When you’re ready to graduate from star-hopping to tracking objects of interest through the sky, a computerized telescope with automated sighting and tracking can be an absolute game changer. The Celestron Astro Fi 102mm combines the power of an excellent Maksutov-Cassegrain scope with an automated altazimuth mount to provide superior viewing over the course of an entire evening. Backed by Celestron’s Starry Night Special Edition software package, this scope comes pre-programmed with the ability to locate more than 120,000 celestial objects. Ready to know more? Check out our detailed Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope review!
What Is the Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope?
There are two main features that set the Celestron Astro Fi 102mm apart from other telescopes. First, its optical tube assembly features a Maksutov Cassegrain design, which combines some of the best features of reflector and refractor telescopes. By combining mirrors with lenses, Maksutov Cassegrain scopes correct imperfections in the image like coma and chromatic aberration, but without the complicated collimating process that reflector scopes require.
What really makes this telescope unique, however, is its WiFi-enabled motorized altazimuth mount. Rather than relying on a local cellular or WiFi network, this telescope actually generates its own. Connect to a tablet or smartphone and use the Celestron SkyPortal app to enter objects of interest. Once properly aligned, the Astro Fi 102mm can automatically find your chosen object no matter where or when you’re stargazing.
|36 x 30 x 53 inches||14 lbs.||1 Lithium Metal Battery (included)||102mm||1325mm||Starry Night Special Edition software package|
Pros & Cons to Using the Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope
- Easy to use
- Suitable for astrophotography
- High-quality optics in addition to computerized mount
- Relatively portable
- Good for high-magnification and deep space viewing
- Great companion app
- Accurate slewing
- More expensive than non-computerized mounts
- Some users report connectivity issues
- Limited options for hand control
- Not suitable for wide field viewing
- The instructional manual is not very detailed
- Not much information available on the telescope yet
Where to Find the Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope
This telescope is available at a wide range of retailers, both online and in brick-and-mortar locations. It is available on websites like Amazon, as well as directly on Celestron’s website. There appear to be significant price variations depending on where (and when) you shop, so a little bit of research before you buy could save you quite a bit of money.
Since there are so many carefully calibrated features on the Astro Fi 102mm, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a new, rather than a used, telescope. These will still be covered by Celestron’s two-year warranty on parts and workmanship.
The design of this telescope’s optics makes it best for high magnification rather than wide angle viewing. It’s good at cutting through the light pollution of urban areas to make deep-space viewing possible no matter where you are. Though it’s not ideal in terms of portability, it’s also not hugely bulky or particularly heavy, and it offers a variety of automated realignment procedures that make it easy to set up in a new location and start tracking stars quickly.
You will need access to the Celestron SkyPortal app to make use of the motorized mount and star-tracking capabilities, however, so be sure to have it downloaded and ready to go on a tablet or smartphone beforehand.
The biggest complaint purchasers have about this telescope is its tendency to lose its WiFi connection, which then requires realignment before you can continue stargazing. The manual connection is supposed to overcome this, but some users have reported that connection sometimes has issues with lag.
No Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope review would be complete without some maintenance tips to keep your telescope safe. The maintenance needs of the Astro Fi 102mm combine some basic telescope care techniques with the same precautions you’d take with any electronic device. Avoid exposing either the optical tube assembly or the computerized mount to extremes of heat or cold. This could be particularly bad for the lithium battery contained in the mount. Similarly, avoid inclement weather, or other exposure to moisture which could cause fogging in the optical tube or damage the calibration of the mount.
Be sure to turn off electronic components before storing your telescope to avoid draining the battery. Disconnect any devices and store your telescope covered or in a case to prevent exposure to dust and grit that could damage it.
- 25mm eyepiece (53x magnification)
- 10mm eyepiece (132x magnification)
- StarPointer Finderscope
- Adjustable aluminum tripod
- Starry Night Special Edition software package
- Additional eyepieces are available
- A range of filters for viewing different objects is available
- Carrying cases and covers
- A/C adapter
Warranty and Guarantee Information
The last section of our Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope review provides information on the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Celestron provides a 2-year warranty that guarantees the telescope and components to be free of defects in manufacture or workmanship. If you suspect your telescope is defective, be sure to reach out and follow the instructions Celestron provides to handle returns and replacements.
Based on our Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope review, the results are a bit mixed. Functioning at peak efficiency, this telescope is ideal for beginning astronomers who are willing to put some money behind their hobby. However, the reports of limited connectivity and lag are somewhat problematic, as this telescope offers limited options for hand control. Some users have reported that relatively simple fixes for the connectivity issues are possible, but given that this is an expensive purchase, some may not like the idea of it requiring DIY fixes, however simple.
Have you used this telescope before? Have any tips and tricks to suggest? Let us know what your experience has been in the comments below. We’d love to hear your very own Celestron Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope review.
Recommended Read: Celestron Astromaster LT 76AZ Telescope Review