Although the red color isn’t for everyone, SkyScanner 100 is among the top choices for beginner telescopes.
The main reason this is such a good telescope is its primary mirror. Usually around this price range reflectors have spherical mirrors that are cheap and low-quality. Orion used a parabolic primary mirror with SkyScanner 100mm which is much better. There is no chromatic aberration at any magnification. Color accuracy and sharpness are on point.
The only issue with the optics is that the primary mirror is not adjustable. You can actually collimate the scope but it is much harder than usual. Or you have to contact Orion customer service. So be careful not to drop the telescope from a high place or hit it with something.
The primary mirror has a high-quality parabolic design, but it is not adjustable.
This doesn’t mean this telescope is a bad model by any means. For this price, it is ridiculous how much this telescope can show you. The moons around Jupiter, The Great Red Spot, Rings of Saturn and its largest moon Titan are all easily visible. You can also get amazing views of deep space such as the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and Milky Way.
SkyScanner is ideal for scanning the deep-sky, obviously.
The name SkyScanner was given because of the low focal ratio. Meaning you will have a large field-view. Therefore sky scanning is a joy with this telescope. Especially scanning the deep space.
The Moon looks spectacular thanks to the parabolic primary mirror. Color accuracy and sharpness is really good at mid-level magnifications, you will get great views of craters and mountain ranges.
The mount is a tabletop Dobsonian. It is sturdy and has a smooth motion in both vertical and horizontal axis. It is also compatible with most tripods. It is much better than most telescope mounts at this price range.
The accessories are surprisingly good for the price. But if you want to use this telescope to its full potential you should get better eyepieces.
Orion SkyScanner 100mm is a really good telescope. You can be sure not a single dollar is wasted if you are going to buy it. The optics, build quality, accessories are all as good as they can be. The only competitor for this telescope is Zhumell Z100, and they are almost exactly the same.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
There are a few aspects that make Orion SkyScanner 100mm one of the best beginner telescopes. It is ridiculously portable. It has a considerably solid build. Its optics are pretty good for a telescope its size. It certainly deserves its popularity among beginner and intermediate astronomers. Even more so if you consider its low price tag.
Optics and Eyepieces
The 100mm aperture is not bad. It is enough to get good views of Jupiter and Saturn. Four Galilean Moon’s of Jupiter and its stripes are easily visible. You can also see the rings of Saturn distinguishable from the planet. There are also other details that you can see but you get the idea. If you are specifically going for planetary detail you should get a longer focal length telescope. But this one won’t let you down if you are going for popular details inside the Solar System.
The Moon looks pretty good. Color accuracy is great thanks to the parabolic primary mirror which is very important for Lunar observation. Mountain ranges and craters are no problem at mid-level magnifications.
The eyepieces are of average quality, but pleasing considering the price.
Deep space performance is where Orion SkyScanner 100 really shines. It has a low-f/4 focal ratio therefore you get a wide field-view. So “sky scanning” is a lot of fun. You can see the Andromeda Galaxy as a whole, The Orion Nebula, Milky Way, Pleiades Star Cluster and many other bright deep space objects. Most objects in the Messier Catalog are also easily visible. Deep space observation is the strongest aspect of the optical design.
The mount is a tabletop Dobsonian which is the best for a beginner for two simple reasons: ease-of-use and stability. It only moves up, down, left and right which is as easy as it gets with telescope mounts. Motions are pretty smooth so you don’t have to worry about that.
The mount is compatible with most tripods.
Its base is wide enough to provide more than enough stability for observations. Keep in mind you will need a sturdy surface to put the telescope on. Most people use the trunks of their car or a table.
Overall the mount is really good. It is stable and smooth; which is enough for a telescope this size.
You can fit Orion SkyScanner 100mm in a backpack.
The red dot finder that comes with the telescope is common among beginner telescopes. It is pretty useful for low-magnification, wide field-view optical tubes. It simply projects a red dot on the sky. It doesn’t bring up any complaints.
The focuser is more than enough for such a small device. Although it has some plastic the important parts are made of metal. It’s smooth and solid.
The aperture size is pretty small, but you should already be OK with this if you are getting this telescope. Other than that this telescope gets the job done on all areas.
Orion SkyScanner is an all-around great grab-and-go telescope. Small, compact and high-quality design makes it hard to find major problems with the telescope, and there is none. It is just perfect and well worth the price.