Orion's UltraPortable UP16 Premium Dobsonian Telescope
Why would you select an Orion UP16?
Every telescope design has a "sweet-spot," a combination of design choices and parameters that make it excel at particular astronomical tasks. For example, short f-ratio refractors or reflectors can deliver exceptional views of large swaths of the Milky Way or extensive emission nebulas such as the North America Nebula. In the case of the Orion UP16 Premium UltraPortable Dobsonian telescopes, the sweet spot is a design optimized to offer serious observers high-quality, large-aperture telescopes designed to break down into very compact packages for extreme portability. With an Orion UltraPortable Dobsonian, you are free to travel to your favorite dark-sky sites anywhere across the globe, without a telescope that's bigger than your neighbor!
Some observers want, and can afford, the biggest possible mirror to grab as much light as possible. Others want a big scope, but are more limited by space and by how much weight they want to lift. Our best advice is for you to carefully consider how much telescope you want to move around (size and weight) against how much light you want to capture at the eyepiece. The UP16 is a great compromise between a telescope with huge light-gathering capability and unbeatable portability — and if it's the telescope that gets taken out of the garage or from the back of a car to be used frequently, you'll discover that it's the best telescope for you!
Moving the UP16 — All the light grasp but only half the weight:
Orion designed the UP series to be as light and compact as possible, making the task of transport to your favorite dark-sky site as easy as possible. The heaviest component of the Orion UP16 is the primary mirror, which weighs in at 27 pounds, and the entire telescope tips the scales at about 60 pounds, which is remarkably light for a 16-inch telescope (some traditional 16-inch Dobsonians are more than twice as heavy). Most people will find this a pretty easy telescope to take to a star party, set up, and explore the sky. In addition, with its fast focal ratio mirror, the Orion UP16 telescope has an eyepiece location that can almost always be reached when you are standing with both feet on the ground (67" from the ground when the UP16 is pointed at zenith). Indeed for objects lower in the sky you will likely want to be comfortably seated in an observing chair!
Experienced observers know that "aperture rules" — the bigger the telescope aperture (objective size) the better the view. The Orion UP16 is a serious telescope that will deliver satisfying views for serious observers. In the Orion UP16, most NGC objects can be found from a dark sky site - they may not be too obvious, but you can chase them down. During the product development testing cycle, the Orion UP16 revealed hints of color in bright emission nebula such as the Orion Nebula and some of the brighter planetary nebulae (The Blue Snowball, The Saturn Nebula and others), incredible detail on Jupiter and, using an H-beta filter, a very distinct Horsehead nebula. Results will vary according to observing conditions and other factors. The Orion UP16 is a telescope that can provide a lifetime of satisfying observing experiences in a 60 pound package!
Features of the UP16:
Premium Optics: With an Orion UP16 you'll experience a premium optical system. Not only are the mirrors huge, but they are all individually hand-figured to exacting standards to deliver diffraction limited performance of 1/8 wave or better. Orion's optical lab where these mirrors are polished and figured has even supplied optics to NASA — they're that good!
The UP16 has a classical Newtonian configuration with a parabolic primary, a full 16-inch diameter of polished optical surface (the mirror blank is actually about 16.4-inches in diameter), not a 16-inch or 400mm blank with beveled edges. The Newtonian design is a favorite for serious deep-sky observers and nearly ubiquitous for Dobsonian telescopes, with its fast f/4.5 focal ratio, images are bright and contrast-rich (assured by Orion's effective baffling in the dual-speed focuser and the standard glare-blocking secondary mirror cage light shield). This fast optical system also means the field-of-view is wide at low powers and the eyepiece is low to the ground, about 67" when the scope is pointed straight up, so most observers don't need a ladder to aim this telescope anywhere in the sky.
The diffraction limited optics deliver sharp, contrast and detail rich images at the center of the field-of-view that will only be limited by atmospheric seeing conditions and by the aperture of the optics. A Newtonian design of f/4.5 focal ratio does exhibit some amount of stellar enlargement at the extreme edge of a wide-field eyepiece due to an optical characteristic called coma which is present in all Newtonian optical systems. The effect will vary with different eyepieces and is so minor that most observers won't even notice it unless specifically looking for it. Sharper star images at the edge of the field-of-view can be further enhanced by the addition of a field corrector lens, or coma-corrector; although most observers feel they are getting totally satisfactory views without the need for such a device.
Enhanced Optical Coatings:
The precision optical surface quality of the Orion UP16 Dobsonian is augmented by enhanced optical coatings to assure it collects as many photons as possible to focus it into a bright and contrast-rich image. The primary mirror has an enhanced, 96% aluminized coating with a protective over-coating of Silicon Dioxide (quartz) to protect the reflective aluminum coatings from oxidation caused by contaminants in the air and to provide some level of surface protection from scratches. Likewise, the same high-efficiency coatings are on the precision, flat secondary mirror.
Fully Collimatable Optics:
Premium optics won't perform well if you can't accurately collimate them. Collimation refers to alignment of a telescope's optics so the optical system delivers the converging light cone directly into the eyepiece with the eyepiece image plane being exactly perpendicular to the optical axis. The Orion UP16 has a secondary mirror that is supported by a rigid three-arm secondary support structure that is attached to the back of the secondary mirror with three adjustment screws that allow the tilt to be adjusted for collimation. The primary mirror can be centered within the telescope by eccentric cams and locked in position. The primary mirror also has a three-point collimation system that adjusts the entire mirror and steel mirror cell. The primary collimation system also features locking set screws to assure collimation is not lost once you align the mirrors.
Engineered Mirror Support:
Premium optics are only as good as the support system they rest on. The UP16 has an extensively modeled 6-point suspension system that performs better than traditional 9-point mirror cells. The frame of the mirror support is fabricated from steel and has lateral locking screws in addition to the locking screws on the collimation adjustments.
Patent-Pending Sandwich Mirror Technology:
For the UP16, Orion has incorporated an advanced mirror technology — what we call "sandwich mirrors." The sandwich mirror technology has been used to manufacture research-grade optical elements and proven by over a half dozen years of successful applications at research facilities such as NASA, California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, for the US Army, and in amateur telescopes around the world. Orion UP telescopes have lightweight sandwich mirrors that feature two solid glass plates separated by a thermally optimized "open core" - pillars of fused glass between the plates. The open core allows air to circulate freely in between the layers of the mirror. This design allows the UP16 mirror to reach thermal equilibrium up to 10 times faster than a traditional solid 16-inch mirror and means the mirror can deliver great views even as the air around the telescope is changing temperature. Even faster acclimation can be reached if you add optional cooling fans to accelerate thermal equilibrium.
Why is thermal equilibrium so critical? The main issue is "mirror seeing," the turbulence seen through the eyepiece of the telescope when the air above the mirror is cooler than the mirror itself. Since a sandwich technology mirror cools far more rapidly than a solid mirror of the same thickness, this major source of distortion is eliminated quickly, giving you sharp views.
All Metal Construction:
The Orion UP Dobsonians aren't made in a garage or cabinet shop, they are fabricated from steel and aluminum. Orion chose an all metal design after extensive prototyping using wood and composite materials. These telescopes have been engineered to perform using 3D AutoCad and FEA software. The mechanical structures have been extensively modeled to provide optimal thermal performance and stability. Machined with Numerical Control (NC) technology and hand fitted to assure proper fit and finish, these telescopes are a joy to look at as well as look through.
Two Trusses are Better:
The UP16 has been engineered to be light, but to possess superior rigidity. The Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) of the Orion UP16 is a double truss design, with a lower and upper set of truss tubes joined amidships by a welded steel frame. This design is not only extremely compact, strong and light, but also allows the use of an optional dovetail adapter bar to mount the OTA to a sturdy EQ mount (the dovetail adapter bar and equatorial mount are not included).
Optimized Truss Poles:
In addition to the dual truss design, Orion has gone to the extra engineering effort and expense to optimize an 8-pole truss design for added stability. Having eight thinner poles optimizes rigidity, low weight, and compactness when disassembled.
Dual-Speed 2-inch Linear Drive Crayford Focuser:
The Orion UP16 comes with a precision dual-speed, 2-inch diameter focuser. It's a beautiful piece of precision machining that enhances the viewing experience as well as the overall impression of a premium quality instrument you'll have with this telescope.
This focuser is robust! It is a zero-backlash "Crayford-style" design further enhanced with modern "linear bearings" meaning you get a rock-solid, super smooth focusing experience that can handle the weight of even the heaviest of modern eyepieces. Of course, its tension, the pressure on the drawtube, is adjustable to lock heavy equipment in place if desired. Being a Crayford-style design (named after Jack Wall of the Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society in England) there is no wobble in this focuser. The two focus controls are knurled to allow ease-of-use, even when observing with gloves in colder conditions. The smaller of the two concentric focus controls adjusts focus at a rate 10 time finer than the larger focus wheels. this fine adjustment allows for critical focusing during high power visual observing or for imaging applications. The focuser has 2-inches of travel distance. If you've never used a dual-speed focuser before, one night's use will make you a life-long convert.
Dobsonian aficionados will tell you the secret of "Dobsonian nirvana" are good bearings. The huge Orion UP16 Dobsonian azimuth ball bearing is adjustable to suit the personal preference of each observer with a simple tension adjustment knob. The friction on the altitude bearings has been carefully optimized to allow easy altitude motion yet it is sufficiently stiff to allow the interchange of most various visual accessories on the focuser and not (usually) require re-balancing of the OTA with counterweights. Using sufficient resistance on the altitude bearing also assures that critical focus can be achieved at high power without the telescope moving off-target.
Optimized Light Baffles:
With a carefully selected secondary mirror, baffled focuser, and standard removable secondary light shield, the views generated by the Orion UP16 are contrast-rich and allow chasing those "faint fuzzies" right up to the edge of bright stars.
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.
Please note this product was not designed or intended by the manufacturer for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.