Orion Starblast 6 vs Skyquest XT6: Which one is better?

Aspiring to get involved in some series astronomy. You have been doing a lot of research lately to find “the best premium telescope for your needs?”.

Fortunately, you have a shortlist that includes Orion Starblast 6 and Skyquest XT6. But now, which one of these is better? Yeah, both are amazing for astronomy. But which one you should buy?

Let’s compare them side by side & find the answer by going into nuts & bolts of their offerings.

Direct Comparison

 
Orion Starblast 6
Orion Skyquest XT6 Classic
Best for
Planets, Galaxies, Nebulas and Meteors
Planets, Galaxies and Nebulas
Aperture
150mm
150mm
Design
Reflector
Reflector
Focal Lengh
750mm
1200mm
Magnification
Min-21x; Max-300x
Min-21x; Max-300x
Finderscope
YES! EZ Finder II
YES! EZ Finder II
Mount
Altazimuth
Dobsonian Tabletop
Weight (Kg)
10.65
15.60
Compare Price Online

Breaking it down

Now you are aware of the specifications and features that both of the telescopes deliver. Let’s get a step further. We will go around and look for the features that are distinct with each models and the world of difference they can make.

ALSO CHECK: Celestron Astromaster 130EQ VS. 130AZ telescope – Which to buy?

All set? Let’s go!

# Focal Length

The real image is created in aperture but its size depends on the focal length. Hence as mentioned in SkyandTelescope, if the aperture is the most important spec, then the focal length comes next.

Here are a few reasons to vote for larger FL. The larger FL means a larger f/ratio (focal length divided by the aperture). And the magnification on the telescope with a larger f/ratio can be much better compared to the smaller ones. Its healthier for those with eyeglasses. Also, the image on a large f/ratio is less fuzzy and distorted.
However, there are some thumb-downs. With larger FL, the telescope would be larger and bulkier making it harder to carry.

Orion Starblast 6

Starblast 6 features a nice 750mm (or 29.5 inches) of focal length providing an impressive f/ratio of f/5 which can be quite helpful for observing the moon, planets, nebulas, galaxies and other deep bright sky bodies. However, the model falls short for around 18 inches compared to the Skyquest 6 telescope. Its more compact and portable.

Orion Skyquest XT6

XT6 comes with a whopping 1200mm ( 47.24 inches) of focal length (nearly 450mm larger than Starblast 6) with an amazing focal ratio of f/8. This helps you with larger and less distorted images and looking at planets and other things are also easier. XT6 is best suited for eyeglass user due to this large FL. However, this very FL can be a problem for some as the body is larger and less portable.

WINNER: XT6 is wins off-course due to its much larger focal length.

Mount

Its the component on the top of which sits your telescope. Not just that, but the mount also plays the responsibility to help telescope with 360-degree rotation. So now you understand the need for a strong mount. Your mount should also be smooth and slow-motion supported. If it moves a lot even for a tiny push then pointing the scope towards the object would be very tedious. The three popular variants include; Altazimuth (AZ), Equatorial (EQ) and Dobsonian. The first one is the entry level, the second one is advanced and smoother, and last is simpler & powerful to use.

Orion Starblast 6

The Starblast 6 comes with a sturdy tabletop Altazimuth mount which helps the easy 360 motion of the telescope. There’s a knob on the mount to manage the tension of the motion (to slow it if it is fast-moving) and to lock the mount once the desired object is found.

Starblast 6 also has a navigation knob on the tube which functions to help you with easy slewing in up-down and side to side direction in a more controlled manner. The mount is provided with an in-built eyepiece rack, which can hold upto 3 pieces and is useful to keep them all handy. It’s almost a grab-and-go telescope meaning useful directly from out of the box.

Although Starblast 6 tabletop is a quite large can be operated directly from the ground, most people, however, may prefer using it on some flat platform, a table or maybe a stool for more convenience.

Orion Skyquest 6

Skyquest 6 boasts one of the most cost-effective yet starter-friendly mount, Dobsonian. The premium made wooden base firmly holds the 45.5” bulky tube at the place. Skyquest Dobsonian mount is packed with CorrecTension Friction Optimization system to helps you with balancing the tube, controlling its motion & tension, and to avoid any drifting and slipping during the observations.

There’s a navigation knob on the top of the tube to help with finding targets.
Orion Skyquest 6 is not a grab-and-go telescope, so you can’t operate it directly from out of the box. That being said, you will need to do some setup, which isn’t so hard, a lot of helpful video tutorials are available out there.

The telescope is big and operable for most people directly from the ground.

WINNER: Orion Skyquest 6. Except for initial setup, it’s easier to operate and directly from the ground.

Eyepieces

Eyepieces, as you may already know, are the one responsible for magnification. They come in a variety of sizes like 10mm, 25mm etc, styles and designs. We swap between the eyepieces to change magnification. The most popular eyepiece type today is Plossl as they are well-made and produces defect-free images.

Most telescopes come with few eyepieces which are never enough, and you’ll always need to upgrade to higher power.

Orion Starblast 6

Starblast seals the deal in eyepiece segment all thanks to two eyepieces it provides out of the box. The Sirius Plossl 25.0mm and 10.0mm (1.25″) will arm your telescope with 30x and 75x of magnification respectively. A great headstart for you. But you definitely deserves it after looking at the premium you paying for it.

Orion Skyquest 6

Unfortunately, Skyquest comes with only one eyepiece. Sirius Plossl 25.0mm (1.25″) is a nice eyepiece that you will find in the box. It will give you the boost of 48x magnification.

I have seen people complaining that there should have been one more eyepiece and I can relate to it. But on the flip side its already offering a lot of things for the price so it’s not reasonable to expect one more piece.

WINNER: Starblast 6 as it adds an extra eyepiece in your arsenal.

Weight

While it may not seem a big deal for beginners but experienced stargazers knowns the weight factor better. There can be times when you want to take your telescope to some camping spot to enjoy the beautiful sky with your family or friends. At such times lightweight telescopes are of a lot of help as those are easier to carry.
However, you can completely ignore weight factor if you have no plans to take your machine out of the home.

Orion Starblast 6

Its the lightest of the two with only 10.65 Kg of weight. All thanks to its Altazimuth inspired tabletop mount and comparatively smaller tube.
This all contributes to making Starblast’s overall dimensions smaller compact. Its one of the best 6 incher telescope for out of the city observation.

Orion Skyquest 6

With Skyquest, the story is a little different. It makes this unwanted victory in weight segment with 15.60 Kg. But you can’t blame on it when it’s providing a larger focal length and a stronger mount.

Ultimately, it’s not a big NO for out of the town operation but it’s your call to decide if you can manage it. Skyquest makes a perfect deal for backyard astronomers.

WINNER: Definitely Starblast 6.

Price

Money part! The most important one to make or break the deal. No further explanation needed here on “how to decide”. You’ll either look if it’s in your budget or reasonably priced.

Orion Starblast 6

The last time I checked, Starblast was priced at around 49k rupees on Amazon. Check with Amazon to know the current price. It’s way expensive than Skyquest model. Few reasons, which I think might be the cause is the extra eyepiece, premium built, and compact size.

Orion Skyquest 6

Skyquest 6 was priced at roughly 35k at the time of writing this review. And as I said, it may not be valid anymore, check with Amazon for that.

This price, I think, does the complete justice to the configuration you get. It’s one of the best 6-inch budget telescope in my opinion.

Common Features

Aperture

Aperture is the most essential element of telescopes – the biggest glass. Its the spot where light touches first.

So the formula is simple, the bigger the aperture, the more light is collected and the more you can see. There are different types. The list includes Refractor, Reflector and catadioptric – the mix of the two. Usually, a minimum of 3” is best for the solar system, and 6” for nebulas and galaxies.

Orion Starblast/Skyquest 6

Both of these Orion telescopes are of reflector design and features 6-inch parabolic objective lens made up from identical “low thermal expansion borosilicate glass”. These lenses are coated with Aluminum & Silicon Dioxide so as to reduce the optical glares and to lower overall photon loss that results in brighter image quality.

Finderscope

Finderscope, as the name suggests helps in finding and targeting at the objects. They are placed on the top of the tube, sharing space with the eyepiece. Finderscope comes in two variants; magnifying (complicated) and non-magnifying (simpler).

As you may know, the field of view of a telescope is smaller that makes it hard to find the target. A Finderscope, on the other hand, with larger FOV, makes the process easy. And what you see through the finderscope is what you will see through the telescope.

Orion Starblast Skyquest 6 – EZ Finder II

EZ Finder II is an easy to use, non-magnifying red dot finderscope. It’s built with the aim to make it easy for you to hunt the night sky.

To point the telescope to the desired object, what you will need to do is to put the red dot at its center. And now you are all set to enjoy it through the eyepiece.

Supported magnification

The supported magnification of telescope has two values; lowest and largest. Every telescope has some minimum magnification value upto which it can manage to keep quality image decent. Same follows for upper value.
Different telescope has different supported magnification which depends completely on aperture and focal length.

Orion Starblast/Skyquest 6

As you may have already noticed from the comparison table we gone through earlier. Both of these gentlemen come with a minimum decent magnification of 21X and maximum of 300X.

Final Verdicts

Here comes the most important part. Who dominates? For me, Skyquest is definitely is the best deal because it’s much more affordable. It has more return on investment compared to Starblast. But it lags behind in compactness and mobility. You may find it hard to carry on trips.
So choose wisely. If you need a more compact 6-inch telescope which you can easily carry around, then definitely go for Orion Starblast 6. Or simply go with Orion Skyquest 6 classic for backyard astronomy.

Finally! Do you have anything to say? For any questions on this or anything related, please let me know through comments below.

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