Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130 as a beginner’s telescope
Who’s it for?
The Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130 is ideal for what we’d call “Serious Beginners”. These are folks who want better views than the basic introductory telescopes can provide and are after a telescope that can keep up with their growing knowledge and discoveries as they spend more time under the night sky.
It’s a telescope that beginner astronomers who have purchased smaller telescopes to start will then upgrade to.
What can you see?
First Question we’re always asked- Can I see the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter?
Yes! You’ll be able to clearly see through this telescope what appears to your eye as a bright yellowish “star” is in fact the planet Saturn. You’ll be able see it as small ball with a ring system around it. The tilt and angle of the rings will change over a period of years.
Another even brighter “star” will be seen through this telescope as the planet Jupiter. It will appear as a bright ball with bands across and surrounded by up to four stars. The position of these moons will change from night to night. If you can’t see all four, then it’s because either one or more of them are behind the planet or even in front of it! These four bright moons around Jupiter are called the “Galilean moons” as they were discovered by Galileo Galilei when he turned a primitive telescope towards Jupiter.
Bear in mind that due to our orbits around the Sun, the planets like Jupiter or Saturn might not be visible during a certain evening.
Mars also goes from a “star” to a small red “ball”. Surface features are visible on Mars, but due to atmospheric disturbances both here and on Mars, they might be hard to see! It might take a little while to spot the dark markings that can be seen on Mars.
The other planets in the Solar System – Mercury, Venus, Uranus and even Neptune can all be seen with the DX 130, although none will display any surface details. (Let’s not talk about Pluto….)
Of course our own Moon will be spectacular in the DX 130. You’ll see craters, mountain ranges, great flat areas called “Mare” and more. The Moon’s features change as its phase changes. The most spectacular views will probably be around either first or last quarter Moon.
What else is there to see?
While most beginners think about the planets as the main targets, the there’s so much more to be seen especially in our own Mily Way galaxy. There’s a vast number of regions of gas where stars are being formed called nebulae that can be seen in the DX 130, lose collections of stars called open clusters and tight, ball like structures that look almost like disco balls called globular cluster. There are hundreds of these astro objects all with the reach of the DX 130.
You might not have noticed the colour of stars above you with just your eyes, but they will become far more vivid in the DX 130. You’ll also see many stars in what appears to be a blank piece of sky. This is because the DX 130 collects about 340 times much as your eyes and can see objects that are simply too faint to be seen with your eyes.
What you won’t see is details on the surface of stars no matter how you try look at them. They’ll always appear simply as points of light as all stars – apart from our Sun – are simply too far away to reveal their surfaces, even with massive telescopes in professional observatories.
How do I find all these astro objects? I have no idea what’s up there!
This is where Celestron’s StarSense Explorer feature comes in handy. You attach your iPhone or Android phone to the cradle on the back of the DX 130 and then run a special Celestron app. In much the same way your phone can help you navigate how to go places in your car, StarSense Explorer will show to where to point your telescope to find what you’d like to look. For example, if you want to look at Mars, type “Mars” into the app and then it will put arrows on the screen to show you where to move your telescope to see Mars. The same applies for thousands of other objects in its database.
The app is extremely easy to use. We have folks of all ages using it. There’s no extra cost or subscription fees. Instructions for installing and activating it are included the DX 130 telescope.
If you don’t know what look at, the StarSense Explorer app can even take you on a guide tour of what’s up in the night sky!
Is the DX 130 portable? Can I get a bag for it?
Yes. You should be able to carry and transport the DX 130. We have a range of padded, soft nylon bags for the telescope and accessories.
Can I take photos with it?
BINTEL doesn’t sell the DX 130 as a telescope for taking astro photos. It doesn’t have an electronic motor drive that’s needed for long exposures of deep-sky objects. You can attach your phone to the DX 130 for great photos of the Moon and maybe the bright planets.
If your main aim is to take lots of astro photos, have a talk to us about some other options.
What accessories can I purchase?
BINTEL has a range of options for add on eyepieces which will give you different magnification and clearer views. You can buy a complete set from Celestron which should cover most of your needs.
BINTEL can also help you with Solar filters for safely viewing the Sun.
I’ve heard about this collimation thing – what’s that?
Collimation is where you slightly adjust the mirrors of a reflecting telescope like the DX 130. It’s a fairly simple procedure and we have low-cost tools to help you tweak the telescope to get the best from it. The DX 130 also comes from the factory already well collimated. We hear comments from folks saying they’d never buy a reflector as it needs collimation and they’re under a false impression.
I want to take the telescope to the beach to whale watching. Can I do this.
You can, but….due the nature of the type of telescope the DX 130 is, images will appear upside down. This is not an issue for astro objects and is in fact common for many astronomical telescopes. It just makes whale watching with them swimming around upside on their heads confusing! If you mainly want to view things on land, have a talk to BINTEL about our range of spotting scopes.
As you might have guessed, we really like the Celstron StarSense Explorer DX 130 here at BINTEL. It’s a decent size but not too large to make moving it around tricky. It’s easy enough to use for complete beginners to be out discovering sky right away but powerful enough for clear views of even faint astro objects that you find as you learn more.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact BINTEL at any time.