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Orion Telescopes

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Orion SkyQuest XX14i IntelliScope Truss Dobsonian Telescope
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  • A colossal 14" aperture truss-tube Dobsonian reflector telescope that breaks down into bite-size components to fit into a standard size car
  • Included IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator tells you precisely where to push the telescope to see over 14,000 celestial objects
  • Huge 14" aperture reflector optics gather enough light for stunning views of galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters, as well as gorgeously detailed views of the Moon and planets
  • Orion-designed collapsible Dobsonian base separates into four pieces while the truss-equipped reflector optical tube separates into six pieces for easy portability
  • Includes 2" dual-speed (11:1) Crayford focuser, 35mm 2" DeepView eyepiece, 10mm 1.25" Sirius Plossl eyepiece, 9x50 finder scope, eyepiece rack, collimation cap, Starry Night software, and more!


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Item #  09791

Following on the heels of our critically acclaimed SkyQuest XX12i comes the next member in our exciting new line of truss tube Dobsonian telescopes - the mighty SkyQuest XX14i IntelliScope Truss Tube Dobsonian. Featuring colossal 14" diffraction-limited optics and a design engineered by Orion that is optimized from top to bottom for portability, the XX14i delivers the highest level of performance and transportability of any telescope in its class - and at a price that’s thousands of dollars less than custom-made or "boutique" Dobsonians.

The XX14i turns the night sky into an endless playground of deep-space surprises for intermediate and advanced observing enthusiasts. The space-penetrating 14" (356mm) parabolic primary mirror, made from low-thermal expansion glass, features enhanced reflectivity (94%) aluminum coatings to deliver more light to the eye. And what do 14" optics buy you in the way of extra light gathering power compared to 12" and 10" optics? Plenty! The XX14i pulls in 36% more light than a 12" and 96% more than 10" optics, allowing you to resolve significantly fainter objects and more subtle details.

Truss Tube Dob Chart

Once your observing target is locked in utilizing the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator’s database of 14,000 celestial objects, the XX14i’s dual-speed (11:1) 2" Crayford focuser lets you quickly bring the object into crisp, clear focus using either of the included eyepieces: low-power 35mm 2" DeepView or high power 10mm 1.25" Sirius Plossl. With a maximum eyepiece height of 63 inches, viewing through the XX14i will not require a stool or ladder for most observers, even when observing objects near zenith.

The XX14i adds a convenient new twist to truss-tube Dobsonian portability by allowing easy disassembly of both the optical tube and the base into smaller, easily manageable pieces. The optical tube itself features an eight-pole truss design (four captive pairs) that provides greater structural rigidity than similar 6-pole truss or 3-pole "parallel strut" designs. Large hand knobs and captive bolts make for user-friendly assembly and disassembly of the tube sections. To minimize the size of the bottom section of the XX14i’s optical tube, it has been engineered with three removable, recessed counterweights that provide the optimum balance for the tube on its 8" diameter altitude hubs.

The Orion-designed collapsible base, made of 1"-thick engineered composite wood with a weather-resistant laminated finish for for rock-solid stability, adds to the portability of the XX14i. The base quickly breaks down into four pieces without tools, to easily fit into standard sized automobiles. All hardware is captive to prevent accidental loss.

The SkyQuest XX14i IntelliScope Truss Tube Dobsonian makes owning a large-aperture Dobsonian more exciting and more practical than ever before. Its synthesis of pack-it-up portability, incredible optics, IntelliScope digital object location system, and affordable prices puts it in a league of its own. It’s an all-star performer for the visual astronomer who’s ready for "deeper-sky" adventures!

Assembled weight (including accessories): 115 lbs. Assembled optical tube, 61"L x 16.5"W, 69.25 lbs. Bottom tube section, 21.5"L x 16.5"W, 52.9 lbs; top tube section, 8.5"L x 16.5"W, 9.4 lbs. Truss poles (8), 30.5"L x 1" W. Total weight of 4 truss pole pairs and captive assembly knobs: 6.95 lbs. Assembled Base, 28.5" W x 27" H, 45.4 lbs.

Warranty

Limited Warranty against defects in materials or workmanship for one year from date of purchase. This warranty is for the benefit of the original retail purchaser only. For complete warranty details contact us at 800-676-1343.

Warning

Please note this product was not designed or intended by the manufacturer for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.

  • Best for viewing
    Fainter deep sky
  • Best for imaging
    Lunar & planetary
  • User level
    Advanced
  • Optical design
    Reflector
  • Optical diameter
    356mm
  • Finder scope lens diameter
    50mm
  • Focal length
    1650mm
  • Focal ratio
    f/4.6
  • Optics type
    Parabolic
  • Glass material
    Low thermal expansion glass
  • Eyepieces
    DeepView 35.0mm (2"), 10.0mm (1.25")
  • Magnification with included eyepieces
    47x, 165x
  • Resolving power
    0.33arc*sec
  • Lowest useful magnification
    47x
  • Highest useful magnification
    300x
  • Highest theoretical magnification
    712x
  • Limiting stellar magnitude
    15.4
  • Optical quality
    Diffraction limited
  • Finder scope
    9x50
  • Focuser
    2" dual-speed Crayford
  • Secondary mirror obstruction
    82mm
  • Secondary mirror obstruction by diameter
    23%
  • Secondary mirror obstruction by area
    5%
  • Mirror coatings/over-coatings
    Aluminum & Silicon Dioxide
  • Mount type
    Dobsonian
  • Astro-imaging capability
    Simple moon shots
  • Computerized compatibility
    Intelliscope included
  • Alignment procedure
    2-Star Alignment
  • Number of objects in database
    14,000+
  • Bearing material
    AZ: EbonyStar/Teflon, ALT: UHMW/ABS
  • Power requirement
    9-volt battery
  • Setting circles
    Electronic, via the hand controller
  • Available ports
    RS-232
  • Tube material
    Steel
  • Tripod material
    Wood
  • Length of optical tube
    61.0 in.
  • Weight, optical tube
    63.5 lbs.
  • Weight, mount/tripod
    44.5 lbs.
  • Weight, fully assembled
    120.0 lbs.
  • Additional included accessories
    Collapsible base design for excellent portability, 2" dual-speed Crayford focuser w/ 1.25" adapter
  • Other features
    IntelliScope object locator (w/ 9-volt battery), EbonyStar on virgin teflon azimuth bearings, Large 8" altitude bearings w/ adjustable tension
  • Warranty
    One year

Orion SkyQuest XX14" f/4.6 IntelliScope Truss-Tube Dobsonian Reflector w/ parabolic Pyrex primary optics
9-point flotation primary mirror cell with spring loaded thumbscrew collimation adjustments
4 groups of two-pole rotatable truss assemblies with captive assembly knobs
Dual-Speed (11:1) 2" Crayford focuser w/ 1.25" telescope eyepiece adapter and adjustable focusing tension
Unique new Orion collapsible base design with side braces for increased stability
Base outfitted with EbonyStar on non-stick PTFE azimuth bearings for optimized motion
Large 8" diameter ABS plastic altitude bearings with adjustable CorrecTension knobs
Navigation knob
IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator system
9-volt battery (for IntelliScope Object Locator)
Base handle
Eyepiece rack (holds one 2" telescope eyepiece and three 1.25" telescope eyepieces)
9x50 finder scope
35mm DeepView 2" telescope eyepiece
10mm Sirius Plossl telescope eyepiece
Dust covers for top and bottom tube sections
Collimation Cap
Starry Night Special Edition software
Detailed instruction manual

Orders received by noon Pacific Time for in-stock items ship the same business day. Orders received after noon will ship the next business day. When an item is not in-stock we will ship it as soon as it becomes available. Typically in-stock items will ship first and backordered items will follow as soon as they are available. You have the option in check out to request that your order ship complete, if you'd prefer.

A per-item shipping charge (in addition to the standard shipping and handling charge) applies to this product due to its size and weight. This charge varies based on the shipping method.

Standard Delivery: $95.00
3 Day Air Delivery: $500.00
2 Day Delivery: $500.00
Next Day Delivery: $575.00

What is Orion?s Standard One Year Limited Warranty?
Orion warranties against defects in materials or workmanship for a period of one year from the date of purchase for Orion brand products. This warranty is for the benefit of the original retail purchaser only. During this warranty period Orion Telescopes & Binoculars will repair or replace, at Orion?s option, any warranted instrument that proves to be defective, provided it is returned postage paid to: Orion Warranty Repair, 89 Hangar Way, Watsonville, CA 95076. If the product is not registered, proof of purchase (such as a copy of the original invoice) is required. This warranty does not apply if, in Orion?s judgment, the instrument has been abused, mishandled, or modified, nor does it apply to normal wear and tear. This warranty gives customer?s specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights, which vary from state to state. For further warranty service information, contact: Customer Service Department, Orion Telescopes & Binoculars, 89 Hangar Way, Watsonville CA 95076; (800) 676-1343.

Some items may be covered by a warranty period shorter or longer than the standard one year warranty. Specific warranty information is available on the product detail page of the website.

How does the Object Locator Work?
When plugged into the IntelliScope port on the telescope?s base, the Object Locator enables the user to point the telescope quickly and effortlessly to more than 14,000 astronomical objects with the push of a button. After a simple two-star alignment procedure, you just select an object to view from the intuitive keypad, then read the guide arrows on the Object Locator?s illuminated liquid crystal display and move the telescope in the corresponding direction. In seconds, the object will be waiting in the telescope?s field of view, ready to observe. The two guide arrows and associated ?navigation numbers? tell you in what direction to move the telescope to pinpoint an object?s location. As the telescope approaches the object?s location, the numbers get progressively smaller. When the navigation numbers reach zero, the telescope will be pointed right at the object. You just look into the eyepiece and enjoy the view!

The IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator works by communicating electronically with the pair of high-resolution, 9,216-step digital encoders installed in the base. The encoders allow highly precise positioning of the telescope to coordinates programmed into the Object Locator?s database for each astronomical object. Since the telescope is not dependent on motors for movement, you can point the telescope at your target much more quickly and quietly!

The Object Locator?s database includes:

  • 7,840 objects from the Revised New General Catalog
  • 5,386 objects from the Index Catalog
  • 110 objects from the Messier Catalog
  • 837 selected stars (mostly double, multiple, and variable stars)
  • 8 planets
  • 99 user-programmable objects
Another great feature of the IntelliScope is the ability to identify an ?unknown? object in the field of view, just press the ID button. You can even add up to 99 objects of your own choosing to the Object Locator?s database. The backlit, twoline LCD on the Object Locator shows you the object?s catalog number, its common name if it has one, the constellation in which it resides, its right ascension and declination coordinates, the object type, magnitude, angular size, as well as a brief description in scrolling text.
Click here for complete IntelliScope Object Locator Instructions.

How do I use the Orion Collimation Cap and the mirror center mark?
The Orion collimation cap is a simple cap that fits on the focuser drawtube like a dust cap, but has a hole in the center and a silver bottom. This helps center your eye so that collimation is easy to perform. Orion telescopes that have a collimation cap included also have a primary mirror that is marked with a circle at its exact center. This ?center mark? allows you to achieve a precise collimation of the primary mirror; you don?t have to guess where the center of the mirror is. You simply adjust the mirror position until the reflection of the hole in the collimation cap is centered in the ring. The center mark is also required for best results when using other collimating devices, such as Orion?s LaserMate Collimator, obviating the need to remove the primary mirror and mark it yourself. Note: The center ring sticker need not ever be removed from the primary mirror. Because it lies directly in the shadow of the secondary mirror, its presence in no way adversely affects the optical performance of the telescope or the image quality. That might seem counterintuitive, but its true!

 

How do I align the secondary mirror with the collimation cap?
With the collimation cap in place, look through the hole in the cap at the secondary mirror. Ignore the reflections for the time being. The secondary mirror itself should be centered in the focuser drawtube, in the direction parallel to the length of the telescope. If it isn?t, it must be adjusted. Typically, this adjustment will rarely, if ever, need to be done. It helps to adjust the secondary mirror in a brightly lit room with the telescope pointed towards a bright surface, such as white paper or wall. Also placing a piece of white paper in the telescope tube opposite the focuser (in other words, on the other side of the secondary mirror) will also be helpful in collimating the secondary mirror. Using a 2mm Allen wrench, loosen the three small alignment set screws in the center hub of the 4-vaned spider several turns. Now hold the mirror holder stationary (be careful not to touch the surface of the mirror), while turning the center screw with a Phillips head screwdriver. Turning the screw clockwise will move the secondary mirror toward the front opening of the optical tube, while turning the screw counter-clockwise will move the secondary mirror toward the primary mirror. Note: When making these adjustments, be careful not to stress the telescope?s spider vanes or they may bend. When the secondary mirror is centered in the focuser draw-tube, rotate the secondary mirror holder until the reflection of the primary mirror is as centered in the secondary mirror as possible. It may not be perfectly centered, but that is OK. Now tighten the three small alignment screws equally to secure the secondary mirror in that position. If the entire primary mirror reflection is not visible in the secondary mirror, you will need to adjust the tilt of the secondary mirror. This is done by alternately loosening one of the three alignment set screws while tightening the other two. The goal is to center the primary mirror reflection in the secondary mirror. Don?t worry that the reflection of the secondary mirror (the smallest circle, with the collimation cap ?dot? in the center) is off-center. You will fix that when aligning the primary mirror. Alternative: Some people prefer to remove the primary mirror completely from the telescope when aligning the secondary mirror, especially if the primary mirror needs to be removed anyway to be center-marked. It may help to have no reflections and align the secondary on the edge of the telescope wall.

 

How do I align the primary mirror with the collimation cap and center-marked mirror?
The telescope?s primary mirror will need adjustment if the secondary mirror is centered under the focuser and the reflection of the primary mirror is centered in the secondary mirror, but the small reflection of the secondary mirror (with the ?dot? of the collimation cap) is off-center. The tilt of the primary mirror is adjusted with the larger collimation screws on the back end of the telescope?s optical tube. The other smaller screws lock the mirror?s position in place; these thumbscrews must be loosened before any collimation adjustments can be made to the primary mirror. To start, loosen the smaller thumbscrews that lock the primary mirror in place a few turns each. Use a screwdriver in the slots, if necessary. Now, try tightening or loosening one of the larger collimation screws with your fingers Look into the focuser and see if the secondary mirror reflection has moved closer to the center of the primary. You can tell this easily with the collimation cap and mirror center mark by simply watching to see if the ?dot? of the collimation cap is moving closer or further away from the ?ring? on the center of the primary mirror mark. When you have the dot centered as much as is possible in the ring, your primary mirror is collimated. Re-tighten the locking thumbscrews. Alternative: If you loosen one or more of the bolts too much, it won?t move the mirror. Some people prefer to pre-load the collimation screws by tightening them all down and adjust by loosening each one in turn. This way you don?t run-out of threads and have a loose collimation screw. The disadvantage to this approach is that you have completely un-collimated the scope and are starting from the beginning.

 

How do I align a finder scope?
Before you use the finder scope, it must be precisely aligned with the telescope so they both point to exactly the same spot. Alignment is easiest to do in daylight, rather than at night under the stars. First, insert a low power telescope eyepiece (a 25mm eyepiece will work great) into the telescope?s focuser. Then point the telescope at a discrete object such as the top of a telephone pole or a street sign that is at least a quarter-mile away. Position the telescope so the target object appears in the very center of the field of view when you look into the eyepiece. Now look through the finder scope. Is the object centered on the finder scope?s crosshairs? If not, hopefully it will be visible somewhere in the field of view, so only small turns of the finder scope bracket?s alignment thumb screws will be needed. Otherwise you?ll have to make larger turns to the alignment thumb screws to redirect the aim of the finder scope. Use the alignment thumb screws to center the object on the crosshairs of the finder scope. Then look again into the telescope?s eyepiece and see if it is still centered there too. If it isn?t, repeat the entire process, making sure not to move the telescope while adjusting the alignment of the finder scope. Finder scopes can come out of alignment during transport or when removed from the telescope, so check its alignment before each observing session.

 


How do I focus the finder scope?
If, when looking through the finder scope, you notice that the image is fuzzy, you will need to focus the finder scope for your eyes. Different finder scopes focus differently; most Orion finder scopes include a lock ring near the objective and focus as follows:

1. Loosen the lock ring that is located behind the finder?s objective lens cell
2. Screw the objective lens cell in or out until the image appears sharp.
3. Tighten the lock ring behind the lens cell. If there is no lock ring the finder scope is focused by rotating the eyepiece.
Once the finder scope is now focused it should not need focusing again for your eyes.

How do I calculate the magnification (power) of a telescope?
To calculate the magnification, or power, of a telescope with an eyepiece, simply divide the focal length of the telescope by the focal length of the eyepiece. Magnification = telescope focal length eyepiece focal length For example, the Orion Skyquest XX14i Trusstube Dobsonian Telescope, which has a focal length of 1650mm, used in combination with the supplied 35mm eyepiece, yields a power of: 1650 35 = 43x.

It is desirable to have a range of telescope eyepieces of different focal lengths to allow viewing over a range of magnifications. It is not uncommon for an observer to own five or more eyepieces. Orion offers many different eyepieces of varying focal lengths.
 
Every telescope has a theoretical limit of power of about 50x per inch of aperture (i.e. 700x for the Orion Skyquest XX14i). Atmospheric conditions will limit the usefullness of magnification and cause views to become blurred. The highest useful magnification of a telescope of the Orion SkyQuest XX14i is 300x. Claims of higher power by some telescope manufacturers are a misleading advertising gimmick and should be dismissed. Keep in mind that at higher powers, an image will always be dimmer and less sharp (this is a fundamental law of optics). With every doubling of magnification you lose half the image brightness and three-fourths of the image sharpness. The steadiness of the air (the ?seeing?) can also limit how much magnification an image can tolerate. Always start viewing with your lowest-power (longest focal length) eyepiece in the telescope. It?s best to begin observing with the lowest-power eyepiece, because it will typically provide the widest true field of view, which will make finding and centering objects much easier After you have located and centered an object, you can try switching to a higher-power eyepiece to ferret out more detail, if atmospheric conditions permit. If the image you see is not crisp and steady, reduce the magnification by switching to a longer focal length eyepiece. As a general rule, a small but well-resolved image will show more detail and provide a more enjoyable view than a dim and fuzzy, over-magnified image.

What are practical focal lengths to have for eyepieces for my telescope?
To determine what telescope eyepieces you need to get powers in a particular range with your telescope, see our Learning Center article: How to choose Telescope Eyepieces

 

Why do Orion telescopes have less power than the telescopes at department stores?
Advertising claims for high magnification of 400X, 600X, etc., are very misleading. The practical limit is 50X per inch of aperture, or 120X for a typical 60mm telescope. Higher powers are useless, and serve only to fool the unwary into thinking that magnification is somehow related to quality of performance. It is not.

 

Does the atmosphere play a role in how good the quality of the image will be?
Atmospheric conditions play a huge part in quality of viewing. In conditions of good ?seeing?, star twinkling is minimal and objects appear steady in the eyepiece. Seeing is best over-head, worst at the horizon. Also, seeing generally gets better after midnight, when much of the heat absorbed by the Earth during the day has radiated off into space. Typically, seeing conditions will be better at sites that have an altitude over about 3000 feet. Altitude helps because it decreases the amount of distortion causing atmosphere you are looking through. A good way to judge if the seeing is good or not is to look at bright stars about 40 degrees above the horizon. If the stars appear to ?twinkle?, the atmosphere is significantly distorting the incoming light, and views at high magnifications will not appear sharp. If the stars appear steady and do not twinkle, seeing conditions are probably good and higher magnifications will be possible. Also, seeing conditions are typically poor during the day. This is because the heat from the Sun warms the air and causes turbulence. Good ?transparency? is especially important for observing faint objects. It simply means the air is free of moisture, smoke, and dust. These tend to scatter light, which reduces an object?s brightness. One good way to tell if conditions are good is by how many stars you can see with your naked eye. If you cannot see stars of magnitude 3.5 or dimmer then conditions are poor. Magnitude is a measure of how bright a star is, the brighter a star is, the lower its magnitude will be. A good star to remember for this is Megrez (mag. 3.4), which is the star in the ?Big Dipper? connecting the handle to the ?dipper?. If you cannot see Megrez, then you have fog, haze, clouds, smog, light pollution or other conditions that are hindering your viewing. Another hint: Good seeing can vary minute to minute. Watch the planets for a while to pick-up those moments of good seeing.

 

What causes dim or distorted images?
Too much magnification
Keep in mind that at higher powers, an image will always be dimmer and less sharp (this is a fundamental law of optics). The steadiness of the air, the ?seeing?, can also limit how much magnification an image can tolerate. Always start viewing with your lowest-power (longest focal length) eyepiece in the telescope. It?s best to begin observing with the lowest-power eyepiece, because it will typically provide the widest true field of view, which will make finding and centering objects much easier After you have located and centered an object, you can try switching to a higher-power eyepiece to ferret out more detail, if atmospheric conditions permit. If the image you see is not crisp and steady, reduce the magnification by switching to a longer focal length telescope eyepiece. As a general rule, a small but well-resolved image will show more detail and provide a more enjoyable view than a dim and fuzzy, over-magnified image. As a rule of thumb, it is not recommended to exceed 2x per mm of aperture.

Atmospheric conditions aren?t optimal.
Atmospheric conditions vary significantly from night to night, even hour to hour . ?Seeing? refers to the steadiness of the Earth?s atmosphere at a given time. In conditions of poor seeing, atmospheric turbulence causes objects viewed through the telescope to ?boil.? If, when you look up at the sky with just your eyes, the stars are twinkling noticeably, the seeing is bad and you will be limited to viewing with low powers (bad seeing affects images at high powers more severely). Seeing is best overhead, worst at the horizon. Also, seeing generally gets better after midnight, when much of the heat absorbed by the Earth during the day has radiated off into space. It?s best, although perhaps less convenient, to escape the light-polluted city sky in favor of darker country skies.

Viewing through a glass window open or closed.
Avoid observing from indoors through an open (or closed) window, because the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor air, reflections and imperfections in the glass, will cause image blurring and distortion.

Telescope not at thermal equilibrium.
All optical instruments need time to reach ?thermal equilibrium.? The bigger the instrument and the larger the temperature change, the more time is needed. Allow at least a half-hour for your telescope to cool to the temperature outdoors. In very cold climates (below freezing), it is essential to store the telescope as cold as possible. If it has to adjust to more than a 40 degrees temperature change, allow at least one hour. Time to adjust varies depending on the scope type and aperture.

Make sure you are not looking over buildings, pavement, or any other source of heat, which will radiate away at night, causing ?heat wave? disturbances that will distort the image you see through the telescope.

How do I clean optical lenses?
Any quality optical lens cleaning tissue and optical lens cleaning fluid specifically designed for multi-coated optics can be used to clean the exposed lenses of your eyepieces or finder scope. Never use regular glass cleaner or cleaning fluid designed for eyeglasses. Before cleaning with fluid and tissue, blow any loose particles off the lens with a blower bulb or compressed air. Then apply some cleaning fluid to a tissue, never directly on the optics. Wipe the lens gently in a circular motion, then remove any excess fluid with a fresh lens tissue. Oily finger-prints and smudges may be removed using this method. Use caution; rubbing too hard may scratch the lens. On larger lenses, clean only a small area at a time, using a fresh lens tissue on each area. Never reuse tissues.

 

How do I clean the reflecting mirror of my telescope?
You should not have to clean the telescope?s mirrors very often; normally once every other year or even less often. Covering the telescope with the dust cover when it is not in use will prevent dust from accumulating on the mirrors. Improper cleaning can scratch mirror coatings, so the fewer times you have to clean the mirrors, the better. Small specks of dust or flecks of paint have virtually no effect on the visual performance of the telescope. The large primary mirror and the elliptical secondary mirror of your telescope are front-surface aluminized and over-coated with hard silicon dioxide, which prevents the aluminum from oxidizing. These coatings normally last through many years of use before requiring re-coating. To clean the secondary mirror, first remove it from the telescope. Do this by holding the secondary mirror holder stationary while turning the center Phillips-head screw. Be careful, there is a spring between the secondary mirror holder and the phillips head screw. Be sure that it will not fall into the optical tube and hit the primary mirror. Handle the mirror by its holder; do not touch the mirror surface. Then follow the same procedure described below for cleaning the primary mirror. To clean the primary mirror, carefully remove the mirror cell from the telescope and remove the mirror from the mirror cell. If you have an Orion telescope, instructions to remove the primary mirror are included in your instruction manual. Do not touch the surface of the mirror with your fingers. Lift the mirror carefully by the edges. Set the mirror on top, face up, of a clean soft towel. Fill a clean sink, free of abrasive cleanser, with room-temperature water, a few drops of mild liquid dishwashing soap, and, if possible, a capful of rubbing alcohol. Submerge the mirror (aluminized face up) in the water and let it soak for a few minutes (or hours if it?s a very dirty mirror). Wipe the mirror under water with clean cotton balls, using extremely light pressure and stroking in straight line across the mirror. Use one ball for each wipe across the mirror. Then rinse the mirror under a stream of lukewarm water. Before drying, tip the mirror to a 45 degree angle and pour a bottle of distilled water over the mirror. This will prevent any tap water dissolved solids from remaining on the mirror. Any particles on the surface can be swabbed gently with a series of cotton balls, each used just one time. Dry the mirror in a stream of air (a ?blower bulb? works great), or remove any stray drops of water with the corner of a paper towel. Water will run off a clean surface. Cover the mirror surface with tissue, and leave the mirror in a warm area until it is completely dry before replacing in the mirror cell and telescope.

 

Does my telescope require time to cool down?
As a general rule, telescopes should be allowed to ?cool down? (or warm up) before they are used. If you bring optics from a warm air to cold air (or vice versa) without giving it time to reach ?thermal equilibrium?, your telescope will give you distorted views. Allow your telescope 30 minutes to an hour to reach the temperature of the outdoors before using. When brining your telescope from cool temperatures to warm temperatures, leave any protective caps off until the telescope has ?warmed-up? to prevent condensation. Storing your telescope in the garage or shed where the temperature is closer to the outside temperature will reduce cool down times.

 

Can I wear my glasses when using a telescope?
If you wear eyeglasses, you may be able to keep them on while you observe, if your telescope eyepieces have enough ?eye relief? to allow you to see the whole field of view. You can find out by looking through the eyepiece first with your glasses on and then with them off, and see if the glasses restrict the view to only a portion of the full field. If they do, you can easily observe with your glasses off by just refocusing the telescope the needed amount. If your eyes are astigmatic, images will probably appear the best with glasses on. This is because a telescope?s focuser can accommodate for nearsightedness or farsightedness, but not astigmatism. If you have to wear your glasses while observing and cannot see the entire field of view, you may want to purchase additional eyepieces that have longer eye relief.

 

How do I focus my reflector telescope?
First, insert a low power telescope eyepiece (25mm will work great) in the focuser and point the telescope in the general direction of an object at least a 1/4 mile away. With your fingers, slowly rotate one of the focus knobs until the object comes into sharp focus. Go a little bit beyond sharp focus until the object starts to blur again, then reverse the direction of the knob, just to make sure you?ve hit the exact focus point.

NOTE: The image in the telescope will appear rotated 180-deg (upside-down and reversed left-to-right). This is normal for astronomical telescopes. The finder scope view will also be rotated 180-deg, unless you have a correct-image finder. If your finder scope view is rotated 180-deg, just rotate your star map to match. If you have trouble focusing, rotate the focus knob so the drawtube is in as far as it will go. Now look through the eyepiece while slowly rotating the focusing knob in the opposite direction. You should soon see the point at which focus is reached. You will have to re-adjust the focus when aiming at subjects of varying distances, or after changing eyepieces.

How long will it take my eyes to dark adapt?
Do not expect to go from a lighted house into the darkness of the outdoors at night and immediately see faint nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters?or even very many stars, for that matter. Your eyes take about 30 minutes to reach perhaps 80 percent of their full dark-adapted sensitivity. Many observers notice improvements after several hours of total darkness. As your eyes become dark-adapted, more stars will glimmer into view and you will be able to see fainter details in objects you view in your telescope. So give yourself at least a little while to get used to the dark before you begin observing. To see what you are doing in the darkness, use a red light flashlight rather than a white light. Red light does not spoil your eyes? dark adaptation like white light does. A flashlight with a red LED light is ideal, or you can cover the front of a regular flashlight with red cellophane or paper. Beware, too, that nearby porch and streetlights and automobile headlights will spoil your night vision. Your eyes can take at least 1/2 hour to re-adjust.

 

How do I best view Deep-Sky Objects?
Most deep-sky objects are very faint, so it is important that you find an observing site well away from light pollution. Take plenty of time to let your eyes adjust to the darkness. Don?t expect these objects to appear like the photographs you see in books and magazines; most will look like dim gray ?ghosts.? (Our eyes are not sensitive enough to see color in deep-sky objects except in few of the brightest ones.) But as you become more experienced and your observing skills improve, you will be able to coax out more and more intricate details. And definitely use your low-power telescope eyepieces to get a wide field-of-view for the largest of the deep-sky objects.

 

What will a star look like through a telescope?
Stars will appear like twinkling points of light in the telescope. Even the largest telescopes cannot magnify stars to appear as anything more than points of light. You can, however, enjoy the different colors of the stars and locate many pretty double and multiple stars. The famous ?Double-Double? in the constellation Lyra and the gorgeous two-color double star Albireo in Cygnus are favorites. Defocusing the image of a star slightly can help bring out its color. For more detailed information on this topic see our Learning Center article: Stars and Deep Sky Objects

 

What will the planets look like through the telescope?
The planets don?t stay put like stars do (they don?t have fixed R.A. and Dec. coordinates), so you will need to refer to the Orion Star Chart on our website. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are among the brightest objects in the sky after the Sun and the Moon. All four of these planets are not normally visible in the sky at one time, but chances are one or two of them will be.

JUPITER: The largest planetJupiter, is a great subject to observe. You can see the disk of the giant planet and watch the ever-changing positions of its four largest moons, Io, Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede. If atmospheric conditions are good, you may be able to resolve thin cloud bands on the planet?s disk.

SATURN: The ringed planet is a breathtaking sight when it is well positioned. The tilt angle of the rings varies over a period of many years; sometimes they are seen edge-on, while at other times they are broadside and look like giant ?ears? on each side of Saturn?s disk. A steady atmosphere (good seeing) is necessary for a good view. You may probably see a tiny, bright ?star? close by; that?s Saturn?s brightest moon, Titan.

VENUS: At its brightest, Venus is the most luminous object in the sky, excluding the Sun and the Moon. It is so bright that sometimes it is visible to the naked eye during full daylight! Ironically, Venus appears as a thin crescent, not a full disk, when at its peak brightness. Because it is so close to the Sun, it never wanders too far from the morning or evening horizon. No surface markings can be seen on Venus, which is always shrouded in dense clouds. Sometimes using a color filter will lessen the glare of Venus and help you see the crescent.

MARS: If atmospheric conditions are good, you may be able to see some subtle surface detail on the Red Planet, possibly even the polar ice cap. Mars makes a close approach to Earth every two years; during those approaches its disk is larger and thus more favorable for viewing.

Can I do astrophotography with my Orion SkyQuest XX14i
SkyQuest Dobsonians are designed for visual, not photographic use. The Dobsonian mount is not an equatorial type mount, so it cannot be motor driven for long exposure astrophotography. You can take great shots of the moon with film or digital camera, but that is the extent of astrophotography with a Dobsonian telescope.

 

How do I track an object in the sky with my Orion dobsonian telescope?
The Earth is constantly rotating about its polar axis, completing one full rotation every 24 hours; this is what defines a ?day.? We do not feel the Earth rotating, but we can tell that it is at night by seeing the apparent movement of stars from east to west. This movement translates to 15-deg per hour or 30x the diameter of the moon. This is called the sidereal rate. When you observe any astronomical object, you are watching a moving target. This means the telescope?s position must be continuously updated over time to keep an object in the field of view. This is easy to do with the Orion SkyQuest Dobsonians because of its smooth motions on both axes. As the object moves off toward the edge of the field of view, you just lightly nudge the telescope to bring it back to the center. You will notice that it is more difficult to ?track? objects when the telescope tube is aimed nearly straight up. This is inherent to the basic design of the Dobsonian, and stems from the fact that there is very little mechanical leverage to move in azimuth when the tube is in a near vertical position. To gain more leverage, try grasping the tube close to the altitude side bearings with both hands. Also, by waiting an hour anything that is straight-up, won?t be. Remember that objects appear to move across the field of view faster at higher magnifications. This is because the field of view becomes narrower.

 


How big a telescope do I need?
For viewing craters on the Moon, the rings of Saturn, and Jupiter with its four bright moons, a 60mm or 70mm refractor or a 3-inch reflector telescope does a good job. An 80mm to 90mm refractor or 4.5-inch or 6-inch reflector will show more planetary and lunar detail as well as glowing nebulas and sparkling star clusters. Under dark, non-light-polluted skies, a big scope?8-inch diameter or more?will serve up magnificent images of fainter clusters, galaxies, and nebulas. The larger the telescope, the more detail you will see. But don?t bite off more than you can chew, size-wise. Before you buy, consider carefully a telescope?s size and weight. Make sure you can comfortably lift and transport it, and that you have room indoors to store it.

 

Is there an eyepiece available that will rotate the image so that it can be used for scenic viewing?
We carry correct-image prism diagonals which provide right-side up non-reversed images in refractor and cassegrain telescopes. It is not possible to correct the image orientation in a reflector telescope.

 

How do I safely view the sun with my Orion Solar Filter?
1. Check your Orion solar filter for any possible damage before each use. The view through your telescope should be comfortable and not appear excessively bright. Stop looking immediately if the view is excessively bright.
2. Check for any pinholes. Even one bright pinhole could degrade the image quality. See Inspection & Maintenance in the solar filter product information sheet.
3. Keep the front of any finder scope covered or remove entirely. An uncovered finder scope is dangerous to look through. Even if you do not look through it, unfiltered sunlight may melt internal parts of a finder scope.
4. Properly mount the solar filter to your telescope, securing with the three setscrews.
5. Aim the telescope at the Sun by moving your tube assembly until the smallest shadow is cast on the ground.
6. Allow the telescope and filter to equalize to outside temperature for at least 15 minutes.
7. Direct sunlight may warm the tube assembly enough to cause internal heat currents that can degrade image quality, especially on dark-colored telescopes. Cover the tube assembly with a light-colored cloth to help avoid this.
8. If possible, do not view over pavement or buildings. Viewing over grass will help avoid surface heat currents.
9. Point the telescope away from the Sun before removing the solar filter! Removing the filter while the telescope is aimed at the Sun is dangerous if anyone is looking into the eyepiece, and can damage the telescope if left pointed at the Sun for too long.

 

I recently purchased a solar filter for my telescope and can?t see anything with it. Any suggestions?
One of the problems with a solar filter on a telescope is that it?s a bit tricky to aim it at the sun. You can?t look through the finder to point the scope or you?ll cause injury to your eye. So, cap off or remove the finder. Also, because with the very dark filter on the front if the sun is slightly outside the field of view of the eyepiece you?ll see pitch blackness in the field. With the solar filter properly mounted, try looking at the shadow of the optical tube on the ground, move the tube until the shadow is at a minimum. You?ll be pointed at the sun, or at least close enough to find it with a little sweeping and a low-power eyepiece to bring it into view. It can be difficult, even with the shadow method. An other trick to try after you?ve got it close with the shadow if your still not having any luck getting the sun in the field...take the eyepiece out of the focuser. Then look into the focuser...you won?t see an image but when the sun gets close you?ll see a flicker of brightness coming through the mirrors. Then pop the eyepiece back in and you should have it.

 

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