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Computerized Telescope

Computerized Telescope
Computerized Telescope

Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture

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My wife bought this Computerized Telescope scope for me for Christmas. I had no experience with astronomy prior to that. It’s a little finicky to set up but once you do it correctly, it’ll work well. The image may not be exactly in the center but it should be close.

The eyepieces that come with it are just okay. They’re a step below kelner eyepieces (which is below Plossls). For eyepieces, use a low power eyepiece (25mm) to scan for objects.

With eyepieces, the lower the number the higher the magnification. If you buy eyepieces, stick to good quality eyepieces in the 5mm to 35mm range. More magnification (<5mm) doesn’t really help as the scope is limited by the atmosphere.

Lower magnification eyepiece (>35mm) will result in an exit pupil that is too large (makes it difficult to see without a moving black blob appearing in the eyepiece). Celestron X-Cel eyepieces would work well for this scope and aren’t too expensive.

I like the Baader Hyperion as well. It gives a wide angle view and a large eyeglass with good eye relief to look through (great for eyeglass wearers). A x2 Barlow lens is a good option to pick up as well. Combined with your eyepieces, it doubles your available magnifications (9mm becomes a 4.5mm, 25mm becomes a 12.5mm). I have the Orion shorty x2 barlow.

Don’t bother with the eyepiece kits. The optics are too close together in strength so you’ll probably only use 3 of the 5.

The color filters are pretty useless except for a moon filter. All you really need are 3 eyepieces a low power (no greater than 35mm), a medium power (14-18mm) and a high power (no less than 5mm).

You’ll need a collimator. With Newtonians, you’ll need to align the mirrors. It’s best if you check it each night before you use it. Moving the telescope can knock it out of wack.

A collimator helps you line everything back up. I have the Orion laser collimator.

Here are some setup tips for setting up the scope for Goto use:

1. If you picked a city instead of entering a latitude longitude, and you don’t actually live in the middle of the city (you just picked the closest one), do a factory reset of the computer and choose latitude-longitude instead. It’s much more accurate.

You can find the latitude longitude with a smart-phone app (e.g. Compass for Android) or by googling your address. You’ll need the lat long in degrees, minutes, seconds (not the digital version like -117.0101). It should look like W 117 15′ 12′

Sometimes a city selection is too broad. I am about 20-30 miles outside the city I chose and it makes a big difference when the scope is skewing.

2. Make sure you’re using the correct time/date settings including daylight savings time vs standard time. Use your cellphone time.

3. Instead of using 3-star align, use Auto-Two-Star align. It’ll require you to know the names of the stars but it’s much better. I use Google Skymap to find one of the stars in the list if I don’t know the name or the ones I do know are obscured.

If you use the 3-star align, chose bright stars that are on opposite sides of the sky and not in a line (a triangle pattern is preferred). For example, if you just used the stars in Orion, that’s probably too small of an area of the sky. Choose one star in Orion (e.g. Betelgeuse), one in Gemini (e.g. Castor) and one in Cassiopeia.

4. When centering a star during alignment, defocus the star so it looks like a ball rather than a point of light. It’ll be much easier to get in in the center.

5. When centering on the final star try to move the scope in the same direction as it was moving when it skewed to the star you chose. So for example, if it was moving down and to the left when it stopped, position the scope so that when you get it in the center of the view that you are moving it down and to the left when you stop.

UPDATE 5/19/2016: I recently purchased a ZWO ASI185MC camera that I’m using with the 130SLT. The camera will easily come to focus when used in the 2″ adapter. It will come to focus in the 1.25″ adapter as well but it’s a little closer to max in-focus. I’m getting pretty good images with it doing short exposure (<15seconds) and stacking. You’ll want to use a Bahtinov Mask to focus. I purchased an Orion Accufocus which greatly helps with focusing the image without everything shaking. Check my reviews for the correct items.

I also have it working with a computer (computer drives the scope). You need to install ASCOM drivers (6.2) and ASCOM drivers for the Celestron product line. Just search for “ASCOM drivers” on google. It’s not necessary but it’s nice for an all-in-one software package (Astrolive USB).

I added some pictures I took of M51, M57, Jupiter and the moon. These were taken from my front yard about 5 miles from the city. The deep space objects won’t appear that clear when viewing through the eyepiece (cameras pick up more light than our night vision does).

One thing to really improve your goto results is to use “Precise Goto”. It’s undocumented in the manual. It’s accessed differently than a regular goto. Press the “Menu” button.

Then use the up/down arrows (6 &9 key) to find “Precise Goto”. Then select “Database”. Finally, choose from the object list type using the up/down arrows (e.g. Messier, NGC, Named Objects). So for instance, if I choose “Messier” and then enter the number for the Messier Object (1-110). It will calculate and give you a list of 5 bright stars with #1 being closest to the object. Select 1. The scope will slew to where it thinks it is.

Center the bright star with the red dot finder and look through your eyepiece to see if it’s centered there as well. Once it’s centered in the eyepiece, hit <Enter>. The scope will slew to the object and there’s a good chance it will be centered in your eyepiece. I use this feature with my camera and it almost always gets it close to the field of view. You should easily find the object in the field of view of a 25mm eyepiece (though it may be faint and fuzzy).

Promised Review By Robert Johnson
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