I have only had three telescopes given to me this year. Telescopes in various states of disrepair. I usually fix them up, clean them up, and find a new home for them.
It was Julia who gave me this little bit of fun… A Celestron 62mm f/4.8 Cometron. A small refractor intended for low power viewing. Prefect for viewing comets or other wide field objects.
These little refracting telescopes were sold in the 1980’s to capitalize on the comet Halley mania. Sold bearing the Celestron name, they were actually built by Vixen. They continued in production for many years as they proved relatively popular. The Cometron name has been used for a number of small telescopes over the years, but, as far as I know, this is the original.
The ‘scope I was given was in pretty good shape. Nothing broken or badly damaged. The optics dirty but free of coating damage or uncleanable grime. All that was require was disassembly and a good cleaning to remove dirt, spider webs, and a few cockroach egg cases.
The ‘scope is surprisingly well made. Everything screws together, almost no use of adhesives. There is little plastic, just a couple parts of the finder scope. Everything else is metal, rolled tubing for the optical tube and focuser draw tube, aluminum castings and machined parts for much of the rest. I was able to entirely dismantle the telescope in a matter of minutes. The optics were cleaned by hand, much of the rest was dunked in the kitchen sink and scrubbed clean. Reassembly was just as fast as disassembly, screw everything back together. A little grease was smeared on the rack and pinon of the focuser.
The focuser moves smoothly with no slop, even a locking screw is provided. It is a rack and pinon arrangement with a full two inches of travel. The original diagonal is a prism and accommodates 1.25″ eyepieces. I had no difficulty focusing several different eyepieces.
The 6x finder almost seems superfluous. With the usual 25mm Plössl eyepiece the main telescope produces a mere 12x magnification with a 4° field. Aim the telescope in the general direction and you will find your target with little effort. Indeed, I use a similar sized telescope for the finder on my large dobsonian.
The optical quality is so-so. At low power the views are pleasing, though the stars will not quite focus in the outer field. At higher power the image suffers, somewhat less than satisfactory. With a 5.2mm (52x) eyepiece stars will not focus, remaining mushy, this leaves moderate power planetary views out of reach. Color is quite notable as well, a bright object like Venus produces a striking violet halo. The optics are sufficient for the low power views the telescope was intended for, but do not push it.
I read a few Cloudy Nights postings about these little ‘scopes. They seem to be quite well liked by other amateurs. Recent listings on Astromart support a resale value of between $75 and $100. Not surprising, given the build quality.
A fun little telescope. Nothing great, but not bad either. I will play with the ‘scope for a while, perhaps using it to view comet ISON over the next couple months. I will then do as I was asked, find a good home for it.