Tasco Worldwide, otherwise known as simply Tasco, manufactured a line of telescopes geared specifically for the beginner astronomer. Based in sunny Miramar, Florida, Tasco first started as a fishing and hardware distributor called Tanross Supply Company. When the Tanross Supply Company started manufacturing binoculars and eyepieces, the name of the company was changed to Tasco in 1954. Today, Tasco telescopes are managed and produced by Bushnell Performance Optics; the company that purchased the line in 2002 after Tasco Worldwide filed bankruptcy and liquidated their assets.
Quite often compared to the Celestron telescopes, the Tasco line is frequently found in department type stores, leading to a significant amount of criticism regarding its telescopes. Boasted as beginner telescopes, the Tasco refractors that are available for purchase at the local department stores have a tendency to contain very small, non-achromatic objective lenses that are often complained about by the consumer. In addition, emphasizing the magnification of their telescopes has hurt the Tasco brand, as even beginner astronomers understand that the magnification is not the key to clear and concise views. On the contrary, it is the size of the objective that determines the power of the telescope and stating otherwise makes many consumers feel somewhat cheated. Packaging on the Tasco brand products will announce that the telescope and accessories in the box are a “complete package”, but the telescope, particularly the eyepieces, the star diagonal, and the accessories, are manufactured with poor quality and often need to be replaced. Despite the criticism that Tasco has received, the product line up of binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, and rifle scopes are still popular because they are inexpensive and decent in quality. These are normally the telescopes that parents have purchased to present to their children on birthdays or the inexperienced astronomer has scooped up to initiate their star gazing dreams without expending a large amount of cash.
Tasco telescopes are far from useless, though. The mirrors included in the Tasco reflectors are made with respectable quality, and fortunately there are changes that can easily be made to these telescopes in order to achieve better quality views. For the astronomer that already purchased one of these telescopes, adding a better eyepiece and star diagonal to the Tasco telescope will enhance the views drastically. On a Newtonian reflector however, star diagonals won’t work so do not spend the extra money thinking otherwise. Desired magnification for Tasco telescopes should be kept low, specifically in the 30x-40x range, to avoid instabilities that can occur such as shakiness and movement of objects out of the field of viewing. With these small adjustments to the Tasco telescope, viewing pleasure should increase significantly.
As a beginner telescope, Tasco telescopes may leave the aspiring astronomer disappointed with the results and unfortunately causing them to give up on astronomy altogether. Originally built with integrity and more quality components, these telescopes seemed to have diminished in quality over the years due to increased demand for budget models and expanding competition at the high end price points. From an economical standpoint though, if budget is the only factor a Tasco telescope will provide visual access to the stars, planets, and moons at a cheaper price than most of the other telescopes on the market and can always be upgraded when viewing demands require it.