Orion Atlas 10 EQ-G Goto Reflector Telescope Review


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Making the plunge on a 10” telescope is a big deal for any astronomer, beginner or expert.

It’s not everyday you buy a scope of this size and size does this scope have.

It’s not a lightweight pro nor is it very portable, but the views are so worth it.

So, how much does this beastie weigh?

What can you see through the 10” Atlas?

Does the GoTo track accurately, and can it handle astrophotography needs?

Let’s find out.

Zooming in…

✔️ Best Feature: 10” aperture

Worst Feature: Heavy

👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Stargazing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, DSO Viewing, Astrophotography, Intermediates, Experts

  • Optical Design: Reflector
  • Aperture: 254 mm (10”)
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/4.7
  • Eyepieces Included: 25 mm, 10 mm

Our Verdict: The Atlas 10 is a dream scope for many, and even though it has a hefty price tag, it’s actually in the “good deal” category when it comes to price. With a quality-made OTA, reliable, sturdy, and GoTo mount, and astrophotography capability, the skies are yours. But, with all its outstanding features comes weight. If you can manage its poundage and have the space to transport it, you’ll have a blast.  

Who is the Orion Atlas 10 EQ-G GoTo Best Suited to?

The Atlas 10 EQ-G GoTo telescope does not belong with the faint of heart. It’s a telescope made for passionate astronomers with some good experience in telescope use. The large aperture may be appealing to the beginner, but the pure heft and EQ motorized mount with astrophotography capabilities would best be taken advantage of by a seasoned user.

The price is much higher than buying a 10” Dobsonian. You have EQ movement and a dual-axis motor drive that allows tracking and slewing with a hand controller. There will be a learning curve required and plenty of astro-imaging experimentation to look forward to. It’s not the kind of scope a beginner should start with, but it is the kind of scope a beginner can aspire to one day own. It made it onto our ten best telescopes on the market page and deservedly so.

How Does the Orion Atlas 10 EQ-G GoTo Perform?

The Atlas 10 is a very good telescope with simplicity and yet quality bundled into one easy-to-use system. It’s not that difficult to use, is great for visual use, and has acceptable specs to get the job done for both lunar and planetary observation and deep-sky viewing.

The 10” will really be used at its maximum potential under dark skies, and the GoTo will help you find new objects that would otherwise remain forever a mystery. Even in light-polluted areas, it’ll show good views on local bodies and the brightest DSOs.

The mount is a computerized GoTo with EQ movement, and it comes with a hand controller. Slewing is easy, it corrects for backlash and periodic error, and you can try your hand at astrophotography with it.

Features & Benefits

10” Aperture

A 10” aperture is going to show you a lot more if you’re accustomed to using smaller aperture telescopes. Be prepared to see your entire field of view filled up with bright, twinkling stars, see planetary features, planetary nebulae, globular clusters, galaxies, and much more.

Color fidelity and good contrast is guaranteed due to the reflector optical design, and you can achieve greater magnification with sharper details with shorter eyepieces thanks to its specs. Spherical aberration is reduced because the primary mirror has a parabolic shape. It’s made from Pyrex and is used for its low-expansion, thermal properties, so it will cool down faster and come to equilibrium quickly. Even though the Atlas doesn’t come with a cooling fan, there are four threaded holes for mounting a fan if you wanted to do so.

Atlas EQ-G GoTo Mount

The Atlas EQ-G Computerized GoTo mount is a German equatorial mount with a dual-axis motor and a hand controller. It has 2”, rock-solid, adjustable steel tube legs, load capacity of 40 lbs, and weighs 54 lbs. If you were to use the mount with a different optical tube at some point, the mount features a dual-width dovetail attachment system. It can accept the vixen-style dovetail or a Losmandy-style mounting plate.

As a GoTo on an EQ mount, you can take photos and keep your target within the field of view with nine slew speeds, backlash compensation, and programmable periodic error correction. The hand controller provides access to a 42,000-object database and firmware can be updated online.

To power the mount, you’ll need to purchase an AC to DC wall adapter for home use or a 12V DC power supply for late-night expeditions out to a dark location.

Collimatable Optics

As a reflector telescope, it’s essential that you have a collimatable primary mirror since it is a 10” and could come out of alignment. Fortunately, both mirrors have collimatable cells and even the focuser can be collimated if necessary.

What about CO (central obstruction)? The secondary mirror size results in a 25% obstruction by diameter which brings this down to an equivalent of an unobstructed 7.5” aperture. This is completely reasonable for this setup even if you do happen to notice some contrast loss while imaging. Fortunately, the optics are well-made with coatings, has good baffling, and with quality eyepieces, you won’t have to obsess over CO.

Astrophotography

CCD and DSLR astrophotography are possible with the Atlas 10 and GoTo mount. It’s best if you remain weight conscious as the mount only has a 40 lb load capacity and the OTA weighs approximately 27 lbs. As it stands, you would already be overweight with this setup. Despite this fact, there have been many that have achieved focus with a DSLR and have had no issues with imaging. I assume short, unguided exposures were the key here. You can use the telescope tube for prime focus astrophotography, or you can piggyback a camera to the tube.

With the Atlas, you can take lunar, planetary, and DSO images. You will have to acquire precise polar alignment which is best done with a polar axis finder scope. One is provided with the telescope that is housed in the right ascension axis of the mount. There is also an autoguiding jack on the mount, and PEC (Periodic Error Correction) training is a feature experienced astro-imagers will appreciate for long exposures – if you don’t have slewing issues due to the added weight.

Limitations

Heavy

The Atlas 10 rig is heavy, and it’s no joke. The large 10” optical tube is 47.8” long – essentially four feet long, and also weighs 27.2 lbs. The mount and tripod system weighs 54 lbs, but the poundage doesn’t stop here. You also have three 11 lb counterweights and accessories to load up bringing the total assembled weight to 117 lb. This is no lightweight and portable setup, so it’s essential to keep these specs in mind even if you’re only moving the telescope short distances.

Popular Questions

What Accessories are Included with the Atlas 10 GoTo Telescope?

The primary accessories included with the Atlas OTA and EQ mount with a hand controller are the following: 9×50 finder scope, 2x 1.25” Sirius Plossl eyepieces, 2” Crayford focuser, and a 2”-1.25” eyepiece adapter.

You’ll also receive other accessories such as a collimation cap, 11 lb counterweights, camera adapter, dust cap, tripod accessory tray, and a 12V DC power cable. More hardware and the Starry Night Special Edition Software digital download insert are included.

Where is the Orion Atlas Made?

The Orion Atlas 10 EQ-G telescope is made in China. Regardless, the scope is warrantied by Orion for a period of one year from the date of purchase. If you don’t register your telescope, you’ll need to provide proof of purchase when sending it in for coverage under the warranty.

Can the Mount be used with a Different Optical Tube?

If you wanted to try one of your other telescope tubes to unlock its astrophotography capabilities, it may very well be compatible with the Altas EQ-G. The mount provides computerized tracking that is often desired for imaging. It has a payload capacity of 40 lbs. Additionally; the mount has a dual-width mounting system. It can be adjusted in size to fit vixen dovetail or losmandy dovetail mounting plates.

Does the Orion Atlas 10 EQ-G GoTo come with a Power Supply?

No power supply is included with the Atlas telescope to power the GoTo. You will need a 12V DC power bank or an AC to DC wall adapter to power it depending on where you will be viewing or imaging from. 8x batteries can be installed into the battery pack for power if you happen to be cut off from your supply during use.

Can You Manually Move the Tube Without GoTo on the Orion Telescope?

You can manually use the telescope to slew. You must unlock the R.A. and Dec. lock levers and the tube should move freely without resistance. You might end up having to use the hand controller to center an object within the field of view.

Conclusion

The Orion Atlas 10 GoTo telescope is a great buy for the money.

As a GoTo, its simplicity will be appreciated.

The large aperture will blow you away as you see more and reach out further. With its quality, it provides the most important factor about owning a telescope – to have fun, and when you can see more, you’re likely to have more fun.

While its assembled weight is worthy of noting, it may very well be the make-or-break aspect about the scope.

But, if you have the strength, the space, and the room to haul it around, it’s a telescope you can’t pass up.

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