Fig 1: Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor (Ref: Amazon)
If you are a passionate star gazer you need a telescope that satisfies your mind. As a beginner you can start with some other cheaper 4-6 inch beginner telescope. But they will not be able to cheer you up with the views of the deep night sky objects as their quality is not high. Sometimes you may think that those devices are for children. Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor can be your first telescope if you just have started your journey in astronomy and want to feel thrilled by your very first astrophotography. No doubt, the telescope is simple and user-friendly. Despite having some cons, it possesses really some good features that worth the price.
What does the name mean?
Before you add any item to your cart list, you should know what specification it has and read some reviews on it to know the advantages and disadvantages of the product. Even you will find that the name is defining some special features.
Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor- the name means that the telescope is a refractor telescope with an aperture of 102 i.e.the diameters of the objective lens is 102mm. With this aperture, you can even see the moon of the Jupiter at the very first use.
What we want from our first telescope
From our first telescope, we expect some features automatically.
- We want a heavy mount to hold the telescope steady so that we do not feel the shake while observing deeply the distant objects.
- Easy instructions and user-friendly setup
- Best optical quality and the views would be as clear as possible even at its highest magnification.
- We want to see the real color of the distant objects, so we want chromatic aberration to be as less as possible.
- The finderscope should be easy to handle
- Collimation will be very easy to adjust
What the item offers
Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor has some additional features that the name does not include.
Equatorial Mount: This telescope has an equatorial mount i.e. it has only one axis aligned with the rotational axis of the Earth. The mount is sturdy enough to prevent shaking and hurting your feeling while viewing your target object.
Focus Type: The focus type of this telescope is manual i.e. you have to adjust the field depth manually by hand by setting the lens at various distances. However, it is easy to handle.
Finder Scope: It includes a reflex finder scope. Finder scope helps you to specify the scope in the observation area in the sky. A reflex finder makes it easy to observe even the galaxy clearly with a low power eyepiece if you just set the red dot to the specific area of the sky. All the customers are not happy with the finderscope though. They found it difficult to use.
Weight & Dimension: The whole item weighs only 43 pounds and occupies 53x 10x 10 inches of volume (LxWxH). It seems heavy but you can carry it parts by parts.
Coating System: Besides, this item has Celestron’s extraordinary StarBright XLT optical coating System. The coating is added to a lens to decrease reflective loss and enhance light transmission. StarBright XLT coating system provides multiple layers of aluminum on mirrors which makes the system incomparable to other coating systems available in the market.
Portability: Regarding portability, you have to keep in mind some factors. The optical tube and tripod weigh 9.98 kg, which is manageable, but the counterweight itself has a weight of 5 kg which makes the combined weight around 15 kg. If portability is a major concern to you, XLT 102 can make you disappointed here. But if you go anywhere in a group to observe the sky, and carry the parts separately, then it will be much easier to move anywhere.
How far and what you can observe through Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor
The 102 mm aperture and 1000 mm focal length results in the focal ratio of f/9.8 which means that this scope will provide the highest 200x magnification that is ideal for observing planets with a great view. At the same time, it indicates that the view of more distant faint objects like nebula and galaxies will not be that much clear as higher magnification not only magnifies the view, it also magnifies the obscurity. But if you think that you do not need to get a clearer view of a distant object, then this telescope can be ideal for you.
Here is a list of what you can observe properly with Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm. Check it to match your expectation.
- Details of the craters of the moon.
- The views of Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter are cool enough and they can be easily located.
- As Uranus and Neptune are further away, you may need to set the scope at the highest magnification to get a view of them.
- Distant stars will be viewable but sometimes not with the exact color of them.
- Galaxy, nebulae, and star clusters will also be viewable.
Accessories Inside The Box
The accessories in the box include everything you may need as a beginner: a 1.25’’ star diagonal prism, a 6×30 finderscope, a 25mm 1.25’’ Plossl eyepiece, and a couple of booklets.
The singular eyepiece is just a 25mm eyepiece. So it is better if you invest more to get eyepieces of lower focal length.
The 6×30 finderscope will not be very advantageous as it lacks brightness. You can buy a 9×50 finderscope to get a better option.
The star diagonal prism and 1.25’’ eyepiece is not a perfect match. You may need to add a 2’’ eyepiece, though it needs an adapter in order to use.
Overall Advantages & Disadvantages of Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm
- The Mount: The mount of Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor is so high in quality compared to the other existing telescopes in the market within the same price range. It is easy to assemble and dismantle which makes it portable irrespective of its huge weight. The main reason for the large weight is the high quality of the equatorial mount. The CG-4 model mount is very stable as it is very well designed and made of metal. The tripod has legs with 1.75’’ thickness and it possesses the advanced VX mount design without any electronics that you get within them generally.
- Upgrade some features: Another advantage of this device is that it has options to upgrade some of the features for example double-axis or single-axis motors for easy manual tracking, or even a polar alignment. You can even think of adding some accessories which will make your CG-4 mount perform like a GoTo mount.
- Free Software: It includes free astronomy software like Starry Night which has a database of around 36,000 celestial objects and sky maps that are obviously printable. This software is one of the top astronomy software rated by consumers.
- Aperture: This telescope is the best among all the telescopes within this range for observing the solar system and nearby stars. The 102 mm aperture will give you a feel of using 8 inches of aperture if you compare it with the Dobsonian telescope at this price. It makes awesome views of the moon and its craters, and details of our planets. But if you are interested to have much clearer views of the distant galaxies, you have to upgrade the lens with a larger aperture that is able to gather more light.
- Photography: You can use Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor for astrophotography as well as terrestrial photography. Distant landscapes, flying birds, and distant airplanes all fit in the image of this telescope with great views and details. But if you are growing a passion for astrophotography and want to have a clear image of deep-field stellar with details and long exposure shots, it may disappoint you. Though it has the ability to carry a camera or CCD, the mount is manual which makes it hard for sensitive tracking which is one of the most important requirements of astrophotography.
- Light Gathering Power: While discussing the light-gathering power, Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor has an extra feature that the users must enjoy but most of the time without noticing. In every optical element, Celestron uses StarBright XLT optical coating on each and every optical element which allows 3% light loss per lens. That results in a brighter image even when you watch it at a higher magnification than the image would be in other telescopes.
- Chromatic Aberration: Chromatic aberration refers to distortions of the color of the images due to specific optical setups like lenses. For example, while you are looking at a star you will find that the color around the star is blurry. Novice astronomers can become confused about the colors of the stars they are viewing through this telescope for this reason. But Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm is not much and tends to be a little bit blue haloes around stars and distant galaxies. In that case, using the good filter can solve the problem. However, while viewing planets and nearby night sky objects, Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm is the best telescope and causes no aberration like that.
Astrophotography by Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm
Celestron Omni XLT 102 is great for Astro or terrestrial photography. Though you already know that you will not get the proper color of the star clusters and galaxies, the photograph of them will not be so disappointing as it is not always the real color of the night sky objects that always matters in photography. You may even find some sites that sell the photography taken by this telescope at a great price.
Here, we have added some photography with Celestron Omni XLT 102 for example.
Fig 1: Mars with Omni XLT 102 – Refractors
Fig 2: Saturn with Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm
Review of Celestron Omni XLT 102 mm from the User
The customer review of this telescope is very positive. It gives the best performance at this price. If you do proper research, you may find one with a further cheaper rate. According to the customers, it is very satisfying though having false-color sometimes. Some users live in light-polluted areas like busy cities. They got excellent views despite the pollution and praised its optical system. Many of them are very satisfied with their long extendable tripod as they could keep the eyepiece at their comfortable heights.
How will it be as a GIFT!
Celestron Omni XLT 102mm Refractor is a great gift. Whatever the age of the person you want to present this telescope, as a gift, he or she will love it from the first use and will find his or her new hobby in it. You can show the view of the craters of the moon, red Mars, a ring of Saturn, or the moon of the Jupiters to show the magic of it. Surely, you will great the surprised big eye and a big wow as feedback.
If your child is being busy with something that you do not like, presenting this telescope is the best idea to switch his mind to an amazing new field. Even if your child has a beginner cheaper telescope, he or she can get this as an upgraded version.
Even if you find an aged person in your family, this telescope can be a great companion to him if he or she already has a little passion for star gazing. It has a large number of users who are above 60 years old. So you may think of giving this as a quality gift as well.
If your budget fits with this range, you can grab it without hesitation and doubt as it will not disappoint you with the performance compared to the other brands at this price. But if you look for deep research and more detail and clear view, you may switch to other telescopes increasing your budget for sure.