Vixen Space Eye 70

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Giving a telescope as a gift to a novice astronomer can be tricky – it’s a difficult line to tread between department store toys and ‘proper’ telescopes you might buy from a specialist.

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So in this difficult area it’s refreshing to see one of the World’s most respected telescope manufacturers producing an instrument that is genuinely aimed at beginners without compromising on quality.

Unboxing the telescope reveals all the usual parts – a sturdy but lightweight aluminium tripod, the optical tube assembly, two decent plössl eyepieces, a diagonal, small finderscope and an accessory tray.

You’re immediately struck by the sensible packaging – all the parts are housed in a polystyrene tray that will protect them from even the most overstretched couriers – and this is within a colourful presentation box.

Assembly is very straightforward.

The mount and tripod are already assembled, and attaching the optical tube is easy.

Two small screws secure the finderscope and once you’ve inserted the eyepiece and diagonal, you’re ready to go.

The tripod is full-size and adjustable for kids and adults alike.

Over the years Vixen has earned a worldwide reputation for the high standard of its optics, and the Space Eye 70 appears to be no exception.

Detail on the Moon is truly breathtaking and the Vixen squeezes far more from its 70mm objective lens than most telescopes in its class.

Craters are clearly evident and a wealth of detail can be seen across its surface.

Turning the telescope to Jupiter, we were surprised to see the two equatorial cloud bands clearly; something that often isn’t possible in telescopes with apertures under about 125mm.

The view is very contrasty and Jupiter’s moons were clearly defined.

The stars were also testament to the quality of the optics – Mizar was an easy test and the Space Eye 70 even showed the faint third star that forms a triangle with Mizar A and B.

The bright stars Vega, Altair and Deneb showed moderate false colour, but nothing inconsistent with the type of telescope.

The double cluster in Perseus was a particularly pleasing sight.

Pushing the telescope beyond its expected limits paid off, with the Andromeda galaxy easy to spot.

Overall, we are very impressed with the Space Eye 70 and have no hesitation in recommending it to beginners of all ages.

It’s a fantastic quality set of optics at this price and comes on a very simple and straightforward tripod.

Price: £99.

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www.astronomia.co.uk