Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Review [Ideal First Telescope?]

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If you are looking at the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ, this review and guide will help you get the information you need to make a decision. Is it the best option at the price point or are there better alternatives? These are just some of the questions in which we will be exploring today.

First and foremost, its important to note that there are two variants of the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ; the motorized and non-motorized versions. Both are Newtonian Reflectors, provide the same specifications (like Aperture, Magnification, Focal Ratio etc) and come with the same extras. However, the sole difference is that the 130EQ-MD is motorized meaning it can automatically navigate and track objects within the sky. Whereas the standard 130EQ is more manual and requires personal tracking, the 130EQ-MD is there help support the user to continue to track as alignment changes over time.

Either way, the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ telescopes are two of the most affordable telescopes on the market. Within the $200-$300 price point, they serve as an entry-level telescope for new astronomers looking to get started. Celestron are keen to state the fact that this is best for beginners. In fact, the AstroMaster series was developed with this audience in mind.

In A Hurry - The Quick Summary

The Celestron Astromaster 130EQ Telescope is an excellent choice for young children and astronomy beginners. At these price points, you’ll struggle to find a better option. Its incredibly quick and easy to set up and use and enables users to enjoy  bright images of Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon, along with galaxies, nebulae and land-based objects during daytime hours. Whether or not you opt for the motorized or non-motorized version is going to come down to preference; yet the motorized is easier to use. With a 5″ aperture, fully glass-coated optics, two eyepieces (and variable magnifications), a red-dot finderscope and access to the Starrynight software its a great package. While for more advanced or serious astronomers, you’d be better off looking at a telescope like the Nexstar 6 or 8SE.

View the Standard 130EQ on Amazon | View the Motorized 130EQ on Amazon 

Celestron Astromaster 130EQ Review

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ


Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector

Aperture: 130mm (5.11″)

Focal Length: 650mm (25.6″)

Focal Ratio: f/5

Motorized: Yes/No – Depending on Version

Eyepieces? 2x (10 & 20mm)

Lowest Useful Magnification: 27x

Highest Useful Magnification: 307x

Light Gathering Power (Compared to Human Eye): 345x

Weight: 17 Pounds

Celestron Astromaster 130EQ Tour

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Specifications & Features

The Celestron Astromaster 130EQ utilizes the Newtonian Reflector Optical Design. If you are new to optics, this is essentially where a primary and secondary mirror are used to collect light and focus the image through the eyepiece for you to observe. Its the design of such mirrors and optics.

As stated by some users, the 130EQ is not a classic Newtonian reflector in the traditional sense (that has parabolic mirrors) Instead, its what is referred to as a Bird-Jones reflector because it uses spherical mirrors (opposed to parabolic). A built-in Barlow Lens is there to support the optics.

In terms of practical implications, being a Bird-Jones, it gives the telescope a narrower field of view, the optical tube/telescope is smaller and easier to move however it is more difficult to collimate. (Which is required on all Newtonian’s regularly it must be said). Collimation is manual alignment, and this is something that can be tricky at first. However, with the right guide and a bit of practice can be done very quickly and effectively.

One of the primary benefits of this telescope is its lightweight frame, size and ability to set it up easily and quickly. You can assemble it in under 10 minutes with no tools, and there are great instructions on how to do so provided by Celestron. In addition, the telescope comes with a range of accessories including 2x eyepieces, a red-dot finder-scope for different viewing purposes and experiences.

The Celestron NexStar 6SE comes equipped with fully coated glass optics and an adjustable tripod. Being able to get a motorized or non-motorized version is also great depending on your preferences or needs.

Here are some other features of note:

Variable and High Magnification

The AstroMaster 130EQ telescope is a 5-inch aperture which comes with two eyepieces at 10mm and 20mm. This is excellent and provides you with a variable magnification range depending on your needs. At the lower end you can expect a 27x magnification and at the higher end it scales to 307x.

Consider that the higher the magnification, the lower the detail you will be able to observe of the object through the eyepiece. So observing through the lower ranges are going to give you a lot more clarity.

Precision Adjustments

The AstroMaster German Equatorial Mount is one of the most impressive elements and pros to this telescope. It comes with two-slow motion control knobs that enables you to closely control and adjust the alignment of the telescope; accurately locating and tracking sky objects.

Plus, you also get a sturdy steel tripod that can be easily adjusted to full or minimal height depending on the user. A premium accessory tray can be attached to enable you to store and quickly access your accessories when out in the field.

StarryNight Software

Every purchase of the telescope through Amazon will give you access to download the Starry Night Software; a signature product of Celestron of the night sky. It includes over 36,000 celestial objects within the database, along with some printable sky maps.

The enhanced enhanced images which also include 3D renderings of stars, exoplanets, and galaxies are firm favorites by users.

2 Year Warranty Guarantee

With every verified purchase of the 130Q, Celestron will provide 2 year warranty. You’ll need to order the telescope through a designated supplier, like Amazon. If you do, you’ll benefit from 2 years of protection. Within this time, if you notice that the telescope, mount, accessories do not function as intended, you can send it back and get it fixed/replaced.

Moreover, with each purchase you are entitles for free and unlimited access to the Celestron us-based technical support team to discuss your telescope and any questions/issues you may have

Word of warning: Never try to repair it by yourself. You will likely lose your warranty and will not be entitled to a repair/new scope. Also consider that if you do need to send it back, the warranty does not cover modifications or accidental damage.

In Summary

For new astronomers, there’s a lot to take in and learn. Adjusting to a complex telescope of higher end telescopes can be daunting, frustrating and can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of interest. The AstroMaster 130EQ was designed to overcome these issues – and it does so successfully. Its a powerful yet easy to use dual-purpose telescope. The lightweight frame, red-dot finder-scope, starry night software (with 36,000 object database), printable sky maps and the slow-motion control knobs on the mount make it ideal for new users. The two eyepieces offers variety; whether the user wants to observe distant or nearer objects – both in great clarity and perception. With this telescope you can observe Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon, along with galaxies and nebulae. You can also use this telescope for viewing land-based objects during daytime hours. All in all, at this price point, you’ll struggle to find a more suitable option.

Pricing and Where to Buy

The best place to purchase the Celestron AstroMaster 130Q is on Amazon. You’ll ensure that you are getting the best deal, that you get all the extras and that you are covered by the two year warranty as advertised.

Click here to view the standard Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ product listing on Amazon

Click here to view the motorized Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ product listing on Amazon

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