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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Style Name: AstroMaster 130EQ Reflector|Change
Price:£120.60+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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Showing 1-10 of 53 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on 3 March 2011
Celestron Astromaster 130EQ

I purchased the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ as a starter telescope aimed at 'newbie' astronomers. For the price it is an impressive piece of kit. It comes well packaged and is easy to assemble using the picture guide that comes with it. If you get stuck there is a YouTube video to help you.

Of course you get what you pay for and the 130EQ has limitations. It is best suited to observing the Moon and planets. Don't expect closeups of deep space objects. Using the telescope takes practise, but on the first evening out we got some great views of the moon.

Included in the package is TheSkyX - First Light Edition software. This is a great tool. Input your latitude and longtitude (available from Google World) and TheSkyX will deliver a view of the night sky at any time you choose. It recommends some targets complete with RA and DEC. Great for planning your observing sessions.

The two lenses supplied with the 130EQ are just adequate to get you started, but you will soon want to add to them, for example you should purchase a 2x Barlow lens.

On the downside there is a major problem with the 130EQ associated with aligning the telescope and finding objects. The problem is the starfinder that comes fitted to the telescope. It contains two concentric rings and a central dot. The dot is illuminated red for use at night. The concentric rings worked well in daylight, but at night they are impossible to see and aligning the red dot with a star is near impossible. For novice users this finder is a source of frustration and would put off all but the most dogged new astronomer. I wonder how many people have given up on the hobby because of this cheap piece of optical engineering. Celestron should ditch it and do better. However, there is a simple and cheap solution - the Telrad Refex Finder. An oversized, odd looking device (costing around £35) that works superbly well. It has three illuminated target rings. Point the Telrad at a star and bingo it appears in the center of your eyepiece. I love the Telrad. It makes the 130EQ usable.

In summary the 130EQ is a mixed bag. I would recommend this telescope to those people with a budding interest in astronomy or those with a casual interest in the near objects of the solar system. If the interest survives a year or so of using the 130EQ there are plenty of motorised and computerised Goto telescopes (costing many times more than the 130EQ) to take you forward. The Celestron Astromaster 130EQ does little to solve the two biggest challenges for inexperienced astronomers - aligning the telescope and finding objects. The poor finder means that I can only give it 3 Stars. Fit a Telrad and get some better quality eyepieces and it becomes a 4 Star telescope.
33 comments| 192 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 September 2009
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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on 27 April 2014
- OK-ish value for money
- If you collimate and are pretty nifty with this equipment, you can get good views - not too bad views for the money you pay.
- Primary mirror is actually not too bad, very clean, shiny, etc.

- Plastic in places where it shouldn't be (stand brackets for example)
- Terrible eyepiece holder/focusser jig, shakes a lot
- Stand is shaky and insubstantial
- Spotting scope useless
- Most likely needs collimating

Final Comments:

For the money the telescope is OK, but it is of mediocre build quality, and very, VERY plastic. There is no metal but on the stand really, and where there should be metal, such as the mount, they have used some odd sort of dense concrete-like material. I am a chemist and even I am really not sure how they have made such a dense, semi-strong and cheap material that isn't a metal.

In my up some more and get a skywatcher, they are countless times better made. If the price is too steep for you (a skywatcher equivalent to this telescope is about £180), go onto Ebay and look for skywatchers. Bear in mind no-one will post you a telescope, so be prepared for every telescope to be a collection.

I would not recommend, and only 3 stars because after putting a lot of effort in to fixing their poor designs (a 10 year old would have done better in some areas, come on celestron...), and have after all this just about started to get some really satisfying views.
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on 9 April 2016
ok. This is a beginners telescope. It has served its purpose and got me interested and bankrupt in a very wonderful but expensive hobby.
I got this because of the price and if i didnt like standing outside late at night freezing my bottom off not much money wasted. But very soon i wanted to see more and i bought a far larger scope with better eyepieces. So would i recommend this scope - yes (however no longer manufactured) and i did have a couple of issues with the focuser. The scope has now been relegated to my scope i take away with me when on holiday.
For Children this is a very good scope easy to use. The red dot finder is poor.
My only other words or wisdom or not..... Before purchasing do some serious research on telescopes as there are lots out there....dont rush in
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on 25 February 2012
I did a fair amount of research before purchasing and read a lot of the reviews on here also before buying.

I've only been out twice (due to the nature of English weather) so i'm by no means an expert but I found the scope fairly easy to operate, although the star finder was only really useful for getting the scope pointed in the general direction, but like I said, I probably need some practice. I had purchased a 2x Barlow lens, which was good for picking up more detail on the moon's surface, the eye pieces that come with the scope seem reasonable.

On my second night (last night) while opening out the legs on the mount the plastic/composite hinge for the accessory tray snapped, meaning the mount would no longer take the weight of the telescope.

It's affordable.
It is an impressive looking piece of kit and good for looking at the Moon and general star gazing.
Easy to set up, although the instructions could be better - I sought help from a variety of websites to fill in the blanks.

Don't expect to see any detail on Jupiter, Venus or Mars ... even with a x2 Barlow lens (purchased separately) Jupiter was transformed from a small bright dot, to a bigger bright dot, although some of it's moons were visible.
The mount is flimsy and let me down. I hear Celestron's Customer Service is very good, so I'm hoping to get the damage resolved soon.

My advice... before buying any telescope, buy a copy of Sky At Night and read up on some reviews and have some realistic expectations on what you're getting for your money.
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on 2 August 2011
I actually downsized from a celestron 675 powerseeker, I wanted something slightly easier to cart around, but was extremely frustrated with the finder scope. The red dot to red dot finder should never have left the drawing board, it's diabolical. What makes things worse is the fact that it is built into the telescope. I now have to buy an optical finder- there's only so many batteries you can go through whilst trying to find a full moon!
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on 30 March 2012
Purchased for my partner and I who wanted to upgrade from a budget supermarket telescope.

So we were extremely excited when it turned up, however we were surprised it was less sturdy and robust than we thought it would be. The set up was easy, but focusing at first was a problem, although this was probably due to our inexperience!

Eventually we had it up and running, and were delighted when a few nights later we saw Jupiter!
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on 7 May 2013
I have this 'scope and a Celestron 6 SE.

This scope is good for the brighter planets and lunar observing. It is also OK for the brighter DSO's. The OTA optics are of very good quality.

The EQ mount is rigid enough but care needs to be taken when focusing as you do get some wobbles with the long tube.

It is quick to set up and no alignment is needed apart from setting the mount to point correctly to the celestial pole.

I rated it 3/5 because

1. The finder scope is rubbish, hard to set up so it is in-line with the OTA and harder to use. Even the red dot finder on the 6SE is better and I do not really like that either.

2. The star diagonal provided is of very low quality, better to upgrade this as star diagonals are reasonably cheap

As others have said, it is not a toy scope, it is a useful one with a good apeture allowing someone to get started into astronomy.
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on 3 March 2016
I bought this as a second scope to use when I didn't want the hassle of setting up my NexStar 8SE Celestron NexStar 8 SE Computerised Telescope. For the price, it's a great little telescope but has some downsides, which is why I can only give it 3 stars. When trying to balance it initially, the instructions say to let go carefully after loosening the clamp, implying it will drop if not accurately balanced. However, the bearings are so stiff the telescope stays put wherever the weights are positioned! Also once the clamps (both RA and Dec) are tightened, I would not expect to be able to move the scope, except with the tracking knobs. However it remains completely moveable, which makes it difficult to line up on an object and keep it there. If you knock the scope, you lose the object.

I'm sorry this review is turning out so negative, but I have to add that the red dot finder on this telescope is pretty much useless for lining up on an object. There is a similar one on my NexStar which works just fine. I suppose you get what you pay for!
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on 10 July 2014
A lot for your money but the quality of the lenses leave a lot to be desired. Good fun and it's good way to learn how to set a telescope up but if I want to see clearly I am better off with my binoculars.
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