237 of 243 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2011
After much debate on purchasing this scope ( a Newtonian Reflector on a Equatorial Mount with 130mm aperture ) or a Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope, I went with this scope for a couple of reasons.
1. This scope is supposedly ( more on this later ) more portable then the 8" tube and base that I would have received. I have small two door car and would not have been able to fit the tub in the trunk and only in the passenger seat.
2. This scope is on a Equatorial Mount which would be needed if you wished to take long exposure AstroPhotography or wanted to have a the telescope track objects in the sky without having to continually adjust.
3. It provided a very bright telescope ( f/5 ) with a wide field of view which was recommend to me to be better for a beginner.
4. The mount could later be upgraded to attach a motor to automatically track objects. Again a plus for taking photos or if you have people over and would like it to stay centered on the object. I was amazed at how quickly objects will move out of view, even a few minutes and your object will disappear.
5. This scope does a little bit of everything well enough and can let me grow or dabble into different areas without having to purchase another scope or added features. At most, you would need two accessories. A Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens to help with magnification ( The long tube version of this scope Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector has a longer focal point as well as the Dobsonian reflectors which gets your more magnification for the same eyepeice) and a camera mount/accessories for taking photos.
This is my very first telescope and I will give you my opinion in each area of the product as well as issues I ran into as a beginner.
The scope arrived very well packed with many empty boxes inside the package to serve as cushion for the telescope and parts. It is a single box that is about four feet long and about 50 lbs. Unpacking may take a bit to carefully set up the parts for assembly.
It comes with a manual, Orion's starry night software which I found helpful as beginner ( also notifies you of any upcoming events that you may want to watch) , tools for assembly of the telescope ( no hex wrench for collimation i.e. adjusting the mirrors ), collmination cap, and two eye pieces. A 10mm for 65x and a 25mm for 26x magnification.
The instructions list that this should take 30 minutes. I agree if I had to do this a second time and I could probably do it in 15 by the second or third time. However, as a beginner with no prior experience, expect an hour to 1 1/2 hour to assemble. The instructions are good but a bit hazy and unclear during certain steps for a beginner. This is due to the large area of controls, gears, and levers on the mount itself that can seem a bit over bearing at first before you are familiarized with the controls. It would be helpful to have smaller diagrams between steps showing exact controls or parts to move. You may have to re-read the steps a few time and continue to consult the single diagram for reference.
Order of Assembly:
1. Mount tripods to Mount ( Mount is heavy! )
2. Add and assembly accessory tray
3. Thread and add counterweight to mount ( Be very careful )
4. Add ring mounts ( will hold the telescope tube or OTA ) to mount. Remember to add the correct one to the correct side
5. Carefully set tube in ring mounts and tighten.
6. Adjust balance of telescope in both axis
7. Add slow control knobs to worm gears
Notes about assembly:
I ran into issues at first after installing the counter weight. I was under the impression that the locking bolts to secure the mount at a particular angle would hold the mount in place with the counterweight. No matter how tight you press the weight will force the mount down. I assumed something was broken but luckily I figured out that the latitude adjustment bolt needed to be set first. This bolt limits how low the mount will go. In my case, with the bolt not set the counterweight would flop down and hit the tripod legs. Setting this bolt to 30-40 degrees stops it from BENDING lower and the counterweight stays still now.
Second issue I had was mounting the tube rings on the wrong side. There is one right with a small metal wheel on top to be used for taking photos with a camera. That ring should be toward the FRONT of the telescope WHICH IS where the SLOW MOTION CONTROL for Declination is! This means the control knob ALSO points towards the front of the telescope.
I used the included cap ( place over the focuser or eyepiece tube on the telescope ) to check if the mirrors were aligned. I looked through and it looked pretty close to me at first and I wanted to get out and test it. You should check it after receiving it as some of it may be off. Mine was as I realized later however it was close enough to still see brilliant images the first night. I corrected it today and after over an hour of the learning process I have mine aligned well and it did seem that the moon was sharper then the day before. This is a maintenance process that you have to do on these types of scopes. The first time, it's tough. If I had to do it again now I could do it in about 5-10 minutes or less.
Here are some of the mistakes a beginner like me made that caused confusion:
When you use the collimation cap, you are supposed to see all these "rings" and reflections of the mirrors. There are only two things you are going to adjust, the secondary mirror and the primary mirror ( the big one at the back of the tube). The secondary mirror is the tricky one. Basically, you look down the focuser and with the telescope parallel to the horizon ( in case you drop a screw or tool and don't' want it falling onto the mirror and breaking it! ) you look through and see if the dark black ring around the center is , well centered. If not you start by using a Philips screw to adjust on the front of the scope. There is a cross at the front and only one Phillips head screw in the center to modify. This Moves the mirror toward the back of the tube or toward the front. This just aligns it so that when you look through you are seeing the whole image of the secondary mirror through the focuser. You may rotate it if it's at an angle but only touch the stub, not the mirror itself. Then, you can use a 2mm Allen wrench to adjust the three screws to adjust the tilt to make that dark black ring in the center. There will be a ring shaped mark that you will see. don't worry about getting that centered yet, only the dark ring around it. Once that is done, you unscrew three screws at the back to take off a cover and then find 6 screws to adjust the back mirror. This is trial and error as well but you just have to move either of the screws a little bit and it will cause the ring mark to move and center with the dark dot directly in the center. This "dot" is the hole that you are looking through that you will see in the mirror reflection.
USING THE TELESCOPE
Finally, actually using the telescope is not so bad but you will have to get used to moving it around a equatorial mount. It does not move left to right and up and down. It moves in "arcs" that match the movement of the Earth. For the first night, I just moved the telescope around and moved it into position of the moon without polar aligning the mount. Since this was a quick test, I didn't care about that just yet. All the controls moved well and smoothly. I did have to tighten the RA and Dec knobs well to make sure no movement happened, though if you give it a hard nudge or rested your hand on the tube you could accidentally move it slightly. The scope is a bit sensitive to movement. The tripod base was sturdy but once you got to the tube you could tap it and it would bounce slightly and then stabilize. I feel this is normal for any mount in this price range of this type as I tested from tripod off tapping everywhere to see where I could make adjustments to make it more sturdy. All the pieces are heavy and solid, and I think once it gets to the tube itself there is some play in movement just because the telescope is a rolled metal tube.
Adding and taking off eyepieces is fairly easy. Simply loosen two screws pop into place. The focuser worked well. Some people complain that it is plastic, but it does not make it work poorly because of it. It was very smooth focusing and also held my DSLR camera with the Orion 1.25" Universal Camera Adapter in place fine.
Fantastic. I had my neighbors over and we were all very impressed with shots of the moon. Pictures would not do it justice to how sharp and clear the images were. I also later that night pointed the telescope at Jupiter and with the 2x barlow lens and 10mm eyepiece could see Jupiter and all four moons. I was very impressed. The image was tiny in the eyepiece but you could see them clearly. I have purchased a 5mm eyepiece for higher magnification ( 130x base and 260x with a 2x barlow ).
Everything is packaged well, seems of decent heft and weight, and is relatively good quality. I only found maybe a few parts that felt "cheap" but really, everything worked well and didn't degrade it from performing properly. I think for the price that this sells for I got good product.
This telescope is wonderful and is versatile. It is a bright scope with a wide field of view. It is on a equatorial mount which if you plan on growing into the hobby will want to learn how to use. If you want to try AstroPhotography you have everything basically ready to start other than a mount for your camera. You can adjust the magnification to get very high power with a simple eyepiece upgrade to match other longer focal length scopes. It IS portable, if you take the tube and tripod/mount/counterweight apart before traveling. For me I will be able to fit each piece into my tight spaces and still have someone in the passenger seat. For those with larger vehicles, the Dobsonian telescopes might be more portable. Overall this is a well made scope with options to grow into and can give you some flexibility. My number one reason for buying this over a Orion xt8 is that I could learn and work with a little bit of everything in this new hobby.
148 of 153 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2007
I purchased the 130St about two years ago ever since I've had nothing
but enjoyment from this telescope. On my first observation I picked up
the double cluster in Perseus(NGC869 and NGC884) which was so clear the
stars looked like bright pinpoints of perpendicularly crossed lights.
Venus was also quite amazing to see, its cresent disk could be easely
and clearly seen. I later on saw Saturn you can easily see its rings
and moons,and Jupiter was a sight to see with propper focusing you could
easily see its cloud belts. Galaxy's where clearly seen on dark nights
,but don't expect to much on galaxy's because they are so far away even
a twelve inch scope won't pick up much more than a five inch scope.
I can't say enough good about this telescope it comes with great accessories and every thing you need to get you going.
191 of 203 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2006
First of all, everything I know about using a telescope comes from the Orion website. They have articulate, concise, and well written articles/tutorials/star charts, that gently introduce beginners to the hobby FOR FREE! Second, and most importantly, this little scope is amazing! I live in suburbia next to a street lamp, and down the road from an obnoxiously bright Walmart. Even with the moon setting in the western sky, I could easily see Saturn, and the Cassini Division. In the week that I've owned the scope, I have also seen Sirrius, Mars, and spectacular views of the moon w/ terminator. My house blocks the northern sky from the backyard, so I haven't been able to Polar align the scope yet. But with a star chart, objects are relatively easy to find using the finder scope. The 130mm aperature captures a lot of light! Deep sky images are wonderful with high contrast and wide field of view. Planetary images are very well defined with higher magnification eyepieces. I have had the best luck setting the tripod in grass, because hard surfaces tend to cause a little vibration. Additionally, the physics of the EQ2 mount may necessitate an above average degree of mechanical aptitude (The original owner I bought it from assembled it completely wrong, and even discounted the price because she thought it was missing parts, which it wasn't)! I can't wait to take it away from the city lights! I highly recommend this telescope for its quality and value (even when purchased new). I also recommend the company for its dedication to my enjoyment of the hobby, even though they made no profit from my purchase (yet! They've won me over for the next one though).
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Orion telescopes are known for their quality and exemplary customer service (after the purchase). I have owned over half a dozen scopes and the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Reflector is a great scope for the beginner, and is also a highly portable scope for the amateur.
There are so many things to like about this scope. First of all, I have always liked reflectors, since the eyepiece is at a height that is convenient for viewing. (A refractor is much harder to look through, especially at objects directly overhead). At 27 pounds, this telescope is quite portable, enabling one to excape one's backyard for other viewing locations if desired. With its equatorial mount, once properly set up, the scope will follow the night objects with a tiny twist of the RA control wheel. Many newbies do not realize how fast stars, planets, and the moon drift from east to west, so having a manual fine control knob to follow objects across the sky is a huge plus. (Note: An optional EQ-2M or AstroTrack electronic drive can be added for automatic tracking - see Orion website). The tripod is best set up on grass or solid ground, rather than a deck, patio, or concrete surface, as the tripod legs may skitter or vibrate a bit on an artificial surface (Some people put rubberized thin carpet tags under the tripod bases when they set up on asphalt or concrete). Orion provides a one-year warranty, which provides peace of mind.
As far as viewing is concerned, this is a great scope for crystal-clear images. It has a wide field of view due to it shorter focal length (f/5), so objects are a bit easier to find. The 130 mm (5.11 inch) optical parabolic mirror gathers enough light to make images bright and clear (especially compared to a refractor). The light-gathering power of this scope is what makes it so special. In order to see celestial objects clearly and distinctly, enough light needs to be gathered and focused to a sharp point. This scope accoplishes this - stars are pin-point and planetary views show the moons of Jupiter (cloud bands on Jupiter), rings of Saturn, and more. Being a short focal length scope I think this instrument excells at star clusters, nebula, Messier objects, etc. The lunar views are quite good - sharp and clear.
The scope comes with 2 eyepieces (25mm and 10mm). You may want to purchase a "shorty" barlow lens for added versitility. The barlow magnifies the views of the two eyepieces by 2 power, effectively giving you 4 different views. The shorty barlow gives a wider range of viewing options, especially for planetary and lunar viewing. Orion Shorty 2x Barlow Lens, 1.25"
I don't think you can find a better starter scope for a child or teen interested in astronomy. Yes, you pay more for this scope than the much cheaper store brands, but the extra money buys QUALITY - which cannot be stated enough. Observing with a quality instrument is pure joy, compared to the frustration of a cheaper store scope.
This is a good scope at a reasonable price. (A scope like this one will also hold its resale value compared to the store-bought cheapies). Recommended.
82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2007
I already own an 8 inch GOTO telescope, and although I love it, it is quite an affair to setup, and is quite heavy. I leave my 130 ST scope in the garage, and can be observing in a few minutes. The scope is light but stable, and sturdy. The adjusments are smooth, and with the optional drive, I can track stars, if I will be viewing for a longer time. The planets came sharply into view, so I think it is a great intermediate scope, and one you can take with you on a trip.
(The manual was also very clear)
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
I have always been interested in the night sky, but my stargazing was usually limited to guessing the name of a bright star or catching the occasional meteor shower. I asked my husband for a telescope for Christmas on a whim, and after reading the reviews on Amazon, he decided on this one for me. I was excited about my gift, but I was afraid that this would be a complicated hobby when I saw the box, especially since I know nothing about astronomy or telescopes! However, I think he made an excellent choice!
The scope came packaged in several small boxes within the larger box complete with a detailed instruction manual and tools for assembly. The manual is one of the best I have seen for any piece of equipment. It is more than just assembly instructions in that it reads like an instructional article about how the scope works and basic astronomy tips. In addition to precise instructions for assembly, it also covers directions for balancing and focusing the scope as well as aligning the finder scope. The manual also goes into detail explaining how the equitorial mount works, which can be very confusing if you have never owned a scope. I had to refer back to it several times when first setting it up. After fine tuning the equipment, a section is dedicated to astronomical observing--choosing the best site, atmospheric conditions, eyepiece selections, objects to observe, etc. I'm sure I could have found all this info online, but having it handy was much more helpful. It took my husband and me about 30 minutes to complete the assembly, and I was outside observing in a few short minutes afterwards. I did end up polar aligning it later though. The scope relatively light (around 30 pounds or so) and easy to carry. I have no problem carrying it in and out each night by myself. This was an absolute plus over some of the other scopes on Amazon (namely the Dobsonian) that are bulky/heavy. I think the portability makes it so much more convenient.
For the first time observing, the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces were certainly adequate to observe the sky's major attractions. The moon was amazing, but I soon learned that a filter is a MUST if you plan on staring at it for any length of time. Even at less than a quarter full, it was still blinding. I was able to see Jupiter as a large disc and its faint moon with my 10 mm, and the 25 mm offered a wide field of view. The scope came with the Starry Night software that allows you to print star charts for your location at the time you are planning on observing. It also displays the sky in real time or any time in the future (or past for that matter) so you know what events are occurring later. It also has some great educational tours of the different constellations by season and other heavenly objects to find.
It wasn't long and now I am hooked on astronomy. It's a wonderful learning experience! After reading lots of reviews and articles from Orion's Amazon customers and from their website (and tons of other sites!), I decided I wanted additional eyepieces and filters. Since this scope is very "buildable", there are a bunch of additions that can be made. My hubby ordered the Orion 1.25" accessory kit which came with a Shorty 2X Barlow lens and 5 eyepieces ranging from 40mm to 6.3mm. It comes with a 10mm, so I have an extra one of those now, but the Barlow doubles my eyepiece collection! The kit also came with a moon filter (neutral density) as well as 5 other colored filters. The viewing hasn't been the best in the past few days since I've had my scope, but I have been able to see some awesome stuff. The clarity of this scope is amazing. Pictures really don't do justice to the image that you can see through the eyepiece. The moon has truly been an awesome sight, and you can see a lot with the different magnifications. I was finally able to see Jupiter's cloud bands and a couple of the moons, but I haven't tried out my colored filters yet to bring out the details. I was dancing around the yard like a crazy woman when I focused in on Orion's Nebula. What a beautiful sight!
I plan on getting more stuff later, maybe the motor drive or camera mount. I have been awkwardly trying to take pics of everything with my iphone held up to the eyepiece. It's a pain in the butt, but every now and then I get a good shot so I can show it off to my friends. Now everyone wants a telescope! Who knew being nerdy would be so cool?
Overall, I obviously recommend this scope to anyone who even has a slight interest in astronomy. It offers a lot of bang for the buck and is perfect for those who enjoy learning. I have become much more aware of the sky and can better orient myself when it comes to direction (good for when I am lost in the wilderness and need to walk north until I find civilization ha!). In this short time I am familiar with the constellations, many of the names of the major stars, and general astronomical terms. This may not seem to be a big deal for those who are more knowledgeable about the sky, but it's pretty cool to learn something new.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2009
I bought this telescope as a birthday gift for my husband and he absolutely loves it. I wanted something that was ok for the beginner, but had enough "growing room" that once he really got going he would still enjoy it. This telescope is the perfect combination.
Orion shipped this out really fast even though I only opted for standard shipping. It took less than a half an hour to put together and is easy to move around (from the deck to inside, etc.). The picture of the sky is crisp and bright and as far as I can tell, well worth the money.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2012
Pros: portable - 24" Tube Length, parabolic mirror, Nice solid aluminum tripod and EQ mount, arrived close to collimated, easy to assemble(for an EQ mount), includes 2 eyepieces, well made, product support is good, 5" Aperature is good in dim skies without being overkill in light-polluted areas
Cons: 10mm plossl has very short eye relief(read below), assembly instructions are non-existent, Fast(F5) mirror means you'll have to spend more on eyepieces(a trade off for portability), EQ mount takes more to set-up than Alt-Az
Bottom Line: I bought this direct from Orion and couldn't be happier. If you want a good portable Newtonian on an EQ mount, buy this! If you don't know What an EQ mount is, buy the 6" Orion Dobsonian.
Details: If you're just starting, you'll want some additional accessories. The included eyepieces(25mm and 10mm) both work well at 26x and 65x magnification respectively. However, if you wear glasses, the short eye-relief of the 10mm will make you want a better alternative. (look for 6 element Celestron or Meade 5000) Stay to these more expensive eyepieces for anything smaller than 15mm. Also, it takes an exceptional night of still air for anything below 10mm to be useful. So one good 5 or 6mm eyepiece goes a long way. On the other end, the minimum usable magnification is around 21x. Below that you'll see the spider and secondary mirror. So a 32mm 1.25 eyepiece is a nice wide-field accessory to hunt. In fact the 32mm is WAY more useful than a 5mm most (but not all) nights. You'll also need a collimating eyeiece and a 2x barlow. Orion, Meade, Celestron all make versions. All of them work.
EQ vs. Alt-Az mounts- Equatorial mounts have a primary axis that(supposed to be) is aligned with the axis of rotation of the sky. A properly aligned EQ mount will be able to track an object as it moves accross the sky with minimal (or if motorized, no) adjustment. However, they are heavy and require skill to align properly. They are EXTREMELY useful for time lapse astro-photography. Alt-Az mounts have a simple spin/elevation setup. they are quick and easy to set up. They are easier to use than EQ mounts. But unfortunately they suck at tracking objects across the sky. Both have their uses and I don't advocate one over the other. Your intended use will decide which mount is best for you.
- The tripod comes with 3 legs, the EQ mount and spider, a center brace that hooks to the 3 legs and a triangular tray that hooks to this brace. A simple design with 5 basic pieces.
- Attach the 3 legs to the spider(at the bottom of the EQ mount)finger tight
- Stand up the tripod and attach the triangular brace to the 3 legs and tighten
- Flatten the brace to push out the legs fully and install the triangular 'tray' using the 3 wing screws finger tight.
- Loosen the 3 bolts on the spider and let it 'settle-on' to the tripod legs. This step is important as these are slots not holes. Re-tighten the bolts with the provided wrench.
- The tripod should now feel totally solid. If it doesn't, refer to the picture in the manual. Do NOT mount the telescope or counter-weight onto the tripod until it is stable and solid!
- Remove the mounting rings from the telescope tube and attach them to the EQ mount. Use the picture on the manual for help with what faces which way. (Also the N-S-E-W picture in the manual is very helpful.)
- Attach the counter-weight and rod to the mount. Push the weight all the way up the rod and tighten it.
- Mount the tube in the rings.
- Balance the telescope. (Adjust where the counter-weight sits on the rod) using the instructions in the manual
- Collimate the telescope. (Beyond the scope of this review and MUCH easier with a Cheshire eyepiece. Also necessary on all Newtonians/Dobsonians.)
- Attach the finder scope. (Don't lose the O-ring it goes around the finder to keep it tight in it's ring.)
Stuff you'll want-
- 32MM plossl eyepiece (for wide views)
- 5-7mm 6 element eyepiece (for GOOD nights)
- Maybe an 8-24mm zoom eyepiece (to keep from having to change eyepieces all frelling night!)
- 2x barlow lens (doubles your lens collection)
- collimating eyepiece (You want one of these, REALLY you do)
Most important thing to remember when buying eyepieces - DON'T worry about high magnification!!! The atmosphere THAT NIGHT decides what your max magnification is. The nights you can use that 4mm eyepiece at all are rare. DO buy the BEST EYEPIECES YOU CAN AFFORD!!! This is a fast scope. It will not be forgiving of poor eyepieces. It will not like small ( < 12mm) Kellners or Plossls. This is especially true if you wear glasses due to the short eye-relief. (Eye-relief is the distance between the eyepiece and your eye. If it gets too short, there's no room for glasses.) So spend the extra few bucks and get the nicer eyepieces, especially for the smaller focal lengths. Your eyes will thank you.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2009
my husband spent about a week deciding on the perfect scope and looking at ALL types, he decided on the orion. it is FANTASTIC!!!!! he is really enjoying seeing everything there is to see. yes, if you buy this, you too will be outside.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2014
This telescope is incredible! absolutely love it. the mount is sturdy and reliable and very easy to use. the optics are easy to adjust. i've been able to see the orion nebula, andromeda galaxy, saturns rings, jupiters moons and cloud belts and of course craters on the moon. this telescope is the best that ive seen out there in this price range.