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Dec 20

Telescope Reviews: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

If you’ve always wanted to get involved in the whole hobby of astronomy but you didn’t know where to start or what equipment to buy then we think that you’ll find that the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is a great place to start. After all Orion have been manufacturing telescopes in the United States since 1975 and are widely recognized as being one of the better (if not best) hobbyist telescopes you can find in their price range. The man behind Orion, Tim Gieseler, handed over control of the Orion brand to Imaginova in 2005, but the company continues to produce a range of highly affordable, easy-to-use and accurate telescopes.

The model we’re going to take a look at today, as you’ve probably guessed, is the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic – a Dobsonian telescope kit.

Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

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Wide Aperture

With an aperture of 4.5-inches (114mm) this Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 is at the lower end of the scale in terms of sheer size, but that means you can mount it on a table more easily. The aperture is still more than adequate for checking out the craters on our Moon, the color bands on Jupiter and of course the always stunning rings of Saturn. If you’ve never used a “real” telescope before you’ll find that the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic will blow any of your standard store trashscopes right out of the water – there’s absolutely no comparison in terms of the images you’ll be able to see. To make the most of this telescope you’re also provided with a 10mm and 25mm Plossl eyepiece.

Ideal Beginner Telescope

The simple fact is that the Orion SkyQuest has tons more light grasp than a refractor telescope with a comparable aperture – up to 200% more. Without digging into the technical details of what this all means (and possibly boring you to sleep) the more light that can be reflected around inside a telescope means that you get brighter and larger images. Although any telescope with a Dobsonian mount might seem a little bit intimidating or complex at first they’re actually the ideal platform for a beginner. It can take a while to get used to an equatorial mount whereas a Dobsonian mount just lets you point your scope at what you want to view and then just enjoy the experience.

The supplied eyepieces, matched with the 114m aperture, give you a maximum magnification of either 36x or 91x – depending on what eyepiece you actually wind up using. With this level of magnification you should have no problem enjoying the light show presented both by celestial objects in our solar system and extra-solar bodies too! Using a Dobsonian reflector telescope does require a small amount of skill, which is why so many people chose a computerized telescope instead, we’re just a bit old school at times when it comes to the ‘scopes we use here is all. That being said we do love some of the better computerized telescopes on the market.

Award-Winning Telescope

Now there’s a lot we can say about the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic but let’s just have a look at some of the accolades it’s received so far. In 2005 Sky & Telescope Magazine announced that the Orion Dobsonian was a “hands-down winner” when it came to the detail and brightness it provided. In 2003 Astronomy Magazine said that the XT4.5 was an ideal telescope for somebody just starting out in astronomy. Then in 2001 Sky & Telescope Magazine also said that the SkyQuest XT 4.5 was very tough and displayed an incredible amount of detail including the “Great Red Spot” of Jupter, which all astronomers dream of seeing.

Portable

As we mentioned a bit earlier the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic is small by Dobsonian telescope standards but that actually provides you with the rare advantage of having a telescope of this type which is actually portable. So instead of being stuck stargazing in your yard and struggling with light pollution, you can simply take this Orion telescope wherever you want. Orion Dobsonians all feature something called “CorrecTension Friction Optimization”, which is a set of springs used to keep the telescope balanced and properly attached to the Dobsonian base. This system also helps prevent the mirrors from getting out of alignment, although collimation will be required from time to time. The additional bonus is in terms of the weight of the telescope itself – it’s just 19lbs in total! That’s at least 10lbs less than the bigger Orion Dobsonians.

Color Choices

The Orion SkyQuest is available in a classic gloss black finish.

Dimensions

This reflector telescope has the following dimensions and/or features:

  • Focal length: 910mm
  • Aperture: 114mm
  • Focal ratio: f/7.9
  • Lowest magnification: 17x
  • Highest magnification: 228x

Additional FeaturesOrion Dobsonian Telescope Kit

You get a one-year limited warranty when you purchase this Orion SkyQuest telescope.

Included Accessories

This telescope comes with plenty of accessories, including the 2 Plossl eyepieces, a finder scope and a free copy of the Starry Night astronomy software package.

Pros

  • A highly portable design means you can take this telescope with you to areas not soaked in light pollution
  • The 4.5-inch aperture means you get excellent levels of light grasp
  • The pricing and configuration of the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic makes it an ideal telescope for beginners

Cons

  • The aperture is small by Dobsonian standards but still more than enough for the needs of any amateur astronomer

Verdict of the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Telescope

A telescope like the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope makes stargazing easy, fun and accessible to almost every single member of your family. It’s portable and extremely easy to use but still provides excellent views of everything the skies have to offer you.

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