Telescopes to see Saturn – Buying guide & Comparison
If you are interested in getting the best telescope to see Saturn, you will find here all the information required for making an informed decision. Our research team focused on comparing the available models on the market and discovered that the model to satisfy your needs is the Celestron – NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope. Easy to set up and align, it is clearly a model that caters to beginners and allows them a bit of leeway when it comes to being introduced to astronomy. Some of the extras included are the access to an impressive database containing over 40,000 celestial bodies, and the Starry Night software that will help you get the gist of playing the astronomer right away. The generous 130mm aperture makes sure that you will be able to explore our solar system to your heart’s content. Should this model be out of stock, the Celestron 31150 LCM 114 Short Computerised Reflector Telescope comes as a close second.
Our Top Choice
Locating stars on the night sky is easy as a breeze with the help of this computerized model. It has a compact design and is highly portable, so you can easily take it with you anywhere you want to go. All its aspects appear to cater to novices first and foremost.
There are some minor issues that can be solved with a bit of work, such as the quality of the lubricant, or the design of the focus knob.
You will find this computerized telescope capable of offering excellent perks for the price, including a database with over 40,000 celestial bodies for you to explore.
This model automatically locates the objects that you are looking for, given that its construction includes computerized observatory-grade technology. Once the SkyAlign alignment procedure (which is rather simple) is done, the LCM calculates the time, date, and location and starts orienting itself within the night sky for clear views of celestial objects, making it ideal for beginners.
The battery’s life might be too short, depending on how you plan to use the device, so make sure you have a solution for extended periods.
With observatory-grade technology and many additional features, the 114LCM is a model to consider.
Also To Consider
The device includes eyepieces of 20mm and 10mm. Moreover, you can get more out of your gadget for less as the product comes with an impressive 100mm aperture boasting a 400mm focal length that will help you get detailed images of planets.
In some cases, the device will take some time until it can focus, so it is not particularly quick.
This telescope is a compact version. This means it is suitable for beginners and can be also placed on a tabletop.
If you’ve been meaning to get a telescope able to see Saturn but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. We have created a step-by-step and easy-to-read buyer’s guide that can let you know just what features should be at the top of the list of things you ought to consider. It’s easy to make an informed decision as long as you take the time to do a bit of research and find out more about what you’re passionate about.
The aperture is probably the most important specification
If you’re looking to get a telescope for seeing planets, its aperture is by far the crucial feature to give some thought to right off the bat. With a larger aperture, the unit will be capable of gathering more light and allow for more magnification. You’ve already established that you’re interested in seeing planets, but what if you could do a bit more with your telescope?
Some models, boasting apertures that are more generous, can be used to see various deep-sky objects, as well. Think about having a peek at a nebula or a galaxy. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Is portability important for you?
While some people want to install their chosen devices in their bedrooms, living rooms, or on their balconies and have a look at the sky every evening before they go to sleep, other users are a bit more adventurous than that. Let’s be honest. How many times haven’t you envisaged going out to a field nearby and looking at the sky when there’s no light pollution around you, or there are no cars to bother you with their headlights?
If the thought has even crossed your mind at least once, you might end up being frustrated if you get a model that’s too heavy and too complicated to set up every time you take it out. Keep in mind that most portable alternatives don’t have particularly large apertures, so you might be risking quality and performance if you are solely focused on getting a compact and easy to assemble device.
Types of telescopes to consider
Most units can be divided into three classes. Some are refractors, others are reflectors, and a whole different bunch is catadioptric. Refractors are a good choice if you’ve been searching for a decent telescope for planets viewing as they enable you to look at the moon and a wide range of other celestial bodies. Another advantage of this type consists of the fact that it usually boasts a rugged construction, and this means that you’ll be able to pick it up and go on the field.
Reflectors usually have better apertures compared to refractors, so in a sense, they might offer better results for looking at deep-sky objects, nebulae, and other structures like these. Reflectors are either Newtonian or Dobsonian and the latter is to be preferred as it’s simpler and easier to manage in terms of mounting and convenience.
Catadioptric options, also known as compound telescope, combine the best of both worlds. They share many of the features of refractors and reflectors all into one. Unlike their reflecting counterparts, they do not tend to accumulate dust. However, because of their design and size, you will need a very high-quality mounting system to make sure that the tube is safely secured and remains in place all of the time.
8 Best Telescopes to see Saturn (Reviews) in 2020
To make it easier for you to make up your mind on a model, we have showcased some of the critically acclaimed choices in this line below. All of these suggestions have gathered the best telescope to see Saturn reviews, so we thought it might be a good idea if you gave them a shot if you’re still in the market for such a unit.
- 1. Celestron – NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope
- 2. Celestron 31150 LCM 114 Short Computerised Reflector Telescope
- 3. Orion 10012 SkyScanner Reflector Telescope
- 4. Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ Reflector Telescope
- 5. Gskyer Astronomical Refractor Telescope for Kids
- 6. Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope
- 7. Meade Instruments 216002 Polaris 80 EQ Refractor Telescope
- 8. Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114EQ Reflector Telescope
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Best brands
1. Celestron – NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope
What do you want to see when you’re looking through a telescope for the first time? If you want to see some planets, such as Saturn, you will be happy to hear that the NexStar 130SLT from Celestron covers everything and offers you the possibility to go beyond our solar system in your explorations.
This computerized model offers you instant access to an extensive database containing the locations of stars, nebulae, and galaxies. Once your telescope identifies the location of a celestial body, it will track it without any effort on your part.
It should be mentioned that this reflector telescope is the largest in the lineup, so Celestron takes great pride in it. Due to the huge 130mm aperture, you will find it easy and rewarding to see details such as the craters on the Moon or Saturn’s rings in all their glory.
Nothing beats a portable telescope when you are a novice in search of an exciting adventure, and this model quickly delivers with its compact design.
Featuring a Newtonian reflector design, it comes equipped with a 130mm aperture that is enough for you to examine exciting details such as the rings of Saturn.
The SkyAlign feature that is particular to Celestron telescopes is readily available on this model and helps you observe the celestial bodies of your choosing.
You will get a pretty good deal for the money because you also receive a free copy of the Starry Night astronomy software to get you started.
It is compatible with 2-inch eyepieces, so you will be able to replace the one available with it if the need ever arises.
You may notice that the focus knob tends to be stiff, which only means that it will need to be operated frequently to become a bit looser.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($950)
2. Celestron 31150 LCM 114 Short Computerised Reflector Telescope
You can get the same star locating technology found in observatory-grade telescopes, but adapted to your own budget with Celestron’s 114LCM model. This device automatically locates the objects that you want to observe for you, given its computerized construction and technology.
Conceived with ease of use in mind, the entire process is a breeze. All you need to do is to perform the simple SkyAlign alignment procedure, and this gets done by centering any three objects that are clearly visible in the telescope’s eyepiece. Once this is done, the LCM calculates the time, date, and location and starts orienting itself within the night sky.
For a tremendous amount of fun, as well as control over what you are observing, just browse the database and select any star, planet, nebula, or galaxy, and within seconds the LCM will center it in the eyepiece, tracking it as it moves across the sky.
Given that this model incorporates the largest optics in the LCM beginner telescope category, the 114LCM model has enough light-gathering ability to ensure clear and extraordinary views of the best celestial objects.
You can explore the Solar System and venture even further, all the way to the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades Star Cluster.
If you want to remain close to our planet, you can explore the craters of the Moon with impressive details. The good part about this device is that even if you’ve never used a telescope before, you can get started immediately and enjoy your observations as an amateur astronomer.
Another thing to know about this model is that it comes with an adjustable tripod, 2 high-quality eyepieces, a red for finderscope, and you can also download the SkyPortal app for an enhanced experience with the product.
For some users, the battery’s life might be too short, so consider this if you’re planning an extended use.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($754.99)
3. Orion 10012 SkyScanner Reflector Telescope
The first thing that must be mentioned about this reflector telescope is that it is intended for beginners. However, while it may sound like this Orion model could be cheaply made, that’s not true. It comes equipped with proper mirror optics and doesn’t use plastic lenses, as you might have noticed in other telescopes created for beginners.
You will be able to see the stars and explore the surface of distant planets like Jupiter, or the craters on the Moon. Whether you just want to get the hang of how to use a telescope, or you want to stimulate your kids’ curiosity, this model is definitely a good choice.
Even the exploration of deep-sky bodies is possible, and you will appreciate right away the wide-angle viewing capabilities. It comes with 2 eyepieces, one you can use for 20x magnification, and another for 40x magnification.
This 100mm telescope certainly doesn’t look like it was made for beginners only, and you will notice that the unit comes with mirror optics, not plastic lenses, like other low-entry models.
Because it is a tabletop model, you will find it easy to identify a place for it in your kids’ room, and that also makes it more portable than others.
It is essential to mention that the telescope performs more than fairly when used from areas that are subjected to a lot of light pollution, such as large cities.
You will get an Orion EZ Finder II sight with your purchase, so you will appreciate how easily you will find your way on the night sky.
Buyers receive 2 eyepieces with their purchase, one for 20x magnification, and one for 40x magnification.
If you are interested in taking pictures of what you can see through the telescope, you will have to purchase some extra attachments that are not included.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
4. Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ Reflector Telescope
This model has all the features you might have been looking for in such a telescope. It’s easy to use, lightweight, and portable, and the neat thing about it is that it has a larger aperture compared to other models. What this means is that you will be able to see a greater amount of detail since the telescope is capable of gathering more light.
The optical design of this model has been created so that it serves users as best as possible. Plus, it’s worth noting that the model is intended for no-tool setup, which is why you will be able to take it with you out in the country and look at all the planets, galaxies, and comets that you might want to see. You’ll have no trouble visualizing Saturn’s rings or the moons of Jupiter with the help of the 21079 Cometron.
Since it is an entry-level device, it doesn’t even cost a fortune as many online marketplaces sell it for less than one hundred and seventy dollars.
Able to collect more light, this telescope is capable of providing more vivid details with its quality optical design comprising a parabolic mirror for delivering sharp images and eliminating any spherical aberration.
The telescope is characterized by its fast focal ratio that makes it possible to obtain a wide field of view so you can see expansive celestial objects including star clusters, comets, galaxies, nebulae, and more.
The tool-free setup enables you to assemble the components of the telescope with ease and enjoy an immediate viewing of targets right after the assembly.
This is a lightweight and portable device that features a large aperture to enable it to gather more light so you can view greater detail in the images.
The steel tripod keeps the telescope elevated sufficiently off the ground for an easy support and stability so you can enjoy wobble-free use.
The supplied 10mm and 20mm eyepieces may not provide adequate magnification for some consumers so they opt to get higher magnification objectives for an optimal functionality.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($336.99)
5. Gskyer Astronomical Refractor Telescope for Kids
Are you planning to introduce your kids to the fascinating world of astronomy? There could hardly be a better option for your first telescope than this one. With a focal length of 400mm and an aperture of 70mm, it is as close as it can be to a full-fledged telescope, without being as complicated and challenging to use.
For exploring the stars and the planets, it is an ideal choice. Because of the fully coated lenses used, you will benefit from a crisp image, and your eyes won’t become tired fast. You will like the fact that the model is accompanied by 2 eyepieces that can be easily changed, and a 3x Barlow lens that lets you use a maximum magnification of 120x.
You will notice that a bunch of features is included to make the task of exploring the sky easier. For instance, the crosshair lines are particularly helpful.
Visual resolution is superior in this model, and your kids will be able to enjoy excellent quality at a more than reasonable price.
You will get an adjustable tripod, so you will be able to use the telescope out of the box without any issues.
Also, the manufacturer supplies a carry bag, where you will be able to fit all the accessories and the parts of the telescope, for easy traveling.
When you have to assembly the telescope, you will notice that it’s incredibly easy to set up, another sign that it was designed with a beginner’s needs in mind.
Among the other features that make it an excellent buy is the wireless control options that allow you to see the image from your telescope on your smartphone.
Don’t expect the eye relief to be optimal, as the only way to use this telescope is to put your eye as close as possible to the lens.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
6. Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope
Novice astronomers will find this portable telescope an excellent addition to their equipment when they want to go on a trip to a dark site where the absence of light pollution allows them to see the stars clearly. With a focal length of 450mm and an aperture of 4.5 inches, it offers pretty good optical performance.
You will be able to explore more than just the Moon and the planets from our solar system. For instance, you will be able to look at nebulae and star clusters, without a glitch. The glass material used for the lenses is low thermal borosilicate, a type of glass that allows excellent transmission of light.
Because the manufacturer will deliver the model already pre-assembled, the only thing left for you to do is to take it to the backyard and start exploring the sky. Because of the tabletop base that offers pretty good stability, you will be able to use an altazimuth motion so that you can track celestial bodies manually.
Users will be happy to find out that there are two eyepieces included, 17mm and 6mm. Also, to establish the location of the stars in the sky, the EZ Finder II will prove indispensable. Don’t forget about the extras included, such as the Starry Night astronomy software.
The solar system is easy to explore with the help of this telescope that comes with a 4.5-inch aperture and efficient focal ration.
With lenses made from low thermal expansion borosilicate glass, these binoculars will help you see crisp images of the night sky.
Take advantage of the EZ Finder II reflex sight that serves as an excellent ally for aiming at the celestial bodies you want to explore.
You will receive a plethora of extras, such as two eyepieces, an eyepiece rack, the Starry Night software, and a collimation cap, among other things.
Its excellent portability makes it a go-to solution when you want to travel to dark site locations so that you can explore the night sky to your heart’s content.
The low magnification power may come as an unpleasant surprise as it limits the possibilities of this model that is, otherwise, very beginner-friendly.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($199.99)
7. Meade Instruments 216002 Polaris 80 EQ Refractor Telescope
Meade Instruments is a well-known company and enjoys a great reputation as being the manufacturer that contributed greatly to the introduction of mass-produced telescopes on the US market more than half a century ago. It is only expected that the model reviewed here abides by the same quality standards that have continued to make this brand recognizable all over the world.
You will get all you need for exploring the night sky, especially as a beginner. The 80mm lens diameter ensures that you will get a bright, crisp image of the celestial bodies you want to explore.
Because of the included German equatorial mount, using this telescope is a breeze, as the slow-motion controls allow you to adjust it for perfect viewing without a problem. Other accessories are handy, too, such as the steel tripod that comes with an accessory tray so that you can switch between eyepieces easily.
This refractor telescope comes with a German equatorial mount, so controlling it for easy viewing of the celestial bodies is a real breeze.
You will be happy to see that the manufacturer included 3 eyepieces with the telescope so that you can expand its usefulness and capabilities.
A red dot viewfinder is another useful feature that makes this telescope the ideal choice for a beginner who wants to learn about astronomy.
Furthermore, you will find that a DVD with instructions on how to use it is included; the learning process should be much easier, as a result.
It is important to note that your telescope could serve you well for terrestrial viewing, too, due to the interchangeable eyepieces.
You won’t be able to count on this model to be portable since it’s quite heavy and difficult to move around.
Expect the tripod to be a bit shaky and to invest a bit of effort in getting it to sit even.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($189.9)
8. Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114EQ Reflector Telescope
Our selection would not have been complete if we hadn’t taken the time to research and include this Celestron option. This reflector can be assembled with ease and in a timely fashion, thus allowing you to benefit from the ultimate portability advantage. The model is equipped with a permanently mounted StarPointer, and it’s worth noting that a German Equatorial mount is also part of the deal.
The AstroMaster can be utilized for looking at anything from the Moon to planets. Plus, it can be used for terrestrial viewing just as well. The good-quality optics that this unit has been outfitted with have been praised time and time again by those who have bought the telescope. They seemed to have the same kind things to say about the solid mount, the two eyepieces, as well as the comprehensive instructions.
All in all, the model offers more than enough value for the price especially as it seems to be considerably brighter than many of its competitors.
Made of high-quality materials, this telescope is able to collect three times more light compared to 60mm beginner telescopes without sacrificing a compact build while guaranteeing a sufficient magnifying power.
This model comes with a new version of the popular CG-2 equatorial mount exclusively from Celestron, which, when used with the rugged steel tripod, enables the easy and precise tracking of objects as they journey across the sky.
The two eyepieces include a 20mm component with an erect-image design and 50X magnification while the 10mm eyepiece delivers 100X magnification, so you can enjoy the customized viewing of night sky objects to your desired level.
The built-in red dot finder makes it easy to locate celestial objects, especially when used with the included student version of The Sky astronomy software that provides a great deal of information on what you can see in the night sky.
Although the RA adjustment of the mount is relatively smooth, one customer chose to apply a little silicon grease to the component for smoother operations, but the Declination adjustment is a bit rough.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($530.51)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is amateur astronomy difficult to start with, or will I be able to get straight into it?
Astronomy appears to most as something that you don’t exactly jump into. This hobby may indeed require more than others in terms of knowledge and equipment, but it is not, by far, as difficult as others make it be.
Like other hobbies, astronomy has its fair share of magazines, forums, and conventions, where people who love the same thing can gather and exchange information. For amateur astronomers, a few suggestions can take them a long way.
So, without thinking that you must invest in a really expensive telescope before starting, here are a few ideas about what you should do first:
Read as much as you can. You can always consider your local public library an excellent pool of knowledge from where you can draw your first information on the subject.
Examine the sky with the naked eye. You don’t need a telescope to discover the most important constellations and other celestial bodies.
First learn, and then buy a telescope. While there are computerized telescopes now that can point at important stars automatically, you should first learn the sky and the constellations.
You may use a pair of binoculars first. Before you hurry to buy a telescope, you can always use a pair of binoculars to discover the night sky. They are cheaper and easy to carry around.
Invest in some maps and guidebooks. Astronomy is all about the exploration of the night sky, and there are many secrets you can uncover. For that, you need some excellent maps to guide your way.
Q: Will I see objects as they appear in photographs?
If you have ever seen the Pillars of Creation (part of the Eagle Nebula) in the photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope – and you most probably have –, you probably wonder whether you will see the same amazing colors and definition when looking at the sky through your telescope.
The thing is, what most telescopes for general public use can see is far from something as high-performance as the Hubble Space Telescope delivers in the stunning photographs we all know. So, for a short answer, no, you cannot see celestial bodies as they appear in the pics you can see online.
However, you should know that bright objects, like the Moon, as well as some planets and star clusters, can appear just like in photographs. The farther you go in space, the fainter and blurrier the objects will appear. That’s one reason why what you can see through your telescope doesn’t have the same definition as the fantastic photos taken by the Hubble.
Low light levels play an essential part in how we can see things through a telescope. There is only this much a telescope you use in your backyard or even one that has better performance can do. The Hubble floats in space, and it’s far from any source of light pollution.
Also, it has optics and definition that is unequaled by any other telescope. So don’t be disappointed that your telescope can’t show you the same beautiful colors. It is still a great way to explore the night sky.
Q: How do I safely transport my telescope?
While staring at the night sky from your backyard might be a lot of fun, you surely want, from time to time, to grab your telescope and head to other locations, where there might be less pollution and better places for watching the stars.
That said, it means that you also must consider ways of transporting your telescope without the fear of damaging its delicate optics.
First things first, the best way to transport your telescope would be in its original packaging. However, not everyone thinks about keeping the boxes in which their telescopes came, so that might not be a solution for most people.
The right idea would be to disassemble the mount, as well as any other accessories. It is the cylinder with all the optics inside that needs the most care. In case there is no carrying case, you should improvise some insulation using foam mats.
Wrap the telescope’s tube in the foam mats and use a blanket to pack it in such a way that no damage could come to it. Also, it would be a good idea to place the tube – wrapped in foam – and its accessories in a hard suitcase.
If you’re the driver, make sure that you don’t drive too fast, and, as much as that is possible, avoid potholes. The idea is not to shake the telescope tube too much, to prevent destabilization to the lenses. In case you travel by plane, get a telescope that you can fit in your carry-on.
Q: In what ways do telescopes differ?
There are two main types of telescopes you can purchase, called reflectors and refractors. Therefore, the most logical question to ask would be: how are they different? Both types are used for exploring the night sky, but there are some essential differences, as you will see.
A refractor has an objective lens located at the opposite end from the eyepiece. Its role is to absorb the light from distant celestial bodies, like stars, and create a point of focus so that you can see the image. The eyepiece has the role of zooming in the image you see so that your eye can see details.
In other words, this other lens has the role of a magnifying glass. The focused light created by the objective lens is responsible for bringing the image into focus, while the eyepiece has the purpose of helping you see this image with your eye.
A reflector telescope doesn’t work with two lenses, but with two mirrors. While was a reflector needed when a refractor appears to do its job? Isaac Newton was the first to think of a reflector, due to the chromatic aberration resulted from how people could see things through a refractor.
You can see that a reflector represents advancement from a refractor. The first mirror that absorbs the light from celestial bodies doesn’t allow chromatic aberrations to occur. When the light enters the tube, it is reflected by a curved mirror.
The second mirror is flat, and its role is to reflect the image into the eyepiece. However, you should know that reflection creates some loss of light. So, while there’s no chromatic aberration, the image reflected might not be as bright.
A distributor of telescopes, spotting scopes, and other optics equipment for Synta Technology Corporation of Taiwan, Celestron has its headquarters in Torrance, California. Its history goes back more than half a century, and it has always involved the production of telescopes and similar items.
Valor Electronics was the first name of the company that would later become Celestron. Established in 1955, it came into existence because of its founder’s hobby. Tom Johnson, the man behind the company, created a reflective telescope so that his sons could explore the night sky, and from there, Valor Electronics came as the next step.
Five years later, the company expanded with a special division, called Astron-Optical, and it was this division from which Celestron, as a brand, would appear.
A new brand
The first time when Celestron was mentioned as a brand name was in 1964. The division mentioned earlier would receive the name Celestron Pacific, and its primary role was to distribute Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes that ranged from 4 inches to 22 inches. From there, the brand will continue to expand.
In 1970, a model of telescope named C8 was launched on the market. It had an 8-inch diameter, it had a focal length of 2032mm, and it was an f10 telescope. The importance of this model is essential for the history of the brand since it was an example of a new technology created by Celestron.
This new technology allowed the company to make Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes in high numbers while keeping the costs down, which was crucial for selling more such items to the general public. Due to their affordability, more and more people took to the exploration of celestial bodies and became amateur astronomers.
Also, this opened the road for making astronomy an accessible discipline for learning. For that reason, Celestron will always remain one of the most prestigious names in the creation of such equipment.
After 25 years, in 1980, Tom Johnson decided to sell Celestron. From there, the history of the company became rocky, with many rough patches to overcome. In 1997, it was bought by Tasco, and 4 years later, when Tasco went out of business, Celestron almost disappeared, as well.
In 2002, Meade Instruments, an important competitor, tried to take over the company, but, fortunately for Celestron, a bankruptcy court allowed the original owners to buy back the brand. They succeeded to sell it in 2005 to SW Technology Corporation, a company located in Delaware and an affiliate of Synta Technology Corporation of Taiwan.
This new owner had already been in business relations with Celestron as a supplier. Prior to the purchase, this relationship had lasted for 15 years.
What products Celestron is famous for
The introduction of the large-scale production of a telescope for the general public in 1970 put Celestron on the map. But that was not its only achievement. No fewer than 10 product lines have been launched throughout its history, including names like TravelScope, AstroMaster, and PowerSeeker.
Today, Celestron sells refractor and reflector telescopes, microscopes for various uses, binoculars, spotting scopes, and mounts.
Known for the equipment it sells to astronomy enthusiasts and bird watchers, the Orion brand is located in the US, and its complete name is Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, which pretty much stands for the main category of products it sells. The company also sells accessories related to such products.
Currently, its headquarters are in Watsonville, California, while its retail store is located in Cupertino, California. Synta, a Chinese company make most of the equipment it sells, and Orion sells these products under its brand name.
As for the reach of the brand, it is worth noting that the telescopes and binoculars that carry the Orion name are sold in more than 20 countries worldwide. Its close relations with astronomy magazines distributed in North America are also well known. Some of the magazines where Orion advertises its products are Sky & Telescope, and Astronomy.
Early years and the evolution of the brand
Like many American brands, Orion was, in its incipient phases, the creation of a single person. In 1975, Tim Gieseler created this company in a garage located in Santa Cruz, California. For 20 years, Orion will remain in his ownership, and it was only 2005 that the brand changed hands for the first time.
The purchaser was Imaginova, a conglomerate established in 1999 by Lou Dobbs, the well-known business anchor from CNN.
What the purchase by Imaginova meant
Before being acquired, throughout the mid-90s and the half of the first decade of the 21st century, Orion sold equipment that carried its name and nothing else. That changed with its acquisition by Imaginova, and from 2005 onward, the company began selling other brands, too.
The products included were Tele Vue eyepieces, some Celestron telescopes, and Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. The Imaginova ownership lasted until 2017 when it was acquired by its employees. Currently, Orion is an independent, American-owned company.
Telescopes for all levels of learning
One important aspect of Orion is that it sells telescopes that cater to different levels, such as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The range of products includes Newtonians, Maksutovs, Schmidt-Cassegrains, Ritchey-Chrétiens and refractor telescopes, and customers have the option to purchase such models with mounts or as stand-alone items.
Orion is also known for selling Dobsonian telescopes in two versions: Classic and IntelliScope. While the Classic model comes without many bells and whistles, the IntelliScope is equipped with extra accessories. It also takes advantage of a computerized database, so that the user can identify celestial bodies in the night sky with ease.
Other Orion products worth noting
While Orion caters to astronomy novices and amateurs, some products stand out in terms of performance. Its series of two-element apochromatic refractors offers superior performance, and it is the flagship of the brand. Using extra-low dispersion glass, such telescopes manage an outstanding optics performance.
The series includes the following models: ED80, ED100, and ED120. Orion is also known for selling binoculars for terrestrial use, microscopes, and spotting scopes that are mainly used by marksmen and people who love bird watching.
Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
This unit is another example of a great telescope that can be an excellent gift for families or for beginners that want to start exploring celestial objects. Orion’s StarBlast II 4.5 EQ is a reflector telescope that includes sophisticated features that will help and inspire any new stargazer to pursue this passion.
The device comes with many additional accessories and features that include a mount and tripod, the EZ Finder II functionality, the MoonMap 26 and many others. Moreover, the 25mm and 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces (that are 18x and 45x respectively), help the user get a clear view with good details of many celestial objects.
With the 4.5 inches in diameter reflector tube and sturdy equatorial mount that enables slow-motion controls, this device is significantly more capable than smaller models that were designed for beginners. If you want your entire family to observe and learn more about the space that surrounds our planet, this telescope might be exactly what you need.
Besides the great optics and easy-to-use operation that makes this a model preferred by beginners and experienced astronomers alike, the convenient portability is one of the features that makes it stand out.
Weighing only 20.7 lbs, the telescope can be easily moved around, according to your observation locations.
The 4.5-in aperture tube included in this model collects the necessary amount of light from the night sky so that the images rendered are bright and clear for an excellent observing experience.
Moreover, the combination between the short 450mm focal length and the sizable 4.5-inch aperture means that the images are bright at any magnification, making the entire process easier especially for beginners.
For some users, the battery included in the package was not charged, so if you encounter this situation you can either fix the issue yourself or contact the manufacturer for further assistance (in case there’s a problem even more complicated to solve).
Orion 09881 Observer 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope
Another excellent choice for beginners and amateur astronomers alike, this Orion option is an entry-level refractor that needs to be given some thought to. The 70mm aperture that it comes with is more than enough if you want to have the chance to look at the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, as well as Saturn.
The neat thing about this unit is that it has been outfitted with an altazimuth mount that makes it easy for you to smooth the panning motion of the device. Plus, the tripod boasts an adjustable height, which means that you can tailor it to your preferences.
Unlike other products in the same category, this particular one does not come with its own correct-image diagonal, which is why you will not be able to utilize it for terrestrial viewing unless you purchase this accessory separately. Buyers describe the 09881 Observe as a good starter for children and total rookies.
This makes a great choice as an entry-level refractor telescope that beginner astronomers will truly appreciate for its dependable performance and functionality.
This telescope features a 70mm aperture lens that is able to gather sufficient light from the celestial objects being observed to enable you to see more detail in every one of them.
The telescope enables you to enjoy spectacular views of the Moon and the brilliant planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mars, along with the bright nebulae and constellations, for a splendid celestial bonanza during great weather conditions.
The altazimuth telescope mount provides a sturdy platform on which to position the instrument and also enable a smooth left/right and up/down movement of the scope by delivering a panning motion for the precise tracking of objects moving across the sky.
The height-adjustable tripod provides an easy and comfortable viewing every time so you won’t need to awkwardly lean over the instrument during use.
This telescope is not designed for an intuitive use so those unfamiliar with this kind of device ought to search for resources on its proper use.
Orion SpaceProbe 3 AZ Reflector Telescope & Starter Kit
If you want to get as much value for every cent that you may have to spend, perhaps it is high time you checked out the specs of the SpaceProbe 3. It’s one of the most convenient choices out there, and that’s because it is a kit composed of an actual 76mm reflector and a bunch of accessories and booklets that can help you understand the basics of astronomy and optics.
As with the previously showcased alternative, this one can be used with great results if what you’re after is having a peek at crisp and clear images of the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. A Moon Map is part of the deal with this product, which is why you will be able to identify all the craters that you’ll have a look at once you go through the content of the booklet.
Based on the info that we came across in relation to this model, it seems that it is reasonably easy to set up and that it makes a great gift for children.
Definitely a terrific beginner telescope, this instrument comes with a convenient accessory bundle to enable kids to set it up easily with the help of an adult and what’s more, it carries a pocket-friendly price tag.
This reflector telescope comes with a 76mm aperture that enables its mirrors to collect as much light as possible from celestial objects in order to show more detail and brightness in them for an effortless viewing.
The supplied Moon Map makes it easy to find the names of all the features and craters you can see on the Moon so you can familiarize yourself with them easily.
The included Astronomy book enables young learners to obtain a terrific introduction to backyard astronomy so they can find it interesting enough as a hobby and as a future profession.
The rack-and-pinion focuser enables the easy fine-tuning of the objects being viewed so you can see more vivid details and not just blobs in the eyepiece.
This model does not come with a Barlow lens that can help in increasing the magnification of the eyepieces in the package.
Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
The Orion 09843 is another telescope to bear in mind, especially if you haven’t decided on a particular unit just yet. It’s a beginner’s alternative that makes it possible for rookies and children to get the most out of using this device as it has been designed to serve most prospective buyers and users.
Boasting a 3-inch aperture and a 700mm focal length, the model can offer you more than decent images of the Moon and other planets, as well as star clusters and nebulae. Unlike the formerly mentioned option, this one does not come with an altazimuth mount. In fact, it includes an equatorial mount with the help of which you’ll be able to perform some serious slow-motion tracking of your preferred celestial objects.
The pack includes a variety of accessories as well as the two 1.25-inch eyepieces. For example, you might want to know that this unit also comes with the Starry Night astronomy software as well as a finder scope.
Perfect for all-around astronomical observations, this reflector telescope has a 3-inch aperture plus a 700mm focal length so you can enjoy terrific views of the planets, the Moon, and also some brilliant nebulae and star groups.
The adjustable aluminum tripod provides a sturdy platform on which to position the telescope and when used with the equatorial mount, will enable you to perform a precise, slow-motion tracking of celestial objects with the easy slow-motion controls.
The two 1.25-inch Explorer II telescope eyepieces provide a dependable magnification of objects so you can choose to see as much or as little as possible in terms of the details.
The package includes all you need for a successful viewing experience, from the finderscope to the focuser, the collimation cap plus the Starry Night astronomy software, which means a genuine value for money.
This is a highly portable instrument that is just the right size and price for any novice astronomer and families fascinated with astronomy.
Those who are unfamiliar with the workings of a telescope may find that this model is quite a challenge to put together and set up.
Orion 10016 StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope
Orion’s 10016 StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector is a fun, simple, and capable telescope that is highly popular among beginners and experienced astronomers alike, given the model’s ease of use and high versatility. Moreover, the compact tabletop design makes this a highly portable device as well.
This means that no matter how often you want to change your point of observation, moving the telescope will definitely not be a burden. Furthermore, built with ease of use in mind, this model weighs only 23.5 lbs. and it’s delivered with a fully assembled base right in the box.
So if you want to be able to easily observe the planets and the Moon in good detail, as well as bright deep-sky objects such as galaxies, nebulas, or star clusters, this sturdily built device might be exactly what you need.
The telescope’s construction includes substantial 6” aperture reflector optics that help the viewer see the planets and the Moon in great detail, as well as 5mm and 10mm Sirius Plossl 1.25″ telescope eyepieces.
Additionally, an EZ Finder II aiming device, an eyepiece rack, as well as a Starry Night software that comes in handy when you want to focus on certain objects are also included.
The wide field of view helps the user find and track objects easier than with longer focal-length telescopes, which means that the device is ideal for beginners who are just getting the taste of astronomy.
The non-stick bearings and the adjustable altitude tension on the case means that smooth maneuvering is ensured, while the two handle cutouts in the base allow the easy lifting and transportation of the device.
The EZ Finder functionality can drain the batteries if it’s used extensively, so if you want to take a longer trip with the telescope, this is one thing to keep in mind.