Orion SpaceProbe 130st review [10 considerations]

The orion spaceprobe 130st review opens a window to the cosmos for amateur astronomers, combining powerful optics with user-friendly features, making it an intriguing telescope for both beginners and seasoned stargazers alike.

orion spaceprobe 130st review

1. Contents of the box

The package includes a comprehensive set of components designed to enhance the overall observational experience:

  1. Orion 130mm, f/5 reflector telescope optical tube assembly
  2. 25mm Plossl telescope eyepiece (1.25″)
  3. 10mm Plossl telescope eyepiece (1.25″)
  4. Tripod legs
  5. EQ (equatorial) mount head
  6. EZ Finder II finder scope
  7. DeepMap 600
  8. MoonMap 260
  9. Smartphone camera adapter
  10. Collimation cap
  11. Tube rings
  12. Counterweight
  13. Counterweight shaft
  14. Tripod accessory tray
  15. Slow-motion control cables
  16. Dust cap
  17. Accessory tray bracket

2. Assembly

The 130ST comes with setup instructions, although some users may find them less clear than desired.

While Orion asserts that the telescope can be assembled in approximately 30 minutes, it’s worth noting that for those new to telescopes, the process might take an hour or more. 

The learning curve associated with assembly is common, especially for beginners, and patience is advised to ensure a proper and secure setup.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that, at its price point, the SpaceProbe 130ST is designed with beginners in mind. While it may not possess the capabilities of higher-end and larger models available in the market, this should not be viewed as a drawback for those embarking on their astronomical journey.

The beginner-friendly nature of the telescope makes it an ideal choice for individuals starting in the world of astronomy, offering a balance between affordability and functionality for those eager to explore the cosmos.

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3. Build quality

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST boasts a thoughtfully designed construction, incorporating materials that enhance both portability and stability.

The short tube features a compact steel design, prioritizing ease of portability without compromising on durability. This steel construction contributes to the overall sturdiness of the telescope while maintaining a manageable weight for transportation.

Complementing the optical tube is a robust equatorial telescope mount, crafted to provide stability during observations. The adjustable steel legs add to the telescope’s reliability, allowing manual slow-motion tracking of celestial objects.

This feature proves invaluable as it enables observers to follow the apparent migration of objects across the night sky with precision and ease.

The complete assembled weight is 28 lbs, striking a balance between a substantial build and a weight that remains manageable for users seeking portability in their stargazing endeavors.

4. Quality of the optics

The 130ST is equipped with a 1.25” rack-and-pinion focuser. Although the focuser is primarily constructed from plastic, it functions effectively, allowing users to achieve precise focus during observations. Despite the plastic components, the focuser’s performance meets expectations, ensuring a smooth and controlled adjustment.

The parabolic primary mirror, made of plate glass, ensures durability and consistent optical performance.

Both the primary and secondary mirrors are collimatable, allowing users to maintain optimal alignment for sharp and clear images.

However, it is worth noting that the back of the primary mirror cell is covered by a metal plate, which can obstruct the collimation screws and hinder cooldown. This plate needs to be removed with a Phillips head screwdriver, adding a step to the collimation process.

Collimating the primary mirror requires a screwdriver, which can be somewhat inconvenient, especially in outdoor field settings. It is a factor to consider for users who prioritize ease of maintenance and adjustment during their stargazing sessions.

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5. Telescope’s aperture size

The 130ST features a notable aperture size of 5.1 inches, a crucial aspect contributing to its exceptional observational capabilities. The telescope’s primary optical component is a precisely crafted parabolic mirror, designed to gather an ample amount of light for a remarkable viewing experience.

The significance of this 5.1-inch aperture, especially with a red dot finder, becomes evident as the telescope excels in capturing detailed views of planets and the Moon. The larger aperture allows for increased light collection, enabling observers to discern finer details on the lunar surface and vividly observe planetary features.

The increased light-gathering capability enhances the visibility of these deep-sky objects, revealing intricate structures and bringing celestial wonders to life.

6. Focal length and focal ratio

The 130ST features a focal length of 650mm, providing users with a versatile and balanced optical configuration for various astronomical observations.

This specification influences the telescope’s ability to magnify and resolve celestial objects, striking a harmonious balance between wide-field views and detailed observations.

The focal ratio of the telescope is f/5.0, indicating a relatively fast system. Operating at f/5, the telescope delivers expansive wide-field views, offering astronomers a rich observational experience.

While minimal coma may be present, it is negligible and does not significantly impact the overall viewing quality.

This combination enhances the versatility, making this rich field telescope a capable instrument for both wide-field observations and detailed examinations of specific astronomical targets.

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7. Type of mount used

The 130ST is equipped with a German equatorial mount, specifically the EQ2 model. 

This standard and cost-effective equatorial mount, while suitable for supporting the 130ST, may exhibit some limitations in terms of precise tracking and stability (in comparison with the Dobsonian mount, for example), particularly when the tripod legs are extended to a comfortable height.

Unlike more advanced setups, the 130ST’s tube rings are attached to the EQ2 mount through direct bolting, without using a Vixen dovetail and saddle system.

The primary advantage of an equatorial mount lies in its simplified tracking capabilities, making it easier to follow the movement of celestial objects across the night sky compared to alt-azimuth mounted scopes or Dobsonians.

The EQ2 mount allows users to achieve this by manually turning the RA axis slow-motion cable or by adding a motor drive for hands-free tracking. 

While a motor drive is available for purchase from Celestron or Orion, it is more suitable for visual use and may lack the precision required for astrophotography.

Although the EQ2 mount enhances high-power viewing, its setting circles are relatively small and inaccurate, serving more as decorative features than practical tools for precise navigation — common in many modern equatorial mounts.

One notable drawback is the absence of a polar scope or sighting hole, making precise polar alignment challenging.

While this may be less critical for visual observations, it poses a significant hurdle for astrophotography, where accurate polar alignment is essential for capturing clear and stable long-exposure images.

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Image credit: www.cloudynights.com

8. Magnification

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST provides a versatile range of magnification options, allowing astronomers to tailor their observations to different celestial targets.

Magnification with included eyepieces:

  • 26x with the 25mm Plossl eyepiece (1.25″)
  • 65x with the 10mm Plossl eyepiece (1.25″)

These included eyepieces offer more magnification options suitable for a variety of astronomical observations, from wide-field views to more detailed examinations of specific objects.

The resolving power of 0.89 arc*sec indicates the telescope’s ability to distinguish fine details in celestial objects, contributing to the clarity of observed images.

The lowest useful magnification of 19x ensures a broad field of view, ideal for capturing expansive celestial scenes and locating objects in the night sky.

Users can achieve a high level of detail with a maximum magnification of 260x, suitable for studying lunar craters, planetary features, and other intricate celestial structures.

The highest theoretical magnification of 260x represents the upper limit for optimal magnification, providing a balance between image clarity and brightness.

The limiting stellar magnitude of 13.2 indicates the telescope’s capability to capture light from celestial objects with a magnitude up to 13.2, enabling the observation of a wide range of stars and deep-sky phenomena.

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9. Applications

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST proves to be a versatile telescope suitable for a range of astronomical observations, particularly catering to lunar and planetary exploration.

For lunar observations, the telescope provides clear and detailed views, revealing the Moon’s intricate features. For solar viewing, you must use a solar filter, which may be incompatible with this telescope.

Planetary viewing is also commendable, with the ability to observe Jupiter’s cloud belts, the Great Red Spot, shadow transits of its moons, Saturn’s rings, the Cassini division, and details on Mars, including dark spots and its polar ice cap. Venus and Mercury showcase their phases under the telescope’s lens.

The 650mm focal length of the SpaceProbe 130ST offers a relatively wide field of view at low magnifications, making it well-suited for observing large and bright deep-sky objects.

Astronomers can enjoy breathtaking views of star clusters like the Pleiades, galaxies such as the Andromeda Galaxy, and details in nebulae like the Orion Nebula and the Swan. Bright globular clusters like M13 and M22 can be resolved into individual stars on clear nights.

However, when it comes to astrophotography, other telescopes should be considered. Deep-sky astrophotography with a DSLR camera is not recommended due to the telescope’s focuser and mount constraints. 

The SpaceProbe 130ST is better suited for lunar and planetary imaging using a webcam-style CCD like the Celestron NexImage or ZWO ASI camera. Achieving optimal focal length for planetary imaging requires a 3x or 5x Barlow lens.

Despite the potential for planetary astrophotography, users should be aware of additional investments in accessories, such as a Barlow lens, and challenges associated with the inexpensive mount and 5-inch aperture.

The absence of features like autoguiders, polar scopes, or sighting holes can limit the precision required for accurate tracking and imaging. 

10. Pros and cons

  • Portable and easily accessible

  • Features a 5-inch aperture

  • Reasonably priced

  • The EQ2 mount is effective for visual use

  • Comes with valuable included accessories

  • Upgradeable for motorized tracking capabilities

  • The collimation process may be challenging for beginners

  • Assembly instructions are somewhat confusing

  • Comparable to the price of a 6-inch Dobsonian, offering less aperture

  • Mount stability is not as robust as a Dobsonian

  • Inclusion of plastic focuser and mount parts

  • Unsuitable for astrophotography due to inherent limitations

Summary table of specs

Feature nameSpecifications
Recommended for usersGeared towards beginners
Optical designReflective telescope
Aperture size130mm
Outer tube diameter6.50 inches
Finder scope lens diameter30mm
Telescope focal length650mm
Focal ratiof/5.0
Optical configurationParabolic mirror
Glass compositionSoda-lime plate

Included eyepiecesPlossl 25.0mm, 10.0mm (1.25″)
Magnification using provided eyepieces26x, 65x
Resolving power0.89 arc*sec
Minimum practical magnification19x
Maximum practical magnification260x
Maximum theoretical magnification260x
Limiting stellar magnitude13.2
Optical qualityDiffraction-limited
Finder scopeEZ Finder II
Focuser type1.25″ Rack-and-pinion
Secondary mirror obstruction diameter38mm
Secondary mirror obstruction percentage by diameter28%
Secondary mirror obstruction percentage by area8%
Mirror coatings/over-coatingsAluminum and Silicon Dioxide
Mount typeEquatorial mount
Astrophotography capabilitySuitable for lunar and planetary imaging
Dovetail bar systemYes
Compatibility with motor driveClock drive available separately
Compatibility with computerized systemsNot applicable
Bearing materialFriction bearings
Latitude range16-72 degrees
Setting circlesYes
Polar-axis scopeNot included
CounterweightsOne 5.5 lb.
Telescope tube materialSteel
Tripod materialSteel
Counterweight bar length8 inches
Counterweight shaft diameter12mm
Mount height range35.00 inches – 55.50 inches
Optical tube length24.0 inches
Optical tube weight7.4 lbs.
Mount/tripod weight16.8 lbs.
Fully assembled weight24.2 lbs.
Additional accessories includedSmartphone camera adapter, Collimation cap, DeepMap 600, MoonMap 260
Other featuresTubular steel legs for added rigidity
Ideal for observation
Suitable for brighter deep-sky objects
Optimal for photographyBest for lunar and planetary imaging


In conclusion, the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST stands as a beginner-friendly telescope, offering impressive versatility in observational capabilities, while being mindful of its limitations for advanced astrophotography, making it an excellent choice for those entering the realm of astronomy.


Is the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST a good telescope?

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST is regarded as a decent scope, especially as the first telescope for beginners, and suitable for intermediate stargazers. It offers a balanced combination of aperture, focal length, and affordability, making it suitable for a range of astronomical observations.

What can I see with a 130mm telescope?

With a 130mm telescope, like the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST, you can observe a variety of celestial objects.

This includes detailed views of the Moon and planets, such as Jupiter’s cloud belts, Saturn’s rings, and Mars’ surface features.

Additionally, the telescope is capable of providing clear views of brighter deep-sky objects like star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

Ida Stewart

I have had the incredible opportunity to work as a tour guide at the planetarium for over 5 years. Ever since I was a child, astronomy has held a special place in my heart, and I have nurtured a deep passion for exploring the wonders of the universe. Among all the celestial bodies, Mars has always fascinated me the most, captivating my imagination with its mysterious allure.

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