The Orion SpaceProbe 3 is a simple, equatorial mount telescope designed to open up the nighttime sky to beginner stargazers. Falling into the category of telescopes within the $100-$200 price range, the telescope is hard to beat when it comes to affordability. Its equatorial mount makes it easy even for novices to track objects in the sky while stargazing, and its reliable, basic features and relative ease of use make it an appealing choice for families, children, and anyone who has never owned a telescope before.
• Item number: 9843
• Dimensions: 27in. X 12in. X 44in.
• Price: About $140
• Weight: 16.6 pounds
• Aperture: 3in.
• Eyepiece magnification: 28x, 70x
• ASIN: BOO69WCEPW
• Mount: Equatorial
• Focal length: 700mm
• Eyepiece size: 10mm, 20mm
• Focal ratio: f/9.2
• Highest useful magnification: 152x
• Lowest useful magnification: 18x
• Materials: Steel and aluminum
• Optical design: Reflector
• Warranty: One year
Simplicity characterizes the Orion SpaceProbe and is what makes this telescope a good choice for new stargazers. For instance, despite being an equatorial mount, which tends to be a bit more complex than altazimuth mounts, the Orion SpaceProbe is relatively easy to use. It lacks complex parts and numerous accessories that would lead to confusion or difficulty for consumers who had never used a telescope before. At the same time, it comes with two eyepieces to provide a variety of magnification, and other accessories, such as a collimation cap, that allow the consumer to use the SpaceProbe without needing to purchase additional times. This kind of complete package helps to cut down confusion and difficulty for the novice stargazer. The only aspect of the SpaceProbe that may be less than user-friendly is the setup of the telescope. The telescope is intended to be setup in less than hour, and usually no more than about a half an hour. However, some consumers report having had a difficult time understanding and following the instructions for setting up the telescope, and some complain that the instructions are not clear or sufficiently illustrated.
In addition to its simplicity, the SpaceProbe is also quite affordable. In price, it sits between inexpensive chain-store versions and the more advanced telescopes intended for use by experienced stargazers. It costs about $140, including the eyepieces, collimation cap, and other accessories that accompany it. This low price makes the SpaceProbe a desirable choice for beginners who want a reliable telescope without needing to invest too much money in a hobby that is still new to them.
One of the most useful features of the SpaceProbe is the fact that the telescope possesses an equatorial, instead of an altazimuth, mount. This type of mount is designed to give control of tracking celestial objects to the user of the telescope, rather than automating the process. Some users report that the equatorial mount on the SpaceProbe contributes to their ability to use the telescope even as beginners, because it requires less fiddling and adjustment than do some altazimuth-mounted telescopes. The only downside is that the equatorial mount may take a little getting used to because it does not automatically track the objects being viewed. Some consumers also report that the finder is a bit difficult to use. As a result, consumers should simply read the directions carefully when assembling and first using the SpaceProbe to ensure that they do so correctly.
The views provided by the SpaceProbe exceed what one might expect from such a simple and affordable entry-level telescope. The scope performs well, and users have a number of options for adjusting the magnification of the telescope to zero in on just the view they wish to see. As a result, consumers can enjoy views such as the Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, as well as the craters on the moon. In addition, however, the scope provides deep-sky glimpses that add a layer of excitement to the experience of using the telescope.
The SpaceProbe’s combination of simplicity and affordability make it a good choice for many consumers. Despite its relatively dense instructions, it offers a very usable product for budding astronomers. Anyone interested in delving deep into the nighttime sky can benefit from the power, views, and ease of use provided by the Orion SpaceProbe.