Celestron astromaster 102 AZ review

The Celestron astromaster 102AZ is a great example of a telescope that proves high magnification and large aperture are not an essential requirement when starting out in astronomy. If you are starting out, the simple AZ mount and straight though optics (refractor as apposed to a Newtonian reflector ) make for easy set up in minutes with no polar alignment and balancing the OTA with counter weights. On top of this, the erect image diagonal with left / right orientation with a combination or a wide field of view (20mm eyepiece) makes finding objects in the night sky easy. Finder scope is a standard red dot finder.

Do not think this is a telescope for astronomy only. It is ideal for terrestrial use, including looking at ships at sea, views over distant landscapes, but also with a close focus of around 8 metres can also be used for looking at birds in the back garden. For the DSLR / mirrorless camera users, there is a built in t-ring for prime focus photography.

The short tube 660mm f6.6 102mm lens gives very good contrast, considering it is fully coated optics. Chromatic aberration is visible on high contrast subjects. But a simple upgrade to multi-coated plossl eyepieces will help reduce this. Eyepieces included are modified achromatics of 10mm and 20mm, which give 33x and 66x. These magnifications are perfect for finding you way around the night sky, and from dark sky locations will reveal many of the brighter galaxies and nebula. This scope will also make the colours of stars more vivid.

The focus is very smooth to use, and adds to the ease of use. On the subject of the focuser, it has a a built in 1.25″ adapter. This can be removed to accept 2″ diagonals for a picture window FOV. But note that a diagonal 2″ mirror will not get infinity focus. So you will need to get a mirror version.

No point in a getting a telescope with an insufficient mount. No worries here, as a combination of a good quality aluminium AZ tripod and short tube OTA makes it very steay.

Over all a nice starter package to get you started in astronomy, with the added benefit of being a great choice for terrestrial use.

Available to purchase HERE

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