With the Bushnell Northstar, a new astronomer can master the night sky – as long as he’s willing to take some time to learn to operate this telescope.
The Bushnell Northstar telescope series is a worthy addition to today’s high-tech star-gazing industry. There are features aplenty with these versatile scopes that allow amateur astronomers to become well-acquainted with the beauty of the night sky.
Bushnell is a company well-known for excellence in their optical products–most notably for Bushnell binoculars–but they can be rather hit-or-miss when it comes to telescopes. The Voyager series, for example, is a pretty sad collection of so-called “starter scopes”. But the Northstar lineup really is worth writing home about.
Sure, the Northstar telescope has its drawbacks and disadvantages, but in the end, it’s a great piece of star-viewing machinery that provides excellent value for a fairly small price.
Bushnell Northstar Telescope Review
Bushnell claims that the Northstar telescope was “designed to unlock the mysteries of the night sky for amateur astronomers.” And you know what? If you take the time to master its operation, it can do just that.
The Northstar series features three models:
- Northstar 525 x 3″ w/RVO Telescope
- Northstar 300 x 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain w/RVO Telescope
- Northstar 1300 x 100mm Maksutov-Cassegrain w/RVO Telescope
The main similarity you see among the models is the inclusion of RVO, or Real Voice Output. The point of this feature is to give you an audio tour of the night sky, teaching you about the location and mythology of various celestial bodies. This sounds familiar to the Sky Tour feature found in Bushnell Voyager telescopes, but they really couldn’t be any more different. The Sky Tour is almost impossible to understand, while RVO is very user-friendly.
One of the main differences between the 3 Northstar models is the type of lenses and mirrors used in their construction.
Both the 525 x 3″ and the 675 x 4.5″ scopes are reflector telescopes, utilizing a primary mirror to reflect light, as popularized by Sir Isaac Newton several centuries ago. The 90mm and 100mm models, on the other hand, are Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes, which use spherically-curved front lenses and primary mirrors to give you a focal length way longer than the actual telescope itself.
The Maksutov-Cassegrain Northstar models are more compact and provide clearer imagery, but the reflector scopes are much more affordable. Either choice, however, is a good one.
Other good features of the Northstar series include: finder scope with red dot locator, handheld remote control that actually works well and easily, and the excellent “go-to” motorized tracking system.
On the downside, the Northstar lineup has a few issues, including:
- Misrepresented magnifications
- Faulty tripods
- And fragile leg clips
For the price, however, you’re getting far more value and a much better performance than you’ll find amongst any of the competition.
Take a look at what consumers like you have said about owning and operating the Bushnell Northstar series:
||Consumer don’t like:
The Bottom Line — The Northstar is a sweet addition to the industry’s lineup of modern computerized telescope devices.
The RVO is useful and fun; the Go-To tech can be a bit cumbersome at times, but it’s mostly handy; and it’s far easier to use than much of the competition.
If you’re an amateur astronomer looking for a new telescope, the Northstar series may be some undiscovered country worth discovering.