Orion SkyView Pro 8″ Equatorial Reflector Telescope Review 2021

Ease of Use

4.5/5

Optical Quality

4.5/5

Mount Quality

4/5

Overall Score

4.5/5

Overview

The Orion SkyView Pro 8″ reflector telescope is a powerful all-around scope that delivers incredible detail and clarity when viewing objects in our solar system and beyond. With its solid equatorial mount, the SkyView Pro 8 is one of the best all-around reflectors on the market, and it’s built to last stargazing enthusiasts a lifetime.

Vital Statistics

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Introduction

The Orion SkyView Pro 8″ Reflector is one of Orion’s most popular telescopes, and there are plenty of reasons why. Like all Orion’s offerings, this scope offers crisp and clear optics and a robust build that’s built to stand up to years of dedicated use.

With its wide 8” aperture, the SkyView Pro 8 can draw in an incredible amount of light, which is further amplified by the parabolic soda-lime glass, which further increases the light gathering factor of this powerful reflector. 

While many of Orion’s telescope lines feature multiple scopes to meet every level astronomer’s needs, the SkyView line only includes this model. This Pro 8″ model costs just shy of $800 (check today’s price – link opens a new tab).

SkyView Pro 8" OTA
SkyView Pro 8″

Things to Consider Before Buying 

The SkyView Pro 8 is a high-quality scope that’s well suited to virtually all types of observation, including objects within our solar system as well as the incredible deep-sky objects outside of it. While most astronomers laud this telescope as a jack of all trades, it isn’t necessarily the ideal scope for everyone. Before making a purchase, there are a few things to consider.

With its 8” aperture and high-quality optical tube, this telescope can pull in the immense amounts of light you’ll need to enjoy crisp and clear views of everything from nebulae and far-off galaxies to our Moon and planets

With its large aperture and moderately long focal length, the SkyView provides a relatively wide field of view that makes it easy to locate and enjoy objects within the night sky. Since it’s so versatile, this scope is ideal for any astronomer who wants a single telescope that can do it all. 

This telescope includes a high-quality equatorial mount that’s sturdy and reliable. Still, it is near the top of its capacity with no other accessories beyond the optical tube mounted onto the telescope. For visual observers, this isn’t an issue at all, but astrophotography enthusiasts with lots of heavy gear may find themselves limited by this mount’s weight capacity.

On that point, this is not a great telescope for astrophotography. It has no goto or tracking functionality natively installed. So, while it could function as a useful astroimaging scope with upgrades, there are better first choice astrophotography telescopes out there.

Since this is a reflector telescope, it needs to be collimated on occasion to ensure that the internal mirrors are correctly angled for optimal viewing. Collimating a telescope is quite an easy process, but it causes anxiety for beginners.

Overall, as we shall shortly reveal, this telescope is a good fit for a large variety of backyard astronomers. Keep reading to discover if that includes you too.

Features & Benefits

Whether you have your heart set on the SkyView Pro 8 or you’re weighing several different telescopes to find the ideal one for your needs, there are several important factors you’ll need to consider before arriving at your decision. The critical areas to consider are: 

  • Optical Performance
  • Mount Performance
  • Included Equipment 
  • Setup & Use 
  • What You Can See
  • Astrophotography

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

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.

Eyepiece:25mm18mm10mm
Magnification:40x56x100x
With 2x Barlow:80x111x200x
Table shows magnifications in this model

Optical Performance

The SkyView Pro 8 is renowned for its crisp and crystal clear primary mirror, which allows you to enjoy not only the showpiece objects of our solar system but also the beautiful deep sky objects that exist far beyond the boundaries of the Milky Way. 

When it comes to viewing DSOs, Messier objects, and other celestial bodies that are incredibly far away, the amount of light your telescope can gather is the most crucial factor in your viewing experience. 

Thanks to the large 8” aperture of this reflector, the telescope can pull in the light you need to achieve incredible views of objects that lie beyond the useful range of smaller telescopes.

While light gathering ability is essential, you’ll also need incredibly precise optics to ensure that the images you see through the eyepiece are as crisp and defined as they should be, and this is an area where Orion thrives. All the optics of this scope are multi-coated with the most advanced coatings available to ensure precision and clarity. 

Many manufacturers save money by providing a single eyepiece or by providing cheaply built eyepieces which are mostly plastic. However, Orion scopes buck this trend by including two high-quality Sirius Plossl eyepieces in this package. The 25mm and 10mm eyepieces offer 40x and 100x magnifications, respectively.

You can easily double the effectiveness of each eyepiece by investing in a 2x Barlow lens or adding other eyepieces, such as a 6mm for higher magnification which can be used to study Lunar details. There’s plenty of headroom with this scope, as its maximum useful magnification is 300x. 

The wide aperture combined with the 1000mm focal length offers a relatively wide field of view that’s perfect for viewing DSOs but still focused enough so you can enjoy incredible detail when viewing objects like the Moon, planets, double stars, and other objects within our solar system. 

Mount Performance

Orion includes their popular and capable SkyView Pro EQ mount with this scope. It delivers an impressive blend of quality and value that helps further set this telescope apart from the competition. 

The mount features all-metal construction with enclosed 360-degree worm gears and easy-to-use setting circles to help you quickly and easily locate objects. Slow-motion control knobs allow you to manually control the scope to follow objects through the sky.

Attaching your optical tube is a breeze thanks to the quick-release dovetail, and the sealed ball bearings provide smooth and reliable operation in right ascension as well as declination.

While this mount offers reliable performance and incredibly smooth operation, it’s paired with a heavy optical tube, which limits the number of additional accessories you can add to the scope without overloading the mount. The mount capacity is 20 pounds, and the 16.5-pound optical tube only leaves you a few pounds of headroom for cameras, guide scopes, or other add-ons.

The downside of a mount being pushed to its limit is it loses some of its stability. When you have 200x magnification in play, you want a steady image in the eyepiece, especially as you track the object across the sky.

Included Equipment

Contents of the SkyView 8" telescope box
Everything included with the SkyView 8″

Despite the SkyView Pro 8’s attractive price point, Orion throws in some valuable accessories beyond the optical tube and EQ mount. 

You’ll also receive an 8×40 magnifying finderscope, eyepiece adapter, camera adapter, collimation cap, and a copy of the Starry Night SE software. 

The finderscope offers capable performance for manually locating objects. It’s a crucial first job to get this set up properly when you first take this telescope outside, see our guide to doing finderscope alignment (opens a new tab).

The 2-1.25” eyepiece adapter allows you to insert either 2” or 1.25” eyepieces into the capable Crayford focuser, which is especially helpful if you already own a few different sized eyepieces. There’s also a camera adapter, which is an indispensable accessory for astrophotography (although we don’t recommend this model for that). 

The collimation cap makes it easy for anyone to quickly collimate the scope for optimal viewing. 

The final inclusion in the package is a copy of the Starry Night SE software, which provides an enriching and educational trip through the night sky, even on the cloudiest nights.

Setup & Use 

Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been enjoying astronomy for years, you’ll find that the SkyView 8 Pro allows for an easy, intuitive setup. Users will be able to get their telescope ready to enjoy the night sky in mere minutes. 

Getting set up is as simple as opening up the tripod mount, attaching the optical tube via the quick-release dovetail, and popping in an eyepiece. 

Both the telescope and mount are relatively heavy, but they can easily be stowed away on your backseat if you’re traveling to enjoy your telescope under darker skies. Of course, you can also transport the scope by hand, but at nearly 60 pounds complete, this telescope is too heavy to transport long distances without a vehicle. 

Collimating this scope is easy thanks to the included collimation cap. Since it features a robust build, the scope should only need to be adjusted occasionally to optimize the viewing experience.

What You Can See

For every astronomer, what you’ll be able to see through the scope is perhaps the most critical consideration to make. With the SkyView Pro 8″ telescope, there are few limits as to what you’ll enjoy at the eyepiece. 

The 8″ mirror easily delivers crisp and detailed views of the showpiece objects within our solar system, including the vast topography of the Moon, the rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s cloud belts, double stars, and so much more. 

This telescope also thrives when viewing DSOs thanks to its wide aperture, so you’ll enjoy crisp images of the Messier objects, distant galaxies, and nebulae.

Its limiting magnitude is 14, so you’ll just about see Pluto with this telescope, or the moons of Mars, but you’ll need a dark sky to achieve both.

The SkyView has a focal length of f/4.9, making this a slightly fast telescope. This means it generally delivers lower magnifications and wider fields of view. Combined with its large aperture, this makes the SkyView Pro perfect for deep sky work. But, it’s a marginal call and with this much light-gathering power at your disposal, you’ll grab some amazing planetary views too.

Astrophotography

As we mentioned in the introduction, this is not the telescope to buy if you want to get into some serious astroimaging. There is no tracking and no goto facility included. On top of that, this is a reflector and you can’t match the crisp imagery which comes from a refractor.

That said, you can attach a camera to this telescope and you can capture brighter objects that don’t need tracking, such as the Moon and bright planets.

If your heart is set on astrophotography, check out our rankings of the best telescopes for astrophotography for telescopes that are better suited to your needs. 

Users’ Viewpoint 

There’s plenty of chatter about this popular and powerful telescope all over the internet. Here’s what other astronomers have to say about this capable telescope. 

Vtornado’s review on CloudyNights (source)
Orlet’s review on Reddit (source)

Final Verdict 

The Orion SkyView 8″ Pro reflector telescope is a large and capable instrument that’s well-suited to all viewing preferences, from the Moon and planets to stars and DSOs.

If you need a telescope with laser-sharp optics that you can enjoy for a lifetime, this scope could be ideal for you.

Click here for today’s price or to buy the AstroView 8″ SkyView Pro Telescope.