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Jun 13

Telescope Reviews: Orion StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

If you’ve ever considered taking up astronomy as a hobby then you’ll be familiar with the Orion brand of telescope. Orion as a company was founded in 1975 by Tim Gieseler, who remained in control of the company as its CEO until 2005 when Orion were bought out by a company called Imaginova, who are heavily involved in digital media and have a distinct interest in the entire field of astronomy. Orion itself has remained an American owned company from the first moment it went into business and has carried on its proud tradition of creating some of the very best telescopes in the world.

The telescope we’re going to check out today is the Orion StarBlast 4.5 EQ Reflector model.

Orion StarBlast 4.5

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Reflector Telescope

This Orion telescope is a reflector model, which is going to be a step up for you if you’ve only ever used a standard refractor scope before. Although a refractor does an adequate job it just can’t capture as much light as even the most basic of reflectors, which means you don’t get as much clarity or detail. From a users point of view this means you get to enjoy a whole new level of celestial viewing, with a telescope which is ideal for lunar and local planetary viewing. It’s also worth noting that reflectors will require calibration (collimation) now and again so do factor this into your final purchasing decision.

First Timer Scope

Now despite the fact this is a reflector telescope it’s still more than suitable for astronomers who are just starting out on their journey. A lot of people can be put off by a reflector because they assume they’re more complicated to use but that’s just an assumption. The only real difference is that the technology used to construct the telescope is different but using it only requires you to stand to the side of the telescope instead of to the rear of it. Basically using this type of reflector telescope is so easy that you’ll probably be wondering why you didn’t make the change, or at least test one out, years ago!

4.5-inch Aperture

The large aperture of this telescope is more than enough to give you a very generous view of the skies above you, which is ideal for any beginners who might struggle a little bit to locate certain stars, planets or other celestial bodies. When you combine the aperture of this telescope with a 15mm or 6mm Expanse lens you’re immediately treated to a 66° field of view. The generous aperture of the Orion StarBlast means you’ll get to enjoy looking at our solar system in a way you’ve never experienced before.

Equatorial Mount

The smooth equatorial mount on the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope means that you’re not going to have any trouble keeping any object centered or tracked with your telescope, you’ll only need to make a minor adjustment to the slow-motion cable to keep everything right where you want it. The beauty of this type of mount on any type of telescope is that you don’t really need a huge amount of experience to use it, so almost the entire family can enjoy this telescope and not just the amateur astronomy fan in your ranks.

Another neat feature of this reflector telescope is that there is also the option of adding a motor so you can automate your star gazing to a certain extent, plus let’s face facts having a motorized telescope is just one of the coolest “gadgets” you could ever want to be able to show your friends or neighbors.

Reflex Sight

The EZ Finder II sight basically projects a small red dot (yes like in Modern Warfare or CoD) onto a window on the part of the sky you want to check out. This means you can focus more quickly on a particular star or planet and it gets rid of any guesswork involved.

30x – 75x Magnification

Of course the amount of magnification you can get from a telescope is going to be huge part of your overall buying decision but it’s important that you don’t get carried away there. What we mean by this is that the Orion StarBlast has a maximum magnification level of 228x but you’ll see far cheaper telescopes saying they have a maximum magnification of 450x – but that’s just clever advertising when it comes down to it. The reality is that when you see a reflector telescope like this Orion with a lowest useful magnification level of 16x and highest useful magnification level of 228x then you know that any $50 telescope offering 450x magnification is just a pipe dream. The 15mm Expanse eyepiece on the StarBlast will give you more than enough magnification to enjoy a detailed view of the night sky too.

Color Choices

The Orion StarBlast 4.5 EQ Reflector is available in a turquoise/sea-green color only.

Dimensions

  • Focal length: 450mm
  • Optical diameter: 114mm
  • Focal ratio: f/4.0
  • Weight: 20 lbs assembled

Included Accessories

  • 6mm and 15mm Expanse eyepieces
  • Tripod
  • EZ Finder II reflex sight
  • Counterweight
  • Accessory tray
  • Slow-motion cables
  • Starry Night software

Pros

  • 4.5″ aperture captures a lot of light so you get crisp images
  • Equatorial mount makes using this telescope easy for almost anyone
  • At under $300 you’re getting a lot for your money
  • Ideal for checking out our local solar system and bodies beyond our solar system

Cons

  • There are no real cons – this telescope does what it says on the tin.

Verdict of the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Telescope

If you’ve been using a refractor telescope for a while now and you’re looking for an ideal way to upgrade and take the next step on your journey as an astronomer then the Orion StarBlast 4.5 is a very cost effective way to do just that. Two thumbs up from us – actually we wish we had more thumbs to be honest!

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