Many cheap telescopes are kid’s toys, or they have the outdated eyepiece diameter that you can no longer find replacement eyepieces for.
Is this the case with the Eclipse View 60?
This refracting telescope may be priced cheaply, but it’s not a kid’s toy, and it has a 1.25” focuser for fitting 1.25” accessories.
It’s up-to-date, has multiple uses, and even its upgrades don’t compromise the price factor.
But, for the price, can you really look at the sun safely with it?
Will it work as a telescope for seeing the planets or deep-sky objects?
All that and more will be addressed right here.
✔️ Best Feature: Solar telescope
❌ Worst Feature: Poor accessories
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Terrestrial Viewing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, Kids, Beginners
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Aperture: 60 mm (2.4”)
- Focal Length: 800 mm
- Focal Ratio: f/13.3
- Eyepieces Included: 26 mm, 9 mm
Our Verdict: The EclipseView is a great telescope for the entire family to enjoy. Whether you’re watching an eclipse, curious about what Saturn looks like, or you want to see what animals or people are up to in the distance, this small telescope can get it done. As a cheap scope that has multiple uses, it will be the ultimate family toy with real telescope quality.
Who is the Meade EclipseView 60 Best Suited to?
The Meade EclipseView is a budget telescope mainly for kids but made with grown-up quality. Adults will appreciate the versatility of the telescope as it can be used for watching solar eclipses, observing the moon and planets, and for terrestrial viewing.
It’s incredibly lightweight, so it will be a breeze to take along to camping trips, day trips, or even night trips. Head out to a dark location to push the limits to see more in the night sky on any given night.
Often priced around $100, the Meade is an extremely affordable telescope. The solar filter is high-quality, and many comparable white-light filters often cost as much as this entire telescope buy. With value, portability, dual-use, and good seeing quality in the EclipseView, it’s worth the buy.
How Does the Meade EclipseView 60 Perform?
The EclipseView 60 is a refracting telescope. So, it’s small, and it has a slow focal ratio. It won’t have the widest fields of view as what a fast telescope can provide, but it works just fine for local observations of the sun, moon, and our planets.
Even though the aperture is small, it does allow for some good contrast and resolution of what you can see. Planetary features will be difficult to resolve due to a number of reasons, but you can see planets with the EclipseView, and you can also change out equipment for observing solar eclipses.
Mounted on a very basic alt-azimuth mount, it has simple up/down and sideways movement. Even though a slow-motion control rod is included, it’s only for one axis. As a light-duty mount, don’t expect to add any cameras to the setup unless your camera is a smartphone.
Features & Benefits
As such a small refractor that is very basic in function and performance, it needs a perk or two to make it worth the buy. The fact that you can buy the EclipseView specifically for watching solar eclipses or observing the sun is what makes it a highly recommended buy.
The kid’s telescope comes with a white-light solar filter that is ISO and CE certified for viewing the sun safely. A Sunfinder is included with the telescope. To use it, you simply point the telescope in the direction of the sun and the sun’s light will shine through the hole in the front of the finder.
You’ll see a projected small dot of light on the back plate of the finder. Center the dot on the backplate by moving the telescope tube and the sun should be centered within the eyepiece of the telescope.
You can practically purchase an entire telescope system with this filter for the price of one, quality white-light solar filter. So, there’s no question about value in the buy.
Not only can the telescope be used for viewing various types of solar eclipses, it’s also a good telescope for watching lunar eclipses, observing the moon and planets, and even for using it as a spotting scope for watching land-based targets.
The EclipseView 60 comes with a 90-degree erect image prism that corrects the image for upright and left-right correct orientation. This may be a helpful feature for kids and beginners. The 90-degree angle also provides comfort for nighttime viewing since you won’t have to move your neck into an awkward position just to see through the eyepiece.
The scope also comes with a red dot finder for finding objects in space. It’s non-magnified and a red dot helps for fast object acquisition.
As you can guess, the small aperture will restrict what you can see in deep space. While you will enjoy seeking out the brightest DSOs such as Orion Nebula, Triffid Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and the Pleaides, seeing quality will be limited. You won’t be able to see spirals or color, and some may appear as smudges.
The EclipseView 60 is obviously a solar and lunar wiz, but it can also help you see and observe planets within our solar system. Very new beginners will see the planets, but they will need practice, a dark location, and good seeing quality to resolve more details.
You can see the cloud bands on Jupiter, perhaps its moons as dots, Saturn’s rings, and if it’s an especially good night with quality eyepieces, you’ll be able to see the Cassini Division. You can observe Venus’ phases, and perhaps be able to spot ice caps on Mars.
Crisp detail on the planets will be difficult to achieve even with a Barlow lens. It’s better to come down in power for better resolution than it is to crank it up and observe a fuzzy blob. As you experiment and try things out with various eyepieces, you’ll soon learn what works best for various types of targets.
The EclipseView 60 refracting telescope is mounted on an alt-azimuth (AZ) mount. It’s very light-duty and performs well with this setup. But, using anything more than 1.25” accessories will likely introduce balancing issues to the equation. The legs are aluminum and are adjustable.
The mount comes with a slow-motion control that is interestingly mounted to the optical tube assembly, so it does not extend away from the tube for easier handling. Since there is only one control rod that mounts in this position, you only have slow-motion control for the altitude axis (up/down) and no slow-motion movement for azimuth (left/right).
The mount isn’t the best quality and is very limited, but again, considering everything that is included in this buy and the fact that it does function well with this setup, it’s an appropriate pairing for the price.
The entire setup is so lightweight that there is no way you’ll leave it behind on your next outing. Assembly weight is a grand total of 6 lbs. The assembled tube, complete with the diagonal and eyepieces installed, is 38” long and can easily fit alongside the back seat or in a trunk.
Even though it has a small 60 mm aperture, it’s worth it to take the EclipseView out to a dark location to improve seeing quality seeing as it’s so convenient to transport.
To be fair, the solar filter is of excellent quality and actually fits the 60 mm refractor, although, it does stop down the aperture by about 10 mm, but it’s not a huge deal.
What is unfortunate is that there is some play in the 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser. You will need to be extremely conservative when making adjustments.
Another drawback are the Modified Achromat eyepieces and a 2x Barlow lens. The eyepieces aren’t very sharp, and the Barlow could very well be a short Barlow. Optical deficiencies will be seen through the telescope, although it seems to satisfy most users for the moon and sun. If you want to explore beyond that, it may very well be a worthwhile investment to replace these accessories with quality Plossls.
Can the EclipseView be used for Astrophotography?
The EclipseView is in no way an astrophotography telescope and is not designed to be used this way. It can be used with a smartphone and adapter for amateur photography. The scope will not support the weight of camera loads and tracking is limited due to the manual alt-azimuth mount.
Is the Meade EclipseView Easy to Use?
The EclipseView 60 is very easy to use. As a refractor, you won’t have to worry about collimation, and since it has closed optics, there is little maintenance required. On an alt-azimuth mount, movement is easy with up/down and side-to-side motion. With the included diagonal, images will appear as your eye sees them and this may be a helpful feature for beginners and terrestrial viewing.
What is the Magnification of the Meade Solar Telescope?
Magnification power will be determined by the eyepiece used. The supplied 26 mm and 9 mm eyepieces provide 31x and 89x magnification. With the 2x Barlow lens, magnification will be doubled. This would provide 62x and 178x magnification.
This is essentially like having four different eyepieces. However, it’s not always about magnification as it is about seeing quality. You may have to experiment if the 9 mm eyepiece works better without the Barlow and if the 26 mm works well with the Barlow. You may want to consider upgrading the Barlow, eyepieces, or both to achieve pristine seeing quality.
Is a ViewFinder Included with the Meade EclipseView Refractor?
A red dot finderscope is included with the EclipseView for nighttime use. It provides a wide field of view for finding objects in the sky. A SunFinder is also included for daytime use when observing near or at the sun. You don’t look at the sun to use the SunFinder, and instead a hole in it projects a dot on the backplate of the SunFinder.
By centering this dot, you will find the sun through the eyepiece. The white-light filter must be securely attached to the tube before attempting to look through the telescope.
The EclipseView 60 is more than a decent buy for a beginner.
It’s not a perfect or flawless telescope, but it does provide good performance whether you’re at home or out in the boonies. Of course, being in a dark location will help to improve its telescope capabilities. Its solar filter brings excellent value to the package, and without it, the EclipseView can be used as both a spotting scope and telescope.
There is plenty to explore and see with its multi-purpose platform, and it can be used by all.
Not bad for the price, eh?