The Orion Observer 80ST 80mm refractor telescope is a great way to introduce astronomy to novice stargazers. With a wide field of view and short focal length, it is best for viewing objects within the solar system, or particularly bright objects in deep space. It’s lightweight and easy to travel with, making it great as a secondary scope for stargazers who don’t want to risk more expensive equipment. In this Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor telescope review, we help you figure out if this is an investment worth making by looking at the scope’s performance and features.
What Is the Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope?
The Orion Observer 80ST 80mm was designed as a lightweight scope perfect for beginners and stargazers on the go. It’s quick and easy to assemble and, with a wide field of view, is great for star-hopping your way around the night sky. The short focal length means it’s not great for deep space viewing; though some bright deep space objects, like certain galaxies and nebulae, might be visible, this telescope’s real forte is viewing nearby planets and their moons, and, of course, Earth’s own moon.
The telescope even comes with a moon map to point out interesting lunar features. A fringe benefit of this telescope’s construction is that it’s low powered enough not to be overwhelmed in bright light. Switch it to a camera tripod or monopod, and it makes a good scope for birdwatching or other nature views.
|62 x 32 x 62 inches||10 lbs.||1 Lithium Metal Battery required (powers red-dot finder scope)||80mm||400mm||N/A|
Pros & Cons to Using the Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope
- Easy to transport
- Low price point
- Easy to assemble
- Suitable for near-object (e.g. lunar) astrophotography
- Perfect for amateur astronomers
- You can use your phone to take pictures of the Moon through the lens
- Great customer support
- Not suitable for most deep space viewing
- Wide field of view makes detailed close-ups tricky
- Some users report issues with its plastic components
Where to Find the Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope
Several Short Tube (ST) models from Orion have been discontinued, while others, including the 80ST 80mm, aren’t always available from common online sources like Amazon. For example, at this time, the scope is not available for purchase on Amazon.
You can still find it on the Orion website, however, and from some specialty stores. Occasionally, Orion will offer what they call “seconds,” which are telescopes that have been returned by customers, or are from discontinued lines. These scopes are often discounted, and are covered by the manufacturer’s quality guarantee, but may have had accessory substitutions or other modifications.
This telescope is designed for use by beginners, and so it does have some limitations. Its short focal depth, though great for portability, makes it less than ideal for deep space viewing. It’s best for viewing bright, near objects, but because it’s not terribly sensitive, it can be used in light-polluted areas.
This scope is not designed for use by children; if you’re planning on family stargazing, be sure to supervise the kids. Though best for star-hopping, this scope does offer manual slow-motion control to track objects. The control is not fine enough for astrophotography, but if, for example, you’re watching a moon’s transit across the face of a planet, you’ll be able to stay on target.
To save on weight and keep costs low, this scope uses more plastic components than other, pricier telescopes. Be aware that this might mean it’s more prone to damage, and take care to keep it carefully packed when storing or traveling with it.
Telescopes are delicate instruments, and it’s easy to damage them with improper handling. Two of the most common issues are moisture and dust, both of which can cause blurring and decrease the life of your optics.
To avoid these issues, never use the scope outdoors in wet weather, or clean it with water or other solvents. Storing your telescope covered or in a padded case will protect it from rough handling as well as dust. This is especially important for telescopes with which you plan to travel.
Telescopes are also sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations, which can cause flexing of materials inside the scope, moving them out of alignment, or allowing condensation to develop and fog your view. Avoid these conditions by never storing your scope where it could overheat, such as an uninsulated attic or car trunk, or where it could freeze, such as a garage.
- Aluminum tripod
- 10mm Kellner eyepiece
- 25mm Kellner eyepiece
- Red dot reflex finder scope
- Orion MoonMap 260
- Additional 1.25″ eyepieces can be used
- Orion offers a range of cases and carrying bags
Warranty and Guarantee Information
Orion provides a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and a one-year warranty on all telescopes from the date of purchase, guaranteeing the product to be free of defects in materials or workmanship. More details on the warranty can be found here. Orion also provides free technical support for life.
While it’s not the most powerful or reliable scope on the market, the Orion Observer 80ST 80mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope is a great option for stargazers who don’t want to travel with their primary scopes. Lightweight, with enough power for great views of some of the sky’s best features, it’s the ideal telescope to have on hand, whether you’re headed to the wild or visiting family in the city.
Are you a fan of Orion Short Tube telescopes? Share your tips, tricks, and experiences in the comments below!
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