A Review of the Orion AstroView 6EQ

Science Tech

Orion AstroView 6

The Orion AstroView 6EQ is a great amateur telescope, especially for a beginner amateur astronomer who is moving up from a smaller, beginner telescope. The 6-inch (150mm) aperture is large enough to show a host of deep sky objects, especially the Messier list. It comes on a German equatorial mount, which is great for someone who wants to learn how to use a GEM (German Equatorial Mount).

The optical quality is good, and the collimation cap can be used to collimate the mirrors to maximize quality. It is an F/5 scope, and it has a focal length of 750mm. The AstroView 6 is great for low power views (with the included two eyepieces, I can get 30x and 75x), but a shorter focal length ocular is needed for higher power viewing, or a barlow lens is needed. It is excellent for visual use, but for astrophotography with a DSLR it suffers from an all-to-common Newtonian problem: it doesn’t have enough down focus to come into focus properly. This means a barlow is a must for a focused astrophoto.

The GEM is also of excellent quality. It has worm gears and slow motion control cables. It is rated online for 12 pounds capacity, but the counter weights still aren’t heavy enough when doing astrophotography with my setup; the OTA at 9.1 pounds (weight from the Orion website), and my DSLR, adapter, and barlow at about 2 pounds; only 11 pounds. It is steady though, with not much vibration. The basic rack-and-pinion focuser seems to hold the load quite well.

Imaging Setup

Also, this mount is not computerized or motorized. There is an available clock drive, but the mount has no autoguiding capabilities, making it unsuitable for long exposure photography  of DSOs (Deep Sky Objects) through the scope. However, it is capable of lunar photography:


(Above: Crescent Moon. Orion AstroView6, Nikon D3100). It is capable of some planetary photography: (Saturn, Venus. Orion AstroView6, Nikon D3100)








And the AstroView 6EQ setup is capable of “piggyback” style photography. What I did is I “piggybacked” my DSLR on top of my telescope on the GEM. Then, after finding a reasonably bright star in the area I wanted to photograph, I would open the shutter and keep the star in the center of the field of view, thus manually tracking the sky. With this method, it can produce extra-long exposure photographs such as below:

Milky Way

(Above: Milky Way. Nikon D3100, 139 second exposure, F/5.3, ISO 1600)

One thing I didn’t like was the mirror-mirror cell attachment. I have owned this for about 8 months, and it is normal to have to clean the mirrors if they are dirty after about a year. So, finding my mirrors pretty dirty, I took them out to clean. Everything went well until it came to taking out the mirror from the mirror cell. Orion used foam “clamps” that screwed into the cell. They put the screws in so tight that it was nearly impossible to get them out. In fact, I could only get two of three out and had to slip the mirror out of the third clamp because the screws would not come out. While I was screwing them in, the screwdriver slipped and put a small scratch in the primary mirror because of the difficulty of the screws. I am pretty sure it won’t affect the telescope, but it was frustrating.

I added a primary mirror cooling acceleration fan on the back of the primary mirror cell to speed the cooling. I used a computer fan temporarily attached with rubber bands.

Mirror Fan

Overall: A good visual intermediate scope with beginning astrophotography capabilities, but nearly impossible to remove the mirror.



A Telescope Fix-It and a Beautiful Sunset

Photography, Science Tech


I now have a new telescope! Okay, it’s not new, in fact it’s old. I was helping some friends move some stuff when I saw a banged-up telescope. An astronomer just can’t stand to see an unloved, unused, unwanted telescope, so I was ready to accept it when they asked if I wanted it, knowing my interest in telescopes. I didn’t expect much out of it, but I gave it a fix up anyway. It turned out pretty well. The OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) was pretty dented and the mirrors very dirty, but I fixed it up to where it would work. I worked hard on it, working up to as late as midnight one night (literally). I finished it yesterday.


(Above) The OTA before fixing. Note the large dents. (Below) The OTA after fixing.


(Below) The tube in the fixing process. I used a clamp and an approximately 1 foot board.

Telescope in Fixing

The mirrors, as I said, were really grungy. I cleaned them by (1.) rinsing them under a tap to  take off the big debris; (2.) taking wetted cotton swabs and gently wiping the mirror, one or two swipes per cotton swab, and (3.) letting them dry. After they had dried, I took a lens tissue and took off the little spots other little marks or smudges.

Mirrors in Drying

After a general cleaning of the tube, I put it all back together and gave it a rough collimation (i.e., to align the mirrors).

The mount, a single arm altazimuth, was not in too bad condition, it just needed a power source. The tripod was also O.K. after a bit of fixing on one of the legs.

And to top it off, there was a very beautiful sunset yesterday. You can see more pictures of this on my Flickr page.Sunset

My Very First Blog Post


Jacob with His New Nikon D3100

Welcome to my blog! A lot of topics on this blog will be about astronomy and photography, which combined make Astrophotography. I recently bought my first dSLR camera, a Nikon D3100 to continue my two main interests. I also own a telescope for astronomy and astrophotography. My telescope is an Orion AstroView6, which is a 6” Newtonian type telescope mounted on a German Equatorial mount. I will explain more about my telescope in a later post. My astrophotography mainly consists of two types, either with a telescope or with out a telescope. Right now, through the telescope is mostly the sun (with a proper full aperture white-light solar filter), the moon, and some of the larger planets. On the tripod, I can use an exposure of a certain length (usually 8-15 seconds) to capture stars and satellites. If I use a very long exposure such as 2 hours, an effect called star trails is created. This is caused by the earth’s rotation and how the stars appear to move from earth.

The photo above is a photo of me with my Nikon D3100, taken by my uncle (see Photowalk with My Nephew’s First DSLR a Nikon D3100 Camera :: Friday Feet).