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Jan 13

Telescope Reviews: Orion SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

The problem most people have when they try to get into astronomy as a hobby is they head straight to their nearest mall and buy the first telescope they can find for less than $100. Rushing home they open it, set it up and are instantly disappointed by the dismal views they get. That’s why it makes so much sense to invest that little bit more in a telescope from a company like Orion, who’ve been involved in the whole astronomy business for almost 30 years now. Not only have they been making telescopes for a long time but they’re also an internationally recognized brand name – so you’re buying quality when you buy Orion.

Today’s review is going to cover the Orion SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope, so let’s get on with it!

Orion SkyQuest XT10

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Huge Aperture

They say that size isn’t everything but when it comes to telescopes size can matter quite a bit. In fact if you look at something like the Hubble Space Telescope it has an “aperture” of 8-feet, is over 43-feet long and weighs several tons. When the Hubble finally shuts down it’s being replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope sometime in and around 2018 – the focal length on this new telescope is 431 feet!

What we’re getting at here is that the 10-inch aperture of the Orion SkyQuest XT10, combined with the 25mm Plossl eyepiece gives you an amazing view of the sky due to the enormous light grasp of this telescope and of course Plossl eyepiece does its part too. As well as being able to enjoy more local celestial sights this Orion telescope is more than capable of magnifying most of the deep-sky objects you’ll ever have heard of. Obviously you can also trade up to a 12.5mm or 6mm eyepiece if you want to check anything out in more detail.

Point-and-View Telescope

The SkyQuest XT10 is a Dobsonian Newtonian (now there’s a mouthful eh?) telescope which, to the newbies, means that it’s a large reflector telescope mounted in a base created by a guy called Dobson a few decades ago. Even though they look bulky and clunky a Dobsonian telescope kit is actually very easy for almost anyone over the age of 12 to use – you just point the telescope at where you want to look at in the sky and that’s it.

Another major benefit of using an Orion Dobsonian telescope is that you get very well defined and bright views of whatever you’re looking at. In short something like the XT10 might look complicated but is actually a great beginner/intermediate telescope for anyone to own, or give as a gift.

CorrecTension System

The Orion SkyQuest XT10 Classic uses a special balancing and traction system to make sure that the telescope stays both balanced and where you want it to be. This is all achieved by the use of several sets of springs and the only thing you need to know about this is that it works, and it works very well. Basically the CorrecTension system stops the Dobsonian from swinging out of whatever position you’ve aligned it to.

Color Choices

This Orion SkyQuest telescope is only available in a gloss black finish, as featured in our review.

Dimensions

The Orion SkyQuest XT10 has the following dimensions and features:

  • Focal length: 1200mm
  • Optical diameter: 254mm
  • Focal ratio: f/4.7
  • Magnification: 48x
  • Maximum useful magnification: 300x
  • Weight: 54 lbs

Included Accessories

When you buy any Orion telescope you always get a nice mix of accessories and this SkyQuest is no different. You obviously get the 25mm Plossl eyepiece, a 2″ Crayford focuser, the EX Finder II reflex sight, dust caps and a collimation (calibration) cap too. Orion also ship a copy of their Starry Night software with most of their telescopes and this is included with this SkyQuest too.

Pros

  • With an aperture of 10-inches this telescope is more than big enough for all but the most serious astronomers – it’s perfect for the experienced hobbyist
  • You get everything you need for your new stargazing hobby in the box, although the addition of a 12.5mm eyepiece would be nice
  • This telescope is manufactured by Orion so you’re getting a seal of quality instantly
  • Dobsonian telescopes are very easy to use and your entire family can get in on the fun

Cons

Verdict of the Orion SkyQuest XT10 Telescope

The Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is one of the most popular reflector telescopes you’ll find on sale anywhere. People love it for a lot of reasons but the main one is that it’s very easy to operate, so anyone can use it. Then it you have the enormous 10-inch aperture meaning that no matter what part of the sky you point it at you’re not going to be disappointed in the images you see, and of course there’s the sheer value for money this telescope offers too.

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