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Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope
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- Aperture: 130mm; focal length: 650mm; compatible with 2 inch eyepieces
- Focal ratio: 5; focal length of eyepiece 1/2: 25mm/9mm.Before you can begin observing, you must setup your hand control, align your finderscope and align your telescope
- Magnification of eyepiece 1/2: 26x/72x; finder scope: star pointer; mount type: motorized altazimuth
- Highest/lowest useful magnification: 307x/19x; light gathering power: 345x
- Apparent field of view: 1.7 degrees; Linear field of view (at 1000Yds): 91ft
- Computerized hand control with 4,000+ object database including over 600 galaxies, 300 clusters and dozens of beautiful binary stars
- SkyAlign allows you to align on any 3 bright celestial objects
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The popularity of our NexStar 114 models inspired us to go bigger! We are proud to introduce NexStar 130SLT. The NexStar 130SLT has 30% more light-gathering power than our 114 mm telescope. And the 130SLT, like the other models in the SLT Series, comes with a fully computerized hand control. The computerized hand control gives you the ability to automatically slew to any of its 4,000+ objects, including over 600 galaxies, 300 clusters and dozens of beautiful binary stars. With its pre-assembled, adjustable steel tripod, the NexStar 130SLT can be up and ready to use in a matter of minutes. Our new SkyAlign alignment technology and the included StarPointer Finderscope with a red LED, makes aligning a breeze. View the details of the lunar surface, the rings of Saturn, the polar ice caps on Mars, the cloud belts on Jupiter or a number of the Messier objects such as the globular cluster in Hercules (M13), or the Great Nebula in Orion (M42). Begin to explore some of the fainter Messier objects using the additional light-gathering capabilities of the 130SLT’s 5" primary mirror. Because of the Newtonian design, the mirror gives fully color-corrected views that are best suited for astronomical use.
Amazon.com Celestron’s computerized NexStar 130 SLT adds affordable "Go-To" technology to a compact Newtonian reflector telescope. By using mirrors instead of lenses, the Newtonian optics of the NexStar 130 SLT produce an image nearly five times brighter than the NexStar 60 SLT refractor telescope. The package includes everything except the batteries, and features easy no-tool setup, two good eyepieces, and even includes a student version of "The Sky" planetarium software.
The Newtonian design of the NexStar 130 SLT is optimized to produce bright images over a wide field of view. When I use an optional 32mm Plossl eyepiece, the famous Double Cluster in Perseus looks like a display of celestial fireworks with streamers of stars trailing across the 2 degree field of view. The standard equipment 25mm eyepiece magnifies the image about 26 times, with a wide field of view just right for viewing deep space objects like star clusters or the Orion Nebula.
The NexStar 130 SLT also features Celestron’s patented SkyAlign technology. With SkyAlign I don't need a star chart or a compass to align the telescope, I just enter the date and time then point the telescope at three bright stars. SkyAlign tells me the star names, and allows the telescope to find over 4,000 stars, planets, and galaxies by just pushing a button. The accurate tracking makes it easy to get high power views of the planets, and allowed me to take some great pictures using a Celestron NexImage webcam. I also like the "Two-Star align" and "Solar System align" modes because I can often get the NexStar system up and running while older scopes are still waiting for their alignment stars to appear in he twilight.
Reflector telescopes offer more light gathering power per dollar than any other design, but that value is balanced by the fact that the mirrors may need to be aligned or "collimated" occasionally. Using Celestron’s Collimation Eyepiece
- Wide field views
- Computerized go-to tracking
- Light and portable
- Short battery life
- Sensitive to vibration
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The eyepieces that come with it are just okay. They're a step below kelner eyepieces (which is below Plossls). For eyepieces, use a low power eyepiece (25mm) to scan for objects. With eyepieces, the lower the number the higher the magnification. If you buy eyepieces, stick to good quality eyepieces in the 5mm to 35mm range. More magnification (<5mm) doesn't really help as the scope is limited by the atmosphere. Lower magnification eyepiece (>35mm) will result in an exit pupil that is too large (makes it difficult to see without a moving black blob appearing in the eyepiece). Celestron X-Cel eyepieces would work well for this scope and aren't too expensive. I like the Baader Hyperion as well. It gives a wide angle view and a large eyeglass with good eye relief to look through (great for eyeglass wearers). A x2 Barlow lens is a good option to pick up as well. Combined with your eyepieces, it doubles your available magnifications (9mm becomes a 4.5mm, 25mm becomes a 12.5mm). I have the Orion shorty x2 barlow.
Don't bother with the eyepiece kits. The optics are too close together in strength so you'll probably only use 3 of the 5. The color filters are pretty useless except for a moon filter. All you really need are 3 eyepieces a low power (no greater than 35mm), a medium power (14-18mm) and a high power (no less than 5mm).
You'll need a collimator. With Newtonians, you'll need to align the mirrors. It's best if you check it each night before you use it. Moving the telescope can knock it out of wack. A collimator helps you line everything back up. I have the Orion laser collimator.
Here are some setup tips for setting up the scope for Goto use:
1. If you picked a city instead of entering a latitude longitude, and you don't actually live in the middle of the city (you just picked the closest one), do a factory reset of the computer and choose latitude-longitude instead. It's much more accurate. You can find the latitude longitude with a smart-phone app (e.g. Compass for Android) or by googling your address. You'll need the lat long in degrees, minutes, seconds (not the digital version like -117.0101). It should look like W 117 15' 12'
Sometimes a city selection is too broad. I am about 20-30 miles outside the city I chose and it makes a big difference when the scope is skewing.
2. Make sure you're using the correct time/date settings including daylight savings time vs standard time. Use your cellphone time.
3. Instead of using 3-star align, use Auto-Two-Star align. It'll require you to know the names of the stars but it's much better. I use Google Skymap to find one of the stars in the list if I don't know the name or the ones I do know are obscured. If you use the 3-star align, chose bright stars that are on opposite sides of the sky and not in a line (a triangle pattern is preferred). For example, if you just used the stars in Orion, that's probably too small of an area of the sky. Choose one star in Orion (e.g. Betelgeuse), one in Gemini (e.g. Castor) and one in Cassiopeia.
4. When centering a star during alignment, defocus the star so it looks like a ball rather than a point of light. It'll be much easier to get in in the center.
5. When centering on the final star try to move the scope in the same direction as it was moving when it skewed to the star you chose. So for example, if it was moving down and to the left when it stopped, position the scope so that when you get it in the center of the view that you are moving it down and to the left when you stop.
UPDATE 5/19/2016: I recently purchased a ZWO ASI185MC camera that I'm using with the 130SLT. The camera will easily come to focus when used in the 2" adapter. It will come to focus in the 1.25" adapter as well but it's a little closer to max in-focus. I'm getting pretty good images with it doing short exposure (<15seconds) and stacking. You'll want to use a Bahtinov Mask to focus. I purchased an Orion Accufocus which greatly helps with focusing the image without everything shaking. Check my reviews for the correct items.
I also have it working with a computer (computer drives the scope). You need to install ASCOM drivers (6.2) and ASCOM drivers for the Celestron product line. Just search for "ASCOM drivers" on google. It's not necessary but it's nice for an all-in-one software package (Astrolive USB).
I added some pictures I took of M51, M57, Jupiter and the moon. These were taken from my front yard about 5 miles from the city. The deep space objects won't appear that clear when viewing through the eyepiece (cameras pick up more light than our night vision does).
One thing to really improve your goto results is to use "Precise Goto". It's undocumented in the manual. It's accessed differently than a regular goto. Press the "Menu" button. Then use the up/down arrows (6 &9 key) to find "Precise Goto". Then select "Database". Finally, choose from the object list type using the up/down arrows (e.g. Messier, NGC, Named Objects). So for instance, if I choose "Messier" and then enter the number for the Messier Object (1-110). It will calculate and give you a list of 5 bright stars with #1 being closest to the object. Select 1. The scope will slew to where it thinks it is. Center the bright star with the red dot finder and look through your eyepiece to see if it's centered there as well. Once it's centered in the eyepiece, hit <Enter>. The scope will slew to the object and there's a good chance it will be centered in your eyepiece. I use this feature with my camera and it almost always gets it close to the field of view. You should easily find the object in the field of view of a 25mm eyepiece (though it may be faint and fuzzy).
Eventually I settled on the 127SLT Maksutov-Cassegrain. It was small enough that I could transport it to and from the local astronomy club, which is a big plug for a beginner. An 8" Dob is great if your backyard is dark, not so much if you need to travel for some darker skies.The GoTo functionality is also a plus in my book, as my wife has never used a telescope, and showing her how to check out Jupiter in just a couple minutes was pretty incredible.
I knew that buying this there would be some opportunity areas, and there are a couple. First, the tripod is described as wobbly, and it is. I've found much less vibrations in the grass/dirt than a hard surface. Second, I've put an 8lb. weight on the accessory table which certainly helped to dampen the vibrations. I've read other solutions to super glue joints, epoxy stuff etc. After tightening the bolts on here, I would say the vibrations are only a slight annoyance, and as long you don't manhandle the focuser or smack the eyepiece when you're viewing, they calm down quickly.
2nd is the alignment process. I read people having tons of issues with this. If I try to align using my starting point as a city, it fails. Almost every time. Whenever I punch in my GPS coordinates (compass app on iPhone by default) it aligns immediately on SkyAlign. To me, this seems a nonissue.
Overall, very happy with my purchase. You'll need to add a few things to this telescope to really make it complete, but you aren't hamstrung up front by any means.
1. AC Adapter or Celestron Power Tank. This thing will eat your 8 AA batteries in no time, buy the AC adapter, or better yet the Power Tank, which is a pretty impressive piece of kit.
2. Dew shield - you will want to buy one, or craft one. Foam rubber sheets from your local hobby store work well.
3. Additional eye pieces.
4. If you're transporting it, some sort of case. HomeDepot sells an 18" Husky tool bag with a strap that works PERFECTLY. Using the two pieces of foam from the box, it fits snugly in there and doesn't slide around.
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