestron 114 LCM computerised telescope
A great starter scope with which to begin your adventures in astronomy
ith modern optics and computerisation, today’s starter telescopes are a far cry from the scopes many of us began our astronomy adventures with. Celestron’s 114LCM Computerised Telescope, for example, combines reasonable optics with a computerised mount to give beginners a tantalising taste of what there is to see in the cosmos.
The 114LCM consists of an optical tube with a 4.5-inch mirror and a focal length of 1,000mm giving a focal ratio of f/9. It has a basic rack and pinion focuser that takes 1.25-inch eyepieces: 25mm and 9mm eyepieces are provided giving magnifications of 40x and 111x. A built-in StarPointer red dot finder helps to aim the telescope, especially during the alignment phase. The tube is attached to the motorised base via a Vixen-style mounting bar that connects to the aluminium tripod using a bolt on the underside. It’s quick and straightforward to assemble as there are just three main sections: tube, base and tripod. The 114LCM comes with a NexStar hand controller that has a database of 4,000 objects from the main deep-sky databases (Messier, NGC and Caldwell). Also included are the Solar System, variable stars and double stars. Power is provided by eight AA batteries that sit in a built-in compartment. aAlternatively you can use a power tank providing 12V 750mA.
Ducks and dumbbells
The 114LCM has five alignment modes. We tested them all and in each case achieved the best alignment and tracking using Celestron’s bespoke SkyAlign system. Solar System Align is also useful for daytime alignment, especially if the Moon is up. Using the 25mm eyepiece we checked the quality of the field of view by targeting Altair (Alpha (_) Aquilae). The star was pin sharp across 75 per cent of the view with a little coma towards the field edge. The view through the 25mm eyepiece is big enough to fit in all of the Moon and more – we estimate it has a field of view of just over 1.25°.
Using the Sky Tour option we explored a wide range of targets. M11, the Wild Duck Cluster, was