NexStar Resource Site

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Basic Information about the NexStar SLT Series
Read my review of the NexStar 102SLT here.

In February of 2005, Celestron introduced a new line of computerized scopes - the NexStar SLT.  Utilizing a new upgradeable NexStar hand control, the NexStar SLT series is quite similar to the NexStar GT series and in fact replaces it in the model lineup.   The NexStar SLT is offered in 60, 80 and 102mm refractor models and 114 and 130mm Newtonian reflector models.  Introductory prices range from $250 for a NexStar 60 SLT up to $420 for a NexStar 102 SLT. 

Optical performance of the 60 and 114 models are as I described for the corresponding NexStar GT models in my book, The NexStar User's Guide.  The 80 is the same optical tube as the NexStar 80 GTL described in the NexStar User's Guide updates section here on the web site.  The 130 is the same optical tube as the NexStar 130 GT described in the NexStar User's Guide updates section.  The 102 (pictured to the right) is an f/6 version of the optical tube found on the NexStar 102 GT which I described in the NexStar User's Guide updates section.  The longer focal length reduces chromatic aberrations, producing a sharper image than the f/5 version found on the 102 GT, while other optical performance measures are basically the same.

The mount has been significantly upgraded from the NexStar GT:

  • Tracking performance is greatly improved with the SLT; objects now remain in the field of view for as long as you care to watch them. 
  • The aluminum tripod has been replaced with a more stable, yet still very portable, steel leg model. 
  • The mount now includes an AUX port compatible with the CN-16 GPS module and the Auxiliary Port Accessory Kit.  The Aux Port Kit allows, among other things, the motor control firmware to be upgraded by the user. 
  • The optical tube attaches to the fork arm with a dovetail clamp assembly allowing quick and easy removal.  In fact, this allows the SLT mount to carry a wide variety of small optical tubes by attaching a matching dovetail bar.  The dovetail is compatible with the CG-5, LXD-55, Vixen GPs, etc.
  • The NexStar SLT is fully supported by Celestron's NexRemote software.
  • The AA batteries now fit inside the mount for cord-free use.

The new hand control sports the latest version of the NexStar firmware.  This includes features such as Identify and Constellation Tour.  This hand control responds to the same PC commands (via the RS-232 port on the bottom) as the NexStar 8/9.25/11 GPS, so programs compatible with the NexStar GPS are compatible with the NexStar SLT.

The biggest news regarding the new hand control is user upgradeability and the new alignment methods.  Future upgrades to the hand control firmware will be available for download via the Internet and owners can apply the upgrades themselves.  The new alignment methods are SkyAlign, Auto Two Star Align (first available on the NexStar 8i Special Edition), Solar System Align and One Star Align.  In addition to the new alignment methods, the new hand control still has Two Star Align.  Removed since the NexStar GT are Quick Align and Auto Align.  See the Alignment Guides section of this web site for details on the new alignment methods.

Additional information is found here on Celestron's web site.

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Michael Swanson
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