Celestron NexStar 102 SLT Review

Celestron 22096 NexStar 102 SLT Review
  • 90%
    Performance - 90%
  • 88%
    Ease of Use - 88%
  • 86%
    Value for Money - 86%


The Celestron NexStar 102 SLT is a great choice for beginner and amateur astronomers looking for a GoTo (computerised) telescope with good optical performance and a reasonable price tag.

The Celestron 22096 NexStar 102 SLT computerised refractor telescope gives beginner astronomy enthusiasts an easy way to track and observe objects in the night sky.

For amateur astronomers who are not yet familiar with a night sky, finding objects to observe with an ordinary telescope can be difficult and time consuming.

That’s why I recommend a computerised telescope. It’s more expensive than an ordinary manual telescope but it makes observations more fun and productive.

The 102mm aperture sets the NexStar 102 SLT a step above entry-level telescopes in terms of optical performance. Using the included eyepieces, you’ll enjoy great views of the moon, planet and stars. And if you are not sure where to start, the telescope’s computerised mount can take you on a guided tour.

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT review

What are you buying?

1. 102mm Refractor Telescope

Astronomy enthusiasts looking for better optical quality typically go for a refractor telescope. It delivers sharper and clearer images of the night sky compared to a reflector telescope with a similar sized aperture.

Coupled with the large 102mm aperture, the NexStar 102 SLT guarantees a great viewing experience. Pair the telescope with the 9mm eyepiece to observe the moon and planets and the 25mm eyepiece to enjoy a wide-field view of stars and galaxies.

2. Computerised Alt-Az Mount

While not as good as an equatorial mount, the Alt-Az mount on the NexStar 102 SLT is perfectly suitable for beginners. The mount sits on a steel tripod to ensure it remains sturdy during observations.

The 102 SLT mount is computerised, meaning that you don’t need to move it manually. Simply press one of the directional buttons on the hand controller to move the telescope.

3. 40,000-object Database

The best part about having a GoTo telescope is that it becomes much easier to spot objects in the sky. You probably don’t know which area of the sky Jupiter appears in at a certain time of the year, but the telescope does.

All you need to do is set the right date and time and then align the telescope using the included finderscope. Once aligned and calibrated, you select an object from the built-in database and the telescope will automatically swing to the right spot in the sky.

With more than 600 galaxies, 300 star clusters and plenty of binary stars in the database, there is no shortage of object to look at.

And if you feel spoilt for choice and are not sure what to observe, select the Sky Tour feature and the hand controller will show you a list of the most interesting object currently visible in the sky. Select an object to begin the tour.

4. Portable Telescope

Another advantage of buying a refractor telescope, in addition to the improved optical performance, is the compact design.

Refractor telescopes are smaller and lighter than comparable reflector telescope, making them perfect for travelling.

The NexStar 102 SLT compact size makes it easy to carry it on road trips and camping adventures. It’s also relatively light with the entire kit weighing 8.9kg.

Note that the NexStar 102 SLT doesn’t come with a bag or case. If you plan to travel with it, I recommend getting one for easier portability and to protect the telescope from damage.

How easy is it to use?

Computerised telescopes may appear complicated, but they are actually easy to use. The NexStar 102 SLT is no different.

The only mildly challenging step is aligning the telescope. But with the built-in SkyAlign alignment technology and StarPointer Finderscope, even that is a piece of cake.

Here’s a quick video from Celestron explaining how to go about the alignment process. See how easy it is.

With the telescope aligned, even a complete beginner can locate and track night sky object. You just select an object in the database and the telescopes automatically takes you to the right spot.

Another thing I love about the NexStar 102 SLT is how easy it is to set up and break down, which makes travelling with it easy and convenient. You can break it down for traveling and once you get to your destination, have it up and ready in just a few minutes.

What accessories are included?

  • Two 1.25” eyepieces – 25mm and 9mm
  • Star Pointer Finderscope with mounting bracket
  • 25” star diagonal
  • Accessory tray
  • The Sky™ Level 1  astronomy software with a database of over 10,000 objects

Celestron Nexstar 102 SLT: Pros + Cons


  • Good optical quality for distant and nearby objects.
  • Compact and portable.
  • Easy to use computerised mount.
  • Includes two eyepieces and other accessories.


  • Some astronomy beginners may find it pricey.
  • Slight chromatic aberration.

Anything else you should know?

The Celestron NexStar 102 SLT telescope is not just great for night sky observations; you can also use it for terrestrial viewing much like a pair of binoculars.

Keep in mind though that the slow moving mount makes the NexStar 102 SLT less than optimal for bird viewing or observing moving animals. It’s best for observing static objects.


The Celestron NexStar 102 SLT is a great choice for beginner and amateur astronomers looking for a GoTo (computerised) telescope with good optical performance and a reasonable price tag.

If you’re looking for a slightly better telescope in the same category, check this NexStar 127 SLT.

Where to buy?

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