Fig 1: Orion Astroview 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
Among the 16 beginner telescopes reviewed, Orion Astroview 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope was named one of the “Jack of All Trades” telescopes and was voted as the best telescope of the year, especially for the amateurs. This telescope is the only reflector within this price range which is why it is a great deal for beginner astronomers as it avoids chromatic aberration. It makes beautiful and clear views of the solar system planets, the distant stars, and any deep night-sky object without making the false color.
What does the name mean?
The name Orion Astroview 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope suggests that it has an aperture of 6 inch (around 150 mm) with a focal ratio of f/5 (750 mm). This focal ratio is good enough, though not so perfect for astrophotography. It still suffers from comatic aberration. It is a very good choice within this price range, but you may have to add some features to get better satisfying performance. Theoretically, it is supposed to give you a magnification of 300x, but according to the performance, it works well while magnifying 250x. If you want to magnify more, image quality goes down.
Orion’s Astro View includes AstroView 120ST, AstroView 90 mm, and AstroView 6 among which AstroView 6 is the only reflector telescope, and the other two are refractors. ANd it has got the rating 4.1 compared to its other companions.
Our expectation from the telescope
- While buying a telescope, what we want the most is the finest optics within the price range. Since, the finer the optics, the better the view, the higher the satisfaction.
- We look for a telescope that can give us a wide field of view, so that we can watch as much sky as possible.
- We prefer the best eyepieces within our budget, as the quality of the view of the object depends greatly on what kind of eyepiece you use.
- The mount should be sturdy enough to prevent shaking while sky observation. The lightweight mount will need extra care to avoid shaking and disturbance while observing the sky.
- We want to see the true color of the objects and avoid all kinds of aberrations.
What the item offers
- Equatorial Mount: It has a strong and sturdy equatorial mount. Besides the tripod is made of aluminum and can be rotated in all directions to give you comfort while locating your target object in the night sky.
- Focus Type: It includes a manual focus; so you have to adjust the focus on your own according to your wish to find the object.
- Finder Scope: You will get a 6×30 reflex finderscope here which makes it easy to find objects just after setting up the red dot to the correct position.
- Weight & Dimension: The product weighs around 37 pounds in total.
- Coating System: The coating system uses aluminum and silicon dioxide.
- Portability: The whole telescope’s weight is around 16.7 kg which is not possible to move easily for one person. But if you dismantle this into parts, and two or more persons help you to carry it, it will not be difficult for you to transfer it from one place to another. Or you just can move the parts one by one to decrease the loads.
The optical system of AstroView 6 is an f/5 Newtonian telescope, but it performs like an f/8 Dobsonian. Though the collimation process in AstroView 6 is a little bit harder than Dobsonian, still it is manageable. You just have to press hard to find the coma and then the system will do the rest by itself.
The focuser of AstroView 6 is 1.25’’ and it is the last metal reflector as other telescopes own plastic focusers. The focuser is designed finely and works well though you can not hold a heavy camera with it if you want to do astrophotography. Besides, you will not be able to use 2’’ eyepieces, if you do not upgrade the focuser with a large hole in it.
The Vixen-style dovetail at the bottom of the tube of the telescope allows it to attach or remove the mount easily. The ¼ 20 captive knobs provide space for placing a camera on the top.
What can you see through Orion Astroview 6
Orion AstroView 6 will not be a good option for astrophotography, but you will be able to see the solar system, and nearby stars nicely. Here is a list of what you can see through it.
- The moon through the Orion AstroView 6 is clear enough to distinguish between the craters and the other areas.
- Jupiter and some of its moons will appear with a nice detailed view through this telescope.
- You will be able to see the rings of Saturn with good separation. If you are lucky enough and a good focuser, you will be able to observe a few of its moons.
- Neptune will appear as a blue disk like shape. But it will show its own color even you use Orion AstroView 6.
- Distant galaxies and stars will be visible but will look like a group of bright dots.
If you are a novice astronomer, this telescope will work well to make you feel satisfied with star gazing. Even if you belong to a light-polluted area, it will not disappoint you.
Accessories inside the box
Fig 2: The accessory kit with Orion AstroView 6 (Ref: scopethegalaxy)
In the accessory box, you will get two Sirius Plossl eyepieces. One of them is of 25 mm (30x) focal lengths and the other one is of 10 mm (75x). It includes the rack-and-pinion focuser with 1.25’’ height. You will get a 6×30 finderscope, sturdy equatorial mount and documentation paper and some books.
Overall Advantages and Disadvantages of Orion AstroView 6
- The Eyepiece: The eyepieces are good enough for beginner sky observers. But if you want more satisfaction, there is an option to upgrade to lower focal length eyepieces.
- The Metal Focuser: The quality metal focuser is good enough, but it does not allow to adjust 1.25’’ eyepieces. Moreover, it is not able to carry the load of heavy cameras like dslr. However, smart phone can fit here easily.
- Finderscope: Finderscope is manual but provides only 6×30 of view area. You can upgrade to the next version which is able to provide a 9×50 view area.
- The Mount: The equatorial mount includes slow-motion manual control which makes the tracking job effortless and smooth using only a simple knob. A latitude scale is available at the side of the mount so that you can read it easily and set your present latitude quickly. The intuitive push-push adjustment makes it super easy to align your telescope. A polar axis scope is built in the mount which ensures that the alignment is dead when you set the mount of the telescope to your latitude. You will be able to drive the right ascension control and declination by worm gears, which are long lasting and offers a full range of motion. The other cheaper mounts with spur gears are unable to do that.
Setting Up Orion AstroView 6 Telescope
The scope is for beginner level astronomers so it does not have any complication in set up.
- Attach the mount head with the tripod.
- Add the OTA i.e. optical tube assembly (OTA)
- Polar align the scope to the latitude you placed it.
For a full guide just watch a Youtube video.
You have to collimate the scope when out of the box. It includes a collimation cap that makes it simple and effortless to adjust the AstroView 6 scope in the box. It is secured there without any possibility to fall out of alignment.
It also include a Starry Night SE software that provides a great performance to supplement your knowledge. It can help you to grow as an experienced astronomer very soon as it provides maps of constellations and several sky simulations and control the telescope. The program is user friendly and it is finely compatible with Apple OS X and Windows 10.
What can you upgrade to get a better view
Many users suggest to add a better finder scope. For that, Telrad, 8×50 or 9×50 traditional finder, Rigel Quikfinder, or cheaper red dot sight can be pretty well options.
Besides, a 6 mm ‘Goldline’ eyepiece can be a great upgrade for a higher magnification of 125x. If you want more magnification, you can think about buying a 2x Barlow lens. It ensures 250x of magnification if you use it with the gold line 6 mm eyepiece. If you use it with the included 10 mm Plossl, you will get 150x magnification.
You also will get single and dual axis motor drives for easy tracking and slow motion controls by push buttons.
The motor is very well designed as it provides regulated tracking for both the axis. It includes disengage function that make it possible to detach the motor for making manual adjustments without dismantling the motor.
Astrophotography with Orion AstroView 6
The original package of Orion AstroView6 with no component upgrade has not a good review from the users while used for astrophotography. If you are serious about astrophotography, you have to add an Orion’s EQ-3 M motor drive separately. Besides, you have to keep in mind that though the mount of AstroView 6 is sturdy, it is very light in weight. So if you are going for long exposure astrophotography, this telescope is not for you. The nearby objects and planetary photos are good enough though. If you use a dslr for that, u have to use the crop mode to get the max resolution.
Fig 3: Astrophotography with Orion AstroView 6 (Ref: Epay)
Fig 4: Astrophotography with Orion AstroView 6 (Ref: Epay)
Fig 5: Astrophotography with Orion AstroView 6 (Ref: Epay)
Fig 6: Astrophotography with Orion AstroView 6 (Ref: Epay)
Alternative to Orion AstroView 6
Within this price range, you can find some other good telescopes. For example:
- Apertura AD8 / Zhumell Z8 / Orion SkyLine 8: It has simple mounting and more aperture. The mount is Dobsonian, not equatorial. The accessories are also of better quality.
- Celestron Astro Fi 130: This includes a fully computerized unit that you can control by using your phone or tab. However, you will get less aperture with this.
- Celestron Omni XLT 150: The mount is better than Orion AstroView 6. Focuser is of 2’’ and you may need to add an eyepiece to make it more useful.
Review of Orion AstroView 6 from the customers
The users of this telescope has mixed reactions. But you have to keep in mind that the price of it is not higher. The performance it gives is compatible with the price. If you want to upgrade the telescope, you also have to upgrade your budget. Some customers gave very positive review. According to them, it is the best one in this price range. The stand or mount is super steady and not vibrate during sky gazing. You will be able to see Venus just in 10-15 minutes of your first set up.
Though some critics told that the real experience with the Orion AstroView 6 is not same as the review available on the different sites. They are not satisfied with the planetary views as they expected more clear view. But it can give awesome views of the moon. Some people has experienced delay in customer service when they contacted the support team.
One customer found this telescope as a perfect one after having nightmarish experience from Meade LS 8. To him, it worth the price as the service was good and everything was so easy to set up. He suggested that some people do not understand the instruction as they do not read the user manual well. If you read it couple of times, and then start setting it up, you will find it easy and simple.
However, if the price fits your budget, you can grab this to your cart.