Orion StarBlast II 4.5 EQ Telescope Review: Countering Earth’s Motion
Its flimsy base pulls down StarBlast II 4.5EQ, but the high-quality optics are fair compensation.
An equatorial mount at the budget price range is always a poor choice. They are plastic, unstable, hard to use, and slightly more expensive.
Who should get the StarBlast II 4.5? People who, for some reason, are in need of an EQ mount. Those buyers will know what they are getting. Other than that, a pure beginner should get a telescope with an altazimuth mount. Those models are tabletops, Dobsonians, and some of the refractors. They are cheaper and better in all areas.
An EQ mount is not a good choice for a beginner.
But still, StarBlast 4.5 II is worth a review. The reason for that is its high-quality optics and accessories. And also, it is wildly popular.
450mm Focal Length
Deep Space Performance
114mm is enough for brighter space objects.
The optical quality is the compensation for the low-quality base. Although the 114mm(4.5”) aperture is not the most passionate starter width, it is able to gather enough light to view brighter Messier objects and show some planetary detail.
The focal ratio of f/4 is perfect for deep space performance, but it will lower planetary performance. It will also require precise collimation.
StarBlast 4.5 II requires precise optical alignment.
Planetary performance is below average.
The planetary performance is not as good as the usual 114mm. That is because of the short optical tube. The telescope is harder to focus at high magnifications and the field view is too high for a good amount of detail.
Jupiter will show its many stripes, The Great Red Spot and 4 Galilean Moon’s.
Rings of Saturn and its largest moon Titan are easy targets.
Mars will show some surface detail as black and white stains.
Phases of Venus are easy to observe.
Uranus and Neptune will appear as blueish dots.
The Lunar performance is not as good as the usual 114mm telescope, but it still will show a mesmerizing amount of craters and mountain ranges.
Deep Space Performance
Deep space performance is where StarBlast II 4.5EQ shines. The wide field view combined with the 114mm aperture will provide above average sharpness and brightness with deep space objects.
The brighter Messier Catalog objects are the ideal targets for the StarBlast II 4.5. These include the Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula, Hercules Star Cluster, and the Pleiades Cluster. There are countless Deep Space Objects you can observe with this telescope.
The deep space performance won’t disappoint.
Can I do some astrophotography with the StarBlast II 4.5EQ?
In practice, you can’t do any astrophotography with the StarBlast 4.5EQ. You need a DSLR camera, a better EQ mount, and a tracker which will cost more than twice the telescope itself, and astrophotography is not easy to do with the most expensive of equipment.
Has a Learning Curve
Mostly Plastic Build
The mount is flimsy as well as the tripod. You can increase the overall stability by attaching a heavy object right below the EQ mount, but it won’t solve the problem completely.
Adding to the stability problem, the EQ mount will have a learning curve.
The wide-field view helps a little. You need less precision with such optical design.
Overall the mount is the deal-breaker. Although it is a decent equatorial, it is simply impossible to provide a butter smooth and rock-solid equatorial mount at this price range. The tripod doesn’t help with its thin, aluminum legs.
10mm Plössl Eyepiece
25mm Plössl Eyepiece
Red Dot Finder
Orion did the right thing by sending Plössl eyepieces with this telescope. They are much better than the usual Kellner’s, and provide some compensation for the low-quality mount. The 10mm eyepiece will provide 45x, and the 25mm eyepiece will provide 18x magnification.
This telescope will go as high as 170-180x. A 6mm Goldline is almost necessary for planetary detail. It will quadruple the potential of the StarBlast II 4.5EQ.
The red dot finder is cheap, but useful. It is more reliable than slightly more expensive, scope-type finders such as the 6×30. It is my personal choice at budget prices.
The focuser is a 1.25” rack and pinion. It is mostly plastic, but it does its job well. I don’t expect anything better at this price range.
Hard to Use
The base as a whole is a weakness, and not in a small way. You should avoid an equatorial base if it is not an absolute necessity.
Overall this telescope is ideal for a very small percentage of astronomers. The EQ mount and the f/4 focal ratio makes it harder to use. The base is flimsy, and the tripod needs additional weight for some stability.
I don’t know why an EQ mount would be a necessity, but in such case, StarBlast II 4.5EQ is one of the bests. The quality of the optics and the accessories take it to another level.