Click here to download our review of the $99.95 telescopes as a 2.3-Mb PDF.
At public star parties and astronomy classes, people often ask us how much they need to spend to buy a decent telescope. There are many fine options for less than $300, and at least one great telescope for less than $200 — the StarBlast 4.5-inch Astro from Orion Telescopes & Binoculars (S&T: June 2003, page 46). But in the sub-$100 price range, low-quality scopes outnumber good ones by a huge margin — so careful shopping is essential. In the March 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope, we reviewed three $99.95 telescopes from Orion (shown in the picture at right). Each model has its strengths and weaknesses, but we have no hesitation in recommending all of them. They are:
There's a lot of information that couldn't fit in the space allotted to our review. Click on one of the topics below to see the relevant info.
The SkyScanner and StarBlast Compared (HTML article)
The Attractions of the Scopes for Experienced Users
(5.6-Mb MP3, 6-minute discussion between the authors)