If you don’t mind the slight inconvenience and increased complexity of using an equatorial mount, Orion’s StarBlast II is certainly a great choice for the beginning astronomer or a serious enthusiast looking for a smaller and more lightweight instrument to complement a larger telescope.
The StarBlast II uses the same optical tube as Orion’s regular StarBlast and the Meade Lightbridge Mini 114, but it is supplied on Orion’s EQ-1 equatorial mount instead of a tabletop Dobsonian mount, and comes with much better eyepieces.
The Optical Tube Overview
The StarBlast is a 114mm (4.5”) f/4 Newtonian reflector. At f/4, there is some coma at the edge of the field of view with low-magnification eyepieces like the included 25mm Plossl, but even if you notice it shouldn’t hamper the image quality too much. The scope also requires precise collimation (which it thankfully has adjustments for). Orion doesn’t provide a collimation tool, but you can buy/make one or simply collimate it on a star – read our guide for more information.
The StarBlast scopes have been around for about 20 years now and Orion has managed to nail down the optical quality. Most StarBlasts are pretty good optically and capable of magnifications up ...