Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Newtonian Reflector Telescope Review

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST specifications

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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.

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST specifications

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Telescope Type: Newtonian Reflector

Mount: Equatorial with slow motion controls

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Focal Length: 650mm

Aperture: 70mm

Focal Ratio: f5.0

Maximum Theoretical Magnification: 260x 

Likely Useful Maximum Magnification: 180x 

Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 13.2 

Full specifications available by clicking here

Pros

  • Good balance of price and quality
  • Ideal for brighter deep space objects
  • Wide field of view
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • 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!

SpaceProbe 130ST Owners' Reviews

Before you make your final decision, we believe it's important you get current owners views of the SpaceProbe 130ST.

There are plenty of reviews on the web, and we've gathered some of the main highlights for you right here. They will give you a good idea of the general views that owners have.

Most reviews for this telescope are positive. Many reviewers commend it for being a high-quality choice at an affordable price.

Lots of reviewers also said that the SpaceProbe 130ST is a good mid-level telescope, that is ideal for beginners or intermediate stargazers. (Although we'd suggest an aperture of 6" or more for an intermediate scope).

Many reviewers make a point to say that the optics are good; that images are very clear.

This reviewer on Amazon praised the telescope for having seen galaxies, nebulae and planets with it.

"This telescope is incredible! Absolutely love it. The mount is sturdy and reliable and very easy to use. The optics are easy to adjust. I've been able to see the Orion nebula, Andromeda galaxy, Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons and cloud belts and of course craters on the moon. This telescope is the best that I've seen out there in this price range."

Youtube user brucenunn37 also recommends the SpaceProbe 130ST.

In a review posted on his Youtube channel (see the video below), he recommends the telescope as an excellent choice for amateur astronomers who want a quality product at a reasonable price.

Negative reviews are much harder to find for this Orion telescope, but there were a few aspects of the equipment that reviewers pointed out.

The main issue mentioned by reviewers is a lack clear instructions. People claim that they were vague, poorly written, and hard to understand.

Dani on Amazon is a good example. They said,

"I like the product but it came with the absolute worst instructions on how to put it together."

There are more reviews to be found on the Cloudy Nights astronomy forum.

This user review on there says that the instructions were "fairly clear" but "could have used more and larger pictures."

That said, many users still claimed that assembly of the telescope was easy despite the poor instructions.

The other main issue for users is the EQ-2 mount.

Many users in this Cloudy Nights discussion weren't pleased with it; a lot of reviewers find the mount to be unsteady.

Yet, many others praised it and said that it was perfectly sturdy...

In our experience, you should plan for some vibration at this price point. However, you can remove a lot of it yourself with simple and free tactics. Follow our guide for all the details.

Generally though, comments criticising the scope itself are few and far between, which is very encouraging.

Verdict: Most owners praise the ease of use and image quality of Orion's 130ST telescope. Things to look out for are mount vibrations and poor instructions.

Summary

Overall, the SpaceProbe 130ST is a great beginner's telescope and well worth the money you’ll spend on it.

It will give you clear, quality images and is easy to use, even as a beginner. It's an ideal first scope for the galaxy and nebulae hunters amongst us!

The package includes a decent equatorial mount, two decent eyepieces and Starry Night software (although we prefer Sky Safari 5 Plus).

This Orion reflector is easily portable and quick to set up. This makes it a great urban choice since you can put it in the trunk with ease and drive it somewhere with darker skies.

Despite shortcomings with the mount and instructions, the SpaceProbe 130ST is a great telescope. It's perfect for the beginner who is looking to start growing their skills, and doesn't sacrifice quality for ease of use.

The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Newtonian Reflector telescope is a worthy choice for the beginner backyard astronomer.


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