Celestron SkyProdigy 130 telescope pictures and hands-on

There's bound to be someone you know - probably you - who's hooked on all things space. A few Brian Cox docos here, a smattering of Deep Space Nine episodes there and, before you know it, you're wondering whether that's Orion's Belt or just a series of aeroplanes coming into land.

Find out for sure this Christmas, or even before, by picking up the Celestron SkyProdigy 130 which, we're assured by Amazon, is the top level of basic telescope before it all gets a bit too expensive and beardy. Naturally, our hands-on experience was a touch limited, given the almost permanent cloud coverage over the UK right now but we certainly had an eye-opener of a session as to how these things work.

First of all, the headline spec you'll want to know is that the SkyProdigy 130 brings you up to 307x magnification which is why you'll need a tripod to hold it still. The second fact to note is that it's entirely computerised, if you wish it to be, and that's good because otherwise you'll need to calibrate the thing by hand which involves lining it up with marker stars which you probably have no idea where they are. Instead, all you do with this £800 unit is press a button and away it goes.

Once set up, rather than look for constellations, nebulae and planets on your own, you can use the control panel - which looks rather like a 1980s carphone - to select celestial objects by name. The telescope will then rotate and focus to the right spot in the night sky all by itself.

The SkyProdigy 130 is made of all sorts of solid bits of steel and the good news is that it's apparently dead simple to take apart and put back together if you want to take it out in your car to a big hill away from the city lights. "A matter of minutes," is what we were told which apparently equates to about 4.

Perfect for some family bonding or just a good bit of geeking out on your own, the Celestron SkyProdigy 130 is well worth a look in.

20 of the best Hubble facts and photos



>