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435 of 437 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2006
I bought this telescope for my girlfriend for Christmas. She had been wanting a telescope for sometime so I decided this would be the perfect gift. I was looking for a scope that wouldn't break the bank but wouldn't be a piece of junk either. I looked at models from Meade and Celestron but ultimately decided on this one.

I chose this over the refractor telescopes mainly because it seemed that to look into the refractor scopes would require a lot of bending over whereas this one has the eyepiece closer to eye level which makes viewing easier. Also, go for the equatorial mount, it's much easier to track things in the sky using it as we quickly found out.

Ok, so how was it? Well it came in a big box (which made the g/f crazy with this HUGE gift under the tree!) and everything was nicely and neatly packed. Everything appeard to be of high quality and good build; which is typical of Orion products from what I've read. The instruction maunal on assemble was pretty scarce. Anyone who's pretty handy at building things will be able to figure it out; but it's not the easiest thing either. This is mainly because of a lack of pictures to go along with the assembly steps. Well we got it assembled and waited for dark.

It was pretty cold and we just did some viewing of the moon and a couple of stars from the front yard. A hazy night with tons of light from the street didn't provide the best viewing conditions. That being said the moon looked amazing!! The detail was outstanding. We were able to also see the Orion Nebula and looked at other stars. I can't even imagine what it will look like on a good clear night. We're looking foward to bringing it camping with us where there will be some great viewing. The included software is also extremely useful and fun to use. The software alone is easily worth more than half of the price of this scope. Even if you hate the scope; you can learn a lot of great information from the software.

Overall this is a great scope for the amateur astronomer. It's cheap enough that it won't break the bank (good especially if you're not sure if astronomy is for you) but still plenty good enough for some great viewing. The instruction manual could be better but the quality of the software and of the scope itself more than makes up for the poor manual. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for a good budget scope!

*Update* We've had this scope for about 16 months now, and it's fantastic!! We have taken it with us several places camping and have gotten to see some really great stuff. It's fairly easy to find the planets and even a galaxy or two. The only downside is that it takes up a lot of room in the car when we camp; but this would be true for any decent telescope. So not so much a problem with this one specifically, but with telescopes in general. Even to this day, we're still amazed just looking at the moon. The details and "awesomeness" of it never get old. Really looking at everything never gets old. I'm so glad we have this scope!

*December 2010 Update* I thought I would give an additional update. We have had this telescope for 4 years now. It's fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I cannot recommend it enough. Recently we were looking at Jupiter and could make out all of the Galilean moons as well as being able to make out red striping of the planet itself (still haven't been able to see the great spot!). All of this from the front of our yard in the city. A buddy of mine got a 7" reflector scope, and while his can see much deeper and give better resolution, this one is still tops in my book. It's easy to transport and move around and still provides great viewing. We just love taking it camping with us - get 50 miles out of the city and the "awe factor" grows exponentially. Try taking a huge super powerful scope camping, or seeing anything cool with one of the cheap toy-store ones. For price and features, you can't beat this one.
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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2009
I was worried when I read the other reviews on this product but decided it was the best scope in the price range and went ahead. I think the other reviews do this product a disadvantage. This is a really nice telescope.

One review said it was hard to put together with little instruction. This is not the case. I has step by step instructions that are easily followed. You must pay attention to what you are doing though. Each image in the directions is clear as to which part goes up and the axis for each knob, etc. It takes time to assemble. I did it with my ten year old sister and let her try to figure each direction out and do it and it took us 1.5 hours to assemble. If an adult was doing it probably 45 min. would be about accurate.

Once it is put together it is great. I could easily find things in the sky to look at. I did have trouble aligning the red dot pointer but once on a good object and aligned it is hard to get out of alignment. Constellations are very nice to look at in the scope and the moon and some close planets are spectacular in detail. I was pleased in purchasing this as a gift for a ten year old. Also she was quick to catch on how to use it and it didn't take more than a half hour for her to be finding and adjusting the knobs to get things in focus. I would recommend this for a low-medium priced scope.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2010
This is my first telescope. My wife bought it for me for my birthday and the first thing I did after setting it up was took it outside and saw Jupiter! Using the 25mm and 10mm eyepieces that came with it, I was able to see the dark bands around Jupiter (better on the 10mm) and the 4 Galilean moons! I just got 2 more eyepieces for Christmas and am looking forward to trying them out. I haven't gotten any filters yet, but that's next on my wish list.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2011
I bought this telescope as a Christmas present for my family. My daughter (soon to be 12) is a bit of a science geek, and I have always been interested in astronomy, so I figured we would give it a try. My daughter helped me to put it together. Thankfully the mirrors did not need to be installed, or for that matter, adjusted. We took it out to the deck in our back yard and were very disappointed! I couldn't find anything in the night sky, and my sight didn't work. Later that night I re-read the instruction manual. I guess I didn't read it very closely the first time, because it was filled with directions on how to properly sight the scope and a bunch of different ways to adjust the telescope.

So the next day armed with this knowledge, I sighted in the finder on an object about a mile away and I played with the different adjustment knobs to get more familiar with the telescope. My daughter and I tried again that night. The moon was in the first quarter. I sighted it in and.....there it was in the lens! My daughter was very impressed. Next I sighted in on Venus, but it was partially obscured by some trees, as it was lower on the horizon. Directly above us was Jupiter, so I decided to try that next. I sighted it in and sure enough, there it was right in the middle of my lens! We then switched to the 10mm lens and looked at Jupiter...beautiful! We could even see a few of Jupiter's moons! My daughter was very excited seeing all these objects! It's nice to see her interested in science, and I think this telescope will really help with that!

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading the instruction book (multiple times if you are as dense as I can be!). It seems every time I read it, I find something else that helps me. Also take the time to learn the different parts and how to adjust them. The Equatorial Mount is really nice, but if you don't know what you're doing, it's useless.

I think this product is perfect for the beginner astronomer who is willing to take a little time to learn to use the product.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2012
I was looking for a good first telescope, and after a few days of research settled on this one. This product has been, in my mind, the best money I have spent. It is a great telescope for a beginner astronomer: very sturdy scope and mount, great views, and wonderfully maneuverable. It can be a bit cumbersome to move around if you screw the tray in, because it locks the legs, but that is the only "complaint" because if it bothers you can just choose to leave it uninstalled.

One thing that was a particularly pleasant surprise is how well the finder scope works. It acts as a red dot sight, and after just screwing it in it was already aligned (perhaps by luck) and helps me find targets easily. I thought it was going to be junk as most of the finder scopes I've used in the past were, but I use it every time I point to a new target.

Lastly the service I received from Orion has been some of the best service I have experienced. They are friendly and helpful and my telescope arrived a week earlier than expected. Over all I am very pleased and will be purchasing from Orion for a long time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2012
Received this for Christmas and love it. I believe this scope has a lot of bang for the buck. There is lots to love so lets start with the potential cons: equatorial mount, do a little research, its not that complicated and you will be glad you did; the directions, yes they are scarce, but, I found it pretty self explanatory; craters on the moon!? Ya, you can see them as well as Jupiter and its moons and even some of the planets stripping, all with stock equipment; collimation, it stinks the first time but gets easier, you may have to do it straight out of the box, I did; the tripod, the legs are aluminum, light weight and adequate, could be perceived as cheap, some vibration, but I expect that at high magnification; no you can't close the tripod all the way with the tray installed, I don't find it that big of a deal.

I am happy with the quality for the price range, I will certainly be getting some more accessories, I spent hours outside tonight in the cold and loved it, just observing the moon and Jupiter. I was really blown away with Jupiter. Can't wait to see what else the sky has to offer. I am very satisfied with this item.

*UPDATE January 2013*

I found the updates from a previous reviewer very helpful, in that spirit I offer an update on my experience. I have used this product about a dozen times in the past month, and, I still really like it. I have seen the Orion nebula, crab nebula, studied the moon and Jupiter many times, seen uranus and the pleiades. I have not been able to take it anywhere but my deck which is quite light polluted, but still had fun. I really want to view Saturn, but have yet to stay up late enough or get up early enough to see it.

Although I have no experience with an altazimuth mount, I am psyched I opted for the equatorial. I am sure you get used to tracking within the field of view with the altazimuth, but I find I like to look, then take a break and come back a minute or two later and with the equatorial a couple turns of the knob and the object is right back in view, I love that. Aligning the mount is easy as you only need a rough alignment for viewing.

Collimation is much easier now, not that I have had to do it much. I have been using my 36in level for the tripod but will be buying a small bullseye or bubble level soon, they are only a couple dollars at the hardware store.

Vibrations are significant but I don't find them a problem, it is a symptom of a light scope and mount, the only thing with any mass is the equatorial head. I find, however, that this helps teach the first lesson in astronomy...patience. Astronomy is a lot of waiting and patience and the finesse of slight adjustment, it is relaxing to enjoy life without the hustle for a while.

One thing I don't like is the dove tail mounting of the optical tube. With tube rings you can adjust the optical tube so that the eye piece is at a convenient angle, with the dove tail, when I point west the eye piece is often at an odd/uncomfortable angle pointing down, so either I squat or needed to raise the tripod, which can be a pain. I believe this mod should be easy if you wanted to do it, but beware that it will add more to balancing the telescope since the dove tail essentially places the tube in balance for you.

I have been interested in getting a telescope for years, but got it now because I was looking for a hobby for after my 2 year old goes to bed, as my wife works nights so I cannot leave the house and was pretty bored. I say this because, if I had a "life" perhaps I would be less patient or interested in astronomy...keep this in mind when choosing the sky as a hobby. I also was a bit disappointed that I can't find a solar filter that fits this scope, so I will have to make one, can't wait to, though, so I can enjoy this scope day and night.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
I am very happy with my purchase of the Orion SpaceProbe 3, It is much bigger than i had expected ! It arrived in very good condition and didnt take long to put it all together . it takes a couple of nights to get the hang of finding the moon but when you do it is well worth the wait. This telescope is well worth the money i paid and most people that see it think i spent a whole lot more..I would purchase it again..
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2011
I bought this for my teenage daughter. It does bring the moon up close and clear, but I was hoping to see other planets in more detail. Still, it was easy to set up and use, and I'm sure we will get better at spotting things as we get more familiar with it.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2012
As Novices, we purchased this telescope for our 9 year old for Christmas. Thus far we're very happy with this product. Assembly was smooth, many parts, but follow the directions, take your time and you should be fine. It took my husband about an hour to assemble. Very sturdy telescope, tripod legs work well, great extension for those who are tall. I'd advise purchasing a moon filter along with this telescope as it's likely to be the first celestial body you'll try to locate and it can be tough on the eyes to view for any extended period of time. In addition to the filter I also plan to buy a stronger lens. We really enjoy taking it out on a clear night and gazing a the moon, stars are next...Good purchase overall... t
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
I am alway reading reviews to help me decide on buyng a product, especially spending this much for a gift. But after reading the other revies I decided to take a chance. I was very excited to give this to my husband for christmas. On other reviews the only issue folks seem to have was putting it together, Nut my husband had no issue at all. I am very glad I bought this. It's a great Telescope!
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