Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro is a classic beginner’s model by every measure, but the looks is not for everyone.
StarBlast 4.5 has excellent optics and a well-built mount. It is a solid entrance to the astronomy world. But it looks like a toy more than a telescope, and for some people that is OK. But for some, like me, a 200$ purchase should bring more style with it.
Although it is small in size, its optics are excellent. The 4.5”(114mm) aperture proves enough to provide good planetary and great deep space performance.
The focal length is only 450mm. So you won’t get as much detail out of major planets such as Jupiter and Saturn as you would from a longer focal length telescope, such as Orion XT4.5. But this doesn’t mean you can’t see amazing details. Moons around Jupiter, The Great Red Spot, rings of Saturn and its largest moon Titan are all visible. The images are quite sharp and bright. If you are specifically going for planetary performance you should get a longer focal length telescope. But Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro for sure won’t let you down in that area.
The deep-space performance is a whole another story. Thanks to its low focal ratio(f/4) and rich field view, focusing and switching between deep space objects is easy and fun. Bright objects such as The Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and Pleiades Star Cluster look mesmerizing. You can also get great views of brighter objects in the Messier Catalog. With a good filter, you are going to get incredible views. If you are getting this telescope for deep-space observation you won’t be disappointed.
The optics are excellent for deep-space and mediocre for Solar System objects.
The Moon looks spectacular as you might expect. Color accuracy and sharpness is great around mid-range magnifications.
The mount is a tabletop Dobsonian, so it is solid and stable. It is extremely easy to use and easy to carry around. The motions on the horizontal and vertical axis are smooth thanks to Teflon bearings. In our opinion, this mount is one of the bests in beginner telescopes.
The eyepieces are disappointing.
The accessories are below-average. They are useful to get you started with stargazing, but we recommend getting better eyepieces to use this telescope to its full potential.
Overall, StarBlast 4.5 is a perfectly built entrance level telescope. If it came with better eyepieces and had better looks, It would easily be the top choice. But unfortunately, it doesn’t.
In-Depth Review and Technical Specifications
If you are a beginner and searching for a good starter telescope you have probably seen the term “Aperture is king”. And that is absolutely true. Without enough light-gathering, it is impossible to get good images. The slightest increase in aperture makes a huge difference.
Optics and Eyepieces
Let’s start with the optics. As we’ve said before it has a 114mm aperture, considerably smaller than 130mm. But surprisingly it doesn’t fall behind that much. In contrast, it provides amazingly sharp and bright images of major planets and deep space. The deep-space performance is spectacular thanks to the f/4 focal ratio. The planetary performance is good, just not as good as deep space.
Major details such as moons around Jupiter, The Great Red Spot, Saturn’s rings and its largest moon Titan are all easily visible. You can also see the Cassini Division(the space between Saturn’s rings) with a good eyepiece. The ice caps on Mars and the phases of Venus are also visible with a good eyepiece on ideal atmospheric conditions.
You will see most of the details that you would see on a larger telescope. Just not as close as you would see on Zhumell Z130 or Orion XT4.5 since they have longer focal lengths.
Deep space observation is a joy with Orion StarBlast 4.5 thanks to its rich field-view. Bright deep space objects such as nebulas, star clusters, and galaxies look amazing with a good filter. You can get good views of bright Messier Catalog objects and many major deep space celestials.
Color accuracy is on point, but optical power is not mesmerizing.
The Moon looks great. The parabolic mirror provides great color accuracy and sharpness. The craters and mountain ranges look amazingly detailed with a good eyepiece.
Speaking of eyepieces the eyepieces that come with Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro are not good at all. They are 17mm(26x) and 6mm(75x) Kellner’s. These eyepieces are included just to let you get started with stargazing immediately. They will be sufficient for the beginning but you should change them with good ones such as Plössl’s to use the telescope to its full potential.
The mount is one of the main reasons why this telescope is a great model. It is larger than usual, providing stable observations. It is also solid. It won’t get damaged easily after long hours of travel.
The tensioner knob on the side is to increase the friction between the optical tube and the base in case of any imbalance. It is useful and works well.
The carrying handle is a nice touch.
The eyepiece holders are also surprisingly useful.
The mount is well-built and easy to use.
Dobsonian design is the easiest to use mount type in any telescope. It only moves up, down, left and right, which is great for beginners.
Overall we are very pleased with the mount. It doesn’t bring up any complaints and does its job really well.
The EZ II Red Dot Finder is very common among budget telescopes. Although it is not the best finderscope available, it is quite useful for a small telescope. It doesn’t provide any magnification. It just helps you point the telescope in the right direction in the night sky.
The focuser is a rack-and-pinion model. It is 1.25 inches in size and is mostly plastic. It is quite smooth and solid. Doesn’t bring up any complaints regarding the stability of the eyepiece. It is compatible with any 1.25-inch eyepiece in case you get extra ones.
As we’ve said before the major drawback is the aperture size. There are wider aperture telescopes available for the same price.
The eyepieces could have been better but this is to be expected with a budget telescope.
Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro is an all-around great beginner’s telescope. It is a very good model for kids as well thanks to its lightweight and easy-to-use design. If you are concerned with convenience and portability, we can’t think of a better choice.