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Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 & Telrad

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#1 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 12:57 PM

I'm planning on buying an Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 (114mm/4.5" dob) for my daughter's birthday (she's turning 10).  The biggest complaint I generally see about this scope is its finder, which requires some contortion to look through.  Does anyone know if a Telrad will work with a tube this small, or if not, what a better alternative might be?


Edited by Dave D, 12 September 2016 - 12:58 PM.


#2 Augustus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 12:59 PM

I would recommend getting an Orion XT6. For the same price as a Telrad/Rigel and the XT4.5, you can get a much bigger and more capable scope that doesn't require kneeling or setting it on something. Also, it comes with a red dot finder.


Edited by Augustus, 12 September 2016 - 01:06 PM.

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#3 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:17 PM

I already have a decked-out  8" SCT which she views through regularly, but only under daddy's strict supervision.  This scope will be her's to use as she pleases.  I'm very familiar with the capabilities of 4.5" and 6" scopes.  In this case 17lbs vs. 35lbs matters more than aperture.  The only question I haven't found an answer for is whether a Telrad will fit on it.


Edited by Dave D, 12 September 2016 - 01:17 PM.

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#4 Augustus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:20 PM

A 6" Dob is not 35lbs. More like 25.



#5 kfiscus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:23 PM

How dark are your skies? Telrads work best in darker settings. A Telrad would certainly work for target acquisition and star hopping if your location is dark enough.

Regarding the 6x26 finder that comes with the XT4.5, you could upgrade to a 50mm straight or right-angle finder and attach it using the dovetail base that comes with XTs. A red dot finder will also fit but the Telrad is a more-useful alternative.

Edited by kfiscus, 12 September 2016 - 01:25 PM.

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#6 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:24 PM

Orion XT6

 

Weight, optical tube 13.5 lbs.
Weight, mount/tripod 20.9 lbs.
Weight, fully assembled 34.4 lbs


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#7 Augustus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:35 PM

Orion XT6

 

Weight, optical tube 13.5 lbs.
Weight, mount/tripod 20.9 lbs.
Weight, fully assembled 34.4 lbs

How is that possible when the package weight of the item is 27.6 lbs?


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#8 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:39 PM

How dark are your skies? Telrads work best in darker settings. A Telrad would certainly work for target acquisition and star hopping if your location is dark enough.

Regarding the 6x26 finder that comes with the XT4.5, you could upgrade to a 50mm straight or right-angle finder and attach it using the dovetail base that comes with XTs.

 

I'm in an area that's probably between green and yellow (rural central Mass.).  Skies can get resonably dark here (I can see M31 on most dark nights and occassionally M33).  I have a spare 50mm finder that I can try and a right angle finder is another good suggestion.  The most important quality though is that it is easy for my daughter to orient to.  There are also some nice charts made for Telrads.  So while Telrad sounds ideal, I've never used one, so I'm not sure it is the best alternative or will even fit.



#9 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:54 PM

 

Orion XT6

 

Weight, optical tube 13.5 lbs.
Weight, mount/tripod 20.9 lbs.
Weight, fully assembled 34.4 lbs

How is that possible when the package weight of the item is 27.6 lbs?

 

Because its cheaper to ship?

 

...but in all seriousness, if the advertised weight is too high on the XT6 then its probably too high on the XT4.5 too.  Perhaps its really 10lb vs. 20lbs.  The point is that smaller and lighter is better for my use case.  Any way you slice it, the 4.5" is dramatically smaller and lighter than the 6" (see size comparison diagram at http://www.thetelesc...onian-telescope).  I don't really see her dragging a scope out of the house on her own that is nearly as tall as she is!  Of course, on the other hand, if she plays me well enough, there could easily be a 20" Obsession in her future.


Edited by Dave D, 12 September 2016 - 01:55 PM.

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#10 Augustus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:02 PM

 

 

Orion XT6

 

Weight, optical tube 13.5 lbs.
Weight, mount/tripod 20.9 lbs.
Weight, fully assembled 34.4 lbs

How is that possible when the package weight of the item is 27.6 lbs?

 

Because its cheaper to ship?

 

...but in all seriousness, if the advertised weight is too high on the XT6 then its probably too high on the XT4.5 too.  Perhaps its really 10lb vs. 20lbs.  The point is that smaller and lighter is better for my use case.  Any way you slice it, the 4.5" is dramatically smaller and lighter than the 6" (see size comparison diagram at http://www.thetelesc...onian-telescope).  I don't really see her dragging a scope out of the house on her own that is nearly as tall as she is!  Of course, on the other hand, if she plays me well enough, there could easily be a 20" Obsession in her future.

 

A 20" Obsession? If only my parents were that nice!

 

They told me yesterday to be grateful for the itty-bitty scopes I have....



#11 paul m schofield

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:11 PM

I have a Telrad mounted to my 5" Meade refractor with double stick tape and it works fine. The tube diameter is probably about the same as the XT4.5. 



#12 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:11 PM

 

 

 

Orion XT6

 

Weight, optical tube 13.5 lbs.
Weight, mount/tripod 20.9 lbs.
Weight, fully assembled 34.4 lbs

How is that possible when the package weight of the item is 27.6 lbs?

 

Because its cheaper to ship?

 

...but in all seriousness, if the advertised weight is too high on the XT6 then its probably too high on the XT4.5 too.  Perhaps its really 10lb vs. 20lbs.  The point is that smaller and lighter is better for my use case.  Any way you slice it, the 4.5" is dramatically smaller and lighter than the 6" (see size comparison diagram at http://www.thetelesc...onian-telescope).  I don't really see her dragging a scope out of the house on her own that is nearly as tall as she is!  Of course, on the other hand, if she plays me well enough, there could easily be a 20" Obsession in her future.

 

A 20" Obsession? If only my parents were that nice!

 

They told me yesterday to be grateful for the itty-bitty scopes I have....

 

Here's how it works.  If I see signs that she will become a well compensated astrophysicist during my retirement years, then she she will get all the all the encouragement I can muster. 


Edited by Dave D, 12 September 2016 - 02:12 PM.

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#13 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:19 PM

I have a Telrad mounted to my 5" Meade refractor with double stick tape and it works fine. The tube diameter is probably about the same as the XT4.5. 

 Yes, that's probably very similar.  Any issues with fit?  Does it wobble?  Does it fit fairly flush with the tube?


Edited by Dave D, 12 September 2016 - 02:19 PM.


#14 planet earth

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:42 PM

I just tried a Telrad base on my Tasco 4.5 f8 and it fits fine..

The tube is 5.5 in diameter.

The Telrad will weight more though, so you may have balance issues.

You may need to add some weight to the primary mirror end of the tube.

 

 

Sam



#15 Dave D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 02:48 PM

I just tried a Telrad base on my Tasco 4.5 f8 and it fits fine..

The tube is 5.5 in diameter.

The Telrad will weight more though, so you may have balance issues.

You may need to add some weight to the primary mirror end of the tube.

 

 

Sam

Thanks for checking that out.  I hadn't thought about the weight.  I think I'm going to just buy the scope as-is for now and if the finder is as clumsy as reported, I'll try putting on a dummy weight equivalent to the Telrad to see how the balance is affected.  If it can be compensated for well enough I'll go ahead and get one.


Edited by Dave D, 12 September 2016 - 02:49 PM.


#16 kfiscus

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 05:36 PM

I seriously doubt an XT4.5 would notice the weight of a Telrad (or heavier optical finder).  The CorrecTension springs are quite firm and keep the scope wherever it's pointed.  I would strongly recommend the Telrad for you and your daughter.  The many printed and online resources that furnish Telrad circles REALLY help beginners find their targets.  The XT4.5 is a great starter scope that I've recommended to several families with young astro beginners.

 

As a side note, a Telrad is extremely easy to move from scope to scope with the purchase of additional bases.  Telrads are #1 in the world for a reason.


Edited by kfiscus, 12 September 2016 - 05:40 PM.

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#17 Ed D

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 06:49 PM

Dave,

 

The XT4.5 comes with a Synta/Vixen standard finder shoe.  This gives you many options (RDF, RACI) in addition to a Telrad, which is a really nice finder.

 

When my younger daughter was 10 she took an interest in observing with me and spending time discussing astronomy, physics, etc.  Now as an adult she is a math and physics major, and she still loves to sit with me and talk about the universe, etc.  Occasionally she will still ask to look through my scopes.

 

Ed D


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 06:57 PM

 

How dark are your skies? Telrads work best in darker settings. A Telrad would certainly work for target acquisition and star hopping if your location is dark enough.

Regarding the 6x26 finder that comes with the XT4.5, you could upgrade to a 50mm straight or right-angle finder and attach it using the dovetail base that comes with XTs.

 

I'm in an area that's probably between green and yellow (rural central Mass.).  Skies can get resonably dark here (I can see M31 on most dark nights and occassionally M33).  I have a spare 50mm finder that I can try and a right angle finder is another good suggestion.  The most important quality though is that it is easy for my daughter to orient to.  There are also some nice charts made for Telrads.  So while Telrad sounds ideal, I've never used one, so I'm not sure it is the best alternative or will even fit.

 

 

Dave:

 

lt sounds like your skies are plenty dark enough to use a Telrad effectively.  My concern is two fold:  Is there room for it?  Is it possible to mount it so that it is comfortable to use?  I am a big fan of the Telrad but they are big and with a small scope like the XT-4.5, there's not a lot of room.

 

As far as a scope choice.. How about a Starblast 6?   23.5 lbs assembled versus 17.6 lbs for the XT-4.5.

 

Starblast 6 inch CN.jpg
 
Just a thought.
 
Jon

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#19 havasman

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 07:07 PM

Jon beat me to it on the subject of room. I've just rigged an XT6i that's becoming a club library scope. I left the stock RACI finder as the field is wide and a Telrad (which is great) would be at an awkward angle any place I could see to mount it. Of course the angle on the smaller radius would just be worse.

Jim at Scopestuff may have a bracket to mount a Telrad onto the standard Orion finder shoe. I decided against it (enough work has already been involved) but hold that option if the members can't make the RACI work.



#20 glennonrp

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 07:13 PM

I have the SkyQuest 4.5" and a Telrad on another scope. It's going to look big on there. But, that should still be okay. I had bought the Rigel Quickfinder which is similar to the Telrad for my 4.5". It works, but, the Telrad is better. I'm glad I got one for my larger scope. I think you would be glad you have it.

I also have an Orion 6x30 (I think that's the size) RACI finder scope. I use the Telrad or Rigel to get close. Then the RACI finder to starhop, if necessary, or just to zero in on my target. The RACI finder gathers more light and offers good magnification so I can find what I'm looking for. And the view corresponds to the largest circle of the Telrad. It's a good system to me.
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#21 Larry10

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 08:01 PM

I seriously doubt an XT4.5 would notice the weight of a Telrad (or heavier optical finder).  The CorrecTension springs are quite firm and keep the scope wherever it's pointed.  I would strongly recommend the Telrad for you and your daughter.  The many printed and online resources that furnish Telrad circles REALLY help beginners find their targets.  The XT4.5 is a great starter scope that I've recommended to several families with young astro beginners.

 

As a side note, a Telrad is extremely easy to move from scope to scope with the purchase of additional bases.  Telrads are #1 in the world for a reason.

I agree.

I had one for a while and one of the first things I did was to release some of the spring tension by using key ring extensions. I think there is some good latitude with the tension.

They are relatively light. While I never weighed mine I have no reason to doubt the Orion listed 17.6 lb weight. It was so easy for me (as an adult) to snatch this up with one hand and pop out the door to view. The handle was also in a decent location...not real awkward and fairly well balanced.

My only complaint about the finder was the same as the focuser. Not a great height for an adult! Nevertheless I enjoyed using it with either a low stepstool or a stadium seat pad - whichever was most convenient to grab at the moment. The optics were really pretty good and it was a breeze to collimate because you could look through the eyepiece at the same time you were making adjustments. I took mine to several public events and kids gravitated to it. It was a Goldilocks just right. Our club now keeps one at our observatory site.

One minor issue is that it has a slight tendency to want to tip when altitude is changed in a ham fisted manner. This is because of the low weight of the base ( not a bad thing if you want portable) and the position of the altitude bearings. Mine never toppled because it was easy to sense when it felt it might want to try that and it was instinctive to back off the pressure. Using a moderate touch always worked fine. 


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#22 dmgriff

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 06:57 AM

I have a telrad that came with a opt/discovery scope. My thought is balance on the 4.5xt.

A 6x30 raci may be more appropriate.

 

Good viewing,

 

Dave



#23 AcTrust

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 08:05 AM

I would go for the XT6 dob. A buddy of mine has one and it's great!

 

I went to the hardware store and attached some nifty handles on the rockerbox that costed $5.00, it is easy as pie to pick it up and move it around.



#24 SeaBee1

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 08:46 AM

I'm a little late to the party, but here are my thoughts, from experiences with my 10 year old granddaughter... you are correct that a 6 incher will probably be a bit much, maybe not weight wise, but certainly in terms of awkwardness to move about. A 4.5 will likely be just about right for her. Concerning mounting a Telrad®, the base will take up about 2.5 to 3 inches of circumference on the tube, so not that much really. The issue will be one of ergonomics I think. You want to mount it in a fashion that going from Telrad® to RACI (if you use one) to eyepiece is comfortable, and intuitive. I wouldn't care what it looks like, it needs to WORK. And that is going to be subjective, depending on your daughter. I would think a RACI would be optional on the 4.5, the Telrad® a must. My granddaughter took to the Telrad® like a duck to water... but she let Grandpa haul the 6 incher around...

 

YMMV

 

 

Clear skies!

 

CB


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#25 Dave D

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 07:46 AM

Just following up on my own post as we now have the scope and have had numerous chances to use it.  The 4.5 was definitely the right choice.  I was immediately surprised at how well-built the scope is and how nice the views are--especially compared to an old 4.5 Tasco I used to have..  The finder scope turned out to be a non-issue.  In fact, I actually like it and find it very easy to adjust.  A few days after my daughter's birthday she had some friends from school over for a second birthday party.  It turned out to be a clear night, and while I did have my 8" SCT out for "formal" viewing, the kids had a blast with the little dob both on their own and with me teaching them how to find Andromeda and point to it on their own.  The only shortcoming for me is, well, that it's short (I can only use it on my knees); but the kids are fine with it.  Nevertheless, I'll probably make or buy some kind of a table or stand for it.


Edited by Dave D, 12 January 2017 - 07:47 AM.

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