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The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Newtonian Reflector is an excellent telescope. It is well-suited for beginners or intermediate stargazers.
Although a complete beginner may find it to be a bit expensive, a serious-minded newbie will find much to love in this telescope.
Its aperture is 130mm (5.1 inches), one of the largest aperture sizes available for a beginner-level telescope. The telescope lets a decent amount of light in, allowing you to gaze at many deep space objects.
The ST in the product name stands for “short tube,” and this type of telescope is perfect for wide-field viewing of large objects. As this article on telescope.com shows, the shorter tube gives a wider field of view, which is better for deep space objects like galaxies and nebulae.
Although more expensive than other beginner-level packages, the 130ST boasts a great mix of affordability and quality. This high-quality telescope is sold by Orion for about $300.
Below, you’ll learn about the best qualities the SpaceProbe 130ST has to offer, as well as the sacrifices made to hit its beginner’s price point.
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Telescope Type: Newtonian Reflector
Mount: Equatorial with slow motion controls
Current Price: Click here for current price
Focal Length: 650mm
Focal Ratio: f5.0
Maximum Theoretical Magnification: 260x
Likely Useful Maximum Magnification: 180x
Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 13.2
- Good balance of price and quality
- Ideal for brighter deep space objects
- Wide field of view
- Easy to transport
- Not the best instrustions
- Low specification EQ mount
- Will need another lens for higher magnification
Ideal For: Beginner astronomers keen to see deep space objects like galaxies, nebulae and clusters
Orion SpaceProbe 130ST – Overview
The SpaceProbe’s 5.1″ parabolic primary mirror is a good size for a beginner’s telescope. Its primary mirror allows great views of the planets and moon, and its wide field of view is great for bright nebulas, galaxies and star clusters.
The telescope has a ‘fast’ f/5 focal ratio, which gives a strong wide-field performance. If you are a backyard astronomer into hunting galaxies and nebulae, this makes it a strong choice for you.
With the SpaceProbe 130ST, you will be able to use magnifications of up to 260x. This comes from a rule of thumb which says the top magnification is 2x the aperture in mm. In reality, the scope will likely struggle to let enough light in for such high magnification. Image definition will be lost and become blurry.
We like to work on a figure of 70% of the maximum to get a ‘usable maximum’ number. For this Orion, we’re looking at 180x as top end useful magnification.
This telescope has a focal length of 650mm. So, to achieve 180x magnification, you’ll need a 4mm eyepiece.
What’s included with the telescope are two Sirius Plossl eyepieces. At 25mm and 10mm, they offer magnifications of 26x and 65x respectively. We’d recommend adding something smaller for larger magnification (a 6mm would give 108x).
You could, instead, buy a 2x Barlow lens (read our guide: What is a Barlow lens?). Use it with the provided eyepieces for 52x and 130x magnification levels.
The included lenses are perfect for taking advantage of the wide field of view with DSOs. But you will probably yearn for more magnification when looking at the moon and planets.
Trying to pick your first telescope but feeling overwhelmed..?
CLICK HERE for our free beginner’s guide to choosing the right one.
Set-up and Portability of the Orion 130ST
Limitations were hard to come by with this product, but there are a few drawbacks.
The included setup instructions aren’t as clear as they could have been. Orion claims that the telescope can be set up in about 30 minutes, but, if this is your first scope, don’t be surprised if it takes an hour or more.
Luckily the video below shows you exactly how to assemble the Orion SpaceProbe telescope.
The other main drawback is that the included EQ-2 mount can be unreliable at times and may be just a bit too lightweight. This is a common issue in cheaper scope packages as manufacturers put the value into the mirror, not the mount.
Happily, there is plenty you can do to limit the downside of a vibrating mount, click here to find out how easy it is.
You also need to accept that, at this price point, the SpaceProbe 130ST is a beginner’s scope. It is not as capable as higher end, larger models on the market… but that’s no bad thing when you’re starting out!