Home Comparisons Celestron 127 Slt Vs Skywatcher 127- Which Is The Better Maksutov-Cassegrain Style Scope?

Celestron 127 Slt Vs Skywatcher 127- Which Is The Better Maksutov-Cassegrain Style Scope?

by Rizka Amir
Celestron 127 Slt Vs Skywatcher 127

Buying your first telescope is a big deal and there is a lot at stake. With the right guidance however, this decision can be as easy as the Celestron 127 SLT or the Skywatcher 127 depending on what you want out of either option.

Running the astronomy club at my college campus is one of the best and worst things in my life. One of the best parts of my job is introducing my students to telescopes, which is often followed by hours of consultation regarding the best telescope for a beginner. The worst part happens to be the annual festival, but I digress. Over years of research, trial and error and even telescope advising, I have narrowed down some of my top beginner options, with both CELESTRON NEXSTAR 127 SLT and SKYWATCHER 127 making it to top ranks on this list. Either telescope provides functional features and reasonable cause for purchase. However, these are fundamentally different telescopes each with its pros and cons.

Read on for the breakdown in which I will go into further details about either option. Moreover, I will add information useful to help us reach a fair verdict. Take a look at CELESTRON 127 SLT VS SKYWATCHER 127.

What are the differences between the CELESTRON NEXSTAR 127 SLT and the SKYMAX SKYWATCHER 127

Aperture 120mm, 1500mm Focal length, f/12.5 Focal ratio and 60X magnification. Comes with the following included accessories : 2 eyepieces (20mm and 9mm)
Aperture 127mm, 1500mm Focal length, f/12 Focal ratio and 18X minimum magnification.
Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system
Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system
Computerized AltAzimuth Mount with single fork arm
SkyWatcher Mount courtesy of the dovetail vixen pattern mount

CELESTRON 127 VS SKYWATCHER 127- How do they compare

Some of the similarities and differences between the CELESTRON NEXSTAR 127 SLT and Skymax SKYWATCHER 127 include the following:

Working principles

Both the CELESTRON 127 SLT and the Skywatcher 127 rely on the Maksutov-Cassegrain system of optics and can be categorized as part of the Catadioptric group of telescopes. These belong to a group also known as compound telescopes sometimes even hybrid telescopes. They rely on a combination of lenses and mirrors to function. A unique correcting lens with a thick meniscus is used to alter the MAK design and distinguish it from the Schmidt Cassegrain style, to which it is closely related. Some of the advantages of this style of telescope include a more compact design and minimal chromatic aberration. Usually, MAK style telescopes rarely need alignment: which is great news for any beginners who aren’t comfortable with adjustment or even set you yet.


Telescope optics are determined by the lens and mirror arrangements that influence how light will be gathered to produce images of faraway objects. For instance, details about the aperture, focal ratio and length are important to help us understand the capabilities of the telescope. The Celestron 127 SLT has a 127mm aperture, 1500mm focal length and a f/12 focal ratio. The aperture tells you the diameter of the primary lens/mirror on the telescope. The size of aperture directly influences the surface area of the lens or mirror and thus its light collecting capacity. When this light travels to a lens or mirror, it becomes redirect a plane elsewhere. This is what is known as focal length. At the focal plane, the image formed will come to focus. The Skywatcher 127 similarly has an aperture of 127 and a focal length of 1540 and a f/12.1 focal ratio. The Lenses on the Skymax Skywatcher 127 are coated with a fully multicolored coat while the mirror coating is 94% aluminum. Alternatively, the 127 SLT has fully coated optical coating.

Beginner friendliness

While both these instruments feature several beginner friendly aspects, however, one of the biggest issues for beginners is often the setting up and alignment portion of the process. The Celestron 127 SLT comes with a variety of beginner friendly features and designs. One of my favorites is the easy to set up design that allows any user to quickly assemble and set up the device. If you’re worried about alignment, the telescope is equipped to do it for you. It includes features such as the Sky align and star sense to help the user track and locate their desired object to view: and align itself properly for successful viewing.

Design and build

Because these telescopes are from different makers, there are many differences I their design and general build. While many of their specs seem similar, the Celestron 127 SLT comes in a modern all black design with the computerized mount and attachments compactly attached to the tube. This is very unlike the Skywatcher 127 that bears a classic tube design with plain black and white colors. The extensions from the Skywatcher are neatly placed ad make this instrument look very simple, very elegant. Additionally, both the Celestron 127 SLT and the Skymax come with a bonus WI-FI connection feature which you cannot find on the 127 SLT. This connectivity could come in handy as you continue to advance from beginner level and explore more things to do with your telescopes.


There are different types of telescope mounts whose design will heavily influence how well a telescope will perform. A good mount must support your telescope and provide a smooth system for a well controlled session. Skywatcher 127 uses a Vixen type tail, as does the Celestron SLT 127. The differences in mounting may influence how easily a user will track objects. Because this is a standard vixen dovetail bar, it is compatible with other mounts such as the classic Alt-Az mount among others.

One simple difference however is the tripod material. While the Skywatcher uses an aluminum style tripod, the Celestron uses a stain less steel tripod.


A good telescope is one you can take anywhere with you. Thus is why you must be very careful about the weight of your telescope options. Ideally, a high tech telescope shouldn’t weigh under 1 lbs however, it doesn’t have to be excessively heavy you can’t move it anywhere. Celestron’s 127 SLT has an instrument load capacity of 8lbs, with a 5lb mount capacity and 5lb tripod. The total weigh comes in at a minimal 18 lbs. This is a manageable weight even for beginners. Alternatively, the Skywatcher OTA weighs 7.7lbs, with a 2.9 mount and 4.2 lb tripod. These are different but still manageable weights for such capable telescopes.

CELESTRON NEXSTAR 127 SLT VS SKYWALKER 127 – A comparison review

CELESTRON NEXSTAR 127 SLT Overview and Key features

NexStar 127SLT Computerized TelescopeLike the name suggests, this Star Locating telescope is a computerized instrument that is both easy to use but still very accurate and dependable. The quality optics on this instrument, coupled with its features and performance are among the reasons this tool is such a favorite. Here are some of the key features that make the 127 SLT so capable.

Made with easy to use features and an accessible interface, the CELESTRON NEXSTAR 120 SLT is a great Maksutov-Cassegrain style instrument for al sort of users. Among these helpful features include access the Starry Night Astronomy software that contains over 36k celestial objects. If you chose to, you can print out these 3D renderings of stars, printable maps and images of galaxies and exoplanets.

Optics on the 127 SLT as advertised are very capable with this Maksutov –Cassegrains. This term may sound familiar if you have come across the different types of compound/hybrid telescopes. Focusing this telescope simply involves turning a knob located on the sides to adjust the positioning of the primary mirror. It has a focal length of 150mm with a 127mm aperture and f/12 focal ratio. These numbers tell you that you can rely on this telescope to view a variety of celestial objects.

In terms of mounts, the 127 SLT is equipped with an automated Alt-Az mount. This is a basic option for many telescopes, but it is a dependable option. The Altitude Azimuth in addition to the single fork arm that will come in handy when it comes to tracking. This mount is placed on a pre assembled steel tripod that is adjustable: a feature many beginners not used to setting up will appreciate. Running on 8 double A batteries, this telescope will run throughout an observing experience. However, this is as far as it will go. If you choose to, the

While the 127SLT is more of a planetary and lunar scope, it still performs quite well and is very portable However, it has some limitations in regards to use in deep space viewing and imagery. With this purchase, you will receive several accessories, including 2 eyepiece, the 20mm and 9mm.

What we like

  • Compact design
  • No tool, easy assemble instrument
  • Made with quality optics
  • Generates great moon images
  • Lightweight and portable telescope
  • Allows access to large database for tracking, locating and even learning purposes

What we don’t like

  • Comes with plastic viewfinder
  • Somewhat pricey for that aperture size

What you can see with the NexStar 127 SLT

With this telescope, you have the capacity to view the following:

  • Saturn’s rings
  • Can be used outside visual astronomy for daytime use or wildlife viewing
  • Jupiter and its moons
  • Detailed lunar surface features and its phases
  • Mars’ polar caps


View price on Amazon


Skymax Sky-Watcher Maksutov-Cassegrains 127 Overview and Key features


The Sky-watcher is equipped with a 127mm aperture and a 1500mm focal length. After simple calculations, the focal ratio of this model is f/12. It is made with a reasonable build with. If you know your telescopes, this model relies on the Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system and comes with accessories including a 10mm and 25mm eye pieces, a red dot viewfinder and an inbuilt holder you my use to adjust the polar finer. These eye pieces for example are pretty standard and give reasonable magnification.

Similar to the quality optics is quality build and design. The black plate and lens ring made of cast metal and delicately treaded onto the classic casing in a metallic black color. Due to the nature/ working principle of this particular model, the OTA measures 12.5 inches long. In addition to this compact size, the telescope weighs about 3kilograms, making it easy to carry around and use. With the dovetail (Vixen-pattern) attached to the OTA, you can attack it straight on its mount.

What we like

  • Great optical quality
  • Compact device
  • Great for lunar phases project
  • Crisp well detailed planetary views
  • Affordable
  • Easy mounting and operation even for beginners

What we don’t like

  • Quite heavy for its size

What you can see with the Skywatcher 127

With this telescope, you have the capacity to view the following:

  • Lunar surface and phases, it is in fact a great lunar scope
  • Shows Mars and its ice caps when in certain opposition
  • Jupiter and the deep sky


View price on Amazon


Based on what we’ve gathered, both the CELESTRON 127 SLT and the SKYMAX SKYWTACHER 127 have very similar properties with features that are nearly identical. The minute details however were enough to make the 127 SLT the better MAK: Maksutov-Cassegrain. Some of the nuanced bonuses like access to Starry night software, and other great bonus features gives it an upper hand over the Skywatcher 127. However, the 127 by Skywatcher is still every capable Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope.

Frequently asked questions

How do I use the star align feature?

The sky align tech on the 127 SLT can be setup by the following: point the telescope at any three bright objects in the sky, this allows the telescope to triangulate the position and locate objects around.

Is 127 SLT the best Celestron telescope?

Yes and no, the 127 SLT is a great model from Celestron but it has its shortcomings. Additionally, there are other models from other series, with other features designed to suit different needs and users. The 127 SLT is simply an example of a single telescope type: Maksutov-Cassegrain.

What is the main difference between the Skywatcher 127 and the Celestron 127 SLT?

Both these telescopes are manufactured by a different manufacturer and have various similarities and differences. While they are both Maksutov-Cassegrain style telescopes, they are equipped with different features that make them very capable but very different instruments.


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