a wait of 2 months I finally received my Orion XT10 via UPS. I purchased the
scope primarily for viewing from my home which is surrounded by local city light
pollution (although my back yard is relatively dark). Upon initial inspection of
the (2) shipping containers I found a fist-sized hole in the center of the tube
assembly box. Thankfully there was no damage. As I removed the tube assembly and
the base parts from their respective containers, it was apparent that the
general construction and quality of the scope was everything I had hoped for. As
it was early afternoon and clear skies were forecast for that night I knew I had
time to put the scope together, let it cool down, and check the optics. However
the base attaching parts were not shipped and I had to call Orion. It took six
days for the parts to arrive. During that time I put a coat of polyurethane on
the unlaminated surfaces of the base to help seal them from moisture.
noticed that the mirror had a slight surface film so it was removed, cleaned,
and center spotted. How to clean a mirror is a very subjective topic. I used a
method provided by:
was not necessary for me to touch the mirror with anything but water and
alcohol. The above method worked beautifully. Mirror cell removal and assembly
was quite simple. I did notice that the 4 mirror retaining clips were too tight
as they were pressing on the mirrors surface. This
likely would have introduced astigmatism. When reassembling the mirror cell I
left the retaining clips loose enough to allow a business card to slip between
the mirror and the clip (eyeballed). However I noticed that the two screws
holding each retaining clip were now a little too loose. I placed three small
lock washers over each screw between the clip and the mirror cell (I am now
looking for small springs to replace the lock washers). This provided enough
tension on the screws to keep them from coming loose. To assist in mirror
cooling I did not replace the metal back plate.
receiving the missing hardware the base went together easily and was very solid.
I cut out 6, 3" diameter plastic milk carton washers and placed them over
the center pivot pin. This helped to smooth out the azimuth motion (I used 5).
They worked very well. I placed the tube assembly on the base and attached the
tension springs. BTW - I felt the directions provided with the scope were very
clear and easy to follow. I did not mount the eyepiece holder or the 8 x 50
viewfinder, as I will use neither. I did mount a Rigel viewfinder, which is my
preferred spotting method when observing. I want as little weight as possible on
the front of the scope for balance purposes. OK -- I did place the 8 x 50
viewfinder temporarily on the scope to verify a complaint I had read about --
that the two mounting nuts holding the finder to the tube assembly came loose
too easily. I would have to agree. I didn't try it but perhaps a couple of lock
washers would help tighten things.
I had lent out my Tectron collimating tools I was forced to visually center the
secondary in the focuser. No adjustments were necessary. Using my Kendrick laser
I adjusted the 3 secondary screws until the laser beam struck the center of the
primary mirror. I then adjusted the primary until the return beam struck the
center of the laser. This took about 3 minutes.
~ 4-5 (a cold front had gone through earlier in the day)
Magnitude: ~ 4.4 at zenith, nada near horizon.
NOTE: I have yet to use the 9mm and 25mm eyepieces supplied with the scope.
scope went from an indoor temperature of 70 degrees to 23 degrees and a wind
chill of 11. I placed a small desk fan pointing at the primary and let the scope
cool for an hour. I would have let it go longer but it was getting late (and
colder), and all I wanted to do was check out the optics. Using a 19mm Panoptic
I pointed the scope at Betelgeuse and focused. A nice pinpoint image appeared. I
replaced the Panoptic with a 2x Barlow and a 10mm Radian. Both sides of focus
showed nice circular diffraction rings (when the seeing permitted) with just a
hint of astigmatism. The mirror did demonstrate a bit of under correction. I
placed a 27mm Panoptic in the focuser and surfed the Pleiades - gorgeous! Back
to the 10mm Radian I went after Jupiter and was not disappointed. In spite of
the seeing, several equatorial bands and zones were very clear. Its moons were
bright pinpoints. The GRS was very pronounced with the 2x Barlow/Radian. On to
Saturn -- its rings clearly showed the Cassini division and Saturn itself was
exhibiting subtle banding -- very nice. There were at least 4 - 5 moons visible.
BTW, I used a #80A blue filter (Orion) for both Jupiter and Saturn. I went after
the Orion nebula using just the 10mm Radian. The Trapezium was obvious but the
stars were bloated due to the deteriorating seeing and its lower elevation. The
nebula itself was being washed out due to the local light pollution. A later
in/out focus check showed some obvious astigmatism so either the collimation
slipped or the mirror was still adjusting to the falling temperature (I suspect
the latter). I was getting too cold to find out and called it night after about
30-45 minutes. The 2" focuser was very smooth and there was virtually no
backlash. All my eyepieces fit and came to focus (with the possible exception of
my 19mm Panoptic). I will have to double-check the next time I observe.
in all I am very satisfied with the scope. It will stay in my garage so as to
minimize future cool-downs. I placed shower caps over both ends of the scope to
keep out future summertime pests. I will also place some desiccant in the bottom
shower cap to reduce any moisture. I will be flocking the interior of the tube
and I am considering replacing the secondary with a smaller, heated unit. The
current secondary has a 63mm minor axis (25% obstruction). I would like to
decrease the obstruction to just under 20%. The weight of the scope (56 lbs)
does not prevent me from lifting and carrying the entire unit by the base.
However the tube removes quite easily from the base if you desire to move the
scope in two pieces.
by Tom Zefo - firstname.lastname@example.org - St.