The Celestron Astro Fi 130 belongs to a line of instruments that are relatively new to the market. The Astro Fi series is suitable for beginners who love to travel through the night sky but don’t know where to start. It uses the latest Wi-Fi technology, which allows users to control the built-in computer from their smartphone or tablet using the free Celestron SkyPortal. …
The Astro Fi 130 is completely hands-free without the need for manual control – something that is sure to delight users and make navigation even more fun. Some may miss the touchpad that comes with most computerized telescopes, but we have to say that the Astro Fi will not suffer without it.
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Main features of Celestron Astro Fi 130
Optical design: Newtonian reflector
Diaphragm: 5.19 inches (130 mm)
Focal length: 25.59 inches (650 mm)
Focal Ratio: f / 5
Eyepiece focal length 1: 25mm (26x)
Eyepiece focal length 2: 10 mm (65x)
Total kit weight: 18 lbs. (8.16 kg)
Mount type: Computerized altitude-azimuth single fork
Celestron Astro Fi 130: Design
- Very sturdy construction with well-designed tube and tripod
- Portable and lightweight for on-the-go observation
- Uses a good parabolic main mirror
The Astro Fi 130 is designed for children ages 13 and up and we are pleased to find that when fully assembled, it offers ample portability. The overall design is satisfactory for the price and for this type of telescope: the tube is well constructed and the aluminum tripod is strong and does the job, easily supporting the entire setup. This Newtonian reflector, similar to other models in the series, comes with 10mm and 25mm Kellner eyepieces providing 65x and 26x magnifications respectively, and a red dot finder.
There are enough eyepieces to get started with astronomy as a beginner, but since the Astro Fi 130 is a “fast” telescope, we recommend purchasing medium-range Plossl eyepieces to ensure that the instrument is fully equipped for a variety of purposes – whether you prefer to observe objects in the solar system gems of deep space such as nebulae and galaxies. Fast telescopes like this one have short focal lengths that provide a wider view of the night sky, providing less magnification for any eyepiece than “slower” instruments. The optical system uses a parabolic main mirror.
Celestron Astro Fi 130: first light and functionality
- Uses SkyAlign technology for easy alignment
- Great for observing the moon and planets, but some views are fuzzy
- Battery discharges quickly in cold conditions
The very clear, dark skies of November provided an excellent choice of targets for the night sky to test the nature of Astro Fi 130. The second planet from the Sun, Venus, shone with a bright magnitude of -5.1 and reached its greatest elongation to the east, making it a stunning target nearby. with Mars, which was easily detected with a 5.19-inch reflector aperture with a finer magnitude of +0.5. …
Astro Fi uses SkyAlign technology for easy alignment. Aligning the instrument before observing is very important as it shows your orientation relative to the night sky to the telescope software. With this information, Astro Fi will be able to turn towards the desired target in the night sky.
As expected, pairing our smartphone with the telescope’s Wi-Fi was pretty intuitive. Celestron SkyAlign technology made telescope alignment painless as we chose three bright stars to make the procedure easier. The beauty of this setup is that you don’t need to know anything about the night sky in order to enjoy it, but it also serves as a tool in learning your way through the heavens – we recommend that you get as much information as possible about the night sky. the objects you are viewing, especially if you or your family have a serious hobby of stargazing. If you are unsure of what to observe on your first night, the Celestron SkyPortal App recommends objects for you – a feature that will be especially useful for aspiring astronomers. It’s worth noting, however, that while SkyPortal boasts a catalog of hundreds of thousands of targets, the Astro Fi 130 doesn’t have the optical capabilities to highlight them all.
In the evenings, especially in cold weather, the battery can drain quickly, and “motorized” telescopes can have problems – this is what we found with the Astro Fi 130 in especially freezing conditions. We recommend purchasing a 12 V battery, especially since there is no other option: Astro Fi cannot work without an app; Manual rotation of the telescope is not possible and must have a power source for proper operation. Unfortunately, this makes the telescope useless if Wi-Fi stops working at any moment. However, despite the drawback, we are pleased to find that the tube itself can be added to another mount, provided it uses a Vixen dovetail attachment, for those who like to switch between manual and computerized tool rotation.
The view of the moon through Astro Fi is good, but not very clear. However, for a novice telescope, this is not such a big problem, since the optics provided sufficient magnification of the crater-covered terrain. We watched our natural satellite in its waning loose phase, when the Terminator gave magnificent views of several craters and grooves, accented by sunlight striking the uneven surface of the Moon.
Despite light pollution from the Moon, Astro Fi could still easily identify nearby Venus and Mars. The planetary views were as expected given the optical range – small but slightly blurry in field of view. By turning the focuser slowly, we were able to clarify our view; In particular, the Martian pink disk with the salmon pole showed up well, and in our field of vision it was possible to distinguish the cap of the Mars pole.
The focuser is not designed for fine tuning, and we are left with views that jumped between the observed extremes – this must be borne in mind when getting the best scopes for your chosen target. After receiving instructions, Astro Fi transported us to the constellation Andromeda, where we observed its Messier 31 galaxy, known much more simply as the Andromeda Galaxy – a pleasant sight that got better and better and visible as a faint spot with a luminous bulge in the center.
Celestron Astro Fi 130: the verdict
For an exceptionally low price, Astro Fi is a good telescope that boasts cutting edge technology and decent support for those just getting started in astronomy. The telescope is portable making it suitable for use as a sight, but we recommend bringing a reliable 12V power supply with you given the tendency of the battery to lose power in cold conditions.
Equipped with eyepieces, a red dot finder and a sturdy tripod, the kit includes everything you need for your observation sessions, however we recommend upgrading some accessories to get the best results from the telescope’s optical system. The views of the solar system can be slightly blurry if you push beyond the scope of the telescope, but overall we are impressed with the observation capabilities of the Astro Fi 130.