This reflector telescope is so large, it is almost off-kilter. It is the biggest tripod mounted telescope that you can comfortably obtain without crossing the line into Dobsonian territory. Best of all, the price is extremely fair and affordable for what is offered here.
The Polaris 130EQ Reflector is the largest version of the versatile Polaris line of telescopes. It is a full 3mm larger than it’s 127EQ cousin. That adds .1” to the aperture to this beast giving it a 5.1” aperture which squeezes out every last bit of light possible from the Polaris line. That means this telescope is the biggest, if not the best, in the whole line and it shows in its image quality and ability.
- Reflector design
- 130mm primary aperture
- f/5 focal ratio
- 260x highest useful magnification
- 26.5lbs assembled weight
The only downsides to a telescope of this size and scope are that it is a little on the heavy side and managing a large aperture reflector of this type for beginners can cause some unique challenges. These challenges might put complete new astronomers off when there are simpler options on the market.
But the price is nigh unbeatable.Check Latest Price
The Bigger, The Better
The size of this telescope, 5.1” primary aperture, gives this scope unique advantages over its peers. It is truly massive in terms of a casual grade reflector. Especially for the low price that it is sold at. The power to dollar ratio of this telescope is out of this world.
This can be seen reflected in its specifications. The 260x highest useful magnification is high and the focal ratio f/5 gives this scope the angle and power it needs to be a good deep space gazer.
This pairing of low focal ratio and high power means that this telescope will be exceedingly good at picking out large, bright, deep space objects. This list will include stellar nurseries, distant galaxies, distant clusters, colorful gas clouds, and more.
On top of all of that, it can still give the beginner excellent views of the surface of the moon, the Galilean moons, the rings of Saturn, and more of the familiar sights of the solar system.
It will get its best views, under a dark sky while peering into deep space. The darker the sky the better. Since the light gathering ability of this scope is so high, any light pollution is going to impede its ability to accurately image deep space objects.
That is why it is great that this telescope, while large, is still portable.
Many Dobsonian telescopes still try to claim that they are portable or easy to take on trips. I don’t think that is very accurate. Many Dobsonians are bulky, heavy, and require assembly which makes them difficult to move.
In contrast, the Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris 130EQ Reflector Telescope is still portable. Especially compared to their larger Dobsonian cousins. Dobsonians start at around 6” in diameter for the primary aperture. That means the Polaris 1320EQ is only .9” smaller than the Dobsonians but still has the advantage of being tripod mounted.
The telescope itself is a little weighty at 27lbs total, it can still be detached from the tripod and stored or taken along without much hassle. It does not require a lot of assembly other than attaching it to the base.
This means you can get a telescope that is almost the size of a Dobsonian with the portability of a standard Newtonian reflector. This could be a great combination if you are in the market for a dark sky telescope that you want to use to peer into deep space, something that is hard to do in areas with high light pollution levels.
The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall
While the large aperture size gives you unrivaled power in a portable form, the size can also be a hindrance. The heaviness of the optical tube combined with the instability of a standard tripod means that this telescope is not as balanced as it could be.
There is no way around it, this telescope is bulky. The official dimensions listed for it are 870mmx870mmx1555mm. That equals out to roughly three feet by three feet by five feet. It is a large telescope.
The counterbalance on the scope to keep it level during viewing is very large and bulky. The scope itself is not inherently out of balance, it is easily moved during use.
If you bump the optical tube or the tripod during viewing, it shakes and wobbles a lot. This makes it easy to move the telescope out of focus or alignment which can be frustrating. I would not suggest having this telescope around small children because they might end up knocking it over.
Also, traveling with this telescope or bumping it too much can easily get it out of natural alignment leading to more need for collimation compared to some smaller, more stable models.
These drawbacks are not deal breakers but they are going to be present and present minor issues to the user. You will have to be careful when setting up and using this telescope to avoid moving it too much. The weight makes it tougher to mount on the tripod and travel than some lighter models but all of this can be overlooked once you get a once in a lifetime view of some fascinating intergalactic object.
Meade Polaris Series Overview Video
A Plethora of Views
This is a Mead telescope that knows it has a good range and a decent amount of power because it comes included with a ton of accessories made to enhance the views of the telescope. Some telescopes come with only one or maybe two eyepieces to get you started. The Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris 130EQ Reflector Telescope includes three right out of the box.
They are three 1.25” eyepieces that offer low, medium, and high magnification options. They are 26mm, 9mm, and 6.3mm options.
The 26mm eyepiece is an especially nice addition as this is a low powered eyepiece. This eyepiece will allow you to get those excellent views of the near solar system. If they had left this one out, it would have made it more difficult to catch some high contrast views of the solar system.
The other two are medium and high powered eyepieces that will perform best while looking into deep space.
They have also included a 2x Barlow lens to increase the power of the included eyepieces. This gives you six different levels of magnification to try out and explore. All straight out of the box.
Throw in the equatorial mount with its slow-motion controls and latitude tracker, the red dot finderscope for manual searching, accessory tray, and the astronomy software that it ships with as well and you have a complete package that needs very little in the way of out of pocket upgrades.
The official profile for this telescope lists it as a telescope for intermediate astronomers. Many telescopes nowadays, especially at this price, are good for beginners or users of all experience levels. I would caution a complete beginner against getting this telescope as their first telescope or first reflector.
The combination of features offered is not super beginner friendly. The large size, equatorial mount, and focus on deep space could lead to frustration. It is harder to get good images from deep space objects for new stargazers and the equatorial mount is also not super conducive for beginners to track deep space objects.
This telescope is going to need more frequent collimation and realignment due to the propensity to be moved during use. Traveling with a reflector of this size will also cause a need for more frequent collimation. This could lead to blurry images and frustration for beginners.
The Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris 130EQ Reflector Telescope is a good reflector telescope. It is big, it is powerful, it works well and can be taken out to dark sky locations with relative ease. It would be a great option for intermediate astronomers who want to focus on their deep space gazing without jumping into Dobsonians. For anyone who doesn’t like Dobsonian telescopes, this will be your next-biggest option.
The only comparable telescope on the market in terms of power and price would be the Polaris 127EQ which is identical except it is a little bit smaller and a little bit lighter. If you want to shave off a couple of pounds and a few bucks and get the same experience, the 127EQ model also comes highly recommended.
Overall, this is a big aperture reflector that requires a steady hand and a firm vision but if you have both of those things it has the potential to be a fun and entertaining telescope.