Why the Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT is the best children’s telescope:
I was constantly awed by astronomy and space as a kid, it motivated me to go out and earn a degree in astrophysics that allows me to have a great job and enjoy doing what I love.
Today, my children are at the perfect age (10 & 13) to be impassioned with this hobby just like I was, so I chose to buy this telescope for them and even though I got it at a pretty cheap cost ($499!), I knew the look on their faces would be priceless.
The model I decided on was the Celestron NexStar 130 SLT and it turned out to be a great choice…
Assembling it was not a hassle and we finished in a couple of minutes (the parts were lightweight and we had no problem carrying them). Right away, I was amazed at how far these scopes have progressed since I was young…
The lens’ 130 mm reflector works so much better than the 90 mm designs of my old models and with over 2 times more light-gathering capacity!
Not to mention the color-correction feature makes everything seem closer and colors more vibrant!
However, the real eye-opener came with it’s motorized mount features; high-tech software named “SkyAlign” alignment technology uses the “StarPointer Finderscope” along with a red LED laser to automatically move the telescope and pinpoint objects in the sky so you can sit back and let the telescope do all the work.
Remarkably, it has knowledge of more than 4,000 space objects and we were able to swiftly locate ones like the planet Saturn, and even something obscure like the globular cluster in the constellation Hercules (M13).
All of these striking tech features meant that once my children got hold of it, it was hard to get them off and send them to sleep. Now they know how to operate this particular telescope better than I can and when their friends come over, they run to it to show them this planet or that moon.
It proved to be not just a toy or a cheap techno gimmick (like most things for kids these days), but a brilliant learning tool, and this was exactly what I wanted, something that would not only capture their tiny attention spans but educate them also.
I do not know how long their obsession with this will be and perhaps I will have to supplement it with other edu-science gadgets one day, but I saw that it was one of the best things I could do for them at this stage of their development.
The Celestron NexStar 130 SLT is ahead of it’s class when it comes to other telescopes within the same price range. It offers an astounding amount of features for an excellent price. The sleek, head-turning design together with the features I mention in the next section, make it a true pleasure to use.
The most eye-catching features on this unit include:
- Two inch eyepiece compatibility
- Wide field views
- High quality 130 mm reflector
- 30% more light gathering power than the previous 114mm model
- The StarPointer finderscope helps you perfectly align the telescope, allowing you to precisely locate objects
- The computerized Altazimuth mount puts the power in your hands, enabling you to accurately pinpoint over 4000 interstellar objects along with galaxies and stars
- Quick, tool free setup, which is made possible by the quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube and accessory tray
- Durable stainless steel tripod
- Included CD-ROM titled “The Sky”, which will educate you on what you will be seeing through this telescope and also gives you printable maps
Other owners can’t stop raving about the Celestron NexStar 130 SLT! Here’s what some of them are saying:
“This telescope’s view is exceedingly crisp and the alignment process is simple. It weighs in at about 18 pounds and that makes it easier to transport. It is most definitely worth the money.”
-Phillip Matthews, filipmat.us
“I live in a large neighborhood. I’m surrounded by fences and trees and that has always been a hindrance while watching the sky. This telescope, along with the two inch eyepiece, have allowed me to view the sky perfectly even in the midst of all the clutter and lights. I can’t imagine using any other telescope.”
-Amazon Verified User, Jon Beltran
“My whole family enjoys using this telescope. The diversity of it being good enough for me to use and simple enough for my children to use is great. My search for an amazing telescope is over!”
-Amazon Verified User, Hank Vera
Pros and Cons
- Great telescope for kids to use, it educates and takes all the unnecessary work out of setting-up a great view.
- Simple design allows for quick assembly, even my kids can do it by themselves (as long as I’m watching them though, haha).
- Telescope alignment can be really tricky if you don’t know how to do it, the “Skyalign” makes this step extremely easy so the only thing you need to do is gaze at the stars.
- If you don’t know what to look for but want to see some beautiful sights, the “skytour” will show you the best things in the sky, just put in your location, time and date.
- 2 full years of warranty, if your telescope breaks (ours hasn’t, but accidents happen.) then send it to Celestron and they will fix it for you.
- It doesn’t have as much feature as something like the Celestron Nexstar 8 SE, but that telescope is in a different price range. I personally paid $499 and got more than what I paid for.
- My Daughter was upset with the fact that they don’t make them in pink (c’mon Celestron! haha).
How much does it cost?
It is not in line with Amazon policy for me to give an exact number since it is subject to change, so the best way to check the price is by going directly to the amazon page here.
What does 130mm reflector mean?
130mm is the aperture or “size” of the telescopes mirror, the bigger that number is, the sharper and brighter your view will be.
All those techno gadgets sound complicated to use, how skilled do you have to be to operate this telescope?
Anyone should be able to operate this telescope fairly easily, there is a user manual included and tons of helpful set-up videos on celestron’s youtube channel.
What do I do if my telescope breaks?
In the unlikely event your telescope breaks, (these things are sturdy!), there is a free 2 year warranty with the purchase of your telescope, simply send it to Celestron and they will fix it for you.
My Final Verdict
Yes, yes, yes, my kids and I love this great telescope and I’m sure it will stay in our home for years to come! it’s cool watching the telescope rotate itself and having it educate my children on different space objects. The looks on their faces filled my heart with warmth and I hope this continues to cultivate in them a sense of curiosity and wonder with the world. If this sounds like something you would also want for your kids, you can get it on sale here.