celestron astromaster 130 eq vs 130 az telescope comparision

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ or 130 AZ: Which one is Better?

There’s plenty of telescopes in the market right now, but the Celestron Astromaster 130 model, by far, is one of the most popular. This is obviously because it’s powerful, beginner friendly and highly affordable.

But there’s an unwarranted confusion among a lot of our amateur astronomers. Are you too confused between Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ and 130 AZ models? In Fact, there’s also a third, Motor Drive (MD) version. So which one is right for you? Don’t worry, we together, will resolve all this confusion today.

But before we go any further lets headstart with this quick comparison table below.

Direct Comparison

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ
Celestron Astromaster 130 AZ
130mm OR 5.11”
130mm OR 5.11”
Newtonian Reflector
Newtonian Reflector
Max. Magnification
Focal Length
User level
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Breaking it down

Now! If you observed the above table, you should have got the clue that the only difference between Astromaster 130 EQ and AZ is of mount. The EQ version comes with an expensive & advanced mount, Equatorial. It’s useful for deep space objects like Planets, Galaxies which is vibration sensitive. The AZ (Altazimuth version) on the other hand is just as good as EQ but it takes more effort to observe deep sky. And off-course its little cheaper.

Okay then, lets see what other features both Astromaster 130EQ & 130AZ has to offer.

1. Aperture

It is the single most important element of every telescope. There are two popular aperture (objective) designs; Refractor/lens & Reflector/mirror. The rule of thumb says that the larger is the better. While it’s true but I would like to add one more thing; quality or perfection of the aperture. To make sure your aperture tick this thing, always try choosing reputed manufacturer like Celestron, Meade or Orion etc.

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ/AZ review

Both Astromaster 130 EQ and AZ features exactly the same size, type, and quality of aperture. It brings in a large 130mm (5.1 inches) of a high-quality, Newtonian reflector aperture. Such perfect aperture design makes sure that there’s minimal loss of precious cosmic light and so helps you see deeper in space. This all creates a good environment for observing the likes of planets, nebulas & star systems etc.

2. The Mount – makes the difference

Telescope mount is one of the most essential instruments of your telescope. It allows the 3-dimensional motion of your the instrument. There are three of its type. Altazimuth (standard type), equatorial (professional type) and Dobsonian (advanced type). Choosing the wrong one is choosing a headache for yourself. We only talk about the first two here; AZ & EQ. And the basic difference between these two is that EQ is more stable and smoother than AZ.

Celestron Astromaster 130EQ review

As the name suggests, it has an equatorial mount best for pro users. EQ is favorite mount type to deliver vibration-free, slow motion and smoother observation experience. Even a tiny vibration and/or a little-unwanted motion can have a huge impact when you observe distant objects like planets – EQ saves you there. The only con is in its cost (3-4 thousand extra just for the mount).

Celestron Astromaster 130AZ review

AZ version has a standard altazimuth mount. One of the most popular mount types. It is good for regular use, like the moon watching or terrestrial use, but it’s not up to the mark when you want to see deep space objects like planets and nebulous etc. AZ sometimes vibrate and the motion is also not so smooth. This, of course, can be improved with our tips here. Its cheaper option compared to EQ.

3. Maximum magnification

Magnification is the process of enlarging the object view you see through any optics. Every telescope has a maximum magnification limit up to which it can efficiently magnify any objects. And while you won’t be jailed for crossing this limit, it’s about clarity and details that will start to fade. You can find this upper limit for your telescope with this simple formula; Max. mag =  aperture in inch X 50.

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ/AZ review

Both Astromaster 130 EQ and AZ share the similar magnification which is 255x max. It means you can see objects 255 times larger than through your naked eye and the image details won’t break upto this limit either – kind of awesome when you aim for the deeper sky. That’s the reason astromaster 130 telescope is highly useful for the moon, planets & star systems etc.

But there’s a twist, you won’t get this huge power out of the box. The 255 is just the upper limit! The eyepiece is the actual magnifying instrument and you get two of them free; 10mm (64x) for space & 20mm (33x) erect image for terrestrial use. So you’ll need a higher power eyepiece or a cheaper option is Barlow lens (to get 3x the magnification from your existing eyepiece. And BTW it is always best to buy an accessory kit so you get the maximum results off your instruments.

4. Focal Length

The focal length determines how much, or little, of the sky, can be seen at any given time. The longer the focal length, the narrower the field of view, and the higher the magnification.

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ/AZ review

Again, Celestron 130 EQ and 130 AZ have the same focal length. That number is 650mm.  And I have to say its nice if your care for portability. It has got quite a lot of room for a good magnification. Your 10mm eyepiece will provide 650/10 equals to 65x of magnification and just add a Barlow lens later to enhance your experience.

5. What you can see?

Now let’s talk some practical, about the very thing we buy the telescopes in the first place. Lets speed-talk about what these two guys are made to show you.

Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ

Astromaster 130 EQ is able to show the surface of the moon including those craters – great details. You can also see the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn with the nice clarity. And its comfortable for terrestrial observations as well – thanks to the erect image eyepiece.

Celestron Astromaster 130 AZ

As you know, on the optical level this one model is the same. You can see terrestrial objects, the moon (detailed) and more. But due to mount, this az version sometime struggles (which can go off with practice) to keep up with planetary observation.

Videos reviews: Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ & AZ

Setting up astromaster 130 telescope is not plain simple. You need a guide which is provided in this video so you can a have hazel free experience.

In this below video, you’ll see the complete unboxing of Astromaster 130 Altazimuth version.

Final Verdict

final verdict

Now you know everything about this two popular telescope. They both share every part of them except for the mount. The EQ model slightly outperforms the AZ version when stability is concerned. But when it comes to value for money, AZ is far ahead in the race. The EQ can get stupidely expensive sometime especally if its imported. It still worths if available for less than 20-22k Rs. Otherwise, the AZ version gives a big competition.

Please comment below any questions you may have. 

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