Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope review

The Celestron Astro Fi 102 (opens in new tab) is an easy-to-set-up motorized go-to telescope that will be supreme for budding astronomers on a modest price range, who’re in search of a scope from a trusted model. Because of its compact physique, it’s simple to maneuver from place to position and, as a result of it’s a go-to, Wi-Fi-enabled telescope, no prior data of the night time sky is required to begin exploring and having fun with it.

Celestron Astro Fi 102: Key specs

Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain  

Aperture: 102mm

Focal size: 1325mm

Focal ratio: f/13

Eyepiece focal size: 25 mm and 10 mm

Complete equipment weight: 6 lbs/2.7 kg 

Mount kind:  Computerized Alt-Azimuth Single Fork Arm 

The picture is pleasant, with some anticipated (at this value level) picture fall-off across the fringe of the sector of view. Regardless of this, we might advocate it as a newbie telescope. Alternatively, this is able to go well with somebody excited about astronomy that desires to watch celestial objects with out studying to navigate the night time sky themselves. Equally, we might advocate it for these with out the need to push their astronomy data past the fundamentals, as the chance for this with the Astro Fi 102 is proscribed. Nonetheless, we do suppose this telescope is price scoping out which is why we have included it in our purchasing information for the very best newbie telescopes. We now have taken a more in-depth look that can assist you resolve whether or not that is the newbie scope for you.

  • Celestron AstroFi 102 Telescope (Black) at Amazon for $695 (opens in new tab)

Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope: Design

The Celestron Astro Fi 102, close up of the 25mm eyepiece

The telescope comes with a 25 mm eyepiece and a 10mm eyepiece offering 53x and 132.5x magnification respectively. (Picture credit score: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

  • Fundamental plastic casing
  • It’s extremely transportable
  • Tripod is not sturdy and desires weighing down

Weighing in at simply 6 lbs (2.7 kg), you’ll be able to take the Celestron Astro Fi 102 wherever, an awesome grab-and-go possibility with out having to empty your automotive boot to make room to your telescope or plan further baggage allowance to your journey. You might simply take it with you on a hike and neglect you are carrying it. Its compact dimension additionally makes storing it a lot simpler than bigger telescopes which may take up appreciable area.

In fact, to make it light-weight and comparatively inexpensive (for a motorized Maksutov-Cassegrain, anyway) there have been some compromises on high quality, particularly relating to the ultimate end on the scope.

The Celestron Astro Fi 102

The optical tube meeting is 38.1cm lengthy and 11.7cm in diameter.  (Picture credit score: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

The plastic casing is appropriate however we do not suppose it might survive a considerable knock or a soaking from a passing bathe because the seals aren’t nice, in contrast to a number of the hardier, fully-sealed telescopes out there. Somewhat manipulation of the one fork arm base and you’ll nearly peer into the motor housing, viewing wires and extra. Whereas astronomers do not have a tendency to go out in a rain storm to view the celebs, the odd passing bathe does come from nowhere generally so these eager to seize this telescope will wish to cowl it earlier than it begins raining.

The adjustable tripod is fairly flimsy, though the equipment tray which holds the eyepieces and some other miscellaneous equipment is kind of helpful to stabilize the tripod legs.

The finderscope could be very useful in aiding the alignment and site of stars. As customary with crimson dot finderscopes, its vivid crimson illumination will be dimmed by way of the controlling knob on the facet to go well with no matter observing scenario you are in, whether or not it is simply after nightfall in a metropolis or a totally darkish night time sky reserve in the midst of nowhere. It slides onto the tube as simply because the tube does onto the one fork arm CG-5 dovetail mount — with minimal fuss.

Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope: Efficiency

The Celestron Astro Fi 102

The finderscope is hooked up to the tube with ease (Picture credit score: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

  • Preliminary arrange tough, however after that, it is a breeze
  • Seamless syncing with the SkyPortal App
  • Fiddly to vary batteries within the finderscope

The photographs you see via this scope aren’t going to blow your thoughts, however you may be handled to good views of the moon and its craters.  You may additionally get a more in-depth have a look at Saturn’s well-known rings, Mars, and the large man, Jupiter. You might even see Uranus and Neptune, too, in the correct circumstances. Different nebulae deep sky objects are seen in darkish skies, akin to these present in our greatest areas for astrophotography and stargazing information. The perimeters are somewhat tender, however we might solely anticipate edge-to-edge sharpness from way more costly scopes.

Extra equipment that comes with the telescope

25 mm and 10 mm eyepieces

Smartphone adapter constructed into lens cap

Adjustable tripod with accent tray

It is fast and simple to sync with the SkyPortal app, which will be arrange on any good gadget with Apple App Retailer or Google Play. The telescope has built-in Wi-Fi, and regardless of some earlier reviews we had learn earlier than testing, it appeared secure and dependable when paired with our Android gadget (Samsung S20 FE (opens in new tab)). The SkyPortal app options round 100k celestial objects to which you can also make your motorized go-to telescope mechanically slew. It slews at an inexpensive price and isn’t as frustratingly gradual as some will be. It is fairly quiet too. You may as well use a USB online game controller to slew and place the scope in the event you’re a gaming nerd or need that further delicate management over the telescope’s actions. Alternatively, you need to use Celestron’s distant hand controller for an extra price.

Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope: Performance

The Celestron Astro Fi 102, close up of the battery pack which holds 8 AA batteries

The battery pack requires 8 AA batteries. We would prefer it if the cable connection was somewhat extra strong. (Picture credit score: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

  • Dependable built-in Wi-Fi
  • Quiet operation
  • Massive database of celestial objects on SkyPortal

The Celestron Astro Fi 102 comes with an built-in smartphone holder within the type of some easy elastic straps constructed into the lens cap. It appears somewhat pointless, but it surely is perhaps a useful gizmo for individuals who put their telephone down between makes use of and are susceptible to forgetting the place they’ve left it.

One slight oversight we discovered is the construct high quality of the battery pack, which we plugged right into a 12V DC port. The ability cable can change into twisted across the mount when the scope is slewing and the copper cables are simply pulled out of the fundamental crimped connections. Extra superior fashions have overcome this downside by having a strong jack port, exterior inputs and battery financial institution constructed right into a stationary part of the mount which stops cables from being over-stretched or twisted. That or a extra strong connection, maybe sealed or supported by heat-shrink plastic would assist keep away from this downside.

We also needs to point out that after you’ve got completed utilizing the finderscope, flip it off to protect energy. It is fiddly to vary the battery, so it is best to must do it as little as potential.

Do you have to purchase the Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope?

The AstroFi 102 is an efficient telescope for a kid or newbie who desires to have a look at the moon and a few planets, however it could be a battle for people who wish to take it additional with extra equipment to realize what they want. With telescopes, you often get what you pay for, which rings true with the Celestron AstroFi 102 (opens in new tab). The standard and sturdiness will not win any awards, however with care, you should not have any issues utilizing this for loads of skywatching enjoyment. We’re happy with its compact dimension (because of the Maksutov-Cassegrain design) and minimal weight. To get most enjoyment, we might recommend investing in a sturdier tripod for larger stability.

If the Celestron AstroFi 102 telescope is not for you

Since you’re primarily paying for the digital motor on the AstroFi 102, you’d maybe do properly to avoid wasting money and contemplate the cheaper push-to Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ, which we reviewed final yr. You continue to have entry to the app, which can assist you discover objects within the night time sky, but it surely will not transfer electronically for you. Some traditionalists may even favor the extra tactile method.

The Celestron Encourage 100AZ refractor, which we reviewed lately can also be a superb price range, newbie telescope and is suited to those that wish to dabble in some smartphone astrophotography as properly. It comes with a way more strong tripod and is way more fairly priced as properly — nice for people who have a tighter price range.

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