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Feb 01

Telescope Reviews: Orion 9851 SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector Telescope

Most people find it difficult to not be fascinated by the stars at least once in their lifetime, after all they’re sitting there over your head almost every single night. Although the vast majority of people don’t stop to think about it the reality is that those tiny points of light in the sky are planets and stars located millions of miles, or even light years, from where you’re standing right now. So if you want to take the first step to understanding more about the universe around you then investing a high-quality telescope is a step in the right direction.

In terms of telescopes suitable for hobbyists, and professionals, Orion has been manufacturing telescopes for well over 3 decades now. The nice thing about investing in an Orion is that they have something in their product range to suit almost every budget, although they’re not in the business of manufacturing those cheap telescopes you’ll find in malls. Instead with an Orion you’re getting a real telescope and in today’s review we’re going to look at the 9851 Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector Telescope featuring an equatorial mount.

Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector Telescope

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Reflector Telescope

You’ll hear people refer to this type of telescope as a Newtonian reflector telescope, name after the physicist Isaac Newtown, and it works by using a pair of mirrors to reflect light to an eyepiece located at the side of the telescope. This is very different to a standard refractor telescope where the light is focused through a lens instead. A reflector telescope actually gives you far better views of the skies above you and it’s only when you’ve used one for the first time that you realize just what a difference a large aperture reflector ‘scope can make to your enjoyment of astronomy as a whole. Although it can take a little while to get used to the unique viewing angle you have from the side of this reflector telescope.

5.1-inch Aperture

The bigger the aperture any telescope has then the more light it can capture from the night sky – something called light grasp. The 130mm optics on this telescope literally swallow all the light it captures and provides you with some incredible views of not only our own Moon but other planets in our solar system like Mars and of course the cloud bands of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. Under the right conditions (as little light pollution as possible) you can even enjoy the awesome sight of the moons of Jupiter passing in front of that gas giant, although you’ll probably be using a 10mm eyepiece to enjoy that level of detail – the Orion SpaceProbe 130 comes with one of those of course.

Eyepieces

In as much as the aperture of a telescope is important you’ll also need a variety of eyepieces to make the most of your stargazing experience. With the Orion Reflector telescope you get a pair of Kellner eyepieces in 10mm and 25mm focal lengths. The 25mm eyepiece will give you a broad and general view of what you’re looking at but if you want to examine any particular celestial object in more detail then you’re better of swapping over to the 10mm eyepiece instead. The beauty of eyepieces is that you can always swap them out for different types and if you want to upgrade your eyepieces for the Orion SpaceProbe 130 then the obvious choice is to go for 10mm and 25mm Plossl models instead.

Equatorial Mount

The EQ-2 mount which comes with the Orion telescope is an ideal equatorial mount for somebody who is just starting out using a reflector telescope like this. Basically unlike a refractor telescope where you tend to have to do a lot of manual adjustment, which is frustrating at the best of times, an equatorial mount has two separate control knows which allow your telescope to slowly track any object across the night sky by making minor adjustments to the ascension or declination of the scope itself. So instead of having to adjust the entire telescope when the object moves you’ll only need to make the most minor of adjustments with the control knobs instead.

Color Choices

The Orion SpaceProbe 130 is only available in the same gloss black finish as featured in our review today.

Dimensions

Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector This Orion telescope has the following features and dimensions:

  • Focal length: 900mm
  • Focal ratio: f/6.9
  • Optical diameter: 130mm
  • Magnification: 36x/90x
  • Maximum magnification: 260x
  • Weight: 26.5 pounds when fully assembled

Included Accessories

One of the other great things about buying an Orion reflector telescope is that you get everything you need in the box and in the case of the Orion SpaceProbe 130 you get a pair of Kellner eyepieces in 10mm and 25mm focal lengths, a 6 x 30 finder scope, a collimation cap, accessory tray, dust caps and of course the standard “Starry Night” software which ships with most Orion ‘scopes in this price range.

Pros

  • The Orion SpaceProbe 130 is an extremely affordable reflector telescope
  • The 5.1-inch aperture provides you with more than enough light grasp to view all but the most distant of celestial bodies
  • This telescope also tends to work pretty well in areas where there’s a lot of light pollution, obviously the view is far better without any light pollution
  • You get everything you need to get started in the box

Cons

  • The Kellner eyepieces are an odd choice for a reflector telescope considering that pretty much every other Orion is supplied with the far better Plossl eyepieces

Verdict of the Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector Telescope

You’re going to have to try very hard to find a telescope that offers so much for the same amount of money. The Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector is an ideal reflector telescope to start out with and you’ll find that it adds a new level of enjoyment to stargazing, although you might find the equatorial mount a little fiddly to work with for the first few hours.

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