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Sep 23

Telescope Reviews: Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

When you hear the brand name Orion you won’t need anyone to tell you what this company makes – the company name gives it away. Just in case you don’t know (where have you been hiding?) since 1975 Orion have been supplying astronomers from all corners of the globe with some of the best telescopes produced anywhere in the world. Although control of Orion as a company passed to another company called Imaginova in 2005, you can still rely on any Orion telescope to provide you with the kinds of views of the heavens that other telescopes promise but never deliver on.

The telescope we’re going to take a much closer look at today is the Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope – a Newtonian telescope on a German equatorial mount.

Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

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Newtonian Telescope

Being able to buy an Newtonian telescope for less than $200 is always a treat but even more of a treat is the fact that the Orion SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope comes with a German equatorial mount – as you may have guessed from the model name of the scope itself. If you’ve only ever used a refractor telescope for looking at the stars you’ll be amazed at the massive difference a reflector telescope offers in terms of image clarity. This is down to the simple fact that a reflector telescope captures more light, and in a more efficient way, so you get to see the craters on our moon in jaw-dropping detail for example.

3-Inch Aperture

This Orion reflector telescope has a 76mm/3-inch aperture, which means its light grasp is far higher than a 60mm refractor, or even a refractor telescope with the same aperture. To give you some idea of what you can expect to see when using this Newtonian reflector telescope you’ll see our moon in more detail than you imagined possible, plus you’ll also be able to see the rings of Saturn and even some of the cloud detail on Jupiter on a good night. The light grasp of the Orion SpaceProbe 3 is more than enough to give you an impressive view of deep-sky objects like the Andromeda galaxy too. Basically with this telescope you’ll get a view of the heavens that you’ve probably never had before.

Advanced Optics

All of the optics for the Orion SpaceProbe 3 EQ are mounted on a very smooth 1.25-inch rack-and-pinion focuser, allowing you to precisely adjust the view to your own preferences. In addition to the accurate focuser this Orion telescope also comes with a pair of Kellner eyepieces – 10mm and 25mm models, which respectively allow for 28x and 70x levels of magnification. Without getting too technical the high-quality eyepieces combined with the focuser will bring the planets of our solar system into your back yard with you.

German Equatorial Mount

A German equatorial mount is far, far superior to the alt-azimuth mount you find on most of the other “budget” telescopes from other manufacturers. Unlike the 4-axes capability of an AZ mount the equatorial mount allows you to simply align the Orion SpaceProbe 3 EQ with Polaris (the North star) and then you can use the slow-motion control to fine-tune whatever celestial object you’re looking at, while the EQ controls allow you to keep what you’re looking at centered for your viewing pleasure. Although an EQ mount is slightly more complicated to set up and use than an AZ mount, the extra effort is more than worth it based on the results you can achieve.

Orion EZ Finder II Reflex Sight

A finder scope like the Orion EZ Finder II makes the whole process of lining this beginner telescope up with a moon, planet, star, or other deep-sky object a lot easier. Instead of having to try and guesstimate the position your telescope should be in, you simply use the EZ Finder II finder scope to target it, and then use the controls on the equatorial mount to fine-tune that positioning.

Color Choices

The Orion SpaceProbe 3 EQ, one of the best telescopes for beginners comes in a teal finish, which looks surprisingly well in terms of a color scheme for a telescope. If nothing else it’s a welcome change from the traditional gloss black finish you’ll find on most telescopes.

Dimensions

Now we get into the more technical details of the Orion telescope itself:

  • Aperture: 90mm
  • Focal length: 700mm
  • Eyepiece: 25mm and 10mm
  • Max useful magnification: 152x
  • Weight: 16.6 pounds

Additional Features

The tripod is one of the most important features of any telescope and the Orion SpaceProbe 3 EQ doesn’t let you down in this regard. It has an adjustable aluminum tripod with telescopic legs, which also features a built-in accessory tray for your eyepieces.

Included Accessories

As with all reflecting telescopes you need a collimation cap for when the mirrors need to be calibrated again. Fortunately this isn’t something you have to do very often (unless you move the scope a lot), but trying to do it without a collimation cap just makes things far, far more difficult.

Pros of the Orion SpaceProbe 3 Eq Reflector Telescope

  • A full-featured reflecting telescope from the Orion range, you get everything you need in the box
  • The Kellner eyepieces are a welcome change from the cheaper optics you’ll find on other telescopes in this price range
  • The German equatorial mount allows you to precisely track any moon, planet or star easily
  • You get an excellent telescope for beginners for a lot less than $200

Cons

  • The EQ mount, although a great mount, might be too much for a beginner to handle
  • It doesn’t come with a case

Consumer Ratings

Orion is one of those brand names which seem to just attractive positive reviews like a magnet. So far on most major telescopes and binoculars review sites, this Orion Newtonian reflector telescope receives an average score of 4.3 out of 5.0 star-rating, which is exceptional for any telescope in this price range.

Price

Amazingly enough the Orion SpaceProbe 3 EQ telescope costs less than $150 at most online stores , although some major online stores do give discount up to 10% off the normal retail price.

Verdict

The Orion SpaceProbe 3 EQ Reflector Telescope gives any amateur/young astronomer an inexpensive way to get involved in astronomy properly. In terms of performance this Orion telescope offers vastly improved levels of clarity and magnification when compared to the more basic 60mm refractor telescopes you’ll find in most malls. It’s also more than portable enough to take with you when you’re camping, so you can enjoy gazing at the stars without any of the light pollution which normally makes that a chore.

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