Best Orion Telescopes

Choosing a telescope is an exciting process. But, even if you’re sure of the kind you want, choosing the perfect telescope can still be a little confusing.

Orion is a great choice for telescopes but they have a lot of products available. They also have many products that are very similar to each other. This can be especially confusing if you’re buying your first telescope and don’t know where to start.

Best Orion Telescopes

But that’s where we come in. We’ve put together the best Orion telescopes available. Read on for some great products, as well as some tips and guidance for the buying process. Everything you need to know about Orion telescopes is just below.

Eager to see a celestial phenomenon and don’t have time to browse? No problem, here’s our top pick for the best Orion telescope.

OUR TOP PICK

Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope Kit

Our top pick for the best Orion telescope is this Observer Refractor telescope. Due to its impressive 80mm aperture and portability.  

The focal length is short but this makes the telescope itself shorter and more portable. So this telescope is a great choice for someone who enjoys stargazing on the go.

Weighing just 16.27 pounds and only 29.7” in length, this is a telescope that is easy to pack away and carry. But don’t worry about trying to get such a compact telescope at the right height and angle.

This telescope kit also comes with an EQ-1B equatorial mount and an adjustable tripod. Both of these will allow you to control the movement of the telescope. And both can be easily packed away.  

This is a great telescope for beginners. It’s simple and easy to use. Plus it comes with a good range of accessories that give you great help and guidance.

As well as the telescope, the kit includes an official Orion observer’s guide for beginners, a star chart, and even a keychain flashlight. 

As with most of the options on this list, the Orion Observer 80ST Equatorial Refractor telescope comes in a kit with accessories. But, even with these great extras, this telescope is a little pricey.  

But, for that price, you do get a great quality telescope. Although it’s small, the performance of this telescope is excellent.

You won’t have to worry about it underperforming. It has a red-dot aiming sight, a 90-degree mirror, and a smooth rack and pinion focuser. 

Pros

  • Compact and portable
  • Great for beginners
  • Kit with a range of accessories 

Cons

  • Expensive

EDITORS CHOICE

Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm Equatorial Reflector Telescope Kit

This is another great telescope for a beginner. It is a simple kit that includes the telescope, a tripod, and a moon map.

This telescope won’t allow you to see as far as some more complex (and much more expensive) options. But it will provide you with a great view of the moon and nearby planets and stars.  

Although this is a lengthy telescope, it is very light. Weighing a very light 7.4 pounds, this telescope can be carried around very easily.

So this is great for taking on camping or hiking trips. But, it’s not as compact as other options so will need a little extra space in your luggage.  

The aperture of this telescope is ever so slightly less than you might want. As a general rule, a good telescope will have at least a 2.8mm aperture (read on or scroll down to our Buyers’ Guide for more information on this).

This telescope has an aperture of 2.75”. This isn’t a huge difference but it isn’t the best. This makes this a good telescope for a beginner who will only be looking for a few things. 

The tripod and mount in this telescope kit are very good. They are adjustable and easy to move.

The telescope can be smoothly and easily panned and moved around. So you will be able to get a great view without having to stop and maneuver anything.  

Pros

  • Detailed and easy to use 
  • Very lightweight
  • Extensive kit

Cons

  • Small aperture

BEST VALUE

Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm Equatorial Reflector Telescope Kit

This telescope comes in an excellent kit. As well as the telescope, this kit includes an official Orion Moon Map, an official Orion beginners’ Telescope Observer’s Guide, an official Orion Star Target constellation and celestial object finder, and an official Orion pointer pen.  

The telescope itself is impressively complex for such an affordable price. For a telescope, this is more expensive than the average.

But with the abilities of the telescope and the accessories included, it is a more affordable price.  

With a 3” aperture, you will get great clarity and definition with this telescope. But the focal length is a little short in comparison.

A focal length of 700mm won’t reduce the quality but means you won’t be able to see that much at once.

But, you will still be able to view the planets within the solar system. How much you can view will, however, be restricted.  

As well as working well, this is a great looking telescope. It comes in a metallic teal color and looks very technical.

But that said, this is still a good option for beginners. Especially with so many guides and charts. You will become an expert in no time.  

Pros

  • Extensive kit
  • Good aperture
  • Appealing aesthetic

Cons

  • Short focal length

RUNNER UP

Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope

This is a great, compact telescope that is much more affordable than many other options available.

But, for only a little more, you can enjoy a large kit that involves official Orion guides to stargazing, a moon map, and guides to using a telescope.

This is a great option for someone who enjoys star gazing but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. Of course, as this is an impressive telescope, it is not exactly cheap. But, in relation to many other options, this is a very affordable choice.

The affordability of this telescope might be explained by the short focal length. At only 400mm, your field of view will be very restricted.

But this is potentially due to its compact size. The focal length cannot be very long if the telescope itself is short. But, this is more than made up for by the very high aperture.

At 70mm, this telescope will give you an incredibly clear and detailed image.

As well as being compact, this is also an incredibly lightweight telescope. Weighing only 3.5 pounds, this telescope can be carried around very easily. Packing away into the backpack provided, you will barely notice it’s there.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Very high aperture

Cons

  • Short focal length

RUNNER UP

Orion GoScope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope

This is another excellent, compact, and affordable telescope.

This is an especially good option if you want to take your telescope camping or on a hike. This will be easy to pack away into the specific backpack provided. It can be easily added to your luggage.  

This GoScope is definitely built to be taken on the go. It is only 3.5 pounds in weight. This is an older version of the Orion 10034 GoScope III featured above. But, just because this version is older doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering.

The aperture of the GoScope III is excellent and the same is true of this version.

70mm is an excellent aperture and you will get just as good clarity and detail as on the GoScope III. 

Also the same as the GoScope III is the focal length. At 400mm, this telescope will give you a great view of the stars and planets. But with a restricted field of view.  

So what’s different? The main difference between these telescopes is the size of the eyepieces. The GoScope II actually has bigger eyepieces than the GoScope III.

The GoScope II has a 5x24 finderscope with two eyepieces of 25mm and 10mm. The GoScope III also has a 5x24 finder scope but with two eyepieces of 20mm and 9mm.  

Pros

  • Good aperture
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Includes additional eyepieces  

Cons

  • Short focal length

Best Orion Telescopes Buying Guide

Orion telescopes have some great products but they also have a lot of products. So, even looking at the options on this list, buying a telescope can be a confusing process. Buying a telescope is also an investment. You don’t want to be spending a lot of money on something that isn’t quite what you were looking for.

So, to help you narrow down your choices and find the best telescope for you, we’ve put together this buyers’ guide to help you find exactly what you need.

Types of Telescopes

Before we get into the details of different telescopes, let’s start with the basics. Although there is a lot of variation within telescopes, there are only three types of telescopes. These are refractor, reflector, and compound telescopes. These all look similar but work in slightly different ways. Here is a simple rundown of the differences so that you can decide which is the best for you.

Refractor Telescopes

Refractor telescopes are the most common type of telescope. They have their lens positioned at the front of the tube. They are usually relatively affordable and easy to use. But can become more expensive if the aperture is increased.

Refractor telescopes have two lenses. These work to focus the light so that the object you’re viewing looks much closer than it actually is. The light travels through the lenses, crossing at the focal point, and then traveling into the eye.

Reflector Telescopes

In contrast to refractor telescopes, reflector telescopes use mirrors instead of lenses (hence the name). Light travels toward the concave mirror which gathers the light and reflects it back to the focal point. Then, another mirror is used to reflect this light into the eye. 

Generally speaking, reflector telescopes are the most affordable option. But, as with refractor telescopes, this will change depending on the level of the aperture.

Compound Telescopes

Compound telescopes, as you have likely guessed from the name and previous information, uses a combination of refraction and reflection. This means they contain a combination of lenses and mirrors.

The light enters the telescope and is collected by one of the mirrors which has a central hole. This mirror reflects the light toward the other mirror which then reflects it back to the central hole of the first mirror.

What You Can See

Not every telescope can show you the same. The technical abilities and focal length will be an important factor in what you will be able to see using a telescope. It’s important to consider exactly what a telescope will be able to show you. 

What you will be able to see will primarily depend on the aperture and focal point of the telescope. But it will also depend on where you are on the earth, the time of year, and the time of day. 

This is one of the reasons why these Orion kits are so useful. They not only contain excellent telescopes but also several guides and charts.

These will help you to better develop your understanding of the stars and planets. So you won’t just be aiming your telescope up at the sky and hoping to see something interesting. 

Aperture

The aperture is an incredibly important feature of a telescope. In fact, it is the most important feature. The aperture is the opening of the telescope lens through which the light enters. As a general rule, a good telescope will have an aperture of at least 2.8mm. 

This measurement relates to the diameter of the light-gathering lens or mirror. The aperture will determine what you will be able to see. It will also determine how clearly you will be able to see. An aperture of less than 2.8mm won’t provide you with a sharp enough image. 

Focal Length

The focal length is another important factor to consider. When light passes through the aperture, it gathers at one point. This is called the focal point. The distance between the aperture and the focal point is the focal length. 

The focal point determines the magnification and the field of view. So, when looking for a telescope, the focal point is almost as important as the aperture. But, interestingly, the focal point and aperture do not rely on each other. 

A specific aperture dimension does not result in a specific focal length. So, you can’t determine the focal length based on the aperture. This all depends on how the lenses and mirrors are physically positioned within the telescope. 

Overall Size

This might not be the most exciting aspect of your new telescope but it’s an important one. It’s important to consider the overall size of the telescope, as well as the size of all its parts. This includes the tripod, carry case, and other accessories.

It might be tempting to buy a large and impressive looking telescope. We have all seen images of beautiful large telescopes framed by a window. But, once you use your telescope more, you’re going to want to take it to different places.

Whether this is on a hike, on a camping trip, or even just to another room so you can get a different angle. So the size of your telescope and its portability are very important.

Always make sure you check the size of the telescope itself and its overall size when fully constructed with all its accessories. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you see galaxies with a home telescope?

This depends on the telescope you choose. To be able to see other galaxies, you will need a telescope with a larger than average aperture and focal length. Anything less will not be strong enough.

If you want to be able to see other galaxies, then there are several Orion telescopes that will provide you with this ability. But, in general, you will need a telescope with an aperture of around 80mm. You will also need a telescope that is around 6 to 8 inches. 

What is the best telescope for viewing planets?

Although stargazing is a common reason for buying a telescope, investing in one that will also show planets clearly is a good idea. Being able to see stars is exciting but viewing planets is something else.

Being able to view planets is mostly dependent on focal length, rather than light-gathering power. (If you have skipped down to this question, make sure to scroll back up to our Buyers’ Guide for more information on focal length).

The planets in our solar system are bright enough to be seen by the naked eye, so it’s not necessary to find something that will gather a lot of light.

Instead, you need to look for a telescope that has a focal length of 8 or more. Telescopes with a focal length greater than 8 are known as a “slow” telescope.

So, if you can’t find the specific focal length when researching a telescope, try looking to see whether or not it’s described as slow.

Gordon Watts
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