Orion SkyView Pro 8

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Brand and Model:Orion SkyView Pro 8
Price ($USD):$589.00
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:8" (203mm)
f Ratio:f/5
Focal Length:1000mm
Electric Power:12V DC
Mount:SkyView Pro
Tripod:Steel Tube
Weight (lbs):62 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):
Description:Prepare to be amazed with our newly designed SkyView Pro 8 EQ reflector. It's got a full 8" (203mm) parabolic primary mirror, which gathers 73% more light than a 6". You won't have to call it a night once you've observed the Messier Catalog because there's a host of other deep-sky objects within reach of this scope! And if you're into the Moon and planets, SkyView Pro 8's 1000mm focal length (f/5) gives you the appropriate image scale to resolve the finest detail.

The tube features a 2" aluminum rack-and-pinion focuser with a 1.25" insert, which affords you a limitless choice of optional eyepieces. The secondary mirror is securely mounted in a sturdy 4-vane holder. A 6x30 finder scope helps you locate faint deep-sky objects.

The stalwart SkyView Pro EQ mount features enclosed 360° worm gears and steel tube tripod legs. This mount is just as sturdy as the venerable Japanese mounts in its class, but at half the price! One year limited warranty.

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Orion SkyView Pro 8
This is not your average, short review… stop now if you don’t like to read.

I upgraded to the SkyView Pro 8 EQ after a disappointing trial of an Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ. I’ll hold my comments on the SpaceProbe, only to say that I wish it had a heavier mount and a parabolic mirror – however, the SpaceProbe was my first medium sized scope, my first Newtonian, and it allowed me to learn all about collimation. It is easy to carry outside and setup – a good beginner’s scope for someone who is just learning about Newtonians and equatorial mounts. You just can’t push it much beyond 1x/mm of aperature.

My wife said, if you’re going to get a larger scope – don’t skimp, because you’ll probably find problems with it too. So I read online (google groups, amazon, excelsis, cloudy nights, astromart) and decided that the SkyView Pro 8 EQ was my scope. I decided that 1x/mm of aperture was a very conservative estimate for power and resolution, and most folks report that average seeing conditions limit them to 200x – so a 200mm (or 8”) aperature seemed just about perfect.

The SkyView Pro 8 EQ is about the largest scope I think I’d ever want to transport (with the exception of a truss dob). It does take about 10 minutes to setup the mount. It is heavy, and I can carry the whole scope and tripod short distances, but I choose to break it down into 3-4 pieces when transporting to and from the house or in the car. In the car, I usually have the OTA rolled up in a blanket alongside the tripod and GEM with counterweights tucked safely away from the OTA. When I set up the mount, I don’t bother to level the tripod. I’ve learned to ignore the latitude setting on the GEM. Instead, I just eye Polaris through the opening of the GEM when I’m first setting up the mount and tripod, and make adjustments to Alt/Az as needed. Also, the scope (OTA and mount) is tall when fully assembled. I’ve never once extended the tripod legs. At almost 6 ft tall, I can look through the eyepiece when the scope is pointed near the zenith. I have to use a 6 ft ladder for the kids and wife to look if the scope is pointed high enough in the sky. Keep in mind that this scope will need to be rotated in the mount rings if you move from one side of the sky to another. This might be annoying to some. I chalk it up as part of the price I must pay for the convenience of a motorized equatorial mount combined with a Newtonian.

Why didn’t I buy a cheaper dobsonian? Because of the equatorial mount. This is my ‘Hey everyone – check out Saturn’ scope. At least once a week, we’re dragging the scope out, and the family and neighbor kids all line up to take a look. I know one of my kids tends to bump into things, so it’s REALLY nice to be able to center an object in the field of view, and know that it will still be there a few minutes from now. It’s made it well worth the price of the SkyView Pro mount because I don’t have to keep pushing the scope over to look at an object – nor do I have to buy expensive widefield eyepieces to give me that extra 15-30 seconds of viewing time. Plossls work just fine.

I was aware that this is an f5 scope before I bought it, and I had already collected a handful of collimating tools from the SpaceProbe experience. Let me summarize that if you buy this scope – you owe it to yourself to buy a Cheshire/Sight Tube and a Deluxe Laser Collimator. The Cheshire/Sight Tube enables you to align the entire scope – primary AND secondary mirrors. The Deluxe Laser Collimator makes very quick work of that last minute collimation after transporting your scope over bumpy roads and setting it up at the dark sky site, but it only really aligns the primary mirror. If you don’t feel comfortable collimating, find a local “Big Dob”/Newtonian scope owner who will guide you through the process. Collimation is critical at f5, and without proper Collimation, you’re going to be disappointed with the scope.

I did buy this with the dual axis drive. I only use it when I have an object (like Saturn) at 100-200x and need to guide it back into the center. This is where some of the cheaper aspects of the SVP mount come into play. Play is the key word here. There is some play in the gears. Pushing the button on the controller does not result in instantaneous feedback in the eyepiece. This is probably one factor that separates this mount from the Atlas. I can live with it because I don’t want to tote around an Atlas mount, nor can I afford one.

I bought the fancy aluminum knobs for the focuser and slow motion controls. I’ve read a few negative comments about the plastic knobs included with the scope. I like having real metal instead of the plastic knobs. I do find, on occasion, that the knobs are loose and need to be tightened (keep those Allen wrenches and screw driver handy). I don’t know if this is due to vibration during transport, or heating/cooling. I think a little Lock-Tite might help me determine the true cause.

To enhance your viewing enjoyment, you should seriously consider the following accessories in addition to collimation tools. I have them, and would not do without them.

Rigel Quickfinder – makes very quick work of starhopping – my viewfinder is starting to feel neglected

GSO 30mm SuperView (2.1 deg FOV, 6mm exit pupil) – big help for star hopping and nice wide view of the Pleides

Orion Shorty Plus 2x Barlow - don’t settle for anything less – I did and regretted it – the proof is in the star test

Variable moon filter - not a 25% or 13% - a POLARIZING VARIABLE moon filter; 8” aperature + full moon = serious retina image burn (I equate to staring at a 100W bulb from 3 feet away with the naked eye)

This scope is great with Saturn and the Cassini Division. It also makes quick work of Jupiter with its cloud bands and Galilean moons. Venus is glaringly brilliant (I need to try the moon filter next time). Mars wasn’t fantastic, but I was able to pull out some detail during ‘first light’ a month or two after it’s closest approach in Oct 2005.

I live in Oklahoma City, so light pollution is bad (Mag 3 skies with the naked eye). Where this scope really shines is DSO’s – especially clusters! The double cluster and the Pleides are common stop off points when we aren’t looking at the planets or the moon. The Orion Nebula’s core is visible in town. I can pull out a little more detail in the edges with the Orion UltraBlock filter at 40x – but it’s nothing like the view I have when I’ve gone out to dark skies with the scope (80x is perfect – filling the entire eyepiece with the nebula). For fainter nebulas and galaxies, I have to wait until we can get out of town (the Crab Nebula/M1 is completely washed out, and only the core of the Andromeda Galaxy is visible). This scope’s capabilities are not fully appreciated in town. I could probably see just as much with a smaller 4.5” Newtonian as I do with the 8 inch because of the light pollution.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:7 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.0.16)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=498268

Orion SkyView Pro 8
Bought the OTA only. I just use it with a binoviewer. Very solid. Looks good. Very sharp optics, An excellent performer.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.26.74)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=345841

Orion SkyView Pro 8
I agonized over which brand of 8" Newt. reflector to purchase, fortunately I ran into some review sites that gave the Orion good reviews. I checked them out at our local dealer which also handles Meade and Celestron, and I was quite frankly very impressed with the value that the Orion scope represented.

The mount was a lot better than the Meade mount, but Go-To would have been nice. I opted for the Orion primarily due to it's lower price and excellent mount/tripod system.

I would recommend this to any advanced amateur, but setting up the equatorial mount takes a little time and has a little bit of a learning curve. There are a lot of nice accessories available, which appeals to my geeky side too.

Overall, a great buy, and a quality scope.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:7 Ease of Use:7 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.206.216)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=344641

Orion SkyView Pro 8
I have had this scope for four months.

Mount: I am very impressed by the mount (although I've never used a higher quality EQ such as the GM8). The Skyview Pro seems to carry the 16 lb OTA without much difficulty. It feels solid. Above 200 power there is a little jiggling when focusing. The drives seems to track fine - sometimes it takes a bit of time for the motors to engage when you are centering an object with the controller. The locks are a bit of a pain - but you get used to them.

OTA: Well ventilated, seems to cool off in a reasonable time. The tube is easy to handle and light. It looks pretty good too IMO. Fit and finish are good, details like OTA cover and 2" focuser are substantial and functional. The mirror has three clips that are in the light path. Also, the focus tube can get in the light path. Noticed both of these when looking at defocused image of a bright star. Is this ok? I don't know - but I do wonder if high power views (short FL EPs) are affected. Eyepiece position would require a step stool if you are shorter.

Overall: Deepsky views are very nice. With a 40mm Optilux I get a 2.4 degree FOV - the Pleiades are stunning. My experience with planetary has more limited, can't judge that just yet. Would I buy this again? Absolutely. I've listed all the possible shortcomings I can think of - but I'm using this scope a lot and enjoying it. I think its a good bargain.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Mount:9 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.156.80)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=304373

Orion SkyView Pro 8
Overall, a great scope. The mount is stable and ultra smooth when positioning the scope. Optics are fantastic. Nice wide field of view and bright images on planets and star clusters both. The focuser is smooth and steady. The scope has a solid and mechanically sound "feel" about it. With motor drive (optional) objects stayed in field of view 15+ minutes at a time without adjusting the keypad. Set up is relatively easy outside of attaching the motor drives;which requires some patience and at least some "mechanical sense". It takes a little getting used to knowing where the RA and Dec axis locks are in the dark. No big problem though. The slow motion knobs are intuitively placed though and feel very natural while operating. I have to say, a lot of scope for the money.(about $650 including freight, if you get the motor drive) I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quality Newtonian!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Mount:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.50.130)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=293736

Orion SkyView Pro 8
This is one heck of a scope. The optics are a 10. When collimated and at thermal equilibrium the optics embarassed several SCTs of the same size. It snaps to focus. The mirror is very smooth (Synta is starting to suprise me). Jupiter and Saturn has plenty of detail. I would say the mount to be an 8. Vibrations subside in about 1-2 seconds at 100x. The tripod is nice, though not as thick as the LX200 tripod. I think an 8 inch scope on this mount is a little too much to ask (for photo work), now dont get me wrong, it is very stable. When I mean too much to ask I mean it will be difficult to add anything (guidescope) since the mount is towards its limit. It is very stable though. It is fairly easy to use. Polar Alignment is pretty easy (with the polar scope). It is as easy as any good equatorial scope, nothing special. All GEMs work the same. The aesthetics of this scope is ok. The only complain is the release levers, they are small and hard to use in the dark. The value was a 10 until the G8N with its price. The overall scope is excellent, if you dont want GOTO, this is the scope to get. It will smoke any SCT (same size) optically. Good Luck to prospective buyers!

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:9 Value:8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.99.203)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=201165

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