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Orion StarBlast 4.5 EQ Reflector Telescope


As my very first scope, the Orion StarBlast 4.5 EQ Reflector Telescope has been an excellent ???º???beginner???º??æ scope, and has proven to be good value for money. I would strongly recommend it to anyone starting off in astronomy, and interested in buying an affordable, portable, yet highly capable scope. If you???º???re interested in seeing amazingly detailed images of the moon, as well as colorful stars and other such objects in space, this scope is an excellent choice. In average ???º???seeing???º??æ conditions, I have even been able to see the colorful bands of Jupiter (although quite small), and its moons!

There is a bit of work involved in assembling the tripod and scope initially (after purchasing the scope), but from then on its simple to use and very mobile. The equatorial mount on the tripod does require some getting used to, but you don???º???t have to be a rocket scientist to work it all out. Rather, you just need to learn how to polar align the scope, in order to be able to find objects in space with relative ease, and learn how to position the scope. Occasionally, there will be the need to align the mirrors inside the scope, a process known as collimation, but this is not required too often. I also decided to purchase a collimation laser, and this has become quite easy to do. A collimation laser is not essential, but very convenient.

All the additional items I have purchased for this scope are not essential to start with, such as additional eye-pieces, Barlow lens, laser collimator, filters, etc, but also fit on my most recent addition ???º?? an 8???º??æ reflector scope on a Dobsonian mount. Nothing is wasted! The first additional accessory worth buying once you have become orientated with your scope, is a Barlow lens (2X converter which doubles the eye-piece magnification). Even at double the magnification of the standard eye-pieces (with a Barlow lens), images are still reasonably sharp and clear, although you will need to use the slow motion cables to track planets and the moon.

Astronomy computer software is recommended, in order to be able to find the coordinates of the objects you wish to see. I have also found that the scope is convenient to use even when not properly polar aligned, and visible objects in the sky are visually tracked, such as the moon, Jupiter and the brighter stars. The scope is supplied with a very convenient and easy to use EZ Finder red-dot aiming scope, which makes finding objects in the sky so much easier. The red-dot aiming scope does not magnify images, but allows you to literally pin-point the scope towards images you are looking for.

The manual slow motion tracking cables are useful, and allows you to continuously track faster moving objects, such as the moon and planets. I have found, however, that the slow motion cables do seem to get in the way of the tube, especially when viewing at extreme angles, but this is easy to rectify as they can be repositioned. Due to the mechanics and movement of the equatorial mount, I have also found that some objects are quite physically straining to look at, especially near the zenith (90 degrees above), because of the angle of the eye-piece, but with some adjusting of the tube position in the brackets, this can also be quite easily fixed. Although quite a bit more expensive, I have found Dobsonian mounts to be much more comfortable and simple to use, compared to the equatorial mount.

The quality of the scope is very good, bearing in mind that its really (in my opinion) an entry-level scope and not hugely expensive. I was initially disappointed with the size of some objects, only to learn that planets and stars generally appear small with most small to medium scopes. However, after viewing Jupiter and the moon through some older large Dobsonian reflector telescopes (probably 8 inch ), and comparing them to my scope, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my ???º???little???º??æ 4.5 StarBlast performs really well in comparison, especially for its size and cost!

I strongly recommend this scope to all adults (and older children) who would like to try astronomy, without being put off by a poor quality scope, and spending huge amounts of money in the process. This is an excellent beginner???º???s choice, at an affordable price!
Date Added: 19/09/2008 by Larry Wasserman

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