In episode 21, season 11 of The Big Bang Theory called The Comet Polarization, Penny discovers a new comet. I’m not going to spoil the episode, but during the intro, the characters are on a rooftop watching the stars using a very fancy telescope that belongs to Raj and they refer to it as a professional device that is much better than the model that is sometimes shown in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment.
The instrument has the label “Lestro” on its side and since the characters mention how good it is, many people get curious about which model this Lestro telescope is.
The Lestro telescope shown in the Big Bang Theory is a Celestron CPC StarBright GPS. It is a computerized Schmidt-Cassegrain type telescope that is not only great because of the size of its mirrors, but it can align itself, map the sky, do auto-tracking, and has other fancy features.
If you are new here, you can read more about this type of telescope by checking out our article on the pros and cons of Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes or this one that explain all the types of reflecting telescopes.
It is not clear which model are the characters using. Raj mentions that it has a “10 inch diameter” which is weird because none of the three models of this telescope have that aperture. It comes in 8″(203), 9.25″(235mm), and 11″(280mm). I’d say it is most likely the 9.25″ model.
For reference, a 235mm telescope can reach a maximum magnification of 475x and a limiting magnitude of approximately 14.9 which is enough to see the dwarf planet Pluto which is not visible from most standard backyard telescopes.
But why does it read “LESTRO” on its side?
Well, because the telescope generally has the CELESTRON label on its side, but since tv shows do a lot of product placing which isn’t cheap, they probably didn’t want to give Celestron the free commercial and they scratched part of the label, and the logo.
How much does the Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT GPS cost? well, it certainly is on the VERY expensive side of things. Check out the current price on Amazon. This is definitely not the kind of telescope that the average hobbyist would have lying around in their garage.
Throughout the series, a few other telescopes are shown in the character’s houses. They change a couple of times as the series progresses and they never show the brand, but it does seem like the producers have a preference for the Celestron brand as they are easily recognizable because of their characteristic orange design. Leave a comment if you want me to write a post detailing all the models used in the show.