Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
Number of locations
For the unrelated British telescope manufacturer, go to Orion Optics
Orion Telescopes & Binoculars is an American retail company that sells telescopes, binoculars and accessories online and in-store for astronomy and birdwatching. It was founded in 1975 and has corporate offices in Watsonville, California with a retail store in Cupertino, California. A large proportion of its products are manufactured by the Chinese company Synta for the Orion brand name. Orion Telescopes & Binoculars ships its products to the United States and over 20 other countries. Orion puts out a semi-quarterly mail-order catalog as well as email catalogs. The company is a prominent advertiser in North American astronomy magazines such as Sky & Telescope and Astronomy.
Orion Telescopes & Binoculars was founded in a garage in Santa Cruz, California in 1975 by Tim Gieseler, who served as its only president and CEO. In January 2005, it was acquired by Imaginova, the U.S. conglomerate founded in 1999 by CNN business anchor Lou Dobbs. Between the mid-1990s and 2005, Orion only sold binoculars, telescopes and accessories under the "Orion" brand, but with the Imaginova acquisition, Orion started to sell non-Orion brand products as well, including Tele Vue eyepieces, Celestron 8 and 11-inch (280 mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. In November 2017, Orion was purchased by its employees, and remains independent and American-owned.
Orion sells a range of telescopes that they characterize as "beginner", "intermediate" or "advanced", including Newtonians, Maksutovs, Schmidt-Cassegrains, Ritchey-Chrétiens and refractors with or without (sold as optical tube assemblies or "OTA") a variety of mounts. Orion also sells a series of Dobsonian telescopes that come in "Classic" and "IntelliScope" versions, the latter with upgraded accessories and the ability to indicate astronomical objects to the observer aided by a computerized object database. Orion also sells Dobsonians with GoTo and tracking capabilities.
In late 2005 Celestron (which had recently been purchased by Synta Technology Corporation of Taiwan) announced an agreement that would allow Celestron 8, 9.25, and 11-inch (280 mm) Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube assemblies (OTA), painted in metallic gray and using the "Orion" brand (Celestron OTAs are painted either gloss black or semi-gloss matte orange), to be sold with Orion branded German equatorial mounts (also made by Synta) and eyepiece accessories.
At the high performance end of their range, Orion has a series of two element apochromatic (apo) refractors manufactured by Synta featuring "extra low dispersion" fluorite crown glass in one element of the objective lens. These are marketed as the ED80 (80 mm or 3-inch (76 mm) objective at f/7.5), ED100 (100mm or 4-inch (100 mm) at f/9) and ED120 (120mm or 4.7-inch (120 mm) at f/7.5).
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- "Orion Telescope Center - Corporate Office". Cylex. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- 10 minute astronomy - Targets of opportunity: crazy cheap scopes on Amazon May 11, 2010
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- Philip S. Harrington, Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescopes and Accessories, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, page 147
- Antony McEwan, Sky-Watcher ED100, Highlands Astronomical Society 2014, spacegazer.com