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Celestron Astro Fi 130 telescope: Full review

Our Verdict The Celestron Astro Fi 130 is an exquisite combination of new telescope technology and good optical prowess at a price that won’t break the bank. A telescope that’s suitable for those wanting to take their first steps into astronomy but are unsure of where to start, this reflector serves as a virtual guide…


Our Verdict

The Celestron Astro Fi 130 is an exquisite combination of fresh telescope technology and great optical art at a price that will not break the bank. A telescope that is suitable for those wanting to take their initial steps into astronomy but are unsure of where to start, this reflector functions as a virtual guide to the night skies. The supplied eyepieces are of low quality and the battery allows the telescope down, but both can be rectified with updates.

For

  • Suitable for non budgets
  • Great entry-level telescope
  • Vixen dovetail for bracket changes
  • Mobile
  • Computer recommends targets
  • Finds aims in touch of button

Against

  • Eyepieces limit observations
  • Focuser of low quality
  • Battery drains quickly
  • Useless without program

The Celestron Astro Fi 130 is part of a line up of instruments which are relatively new on the industry. Suited to beginners keen on touring the night sky but are unsure of where to start, the Astro Fi collection uses the most recent Wi-Fi technologies that enables users to control the in-built computer with their smartphone or tablet computer utilizing the free Celestron SkyPortal. 

The Astro Fi 130 employs a completely”hands-free” experience without the need for a hands — something that is sure to delight users and earn navigation all the more enjoyable. Some might miss the touchpad that’s supplied with the majority of automatic telescopes, but we have to mention the Astro Fi doesn’t endure without it. 

Related: Best telescopes for your own cash — 2020 reviews and guide

Celestron Astro Fi 130 key specs

Optical design: Newtonian reflector
Aperture: 5. ) 19″ (130 mm)
Focal length: 25. 59″ (650 mm)
Focal ratio: f/5
Eyepiece 1 focal length: 25 mm (26x)
Eyepiece 2 focal length: 10 mm (65x)
Total kit weight: 18 pounds ) (8. 16 kg)
Mount type: Computerized altitude-azimuth single fork 

Celestron Astro Fi 130: Design

  • Very sturdy build with well constructed tube and tripod 
  • Portable and lightweight for on-the-go observations
  • Makes use of a fantastic parabolic principal mirror    

The Astro Fi 130 consists of kids of 13 years of age or older in your mind and we are pleased to discover that — after completely constructed — it provides a fair amount of portability. The entire build is reasonable for the price and to get a telescope of its type: the tube is of good structure, while the aluminum tripod is sturdy and does the task, supporting the entire setup effortlessly as a whole. This Newtonian reflector — similar to the other models in the series — is provided with Kellner 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, offering magnifications of 65x and 26x respectively — and a red dot finder. 

The eyepieces are enough to get a beginner started in astronomy, but using the Astro Fi 130 being a”fast” telescope, we recommend purchasing some mid sized Plössl eyepieces to ensure that the instrument is completely equipped for various targets — if you prefer celebrating solar system objects or deep-sky gems such as nebulas and galaxies. Fast telescopes like this you have short focal lengths that provide broader views of the night sky, providing you with a decrease magnification for any specific eyepiece over”slower” instruments. The optical system uses a principal mirror with a parabolic shape.

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(Image credit: Future plc/All About Space)

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Celestron SkyPortal app for Celestron Astro Fi 130

(Image credit: Future plc/All About Space)

Celestron Astro Fi 130: First light and performance

  • Makes use of SkyAlign technology for simple orientation
  • Great for lunar and planetary observing, but a few perspectives are fuzzy
  • Battery drains quickly in cold weather conditions

The very clear, dark skies of November supplied an excellent selection of night-sky targets to test the Astro Fi 130’s mettle. The second planet from sunlight, Venus, shone at a brilliant magnitude of -5.1 and’d attained greatest elongation east, making it a stunning target alongside Mars, which was easy to see with all the reflector’s 5. 19-inch aperture in a subtler +0.5 magnitude. 

The Astro Fi utilizes SkyAlign technology for easy alignment. Aligning your device before you start observations is essential, as it shows your orientation relative to the night skies into the telescope’s software. With this information, the Astro Fi is subsequently able to reach a preferred night skies target. 

Marrying our smartphone using the telescope Wi-Fi wasexpected, quite instinctive. The Celestron SkyAlign technology made aligning the telescope painless as we chose three bright stars to assist with the process. The attractiveness of the setup is that you don’t have to understand anything about the night skies to enjoy it, however it will also serve as a tool in learning your way around the heavens — we advise that you take in as much info regarding the objects you’re seeing as you can, particularly if you or your household are keen on a severe stargazing hobby. If you are unsure of what to observe on your first night, then the Celestron SkyPortal app recommends objects for you — a feature that is going to be especially useful to novice astronomers.  However, it is worth noting that, while SkyPortal boasts a catalogue of thousands and thousands of goals, the Astro Fi 130 doesn’t possess the optical capacities to select out all of them.

On evenings which are especially chilly, battery power can be drained quickly and”motorized” telescopes can battle — that is something we discovered using the Astro Fi 130 under especially frosty problems. We recommend buying a 12V rechargeable battery, especially since there’s not really another option: that the Astro Fi is not able to function with no app; manually slewing the telescope is not possible and it must have a source of power in order to function fully. Sadly this renders the telescope worthless if the Wi-Fi facility cease to operate at any particular time. However, despite the flaw, we’re very happy to find that the tube itself may be added to a different bracket, provided it utilizes a Vixen dovetail attachment, even for those who like to change between manual and computerized slewing of this tool. 

Celestron Astro Fi 130 WiFi

(Image credit: Celestron)

Views of the moon are good through the Astro Fi but weren’t hugely crisp. For a beginner telescope though, this is not too much of a problem because the optics provided adequate magnification of the cratered terrain. We observed our natural satellite in its waning gibbous phase, where the terminator gave splendid sights of a choice of craters and rilles, played up from the sunlight hitting the rocky lunar surface. 

Despite mild pollution in the moon, the Astro Fi was still able to select out nearby Venus and Mars effortlessly. Views of the planets were as expected given the optical range — small but slightly blurry within the area of view. Slowly turning the focuser, we could bring a bit of clarity to our view; Mars’ salmon pink disk in particular showed up well, with a Martian pole cap discernible in our field of view.

The focuser isn’t manufactured for fine-tuning, and we were left with views that jumped between observing extremes — something to keep in mind when getting the best sights of your chosen target. Once instructed, the Astro Fi took us to the constellation of Andromeda where we observed its galaxy Messier 31, known much more simply as the Andromeda Galaxy — a pleasant sight that just got better and better and visible as a faint smudge with a glowing bulge at the center.

Celestron Astro Fi 130: Verdict

At an exceptionally low price, the Astro Fi is a good telescope that boasts cutting-edge technology and a decent amount of support for those just starting out in the hobby of astronomy. The telescope is portable, which makes it suitable as a”grab and go” scope, but we recommend taking a reliable 12V power source with you given the battery’s tendency to eliminate charge in chilly conditions. 

Equipped with eyepieces, a red dot finder and a sturdy tripod, everything you require for the observing sessions are contained in the bundle, however, we recommend upgrading a number of the accessories to get optimum results from the telescope’s optical system. Solar system perspectives can be somewhat fuzzy if you push past the telescope’s capabilities, however — general — we are impressed with all the celebrating prowess of this Astro Fi 130.

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