The XT6 Dobsonian telescope by Orion is a sleek telescope that makes a perfect entry point into the world of Dobsonian stargazing. It is available at a fair price and is capable of producing jaw-dropping images and views of the night sky. It is the perfect stepping stone into the larger world of big aperture reflectors that can be explored and used for years to come.
The stable base, the smooth altazimuth mount, and the ability to produce amazing views without much knowhow make this a perfect telescope for beginners. Whether you are someone who is just getting into big aperture scopes or a complete novice, this telescope is easy enough and powerful enough to satisfy everyone.
- Dobsonian design
- 6” primary aperture
- f/8 focal ratio
- 300x highest theoretical magnification
- 34.4lbs assembled weight
The scope is so good that it was featured in our article highlighting some of the best Dobsonian telescopes available on the market today.Check Latest Price
All Around Great Views
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope has a great combination of optical features that allows it to offer some amazing views that other telescopes just can’t. This comes from the large aperture and versatile focal ratio that this scope provides.
The SkyQuest XT6 offers something that many Dobsonian telescopes do not, versatility. Many Dobsonians are designed to be pure deep space, light buckets. That is fine but with the XT6s specifications you can eke out a little bit more than that.
While most Dobsonians strive to be pure deep space, light absorbing behemoths, the XT6 toes the line between a true light bucket and a regular reflector telescope. The f/8 focal ratio combined with the 6” primary aperture means that this telescope can comfortably canvass deep space and shallow space effectively.
What this means, is that this telescope can show you the moons of Jupiter or a distant galaxy cluster in equal parts. It will not be able to see as far as some of the larger Dobsonians on the market but a 300x magnification limit seems like plenty.
The other way to look at this versatile range of views is from the magnification range. The lowest useful magnification level on this telescope is 21x, which is good enough to scan the solar system for your favorite sights with the upper limit being 300x. That is a big range to comfortably operate in.
What about other telescopes?
Other telescopes have a smaller range because the lowest useful magnification will be much higher, especially on telescopes with lower focal ratios.
All this to say, this telescope can see it all and when it does the image quality is excellent. That large aperture and large optical tube produce some really spectacular images. With a large image range and a high visual quality, this telescope strives to do it all. And it largely succeeds.
Classic Dobsonian Base
The Dobsonian base of this telescope is weighty and durable. It is made from solid wood and works as the perfect counterbalance to the large optical tube that boasts the 6” aperture. You will never feel out of balance or off-kilter while using this telescope.
The base is home to a very smooth and fluid altazimuth mount that makes using this telescope a breeze. The altazimuth mount is made from extremely high-quality materials, including reinforced bearings and a tension system that keeps everything properly aligned.
This classic Dobsonian setup, combined with the optical flexibility that this model possesses right out of the box, creates an easy to use and powerful tool for stargazing.
The altazimuth mount allows you to point your telescope at any patch of sky and begin a viewing session. The versatility of the scope is going to make this aspect of the setup a ton of fun. Some telescopes are geared for looking at specific items and have different mounts that reflect that, but the altazimuth mount is the most freeing design available which really allows you to utilize the XT6 to the fullest.
This creates a solid platform to comfortably use this telescope without worrying about solid footing, tripods, equatorial alignment, or anything else. Just find an interesting patch of sky or obscure celestial object you’ve been researching and just go for it.
It is a freeing experience and when it pays off, it is a huge rush.
In the Box Accessories
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope includes a modest handful of accessories that boost its value even further. Although the telescope is already shockingly affordable, it also includes some very useful add-ons that you will appreciate as you use your telescope.
This scope comes with a single 1.25” eyepiece, a dust cap, a collimation cap, a 2x Barlow lens, a laser pointer, and a copy of Starry Night astronomy software.
On the surface, it looks like they skipped out on some fun accessories but everything here is extremely useful and provides a base to build on for the future.
The single eyepiece is disappointing but the inclusion of the Barlow lens helps a little. While it only has one eyepiece included, the Barlow lens effectively makes it two magnification levels available at the start. The Barlow lens can also be used on any other eyepieces you may buy down the road.
The most important accessories are the two caps. The dust cap and the collimation cap are going to be lifesavers for long term users. The 6” aperture is a very large opening that is going to inevitably let in some dust and particles that you would rather keep out. The dust cap, a non-standard addition, is going to go a long way in keeping your mirrors dust free when you are not using the telescope.
The collimation cap is equally useful. Over time, you are going to need to collimate your telescope to keep it in good working order and the inclusion of the collimation cap is just one thing you will not have to worry about down the road. The primary mirror is even center marked to make the collimation process that much easier.
How to Use Orion SkyQuest XT6
Having a telescope come out of focus or lack of knowledge on how to properly focus large reflectors is a common source of frustration and irritation for new astronomers and the collimation cap and center marked mirrors go a long way in making sure that this process is easy and hassle-free. The biggest complaint I see about new telescopes is that they are out of focus and nothing is helping and it won’t see anything. The scope probably needs to be collimated but if there are no instructions or indications to do so, a user is going to be left confused and frustrated.
You would be surprised by how many reflectors ignore this important part of maintenance which eventually leads to irritation for some users.
While this is one of the best values on the market in terms of telescopes go, it is not perfect. There are a few niggles that might be irritants for certain would-be astronomers out there.
The first is that this telescope requires a good bit of assembly to get working properly and will probably need to be immediately collimated as well.
To give you an example of what kind of assembly is required, here is a portion of the material list for what should be included in each box Feet attachment wood screws, Self-adhesive rubber bumper, Large hex-head bolt, 3/8″ washers, 3/8″ lock nut, Nylon spacer, T-nut.
While most telescopes come with the optical tube ready to go, a tripod to screw it on to and an eyepiece, this one is going to take a little more work to get running. The base and mount usually ship separately from the optical tube due to the weight and size of everything.
This telescope is also the least portable type of telescope. The heavy base and assembly requirements make it so once the telescope is put together, you are not going to want to move it much. Most people keep theirs by their back door so they can easily move it to their viewing area in the yard but they do not deconstruct and travel with their Dobsonian telescopes.
If you want to take your telescope with you to dark sky parks or on trips, you are going to want to avoid getting a Dobsonian.
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is an awesome telescope for all skill levels, all budgets, and all ages. I named it the best budget Dobsonian telescope on the market and in terms of usability and overall performance, it is one of the best Dobsonians on the market period.
If you want to get into the world of big aperture reflectors or want to dive right in with your first telescope, the XT6 has something for everyone. You won’t be disappointed with the quality of the images or how easy and fluid it is to use.