Cheap beginner telescopes tend to excel when focused on nearby celestial objects like the moon, or the bigger planets in the solar system. Beyond that, most tend to run out of steam, with blurry images and severe focusing issues. For those willing to fork out some extra cash, a short tube “rich field” refractor telescope should offer an entirely different viewing experience. Orion Telescopes and Binoculars have been manufacturing telescopes since 1975. The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope is a product aimed at those want a great stargazing experience. Let’s see how it stacks up in our in-depth review.
To state it plainly, this is a short tube refractor telescope. Refractors are one of the oldest scope designs, well known for their image quality. And this is a rich field telescope. Such scopes have one primary purpose: to show a wide view angle at the cost of reduced magnification. With a wide field of view, you can look at more stars and star clusters, rather than just zooming in on individual objects.
The telescope has a wide aperture of 120mm, which can capture maximum light to show the dimmer distant stars with improved clarity. The short tube scope has a focal length of 600mm, which is shorter than many beginner scopes. But the focal length is kept intentionally small to get clearer images of star clusters and nebulae. The view from this short focal length is 66% wider than what you would get with a regular, 900mm focal length scope. The maximum useful magnification with the 120ST would be in the vicinity of 240x.
Instead of the simple altazimuth mount, you get an equatorial mount with this telescope. The altazimuth is more beginner friendly, while the equatorial mount is better for star gazing. The mount on this particular scope is manual, but you do have the option to buy an electronic tracker add-on separately for more efficient tracking. You get a 6×30 Finder Scope: a small aiming device used to align the telescope properly before viewing. The included tripod is made of aluminum and is quite sturdy.
Other useful items in the package include two eyepieces, both high-quality Sirius Plossl 1.25 inch models. The kit includes a simple rack and pinion focuser that is made from high-quality cast metal for improved performance. You also get a 90-degree mirror star diagonal, as well as bundled Starry Nights software.
|37 x 16.6 x 11.9 in.||
||NA||120 mm||600 mm||Starry Nights Astronomy Software|
Pros & Cons To Using The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope
- Good quality aluminum metal construction on the tube.
- Excellent Sirius Plossl Eyepieces.
- Wide field of view gives good view of distant stars
- Despite being an achromatic scope, the color aberrations are kept quite low
- The metallic focuser is very efficient
- Gets good magnification on the Moon and planets despite being a short tube rich field scope
- The tripod has a very useful counterbalancer for extra stability.
- The mount has some minor design issues and is a bit stiff
- The Finder Scope is good, but a red dot finder is a better match for a wide field telescope
- The equatorial mount is not very beginner friendly
- Doesn’t come with a carrying case
Where To Find The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope?
You can find great deals on this 120ST at Amazon. It is also retailing on sites like Walmart, as well as the Orion official site.
This is an advanced telescope from Orion, placed above the $500 mark. It currently retails for around $600. We have to say that it is a rather steep price, though not a bad deal. But it would be much better if you could find it at a discount for between $450-500 which we feel is a more suitable price for this scope.
The scope has no major durability issues and should last a long time with proper maintenance. If you can find a good deal on a used AstroView 120ST, we would suggest that you take it, provided that it is in good working condition.
The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope succeeds in giving a vivid view of distant star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae. You can see all three stars on the Orion’s Belt at the same time thanks to the wide field of view. It is also perfect for some serious comet hunting at night. The stars stay sharp with minimal chromatic aberrations or flaring.
Compared to conventional telescopes, rich field telescopes tend to suffer when used on brighter and closer objects like the Moon and planets. But this 120ST can still outperform any cheap beginner’s telescope with sub-100mm apertures. You can get close views of lunar geography, as well as Cassini’s bands on Saturn, and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The chromatic aberrations are there, but they are quite minimal.
Overall, this telescope punches above its weight regarding optical clarity and sharpness. Star clusters and nebulae look fabulous with it. You also get plenty of details on the Moon and planets. Getting used to the equatorial mount may take some time, but the results are well worth the effort.
The tripod is quite stable, but when fully extended it can be a bit wobbly. You might be able to find a sweet spot regarding height vs. stability at the halfway point.
Remember to keep the lens protected with proper covers when the telescope is not in use. Try to avoid dust and dirt from accumulating at all costs, because frequent cleaning can cause more damage. Use soft camel hair brushes to remove dirt from the optics gently. Never touch the optics with your bare hands, or ordinary cloth or tissue. Do not use tap water, only distilled water or an alcohol-based lens cleaner.
The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope comes with the following accessories:
- Aluminum tripod;
- Sirius Plossl 25mm and 10mm Eyepieces;
- AstroView Equatorial Mount;
- 6×30 Finder Scope;
- 90-degree mirror star diagonal;
- Starry Night Software;
Orion also sells separate accessories for this telescope, including a carry case as well as automatic motorized mount attachments.
If you plan to take astrophotography seriously, the EQ-3M electronic drive is necessary. Also, do consider getting a red dot finder for improved aiming. A 3x Barlow would also be a great addition for extra magnification.
Warranty And Guarantee Information
With Orion, you get a one year manufacturers warranty on this telescope.
The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope is perfect for those who are looking for an upgrade on their beginner telescopes. Yes, it is an advanced scope, but beginners can also have a good time if they are patient. If you want a better look at distant stars clusters and nebulae, and try your hand at astrophotography, this is an excellent choice at a decent price. It is durable and punches well above its weight regarding performance. Hope you enjoyed this review. Feel free to post your comments and thoughts below. Thank you for visiting!