Review of the Skywatcher Explorer 130P SynScan AZ GoTo Telescope

13 November 2015  |  Admin

Review of the Skywatcher Explorer 130P SynScan AZ GoTo Telescope

Hot off the delivery truck, I couldn’t wait to get the new Skywatcher Explorer 130P GoTo Telescope out of the box and put it to the test this week – I even got to take it home with me for a night! Thankfully, for a change, the skies were clear.

First things first, this is a magnificently simple little telescope to use, but has the optical power and performance that would easily satisfy advanced observers, making it ideal for newbies and veterans alike. I’d class myself as somewhere in between the two, so it’s in…very capable hands.

The 130mm (just over 5 inches) aperture makes this telescope an all-round performer, it gave me really high resolution images (of both the moon and planets) as well as penetrating deep-sky views of galaxies and nebulae. The results, as attested by my wife (whom I had to drag out into the garden), are visually amazing; which is a triumph for a telescope in this price bracket. In addition to this, it’s compact enough to stick in the boot of your car and take anywhere, so I had no problem bringing back to work the next day, apart from being disappointed I don’t own one (yet).

For a new starter, the scope orientation set up and general controls can, at first, appear to be a little obscure, but fear not, it has several options to pinpoint the key calibration stars to cover any visibility or location issues. And I found the menu system to be really user-friendly, which is one of the most important things in any modern telescope.

This GoTo telescope is made of strong plastic, and they haven’t skimped on the quality by any means. The tripod legs are firm and steady, showing no wear after being placed on both gravel and concrete. Short of dragging this over broken glass, I’m pretty sure it can hold its own on any terrain.

The eyepieces which are provided, a 10mm and 25mm, are perfect for making the hunt for those Deep Sky Objects an effortless task, whilst providing a clear and sharp image.
The superb mirror coating allows the telescope to capture all of the available light and neatly focus it onto the eye piece; and the collimation required hardly any adjustments to create the perfect alignment – which shows that before the telescope was packaged, the guys at the factory gave it a full run-down and assessment, peace of mind for any prospective customer.

The Sky-Watcher Explorer 130P manages to chew up rechargeable batteries, so I would recommend bringing spares if you’re taking it on tour, furthermore, a Power Tank would be a solid investment – although most experienced astronomers know this crucial rule for any portable telescope.

Finally, I’d like to say this really is a solid GoTo telescope, it’s not got the power of some of the big boys, but it doesn’t come with their price tag either. If you’re planning on buying, make sure you don’t spend all night in the garden because time really does fly.


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