Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Cover

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Telescope Review: Flawed

AstroMaster 130EQ shouldn’t be bought in any case. It comes with a spherical primary mirror, which is low in quality and easy to manufacture.

2.8

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Optics

Although we’ve heard from various sources that Celestron puts parabolic primary mirrors in some AstroMaster 130EQ’s, this still doesn’t eliminate the fact that most of these telescopes come with cheap optics. 

To be honest, if you find a model with a proper parabolic mirror, this is a good telescope with a decent optical design. But you have to be absolutely sure that the primary mirror is parabolic. Other than that, the optics are nothing worth spending this much money. 

Mount

The mount is mostly plastic. This would be acceptable if the turning motion of the mount was smooth and the base was relatively stable. But the base is too wobbly, and the turning motions are just frustrating.

The mount is not good at all.

Accessories

The 20mm eyepiece is useless. A corrector lens for any eyepiece is unnecessary. There are no directions in space. The lens just lowers the quality of the image.

The 10mm eyepiece is decent for the price.

The red dot finder doesn’t bring up any complaints. It just projects a red dot on the night sky.

The focuser works properly.

Drawbacks

The major drawback is the spherical primary mirror. It lowers the image quality greatly.

The mount is too wobbly and feels cheap.

The 20mm eyepiece belongs to thrash. 

Conclusion

If Celestron decides to put parabolic primary mirrors to all AstroMaster 130EQ telescopes in the future, then this model might become something worth considering. But as long as they ship spherical primary mirrors, you should avoid the AstroMaster 130EQ.

Here are some of the best models in this price range: Zhumell Z130, Meade Polaris 130 and SkyWatcher Heritage 130P. These telescopes are durable, and they have much better optics. 

Especially Meade Polaris 130, which is almost the same as this model but comes with parabolic mirrors and better accessories.

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Cover 2 2

In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications

We don’t understand why a company like Celestron is trying to make a profit off of innocent beginners. Celestron’s higher-priced telescopes are remarkable. But they are insistent on trying to sell expensive, useless beginner telescopes

In our opinion, such a business model discourages a lot of people from considering astronomy as a serious hobby. They might get discouraged from purchasing a more expensive telescope from Celestron, which in turn hurts Celestron itself.  

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Focuser

Optics

The optical design choice is actually pretty good and is used with many great telescopes such as Meade Polaris 130. But AstroMaster 130 comes with a parabolic mirror. 

A parabolic mirror is hard to manufacture. It changes the direction of the incoming light in a precise way so that the mirror has a single focal point. The result is a high-contrast, crispy image that you desire from a telescope.

A spherical mirror has multiple focal points because it is not designed to change the course of the incoming light. The result is a blurry, dim image

AstroMaster 130 uses a spherical mirror, AND it is more expensive than Meade Polaris 130. This is is simply a giant rip-off

Mount

The mount is a cheap equatorial. It is mostly plastic, and its metal connections get worn down in a short amount of time. It requires regular greasing and a few mechanical corrections which no beginner wants to bother with.

Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Mount

Accessories

The 20mm eyepiece is a marketing scam. The corrector lens inside it lowers the contrast and the crispiness of the image greatly. 

Image quality is vastly more important than seeing the image in the correct rotation. Especially if the image you are trying to see is in space, and most of the time spherical, like a planet or a galaxy.

The 10mm eyepiece is a decent Kellner. But it provides too much power for a good image anyway. So it is almost useless like the 20mm eyepiece.

The red dot finder works properly and doesn’t bring up any complaints.

The focuser is the best part of this telescope, which is almost funny. It provides smooth motion with sturdiness.

Drawbacks

The spherical primary mirror is a rip-off.

The mount is too wobbly, and it doesn’t provide the smooth motion you desperately need for stargazing.

The only accessory worth using is the red dot finder.

Conclusion

You shouldn’t buy this telescope. Companies like Meade, Orion and Zhumell actually try to come up with good beginner telescopes, and they are the ones that deserve your hard-earned money. 

Meade Polaris 130 has exactly the same design with this telescope but actually comes with parabolic primary mirrors.

Zhumell Z130 and Heritage 130P are tabletop Dobsonians. They are the two best choices at this price range and even can be found for slightly cheaper than the AstroMaster 130EQ.

2.8

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