The Orion SkyView Pro 8 is a fast Newtonian on an equatorial computerized mount.
If you know anything about this type of setup, then you’ll know there are some things to address.
While this very telescope pairing legitimately raises eyebrows, they are excellent telescope parts individually.
To determine if this setup could work for you, get the details here.
✔️ Best Feature: Good optics
❌ Worst Feature: Newtonian on an EQ mount
👌 Ideal For: Celestial Viewing, Stargazing, Lunar & Planetary Observation, DSO Viewing, Limited Astrophotography, Beginners
- Optical Design: Reflector
- Aperture: 203 mm (8”)
- Focal Length: 1000 mm (39.37”)
- Focal Ratio: f/4.9
- Eyepieces Included: 25mm, 10mm
Our Verdict: You will find that large aperture GoTo scopes on an EQ mount are not cheap. They come with their own learning curves with both telescope and mount strengths and weaknesses. If you’re willing to ease into GoTo with EQ movement and later pursue imaging, the Orion SkyView Pro 8 is one of the cheaper buys that can get you into the game.
Who is the Orion SkyView Pro 8 GoTo Best Suited to?
The SkyView Pro 8 is marketed to be an advanced computerized GoTo telescope, but in all reality, it doesn’t have the capability to support astrophotography demands that an advanced user requires.
With this truth revealed from the get-go, the Pro 8 is better suited to beginners who want more quality out of their optics and mount, but are still focused on visual-only benefits without putting high expectations into their imaging endeavors – yet.
But that does lead to the concern of what is seemingly a high price for something that may be used as a visual-only telescope. The quality is there from the stepper motors to the parabolic mirror, brass gears, and more. Considering that all this comes in one kit when both the EQ mount and telescope cost almost 70% of this package as separate purchases, it’s a fair buy.
How Does the Orion SkyView Pro 8 GoTo Perform?
The OTA is a great optical tube as it has quality, allows for easy collimation, and a large aperture for beginners getting into deep-sky viewing.
However, it’s best if you’re approaching this package as a visual-only telescope with the added perks of having GoTo. Astrophotography isn’t the best application simply due to the weight capacity of the mount and heavy weight of the OTA. But you do get a nice 8” aperture, and you could always try a digital eyepiece camera.
If you one day upgrade the mount to adequately fit the OTA, you haven’t wasted any money. The SkyView Pro EQ is well-suited to 5” and 6” telescopes that could absolutely serve as a serious astrophotography setup or second setup.
Even as it is, this is a great, high-quality package for a beginner even as a first-time telescope buy for those who don’t want to upgrade in a year’s time. There will be a learning curve given that it’s an EQ GoTo mount and a Newtonian that is more high-maintenance than a refractor telescope, but it can be learned and can be worth it.
Features & Benefits
The SkyView is a large 8” telescope that is excellent for more light transmission which equals more starlight. More starlight means fainter objects can be seen better with greater detail than with a smaller scope.
It’s also a fast telescope with its f/4.9 focal ratio. Wide fields of view for seeking out large objects or getting more of the picture is the name of the game. A parabolic primary mirror is needed because of its fast optics, so there will be less spherical aberration than on a comparable reflector telescope with a spherical primary mirror. You will likely need a coma corrector to improve astrophoto quality.
While it’s nice to see that a 2” Crayford focuser comes standard on this telescope, it is a single-speed focuser.
SkyView Pro EQ Mount
An EQ mount is essential to track stars and take long exposures. The SkyView Pro EQ mount has dual microstep driven stepper motors that slew up to 3.4-degrees per second to put the object right within the center of the field of view. It sits on top a steel tripod with steel 1.75” tube legs.
Using the hand controller, you can perform a two or three-star alignment, take a guided sky tour, and automatically slew to objects you want to observe for the night. To power the GoTo, you’ll need to purchase a 12V power supply separately.
Slow motion control knobs are included with the mount, and you could manually slew without GoTo. However, you will be forced to realign the GoTo and when accidental bumps and nudges happen because it does not have dual encoders.
The SkyView telescope comes with very good Plossl eyepieces, a 25 mm and 10 mm. With its fast optics, you could try using some wide-angle eyepieces to expand the FOV.
An 8×40 finder is included with the scope, but it’s said to be one of the first things that needs to be replaced. A 2” Crayford focuser, focus lock knob, and collimation cap are also included with the telescope.
The SkyView Pro mount is a good mount but pairing it with the 8” reflector is a questionable move if your sole desire is to image with it. The mount has a 20 lb payload capacity and the OTA itself weighs 16.5 lbs. Add the 2” focuser, 2” eyepiece, finder, tube rings, and the dovetail bar and you’re at max weight capacity without any imaging equipment.
There is an autoguider port on the mount for plugging in with a guide scope, but with the added weight, Orion can’t promise adequate performance with the mount’s load limitations.
It’s interesting though that some have loaded imaging gear on top and have taken excellent photos. However, there is the question of strain on the gears and the intermittent inaccuracies in tracking that would be the result.
To try your hand at imaging with a weight-conscious setup, you could experiment with a USB digital eyepiece camera and connect it to your computer.
Excellent for visual-only if you want EQ movement, but the OTA is not quite suited to the mount for imaging.
Newtonian on an EQ Mount
We all know that a Newtonian on an EQ mount can test the flexibility of even the most flexible of us with the weird and awkward positions the eyepiece will be in. What about the finder? Likely inaccessible. However, this is not a unique issue of the SkyView as it’s an ergonomic issue with Newtonians on EQ mounts.
While the normal solution would be to loosen the rings and rotate the tube back to a comfy position, you must be careful not to accidentally knock the scope out of its GoTo alignment or lose balance.
One problem solver is to DIY your own rotating rings often called Wilcox rings. Just still be careful not to bump the scope or you’ll be realigning your GoTo all over again.
Does the SkyView Pro 8 GoTo Automatically Track Objects?
Yes. The SkyView Pro 8 with GoTo automatically locates and tracks objects. The EQ mount allows the type of tracking that is needed to keep an object consistently within the field of view.
You will first need to input the specifics of your location and polar align to achieve the accuracy and tracking you need to maximize the GoTo system efficiently. While there are other methods to achieve polar alignment, a polar finder scope will be easier to use but must be purchased separately.
Will the Mount Hold a Small Guidescope on the Main Optical Tube?
The mount has an autoguider port for use with a guidescope, but the mount’s payload capacity is 20 lbs and the OTA already weighs 16.5 lbs. If the purpose if for guiding, you must be weight conscious about adding imaging gear.
Is the Orion SkyView Pro 8 Portable?
The SkyView Pro 8 telescope is a heavy setup weighing in at a total of 56.5 lbs. It’s better if you disassemble the OTA from the mount during transport and when traveling from point A to point B for telescope setup.
The OTA is 38” long and weighs 16.5 lbs. The mount and tripod weigh 25 lbs. Two counterweights are included and weigh 7.5 lbs each.
Can you Disengage the RA and Dec Axes for Manual Movement on the SkyView Telescope?
You can disengage the clutches for manual slewing of the telescope tube. However, you will ruin the GoTo alignment and will need to realign the scope for GoTo capability.
What is the Warranty on the Orion SkyView Pro 8 Computerized Telescope?
The SkyView telescope and mount are covered with an Orion 1-year limited warranty. It starts from the date of purchase and is not owner transferable.
The SkyView Pro 8 is not a high-end GoTo telescope system, but you do get a computerized GEM mount and 8” telescope in the same package for a good price.
There will be some limitations, but its visual performance for seeking out DSOs, tracking planets, and getting more surface detail on planets, moon, and the sun is by far its primary strengths. With GoTo on your side, you can learn the night sky, navigate it with ease, and track objects without having to mess with adjustments.