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Opinions on Orion 150mm f/5 OTA

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#1 Phact

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:11 AM

Hi everyone, I am new to the forum and amateur astronomy. I recently got an Orion 150mm 750mm focal length on Starseeker 4 mount. Still understanding the quirks of 2-star alignment and the go-to mount but have enjoyed the views of moon, Jupiter and Saturn so far.

After reading various posts, I don't see this particular scope/mount being recommended. For visual and backyard astronomy with light pollution, what are some recommended scopes at this price point of $600 since I still might have a chance to return? I am also interested in viewing DSOs at some point. I thought a tracking mount is more beginner and kid friendly but with the precision I have seen so far, I have my doubts about the effectiveness of the go-to functionality. Thanks in advance.
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#2 sg6

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:31 AM

The scope reads as 150mm f/5 refractor. If so then likely soo much CA and poorly defined focus to give a good image. Generally forget "Fast" that is a photographic term and not a good criteria for a scope. Keeps creeping in from the AP side. f/8 would be a better for a scope.

 

Unsure of the mount, but as a package the mount is just about always the weakest item. So falls into the bracket of just adaquate and sometime noy quite adaquate.

 

Got is not automatic, or the old term "plug and play".

You supply location data, you supply date and time, you set up the mount, you do the 2/3 star alignment and IF you have done all this with reasonable accuracy and correctly the scope should go to the next target that you again define. That is a lot of manual rather then automatic or computerised.

 

DSO's are not a problem, I use binoculars on many, standard simple 8x42's.. Someone has just completed the Messier catalogue with a 60mm.

 

Cannot really suggest a scope+mount package, have always bought seperate so mount is capable for the scope.

 

On the manual side a dobsonian mounted reflector is the obvious. But they are manual and that introduces it's own aspects. You do everything and learning takes time. Sometimes short occasionally infinite. May not be kid friendly as no tracking and they could also need to learn to use.

 

Refractors I suggest a 100mm longer focal length scope, 1000mm focal length should be OK. Reduced chromatic aberration and easy on eyepieces.

 

If visual only (only means NO AP) then the new Az GTi mount is reasonable for up to an 80mm doublet - suggest the Skyeatcher 80ED. Don't go bigger. The pair might just come in at $600(ish).

 

Another mount is perhaps the Skywatcher EQ3-2. The catch here is the tripod is not ideal.

 

Goto is very much how well you do it and set it up. I have the view that the "alignment" you do is so the mount can work out how badly you have done your bit and what it has to correct for.

 

I have the Az GTi mount and sort of well impressed. Paired with the Skysafari app very easy - Android tablet, not iPad.

 

Add a location to your profile, for wahtever reason that helps, also if possible and if time visit a club to look at equipment.



#3 oldstargazer

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:14 AM

That is a widefield scope for looking at large areas of the sky. Really nice in the summer time when the Milkyway is so visible. Bright objects will look a little funny, especially something as bright as Jupiter. But for looking at dim things like comets and nebula it is pretty good. As for goto that will depend on how accurately you get it setup at the beginning. First time I used a goto many years ago it could not find anything I asked it to find. Turns out I started the alignment process too late and had picked the wrong stars when doing the alignment. After that night I always went out earlier and so it sent me to brighter stars and I never had a problem again, it always went right too the object I asked for.



#4 Phact

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for the responses, sg6 and oldstargazer. It's a 150mm f/5 reflector. I am in the SF bay area. 

 

I was able to get the goto accuracy to be off by a degree or so i.e., I do 2-star alignment and ask it to go to Jupiter and it's not in the eye piece but off by a degree or so which means I rely on SkySafari and SkyMap apps for accuracy. The buttons to slew the scope are coming in handy since it's more controlled slew than when I move it by hand. 

 

I don't know if it was funny but Jupiter was definitely bright with lot less detail than I expected. Multiple viewings improved the view a bit which I attributed to learning to observe in the dark. Saturn and rings was much better than Jupiter. 

 

One thing I keep wondering is if Celestron NexStar or Meade equivalent is a better series than Orion but then I have read they are almost identical with cosmetic differences. 



#5 watchplanets

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:39 PM

the first 2 guys were assuming u had the refractor f/5 in which yes it has a lot colour on planets, so for that its not ideal scope unless its for milky way sweeping.

 

your 2nd post claims its the reflector verson which I had a few over the years. I am more fimilar with the skywatcher or celestron 6'f/5 reflector with the parabolic mirrors which are decent scope, decent big, they don't have any ca false colour as they were talking about cause its not the refractor verson but it may have coma another issue but not too bad if u keep objects closer to middle fov of your ep.

 

its also decent big to look dso

 

god luck I think its good scope


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#6 Phact

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:45 PM

I am learning what kind of detail to provide on this forum very quickly smile.gif

 

What I have is this:

https://www.telescop...it/p/114848.uts


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#7 trapdoor2

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:55 PM

Hi everyone, I am new to the forum and amateur astronomy. I recently got an Orion 150mm 750mm focal length on Starseeker 4 mount. Still understanding the quirks of 2-star alignment and the go-to mount but have enjoyed the views of moon, Jupiter and Saturn so far.

After reading various posts, I don't see this particular scope/mount being recommended. For visual and backyard astronomy with light pollution, what are some recommended scopes at this price point of $600 since I still might have a chance to return? I am also interested in viewing DSOs at some point. I thought a tracking mount is more beginner and kid friendly but with the precision I have seen so far, I have my doubts about the effectiveness of the go-to functionality. Thanks in advance.

I'm using essentially the same scope and mount, except as sold by Celestron as their 6" AVX...at double the price point. I have no idea if there are any real differences, they look the same externally.

 

I'm new at this game too (got mine in March/April) but I've been well pleased with it. As has been said, getting the goto to work with any degree of accuracy starts with accurate setup. The more accurately you set up the tripod and mount, the more accurate the goto gets. I now use a compass and bubble level to set up my tripod. Makes a world of difference.

 

Still, now that I've had a chance to play with other types of scopes, I would not re-buy the one I have. At the Starseeker price point ($550-$600), I would go for a XT8i push-to Dobsonian. Set-up is a breeze, needs only a 9v battery, a step up in aperture, etc. Orion's push-to system is intuitive and easy (I don't really have a need for tracking). I also would prefer being seated.



#8 watchplanets

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:58 PM

ok still looks good

I have the celestron 6"f/5 reflector on omni eq4 mount manual verson

have fun with it



#9 Phact

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 12:14 PM

Thanks for all the responses. trapdoor2 was spot-on. Once I fixed leveling, the goto's precision improved and I have been super happy. 



#10 Hipoptical

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 06:12 AM

Thanks for all the responses. trapdoor2 was spot-on. Once I fixed leveling, the goto's precision improved and I have been super happy. 

 

I have the exact same scope as you OP, and I really like it a lot. I have nothing to compare it to, but I would certainly never part with it, not just for sentimenal reasons, but because it's 'good enough'. By 'good enough' I mean you can get some really breathtaking views.

 

Interesting tip about the leveling. I must try that. I also got only so far with the 2 star alignment but assumed it was just user error as I'm a total noob. Since then, I've mainly been using the scope without the goto at all. Observing moon, planets, double stars, star-hopping, just pointing and seeing what's up there. Any more tips on this would be appreciated.

 

Not sure what EPs you are using. Mine came with the 23mm and 10mm Vite aspheric EPs. And I really like them. The 23mm is fine for just generally locating stuff and gives some good views, and the 10mm is even better, very good on the moon and is also pretty nifty when barlowed with the included Shorty Barlow x2.

 

I'll tell you about a few other EPs that work well in this scope as well, that I have bought.

 

1: ES 16mm 68* -

 

Nice and dark with great contrast. Flat across the field. Very useful focal length that doubles up nicely to 8mm (effective FL) if you use the included Shorty barlow. I have the ES Focal Extender x2 and it's a superb combo. This FL would fill a gap in your focal ranges and what's more it's not too expensive and is also very light and compact. Superb eyepiece that works great with this scope. Would never part with mine. Remember just about being able to split Polaris with this EP. A real keeper.

 

 

2: AT Paradigm Starguider (or whatever variation of brand name) 15mm, 12mm, 8mm -

 

I have more than this of this brand, but these 3 really cover a lot of ground and these are kind of the sweet spot, i.e. just about everyone who has these says they are among the best FLs to get. The 15mm barlows very well and can even go to 10mm with the Shorty Barlow 'trick' that enables 1.5x instead of 2x magnification. It is an incredible EP for the money. It is probably redundant if you got the ES 16mm 68* of course, but if you wanted to get this instead of the ES, then you wouldn't be missing out on much at all. It's a third of the price. Very nice contrast. Very flat across the field. Highly impressive, as are both the 12mm and 8mm.

 

The moon is absolutely stunning in this particular scope with 12mm. Even a bit better than an ES barlowed (I have the 24mm ES 68* as well). And maybe even having the edge over a Baader Morpheus 17.5mm barlowed to a roughly equivalent FL. But both those gave stunning views of course, it's just that the Paradigm was right up there with them. And at 12mm it barlows to a useful 6mm, which will realistically be getting up to the highest magnification you can achieve unless you have exceptional conditions. The 12mm is absolutely essential for this telescope, the other FLs compliment it very well.

 

 

3: Baader Morpheus 17.5mm -

 

If you only get one high end EP, consider this. It is perfectly flat across the whole field. Sky is totally black with stars like pinprick diamonds. It has that sense of majesty and being lost in space that some allude to. It also barlows well with the ES FE x2 giving you a useful effective 8.75mm. You would use that a lot as well on most nights.

 

 

4: Meade UWA 5.5mm -

 

Another EP that is maybe not so cheap, but is definitely up there with the best of them. Or so I've been told. All I know is this is also a real stunner to look through. It's pushing the limits of the useful mag of the scope, but on a decent night it should be usable. On a great night, it will blow you away. It provides 136x magnification and the highest useful limit with this scope is 177x mag.  But I've taken it higher than that up towards its highest theoretical mag (300x) with a 3.2mm Starguider at about 233x - viewing the moon under just about perfect conditions. Really, you will be doing well to get the most out of the Meade most nights.

 

 

I'm still looking for a really great low focal length EP to max out the 1.25" of the scope. The 24mm ES 68* does that, but it doesn't barlow well (this is not a problem in itself to me  - and lower FLs tend not to barlow well anyway) and the field curvature is really bad out at the edges. But I have to evaluate it more. It might be user error. I probably need a bit more experience and to get my scope set up a bit better, but so far, while it's a great EP that FC is really spoiling it for me. It's the worst out of my entire EP collection iirc. It works well with the ES FE x2 though. I'm going to buy an APM 24mm and compare it and sell it if the APM is better. I have no allegiance to any particular brand. I hear the 20mm ES is supposed to be better with regard to FC, but still that doesn't give the full range of viewing that a 24mm would.

 

Very often I'll just pop in my 25mm SkyWatcher Plossl for general finding of stuff. This is also a great EP for the money. I love it. I also have the 20mm and 17mm Skywatcher Plossls as well. They give pin point stars, flact across the field and great contrast. They work very well with this scope and only cost 20 bucks. I would never part with any of them. They have mojo (whatever that is). Quite a few of the very experienced people on this forum say they are not so great or say that Plossls don't work so well in these scopes. I'm sure they are right. But they happen to work for me and my noob eyes (while the ES 68mm who many love just annoys me).

 

The great thing about these Plossls are they are lightweight, cheap and give some really great views. They are only 52* but that is enough for a lot of stuff. The moon looks truly stunning through the 20mm and 17mm EPs.

 

 

There are a lot of things you can view with this scope. It seems that the GoTo works well enough and is a bonus. The tripod is just sturdy enough as well. All in all I think it's a great allrounder and first scope for anyone. I would recommend it though I'm sure others know of better bargains.

 

On a really great night of 'seeing' the moon will take your breath away. I really enjoy the views of the nebula in Orion (M42) as well - you can only just make them out as clouds, but they almost have some colour to them. But perhaps I'm misremembering or just making it up! I'm getting better at observing so am probably not the best person to listen to with regard to this. It's been a while now and I've only had conditions to really see them well a couple of times.

 

You may want a few extra bits and pieces as you go along, but they will become apparent. A telrad is on my short-list though I get on ok with the red-dot finder, it dews up a bit too much on cold nights.

 

A decent Cheshire to help collimate it is also good bang for the buck and really helps ease the process. Proper alignment is essential to getting the best out of any scope and it's a bit of a learning curve to start with, but once you get your head around it, you can really take advantage of what your scope has to offer.

 

Seriously, this is a fantastic telescope. The guys at Orion as well are very very helpful and give superb customer service which I've taken advantage of. I think most people know some of the eyepieces they do can be a bit over-priced (such as their Plossl which is a rebrand of the Skywatcher/Revelation Plossl iirc), but then again, many swear by and love some of the other ones in their range.

 

I'll be buying another telescope at some point - probably a refractor - and then after that probably some kind of Mak/Cass/Schmidt or whatever they are called. But I'll be forever happy with this Orion scope.

 

Stick a 20mm Plossl in it and point the thing at the Pleiades (you don't even need your GoTo for that). The Blue/White starfield just pops out at you in 3D almost. Split Albireo and wonder at the contrast of the Blue and Yellow.

 

This telescope doesn't do everything, as like most things in life (and telescopes) it's a compromise. But in my humble opinion it's a pretty good compromise. It's solidly built. And the pieces that came in the kit (moon filter/compass/barlow etc.) were a nice touch as well to an absolute noob like me.

 

 

Now I might try and figure out how to really get that GoTo set up properly...


Edited by Hipoptical, 27 July 2019 - 06:13 AM.


#11 vertex2100

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 12:14 PM

I am learning what kind of detail to provide on this forum very quickly smile.gif

 

What I have is this:

https://www.telescop...it/p/114848.uts

Looks like a nice scope to me at a very good price. You just have to get a good set of eyepieces and learn how to use your mount and scope well. You won't be able to see many deep space objects from the city with any size scope. I know, I have a 16" dobsonian on the roof at my city home. You will be amazed at what DSOs you will be able to see with your scope once you take it out to really dark skies. In the meantime, you can practice finding double stars and viewing planets and the moon from your city home. Download a program like Sky Safari Pro to use as a sky atlas and encyclopedia to learn about the things you find. You also may be able to use that program to slew your scope to different objects. 


Edited by vertex2100, 27 July 2019 - 12:26 PM.


#12 vertex2100

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 12:21 PM

If the included eyepieces work well, then just get something like a low power one like a 40mm or 32mm and maybe something around 16 mm as hip optical suggested. It's an F5 scope so a 5 mm or close eyepiece will give you a 1 mm exit pupil high power eyepiece which will probably be all the high power you will need. More than that probably won't show additional details and may just show floaters in your eye from the smaller exit pupil. 



#13 vertex2100

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 12:29 PM

He is also right about getting a refractor. You will enjoy the diffraction spike free views of the stars, and, if you get a small one, the ease of carrying it out to quickly observe with it. But, you already have a fine general purpose scope so enjoy.



#14 Phact

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 11:43 PM

Thank you for detailed responses, Hipoptical and vertex2100.

Hipoptical, some questions and comments.

Go-to accuracy: the following helped me improve my accuracy.
- leveling
- picking the 2 stars which are apart and not close. My favorite pairs, Vega and Arcturus, Altair and Spica.
- centering the star in the EP with up and right keys
- trying to get the centering as accurate as possible in the eyepiece. Am considering getting some cross hairs if possible.

EP: thanks for the info. Much appreciated. Some questions:

- what is the 1.5x Barlow trick?
- is ES Barlow better than the Orion shorty Barlow?
- have you considered ES82 series at all? I have been looking for 6.7mm.
- any filter recommendations?

Thanks again.

#15 SteveG

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 02:04 PM

 

I'm still looking for a really great low focal length EP to max out the 1.25" of the scope. The 24mm ES 68* does that, but it doesn't barlow well (this is not a problem in itself to me  - and lower FLs tend not to barlow well anyway) and the field curvature is really bad out at the edges. But I have to evaluate it more. It might be user error. I probably need a bit more experience and to get my scope set up a bit better, but so far, while it's a great EP that FC is really spoiling it for me. It's the worst out of my entire EP collection iirc. It works well with the ES FE x2 though. I'm going to buy an APM 24mm and compare it and sell it if the APM is better. I have no allegiance to any particular brand. I hear the 20mm ES is supposed to be better with regard to FC, but still that doesn't give the full range of viewing that a 24mm would.

 

 

You made some excellent eyepiece recommendations in your post.

 

The ES 24/68 is likely showing the scope’s coma, and some astigmatism inherent with that eyepiece. It’s probably not field curvature, which is more pronounced in short refractors. Many wide-field eyepieces will vignette when placed in a standard barlow. The remedy is to use a telecentric barlow such as the ES Focal Extender or Powermate.

 

I was using the Meade version of that ES 25/68 in my small f5 reflector, and also didn’t like the coma. A Televue Panoptic 24 mm would do a little better, but at a pretty steep price. I’ll be curious how the APM works out. I found an excellent solution that worked for me with the discontinued Vixen LVW 22. It shows almost no coma or astigmatism at the edges. It is a slightly higher power though, and has only a 65 deg afov. This eye piece can be purchased used at about $160, and has really worked well for me. I also enjoy the 20 mm or so of eye relief it offers.



#16 RobertMaples

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 07:59 AM

...I don't know if it was funny but Jupiter was definitely bright with lot less detail than I expected. Multiple viewings improved the view a bit which I attributed to learning to observe in the dark. Saturn and rings was much better than Jupiter...

The improved views could be from experience, but they also could be better astronomical seeing caused by improved atmospheric conditions.

 

I don't know what detail you were expecting (hopefully not Hubble like), but check the telescope's collimation because if it is off you'll get less detail.



#17 vtornado

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 08:17 AM

Hello Phact and welcome to the forum.

 

With this scope you should be able to see the equatorial belts easy,  some swirling between them.  The temperate belts should

be visible, but barely, you can probably see some shading on the poles.  You will be able to see the gallilean moons, and a few

others.  You can see a lunar transit.

 

Here are some some tips.  

I assume you have your tracking working and Jupiter stays in the center of the field for a long time.  If this is the case, 

you don't need super expensivie wide field eyepieces.  The astrotech 5mm dual ed will be very nice for this scope,

and viewing Jupiter.  Some nights you may be able to use more power.  For that I would use a Barlow and a 7mm or

8mm eyepiece.  Good Plossl's work well too it's just the eye relief gets tight under 10mm.

 

Your collimation must be spot on.  Your scope is f5 The light cone is steep so there is little room to be off.

I use the barlowed laser tecqnique it is quick and fool proo this aligns your primrary  

You will have to use traditional tools  to align the secondary.  For planetary viewing you will have to 

collimate the primary each time.  I notice my scope drifts, even though I carry and mount it very carefully.

 

Jupiter is low on the horizion.  It is like trying to see the bottom of a swimming pool from the side when

kids are doing cannon balls.  The best night is when you have hot damp sticky air.  There are less turbulants.

 

Don't view over your neighbors roof or a nearby road. These releas heat plumes.  If you can a baseball field

works well. 




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