Celestron International

Although highly successful with their Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, the company expanded in a large way in the mid 1980's. 1984 marked Celestron's entry into the reflector area with several telescopes manufactured by Vixen in Japan.

SP C6 C6 Focuser
The C-6 was an excellent 6" f/5 instrument with the unique 1 " sliding focuser as used on the Schmidt-Newtonian Comet Catcher. The tube carried a 6x30 finder and was mounted on an exceptionally stable wooden tripod and German equatorial mount called the Polaris mount. The equatorial head had 360 degree worm gears in both right ascension and declination with manual slo-mo knobs. Options included a polar axis finder and quartz driven motor assembly for right ascension drive. This same year Celestron came out with the Super Polaris Mount on a wide variety of their telescopes. The Super Polaris was a heavy mount like its predecessor, but was designed for easy attachment of drive motors in both axes. It also came with a cover for the eyepiece end of the optional polar axis finder. See the Schmidt Cassegrain section for more on the SPM. The reflector models offered with this mount included the SPC-6 and the SPC-8N. The former was, of course the C-6 on the new SPC mount. The latter bore 8" f/5 optics with the same focuser and finder as the C-6.
In 1985 another optical tube was offered on the Polaris mount. This was a 5" reflector called the C-130 and came with a standard 1 " focuser and 6x30 finder. In 1987 the C4.5 was added to the line. This had a 1 " rack and pinion focuser, 6x30 finder, and was mounted on the sturdy Polaris mount.
Note: A cheaper Cometron line was introduced starting in 1985. One model was a version of the 4 " reflector mounted on a light duty equatorial mount with .965" accessories and 5x24 finder. The modest Comet Catcher Jr was also introduced. It contained a 5" f/6.7 optical arrangement. It was accompanied by 6x30 finder and 1 " focuser and eyepiece. It was sold as an OTA only as its larger cousin, and a tripod mounting block provided for attachment to a photo tripod.
In 1994, with the upgrade to the Great Polaris (GP) mount, Celestron again offered a short focus Newtonian. Dubbed the GP-200, this was a high quality Japanese import 7.9" f/4 optical tube mounted on the sturdy new mount with a wood tripod. Accessories included a 6x30 finder, 2" focuser and an 1 " eyepiece.
The Firstscope 114 was distributed beginning in 1994. This was a basic imported equatorial Newtonian with a 4 " f/8 mirror and a typical GEM on an extendable wood tripod. It came with a 5x24 finder, 1 " focuser and .965" eyepieces. A Deluxe model replaced the .965" eyepieces with 1 " eyepieces.
Firstcope 114
In 1996 Celestron made available a new line of Dobsonian reflectors with the name Starhopper. These reflectors had some unique features. The first was a molded mirror of a shape similar to that used in SCTs. This reduced both weight and production costs without sacrificing optical figure to any great degree. Another unique feature was that the declination bearing could be loosened and repositioned at will along a machined dovetail attachment on the optical axis of the tube. This allowed a slick new way of balancing the telescope tube with different accessories at the eyepiece. The unit had a single stalk holder for the secondary, which made adjustment a little more difficult, but overall this was a very nice telescope. The units were supplied with a 1 " focuser and eyepiece and a simple collimation tool. The line initially included the 4.5" f/8, 6" f/8 and 8" f/6. Later a 10" f/4.5, 14" f/4.5 and 17.5" f/4.1 were added.
Starhopper 8

© 2001, 2002 - Robert A. Pollock
Page Revised: January 1, 2002