AstroMaster 130 EQ, 5.1" Equatorial reflector

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The Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ 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 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. An optional motor drive is available for photography or 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 scope. At only 24 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. An economical optional #MDASTRO battery-operated right ascension motor drive takes the slow motion control out of your hand and makes following the stars a no-hands operation. 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.

  • 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. 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, an optional motor drive is available for hands-free tracking.

  • 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.

  • Software: The scope comes with TheSky Level 1 sky-charting CD-ROM that has a database of 10,000 stars and objects it can plot and display on your Windows-based computer screen. That’s enough solar system and deep space detail to keep you busy observing for years, yet not so much that you’re overwhelmed by charts showing much more detail than your scope can usefully reveal. Custom sky chart printing lets you print out eyepiece finder charts to use with your telescope to help you locate and identify the planets and many famous and faint deep space nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters by star-hopping from object to object using your scope’s manual slow motion controls. There are 75 full color images of well-known celestial objects to help you identify them through your scope.

  • 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.

Highest Useful Magnification:
This is the highest visual power a telescope can achieve before the image becomes too dim for useful observing (generally at about 50x to 60x per inch of telescope aperture). However, this power is very often unreachable due to turbulence in our atmosphere that makes the image too blurry and unstable to see any detail.

On nights of less-than-perfect seeing, medium to low power planetary, binary star, and globular cluster observing (at 25x to 30x per inch of aperture or less) is usually more enjoyable than fruitlessly attempting to push a telescope's magnification to its theoretical limits. Very high powers are generally best reserved for planetary observations and binary star splitting.

Small aperture telescopes can usually use more power per inch of aperture on any given night than larger telescopes, as they look through a smaller column of air and see less of the turbulence in our atmosphere. While some observers use up to 100x per inch of refractor aperture on Mars and Jupiter, the actual number of minutes they spend observing at such powers is small in relation to the number of hours they spend waiting for the atmosphere to stabilize enough for them to use such very high powers.
217x
Visual Limiting Magnitude:
This is the magnitude (or brightness) of the faintest star that can be seen with a telescope. The larger the number, the fainter the star that can be seen. An approximate formula for determining the visual limiting magnitude of a telescope is 7.5 + 5 log aperture (in cm).

This is the formula that we use with all of the telescopes we carry, so that our published specs will be consistent from aperture to aperture, from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some telescope makers may use other unspecified methods to determine the limiting magnitude, so their published figures may differ from ours.

Keep in mind that this formula does not take into account light loss within the scope, seeing conditions, the observer’s age (visual performance decreases as we get older), the telescope’s age (the reflectivity of telescope mirrors decreases as they get older), etc. The limiting magnitudes specified by manufacturers for their telescopes assume very dark skies, trained observers, and excellent atmospheric transparency – and are therefore rarely obtainable under average observing conditions. The photographic limiting magnitude is always greater than the visual (typically by two magnitudes).

13.1
Focal Length:
This is the length of the effective optical path of a telescopeor eyepiece (the distance from the main mirror or lens where the lightis gathered to the point where the prime focus image is formed). Focallength is typically expressed in millimeters.

The longer the focallength, the higher the magnification and the narrower the field of viewwith any given eyepiece. The shorter the focal length, the lower themagnification and the wider the field of view with the same eyepiece.

650mm
Focal Ratio:
This is the ‘speed’ of a telescope’s optics, found by dividing the focal length by the aperture. The smaller the f/number, the lower the magnification, the wider the field, and the brighter the image with any given eyepiece or camera.

Fast f/4 to f/5 focal ratios are generally best for lower power wide field observing and deep space photography. Slow f/11 to f/15 focal ratios are usually better suited to higher power lunar, planetary, and binary star observing and high power photography. Medium f/6 to f/10 focal ratios work well with either.

An f/5 system can photograph a nebula or other faint extended deep space object in one-fourth the time of an f/10 system, but the image will be only one-half as large. Point sources, such as stars, are recorded based on the aperture, however, rather than the focal ratio – so that the larger the aperture, the fainter the star you can see or photograph, no matter what the focal ratio.

f/5
Resolution:
This is the ability of a telescope to separate closely-spaced binary stars into two distinct objects, measured in seconds of arc. One arc second equals 1/3600th of a degree and is about the width of a 25-cent coin at a distance of three miles! In essence, resolution is a measure of how much detail a telescope can reveal. The resolution values on our website are derived using the Dawes’ limit formula.

Dawes’ limit only applies to point sources of light (stars). Smaller separations can be resolved in extended objects, such as the planets. For example, Cassini’s Division in the rings of Saturn (0.5 arc seconds across), was discovered using a 2.5” telescope – which has a Dawes’ limit of 1.8 arc seconds!

The ability of a telescope to resolve to Dawes’ limit is usually much more affected by seeing conditions, by the difference in brightness between the binary star components, and by the observer’s visual acuity, than it is by the optical quality of the telescope.

0.89 arc seconds
Aperture:
This is the diameter of the light-gathering main mirror or objective lens of a telescope. In general, the larger the aperture, the better the resolution and the fainter the objects you can see.
5.1"
Weight:
The weight of this product.
24 lbs.
Telescope Type:
The optical design of a telescope.  Telescope type is classified by three primary optical designs (refractor, reflector, or catadioptric), by sub-designs of these types, or by the task they perform.
Reflector
 
Based on Astronomy magazine’s telescope "report cards", scopes of this size and type generally perform as follows . . .
Terrestrial Observation:
Observing terrestrial objects (nature studies, birding, etc.) is usually possible only with refractor and catadioptric telescopes, and convenient only when the scope is on an altazimuth mount or photo tripod. Most reflectors cannot be used for terrestrial observing. Scopes with apertures under 5" to 6" are generally most useful for terrestrial observing due to atmospheric conditions (heat waves and mirage, dust, haze, etc.) that degrade the image quality in larger scopes. 
No
Lunar Observation:
Visual observation of the Moon is possible with any telescope. Larger aperture scopes will provide more detail than smaller scopes, thereby getting a higher score in this category, but may require an eyepiece filter to cut down the greater glare from the Moon's sunlit surface so small details can be seen more easily. Lunar observing is more rewarding when the Moon is waxing or waning as the changing sun angle casts constantly varying shadows to reveal craters and surface features by the hundreds.  
Great
Planetary Observation:
Very Good
Binary and Star Cluster Observation:
Very Good
Galaxy and Nebula Observation:
Good
Photography:
Yes
Terrestrial Photography:
Photographing terrestrial objects (wildlife, scenery, etc.) is usually possible only with refractor and catadioptric telescopes, and convenient only when the scope is on an altazimuth mount or photo tripod. Most reflectors cannot be used for terrestrial photography. Scopes with focal ratios of f/10 and faster and apertures under 5" to 6" are generally the most useful for terrestrial photography due to atmospheric conditions (heat waves and mirage, dust, haze, etc.) that degrade the image quality in larger scopes.
No
Lunar Photography:
Photography of the Moon is possible with virtually any telescope, using a 35mm camera, DSLR, or CCD-based webcam (planetary imager). While an equatorial mount with a motor drive is not strictly essential, as the exposure times will be very short, such a mount would be helpful to improve image sharpness, particularly with webcam-type cameras that take a series of exposures over time and stack them together. Reflectors may require a Barlow lens to let the camera reach focus. 
Yes
Planetary Photography:
Yes
Star Cluster / Nebula / Galaxy Photography:
Yes
Warranty:
2 years
Reviews from Cloudy Nights (www.cloudynights.com)
These reviews have been written by astronomers just like you and posted on the Cloudy Nights astronomy forums . . .
Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ Review

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General Accessories
Drive Motors and Drive Accessories (1)
Single axis DC drive for Celestron AstroMaster and PowerSeeker telescopes
by Celestron
Quantity:  
$37.95 
Visual Accessories
Eyepieces (2)
Omni 32mm 1.25" Plossl
by Celestron
Quantity:  
$49.95 
Omni 6mm 1.25" Plossl
by Celestron
Quantity:  
$29.95 
  • 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, 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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Celestron - AstroMaster 130 EQ, 5.1" Equatorial reflector

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Celestron - AstroMaster 130 EQ, 5.1" Equatorial reflectorFull-length image of scope on tripod.Close-up of mount showing counterweights, setting circles, manual slow motion controls, dovetail mounting bar.Close-up of optical tube showing dovetail mount, focuser, eyepiece, red dot finder, diagonal mirror holder, piggyback on tube ring.
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Our Product #: AM130E
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The Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ equatorial reflector 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 34th year