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Yep, another n00b with a Costco Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ with Eyepiece Kit that has questions

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#26 t_image

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 12:52 PM

Hello Community,

 

I received a Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ with Eyepiece Kit from Costco for Christmas. I've read a few opinions here and elsewhere that generally say this isn't a great telescope but a decent one for the price. Ultimately it seems to come down to, "What do you want to look at?"

 

Good question. I have no idea.

 

This is my first telescope. I know jack about stars although I have been known to find the big dipper a few times in my life. I like going out and watching the space station fly overhead at night (Thanks, SpotTheStation!). I'd say I have a casual interest in looking at things in the night sky, but admit it is a bit intimidating reading on here how to set up the telescope, needing to buy an Collimation eyepiece, etc. I just want to casually "Browse the sky" and take in the sights. Based on opinions I've read, I don't know if I'll end up getting frustrated with this telescope instead of using it.

 

While at Celestron's website, I saw some computer based telescopes that seem to be dummy proof - it'll know where you're at and show you stuff in the sky - at least that's the impression I've gotten. I'm wondering if I should get something like that. Maybe something I can use my iPhone to take pics too.

 

Anyways, enough of my rambling. I'm looking for some guidance on the appropriateness of this telescope for me. I understand it's basic and an optical store wouldn't recommend it but is it good enough for someone that has a casual interest in browsing the sky? With the upcoming fancy moon making itself known in a few days, I thought about unboxing the telescope, but wanted to share my thoughts and ask for input first. 

 

Thanks!

Welcome to CN and to dabbling in the hobby of astronomy.

 

I am not familiar with your scope, but here are a few recommends that I am convinced will give you the best experience going forward in the hobby:

 

1. all astro gear are merely tools that we can use, that have a range of usefulness.

A lot of people miss this point and spend a fortune chasing some ideal without ever appreciating the full capacity of what they have.

 

The more time you spend understanding your particular scope and the benefits it can offer you, the more useful it will be to you!

There is a wise saying: the best scope is the one that you will use.

 

Living in SD will give you more opportunity for clear skies than many of us, so good for that!

As suggested previously, spend time getting used to the setup during the day. Find what the dials do, which way turning them affects things, etc....

The more familiar they are, the more you won't have to try to wrestle with them in the dark while your are observing......

 

Hobby astronomy has two forks:

knowing how to use the equipment.

being out under the heavens making observations.

^

Similar to many sports/hobbies with equipment, it's more fun to do the second part once comfortable with the first.

 

2. Don't over-complicate things and get burned out. Know yourself and avoid the rabbit hole that over-complication can take you.

 

3. learning how to do things manually will always give you a far better edge over those that enslave themselves to tools that do it all for them.....

I find it exciting that your purchase has a manual EQ mount.

Once you learn why an EQ mount aligned makes it easy to keep the scope pointed at the same stellar object over a long period, you will appreciate the value.

Also understanding how to follow the motion of the (Earth-making the stars appear to move across the sky) by slowly dialing the control over the time will also contribute to a greater master that will benefit you going forward!

 

Have fun!


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#27 NathanielHornblower

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 07:06 PM

The eyepiece kit that came with your kit does not contain a barlow, nor Plossl eyepieces.  Don't expect much with the included eyepieces.  With a focal-length of only 650mm, a 2x barlow would get that length up to 1300mm.  You could then ramp up the power more easily...

 

https://agenaastro.c...arlow-lens.html

https://agenaastro.c...arlow-lens.html

 

Plossls play well with f/5 Newtonians, and are the barest minimum in performance eyepieces...

 

https://agenaastro.c...shopby/gso.html

https://agenaastro.c.../celestron.html

 

A 130mm aperture is, according to the 50x-per-inch "maxim", capable of 250x.  However, a number of factors will conspire against you in reaching that high of a power; the atmosphere and collimation, for two.  Combining a 9mm Plossl with a 2x barlow will result in a simulated 4.5mm, and for a power of 144x.  The planets will put on a fine show at that power, as will the Trapezium star-cluster of Orion; as well as the Moon's craters and other features, and double-stars.  A 12mm Plossl and a 3x barlow would result in a simulated 4mm, and a power of 163x...

 

https://agenaastro.c...rlow-07278.html

 

I use both 2x and 3x barlows with my 150mm f/5, and its 750mm focal-length.

My scope came with an accessory kit that has a moon filter, blue filter, and red filter along with a 9mm and 15mm, 20mm, and a 10mm.

 

As an aside, I have a $10 BB cert that expires today that I was looking for something to use it on. Surprisingly they have a limited amount of telescope things. I found this: 

 

https://www.bestbuy....p?skuId=4161707

 

The red/lunar filters overlap, but I believe none of the lenses do. Is this a decent kit of lenses to purchase @ $133?



#28 tomykay12

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 09:19 PM

Well, living in San Diego is a mixed blessing, on many levels. Viewing wise, we do have many nice nights here, no snow, and pretty predictable weather patterns. Unfortunately the light pollution is as bad as it gets; I'm in a white zone about 6 miles from downtown. Some parts of San Diego are better than others in that regard, as Sir Jon Isaacs has noted. He has even reported that at times the seeing conditions here are better than at his remote dark location 70 miles to the east.

Despite the light pollution, many things can be seen from here, especially during a new moon.

 

To the OP; I wouldn't bother with filters at this time, and would shy away from eyepiece kits. Use your scope for a bit, find out what you are missing, and watch the classifieds for eyepieces that will fill the gaps in your observing style. You will learn what you need. If you plan to stay in astronomy, buy quality eyepieces. I chose the Explore Scientific line, as they give a "good enough" view to my eye and fit my budget.



#29 Sky Muse

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 10:37 PM

My scope came with an accessory kit that has a moon filter, blue filter, and red filter along with a 9mm and 15mm, 20mm, and a 10mm.

 

As an aside, I have a $10 BB cert that expires today that I was looking for something to use it on. Surprisingly they have a limited amount of telescope things. I found this: 

 

https://www.bestbuy....p?skuId=4161707

 

The red/lunar filters overlap, but I believe none of the lenses do. Is this a decent kit of lenses to purchase @ $133?

That's precisely what Best Buy wants you to do.  They give you $10, but you give them $133 in return.  Stay away from eyepiece kits; avoid them like the very plague.  You can get cases like that all day long at Harbor Freight, and for peanuts with a 20%-off coupon...

 

https://www.harborfr...case-69316.html

 

I haul mine around in this... https://www.walmart....Black/158502134

 

I got mine locally, of course; minimalistic, that's the key.

 

It's best to get your eyepieces one or two at at a time, in building up a fine and useful set, one tailored to your eyes, and no one else's.  A 32mm Plossl(20x) is a must, and to augment the finder in finding objects to observe.  You would see the largest part of the sky with that one, to get your bearings and in finding your way around the sky; also, for cruising the star-studded fields of the Milky Way, observing the galaxy in Andromeda, and the Pleiades in its entirety.

 

A 20mm(33x) can be useful, for a closer look; but with that short, 650mm focal-length, the 20mm still produces a low power.  For quite a number of deep-sky objects, you could get a 12mm(54x), then combine it with a 2x barlow(108x).  Those powers would prove to be useful.  

 

Do you wear prescription-eyeglasses?  If so, do you need to wear them at the eyepiece in order to see the objects more clearly and sharply?  I realise that you've just started in this wonderful pastime, but that will need to be addressed eventually.  The distance that you hold your eye up to or away from an eyepiece, and in order to see the full field-of-view, is the eye-relief, and eyepieces differ from one to another...

 

eye relief3.jpg  

 

In a practical sense, you won't have any real use for any of those coloured filters.  I got these Lumicons back in 2012...

 

colour filters2a.jpg

 

Sure, I took one or two outside and tried them out...once.  But at least they are, after all, awfully pretty.  In reality however, the types of filters that you might need in future are these...

 

https://agenaastro.c...on-filters.html

 

...but there are more of those than you can shake a stick at.  You'd only want one or two, at most, perhaps, depending, and you'd need to research them to know exactly which ones would be of the most benefit; for examples...

 

https://agenaastro.c...on-filters.html

https://www.prairiea...ep-sky-objects/   



#30 B 26354

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 12:22 AM

DO NOT buy an eyepiece "kit". If you desperately need to use that Best Buy coupon... get these:

 

https://www.bestbuy....p?skuId=6259843



#31 NathanielHornblower

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 10:34 PM

Thanks for the advice. I passed on the eyepiece kit.

 

I don't wear any prescription lenses (yet!). I'll continue to play around with the 4 eye pieces I have and learn the differences before purchasing any additional ones. I'm going to observe the moon tonight. The weather isn't great as there's some light high clouds obstructing the moon, but it is what it is. It's about time for the event to begin!


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#32 Sky Muse

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 04:58 AM

Thanks for the advice. I passed on the eyepiece kit.

 

I don't wear any prescription lenses (yet!). I'll continue to play around with the 4 eye pieces I have and learn the differences before purchasing any additional ones. I'm going to observe the moon tonight. The weather isn't great as there's some light high clouds obstructing the moon, but it is what it is. It's about time for the event to begin!

That's good, therefore you can use practically any eyepiece on the market, and regardless of eye-relief.  Still, you don't want to have to use an eyepiece where you'd have to press your eye right up to it in order to see the full field-of-view.  Simpler eyepieces, like the modified-achromats(Kellners) that come with kits, the Plossls, the orthoscopics, have rather short eye-relief in the shorter focal-lengths(4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 7mm).  The bonus eyepiece kit bundled with your telescope kit includes a 6mm Plossl; not bad.  See what you can do with that one.  The 20mm that you have, with the tall body, is an erecting-eyepiece, and suitable for use during the day for land targets: birds in trees, ships at sea, that sort of thing.  Being able to use a Newtonian for terrestrial viewing during the day is rare, but that 20mm will make that possible, albeit with a narrow field-of-view. 

 

I got this "AstroMaster" kit last year, and it came with these two MAs...

 

oculars2.jpg

 

I do not use those eyepieces however, as I have others, and ones that I've had for a few decades, including some more-modern ones.  Incidentally, I got that kit solely for its CG-2(EQ-1) mount.

 

I'd say the next step would be to get a 2x barlow, and integrate it with your current eyepieces.  That would be great fun with which to putter and tinker.  The GSO 2x barlow can also be used as a 1.5x, so there are two multipliers for you with which to experiment. 

 

Now, a Moon filter came within your bundled eyepiece kit.  They generally allow only 13% of the total light through to the eyepiece.  That may be too dark for some folks, and just right for others.  They certainly have been around for a long time.  With a 130mm aperture, the Moon may not need to be dimmed.  As you go up in power, it dims a bit anyway.  You may find a better use for that filter when observing Venus, and its Moon-like phases.  It may even allow you to see greater detail on Jupiter.  A considerable step up from a fixed-density filter is a variable-polariser...

 

variable polariser7b.jpg

 

It acts the same as a dimmer-switch for a light-fixture in the home, but for the telescope.  It allows you to adjust the light-throughput from 1% to 40%, generally.  You can assemble one very easily with two of these...

 

https://agenaastro.c...ing-filter.html

 

You simply screw the two together and twist to adjust the level of brightness or dimness.  Note that Agena Astro offers a discount when you purchase two of those, and for that very thing.  It can make for a difference between this, and that...

 

variable-polariser2.jpg    

 

This is an example of good contrast(left), and the lack thereof(right)...

 

contrast.jpg

 

I'm a bit selfish, I suppose, in expecting beginners to work on their telescopes, and in getting their money's worth.  Such involves collimating, getting better eyepieces and accessories...

 

...and in expecting them to blacken and flock their telescopes...

 

https://www.cloudyni...6-f5-newtonian/

 

It's not nearly as difficult as it looks.


Edited by Sky Muse, 21 January 2019 - 07:30 AM.

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#33 Johnno260

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 05:30 AM

All I can say is listen to SkyMuses advise, he gave me outstanding advice in my beginner post that helped me out no end.


Edited by Johnno260, 21 January 2019 - 05:36 AM.


#34 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 03:30 PM

My scope came with an accessory kit that has a moon filter, blue filter, and red filter along with a 9mm and 15mm, 20mm, and a 10mm.

 

As an aside, I have a $10 BB cert that expires today that I was looking for something to use it on. Surprisingly they have a limited amount of telescope things. I found this: 

 

https://www.bestbuy....p?skuId=4161707

 

The red/lunar filters overlap, but I believe none of the lenses do. Is this a decent kit of lenses to purchase @ $133?

Eyepiece kits can be handy if you have multiple telescopes with differing focal lengths and therefore need a bunch of different eyepieces. For one scope you're better off with just two or three eyepieces and a 2x Barlow lens. With mine the focus got increasingly finicky at higher powers and 160x was about the max I could manage. When I added a helical microfocuser it because tolerable up to 200x. Still, for most of my high power observing I just used a 10mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow. 130x was easier to get focused. Honestly, the generic Chinese Ploessls on eBay ($10-$25 each) are just as sharp as my Meade Series 4000 eyepieces and the antireflective coatings are nearly a good. Looking through the telescope I can't tell a difference. The only downside to the Chinese Ploessls that I've seen are that the eyecups are made of inferior rubber and may start to deteriorate (get brittle and tear) after a few years. I didn't care for the "Series 500" eyepieces (because they have a slightly smaller apparent field of view) but I've been pleased with all the rest I've bought (over 20, mostly as gifts).

 

As another option, zoom eyepieces can be a lot of fun as well, and the Celestron or Meade 8-24 zoom eyepiece combined with a 2x Barlow would give you a full range of magnifications (27x-160x) for your scope. Combine it with a 32mm Ploessl for a better low power view (the zoom at 24mm has a small apparent field of view-- FOV increase as you zoom in with those) and you'd be set.

 

Colored filters are a novelty and while I have several I never both using them. They don't make a noticeable difference, to me at least. What I *do* use is a moon filter and a UHC filter for looking an nebulae.



#35 Johnno260

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 02:46 AM

I’m sure it’s been said already, but those eyepiece kits, I’m watching for really cheap ones to see if the case is worth keeping.

#36 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:08 AM

The cases themselves often come up on eBay for around $35 or so. Older versions of the cases seem to be slightly sturdier than newer versions, but except for the precut foam they aren't any better than cheaper cases from Harbor Freight. They do say "Meade" or "Celestron" on the side, which is a plus I guess for brand-conscious astronomers who want everything to match (as if that matters). I have an older Meade 4000 set (yellow labels) and the case is nice, but it sits empty (or at least with only the colored filters inside). The eyepieces I have divided up between a couple different scopes. Since I only use a few eyepieces with any given scope I usually use an empty binocular case to carry them around in. Less bulky and I can usually hang it from the tripod spreader or latitude adjustment bolt while carrying the telescope. Those can be acquired for less than $10. I have a bunch of them.

 

Smaller plastic Celestron cases from the kits that hold two or three eyepieces or filters and a Barlow lens can be purchased on Amazon for less than $10 as well last I checked. They're handy for traveling since they don't take up much space.



#37 NathanielHornblower

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:06 PM

I decided to order as recommended earlier in the thread:

 

Meade Series 4000 #126 1.25" 2x Short-Focus Barlow Lens # 07273

Celestron 1.25" Omni Plossl Eyepiece - 40mm # 93325

Celestron 1.25" Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece for Newtonian Reflectors # 94182

 

Those should give me things to play around and learn with for a bit. I'll poke around HF for a case for the scope itself so I have something to protect it when not in use. 

 

This thread has so much useful information in it that I keep referring back to. You guys are a great community. waytogo.gif


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#38 rnc39560

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:51 PM

Heck, I keep one of my scopes in the living room for deco. 



#39 Sky Muse

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:58 PM

I decided to order as recommended earlier in the thread:

 

Meade Series 4000 #126 1.25" 2x Short-Focus Barlow Lens # 07273

Celestron 1.25" Omni Plossl Eyepiece - 40mm # 93325

Celestron 1.25" Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece for Newtonian Reflectors # 94182

 

Those should give me things to play around and learn with for a bit. I'll poke around HF for a case for the scope itself so I have something to protect it when not in use. 

 

This thread has so much useful information in it that I keep referring back to. You guys are a great community. waytogo.gif

A 32mm Plossl would be best with an f/5 Newtonian; for the field-of-view, the exit-pupil, and for your lowest power(20x).  



#40 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 11:13 AM

Meade sells a reasonably priced soft bag for storing and transporting the Polaris 130 that would also work for the Astromaster 130. It won't protect the scope from major abuse but it does prevent minor scuffs and keeps everything together and dust-free when not in use. Makes it easier to take the scope places.



#41 rnc39560

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 11:24 AM

I second having a 32mm plossl. It give the widest true field of view of 1.25" eyepieces. 


Edited by rnc39560, 24 January 2019 - 11:25 AM.



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