Celestron Astromaster #31045


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Celestron Astromaster #31045
My reason for buying this telescope was to get more light gathering than my excellent but limited 80 mm Megrez FD. I simply needed to see globular clusters and open star clusters better than 3" of aperture could provide. However, I also wanted to keep the relatively large field of view, light weight, and freedom from false color that my APO refractor gave me. When the opportunity arose to try this 130 mm f/5 Newtonian optical tube assembly preowned and for relatively little money I went for it. The 650 mm focal length would provide an adequate field of view, the telescope is lightweight, and mirror telescopes do not have the false color issues that plague achromatic refractors. I only purchased the optical tube as I have a mount so I will only comment on that part of it. That notwithstanding, this is a very light telescope and it should be useable on the small mount provided in the new set ups. I use it on an Orion Astroview (EQ3) that is more than adequate to the task.

Before using this telescope I must mention that there were a few bugs to deal with, especially with the focuser. Often manufacturers skimp on mechanics to provide a low cost telescope and this one is no exception. The focuser is plastic and the drawtube on my sample wobbled up and down as it moved in and out during travel. I dealt with this by applying a strip of lithium greased velcro (the spiney side) inside the focuser for the drawtube to ride on. This eliminated the slop and the severe image shift that occured while focusing. Another issue was that some of my eyepieces needed more out travel to come to focus than was provided. This was easily remedied with the purchase of a 0.9" tube extension that had the additional benefit of providing a compression ring to secure my eyepieces that I prefer to a set screw. Another problem was the red dot finder. Just throw it away and get yourself a Rigel Quickfinder. So, time to collimate.

The first order of business was to square the secondary with the focuser drawtube. This accomplished I adjusted the tilt of the primary first by eye and then with a star pattern. One of the benefits of a short tube is that you can watch the star pattern change as you adjust the tilt of the mirror, making collimation a snap. I do not have a lazer collimating device, but what I achieved was pretty close.

So, time for first light. This lightweight, inexpensive telescope is a very pleasant surprize. Deep space objects are brighter and provide more of what I like to see than my 80 mm refractor ever did. M6 for example, the butterfly cluster, one of my favorites, is beautiful and shows many small stars. I am also delighted so far at how this telescope performs on solar system objects. The view of Jupiter and its moons is very pleasing. Clouds bands are distinct, moons are round globes, and I was even able to observe one of its moons as it appeared from behind the gas giant and resolved from its edge. The performance from these optics, while not in the class of Televue or Astro Physics, is still way ahead of the department store cheapies that turn many people off from this activity. I do miss my Megrez, but this telescope provides more of what I want in a small unit and right now is a definate keeper.

I would only recommend this telescope for a beginner who can get help with the issues already mentioned. The intermediate or advanced user on a budget should have no trouble with the few necessary modifications and will end up with a very good telescope for the money. If the optical specifications of this telescope match your needs then I would definitely recommend trying one, notwithstanding the occurrance of a bad sample. Note that the current street price for a new one with a mount is a bit more than half the list price above, so shop around. Clear Skies.

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:7 Ease of Use:8 Value:5
Weight: 20 (Notable Vote)
Date:
By: mte1955
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=578501


Celestron Astromaster #31045
I like it except that it is complicated to point out and focus.

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:8 Mount:10 Ease of Use:4 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.8.135)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=589369

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