Home Comparisons Celestron NexStar 102 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 130 SLT – Which is the better SLT telescope?

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 130 SLT – Which is the better SLT telescope?

by Rizka Amir

One of the more popular series of telescopes from the NexStar like is the SLT, Star Location Telescope, is among the most well liked. This series of high quality optics with user friendly interfaces can be tricky to choose from especially if you do not properly understand what each instrument has to offer. Here is a comparison review on Celestron NexStar 102 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 130 SLT.

Hi, my name is Amir and I will have been a telescope collector for 33 years this June: and counting of course. Over these decades of interacting with telescopes, I have not only learnt more about them but also grown my love for them in addition to astronomy. Often, during conventions, panels, showing or even events, new or seasoned users approach me with queries about the best telescope from this brand or the other. These questions for me aren’t always difficult to answer, but I often go into details, ensuring the interested party understands why a certain telescope operates the way it does, the features on it that make it so great among other things. In this guide, you will find a through breakdown of two telescopes from one of the most inquired about makers, at least that I know of. Take a look at Celestron NexStar 102 SLT vs. Celestron NexStar 130 SLT where I will give a detailed report of what either telescope has to offer, comparing them along the way.

What are the differences between the Celestron NexStar 102 SLT and the Celestron NexStar 130 SLT?

Type of telescope
Refractor style telescope
Newton Reflector Style Telescope
Aperture 102mm (4.02″), 660mm Focal length, f/6.47 Focal ratio

Magnification on eyepiece 1: 26X

Magnification on eyepiece 2: 73X

Max. Useful magnification: 241X

Min useful magnification: 15X

Aperture 130mm, 650mm Focal length, f/5 Focal ratio

Magnification on eyepiece 1: 26X

Magnification on eyepiece 2: 72X

Max. Useful magnification: 307X

Min useful magnification: 19X

Computerized AltAzimuth Mount
Alt-Az Altitude Azimuth mount

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT vs Celestron NexStar 130 SLT- How these telescopes compare


Off the bat, you will notice that the 102mm has a smaller aperture than the 130mm Celestron 130 SLT. Aperture is one of the more important telescope numbers that will influence light gathering capacity on an instrument. Many seasoned users often advice against apertures below 80mm. In telescopes, the higher the surface area of the mirror or lens: the better its light gathering capabilities. The aperture will directly influence this area. Remember in combination with a variety of other factors, a telescope with good light gathering abilities will generate great images; something every observer hopes to experience with their own telescopes.

Speaking of optics, both the 130 SLT and the 102 SLT are designed with optical coatings on said optics’ surfaces. Optical coatings are often combinations of materials used to . In this case, the 130 SLT is designed with aluminum coatings while the 102 SLT comes with multicoated optics.

Working principle

Another difference between the 102 SLT and the 130 SLT is their operating principles. Telescopes utilize a combination of mirror, lens or mirrors and lens arrangements to generate far away images. The nature of these optics and their arrangement has led to various optic systems or types of telescopes each with its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, while the 13 SLT is a Newtonian reflector, utilizing mirrors to gather and redirect light, the 102 SLT is a refractor style telescope.

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT vs Celestron NexStar 130 SLT- A comparison review

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT- Overview and key features

NexStar 102SLT Computerized TelescopeThe NexStar 102 SLT is a refractor style telescope with a 102mm with some great features and capabilities. It is marketed as a celestial and terrestrial telescope. Mounted on the Computerized Alt-Az single forked arm, the 102 SLT is an easy to use instrument great for many users. Here are some of the features that make this telescope so function.

Optically speaking, the 102 SLT is equipped with a 102mm aperture primary surface. Accompanying this 4 inch aperture is a 660mm focal length and a f/6.47 focal ratio. The 25mm eyepiece is equipped with 26X magnification while the second eyepiece, the 9mmca achieve magnifications of 73X. Overall, the 102 SLT can reach magnifications of 241X but requires a minimum useful magnification of 15X. Its optic surfaces are multi coated with an optical coating.

Apart from its high quality optics, the 102 SLT is mounted on the Alt-Az mount; a popular mount for many telescopes. This computerized Alt-Az is accompanied by the single fork arm: one of Celestron’s many revolutionary designs. Paired together, the Alt-Az single forked arm mount allows the user to track and locate objects quite easily across the sky. Moreover, this telescope provides the user access to the

One of the most difficult tasks for beginner users is the set up and alignment process. The SLT telescope, the 102 SLT for instance comes with Sky align technology. With this tech, the 102 SLT can automatically triangulate its position by just one button. To align the 102 SLT, find 3 bright objects with your telescope and centre them on the eyepiece: after which you must press the align button to complete the prompt. Additionally, the NexStar Hand control feature allows you access to a 40K + celestial bodies’ database.

With this hand control and the Sky tour feature, the 102 SLT can generate a comprehensive list of celestial objects which are currently visible, relative to your location and the time. This makes astronomy sessions quite simple and relaxing especially for beginners. Because beginners may not be fully prepared in terms of what to look at, or how to schedule telescope sessions, this auto generated list will come in handy for many of them who want to use the telescope but don’t know what to look at.

The NexStar+ database, as it is known has information on various deep space objects. You may also access The Starry Night Software with this telescope purchase. The Special Edition Starry Night Software is a great teaching tool across all levels. This planetarium, level software allows you to access various resources and information about the solar system and what’s beyond it. Once you progress from absolute beginner you may start using this software to learn about other objects in space or deep space and schedule viewings with the help of this software.

The entire system sits on a stainless steel tripod. This signature tripod on this particular model has a 5lb tripod with a 31.75mm leg diameter. Using the accessory tray provided, you may safely and properly keep away the accessories you receive with this telescope.

The Celestron NexStar 102 SLT is powered by 8 AA batteries placed inside an internal battery compartment which is designed to serve the high precision motors with enough power with low vibration performance. This design ensures reduced cord wrap issues most external batteries experience.

What we like

  • Great for telescope astronomy sessions
  • Is designed as a celestial and terrestrial telescope
  • No tools are necessary for set up
  • Quality optics
  • The flash upgradable software allows you to download upgrades over the net
  • Using the Star Pointer, you may align the telescope or even for location purposes

What we don’t like

  • Problematic electronics despite high quality optics
  • The camera is not fixed and requires that you detach and reattach it during set ups and alignment

What can you see with the Celestron NexStar 102 SLT?

  • Lunar surface details with crisp images of the moon and its phases
  • Venus and her phases
  • The rings on Saturn
  • Jupiter and her moons
  • Wildlife among other objects during day time observations


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Celestron NexStar 130 SLT

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT- Overview and Key features

NexStar 130SLT Computerized TelescopeCelestron designed and markets the 130 SLT as a Newtonian Reflector telescope designed for powerful, yet simple use. It is part of the Celestron NexStar (SLT) Star Location Telescope. This series cleverly names its models after the size of said models aperture: 130SLT meaning a 130mm aperture. In fact; the 130 SLT is the largest in its SLT telescope series. Among the features that make this telescope so wonderful include the following.

The Celestron NexStar 13 SLT is a celestial and terrestrial telescope that incorporates various basic and complex elements into its design, making it a great option for anyone who just started sky gazing. This telescope, it is equipped with various features and capabilities, allowing it to transition with you from beginner to intermediate level while still maintaining effectiveness and functionality. Specifications for this devices optics include 130mm aperture on the primary mirror, a 650mm focal length with a f/5 focal ratio.

Users should expect magnification of 26X using the 20mm eyepiece and 72X using the 9mm eyepiece. Due to the nature of this system, the secondary mirror obstruction lies at 11% by area and 33% by diameter. This is significantly smaller compared to other optical systems. Or improved optical performance within this telescope, Celestron uses Aluminum optical coating on the 130 SLT optics surfaces.

Housing the optics within an aluminum optical tube, this instrument is mounted on its sturdy computerized Altitude Azimuth mount with the revolutionary single form arm mount. Because it comes with an easy to assemble set up, anyone can have this telescope ready for use as needed when necessary. Some Celestron hit features which also appear on the SLT 130 include the Sky Align technology and Sky sense technology, both of which are instrumental in simplifying the alignment process.

Accessory-wise, you will receive a red dot finder scope two eyepieces, 20mm and 9mm, to add varying magnification for a difference in observing. Additionally, you receive a star diagonal which provides a right side you for a more comfortable experience. This device is powered by 8 AA batteries secured within an internal compartment.

What we like

  • easy to use
  • Quick and simple set up
  • Compact design that is portable
  • Great warranty deal and customer support
  • Access to a learning database great for beginners
  • It is a computerized telescope with database of stars, nebulae, galaxies and even more

What we don’t like

  • Newtonian telescopes require regular collimation
  • The customer support is great on paper but somewhat frustrating to deal with in reality

What you can see with the NexStar 130 SLT

  • Wildlife among other terrestrial objects when used during the day
  • The polar caps on mars
  • Moon surface craters and general lunar shots
  • Phases of Venus
  • Jupiter’s Galilean moons
  • Saturn and its rings


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Verdict: so which is better? Celestron NexStar 114 SLT or Celestron NexStar 130 SLT?

Why the SLT line of telescopes is designed to cater for a variety of users. Its accommodating beginner features with its easy to use front are great for anyone. The overall difference is minimal but the 130 SLT is better equipped for beginners, advancing beginners and even intermediate users. This telescope carries all the great basic features on many of Celestron’s telescopes. However, unlike the 102mm, the 103mm goes further to incorporate various other non typical features for better performance.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use the 130 SLT for astrophotography?

Indeed, many users can utilize the 130 SLT for astrophotography purposes. This use is however limited as this model as one centered on planetary imaging. Using the NexImage Solar System Imager for instance only takes picture of planets making it difficult to capture deep space objects. Some users however have been able to utilize this scope for deep space astrophotography.

What is the biggest difference between the 130 SLT and 102 SLT?

Evidently, the 130 SLT is wider in aperture than the 102 SLT. This is because the optics on the 130 SLT model are set up separately from that of the 102 SLT. This difference in optics will affect light gathering and image production, among other capabilities of other telescope.

What is a computerized telescope?

These are telescopes utilizing various technologies to make the alignment, tracking or even location of celestial objects easy and convenient. Often simplifying these processes makes sky gazing or observing sessions more enjoyable and quite easy. This is unlike manual instruments that require an entire process dedicated to the set up.

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