Bought this scope for my wife from Amazon - as she picked it out.
For the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone would pay even half what it costs.
Bought a new diagonal for it as I thought that might help - but with negligible benefit.
Planets are out of the question.
Looking at the moon, M45 (Pleiades), and M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) are fine with it.
Perhaps some of the brightest and largest Messier clusters might be fine.
I could just barely see a tiny M57 (ring nebula) with it.
It would be an awesome daytime scope in a national park somewhere overlooking birds gliding over a mountain cliff etc.
But most of the Messier objects I've tried to look at with it - IMHO - are simply a waste of time.
Is this your first experience with a telescope? What eyepieces were you using? The stock eyepiece is just the starting point. Many of us have spent more on eyepieces than scopes.
What were you expecting? Certainly nothing like the pictures in magazines. That requires astrophotography and astro-imaging equipment then extensive post processing on the computer.
A great deal depends on your light pollution level in the sky and on the ground. My conditions are awful at Bortel 8 and lots of ground light. But my 80 mm showed me a lot before I added the 8". Certainly this 102 mm will show more as it gathers 62% more light than my 80 mm.
With my 80 mm F5 refractor I have seen Saturn, its rings and cloud bands. I have seen the great red spot on Jupiter, the cloud bands and its moons. Mars, especially this year, is an orange ball with some subtle shadings even in my 8" scope. Venus is covered in clouds but I can see it going through its phases. Mercury looks like a star is almost any scope. And the Moon is wonderful!
Certainly an F5 80 mm is not the optimal telescope for planets but you can observe them with it and you can certainly observe planets with this 102 mm scope.
From my home location the Andromeda Galaxy is a gray smudge in the sky. On the other hand the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, the Ring Nebula look great. With the 80 mm I really like open clusters. I split Albiero and other easier double stars. And all of this from an absolutely awful observing location. Galaxies and nebula are not good targets from my home location even in my 8" scope.
So, a LOT depends on your expectations.
- Was the scopes performance too low or were your expectations too high?
- What eyepieces are you using?
- What are your sky and ground light pollution conditions?
BTW, from a moderately dark location, you can see most of the Messier list in 8X40 binoculars. But don't take my word for it, see the Astroleague binocular list of Messier objects.
The point is that anyone, with any pair of binoculars, no matter what their size, shape, condition, or cost, can do serious astronomy, and acquire a Binocular Messier Program certificate. To prove that point, all 76 objects (Easy, Tough, and Challenge) were observed with a pair of 7x35 Tasco binoculars purchased at Wal-Mart for $19.00.
If you would like help to understand what this scope can do, start a new discussion in the beginner forum and people will flock to the discussion to help you.