Celestron has been an optics industry leader for decades, ever since Tom Johnson unveiled the game-changing C8. We strive to continue his legacy by continually developing exciting products with revolutionary technologies.

In the late 1950s, Tom Johnson, founder of Valor Electronics, built a telescope from scratch to introduce his sons to the wonders of stargazing. What began as a hobby soon grew to be Johnson’s driving passion, and in 1960, he formed an Astro-Optical Division within his company. That department eventually became Celestron.

Prior to Celestron, skilled opticians painstakingly produced high-quality Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes one by one, hand-figuring the glass for hours. Johnson wanted to bring observatory-grade optics to the masses, but achieving his dream required streamlining the manufacturing process. Johnson’s solution was developing ultra-precise match plates, allowing for mass production of the Schmidt corrector. With this groundbreaking new technique, Johnson created Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes of unparalleled quality, and brought them to market at a surprisingly low price. Celestron telescopes were an instant smash success that catapulted the hobby of astronomy to new heights.

In 1970, Johnson unveiled his landmark product: the Celestron 8, with its standout orange tube, high-end optics, and $1,000 price tag. Armed with the “C8,” thousands of amateur astronomers observed celestial objects previously seen only in professional observatories. The C8 cemented Celestron as an industry game-changer and the world’s premier telescope brand.

For more than 50 years, Celestron has continued to lead the market, creating dozens of revolutionary new products including telescopes, sport optics, and microscopes. With more than 80 employees around the world, Celestron remains guided by our founding principles as we commit to ever-increasing global growth. Today, we still produce our flagship product—the 14-inch EdgeHD optical tube—at our headquarters in Torrance, California, using Tom Johnson’s signature method.


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