Powerful telescopes do not have to be expensive and they do not have to be complicated. If you are looking for a relatively simple but powerful telescope at an affordable price then Orion has you covered. The Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope is the perfect combination of functionality, affordability, and visibility.
This telescope can give you excellent views of the solar system and beyond and won’t cause you any headaches or heartaches. It is a simple point and shoot telescope with everything you need to set up and start seeing the best parts of the sky. It is perfect for a beginner astronomer who is interested in a point and shoot reflector or an intermediate stargazer on a budget.
- Reflector design
- 6” (150mm) primary aperture
- f/5 focal ratio
- 300x highest theoretical magnification
- 23.5lbs assembled weight
This telescope is almost universally adored and comes with very few drawbacks. If you are okay with getting a slim selection of accessories and do not want a fancy computerized telescope then this product will be able to do everything you want it to and more. The Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope is a solid telescope from a construction and technical standpoint and delivers a quality product that will give you the best views of space possible.Check Latest Price
For The Beginner
In terms of a telescope that a person just starting out will love, this one fits the bill. It is easy to use, comes with beginner friendly features, and can provide some amazing views. The tabletop base means that it can be set down on any flat surface for quality viewing in a hurry. There are no fancy alignment schemes or complicated mounts or bases that need to be set up or assembled.
What this means is that you can simply set this telescope down and you are ready to go. That makes it perfect for anyone with a good outdoor set up where they can put the telescope down or someone who wants to take their new telescope with them on the road. The flat base makes it an ideal travel companion as it will ride in the car and hang out at the campsite very well.
This base combined with the versatile altazimuth mount makes it a supremely smooth telescope to operate by hand. The mount is fluid and easy to move which makes the optical tube a breeze to swing across the night sky.
This makes the Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope what we call a point and shoot telescope, where you set it up and then just manually move it into position for a look at the sky similar to a camera. Find what you want to see, move the optical tube into position, and then focus and view. It is easy.
There are no polar or equatorial alignments needed. There are not complicated Dobsonian bases or tripods to calibrate with a mount. It is all very self explanatory and user friendly. Everything comes out of the box preassembled and ready to go which will eliminate the variable of trying to put together a telescope.
For what it’s worth this telescope is also extremely good looking. The black finish is sleek and sharp looking. The whole thing looks high quality and professional. There are no frivolous colors or odd angles poking out from the array. The whole thing looks great, which could sway some more aesthetically-minded stargazers out there.
On top of all that, it offers some fabulous views of both the solar system and beyond. Anything a new astronomer would be eager to see is available with this scope. That includes the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Andromeda, and much more.
For The Journeyman
Perhaps you have more experience than the layperson and you consider yourself to be an intermediate backyard astronomer. No worries, this telescope has plenty of things to satisfy you as well. It comes with some technical features that a more experienced astronomer will appreciate in addition to being easy to use.
These features include low thermal expansion borosilicate glass with aluminum and silicon dioxide coatings. This means the glass will hold up better to thermal increases during viewing leading to greater optical quality over a longer period of time.
It comes with a 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser which makes focusing the scope easy for beginners and journeymen alike.
The bearings are made out of high quality polytetrafluoroethylene which keeps the movement fluid and easy throughout the telescope’s lifespan. Polytetrafluoroethylene is the chemical denotation of Teflon (a name brand). This upgrade ensures that the bearings will stand up to use over time and be able to support the large optical tube without breaking a sweat.
These touches show that Orion has long term viewing in mind for this telescope. It was made to be used and used often. These technical upgrades will make sure that this telescope will stand up over time and deliver the best user experience possible.
Other Technical Specs
- 0.77arc*sec resolving power
- 9lbs optical tube weight
- 47mm secondary mirror obstruction
Solid Optical Quality
Usability and technical specs are all great but those things only matter if the telescope can actually see what it advertises. At the end of the day, the optical quality of a telescope is its most important feature. In that respect, the Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope delivers.
The name has it pegged as a full 6” primary aperture but the actual measurement comes in a little lower than that. The exact measurement of the primary aperture is 150mm or ~5.9” but we won’t ding them for rounding up a tenth of an inch. This aperture size is plenty big enough to give some excellent views.
Whether you want to see planets or deep space, this telescope has enough size to do both comfortably. Image quality in telescopes is all about how much light they can gather and the bigger the aperture the more light it can let in and the better it can see.
Think of it as your pupils. In the dark, they get bigger so you can see better in low light. Telescopes operate on the same principle. Six inches for a primary aperture is a very respectable size and reflectors only really get up to 8” or 10” at their absolute maximum size.
Orion Starblast 6 Review Video
Orion lists this telescope as being able to view all aspects of the sky. They say it is best for purely viewing deep space but they also have it pegged as an above average imager of planets and moons. What this means, is that for your average dark night scan of the sky, it will be able to show those starfields in great detail but if you want to focus on a planet or moon, it will be able to create a visually distinct image as well.
Some telescopes can only do one or the other. Some scopes are excellent at getting views of starfields and nebula but can’t produce a crisp image of Saturn. Others can get a beautiful view of Saturns rings but if you just want to stare into a random patch of dark sky it will struggle to bring in enough light to make anything pop.
This visual versatility is great, especially for how fair of a price this telescope is listed at. It really benefits the freewheeling nature of this telescope’s base and mount. Whether you are trying to pin down a great shot of Jupiter or simply staring off into space, literally, this telescope will be able to show you things that will keep your attention for weeks or years to come.
It’s All About The Base
The base is one of the only points of relative contention on this otherwise stellar telescope model. Out of the box, the Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope does not come with a tripod but rather opts for a simple tabletop base. It can still be mounted to an aftermarket tripod if that is your preference but it does not come initially equipped with one.
The pros of the tabletop mount is that it makes the telescope easy to use. You simply have to set it down. This makes it supremely portable in that you can pick it up and move it around the yard, around a campsite, the back of a tailgate or toss it in the backseat. Okay, don’t toss it but you get the idea.
Moving this telescope is as simple as picking it up. It only weighs 23.5lbs, less than half of most office jobs claim you need to be able to lift comfortably to work there. If you can lift that then you can set up and breakdown this telescope in seconds.
Assemble the Orion StarBlast 6 VideoCheck Latest Price
The problem is, some people don’t like the tabletop base. That is strictly a personal preference but it is one that might come into play for you depending on what you like. If you fall on the side of those who do not like the flat base then you might need to invest in a tripod but it shouldn’t detract from the overall quality of the images of this telescope.
Basically, you need to have an accessible and usable piece of flatness in order to properly use this telescope. If you do not have a handly handrail on a deck or strategically placed picnic table in your yard you are going to be wandering around with this telescope in your hands with a furrowed brow.
You need to have somewhere to set it where you can look into the eyepiece without bending over too much or laying on your belly. Not everyone has this and those who do think it is more trouble than simply having it on a tripod. Again, this is all personal preference but it is good to note that this telescope does not come with a tripod at first.
Speaking of Eyepieces
The Orion StarBlast 6i Reflector Telescope comes with exactly two eyepieces. It ships with a pair of Sirius Plossl eyepieces. One at 25mm and one at 10mm. The StarBlast 6 is set up for a 1.25” hookup.
This means it will have access to the wide array of 1.25” accessories on the market but those will have to come out of pocket because Orion did not include many addons with this kit. Usually, this is a point of contention for telescopes in this price range but this still feels fair given how good of an optical tube this telescope comes with. The price is still fair despite the lack of decent accessories.
In addition to those two standard eyepieces, this kit comes with an EZ Finder II reflex sight, an eyepiece rack that can hold up to three eyepieces (room for one more), and a copy of Starry Night astronomy software.
This is all standard for telescopes to come with but in this case, unlike some other telescopes, these add ons make sense. I wish that telescope companies would tailor their accessories more to the actual scopes instead of just adding the same group of accessories to every scope on the market. Luckily, they get away with it this time.
The red dot reflex finderscope is usually a throwaway add on but is a critical piece of equipment for anyone who wants to do a lot of manual stargazing, which this scope requires. It’s not the best finderscope on the market but it is passable and does what it needs to do.
And for the rest…
The same goes for the inclusion of Starry Night for your viewing pleasure. It is usually a throwaway add on that comes included with most telescopes today. However, it is a great addition for a beginner and again benefits the manual nature of this telescope.
Without an alignment feature, you will need to do a lot of searching in the sky by hand and Starry Night goes a long way in teaching you in the ins and outs of the night sky by hand. A valuable skill that benefits this telescope greatly.
The eyepiece rack is okay, it exists. If you ever get a third eyepiece, some of you will, most won’t, you’ll at least have extra space for it.
There is potential to kit out this telescope anyway you like. The 1.25” connection is pretty much universal and will be able to support all of the most popular accessories on the market. If you are looking to upgrade in this department it should be pretty easy and for the relatively low price, you might have some extra money in the bank to bankroll some upgrades.
The Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope also comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer so if anything goes wrong, you should be able to get it resolved by Orion. This is a nice accessory, especially for beginners who should appreciate the safety net if this is their first telescope.
All in all, this is a pretty slim lineup of accessories that fit this telescope out of sheer luck alone and nothing to do with Orion’s foresight at all as this is the same generic accessory kit that features with every telescope where the manufacturer doesn’t want to add anything special into the mix. But for this particular model, it works but barely.
The Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope is a great telescope. It is versatile, simple, affordable, and has great optical quality. Also, it checks almost all of the boxes that anyone would want in their telescope. It is almost universally adored, even the naysayers have little to naysay about with this model.
The only potential downsides come from the flat base, which some could find divisive but does not take away from the quality of the optical tube itself or the lack of accessories that can be safely looked over due to the price point and the 1.25” accessory connection size.
The only place you could go from here and get a similar level of value and usability is to get a similarly sized Dobsonian telescope. The views would be roughly the same but you would get that big solid Dobsonian base. Other than that this is one of the best portable reflectors on the market and one of the best reflectors on the market period. Especially at this price.
The only other possible drawback is that it might not have enough to satisfy an advanced astronomer. It is very simple in terms of mount, accessories, and technical upgrades. Despite that, it still has more than enough to keep a new astronomer or intermediate user busy for a very long time.
This telescope is worth its weight and delivers pound for pound with the best of them. It thrives on simplicity and delivers excellence in the optical department. If you are in the market for a simple, portable, and powerful telescope then the Orion StarBlast 6 Reflector Telescope is one that you should not pass up.