Last Updated on October 30, 2020
Reflecting telescopes are the most commonly used telescopes among astronomers today. One mirror captures the image, while the other is used to reflect that image back to you. There are a ton of reflector scopes on the market, though, so it can be tough to know where to start looking for one.
We have reviewed a good number of these reflecting telescopes in the hope of helping you narrow down your search. We are providing you details of the five that we like the most.
|Best Overall||Orion SpaceProbe||
|Orion StarBlast Astro||
|Meade Polaris 130 EQ||
The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope is a 24-inch tube design that only weighs 27 pounds, so it is effortless to transport anywhere you want to go.
This Orion model has a lot of bells and whistles to ensure that you have everything you need to achieve an optimal viewing experience. It has a 5.1-inch aperture to let in just the right amount of light, two sizes of 1.25-inch Plossl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm) for your viewing comfort, a 6×30 finderscope and Starry Night astronomy software to help you find what you’re looking for, a collimation cap, and a 1.25-inch rack and pinion focuser to give you your clearest view.
This telescope mounts to a sturdy EQ-2 equatorial telescope mount to give you the best stability to maintain your clear focus. It even comes with a tray to keep all your accessories in that fits between the legs of the tripod.
We found a couple of issues with this scope. The directions for assembly and how to focus are very poorly written and hard to understand. You can find more straightforward instructions to follow on Google or YouTube. The second issue is more of an inconvenience. The grips don’t always hold the best, requiring you to make adjustments occasionally. Just make sure that you screw everything down securely, and you should be fine.
The Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope comes pre-assembled, allowing you to just grab it and go. It has a 450mm focal length and a 4.5-inch aperture to allow proper lighting for capturing your image and reflecting it to one of the two Kellner 1.25-inch eyepieces (17mm or 6mm). It even has a rack where you can store any eyepieces you aren’t using.
This telescope includes a collimation cap in case you need to collimate it, as well as EZ Finder II and Starry Night astronomy software to help you locate what you’re looking for when it’s set up on the supplied stable tabletop base.
This is a low magnification telescope. You can see the moon and stars, particularly the different-colored ones, but you can’t see the planets. If you want to do in-depth sky viewing, you will need a scope with better magnification.
We found the instruction manual to be challenging to understand when trying to figure out collimation or how to troubleshoot a specific problem. If you’re a Mac user, the software that comes with this telescope is not compatible with your computer. You’ll have to purchase something else.
The ToyerBee Reflector Telescope has a 700mm focal length and 76mm aperture to capture your image with good lighting. It also comes with a finderscope to locate your object and three different eyepieces, an H20mm, H12.5mm, and H4mm, to choose from.
The telescope mounts securely to an adjustable tripod to keep it from wobbling while you are looking through it.
We found that this ToyerBee telescope is too lightweight and blows around easily with even the slightest breeze, and it just has a flimsy feel to it that makes you think it won’t last very long.
The telescope takes time to get used to before you can locate things and get them into focus. It is a good telescope to start with, but it will take some playing around with it to get comfortable with it.
The Meade 216006 Polaris 130 EQ Reflector Telescope has a 650mm focal length and 130mm aperture for proper lighting. It comes with three different eyepieces, a 26mm for low magnification, 9mm for medium, and 6.3mm for high magnifications. These do a decent job, but the magnification isn’t powerful enough if you’re trying to view the deep sky. They also aren’t optically coated.
This scope also has a red dot, but one of the knobs on it is very poorly located and is challenging to turn. It mounts to a sturdy, large German Equatorial mount to keep the telescope stable while you’re viewing. We found that it tipped, though, so we had to use a counterweight to keep it standing up.
The most significant disadvantage of this scope is that you can’t realign the secondary mirror. If it gets knocked out of alignment somehow, you’ll have to learn to work around it or replace it altogether.
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Omega Reflector Telescope comes with a 3x Barlow lens and all-glass optics in eight different magnifications: 35x, 50x, 60x, 90x, 100x, 150x, 180x, and 300x. The standard eyepieces that are included are not quality enough to do justice to the optics.
This scope also has a 5x24mm finderscope, but it’s challenging to align and takes some getting used to. The scope mounts to a deluxe telescoping tripod that is good for panning around to find things, but it has a lot of wobble, so your images are never quite as clear as you’d like.
When you’re using a flat and smooth surface, like a mirror, to reflect an image, the reflection of your object is at the exact same angle as it hit the first mirror at. These don’t always give you a clear image.
Reflector telescopes have a curved mirror that bends the light being captured, bringing the object into focus. That’s the image you want to see out of the eyepiece, so the second mirror used is flat.
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For the most part, telescopes work the same way, but each one has its own features. Before you use your telescope, read your manual to see what all the different parts are, what they’re for, and where they’re located. You will need to know this information before you take it out to use it the first time, since telescopes are used in the dark.
Since it will be dark outside, you won’t be able to see your charts. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, and its approximate location, you could look forever and not find it.
Reflecting telescopes can be large, so they’ll need to be set up in a vast open space that is dark and doesn’t have any trees or buildings blocking your view.
Finding what you’re looking for is much easier if the scope is in focus. Start out with something easy to make your adjustments. Using your weakest magnification eyepiece, find the moon. Turn the eyepiece until the moon is clear and centered. Next, bring your finder scope into focus by adjusting the screws until the center of the moon is at the crossing point of the crosshairs.
Now you are all focused and ready for the fun part. You know what you are looking for and about where to find it, so explore to your heart’s delight.
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Reflecting telescopes are simple to use and pretty straightforward to build if you choose to do so, but we don’t recommend that for beginners. We reviewed many reflector scopes to find the ones that are the easiest to use while providing the quality you’re looking for. Obviously, the higher the scope’s cost, the better quality all its features will be. Now it’s up to you to determine how much you will be using it and how much you can afford to spend.
Here’s a quick recap of our findings. Hopefully, this will help you in your search. Good luck!
1. Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope – Top Pick
2. Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope – The Runner-Up
3. ToyerBee Reflector Telescope – Best for the Money
4. Meade 216006 Polaris 130 EQ Reflector Telescope
5. Educational Insights GeoSafari Omega Reflector Telescope
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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