Now everyone with a curiosity for space can explore its wonders to their hearts' content. With an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian reflector telescope stargazing is easy and fun for the whole family. Its portable size, innovative design, and point-and-view simplicity make it an extremely user-friendly telescope for beginners and intermediate stargazers alike. The Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian's Newtonian reflector tube assembly features a big 4.5" (114mm) diameter light-gathering mirror housed in an enameled steel tube. This spherical primary mirror pulls in 260% more starlight than the lens of a 60mm refractor (the classic beginner telescope), which means this telescope can provide you and your family with views of hundreds of more objects! The 4.5" Classic Dobsonian is a great telescope for surveying the Moon's many craters, valleys, and mountains. It's relatively long focal length and f/8 focal ratio provides well-defined views of Jupiter's cloud band "stripes" and nearby Galilean moons, not to mention Saturn and its awe-inspiring rings. This telescope is not limited to only view objects in our solar system. The SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian is a great telescope to use while star-hopping among the Milky Way's diverse star clusters and nebulas.
Amazon.com Review Orion’s Skyquest XT4.5 is the smallest in their Dobsonian line of telescopes that includes the B00020WZB0 XT6
, and XT10
. Newcomers to the hobby are always surprised at how large amateur telescopes are, but to experienced observers, this XT4.5 is considered a very small scope. Tiny, in fact (It’s so small, astronomers are buying them just because they think they're so cute). Make no mistake, though--the XT4.5 is a full-fledged telescope, and is a serious observing tool that could last you for years.
Your money buys you a lot in this case. Included are a good-quality 4.5" f/8 primary mirror, two eyepieces, a finder, and a CD-ROM with a stripped-down version of The Sky, a software guide to the sky. The scope comes in two cartons. One contains the optical tube, and the other is a flat-packed box containing the base, which you assemble yourself. Orion includes all the hardware and tools you need, and the instructions are well written. Allocate about 30 minutes to assemble and align everything.
There are a couple of cost-cutting measures. The primary mirror is spherical, not parabolic (this is not likely to affect the views, however). Also, the focuser is plastic. While I’ve never seen one break, plastic focusers are by nature less robust than metal ones. Finally (and this may be the most serious concern of all), the scope is a little short for an adult. The eyepiece is only 3 feet off the ground, which may force you to stoop over (hint: try sitting on a short chair or stool while observing). On the other hand, the height is ideal for a child, and as a result, I heartily recommend this telescope for children.
Under the stars, the XT4.5 exhibits excellent performance. Once properly collimated (aligned), the optics give clear, sharp, contrasty views. I’ve spent enjoyable nights using these telescopes, both as a teaching tool and by myself. Jupiter’s cloud band and four moons are no problem to see, nor are Saturn’s rings. The Orion Nebula is a glowing fan of green gas, with a quartet of tiny stars at its core. Under dark skies (and with some diligence) the XT4.5 can even pull in some of the fainter deep sky objects, like the brighter galaxies in the Virgo Cluster.
Despite the fact that I have a garage full of expensive telescopes, I never feel compromised with any of Orion’s XT scopes. As recently as a few years ago, the old adage regarding telescopes was that you must spend at least $300 to avoid buying junk. While this is still mostly true, Orion’s little XT4.5 breaks the price barrier in a big way. As long as you can deal with the short eyepiece height, it’s a great starter scope.
- Very good optical and mechanical performance
- Fully accessorized
- Great value
- Short eyepiece height
- Plastic focuser