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Jun 25

Telescope Reviews: Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope

There are a lot of different brands of telescopes available on the market today but there are some names which stand out more than others and Orion is one of the best known brands in the world of telescopes right now. Orion first went into the telescope business in 1975 when Tim Gieseler released the first of what was to become an internationally recognized brand of telescopes. Tim remained as the CEO and owner of the company until 2005 when a company called Imaginova bought out Orion, but the telescopes are still being marketed, sold and supported under the Orion brand name. Basically you can rest assured that these telescopes are still as good as they ever were.

So let’s go ahead and take a look at the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope and see what makes this telescope so special.

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope

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Newtonian Telescope

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST is what’s called a Newtonian reflector which is named after the famous apple-on-the-head English physicist who invented this way of gazing at the stars. If you’re confused about what a Newtonian telescope is then don’t worry because it’s the exact same as a reflector telescope – it uses parabolic mirrors in the exact same way, it’s just a different name being used. When most people either buy or are bought their first telescope it’s usually a refractor scope, which uses lenses to focus the light from stars, planets etc. Refractors are fine but they tend to lack the accuracy and clarity of reflector or compound models, so a reflector actually makes far more sense as your first scope.

Compact Design

One of the many perks for owning a reflector telescope is they tend to be a lot more compact than a refractor and they have a much, much wider aperture too. The ST in the name of this telescope actually stands for “Short Tube” and this is basically a compact version of the standard SpaceProbe 130. The optical tube is 24-inches long, 9-inches less than the standard 130 model and it also has a focal length of 5.1-inches, which produces a pretty wide field of view for both beginner and more expert astronomers alike.

130mm Aperture

As you’ve probably guessed by now the “130 ST” has a 130mm (5.1-inch) aperture which means that this reflector can capture and focus a whole heap of light. If you’ve never used a reflector (Newtonian) scope before you’ll probably still find it strange that even with the light bounced around at different angles these kinds of telescopes still give such amazing results…but then again they were invented by a genius physicist who basically defined gravity and then proved that it existed. Anyways the aperture of the SpaceProbe 130ST is more than enough to produce amazing results even when you’re dealing with the growing problem of light pollution. Basically with this telescope you’ll be able to use it in an urban setting and get good results. However once you get it away from the mess of neon, halogen lights and sodium street lights the images are going to blow your socks off. Well not literally. Obviously. That would cost you a fortune in socks.

Magnification Maximum and Minimum

As with most things in life it’s going to come down to size and with the SpaceProbe 130ST we’re not talking physical size but the level of magnification you can get when using it. The good news is that with the supplied Plossl 25mm and 10mm eyepieces you can enjoy magnification of celestial bodies and events from 26x – 65x. The upper limit for this scope is 260x but that’s just a blur and you lose all definition when using the theoretical maximum of any telescope.

Precise Equatorial Mount

The EQ-2 equatorial mount for this telescope is ideal and you have dual setting circles and the obligatory slow-motion controls also. As with most reflector telescopes it’ll need to be Pole Aligned (aligned to Polaris, Ursae Minoris or the North Star) but once you’ve done that you can get busy enjoying your star gazing from a very stable and easy to use mount. There is an optional electronic drive assembly available for the SpaceProbe 130ST to if you want. Oh and the tripod is obviously height adjustable too.

Color Choices

The SpaceProbe 130ST comes in our preferred color for telescopes – black. Some people might disagree but we like telescopes in black. Simple as that.

Dimensions

  • Focal length: 650mm
  • Optical diameter: 130mm
  • Focal ratio: f/5.0
  • Weight: 24 lbs

Included Accessories

You get two Plossl eyepieces, a finder scope, a rack and pinion focuser, an accessory tray for your tripod, a collimation cap and the Starry Night software, among many other additional bits and pieces in the box. If you can say nothing else about Orion telescopes it’s that they never, ever skimp on the accessories – you get what you need in the box and then some!

Pros

  • With a 5.1-inch aperture you’ll get great views of the Moon and other planets in our solar system
  • You’re not just limited to our solar system however – you’ll also be able to see distant galaxies and star clusters
  • This telescope is very competitively priced for everything that you get
  • The equatorial mount is a pleasure to use every single time – smooth and accurate

Cons

  • We’re kinda struggling to find fault here because Orion scopes are just so danged good. The only possible downside with this scope is it might take a refractor scope user a while longer to get used to it.

Verdict of the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Telescope

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope is a great telescope for both casual and more experienced astronomers because it’s light, highly accurate, easy to use and at just 24-pounds fully assembled you don’t need to be Kevin Sorbo to lunk it around with you.

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