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Basic Information about the Astro Fi Series

In the summer of 2016, Celestron added an introductory level WiFi-enabled telescope to their line-up - the Astro Fi. Similar in design and capacity to the SLT mount, the Astro Fi is intended to be controlled by tablet or smartphone with Celestron's SkyPortal app.  The Astro Fi series is available with a 90mm refractor, 130mm Newtonian reflector, 4" Maksutov or 5" SCT optical tube. Additionally, the mount uses a standard CG-5/Vixen bracket to mount the tube to the fork arm allowing substitution of other small optical tubes if desired.

Power is provided by 8 AA cell batteries in the provided power pack or by any other 12VDC external power source. The provided power pack must be placed on the tripod tray or hung from an opportune location on the mount or tripod. The best solution is to utilize hook and loop (Velcro) straps to affix it to the fork arm.

The unique feature of the Astro Fi series is built-in WiFi to make use of the Celestron SkyPortal app on an Apple or Android tablet or smartphone. The SkyPortal app takes the place of the physical NexStar computerized hand control. In fact, the Astro Fi, unlike all other GoTo models sold  by Celestron, does not include a hand control. It is, however, compatible with the standard NexStar hand control as well as the StarSense AutoAlign hand control and camera. That said, one would general purchase the Astro Fi save on the cost of the hand control and make use of an existing tablet or smartphone. A word of caution: before buying an Astro Fi, be sure to test the SkyPortal app (available free in Google Play and the Apple App Store) on your smartphone or tablet to ensure it is up to the task of running this large app.

The Astro Fi series includes inexpensive Kellner eyepieces and the refractor models come with a low-quality mirror diagonal. The optical tubes in the Astro Fi series can provide much better views with improved eyepieces and diagonal.

Additional information is found on Celestron's web site -

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Michael Swanson
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