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Celestron StarSense Explorer Guide [For Beginners]

The Celestron StarSense Explorer is so easy to use! Just dock your phone after downloading the app and get started exploring the night sky. The app calculates your position in real time and guides you with a list of currently visible objects.

How to Use the Celestron StarSense Explorer Telescope

Follow these seven easy steps to get started!

  1. Dock your smartphone onto the smartphone holder.
  2. Launch the Celestron StarSense Explorer App.
  3. Follow the simple steps to generate a list of all the best objects to view in your location.
  4. Select an object from the list.
  5. Follow the on-screen arrows to the desired object as you move your telescope. The StarSense Explorer Telescope recalibrates its position in real-time!
  6. When the bull's eye turns green, your object is ready to view in the eyepiece.
  7. Observe and learn about the object your viewing with descriptions and audio included!

How to use the celestron starsense explorer

You can use the StarSense Explorer anywhere! It requires no cell signal after you download the app. 

The Difference Between StarSense Explorer Models

The Celestron StarSense Explorer comes in four different models. Two are reflector telescope types and two are refractor telescope type. The StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ and the StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ are refractors, while the StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ and the StarSense Explorer DX 130AZare reflectors. Check out some of their different specs below. 

celestron starsense explorer types

StarSense Explorer Smartphone Compatibility

Celestron provided a list of all the smartphones compatible with the StarSense Explorer, which include the Google Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy A30, and Motorola Moto G7. Almost all Android devices that were manufactured in 2016 and later are compatible. iPhones 6 and newer are compatible.

Click here for a full list of compatible devices, or check out the visual below.
what phones are compatible with the starsense explorer

Using the Celestron StarSense Explorer App

The StarSense Explorer app calculates your position in real-time and guides you with a list of currently visible objects. Browse detailed information on celestial objects and audio descriptions for popular celestial objects while you observe.

 how to use the celestron starsense app

Available for iOS and Android. Download the app before you head out to remote locations. You can use the Celestron StarSense Explorer without a signal! But you will need it to download the app first.

What’s included with the Celestron StarSense Explorer

What's included with the Celestron StarSense Explorer

The Celestron StarSense Explorer makes an excellent telescope kit for beginners! All you need to provide is your smartphone, and you're ready to start your journey into the night sky. Find the full list of items that are included below.

  • 114 mm Newtonian reflector optical tube.
  • StarSense dock for your smartphone.
  • Low powered (25 mm) and high powered (10 mm) eyepiece.
  • 2x Barlow lens to double the power of each eyepiece.
  • StarPointer red dot finderscope, perfect for using the telescope during the day or without the StarSense Explorer app.
  • Altazimuth mount with slow motion control rod.
  • Full-height tripod with an accessory tray to keep you organized.

What You Can See with the Celestron StarSense Explorer

The Celestron StarSense Explorer is engineered to be able to locate Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, the Orion Nebula, double stars and other popular celestial objects.

Depending on your location, the Celestron StarSense Explorer app will give you a list of the best objects to see. Even though this smartphone telescope is advanced enough to provide observation in light-polluted areas, taking it to darker skies sites will provide even more objects to observe with more detail. Check out the Celestron StarSense Explorer 130AZ, 114AZ, 80AZ, or 102AZ to start your journey into the night sky. 


44 Responses


April 13, 2021

Hi Edward, great question. Yes, the smartphone mount that lets your phone “learn” what the telescope is seeing is separate from the eyepiece view. So you can attach a camera with a 1.25" barrel, such as any ZWO planetary camera, to the eyepiece directly to take photos. However, this mount does not have tracking, so it will only be good for short exposure imaging of the moon and the planets. Hope this helps! Please contact us if you have any more questions.


April 13, 2021

Hey Robert, thanks for your question. The relay mirror that the smartphone sees through can’t be aligned, but you can calibrate the smartphone in Celestron’s StarSense Explorer app to ensure that it’s properly aligned to the telescope view. It’s very easy to do, and is part of the setup process. Please contact us if you need more help with this. Clear skies!

Edward Ziegler

April 11, 2021

Very interested in the LT80AZ…Can an electronic camera (one that can be connected by USB to a computer for live photos) be connected to this scope? Thanks!


April 08, 2021

I’d like to recommend this scope to a friend after looking thru one at a recent star party. I was pretty impressed by the augmented reality Starsense Explorer App but noticed that it wasn’t quite aligned to the view of the scope. Are the adjustments that allow the camera and OTA to be aligned, eg. tip/tilt of the relay mirror? or is this done in software on the phone?


Simon Capelin

March 14, 2021

There is an ISS tracking app on iOS and Android. You will have to be quick with your scope though as the ISS moves fairly quickly across the sky. Depending on where you are and the ISS orbit at the time, it will be visible for between 1-6 minutes.


February 26, 2021

Hey Barrie, yes you can use your Samsung S20 with the Celestron StarSense Explorer telescope. We have included a link to the extended list of all compatible phones if you wanted to see others too. Clear skies!


February 26, 2021

Hey Dan, that’s a great question. There is no electronic connection between the Starsense Explorer telescope and your phone, but this particular model of telescope was designed to best work with the smartphone mirror mount on the telescope and Celestron SkyPortal app.

Barrie Ames

February 19, 2021

can i use a samsung S20 on the celestron starsence 130az


February 16, 2021

Is there any reason why a phone running the same app, or another app that also uses the camera to view the stars and align itself, could not be attached to a different telescope to provide the same kind of guidance and object-finding capabilities? Aside from the mechanical attachment and mirror, is there any electronic connection between the telescope and the phone?

John Hayes

February 06, 2021

Everything I read tells me collimation is important, but I don’t find any instructions for collimating a starsense explorer 130 DX. The telescope does seem to have adjusting screws to perform this function, but I have no indication how to use them.


February 05, 2021

Hey Olaf, you can use a smartphone adapter like the Celestron NeXYZ smartphone adapter to take images with your phone of what you can see through your eyepiece. This telescope is designed for visual use not for DSLR use.


February 05, 2021

Hey Aly! You have some great questions! We are so excited for you to start your astronomy journey with the Celestron StarSense Explorer! The most fragile part of a telescope is the main scope where the optics are kept. We have a collection of telescopes bags you can browse if you wanted some extra padding for your telescope when traveling with it. Please contact us if you have any more questions. Clear skies!


February 05, 2021

Hey Nick, great choice! This is not a computerized tracking mount, it uses the app and your smartphone to help guide you where to move your telescope to best observe the object. Once the planet or star moves from your view you would use the app to guide you on how to manually move your telescope to see it again! We hope this answers your question and please contact us if you have any more. We are more than happy to help you make the best choice!


February 04, 2021

Thinking about purchasing this telescope and wanted to know if it tracks your object once you lock onto it or is it all manual to follow a planet or star? Thanks!!


December 19, 2020

I just got the 130 as an early Christmas gift. I went through the quick set up guide and I’m excited to use it tonight. This is my first telescope. The quick setup guide was nice but where can I find some sort of chart that tells me ALL of the parts of my telescope? I would love to know the best way to travel with it and protect it. There is no info on that. What are the most vulnerable and most expensive parts? I feel like I’m treating the whole thing like a faberge egg. Lol. I want to understand the equipment so I’m not afraid to use it. Thanks!

Olaf Groth

December 19, 2020

So, the DX 102 AZ lets you take photos of objects in the view of the telescope via some kind of physical connection between the telescope and the iPhone? Thank you.


December 09, 2020


heather martin

December 07, 2020

Can you tell me what upgrades I can buy as accessories? What type of moon filter might work on the 114az? Size and brand


December 04, 2020

Hey Michael, that’s a great question. Your Samsung Galaxy 8 Plus is compatible with the Celestron StarSense Explorer. We have linked Celestron’s full list of compatible phones in that section of the blog. Please contact us if you have any more questions. Clear skies!


December 03, 2020

I have a Samsung Galaxy 8+ phone, which is not on the list. Is this scope compatible with my phone?


December 02, 2020

Hi Jesus, glad to hear you have been enjoying the Celestron StarSense! An upgrade to your telescope can be a Barlow lens which will double your eyepiece’s magnification. You can also add some eyepieces to your collection that range above 15mm. Check out our blog on eyepieces to see more samples of what each range can show you at This telescope is a great beginner telescope. There are many options to choose from if you wanted to look into a new telescope for more detailed views. Please contact us so we can best help you with finding the right parts or telescope. We hope this helps Clear skies!


November 27, 2020

I’m starting to view the sky more and decided to buy the Celestron starsense 114mm but I want to view more distance objects then just the moon, stars, nebulas and etc. Is this the best scope for it or am I better off buying another telescope? Also would I have to buy other accessories to see further? Thanks in advance.


November 27, 2020

Hey HKC, thanks for the great question. The Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ is spherical and the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is parabolic.


November 24, 2020

Hi there, The specs of StarSense Explorer 114AZ and the 130AZ don’t say which type of mirror it comes with, Parabolic or Spherical mirror? Any idea? Thanks.


November 24, 2020

Hi Jan Fronek, great question. The Celestron StarSense Explorer is a visual telescope that provides views of bright objects in the night sky, it’s main purpose is visual unlike the Celestron Nexstar 6SE where you can apply an imaging equipment, including adapters, and capture deep sky objects in detail. You could capture the Moon and some bright objects like Saturn with the Celestron StarSense by attaching a smartphone adapter like the Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adapter. After using your smartphone for alignment, you can then swap it over to the NexYZ mount for taking photos through the eyepiece. Hope this helps. Please contact us for any other questions. Clear skies!


November 24, 2020

Hello Mr. K. Holcomb, thank you for your valued feedback, we have updated the blog. Please contact us so that our tech team can help you with the Celestron StarSense Explorer. Clear skies!

Jan Fronek

November 23, 2020

what is the quality of the image that you can see with the StarSense Explorer
and how do they compare with the images that you may see with the Celestron 6SE ?

is it easy to 1. use your iPhone or 2. digital SLR to save some of the images to a camera?
do you need additional adapters?

Thank you!

Mr. K. Holcomb

November 22, 2020

You list the Samsung S6 as compatible. It is Not. Also your planet photos are misleading. Many expect to see the same views with these telescopes. They will not. Yes, you can see Jupiter and Saturn, only much much smaller and with much less clarity. Also, many people can not get the starsense app to perform correctly and have just given up trying to use it. Had I known this before hand, I would not have purchased the 130az.

Angie Anthony

November 17, 2020

Hello, I am looking to purchase a beginner telescope for my husband and would love more information on telescopes with phone compatibility. Any info would help and thank you so much.

David G Coleman

October 05, 2020

I am li Lemoore Ca and looking for a beginners telescope. you can contact me through my email. Thank you 10/5/2020


September 29, 2020

Hi David, the Celestron StarSense Explorer is compatible with the Samsung 9 Plus. Thank you for your feedback, we have updated the blog. Clear skies!

David Drake

September 26, 2020

Is the Samsung S9+ phone supported? its not on the list


September 24, 2020

Hello I work at an auction house and we recently given a Celeste on starsence telescope with many lenses to sell for a lady who’s husband had recently passed away! I have no idea how old or what it is worth if someone could email me to help me with this and if anyone would be interested in it please let me know! I am located in Lemoore ca the Central Valley I will not ship this so you would have to come pick up thank you

Bob Messina

August 27, 2020

I bought the STARSENSE 130mm scope
I love it!
I mount my new 5g smartphone with a simple cell phone holder
And my photos and pics
Are Professional
I bought nice coated eye pieces and this scope
Is ALL I NEED for pro photos of the moon
Jupiter and Saturn
Love this scope


August 07, 2020

Hi Joven, great question! Yes, you can attach a smartphone adapter like the Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adpater to the StarSense Explorer and capture bright objects through the telescope’s eyepiece.


August 07, 2020

Hi Jon, thanks for your question! The Celestron StarSense Explorer makes the alignment process easy! Since the StarSense Explorer is a computerized telescope. it will guide you through the alignment process once you choose the object you want to observe on the app. Please let us know if you have any other questions. We are happy to help.


August 06, 2020

Hello, just want to ask if it is possible to use a smartphone adapter for astrophotography on this telescope. Thanks

jon auer

July 26, 2020

question please. when you first set up the telescope, to you have to find the North Star off the horizon by your geographical location? and set the level and angle of the scope first? Like with a Normal Hand set up for A 130MM Reflector? forgive the newbe question here. Jon in Hermitage Ten.


July 10, 2020

Hello Giovanni, the Celestron StarSense Explorer telescope depends on your smartphone to function. You could use a smartphone adapter like the Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adapter to attach to the telescope and capture images. The Celestron StarSense Explorer is designed as a visual telescope so the best images to capture with the telescope is the Moon and bright planets. Please let us know if you have any more questions!


July 10, 2020

Hi Melissa, we have a wide variety of carrying cases available!

melissa trinidad

July 05, 2020

Where would I be able to purchase a carrying case for this specific telescope

Joanne roberts

June 17, 2020

Is my g8 thin Android from sprint compatible with celestron scope?


June 11, 2020

would I be able to take astrophotography as well on the same smart phone I use to navigate ? Or I need a separate camera connected to the eyepiece connector ?
thank you

william wyble

March 14, 2020

can you view the iss with this scope

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