The AstroView 6 from Orion is a lovely six-inch Newtonian reflector mounted on a good quality manual equatorial mount.
In this telescope review, we’ll see which astronomers this scope is great for, what its capabilities are, and where its limitations lie.
The Orion AstroView 6 is one of the most popular ‘jack of all trades’ telescopes on the market, which is why we voted it one of our best telescopes for this year. It provides amateur astronomers with a versatile scope for viewing everything from planets to deep sky objects.
This scope is part of Orion’s AstroView range, which also includes the AstroView 90mm and AstroView 120ST (see our full review of the 120ST). Interestingly, the AstroView 6 is the only reflector in this range, as the other two scopes are refractors.
As a Newtonian reflector, the AstroView 6 offers several advantages that make it a hit telescope for new astronomers and novice astronomers. The AstroView 6 provides a large 6” primary aperture and a 750mm focal length, making for a ‘fast’ f/5.0 scope that’s well-suited for big views of deep-sky objects.
The scope itself has a tiny footprint that’s ideal for travel, and a reasonable price point of between four and five hundred dollars (today’s price). Read on, and we’ll examine everything there is to know about this scope in much greater detail.
What to Consider Before Buying the AstroView 6
The AstroView 6 is a scope aimed primarily at beginner astronomers, but unlike most telescopes aimed towards newbies, the AstroView 6 delivers more in the way of optical clarity and performance.
Orion also didn’t cut corners when building the AstroView 6, and the quality is apparent throughout.
While it excels in deep-sky viewing, and will comfortably reveal objects from the Messier catalog, the AstroView’s generous 6″ mirror also produces beautiful views of planets, moons, and other celestial objects.
This AstroView truly is a jack of all trades, but that also means it’s a master of none. More experienced or specialized astronomers are likely to find that this Orion telescope doesn’t deliver the level of performance they need.
Features and Benefits
When you’re purchasing a new scope, there are plenty of essential features and benefits you’ll want to consider before reaching a decision.
Let’s take a closer look at the critical elements of the AstroView 6 to see how this scope can deliver an immersive experience for beginners and more advanced astronomers alike.
When evaluating these different benefits and characteristics, five factors are the most important to consider:
- Optical Performance
- Mount Performance
- Included Equipment
- Set-up & Use
- What You Can See
Standard Magnification Table
The table below shows the magnification levels you’ll achieve with this scope using a 25mm, 18mm, and 10mm eyepiece. The bottom row shows what this would be with a 2x Barlow Lens.
|With 2x Barlow:||60x||84x||150x|
With its wide 150mm aperture, the AstroView 6 does a great job at capturing light, which makes it far superior compared to most entry-level scopes with a smaller aperture.
The most discerning users may notice slight amounts of coma around the edge of the field – where stars gain a small tail because of the curved mirror – most noticeable when viewing at lower power. However, it’s virtually indiscernible, and is not a concern if you’re new to astronomy and looking for your first telescope.
Included with the scope are two decent Sirius Plössl eyepieces with focal lengths of 10mm and 25mm. These versatile eyepieces are high quality, and better than most eyepieces that comparable telescopes give you.
These 52° eyepieces offer 30x and 75x magnification respectively, and provide users with a true field of view of 1.73° and 0.69° respectively. The larger of the two will reveal Andromeda Galaxy, for example, in all its glory.
This scope scores plenty of points for its high-quality rack-and-pinion focuser, one of the few you’ll find with a heavy-duty all-metal build; many manufacturers have switched to plastic. The focuser is 1.25”, which may present a problem as it won’t accommodate 2” accessories.
Like any other reflector, this 6” Newtonian scope will need its mirror collimating from time to time, but not often if you treat it carefully. This model has a collimation cap included, making it an easy process. Learn how to collimate your telescope.
Mount performance is critical when you’re looking into a Newtonian scope, and it’s especially crucial if you plan on using your telescope for astrophotography. Fortunately, the AstroView 6 includes Orion’s popular AstroView EQ mount.
This mount offers slow-motion manual controls that allow for effortless tracking with the help of a single knob. The mount’s side has an easy to read latitude scale, which will enable you to quickly set your current latitude, and the push-push adjustment system is intuitive, making it even easier to align your scope. A built-in polar-axis scope helps ensure that your alignment is dead on once you’ve set the mount to your latitude.
The declination and right ascension controls are both driven by worm gears, which are more durable and provide a fuller range of motion than cheaper mounts, which feature spur gears.
While this is a manual mount, Orion has a clock drive system available. The EQ-3M electronic drive system comes in single and dual-axis versions, and they start at around $150. The motor is precise and provides regulated sidereal-rate tracking for both axis, and there’s a disengage function which allows you to make manual adjustments without detaching the motor.
This mount is perfectly suitable for astrophotography, but it’s towards the top end of its weight capacity with the AstroView 6 scope alone. You’ll be limited in the accessories you can add to the telescope for photography purposes, and longer exposures will be nearly impossible. So while the mount can be used for astrophotography, the scope itself is less than ideal.
Overall, this mount is one of the better EQ options on the market. If there’s one area to complain about, it’s the construction. Some of the leg hardware is made of plastic, which raises questions about how durable the scope’s legs are.
Some users find this magnifying finderscope challenging to use because its limited aperture makes it difficult to sight objects accurately.
If you buy this telescope, you’ll be well advised to invest in a Barlow lens, a smaller eyepiece for more magnification, e.g. a 6mm, and perhaps a wider field eyepiece for better views at higher power. We particularly rate the 82° Luminos range from Celestron.
Setting Up and Using the AstroView 6 Telescope & Mount
This scope is intended for beginner and intermediate astronomers, and the setup process is easy enough for anybody to manage, regardless of their experience. See the video below for a full guide.
Setting up your scope is as simple as attaching the mount head to the tripod, adding the optical tube assembly (OTA), and polar aligning the telescope to your latitude.
The AstroView 6 feels stable and secure on the mount, but it’s still lightweight and compact enough to travel anywhere. The mount weighs in at about 28 pounds with both counterweights, and the OTA comes in just over nine pounds.
The scope should be well collimated out of the box, and an included collimation cap makes it easy to keep your AstroView well adjusted should anything fall out of alignment.
Each AstroView 6 also includes Starry Night SE software, which provides an immersive and informative trip through our solar system. The tools provided in this software are a perfect supplement to your astronomy knowledge, and they can help turn you into an experienced stargazer in no time.
With the Starry Night SE software, you can map constellations, look at sky simulations, and even control your scope. The program is easy to use, and it’s compatible with Windows 10 and Apple OS X.
What You Can See With the AstroView 6
Now for what really matters. What objects can you view with the Orion AstroView 6?
As a 6” scope, this model can do a lot. Users will enjoy incredible detail when viewing the moon, and they’ll be able to see some of the finer details of the solar system, such as the moons of Saturn and the cloud belts around Jupiter.
With its large aperture, this scope can suck in tons of light, which is critical for viewing deep-sky objects. All of the Messier objects and plenty of other incredible night sky features are all viewable under a dark sky with this AstroView model.
While you’ll enjoy lots of deep-sky objects through the AstroView 6, you’ll need to temper your expectations. Yes, you can see them, but six inches won’t give the detail you’d get with a light bucket like the Orion XT10 Dobsonian.
If you’re looking for a scope that’s well suited to astrophotography, you’ll likely be disappointed by this scope. It’s capable of basic astrophotography, but the mount is already towards its capacity limit before you consider adding any accessories.
If you add the available motor drive system and a more powerful eyepiece, the rig becomes more viable for astrophotography. Still, there are many better options on the market if you want to spend more of your time imaging than viewing.
Take a look at our favorite astrophotography telescopes here.