Save over $180 on this beginner Celestron telescope and bag a bargain this Black Friday and Cyber Monday at retail giant Amazon. Originally $150 off, and now they've knocked a further $30 off the price of this excellent beginner telescope.
We reviewed the StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ back last year and gave it 4/5 stars making it one of our most highly rated beginner scopes of all time. Ideal for new astronomers, it pairs with the Celestron StarSense app to guide newbies around the night sky with ease. Aside from some heavy lifting from the app, it's scalable for those learning more about the cosmos who want to get better at navigating by eye, too.
It ships with a red dot finderscope for manual star-hopping and it's fully equipped with everything stargazers need to get started observing under the stars. As well as the finderscope, in the box are 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, a StarSense smartphone dock and a steady, full-height tripod.
For those who love to take astrophotographs some basic astro images can be achieved for hobbyists but those seeking to take long exposure images of celestial objects might need to look at a motorized telescope, like the Celestron NexStar 8SE which is currently on sale for Black Friday.
Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ:
was $479.95 now $298.99 on Amazon.
Save over $180.96 on one of the best beginner telescopes you can buy. This Celestron telescope caters to beginners and some intermediates due to its 650mm focal length, 307x highest useful magnification and the fact it ships with everything you need to get started, even a tripod.
- Read our Black Friday 2024 deals page for big discounts on space gifts
The great thing about this Celestron is that because there's an Alt-azimuth mount, the setup is quite straightforward for beginners over the slightly more complex Equatorial mount that comes with some more advanced telescopes.
The optical quality on the StarSense DX 130AZ is great and we really appreciated how lightweight the whole system is, allowing us to move it around with ease when reviewing it back last year. Like with many reflector telescopes, the mirrors need collimating to make the best of this beginner scope. This is quite easy to achieve following the included instructions. We cannot stress how important this is if you want to get the most out of the DX 130AZ — it will significantly affect your enjoyment of the telescope.
Key Specs: This Newtonian reflector has a 650mm focal length and an aperture of 130mm this scope has a focal ratio of f/5. The highest useful magnification is 307x which takes you pretty close in on celestial objects with fair views depending on atmospheric clarity. Its lowest useful magnification is 19x and in total it weighs 18 lbs (8.16 kg) which is pretty light for an entire setup like this.
Consensus: Overall, the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is a great telescope for the beginner skywatcher. It has an affordable price tag: you get a very capable system for your money. It's also extremely user-friendly, we discovered a youngster at the age of eight years old was able to start getting to grips with it.
Buy if: You're a beginner astronomer who wants to get into stargazing and needs a quality instrument but also need a bit of guidance that can be achieved via the smartphone app.
Don't buy if: The aim is to take things to the next level and start customizing the setup with high quality eyepieces and want to take advantage of the more sophisticated Equatorial mounts associated with more intermediate telescopes.
Alternative models: As mentioned, we think this Black Friday telescope deal on the Celestron NexStar 8SE is the one to go for if you're a more advanced skywatcher and require the best optics in a compact package.
Alternatively, you can opt for a fully automated smart telescope that links with your phone or tablet. In that case, we'd recommend grabbing the Unistellar eVscope 2 smart telescope is $1000 off (now $3899) from Unistellar's website. This deal ends November 27.
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Jase Parnell-Brookes is an award-winning photographer, educator and writer based in the UK. They won the Gold Prize award in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. After completing their Masters Jase has spent a good chunk of two decades studying and working in photography and optics shooting and writing all over the world for big-name brands and media outlets. Now the Channel Editor for Cameras and Skywatching at Space.com their speciality is in low light optics and camera systems.