Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ MD, 5.1" Equatorial reflector with motor drive

$279.95

Availability: More on the way

The Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ equatorial reflector with motor drive puts a big scope in a beginning observer's backyard at a small scope price. Not just a big scope, but a good performer you can enjoy for years to come . . .
Our Product #: AM130MD
Celestron Product #: 31051
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Product Description

The Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ-MD is a big 5.1" (130mm) aperture equatorial reflector designed primarily to give exceptional wide angle views of the faint fuzzies outside the solar system - nebulas, galaxies, open star clusters, and more. It includes a right ascension motor drive for no-hands tracking of celestial objects. The AstroMaster 130 EQ is a surprising bargain when you consider the high level of performance and features you get versus the low price you pay.

While the AstroMaster 130 excels at deep space views, it also will perform surprisingly well on the Moon, planets, comets, and other objects inside the solar system by adding an optional higher power eyepiece to increase the magnification. It will even work for observing things on the ground, as it comes with a low power eyepiece that gives upright images, unlike most reflectors that provide images that are upside down.

Its rugged and stable CG-3 equatorial mount has manual slow motion controls in both axes. These let you easily locate solar system and deep space objects and manually track them across the sky. The supplied motor drive allows hands-free tracking that will let the whole family observe without having to re-aim the scope each time a new family member or friend steps up to look through the telescope. At only 25 lbs., it's lightweight and compact enough to fit in virtually any storage space, but it's optically big enough to keep an observer happy for years. At its very affordable price, the Astromaster 130 is a bargain indeed.

This Telescope's Optical System . . .

Reflector optical tube: 130mm (5.1") aperture 650mm focal length f/5 focal ratio Newtonian reflector. All-glass mirrors, coated with highly reflective aluminum and overcoated with quartz for long life. There are no plastic optical components. The 24" long aluminum optical tube has protective tube end rings. The reflector design of the scope is totally free of the purple haze of spurious color visible around the Moon and planets in lesser refractor scopes. Images are sharp and clear. You can even collimate (align) both mirrors for the sharpest images. This will have to be done only rarely, thanks to the special push/pull design of the cell holding the primary mirror.

Rack and pinion focuser: The 1.25" focuser has dual focusing knobs for precise image control with either hand. The large focus knobs are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather.

Two eyepieces: You get a medium power 1.25" 10mm (65x) eyepiece and a lower power 1.25" 20mm (32.5x) erect image eyepiece with a 1.5° field of view (three times the diameter of the full Moon). The 32.5x erect image eyepiece lets you use the 130EQ terrestrially, as its images are not upside down as they are with most reflectors. However, the equatorial mount will make it difficult to center and track objects on the ground. The erect image eyepiece will probably serve you better for lunar observing, as it will show you a familiar image of the Moon, oriented as you see it with your unaided eyes or binoculars. Both eyepieces are of a higher quality optical design than you'll find in most other telescopes in this price range. They have antireflection coatings on their lens surfaces for sharp images and very good contrast. Instead of providing low quality eyepieces that give unrealistically high (and generally unusable) 200-300x magnifications as most economy telescope manufacturers do, Celestron has chosen to provide higher quality eyepieces with sensible powers you can use and enjoy every time you take your AstroMaster 130 out to observe.

Finderscope: A non-magnifying red dot finder is permanently attached to the side of the optical tube. The battery-operated red dot finder seems to project a dot of red light on the sky or on the daytime landscape exactly where the telescope is pointed. The red dot will help you center distant objects in the telescope so you don't have to search for them using the narrow eyepiece field of view. Collimating knobs on the finder let you line up its red dot precisely with the main telescope optics to make centering distant objects easy and painless.

This Telescope's Mount . . .

Equatorial mount: The scope's sturdy CG-3 equatorial mount is designed for astronomical observing. By aligning the mount on the north celestial pole, you only need to turn one slow motion control knob to follow planets and stars as they travel across the sky (or let the supplied battery-operated motor drive do it for you automatically). Two counterweights on the opposite side of the mount from the telescope tube balance the weight of the optical tube and make it easy to move the scope effortlessly from one part of the sky to another. No tools are required to adjust the position of the counterweights to quickly and precisely balance the optical tube. A micrometer control lets you adjust the altitude of the scope mount to match your latitude for fast alignment on the north celestial pole with no tools required.

Motor drive: A battery-operated motor drive makes following the stars a no-hands operation. The drive is a single axis right ascension drive motor only. It does not have drive corrector functions for long exposure astrophotography. The drive has a variable speed control to match the differing speeds at which the Moon, planets, Sun, and stars move across the sky. It also has switch-controlled northern/southern hemisphere operation. The drive runs for up to 40 hours from one 9 volt transistor radio battery (supplied), depending on the air temperature (battery life is shorter when the temperatures are colder). Your telescope can be manually moved to any part of the sky while the drive is functioning by releasing the right ascension and declination locks and pushing the telescope tube in the desired direction. However, the drive does not have a built-in clutch, so the thumbscrew attaching the drive to the telescope must be loosened if very precise centering and positioning is desired using the manual slow motion controls.

Split Ring Optical Tube mount: The optical tube mounts in hinged split rings that are attached to a dovetail bar that fits into a quick-release dovetail groove on the top of the mount. Installing the optical tube on the mount is quick and easy, even in the dark. The optical tube locks securely in place with no tools needed.

Setting circles: Setting circles (graduated scales marked in either hours and minutes or degrees) are provided in both right ascension (the east/west position of objects in the sky measured in hours and minutes) and declination (the north/south position measured in degrees). These allow you to align the scope on the approximate position of an object in the sky by using its r. a. and dec coordinates from a star chart or atlas - before you search for it in the finderscope and eyepiece. Setting circles can reduce the time it takes for you to find the fainter and more difficult deep space objects.

Manual slow motion controls: There are two slow motion control knobs conveniently positioned on the mount so they are easy to reach while observing. One controls the scope's motion in right ascension (the east/west direction in the sky). Turning this knob enables you to follow the motion of celestial objects as they travel from east to west across the sky if you are not using the supplied battery-operated motor drive. The second controls the scope's motion in declination (the north/south direction in the sky). Turning this knob enables you to correct for any north/south drift a celestial object may take as it moves across the sky, due to an improper alignment of the scope on the north celestial pole when you first set it up. The two controls combine to give you complete access to any part of the sky. They give you the ability to star hop from a known object to any other object by using a star chart. They let you center objects in the field of view, then track them effortlessly with only an occasional quick turn of the r. a. knob. As mentioned above, a motor drive is also provided for hands-free tracking of celestial objects.

Tripod: The lightweight pre-assembled tripod has 1.25" diameter stainless steel legs to provide a rigid and stable observing platform. It easily adjusts in height with no tools needed. The no-tool lock knobs that adjust the leg height of the tripod are on the inside of the legs so they won't snag on clothing in the dark, a thoughtful touch that's sure to be appreciated. Spreader bars lock the legs firmly open when the tripod is set up. The tripod includes a convenient accessory tray that attaches to the spreader bars to hold your eyepieces and accessories close at hand and up out of the dew-soaked grass.

Two year warranty: As an expression of Celestron's confidence in the quality of their products, the AstroMaster is protected by Celestron's two-year limited warranty against flaws in materials and workmanship.

Tech Details

Aperture 5.1"
Focal Length 650mm
Focal Ratio f/5
Heaviest Single Component 25 lbs.
Highest Useful Magnification 217x
Motorized Controls Single Axis Motor Drive
Resolution 0.89 arc seconds
Supplied Eyepiece 20mm and 10mm
Telescope Type Reflector
View Finder Built-On StarPointer
Visual Limiting Magnitude 13.1
Warranty 2 years

Reviews

Review by:
Bought this telescope for my son a while ago. The EQ mount is quite portable and can be carried outside in one piece, but can be unintuitive to use especially for a first-timer. The fine adjustment knobs get in the way when you're trying to point the scope near the zenith. Optics are decent given the price. The red dot finder that used to come with the older models (it seems that now Celestron has replaced it with a Starpointer) is very frustrating to use. The two circles that serve as the reticle are unlit, making them hard to see in the dark and thus very hard to get anything besides the Moon and planets in the field of the low power eyepiece. Consider replacing it immediately with a Telrad or RACI 9x50. The motor drive is quite flimsy but can track to some degree.

Overall, the scope has its flaws but if you get around them it's fairly usable. For a starter scope though, I think a 6' or 8' Dobsonian would be a better purchase. (Posted on 1/8/2019)
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Supplied Accessories

  • 130mm aperture Newtonian reflector optical tube with 1.25" rack and pinion focuser
  • CG3 equatorial mount with split ring/dovetail quick release tube mount system, altitude and azimuth adjustment micrometer controls, setting circles, battery-operated right ascension motor drive, manual slow-motion controls, and locks on both axes
  • 10mm (65X) and erect image 20mm (32.5X) eyepieces
  • Non-magnifying straight-through red dot finder
  • Adjustable height stainless steel tripod with accessory tray
  • Operating instructions
  • TheSky Level 1 CD-ROM star-charting software.

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