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232 of 233 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start... looking forward to going further...
[Also see my moon images submitted as user images above]

This is a first telescope for me and a first trip into the world of astronomy. I've wanted a 'scope for years and have wanted to know more about the stars etc, but this is me actually taking the plunge. Possibly the first plunge, depending on this experience.

I researched telescopes over a few...
Published on 20 Jan. 2011 by The Fat Monk

versus
112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good optics for the price, great customer service, poor 'extras'.
The quality of the tripod, mount, scope and optics are superb for the price (even though both ends of the tube are ill fitting). The level of magnification achieved is a little disappointing though. The moons of jupiter tonight were clearly visible as was the shape of the planet, although no detail was. I have ordered a moon filter and will probably order a barlow lens...
Published on 3 Sept. 2009 by A. Downes


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232 of 233 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start... looking forward to going further..., 20 Jan. 2011
By 
The Fat Monk (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
[Also see my moon images submitted as user images above]

This is a first telescope for me and a first trip into the world of astronomy. I've wanted a 'scope for years and have wanted to know more about the stars etc, but this is me actually taking the plunge. Possibly the first plunge, depending on this experience.

I researched telescopes over a few weeks and kept coming back to this one. I toyed with 'go-to' scopes but realised that a) that was defeating the object of learning about the skies - I'd just be saying "Show me this, nice. Now show me that." and b) the quality of the 'scope itself would be offest by the cost of the go-to computer. At just over 130 quid (with an RRP of 200 quid) it was in the price bracket I was looking at, and the spec seemed pretty high and ideal for a starter like me.

I wanted to see what I was likley to be able to see with the scope, I wanted to get some idea of just how much of the sky the scope was going to reveal to me that I couldn't see with the naked eye.. it's just a start, by my moon images attached to this product page should help give you some idea of what's acheivable by someone with no experience using a telescope after just an hour of playing around.

Another thing missing in most reviews I read was any mention of how easy it was to take photos through this 'scope. I couldn't find any that review that specifically showed images taken with this'scope and a DSLR... so with this review (and my user images) I'll try to fill that gap in my own small way.

FISRT IMPRESSIONS:

I unpacked the scope and 'set it up' - by which I mean put the bits together - in about 20 minutes. Unpacking was alittle tricky due to the way things were packed with bits poking into other boxes so a bit of care has to be taken to not damage anything. But then, thisis a telescope so you're always going to be careful when handling it!

On the whole it looks like you get a lot for your money - the scope tube and mount are built well and feel solid. But the tripod does seem a little flimsy. Not that it won't hold the scope, there just seems to be a bit of movement from the tripod even when minimally extended.

The 'German Equatorial' mount is also very solid and seems very well built. If the weight of it is anything to go by its good quality, then you have to fit the supplied weights to it! These mounts require a bit more learning than other mount types to use properly, but by loosening the locking bolts a little you can still just swing the scope around to find things before setting things up properly.

The 10mm lens is of very good quality - metal bodied and supplied in a holder. The 20mm lens, on the other hand, is cheap plastic and comes in a plastic bag! The 20mm lens is an erecting lens though, so is useful for lining up on objects if nothing else.

You also get a mounted red dot finder (of which more later), a motor drive (of which more in the next paragraph), and a couple of CDs.

The motor seems a bit flimsy being mounted oon a bit of circuit board and covered in a rubbery plastic cover (not a box, a cover!), but I guess it kind of does the job for basic use. Unfortunately the 9v batter supplied with my scope to power the motor was corroded and dead on unpacking - luckily I had a spare in a drawer to test things with. The motor is now disconnected and will only be reconnected at a later date if I fancy playing with it. The difference in price between the MD model with the motor and the non-MD version was only 6 quid, so I don;t think I wasted my money, but I don;t think it's really needed unless I'm going to try long-exposure astro-imaging.

Another thing to consider with the motor is that there is no easy 'clutch' on the motor to disengage it - you have to loosed the coupling screw between the motor to be able to use the relevent adjustment knob!

Was it a waste of money paying the extra for the motor? At 6 quid I'd have to say no, but don't pay a lot extra for it.

I actually quite like the red dot finder - despite what a lot of people have said. Maybe I will become frustrated by it when I am trying to find fainter objects, but on initial use (after lining up) it actually seems pretty good. A lot of people are mentioning the fact that your can't see the lack rings in the finder at night - you're not supposed to, its a reddot finder not a black ring finder! The black rings help you align the finder with the scope (do it in daylight, center a distand object in the eyepiece manually, then adjust the finder so that the same object is in the center of the two rings when they are concentric - simples!), but in use you sinmply align the two red dots - the brighter one and the dimmer one - with each other and the object. The two dots are created by the same spot being illuminated on the two planes on the finder and therefore you are aligning three points to gain a straight line in line with the scope itself. The more distant the object the more accurate the alignment.

COLLIMATION ON DELIVERY:

It seems my scope has been delivered out of alignment and so needs collimating. One frustration for me is that if the scope arrives out of alignment I don't think I should have to shell out another 40 quid for a collimating eyepiece to be be able to align it! I'm going to try manual collimation just by eye, but I fear I coud be heading for trouble there... we'll see. Essentially I get pretty good images, but they are off to one side of the view through the eyepiece so some tweaking is needed. This isa regular maintenance thing on a Newt Refelctor apparently, so I may as well get learning now!

FIRST USE:

Once the scope was built - I say built as I have not aligned the axes at all or performed a proper collimation so I don't really consider it 'set up' yet - I took a look at the moon.

Even finding the moon can be a bit tricky on a first attempt because the narrow view through the scope even with the 20mm lens is narrower than a newcomer like me is likely to expect. However once I foudn it I was wowed. Sticking the 10mm lens in I was wowed more - the detail I could see was pretty astonishing, ad this was on a pretty hazy night.

SECOND USE - QUICK, GET THE CAMERA!:

A few nights passed that were overcast, and then a completely clear night...

Scope out again and the Celestron 'Omni' Series X2 Barlow Lens had turned up by this time so time get a closer look at the moon.

The photographs I've uploaded to Amazon were taken after about 15 minutes of fiddling around. Remember this scope is not properly collimated yet, and I'm just pointing it usingthe red dot finder and adjusting manually with the slow-mo knobs. Also, the camera, a Pentax K10D Digital SLR Camera with the supplied 18-55mm lens, is just being hand held uin front of the eyepiece to capture these images. No T-adapter, no camera mount, just the camera, the 'scope and a /fairly/ steady hand.

The pictures aren't perfect, but considering how they were taken and only on the second night of using the 'scope (and the fact that they are actually taken through a window!) I think they are pretty good, and show off well that this 'scope is capable of very good things.

When set up properly I imagine the quality of the viewed image will improve further, and with an SLR mount I may well be capturing far better images as well. Though it's worth considering that the Barlow Lens is apparently required on this telescope to increase the focal distance to the secondary mirror to a length that your SLR will be able to focus on - that's from reading forums and reviews elsewhere, I haven't tried it yet myself.

CONCLUSION:

I'm really looking forward to getting to know the telescope over the next few months (I am expecting to have to learn - but that's the point! next stop EQ mount alignment...) and am looking forward to what it will show me. I've already recommended this scope to friends, with the caveat that I really don't know what I'm talking about! But if I can see what I am seeing, and take the pictures I am taking with this kit when I really don't know what I'm talking about, imagine what can be done with it when you do know.

Very pleased with this purchase - and it looks great sat in the back bedroom just waiting to show me more!
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... telescope for a graduation present and boy am I happy with it, 2 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
I was bought this telescope for a graduation present and boy am I happy with it. Here is my opinion:
It will take you a while to get used to it (and you will need to put effort in to understand how to use it properly, but once you do, it's a dream (for a first scope). You should check out my blog [...]. Here, I keep an astronomy log book of everything I have seen. If you have any specific questions, ask away.

Advice and tips:

* Don't extent the tripod legs out all the way; the shorter they are, the more stable the telescope will be.
* The EQ mount is ace, once you get the hang of it (again, it takes time and effort to work it out).
* You need to put some effort into learning the night sky. I recommend stellarium or 'turn left at Orion'
* Manage your expectations! Stars pretty much always look like points of light, even through Hubble. Astronomy is not so much about what the eyes see, but what the mind comprehends. Most deep sky object look like `faint fuzzies', even through large telescope.
* Invest in the "Celestron accessory kit (6 mm, 15mm EP, 2x Barlow)". This add-on will massively improve the functionality of the telescope.
* Forget about the red dot finder. Just use that to get within the vicinity of your target. Invest in a cheap 30 mm eyepiece and use the large field of view to find targets. Again, finding things in the night sky is a skill that requires practice. When I first used this scope, it took me ages (and I mean ages) to even find Jupiter (one of the brightest objects in the night sky). However, now I can point at objects in less than a minute, without even using the red-dot finder.
* You always need to make sure the telescope/tube is balanced. Google a video by 'eyes on the sky' on aligning equatorial mount.
* Keep with it, it really is a new skill to learn and master, but now I'm so glad I kept at it; it's worth it. Invest time into reading about how telescopes work and the night sky.
* I have also brought a solar filter for this scope; looking at the sun is awesome (but NEVER look at the sun without a proper filter; you will get blinded!)
* For the price, and the enjoyment this has brought me, I would definitely give this scope 5/5!
* Here is a list of everything I have observed with this telescope:
Moon
Jupiter and its moons
Saturn
Mars
M13: Globular Cluster
M81: Galaxy
M82: Galaxy
Epsilon Lyrae: Double-Double
M57: Planetary Nebula
M64: Galaxy
M31: Galaxy
Albireo: Double Star
Mizar + Alcor: Double Star
M3: Globular Cluster
M51: Galaxy
M56: Globular Cluster
M27: Planetary Nebula
M92: Globular Cluster
M11: Open Cluster
M71: Globular Cluster
M10: Globular Cluster
M12: Globular Cluster
M52: Open Cluster
The Double Cluster
NGC 7789: Open Cluster
Cassiopeia: Open Clusters
M81: Galaxy
M82: Galaxy
Cor Caroli
M94: Galaxy
M21: Open Cluster
M20: Planetary nebula
M5 Globular Cluster
M101: Galaxy
M29: Open Cluster
M110: Galaxy
Gamma Delphini: Double Star
M15: Globular Cluster
M16: Eagle nebula
M17: Swan nebula
M22: Globular cluster
M45: Open cluster
M110: Galaxy/a>
M32: Galaxy/a>
M2: Globular cluster
Almaak: Double Star
Neptune: Planet
IC 4665: Open Cluster
Epsilon Lyrae: Double-Double
M103: Open Cluster
NGC 457: Open Cluster
NGC 464: Open Cluster
NGC 459: Open Cluster
Eta Cassiopeiae: Double Star
M39: Open Cluster
M34: Open Cluster
M33: Galaxy
M42: Nebula
M43: Nebula
M37: Open Cluster
M36: Open Cluster
M38: Open Cluster
M1: Crab Nebula
M35 & NGC 2158
Uranus: Planet
Total Messier Objects 42/110
Total Planets Observed 5/7

* Below are some of the images I have been able to capture using the `Celetron Astromaster 130 EQ MD. These were all taken just using my smartphone (by holding it up to the lens)!

Cheers and clear skies!
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good telescope, but it could have been a much better one, 5 April 2010
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
The pros:
The quality of the telescope and the mount is quite good.
I think that it has a good value for money.

Now, the cons:
The tripod legs bend slightly when fully extended and the plastic "nerves" and braces seem a bit fragile.
The red dot view finder is unusable at night. During the day I could use the two black circles of the view finder to align the telescope with the intended target, but at night only a single red dot was visible. So I could not aim. I do not know if there was a problem with the finder, but I removed it and replace it with a different one.
NOTE the telescope does not have a standard bracket for the view finder, so I had to buy both a shoe holder, a bracket and to be a bit creative.

Another drawback to the telescope is that the primary mirror's center is not marked, so forget most of the collimation tools. In addition my secondary mirror seems marginally off center. I cannot align it, because one aligning bolt is stuck and the other two have terminated. But as I said it's only marginally off and I can live with that.

As for the motor drive, I find the lack of a "neutral" mode annoying, in general I do not think that it worths the extra money.

In conclusion, It's a fairly good telescope, but it could have been much better with only minor changes. If you have decided to buy this telescope, I would suggest the one without the motor drive.
I rate it with 4 stars because I believe it's a good telescope for its money, despite its drawbacks.
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167 of 172 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value for money, 29 Nov. 2010
By 
Concretecow (Buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
I spent quite a lot of time looking at telescope reviews before buying this telescope. It soon became quite obvious which reviewers knew what they were talking about. For example: the people on this site who gave this product 1 star clearly didn't understand what they were buying, and had no clue what to do with it.

Bearing in mind the cost (between £110 and £130), I would be surprised is it is possible to buy a better value for money scope. Assembly was a very simple 20 minute job, using the comprehensive instructions, but there is also a quick start picture guide, and if you still have problems, look on Youtube or Celestron's website for the video guide. I experienced none of the difficulties with bits breaking off or getting jammed that others have had - just be moderately careful putting it together. The mount and tripod are quite robust, although the counterweights are fairly heavy. The mount and tripod are very important - they must be stable to get a clear steady image. There is very slight judder, but in less than a second, everything settles down.

The image quality is excellent in my opinion, using the included 10mm eyepiece although most will probably quite quickly want a 2x or 3x Barlow lens, and variety of eyepieces to increase magnification. For the meantime however, there are plenty of objects clearly visible - Jupiter and it's moons are for instance visible using the eyepiece provided with this telescope. Many stars not visible to the naked eye can also be seen. I am now just waiting for a clear night to see what else I can find. The only slight snag is the starpointer (the red LED aiming device). This is quite difficult to align and use, hence the 4 stars instead of 5, but it may just be me.

This telescope is mainly intended for myself and my children - my 9 year old is fascinated and this telescope is powerful enough to keep him interested. My advice would be to strongly consider this telescope if you're looking to spend under £300. Also, don't forget that a £300 "GOTO" computerised scope is just a £150 scope with a £150 computer attached and may have a smaller mirror than 5" (130mm). Go for the largest mirror you can afford, and avoid paying extra for the motor drive as well. It's not really necessary.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Star Gem!, 28 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
Like most people, I took the time and effort to review as much about what telescope was best for me and in my price range. On a limited budget meant I could spend up to £250 - £300 on a scope. Having spent hours serfing the net and reading reviews I finally narrowed it down to a couple of telescopes, the Celestron 130EQ being my preferred choice.
It wasn't long before I could set up the scope on a clear cold night and see how my investment performed? I've been a keen stargazer for many years, and can remember some 30 years ago buying a small table top reflector scope which was quite expensive then, around £250. It only had a small mirror, and high magnification (around 400X) and I remember thinking what a big mistake I had made... it was totally useless and unusable. But times change and the quality is far better than those days. Sorry to digress... but I opted for the 130EQ without the motor drive, as reviews had said it wasn't necessary. But be sure if you do buy this scope that you either have a motor or not, the reason being that it is only about £10 - £15 difference, but if you have without, and then decide later you want motor drive, they can cost up to £50 - £100 to order?
As with most items you buy, they supplied sub-standard lenses with this scope, and you will find that you'll need better lenses later. Having done my homework, I ordered a set of 3 plossl lenses.... 16mm, 26mm, 32mm... for less than £40! They were the bog standard..(not HD or anything fancy) lenses, but the quality and feel made them look a serious bit of kit! The 2 lenses supplied by celestron are ok, the 20mm being a plastic body (not sure if the actual lenses are plastic too) and the 10mm being part metal/plastic but still feeling slightly on the cheap side. I also ordered a X2 barlow lens (around £45) here on Amazon. The scope was easy to set up in the lounge, around 15 mins and the stargazing could begin. Reviews have said the starpointer is not very good, but you have to make sure you know what you are doing and set it up on a clear bright day before using. You won't have any problems then, and it is a good aid tool in finding what you want to look at. The equitorial mount will also take getting use to, but to get it working properly you do need to calibrate, and set your scope up with the Polar star.
As expected, I was well impressed with the Plossl lenses, and barlow lens... and decided to leave the Celestron lenses in the house. I wasn't expecting to see detail of planets..(You do really need a refractor scope for that..) but the stars took on a whole new meaning! Even using the 32mm Plossl leaves you in awe at the universe, and if you see something of interest as I did near to Orions belt, a quick change of the Lens to the 16mm Plossl and X2 barlow brought the view so much closer and with good detail!
Overall, an excellent scope, no need for the drive motor, and do invest a little extra in good lenses, as it is these that give you the clarity and good crisp focusing you need. And do take time to set it all up properly... time is limited when you are out there gazing... and if you spend more time setting it all up and trying to view you'll not see a lot, and frustration will set in.
Happy viewing!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Newtonian starter scope for the price, 14 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
This was my first scope (I'm a complete beginner) and it is a good product, for a competitive price, but there are drawbacks, however that's why you can spend £1000's on scopes....

The Good
* The larger the big mirror at the back (the primary mirror), the more light you get in and the better everything will look. For the price, you'd struggle to find a starter kit to beat this with its 130mm mirror.
* Supplied is everything you need to be able to see fantastic images of the moon, and clear nights, jupiter, its stripes and its moons. And from there all the other 100's of interesting celestial objects. Suggest a beginner gets a copy of "Turn Left at Orion" Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them.
* The "erecting" (means the image is not upside down and back to front) eyepiece is great for using the scope in the day to watch aeroplanes, birds and landscapes etc.
* The tripod stand is perfectly adequate for the weight of this scope.
* The front dust cover can be placed on the end, but with a small cap remove. This can be used when looking at the moon to slightly reduce the amount of light, giving a better image.
* The fine position adjusters on the axis work well.

The Bad
* Assembly out of the box is not trivial, though not fiendishly difficult. Certainly a child is likely to need some adult help. On the celestron website there is a video guide that should help if you get stuck.
* In theory all the optical components are correctly aligned when you get this scope, but in my case all I got was slightly fuzzy images. To rectify this the scope required collimating. This means ensuring all the optics are correctly aligned. There are countless guides on the web to do this for this type of Newtonian scope. I opted to purchase a laser collimation tool. However to use this the primary (the big) mirror should have a spot indicating its centre. This scope does not. I was able to take the rear mirror assembly apart and add a dot to mark this position (reply with a comment if you want instructions on how to do this). With the centre mark in place and the laser collimation tool within a couple of minutes the scope image was perfect.
* The focuser could do with being a finer action, a small turn of the wheel, and the image is out of focus.
* The 'red dot' finder is simply useless. This is the tool to initially point the scope at your celestial object of choice. Even finding the moon can be a pain. You'll be spending quite a while trying to locate objects in the sky.
* The motor drive - only useful if your trying to take long exposure photos, I tried it once but gave up. You cant disengage the motor from the control without removing the motor
* The 'German equatorial mount' takes a bit of getting used to, but is great for tracking an object once you've set it up.

Overall
It sounds like I have a lot of complaints (hence a harsh 4 stars), but to remedy these you generally need to start looking at scopes at least twice if not three times this price, so still even with the downsides, its good value as a piece of starter kit. Remember if looked after it wont wear out, so you'll be able to flog it when you upgrade.

And finally
Assembled its quite big/tall, You can take the tube off easily but think where you will be storing it for 99% of the time!!!. Consider a collimation tool, a book and possibly a Barlow Lens (Doubles the magnification).

Have fun, comment if you have questions.
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112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good optics for the price, great customer service, poor 'extras'., 3 Sept. 2009
By 
A. Downes (north wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
The quality of the tripod, mount, scope and optics are superb for the price (even though both ends of the tube are ill fitting). The level of magnification achieved is a little disappointing though. The moons of jupiter tonight were clearly visible as was the shape of the planet, although no detail was. I have ordered a moon filter and will probably order a barlow lens for it as well. Two lenses 10 and 20mm are supplied as standard (although annoyingly only a case for one of them).

I too had some build quality problems like the other reviewer. The starfinder shorted out when I first put the battery in. As a result the alignment lights became very dim. The motor also didn't last 5 minutes. I contacted Celestron who put me in touch with Hama UK. They exchanged the parts very quickly, which is the best customer service I have received from a good many companies in a long time. The replacement starfinder however is so bright its less use than the one that shorted out, Stars are barely visible past the bright red LED. So I'm using the faulty one, which is a far more useful dim orange. The other one would be more use during the day.
When attaching the replacement motor onto the mount the allen bolt sheared and will no longer tighten. Obviously that's a disappointment too as it means I can't really use the motor drive. What's the saying, the more things it has on it, the more there is to go wrong?! I'm not convinced the motor drive is worth the extra, it looks very cheap by comparison.

In retrospect, I too would save a little more and perhaps consider a higher magnification one, without a motor drive. The quality of the rest of the kit though and the customer service means I would most likely still consider Celestron; and Hama's reputation, in my eyes, has also improved as a result of this purchase.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ-MD To inifinty and beyon, 18 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
As a budding astronomer, i purchased this as my second telescope. My first being the entry level Skywatcher N 76/300 Heritage Dobsonian, which had sufficiently wetted my apeptite. I spent a lot of time reviewing the pro's and con's that were posted, watched some youtube videos around how to setup and looked on google for images taken through scope.

So the order process was seemless as usual with amazon, and the dispatch was quick. I was very very happy with DPD couriers they emailled and sms texted me every step of the way and the scope arrived a day earlier than expected!!!!

So i agree the instructions for building weren't the greatest but having done my research and watched on youtube the assembly several times prior to the arrival and on tablet whilst sitting with the bits splayed on the floor it went together very very easily. (Understanding how the mount works and the motor drive is yet to be tackled but i felt that as this is a platform scope for the next few years why try and master everything at once).

The eyepieces that were provided were OK, and worked well, i had previously purchased a x2 barlow lense (very cheaply no more than £10) and used this and was able to bring out the bands on jupiter and the four galilean moons which had me grinning the next morning. The moon was brilliant (but would suggest a moon filter) as after a while i was seeing dots.

So as i mentioned this is a platform scope to build on over the years, i was disappointed that i couldn't get my mobile phone camera to take any decent shots but this is more an issue for me than the scope, and will eventually be purchasing a semi decent dslr camera and attachement. Deep space viewing will require the motor drive but as there was a destinct lack of instructions on how to fit a battery etc i am not sure when i want to do this, and the laser dot needs to be alligned but the guys back in the day didnt have such luxeries so might as well spend sometime getting to know how it all works.

So why the five stars????
I think if you are like me and know your spend limitations and that you just want to get out in the garden and zoom around the cosmos for a few hours this scope is a must: Price range is excellent / Build is easy using youtube videos / Optic quality is good / Looks the part / delivers to expectations (Its important that you understand what you actually want to be able to see before you purchase), has the ability to be upgraded with good support from manufacture re lenses and adaptations (Lots out there that can be purchased from multiple suppliers and stocked in specialist shops that you can accutally walk in!!!!).

Update
After spending a few nights with it over the last few months i am very happy .... very very very happy. I have made a few more purcahses i.e. the celestron filters and eyepieces kit, x 3 barlow lense and still spending copious amounts of time in the garden. Jupiter and the four moons is a regular, enjoyed looking at the iron nebula and open star cluster in the severn sisters. Obviously the moon is more detailed now. Next steps to construct a smartphone holder and work my way through the other m and ngc objects. No regrets no remorse would spend it again in a heart beat
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good starter scope., 10 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
For the money its great value. Comes well packaged and looked solid in construction. Stand it a bit shaky when extended but when you consider the price it exceeds expectation. Tracking takes some work with the supplied motor drive. Great planetary images and have also used with the Celestron Nextimage CCD Camera with pretty reasonable results although I would recommend using a webcam as better driver support. If you are on a tight budget this is a great starter scope. If you can stretch to it a 'goto' scope maybe better if you want to image.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be clear on your expectations if you're new to this....., 30 Dec. 2014
By 
Ebuyer "Ian B" (Pewsey. UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope (Electronics)
Well, I got this as a present after getting interested in the sky at night and just how these things all work together to affect just about everything on our planet.
If you're considering buying this, I'd strongly suggest that you do some research on star gazing in general as you need to understand what you can and can't get out of any telescope. There's a really good set of articles here;

http://themcdonalds.net/richard/index.php?title=Astronomy_Writings

I've read through these after my first attempt at trying to see something, and feel a whole lot better about what I think is realistic now!.

Anyway, on to the item....

First impressions were very good - the packaging is excellent and the whole thing has a heavy, serious feel to it - not like some of the toys that appear in certain outlets. Instructions are a bit vague but you shouldn't have a problem with the assembly if you take it slowly.

The assembled item looks the part, and of course you'll want to rush out and point it at something - I'd advise you to avoid this if possible or you'll probably be disappointed. Instead, just have a play with the controls and see if you can figure out the different ways which it moves - the EQ mount is really very clever but not intuitive if you've never done this before. If you buy the model with the motor fitted please note that the manual slow control cable (the guide calls the controls "cables" but they're just knobs on a flexible shaft) for the RA movement won't turn with the motor connected - just undo the fixing screw on the motor where it connects to the shaft to get a feel for how it works until you're ready to use the motor.

You really do need to set the polar alignment before you do anything else. The guide is fairly OK on this point but I missed one vital piece of information and didn't quite get it right - have a look at this video for a better walkthrough:

http://youtu.be/TdkB5NCnFps

I fully understood the logic of doing the polar alignment, but didn't see how to view something in another part of the sky and at a different elevation without moving the telescope, so what was the point in doing this? Answer on the "Finding and Tracking Objects with an EQ Mount" in the first weblink above. Screamingly obvious, but it had me beat for a while. So the answer is, once it's aligned, you don't touch anything apart from the DEC and RA controls and it can be a bit tricky manipulating the scope......

Another apparently obvious pointer to use the scope is that you have to take the whole cover off the end - not just the small 30mm cover (no idea what this is for - maybe someone can help here?) and the cover on mine was firmly held in place by sticky pads so it wasn't really that obvious....until you look through it and can't really see much - doh!

All in all, I'm really pleased with the item and now I'm understanding a bit more about the sky I can gear my expectations to a reasonable level. My first thoughts were to rush out and buy an adaptor for my DSLR and start shooting fantastic pictures of the universe, but I'm sure it's not that simple so will leave that for a while (probably!).

If there's one thing that is a little poor, it's the quality of the threaded parts. This is in keeping with my Hama tripod (same manufacturer) and I guess it reflects the price point on both items. The metal used in the mount is some kind of heavy duty cast alloy, and doesn't take too well to being tapped for bolts. The threads on the bolts are quite fine ,and I think it would be easy to over tighten and compress or strip the threads. There was a fair amount of swarf on mine as well. I greased all the bolts before assembly, and this helped to get over the sticky parts of the casting.

The other part which needed some work was the DEC slow control cable. Mine had limited movement, and I found that the spring had travelled too far and dropped a guide (you'll know if you have the problem - don't force it). You need to unscrew the retaining cap at the other end of the control casing and realign the guide - happy to walk you through this if necessary, just drop me a mail). There are limit stops on the slow control on the DEC axis so it will come to a halt, whereas the RA control just works on a geared wheel and is continuous.

The scope is very rigid once it's set up, but any adjustment on the latitude or rotational head screws will tilt the scope in all directions as you retighten - again, it's built to a price and to be expected, just be aware of this when you're trying to view something as a tine scope movement will equate to a big change in viewing angle (you can do the maths from the guide book).

I've done a bit of viewing now, and from my limited experience, I'm impressed with the eyepieces, but as a previous reviewer mentioned I'll probably go for a Barlow lens soon now that I've done the power calculations set out in the guide.

All in all, I'm very pleased and would recommend to someone starting out in astronomy.
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