Orion Telescopes and Binoculars cater to a wide range of people. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is or how much you know about the cosmos. The company makes it easy for novice stargazers to learn more about our universe without breaking the bank. The equipment is approachable and serves as a great introduction to the world of astronomy. In the same token, the brand has a great lineup of equipment that is used regularly by professionals, too.
In this guide, you’re going to learn more about what this brand has to offer. To help you narrow down your search for that perfect telescope, we’ve also included a list of some of the brand’s best telescopes and accessories.
About Orion Telescopes
Like so many successful companies, Orion Telescopes and Binoculars had very humble beginnings. The company was founded by Tim Gieseler in a garage in Santa Cruz, California. Back then, most of the brand’s sales were made through a mail-order catalog. During the first two decades of its existence, the company produced several models catered towards both beginners and experienced buyers.
With the growing adoption of the Internet, the company eventually moved to e-commerce in 1997. Shortly thereafter in 1999, Orion was acquired by the company Imaginova, which was founded by Lou Dobbs. It was one of the first companies that the conglomerate acquired.
Under Imaginova, Orion expanded quite a bit. The company grew its product line to include a wider range of equipment. It also sold gear from other brands. These included eyepieces, telescopes, and more.
In 2017, a big corporate change happened. Orion Telescopes and Binoculars was purchased yet again. However, instead of being bought by a large conglomerate, it was purchased by its own employees. Today, the company remains employee-owned. The brand headquarters is currently located in Watsonville, California. There’s also a retail store in Cupertino that specializes in selling astronomy gear.
What Kinds of Products Does Orion Offer?
As we mentioned earlier, Orion Telescopes offers a pretty impressive lineup of products that cater to any skill level and budget. Here’s a bit of information about the types of telescopes and accessories they currently sell.
Refractor telescopes are, perhaps, one of the easiest to use. Most telescopes for beginners use a refractor lens. They take advantage of glass lenses to collect and bend light. Once the light makes its way through the optical tube, it produces a magnified image of the celestial body you’re pointed at.
The great thing about this type of telescope is that it’s incredibly versatile. They’re relatively easy to maintain and can be taken anywhere. Plus, they come in a wide variety of specs. You can easily find gear for seasoned and amateur astronomers.
If you want to take a peek at deep-space objects like nebulae and distant star clusters, reflector telescopes are the way to go. While they tend to be a bit bulkier and require more know-how to use, this type of equipment is purpose-built with star-gazing in mind. They use a series of precise mirrors to direct light and produce an image through the eyepiece.
Orion Telescopes & Binoculars offers a few different kinds of reflector telescopes. This includes Newtonian reflectors, which are designed to limit color issues.
Dobsonian telescopes are affordable and relatively easy to use. They consist of a large optical tube and a basic altazimuth base. Inside the optical tube, a large primary mirror collects as much light as possible to produce a clear picture of the cosmos.
Like the other telescopes that Orion makes, there are several models to choose from. Orion produces small classic Dobsonian telescopes that you can easily set on a patio table. Or, you can get a powerful large model to take a look at Mars, Saturn, and other distant targets.
A Cassegrain telescope is like a merging of refractor and reflector technology. This equipment uses both glass lenses and mirrors to adequately bend light. The two components work to minimize the light path significantly. This results in a compact telescope that can be taken with you on the go. They also contain a corrector lens to get a high-quality picture.
Orion offers both Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes.
Astrophotography is the art of taking photos of stars, galaxies, and other distant objects. These telescopes come in several different designs and configurations. Orion sells the equipment you would need to attach your camera onto your telescope. This includes adapters and mounts.
The company also offers astrographs, which are telescopes that are purposefully built with photography in mind.
The mounts that use to set up your telescope are equally as important as the viewing equipment itself. Most big-name telescope brands, such as Celestron and Meade, sell mounts to accompany the primary equipment. Orion is no different.
Orion offers a wide range of options. They have altazimuth mounts, which are ideal for small telescopes and casual viewing. These mounts are pretty limited in terms of movements. The more efficient alternative would be an equatorial mount. Equatorial mounts are great for tracking objects in the sky, as they take the Earth’s rotation into account.
If simplicity is your top priority, you can also get a computerized mount from Orion. As you can probably guess, these mounts take care of all the hard work for you. With a few button presses, the mount will automatically point the telescope in the right direction. Orion offers computerized mounts from GoTo, which have information for thousands of celestial bodies.
One thing that we appreciate about Orion Telescopes and Binoculars is that the company makes it easy for any budding astronomer to get started. Within the company’s product line, there are several telescope kits. These kits include everything you need to get started. You’ll find the multiple eyepieces, mounts, and even storage bags.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the kits are of lesser quality. Orion offers kits in all price ranges. There are several affordable options for kids and quality products for seasoned astronomers looking to upgrade.
Why Buy From Orion Telescopes & Binoculars?
Now that you have a better understanding of what the company has to offer, why should you buy from them? What sets Orion apart from other premier brands like Celestron?
Well, Orion provides you with much more than just quality products. The company has been in business for several decades, and with good reasons.
First, Orion is an employee-owned company. There isn’t a parent company that’s calling the shots. The brand operates independently and it shows. The sales reps are all friendly and quite knowledgeable about the products. They’re more than happy to help you find a model that’s right for you.
After you make the purchase, the friendliness doesn’t stop. Orion offers free technical support. The team is available Monday-Friday via telephone or live chat. Of course, you can also shoot them an email to get answers to any questions you may have.
Another thing we like about Orion is the price and money-back guarantee. You can return the product within 30 days if you’re not satisfied. Orion doesn’t even charge you a restocking fee, which is a nice touch. The price guarantee covers price changes. Say, for example, that the price of the telescope you bought goes down after you’ve made the purchase. If that happens within 30 days of delivery, Orion will provide you with a credit to make up the difference.
These details, while small, are very important. Telescopes are a big investment. So, it’s nice to see that Orion backs their products and provides ongoing support to help you make the most out of your purchase.
Best Orion Telescopes
Here’s another fantastic choice from Orion. This model is built for tabletop use. It’s a classic Dobsonian reflector that takes full advantage of its massive optical tube. The 10.2-inch tube gathers tons of light, allowing you to see objects normal refractors won’t see.
Finding your targets is a breeze. Orion included a versatile tabletop mount. Despite the size of the telescope, it’s easy enough to move and position. Plus, you have a red-dot finderscope on top. The red dot lets you mark your desired target and get good visibility in the night sky.
Once you have everything lined up, you can fine-tune the image with the Kellner eyepieces. Pop on the Barlow lens, and you can achieve powerful magnification and make your celestial target come to life.
- 76mm aperture
- 300mm focal length
- Multi-coated optics
- Red-dot finderscope
- Includes two Kellner eyepieces and 3X Barlow lens
- It weighs about 4 pounds
A telescope diagonal can do a lot to improve the viewing experience. Not only does it manipulate light further, but it makes viewing your target much more comfortable. This Orion diagonal is a fantastic investment for any compatible model.
At first glance, it looks like your average diagonal connector. But internally, it’s hiding some great features. First, the housing is made of anodized aluminum. It’s super durable. Not only that, but the housing has internal blackening that helps to reduce glare and improve contrast!
Another big perk is the premium mirrors. They’re meticulously polished to improve light transmission. They also have an aluminum coating to achieve 97 percent reflectivity! The diagonal can improve your view on any telescope you use it on. Luckily, it’s versatile enough to fit onto most standard focusers with a 1.24-inch diameter.
- 90-degree telescope diagonal
- Premium polished optics
- Fits 1.25-inch focusers
- Accepts standard 1.25-inch eyepieces
- It comes with dust caps
The Orion 10149 StarBlast refractor is a heavy-duty telescope made for serious astronomy buffs. The kit comes with a hard-walled travel case and plenty of foam to keep your optical device safe. After luging it up to your favorite viewing site, you can set up your sights on deep-sky objects, the lunar surface, and more.
The 62mm aperture works wonders to create a crisp image. The same goes for the four-element lens. The unique lens system provides utmost clarity by reducing distortion, chromatic aberration, and other common issues.
While this telescope doesn’t come with a mount or a tripod, it’s flexible enough to become a part of a setup that works for you.
- 62mm aperture
- Compact refractor telescope
- Four-element lens
- It comes with 20mm Plossl eyepiece
- Crayford focuser
- Includes hard travel case
Don’t let the unique design of the 10282 STARBLAST telescope turn you away. While it looks somewhat toy-like, it’s a high-powered device that will serve even seasoned astronomers well. The molded plastic bits aren’t just an aesthetic choice. They serve a practical purpose, too.
Up front, the plastic acts as a lens cover and baffle. It blocks out unwanted light so that you can focus on your target. Towards the rear, the plastic houses the premium focuser and the correct-image prism. It makes viewing the image through the telescope much more manageable.
- 90mm objective lens
- 500mm focal length
- Rack-and-pinion focuser
- It includes two Kellner eyepieces
- Stainless steel tripod
- Integrated compass
- Correct-image finderscope
- It comes with several accessories
Orion’s GoScope III is a fantastic telescope for on-the-go stargazing. The travel refractor is significantly smaller than most of the models you see on the market. Weighing less than four pounds, it’s not going to weigh you down as you navigate to a remote viewing site.
Orion also includes some extras to make your life easier. The compact device fits nicely into the included backpack case. The case is large enough for the telescope and its accessories, ensuring that you have everything you need to find your target.
While refractors have a reputation for creating visual distortion through eyepieces, that’s not an issue with this Orion model. Inside, there’s a complex system of achromatic lenses. They transmit light without separating color. As a result, it reduces issues like chromatic aberration. Furthermore, the two included Kellner eyepieces have an anti-reflection coating. Pair those two features together, and it’s not hard to get a crystal-clear view of your target.
Overall, the GoScope III is a capable device that can serve you well when viewing the stars, wildlife, and distant objects. Despite its small size and lightweight build, its performance rivals units far bigger.
- 70mm aperture
- 400mm focal length
- Achromatic lens system
- Two Kellner eyepieces
- 5×25 finderscope
- Weighs 3.5 pounds
- Includes tripod and carrying case
- It comes with a Moonmap booklet
Here’s another premium Orion telescope that’ll help you get an amazing glimpse at the stars. This unit has all the fantastic features you would expect from an Orion telescope. That includes precisely cut and installed optics with all the high-transmission coatings you need to get a crystal-clear image.
The cool thing about this model is that it has a carbon fiber optical tube. The material is exceptionally lightweight, reducing your load as you find a suitable stargazing site. Furthermore, it’s thermally stable, ensuring that the cold or heat doesn’t affect the quality over time.
Like other Orion telescopes, this one comes with a carrying case and focuser. It uses a dual-speed focuser and wide-field eyepiece, giving you a unique look at your target.
- 66mm aperture
- Multi-coated optics
- Carbon fiber tube
- Wide-field eyepiece
- Dual-speed Crayford focuser
- Includes hard travel case
- Weighs less than 5 pounds
This Orion StarBlast II 4.5 EQ Reflector Telescope Kit is, in my opinion, one of the best scopes in its price bracket. It has a smartphone camera adapter, which I like, so you can take easy pictures of the solar system objects. I really like this as it allows amateurs like myself to take shots with gear you already own, rather than forking out on expensive cameras if you don’t already have one. This product also comes with a Star Target Planisphere, MoonMap 260, Telescope Observer’s Guide book, Shorty 2x Barlow, which doubles the magnification of both included eyepieces, and a keychain red LED flashlight to help you plan your stargazing sessions.
- Included Shorty 2x Barlow
- included Smartphone camera adapter
- Enough aperture for great views
Don’t let the travel-friendly nature of this telescope fool you. It’s a superbly built piece of optical joy! Orion is one of the most trusted names in the consumer telescope game, and the StarBlast is a perfect example of why.
The well-built telescope has a girthy optical tube with a 102mm objective lens. It’s massive by comparison, allowing you to see more distant targets due to the amount of light you’re gathering. As if that weren’t enough, Orion treated the optics with anti-reflective, high-transmission coatings. They help to improve clarity and reduce distortion.
Overall, the telescope is designed for traveling stargazers. It comes with a case and all the accessories you need to set up. That includes a robust stainless steel tripod!
- 102mm aperture
- 600mm focal length
- Multi-coated optics
- Rack and pinion focuser
- Includes two Plossl eyepieces
- Stainless steel tripod
- It comes with travel bad and moon map
- It weighs approximately 10.6 pounds
The Orion Spaceprobe 130ST reflector telescope is ideal for a serious beginner or intermediate stargazer such as myself. With the included EQ-2 mount and stable tripod, this 130ST provides excellent stability for clear views of deep-sky objects. It has a manual rather than an electric mount, but good enough to track celestial objects as they migrate across the night sky. I do like the speed of the slow-motion hand controls.
- Great Views
- A Versatile Telescope
- Includes a Sturdy Mount
- Includes two 1.25 inch Sirius Plossl eyepieces
Best Accessories For Orion Telescopes
- Includes 5 eyepieces
- Includes 6 color filters
- Comes with a Barlow lens
- Comes in a protective case
The accessory kit from Orion allows you to change up the viewing experience. It works with telescopes that accept 1.25-inch eyepieces. There are 5 separate eyepieces included. They range in size from 40mm down to 6.3mm. You’re also getting several color filters that can help you get a clearer view of certain objects. Finally, there’s a Barlow lens. It will instantly double the magnification of any eyepiece.
- USB connectivity
- Works with any 1.25-inch eyepiece
- Includes image capture software
- Records up to 24 FPS at 640 x 480 pixels
With this eyepiece camera, you can record your experience or increase your field of view by splashing the image onto a computer. It works with all Orion products that use a 1.25-inch eyepiece. Simple stick the camera onto the eyepiece and plug the other end to a USB port. You can record video, take still images, and more through the included software.
- 39 inches long, 9.5 inches wide, and 11 inches tall
- Padded interior
- Water-resistant exterior
- Full-length zipper
- Reinforced carrying straps
Keep your telescope safe as you make it up to your favorite stargazing spot. While this case is designed explicitly with Orion telescopes in mind, it can fit a wide range of optical equipment. At 39 inches long, it’s a versatile accessory that can carry a lot.
The interior of the case features heavy padding to prevent accidental damage. The cushioning can absorb the blow from light bumps, keeping those delicate optics in place.
The case is also water-resistant. The exterior is a polyester/nylon blend that can stand up well to less-than-ideal weather conditions.
- Threads directly onto 1.25-inch eyepieces
- Reduces lunar glare
- Doesn’t change the color of the image
When you’re looking at the moon, glare from the sun can prevent you from seeing finer details. This filter only allows 13 percent of incoming light to go through. This helps to increase contrast significantly. Despite how much light the filter blocks, it doesn’t change the color of the image at all. It’s easy to install and can be removed in seconds when you change your target.
- 66-degree field of view
- Improves color and contrast
- Made of aluminum
This simple attachment creates a wide field of view when you’re looking at planetary bodies. Just thread it onto a telescope that accepts 1.25-inch eyepieces and you’re good to go. Another great perk is that it has a long eye relief to length, making it a suitable eyepiece for those who wear glasses.
- Includes 20 filters
- Works with 1.25-inch eyepieces
- Comes in a durable metal case
- Built-in viewing guide
The premium filter set is a must-have accessory for any Orion telescope. The 20 separate filters can be attached to the eyepiece to filter out certain colors in the light. This helps to make subtle details even more visible. Orion includes a handy guide on the lid of the protective case, detailing what colors work best for each planet.