Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian

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Brand and Model:Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
Price ($USD):$599.00
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:254mm (10")
f Ratio:f/5
Focal Length:1255mm
Finder:8x50 Achromatic
Electric Power:n/a
Weight (lbs):58 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):48" tube
Description:If you've never probed the heavens with an instrument of this size before, then you ain't seen nothin' yet! Its 250mm-diameter parabolic mirror gulps in over 50% more light than an 8" scope. The sheer number of objects visible in this telescope is staggering, and its prodigious resolving power reveals intricate structure in nebulas and galaxies. Precision-figured from high-grade BK-7 glass, the diffraction-limited primary mirror has a focal length of 1255mm (f/5), offering excellent power while keeping the tube length to just 48".

Aiming is wonderfully easy. You just slew and view. Teflon/Nylon bearing pads, 5" altitude hubs, and CorrecTension Friction Optimization combine to ensure silky smooth, controlled motion, and superior balance control.

Includes a 2" rack-and-pinion focuser which accepts both 1.25" and 2" eyepieces, an 8x50 finder, two 1.25" Plossl eyepieces, moon filter, and eyepiece rack. One-year limited warranty.

Orion's XT 10 Page
Affordable Astronomy's Review
Cloudy Nights' Review
Ed Ting's Review

Vote Highlights Vote
Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
After a lot of research, I decided on the XT10 to cure the apeture fever I had caught after 3 years with my Meade 4500 4.5" reflector(don't get me wrong, that is a great 'scope). I received the telescope 4 days after it was shipped. The box for the scope was pretty beat up, but everything was in good shape. Assembely took about 40 minutes. The altitude motion was excellent, but the azimuth motion was a little stiff (as expected), so I put 5 milk-jug washers on it. That really helped it for a time, but after a few days the azimuth motion got REALLY bad. I took the mount apart, cleaned it (some sand had got on the teflon pads), put 1 more washer on it, and oiled the teflon pads. That got it back to really good, but it may come back. Also, the screw holes for the screws that hold the primary mirror cell on the tube are a bit too big, so the cell will shift a bit if you carry by holding the cell (as I have to do.)
The included 8X50 finder is awesome. Actually being able to see though the finder and see anything is great. Adjusting it is a snap, but when putting it in the mount, the o-ring can be a hassle. The included eyepieces are not Sirius eyepieces( I have a 40 and 20mm). The 25mm is good. The 9mm is not so good. It shows out of focus ghost images on bright objects, whereas a 9mm MA I have does not. It is not hazy in the fov like the MA is however.

I have not had a chance to get to real dark skies to do a good test on it, so I will more when I get a chance.
One of my first targets was M57. This is a good "friend" of my 4.5". With the 40mm(31X), It is easy to find, and the hole is visible. Cranked it up to 139X with the 9mm and it was great. M31 was a great site at all powers though not a whole lot better than the 4.5" the F8 focal ratio on the 4.5" is a major factor with my not so good skies. M27 was also good, with the "apple core" shape very visible. The double cluster in Perseus was great in the 40mm. M13 had star easily visible to the core and the image blew away the 4.5"'s. I woke up early one morning to get a sneak peek at the winter objects. M42/43 was absolutly awesome. The inter-most region glowed a blueish color, while the outer regions glowed greenish. The amount of detail visible was too much to put here. M45 was also good, though not a whole lot better than the 4.5". Most of the bright OC's will not look a whole lot better.
Saturn at 139X was good, with the Cassini division easily seen, and cloud color variations visible. Jupiter was low, but showed its 3 brightest cloud bands and polar regions. The moon is really great in this scope.

More to come.
*UPDATE* 9-15-2002
I am still having problems with the azimuth, but I am slowly figuring out how to make it better. I pushed the 'scope up to 416X on M57 with the included 9mm Plossl and a camera 3X converter, and the image was very good, with no major breakdown. M33 was easily visable in mag 3.5-4 skies.

*Update* 10-12-2002
I did a star-test on the optics, and they came out very well (I am going to get a Ronchi screen and try it to), with just a tiny bit of down-turned edge. I see that Orion is selling a new "upgraded" version of the XT10. I hope the optics are as good on all them as they are on mine, and I hope the mount problem has gone away.

I am getting more and more pleased with the XT10 the more I use it. Saturn is really great in it. The past few nights I haved logged about 25 new objects with it. I did some galaxy observing the other night, and M82 showed good detail.

Clear and Dark Skies

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:7 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 15 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=131835

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
I have had this scope now for about 2 months. What can I say, out of all my scopes I am enjoying this one the most even though it cost 1/5 of my other 11" dob and my heavy and complicated to setup LX200. This scope is an incredible value for the beginner and veterians alike and I like starhopping over goto. It is very well made and the quality of parts is excellent. For a 10" it is quite manageable even for this lazy stargazer. It really is a matter of plop the base down, get the OTA and set in base, insert eyepiece, observe! No truss polls, no collimation before each use. Great. Cool down is an issue but no different than any other scope.

The optics are excellent on this scope and the views to date have been equally excellent. Star testing does show a minor TDE and there is still very slight astigmatism even after loosening the clips as suggested by others. However, I have not found these defects to effect the views as of yet. Once the planets are better placed we will see. Then I may spend some more time isolating the source which may very well be the secondary.

The Altitude bearings are buttery smooth and have no sticktion or stiffness. I have not needed the correct-tension springs as of yet and the scope stays put whether I have the 27mm Panoptic or a plossl. The Azmuth bearing is another story. It was so stiff out of the box, it was not useable. I have remedied the problem by using Magic Sliders, 6 total, to replace the teflon like material that Orion uses. It has helped a lot and there is no of that sticktion in the movement. However, I would like it to be a little more easier to move so I may add some more Magic sliders. I do not want to get involved with waxes and other lubricants. I did try some ebony star laminate, buy have temporarily removed it because I may prefer the existing laminate. Still evaluating. So as you can see the mount, while well made, needs some tweeking. But for the money spent I am not at all disappointed and am finding the tweeking enjoyable, even though I am all thumbs.

The finder is excellent, sharp and bright. The focuser is very smooth with only a small amount of slop. It can probabily be adjusted out but in actual use has not been one bit of a problem. The primary and secondary mirror cells are nicely done and collimation is a snap, however, the primary cell adjustment screws are a little stiff, two are anyway.

All in all, this is an excellent scope and I highly recommend it. Only hope the communist Chinese versions are as good as the taiwanese models.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=140244

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
Optics: The mirror is ~1/2 wave under corrected (via star test) and shows some surface roughness. Images look impressive at low power, but break up at higher power. The telescope focus seems to "mush" into place rather than snapping to a tight focus. In conversations with others, it sounds like there is significant variation in mirrors, so your experience may vary.

A number of things need to be done before using this scope: The clips on the mirror and secondary were introducing significant pinching and astigmatism: I backed off all clips. Speculation is that they were tightened to prevent mirror motion during shipping. I found that my focuser was significantly out of square with the main axis of the telescope and had to shim it. The inside of the telescope is a reflective gray rather than matte black or black w/baffling. This means that the aperture is vulnerable to street lamps or other external light sources.

The mirror tends to sag a bit near the horizon, introducing some astigmatism.

Mount: The mount and mount concept work great, at least initially, but I have noticed that the mount has deteriorated in altitude performance over the last year--the springs have weakened significantly, making it difficult to balance the telescope with 2" lenses or barlows. In addition, the teflon/hub interface seems to have developed some sweet spots that the telescope likes to fall in to. At high power, the performance is a bit annoying: you nudge the telescope to see a cluster, only to have it snap back to the previous position when you let go.

Value and ease of use: Despite problems, this is a 10" aperture that provides reasonable mid and low power images of deep space objects that costs only $600.

Overall, while the telescope makes you hungry for good tracking and perfect optics, it is a cheap way to bag globulars, galaxies, nebulas and other deep space objects.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:7 Mount:7 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=133526

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
I started with this scope with absolutely no experience in Astronomy and so far I am quite pleased. After purchasing the XT-10 orion ran a special for free shipping and even though I had already placed my order they refunded me the 75 dollars! Hows that for service. It was extremely easy to set up 1 hr. It was well packaged and It was perfectly collimatted on arrival. I did buy a telrad because although I did like the finder scope I found it difficult to use. I do recommend buying a zoom eyepiece. I have tried the meade and vixen both work great and are extremely easy to use. I was going to originally purchase the XT-8 but it was out of stock so I took the plunge with this one and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is just starting out. It is not really that heavy and yes you can move it short distances without taking it apart. I have compared this telescope with an 8 inch SCT and a 18 inch dob. Yes the 18 inch dob is awesome but it weighs 150 lbs, and the optics are just as good as an SCT 10 in my opinion, just without the GO-TO and tracking. For the price and quality you cannot go wrong. I highly recommend this telescope to all who are just starting out. Aperature is everything and this scope performs with the best.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=111876

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
I purchased the XT10 for about $550 from Orion's seconds list. It is a super bargain for a 10" DOB. It works great with all my eyepieces even my giant Rodenstock BW/Optik UWA 40mm. And it also works great with my Swift binoviewer and a pair of Meade SP 4000 26mm eyepieces with a Siebert 1.3X 2" barlow. A Lumicon OIII or Orion Ultrablock filters help seeing DSO's here in NJ.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=111686

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
After about a month of shopping, studying, comparing and reading, I decided on the XT10, by talking myself up from the Meade 10" and even 12".

A small part of me even considered a Meade 16", however with all of my research, Meade failed to match Orion on every level except perhaps optics (and since the Meade rarely gets cooled down to an ambiant temp, you almost never get to experience even that)!

This XT10 came assembled from the camera store for the exact price as Orion advertises with the shipping added in, so I cant comment on assembly, however I have done some tweaking since bringing it home.
The 8x50 Finder was a nice touch, although the updated two screw adjustable mount never matched up with the main scope until I added a rubber ring around the finder at the place where the screws tighten it into place. I used double sided sticky tape to stick the rubber ring on with and left a space in the loop to slide the spring pressured hold pin into.

Since doing this, the finder is dead on target and is nice and snug so I rarely have to re-adjust. You have to really wanna knock it out of alignment to do so- Ive never had such good luck with finders! The Meade scope ads a tiny toy scope to even their 16" scope which is really sort of an insult I think. In fact, the 16" scope uses much of the same specs as their 8" which just puzzles me to death, no wonder everyone complains about how awkwardly it moves and aims.
The XT10 has some mild astigmatism, even after loosening the primary mirror cell, although I do plan on trying another manufacturer's 9mm eyepieces to see if the blame falls more with the eyepiece, although all other aspects of optics check out great.
The Primary mirror cell is thought out well and I truly believe is the best built cell I've seen yet for a small dob.
The Mirror itself is nice and thick, and clips in with plenty of airspace around it to help cool. If you want to avoid over an hour waiting for the scope to reach temp, the mirror cell is one of the most important considerations I think, and this scope passes the test.
The XT10 Features a 2"/1.25" focuser that is based with a metal mount that operates smoothly with almost zero wobble and void of pops and jolts. This focuser will NOT need an upgrade ever, although I can see why one would want to add a new finder scope. I plan to add a "red dot" finder soon, and use them both.

Another spoiling factor is the metal tube, which in my mind shows that Orion has taken the step to graduate the dob up to the ranks of "serious" quality scopes.
The inevitable door bangs and scratches that my scope has endured has left no dents so far. When I polish it back up, it looks like the day I brought it home. I've owned sonotube's before, and don't necessarily dislike them, but the sturdiness of a metal tube, and the glossy appearance is hands down a much more satisfying overall look feel and sturdiness.
This scope with its metal tube and solid particle board base absolutely swallows knocks and taps instantly. Even at high power, there is little image wobble unless you really bump it good, and this scope stands up well to the wind, more so than a sonotube could be expected to.
Tracking is a breeze with this scope. Once you truly get the spotter scope lined up right, and you get it secured into place nice and snug, the rest is cake, literally slew and view.
This scope does not come with goto computers, however this scope manipulates so well that once you get familiar with the nite sky, and get yourself a sky chart, you will be knocking down visuals as quick as any goto scope. In fact, at star parties, I've found myself checking out two or three views while waiting for friends to get their computer guided scopes to cooperate. I've got a real computer to tinker with and figure that when it comes to astronomy, Im in it for the sights, not the techno tinker. Tracking is so smooth that the ONLY reason I can think of for ANYONE to need a motorized scope is for astrophotography, and when your ready, the XT10 can grow with you and become an equatorial scope with motorized tracking for a few hundred dollars.
The Value of this scope get's a 10 without a doubt. At $650 (which is less than scopes this size with cheaper componants had a few years ago) I find no reason to search further if you want to keep your total outlay under $1000.00. The $650 buys you great optics and solid craftsmenship with plenty of room to spare for assesories like expanding your eyepieces, color filters, etc.
This scope is not limited in expansion options. The quality justifies upgrading it to a tripod in the future, as well as graduating to a line of 2" eyepieces when your ready.
Although this scope is great for beginners, it satisfies long time users (me) as well, especially if you want to observe messier and NGC objects.
Planet viewing produces contrast which is a hair short of a large aperture refractor, though the images are fairly crisp at 300x or below.
I have been tracking the Galalean moons of Jupiter all month and have never had a question as to where they were. They focus in nice and sharp.
Although this scope is not meant to be a terrestrial scope (land viewing). The optics are sharp enough that I can read the license plates of cars parked at an airport near our house, over a mile away.
I've written quite a descriptive assessment because you might find yourself settling for another brand because its $100-$150 cheaper for the same size. It's true, a Meade will buy you the same size for less, however by the time you add another eyepiece, which Meade gives 1 and Orion gives 2, and then you consider upgrading the finder scope on the Meade ( believe me, you'll want to), and then you count the upgrade you will make to the Meade Focuser( the plastic Meade focuser is a joke), you will find that the Orion costs FAR FAR less ! This is why i could have chosen an Meade 16" and decided to buy an Orion 10" instead.
I have since found that my decision was dead on correct, and I will NEVER sell this scope. I plan purchase a 20" scope in a few years, however this scope will STILL probably get more use because if it's portability to darker skies, and because it absorbes enough light to make viewing a pleasure.

BTW- Although Orion advises that you consider the XT10's size carefully before purchasing, I easily tote it around in my commuter car Neon.
You will more than likely carry the scope in two segments, tube and base, but I have yet to use ANY scope worth my time that wasn't easier to carry and set up in two trips anyway.
-----Happy sky surfing

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:8 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=53367

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
Purchased this 10" after much study between Orion, Meade and Discovery, as I wanted to keep the budget at about $500. At first the Meade was the initial choice because it's less expensive for equal aperture.
Spent no less than an hour a day for three weeks cross comparing and found that I would benifit greatly by paying the extra cost to go to the Orion. I highly recommend reading Sky and Telescope's reviews of both the Orion 10" by itself and their review of 6 eight inch Dobs- the Orion wins by the way.
Since owning the scope, I have resolved the bands of Jupiter with exacting clarity. 4 of Jupiters moon's resolved into sharp focus, even one moon's shadow against Jupiter's lower wide band appeared.
Saturn is crystal clear, including it's rings. With a 2" at about 280x I have been able to distiguish two clear rings and a hazy third. This from my light polluted back yard.
I recommend a barlow lense, and a set of color filters if you want to do planetary study as your first accessory purchase. The Orion floods the eyepiece with brilliant light so that you can play with sharpening contrast through the filters.
Tracking is marvelous, athough I plan to add a guiding handle up front, a feature orion has on their 8" and I think should have added onto the 10".
The mount is solid, and moves at the slightest nudge and stops when you do. Taps on the metal tube get obsorbed into the mount within a half second or so limiting image bounce to levels Ive never seen in a portable scope.
The only dissappointment was in the new finder scope assemby. I found it difficult to get the finder into the right position. It's a high quality finder that deserves better engineering with the mount. To get it to line up you find yourself loosening screws. and with the design this can be damaging since the scope slides out of the ring backwards with nothing to stop it. i put an altered vacuum cleaner belt around the scope to eliminate this, and now it all fits snug with more flexibility to direct the finder.
This scope is easy to collaminate, and I have yet to really need to do much other than very slight adjustments. Instructions on how to collaminate come with the scope, and are easy to understand, even for a beginner.
Sky and telescope complains that the eyepieces fall out of the rack if you try to move the scope, however the eyepieces come with a plastic cup which when placed on the bottom of the eyepiece while in the rack, locks the eyepiece down so that it stays in its place until used. This proved it's worth many times with my eighteen month olds curiosity for getting into things.
The scope cools down quickly, although if you take it out in november or december and its cold enough, the frost will leave water marks on the mirror, and you will need to clean it more often than is really good.
The focuser is top notch. Really, this focuser alone justifies the extra cost over the Meade and its plastic focuser. The Orion attaches a rock solid, aluminum base to the focuser, and accepts both 2' and 1.25 eyepieces. The focus guide is as smooth as you will find anywhere.
The primary mirror cell is far beyond my expectations. When you see it for the first time, you will understand instantly where the extra expense goes. This cell proves that Orion went to great lengths put themselves on top of the 10" mass produced Dob class.
I give an average of 9 , although the value certainly earns a 10 without a doubt.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:9 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=51435

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
This is my second post for this scope. I have been using the XT10 for 6 months and adore it. I bought it for deep sky and the occasional lunar/planetary. It excels for deep sky, giving some of the best views I have ever had (even compared to the clubs 16" Newtonian). Everybody who has looked through this scope has been impressed, especially when I say how much it cost.
Planetary views have been good overall. Although I am tempted to buy a Starmax/Apex 102 for planetary viewing.
I have replaced the original 25mm/9mm Sirius Plossls with a mixture of Ultrascopic/Celestron Ultima/Meade 4000 eyepieces. This is a must to get the best out of the telescope (or any telescope). The standard eyepieces were okay, although the 9mm had a manufacturing fault.
My only gripe (minor) is the base which is a bit sticky and does need the milk bottle top modification. The mount overall is excellent. Its rock steady, easy to assemble and smooth in declination.
Overall a great scope which gives breathtaking deepsky/lunar views and satisfactory planetary views.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=97608

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
I received my xt10 about 2 months ago and I love it.The mount is great,although I haven't used any heavy 2" eyepieces yet,so If I do I'll just add one of the 2 springs which I haven't even needed yet.I did add the milk jug washers for the alzamith motion
The optics are very good,I've seen the cloud belts on Jupiter up to 6 on good nights,the GRS,moon transits and shadows on the planet of the transit,Saturns Cassini division,wispy structure in the orion nebula.The reason I gave the optics an 8 is because I expected more from the Andromeda galaxy.Only showing a hint of a spindle and it was illuminated in the middle like a ball of light.No visible structure though,as was the same on M81 and 82.I didn't see any dust lane or resolved stars nor have I been able to find it again.Could this be the eyepieces?I had a problem with the secondary mirror where the screws made holes into the plastic in the back of it so the screws would no longer move the secondary.I got some epoxy and filled in the holes and it works like new.Easy to set up for even a beginner.Orion could ask for a lot more than what their asking.Other scopes in this price range of mid-sized dobs are low quality and need to be upgraded.Finally customer service is class A,they'll help you with any problems and replace any damaged parts.Does anyone know why I can't get much detail with galaxies under mag 5.5 skies.Overall, I rate the xt10 a 10+.

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:8 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=58502

Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
Ordered the telescope from SCS Astro in the UK and it arrived two weeks later, as promised. Telescope was very well packaged and the courier had handled carefully as the box was immaculate.
Took 45 mins to assemble (with my 4yr old son jumping around). Extremely impressed with the quality of the components. The instruction manual was also very helpful.
Using the simple star test, the collimation seemed to be spot on. Also found the finderscope very easy to align (I presume the previous reviewer has the older design finder), in fact the easiest I've ever used. The mount is very stable and the image settles very quickly. Due to poor seeing conditions, I was only able to observe Jupiter and carry out the star test on Sirius. Things were also compounded by the clouds rolling in. So I was only able to give the telescope 15 mins to cool down, no where near anough. However, the cloud belts above and below the main equatorial belts were very clear. Unable to get a sharp focus on the moons or Sirius but I put this down to heat within the tube.
The supplied 25mm Plossl seemed to be OK but the 9mm was faulty. So I'll need to send that back.
This telescope is exactly what I was hoping for. Its fantastic value for money, couldn't even buy a secondhand 8" SCT for 650. I'am 100% confident that the telescope will perform under perfect conditions. Despite its size, setting up is a breeze.
I've only rated it a 9 for now because I haven't fully tested the optics. However I will submit another review later. Just need to prey for some clear nights.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=40756

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