126 of 143 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2010
Well, I spent allot of time researching a good beginner scope for myself and my family and after much deliberation I chose the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ. I think I need to look a bit more.
1. Price: Very affordable, I got mine on sale for $213.
2. Optics: Very good and clear for this price point.
3. Appearance: Very cool looking scope, impressive.
Cons: (PLEASE PAY ATTENTION!!!!, I'm Not Kidding)
1. Mount: Ummm, Check Please! The German Equatorial mount supplied might as well be a solid block of steel, that would be about as easy to adjust and MUCH more stable, unacceptable. The Latitude adjustment screw requires gloves if you don't want permanent indentations in your fingers. Mine would actually make the whole scope jerk sideways when you would engage it, it's a heavy scope and allot of the weight is exerted on this adjustment, even if you balance the scope correctly. The Declination adjustment was stiff and would not track smoothly...and forget turning the scope....see a trend here?
2. Tripod: Solid Steel construction....."Solid"??? I'll put it this way, Steel is a solid, so is Silly Putty. As long as you DO NOT plan to fully extend the tripod legs and view it upright it's more stable than Silly Putty. But if you want to stand as you view the sky (most adults would prefer that to bending over like you're talking to a 2 year old) once the legs are fully extended it just adds to the shakiness. Brother!
3. Focus: Are you good at "Estimating"? You'll have to be to focus this thing; any time you even touch this thing (or breathe on it) the objects in the eyepiece do their best 7.5 earthquake impersonation. Once you wait a day or so, it stops shaking.....Now....DON'T TOUCH IT! VERY Frustrating, by the time I got Jupiter and its moons in focus it had practically moved out of view. But Jupiter was VERY cool to see.
The Viewfinder has been trashed by allot of people for being inaccurate and basically useless, maybe I lucked out because mine actually worked well. Too bad the rest of the scope didn't.
So there it is, it's a really great scope crippled by a cheap mount and tripod. At this price point it's a good Kids Scope and for adults who are not too picky about trivial things like being able to focus and see what you're looking at clearly.
I'm returning mine and going back on the Good Scope Hunt, BTW Amazon does not pay for return shipping on this item, I had a $25 gift certificate that I used to get my purchase price down to $188, kiss that goodbye, return shipping was $28.
Oh well, live and learn...and return.
51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2010
Let me say right from the start that you must set up some parameters or boundaries to work within when shopping and comparing performance, features, etc. When I was shopping around I kept asking myself what if a spend a little more, over and over. By the end of my browsing session I'm seriously considering a 16" light bridge truss dobsonian. So here's the highlights.
1. Looks. I think you'll be hard pressed to find anything in this price range that looks more the part. I really like the orange annodized alum. bits & pieces. They really pop against the metallic blue optical tube. To me this thing looks like more scope than it really is.
2. Apeture. 130mm is about as big as you'll find at this price point. Apeture is everything. The more the merrier. Do not get caught up in the magnification hype that is very common in department store telescopes. As a matter of fact this scope does not have very high power as supplied. With it's reletively short focal length, you'll need a barlow lens to get some big mag. numbers.
3. Mount. Since I come from a cheap department store scope background, this is the best mount I've owned. Now that said, it is still very light, and there are plastic bits on the telescoping legs that will break if you get over assertive when tightening fittings. To a serious amature astronomer this thing is probably shakier than a Chihuahua at the north pole. The tripod probably is the weakest link in the package. THe legs are steel, but of the shower curtain rod wieght, not electrical conduit weight. It's probably the best place for them to skimp, in my opinion. There are tricks to make a mount more stable, but most of us don't want to grind our own optics at home. If you keep your hands off the scope while observing, it's more than stable enough for some good viewing. It will take some time for it to settle down after focusing, but that's what we have to deal whith at this price point.
4. Optics. They seem pretty good. I get sharp points when viewing stars. I've found nebulae for myself for the first time with this scope. It's small and light enough to grab and go, which is how I use it so far. The viewfinder is on the weak side. It's a red dot finder with no magnification. That's not the bad part. It's that they used plastic lenses that definately eat some of the light passing through, and also seem to illuminate a slight bit when the red dot is on. Combined with the positions you may have to contort yourself in when viewing objects near azimuth, it's my least liked feature on this scope.
5. Overall you get good apeture and optics for the money, it's nice enough looking to leave set up in a corner. You get an equatorial mount that can be motor upgraded cheaply. I'm happy with my purchase, and I've since spent more money on eye pieces and accesories than I originally spent on the scope itself.
56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2008
I'm very pleased with this telescope. I've always looked up at the stars in wonder, now I can see more then I thought were out there. This is a great starter scope, from what I've been told by people who love this hobby. The telescope lets you view the sky to see stars you can't see with your eyes. I'm disappointed in the eye piece you receive with it though. The field of view is very narrow, hard to find the stars you want to see. I was given a wide angle eye piece, to use from a friend, which made my viewing pleasure wonderful. I went from looking at a 13" color tv to a 36" color tv. That's the best way to describe it.
I'm glad I got my telescope and will enjoy it for years to come.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2009
This was my first telescope. Let me just say that I'm very impressed with what I see. On my first night out with it I was able to see Jupiter and some of its moons. I was able to make out the red and white bands of clouds too!! It wasn't huge in the eyepiece, but hey, we're not using the Hubble Telescope here. I even got a good look at Saturn as well. Saturn was literally this big -0- and that was with a 9mm eye piece.
Now, I bought the accessory kit and I highly recommend getting it with this scope. I love the 32mm eyepiece for great eye relief and the 2x barlow even better. Don't plan on using the 4mm for anything but the moon and even then it's a little too much for this telescope.
The spotting scope on the top of this thing is a joke. I took mine off. I just start with the 32mm lens "aim" at what i want to look at, and then start stepping the lenses down.
All in all, I would recommend this as a good starter scope. Just point and enjoy. Who needs motor driven gps mounts that take forever to set up.
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2008
The optical quality is quite good, with a good field of view and very limited spider effect. The star pointer is fair to poor however if used with a low power lens (25mm or larger) it will suffice. Barlow usage is excellent and I'm amazed at lunar observation. Only other gripe is when slewing at a low polar angle you can run into the knobs. Mount seems solid however I don't care for the dec. setup. The focuser could stand a little more travel but is adequate for this scopes capability. Overall I give it 5 stars for lunar and terrestrial use, four and a half for planetary (excellent on Jupiter and Venus, struggles with Neptune and Uranus) but with some filters I hope to improve that. Deep sky is fair. The star finder I give a one.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2011
It's a nice telescope for the price, I got it recently from Amazon. The packing was good, despite I'm out of USA (I'm in Panama) it arrived in perfect conditions. The optical elements of the scope are nice and EQ mounting is easy to assemble. So far, I had been watching the moon and it's amazing the details you can see. I never imagine that with such a low price telescope I could see that much details of the moon. Now, I'm taking picture with the Celestron Imager CCD camera and I just can say that the pictures and videos you can take are just wonderful. The only thing that I can't use accurately is the star pointer, it helps to give you an approximate direction of the targeted object but still need to move the scope, probably I need to adjust mine or learn how to use it more efficiently. Celestron has nice videos in YouTube with detailed instructions to assemble the telescope.
Anyway, if you are interested in looking at the moon and some of the solar system planets this is just the perfect selection of a telescope. I published a photo of the moon here in Amazon so it can be appreciated the images you can get with the AstroMaster 130EQ and the Celestron CCD Imager.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
This is my first telescope purchase and the things I was looking for are
1) not too expensive, and
2) reasonable aperture size.
This scope is 130mm which is pretty good for beginners (from what I have gathered). I was also considering SpaceProbe 130ST EQ and Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope. The online reviews for both the orion telescopes are pretty good and the reviews for this were not as great.
This review is based on my first impressions. I haven't had a chance to look at the sky with the scope yet for various reasons. I will update the review once I do that.
Comparing the product specs this telescope is exactly the same as Orion space probe 130 st. Both have same type of mounts and same aperture. However, costco was selling this one for about half the price of orion so I went with this one just because costco has a great returns policy and I figured if it doesn't work I will return it and get the orion. So far I am happy with the decision.
1. Unpacking and assembling the telescope was easy. As soon as you open the packaging there is a sheet explaining how to assemble along with pictures. Follow it and you should be able to assemble in no time at all. I think it took me 20-30 mins at most.
2. Several online reviews complain about the quality of the tripod. The quality seems fine, however, I have never owned a tripod before so you know. It feels solid enough. Hopefully I will continue to feel the same way after I have used it for couple of months etc.
3. Once the scope was assembled I pointed it towards the sky. Unfortunately I live in the middle of SF and there is a playground three blocks from my apt with massive flood lights, so there is too much light pollution and I can barely see any stars with naked eye. I will have to take the scope out far away from SF and try it again.
4. After light pollution prevented me from looking at the lone star visible in the sky, I pointed it towards the playground. (I live high up in the bld). After little bit of trial and error I was able to focus onto folks playing in the playground. I was using the 25 mm lens. The picture was very clear and I was able to read the numbers off the players shirts. To put that in perspective, if I hold a measuring tape about 2.5ft from my eyes, the goal post appears to be half an inch when looking with naked eyes. Being able to read numbers of players is just amazing. The 25 mm lens creates an erect image so it is easy to look at objects on earth. I tried using the 10 mm lens as well; however, since it doesn't create erect images had a slightly harder time with it. Also, the picture seems to be clearer via the 25 mm lens.
I haven't used the software that came with it yet so can't comment on it. I think I will most likely use my andriod to find relative position of stars in the sky and then point my telescope towards them.
One of the accessories you will need to get is a good collimation tool. From what I have read, this is not specific to this scope but a fact of life for all Newtonian reflectors. I went with Orion LaserMate Deluxe Telescope Laser Collimator which I hven't been able to use yet though. I have also ordered the Celestron Accessory Kit. Still waiting for it.
[Update] This is an update to the original review.
I finally had a clear night and took the scope out to a park out of the city to take a look at the Sky.
- First the star finder is useless. All you can do is aim towards the thing you want to see and hope luck favors your.
- The views are actually pretty good when they work. I looked at the moon with the 20mm and 10mm lens that comes with the scope and good pretty good views of the craters on the moon. Next I tried looking at Jupiter. The sky was very clear and with naked eyes it was the brightest star in the sky. However, the star finder completely failed over here. I pointed the star finder to Jupiter, but Jupiter was no where to be seen with the scope. Me a friend spent about 30-35 mins which was very frustrating. We tried aligning the star finder several times during the entire ordeal by focusing on something else but it didn't work. Anyway, after wasting 30 mins trying to find Jupiter we decided to try something else and switched to the Orion Nebula. This time we got lucky and by sheer chance found the nebula within a minute. The views of the nebula were pretty good. We were able to make out the stars in the nebula and could easily make out the gas cloud. So that was good. Once we found it it was easy to keep track of it.
So overall the views via the telescope are good, but the star finder is totally useless making it very hard to reliably look something up in the sky. All you can do is aim towards the part of the sky where it object you want to see is located and hope that you get lucky. I am considering returning it and getting the Orion 130 mm scope as it comes with a much better star finder.
I have now had the chance to use this scope couple of times. Also, I spent some time during the day when it is bright pointing at terrestrial objects to align the star finder. Search online to find instructions on how to do this. Aligning the star finder helps a bit in the night when you are trying to find a star, so make sure you do it. That said, it is a red dot finder and unless you are good 20-30 miles from nearest light pollution source, it is not going to be useful trying to locate faint objects. Search online for limitations of red dot finders.
I bought a 20mm Meade eyepiece with 70 degree FOV. This is a must have given the limitations of star finder on this scope. Having a low magnification wide angle eyepiece greatly improves the ability to scan the sky looking for faint objects. Using the eyepiece I was able to successfully locate the Android Galaxy and a double cluster by scanning the sky around the area where these objects were supposed to be. If you have the budget I would say go for an 82 degree low power eyepiece, though, if you have budget consider zhumell 8" dob.
Also, this telescope has focal ratio of 5 which is considerd fast and requires very precise collimation and is not as forgiving if there are small collimation errors. I would strongly recommend a laser collimator for the scope.
Overall if you are getting the scope for around 200 I would strongly consider orion xt4.5. It has about the same apereture, but comes with a better star finder, and has a focal ration of 7.9 which is lot more forgiving in case of collimation errors.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2011
Despite all the negative reviews I have read about this product it was way better then I expected. It looks like they redid a few things. the tripod is not weak anymore and the base of the telescope itself is totally different then in the pictures and directions . much much better built then what is shown. I had no problems at all viewing the moon and a few other constellations. The lenses I had for my mead fit this telescope perfectly . this was a big plus since I own so many lenses that i had gotten for the mead telescope. I am very pleased with this telescope.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
I received this telescope as a Mother's Day gift from my husband and sons (I specifically wanted this one). I love it! It took about an hour to properly assemble and I have been star gazing ever since. I can see the ENTIRE moon (craters, marina, etc) on a clear night. If I'm outside with this telescope and people walk by my house, I invite them over to gaze at the moon and the look they give me is priceless; because I just shared something extraordinary with a stranger (they are always very grateful!). PLUS, I was able to point my telescope towards Jupiter a few weeks ago and was able to make out the vague striations of the planet (using the higher magnified lens). I was outside for quite some time looking at Jupiter as it is my favorite planet and the sole purpose for me wanting a telescope was to view Jupiter myself! It was fascinating! But best (and most important)of all, my sons and hubby now share my fascination with the stars, moon and planets. Even my sons (14 and 7 years old respectively) are eager to say "Mom, I can see the moon/stars. Let's get out the telescope!" We are spending more time star gazing than watching television! You cannot ask for a better gift! WE LOVE THIS TELESCOPE. I am glad I was able to introduce my love of the sky to them and they appreciate it so much! It was a gift for me, but I am happy to share it with EVERYONE!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2011
The telescope itself is great but the tripod that is needed to hold it broke really easily. It does not make sense to support an excellent telescope with a base that is not stucturally sound. We contacted the maker, Celestron for a replacement part and were sent a broken replacement piece.