celestron starsense explorer dx 102az vs 130az

Celestron Starsense Explorer DX 102AZ Vs 130AZ

Celestron is one of the most renowned brands making telescopes. Their Starsense explorer has been quite popular among stargazing beginners.

Especially the Starsense explorer dx 120az and 130az. Since both are beginner-level telescopes, comparison comes to mind.

So, which one is better between Celestron Starsense explorer dx 102az vs 130az?

Between Celestron Starsense dx 102az and 130az, Celestron dx 130az is better. It has a larger aperture than dx 102az. That leaves 130az with more options for planetary views. You can even watch faint celestial objects with it. But that’s  not possible with dx 102az. Dx 102az’s optical design also has chromatic aberration issues. 

Need more information regarding both telescopes? You’re at the right place. Join us in this discussion to learn more.

Let’s begin!

Celestron Starsense Explorer DX 102AZ Vs 130AZ: Quick Comparison

Before the main discussion, let’s see the fundamental difference between both telescopes.

AspectCelestron Starsense Explorer DX 102AZCelestron Starsense Explorer DX 130AZ
Optical DesignRefractor Newtonian reflector 
Focal Length660 mm650 mm
Aperture 102/4”130mm/5.1”
Diagonal 90 degree erectingNone 
Focal Ratiof/6.5f/5
Resolution 10.7 Arcsec-(Rayleigh)0.89 Arcsec-(Dawes)1.37 Arcsec-(Rayleigh)1.14 Arcsec-(Dawes)
Optical Tube Dimensions32 x 4.6″ / 81.3 x 11.7 cm25 x 6.5″ / 63.5 x 16.5 cm
Weight (full-assembly)8.2 kg/18 lb6.4 kg/14.2 lb
Mount TypeAlt-azimuth single forkAlt-azimuth
PriceCheck Latest PriceCheck Latest Price

Now that we know a little bit about the two telescopes let’s take a look at this graph for a more comprehensive view:

celestron starsense explorer dx 102az vs 130az chart

Ready for the next segment? Let’s begin!

Celestron Starsense Explorer DX 102AZ Vs 130AZ: Detailed Comparison

Both the Celestron telescopes are good choices in their respective categories. However, there are some key differences between them.

Celestron telescopes
Source: littleastronomy.com

You’ve seen the sneak peek we assume. So, let’s get down to the details, shall we?

Optical Design:

The Celestron Starsense explorer dx 102az telescope uses one of the oldest types of telescope optics. Out of the three types it is identified as having refractor-type optics. 

Refractor optics are also categorised into two types. One is achromatic and another is apochromatic. For Celestron dx 102az the former type is used and also they are low in quality.

As a result, it sometimes shows chromatic aberration. So, ultraviolet rays or certain types of light won’t be visible on it. But you’ll find the images quite sharp.

The optics are fitted into a closed tube. So, it doesn’t require collimation or cleaning. But Celestron dx 130az does since they are exposed to dirt.

Celestron Starsense explorer dx 130az uses Newtonian reflector type optics. Unlike other reflectors, it uses a parabolic-style mirror inside. It focuses the image on a single point.

Celestron Starsense explorer dx 130az
Source: t3.com

As a result, you’ll get quite an exhilarating image. Which is better than the image you’ll see from normal reflector optics. But it needs collimation from time to time since the alignment gets messed up often.

It doesn’t have issues like chromatic aberration like the dx 102az. But it can suffer from spherical aberration. So, as you can see both telescopes have their strong and weak points.

Winner: For this round, the Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 130az is the winner.

Key Specifications:

The Celestron dx 102az telescope is not good for viewing faint objects. Which is stark opposite to Celestron dx 130az. That’s because of their aperture.

Celestron dx 102az has an aperture of 102 mm as the name says. Whereas Celestron dx 130az has an aperture of a whopping 130 mm. The larger the aperture is, the brighter you can see in the telescope. 

So the views become much sharper and clearer. That’s why with cx 102az you won’t be able to see faint objects. But with dx 130az you can. 

As for other key specifications, dx 102az has a focal ratio of 6.5. Its focal length is 660 mm. Celestron dx 130az has a focal ratio of f/5. Its focal length is about 650 mm.

If you compare their size, 130az is quite big and heavy. Although it’s portable and definitely portable it wouldn’t be as easy as moving a 102az.

Celestron dx 102az weighs around 6.4 kg. The tube itself is around 81 cm long. The tripod allows it to extend up to 1.24 metres.

Dx 130 on the other hand weighs about 8.16 kg. The length of the tube is around 63.5 cm. With the tripod attached the length would be 1.24 metres too.

Winner: The specifications of Celestron dx 130az are more impressive. Hence Celestron dx 130 wins again this round. 


Now, when talking about accessories it’s important to discuss the eyepieces. 

So, what is so special about the Celestron dx eyepieces?

Celestron dx 102az comes with two 1.25” eyepieces. It has one 25mm Kellner eyepiece with 26x magnification power. And the Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 130az has a 10mm Kellner eyepiece with 65x magnification power.

The eyepieces provided with the 102az aren’t so good. The coating inside is of low quality. So, there are issues of ghosting and internal reflection. The body of the eyepieces is fully built on plastic.

Like dx 102az, dx 130az also comes with two 1.25” eyepieces. One 10mm Kellner and one 25mm Kellner eyepiece. But they take more time to set on the mount than dx 102az usually takes.

Celestron finderscope
Source: bintel.com.au

The good news is you can at least upgrade your Celestron finderscope later.

Winner: Even for this round the clear winner is Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 130az.

Image Formation Quality: 

The Celestron dx 102 uses about 240x magnification power. But it’s only limited to brighter objects in the night sky. Faint objects like planetary nebulae or galaxies are off-limit.

You won’t be able to see many details but large planets will be visible. You may even see Mars’s red spot, Saturn’s rings, or even Jupiter’s spiral patterns. Neptune and Uranus will be barely visible.

With Celestron dx 130az you will get about 200x magnification. The details will be a lot better than dx 102az. Saturn’s ring or Jupiter’s clouds can be seen clearly with more colours. 

Small planets will be visible so are faint objects like clusters and nebulae. You’ll be able to see Andromeda and other galaxies.

Source: cloudynights.com

So, if you want a telescope that can form clearer images, go for the Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 130az. You can find the Celestron dx 130az on Amazon which costs around $450. 

However, I want to share a great tip with you. You can find the Celestron dx 130az on Aliexpress for a relatively cheaper price. On Aliexpress it costs around $418. 

Winner: Between the two telescopes, Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 130az has superior image formation quality. So undoubtedly, Celestron dx 130az is the winner. 

Final Verdict: Which One Should You Consider Buying?

After much debate, we finally know everything that there is to know regarding the two telescopes. For a summary of the entire discussion take a look at this table:

TelescopesFeaturesWhere to Get
Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 102azHas more magnification power and forms better viewsCheck Price from Amazon
Celestron Starsense Explorer dx 130azLess expensive but doesn’t provide enough features considering the priceCheck Price from Amazon

Between these two Newtonian and refractor telescopes Celestron dx 130az is a better option. It has more magnification power than dx 102az. Which makes it better for planetary views.

It’s also portable and has a better optical design. It doesn’t suffer from chromatic aberration and delivers a much sharper image of the night sky.

Celestron dx 102az on the other hand is not really worth the price. It’s not a bad telescope to have. But you can certainly have better ones with that budget.

It’s also not flexible to eyepieces other than the 1.25” ones. So, that really shortens out your options. But they’re easily carryable and kid-friendly. 

So, know your priorities!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A few more facts to takeaway-

How to use the Celestron Starsense app?

To connect the Starsense app with your telescope put your smartphone in the Starsense dock. Now, launch the Starsense app on your phone. On your phone’s screen, you’ll see the current position of your telescope.

Does the Starsense app allow you to take photos using Celestron dx 130az?

No, your phone can’t take pictures while using the Starsense app. You can’t also take pictures of the sky with the help of the telescope. It has a memory card but it can’t help you to take pictures. You’ll need more expensive telescopes from Celestron to take pictures.

Is the Starsense app compatible with other telescopes?

The Starsense app will work with most of the telescopes that have computerised mounts. All the telescopes from Celestron Edge HD and Schmidt-Cassegrain are compatible with the Starsense app.

Final Words

That’s all from us about Celestron Starsense explorer dx 102az vs 130az. Hope this post was helpful to make your choice. 

You can upgrade your telescope set up later with some Barlow and Plossl eyepieces. Apparently, they both go with dx 102az and 130 az.

Happy stargazing!

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