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.
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!