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Oct 10

Telescope Reviews: Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop Refractor Telescope

If there’s any mistake almost every beginner astronomer makes it’s that they head straight to the mall and buy a telescope from some random gadget or electronics store. The packaging always looks appealing, showing amazing images of Saturn, Jupiter and nebulae, but unfortunately the telescope very rarely lives up to the promises that it makes – usually because of a combination of cheap optics and poor design.

A better start in astronomy can be had by investing your hard-earned cash in a name-brand telescope like an Orion for example, and the model we’re going to review for you here is the Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop refractor telescope – an ideal refractor telescope for the amateur astronomer. It’s worth noting that Orion have been making telescopes now for over 30 years, so they know exactly what they’re doing in our humble opinion.

Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop Refractor Telescope Review

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Table Top Telescope

The Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop refractor telescope is one of the more unique telescopes that we’ve reviewed because, for once, it doesn’t feature a tripod. Instead the GoScope is a tabletop model, which as the name suggests is designed to be placed on a table when you’re using it. This obviously makes the Orion GoScope 80 an extremely portable telescope, which can be moved from room to room as and when you see fit, plus it’s also more than portable enough to be placed in a backpack and brought to the great outdoors with you. Even though this telescope doesn’t come with a tripod it does still have a tripod socket on the base, so you can simply mount it on a camera tripod instead if you want to.

Alt-Azimuth Mount

This Orion telescope uses an AZ mount so you’re somewhat limited in that it can only move along 4-axes (up, down, left and right), which is less versatile than an EQ or Dobsonian mount for example. That being said the alt-azimuth mount suits this particular 80mm refractor telescope design because it’s not designed for “advanced” star gazing if that makes any sense? The compact nature of this Orion telescope pretty much means that an EQ mount simply wouldn’t work, so we’re not going to count the AZ mount as a negative aspect because it wouldn’t be fair to do that.

80mm Refractor

The Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop refractor telescope is a refracting telescope, so it uses lenses to focus the light into your eyepiece. Unlike most other pocket-friendly refractors the Orion GoScope 80 AZ has an 80mm aperture, which captures 70% more light than a 60mm refractor, and 30% more light than a 70mm refractor. So as you can see a tiny increase in aperture can give you a huge increase in image clarity, which will be a definite bonus when you want to examine deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula for example. This telescope is also perfectly capable of providing stunning views of the objects in our own solar system too – so be prepared for being able to see the planets in our celestial neighborhood in more detail than you might expect from a telescope in this price range.

High-Quality Optics

The 1.25-inch focuser on the Orion GoScope 80mm refractor telescope provides a platform for the 10mm and 20mm eyepieces supplied with this GoScope. Using the 10mm eyepiece allows for a high-definition view of our closest solar neighbor, the moon, while swapping that out for the 20mm eyepiece bumps up the magnification power to 35x, which gives you a detailed view of the deep-sky objects outside our own planetary system. Remember you can always add a Barlow lens to boost the power the supplied eyepieces offer you.

Color Choices

The Orion Tabletop telescope comes in a very different color scheme because it’s burgundy (or wine as some people call it), which is a pretty big departure from the usual black or dark blue finish you find on most telescopes. Orion probably did this in an effort to make it blend in more quickly with your furniture and decor we’d imagine?

Dimensions

The Orion GoScope 80mm refractor telescope has the following technical and physical dimensions:

  • Aperture: 80mm
  • Focal length: 350mm
  • Eyepiece:  10mm and 20mm
  • Max useful magnification: 160x
  • Weight: 5.7 pounds

Additional Features

As you would expect on any modern telescope this Orion GoScope comes with a finder scope in the form of the EZ Finder II. This finder scope has a red-dot sight (reticle) which makes targeting stars, planets or moons very easy – even for the absolute beginner.

Pros

  • This Orion telescope is extremely portable and will blend into the background of any room
  • An 80mm aperture means it’s also a very capable telescope in terms of the image quality it can produce
  • Again being able to get any Orion telescope for less than $200 is what we consider an absolute bargain
  • The supplied eyepieces provide more than enough viewing power for any amateur astronomer

Cons

  • Some people won’t like the fact that this Orion Tabletop telescope has no tripod included with it

Consumer Ratings

As telescopes go the Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop refractor telescope is one of the best of its kind you’ll find at this price. Online shoppers seem to agree because overall this telescope has achieved a average score of 4.8 out of 5.0 on most major online stores.

Price

The Orion GoScope 80mm refractor telescope is priced at just a few dollars over $125, which means it offers excellent value for money. It’s not the best telescope ever made but for less than $130 it’s definitely one of the best tabletop telescopes we’ve ever had a chance to review.

Verdict

This GoScope is an ideal entry-level refractor and suitable for both family and solo use. Some people might frown on the fact that it uses an alt-azimuth mount instead of an EQ one, but the reality is that this Orion telescope will be used by a mixture of amateur astronomers and young-ish children – an EQ mount is just too much work for people who don’t understand the benefits of using one. Even if you have an existing telescope the Orion Tabletop telescope would be an ideal household/backup scope for those solar events you can’t get outside in time to checkout – like if the ISS is doing a fly-by and you don’t have time to set up your normal telescope.

Basically we wish we had more hands so we could give the Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop Refractor Telescope more thumbs up!

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