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Yaesu CT-166 Cloning Cable, for FTM-400DR/FTM-100DR
Yaesu CT-166 Cloning Cable, for FTM-400DR/FTM-100DR
Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope #10018
Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope #10018

SkyQuest XT8 IntelliScope with Object Locator
  • Locate more than 14,000 fascinating celestial objects with pushbutton ease with optional controller
  • 203mm aperture and 1200mm focal length allow you to reach deep into space for jaw-dropping images
  • Includes new 2" Crayford focuser, two eyepieces, finder scope, FREE Starry Night astronomy software
  • The ultra-stable Dobsonian base keeps the tube perfectly balanced for point-and-view ease of use
  • One-year limited warranty

Building on the XT8's legacy of award-winning design and performance, we've enhanced the world's best-selling 8" Dobsonian with new technology that will change the way you view the heavens. And it's now upgraded with a 2" Crayford-style focuser for smoother, more accurate performance.

The SkyQuest XT8 IntelliScope gives you speedy, push-button access to more than 14,000 fascinating celestial objects on the optional IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator. Looking for the Whirlpool Galaxy? Press the button labeled "Messier" select M51 whoosh! Wow! In seconds, there it is in the eyepiece. Never been able to find that edge-on galaxy, NGC 891? Tap the "NGC" button, select 891 Whoosh! You're there. It's that easy to locate object after object, so many more in an evening than you could ever find before.

The SkyQuest XT8 IntelliScope is the most advanced 8" Dobsonian telescope available. Its 8" (203mm) parabolic primary mirror serves up jaw-dropping images of the planets, nebulas clusters, and galaxies. The enameled steel tube boasts a "navigation knob" for easy slewing, a right-angle finder scope and now a Crayford-style focuser that accepts 2" and 1.25" eyepieces. The focuser provides silky-smooth, backlash-free motion that eliminates image shift, making it easier to achieve the sharpest possible focus.

The tube rides on a streamlined, ultra-stable Dobsonian base, moving smoothly on Teflon and UHMW polyethylene bearing pads. The CorrecTension system keeps the tube perfectly balanced for point-and-view ease of use.

Find out how much fun big-aperture stargazing can be with the Orion SkyQuest XT8 IntelliScope. One-year limited warranty.

Product Specifications:

Use Astronomy
User level Level 2
Optical design Reflector
Optical diameter 203mm
Focal length 1200mm
Focal ratio 5.9
Optics type Parabolic
Glass material Soda-lime plate
Eyepieces included Sirius Plossl 25.0mm, 10.0mm
Magnification with included eyepieces 48x, 120x
Resolving power 0.57arc*sec
Lowest useful magnification 29x
Highest useful magnification 300x
Limiting stellar magnitude 14.2
Optical quality Diffraction limited
Finder scope 9x50 Correct-image, right angle
Focuser 2" Crayford
Secondary mirror obstruction 1.85 in.
Secondary mirror obstruction by diameter 23%
Secondary mirror obstruction by area 5%
Mirror coatings/over-coatings Aluminum & Silicon Dioxide
Mount style Dobsonian
Astro-imaging capability Simple moon shots
Computerized compatibility Intelliscope included
Alignment procedure 2-Star Alignment
Number of objects in database 14,000+
Bearing material Teflon and UHMW bearings
Power requirement 9-volt battery
Available ports RS-232
Tube material Steel
Tripod material Wood
Length of optical tube 44.5 in.
Weight, optical tube 20.3 lbs.
Weight, mount/tripod 21.3 lbs.
Weight, fully assembled 41.6 lbs.
Additional included accessories IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator HC, Eyepiece rack, Collimation cap
Other features Navigation knob, 2" Crayford focuser
Warranty One year

Included Items:

Optical tube assembly
25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece (1.25")
10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece (1.25")
2" - 1.25" eyepiece adapter
IntelliScope object locator hand controller
9x50 finder scope
Finder scope bracket with O-ring
Collimation cap
Eyepiece rack
Dust cap
Eyepiece rack mounting wood screws
Tensioning/Retaining knobs
Tensioning knob nylon washer
Tensioning knob metal washer
Nylon retaining knob spacer
Handle mounting hex-head screws
Handle mounting screw washers
Crescent wrench
Azimuth encoder board
Encoder connector board
Encoder disk
Left panel
Right panel
Front brace
Top base plate
Ground base plate
Base assembly wood screws
Hex key
Plastic feet
Feet attachment wood screws
Encoder board mounting wood screws
Brass bushing
Azimuth axis hex-head screw
Fender washers
Hex lock nut
Altitude bearing cylinders
Altitude bearing cylinder screws
Vertical stop knob
Flat washers
Altitude encoder assembly
Coil cable
Altitude encoder cable (53")
Azimuth encoder cable (24")
Wire retaining clips
Hook-and-loop strips
Plastic bumper
Wood screws
Nylon washers
9V battery
Starry Night special edition software

Frequently Asked Questions About SkyQuest IntelliScope Telescopes

Q.) Does the IntelliScope system use motors?
A.) No, it's human powered! The user moves the scope manually which is faster quieter, and eats fewer batteries than motorized systems.

Q.) If it's not motorized, how does the IntelliScope system actually find objects?
A.) When a target object is selected on the Computerized Object Locator, two directional guide arrows (altitude and azimuth) with numbers are displayed on the illuminated LCD screen. The user moves the telescope in the direction of the arrows until both numbers decrease to 0.0. Then the object will be in the eyepiece's field of view.

Q.) Is the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator compatible with other commercial or home-built telescopes?
A.) No. Critical dimensions and tolerances designed into the IntelliScope base and the encoder-telescope interface would be very difficult to achieve on any other Dobsonian or other telescope system.

Q). Can I use an IntelliScope Dob without the Computerized Object Locator?
A.) Sure! Without the Object Locator the IntelliScope Dobsonian performs like a standard Dobsonian with a slew of great design and performance features not found on competing Dobsonians.

Q. How many objects are in the IntelliScope database?
A.) There are more than 14,000, enough for a lifetime of observation:

  • 7,840 objects from the NGC catalog
  • 5,386 objects from the IC catalog
  • 110 objects from the Messier catalog
  • 837 single, double, multiple, and variable stars
  • 99 user-defined objects
  • 8 major non-Earth planets

Q.) How do you polar-align or initialize the IntelliScope system prior to using it?
A.) The set-up procedure is a piece of cake. First, you rotate the tube to the vertical position and press Enter. Then, you do a simple two-star alignment, where you point the telescope to one bright star, then another, pressing Enter each time. Done! That's all there is to it. The telescope is now properly oriented with the night sky and ready to find objects. The instruction manual has four seasonal star charts that identify the alignment stars you can choose from.

Q.) What type of encoders does the IntelliScope system use?
A.) The IntelliScope system uses two magnetic, 9,216-step high-resolution digital encoders. The azimuth encoder comes with the telescope, the altitude encoder comes with the Computerized Object Locator.

Q.) How long will the 9-volt battery in the Computerized Object Locator last?
A.) Thirty to 50 hours with typical, intermittent use. Using a dim illumination setting will help conserve battery power.

Q.) Can the IntelliScope tube assembly be easily removed from the base for transporting?
A.) Yes. As is explained in the IntelliScope instruction manual, you need only unthread and remove the large knob on each of the two side panels, then the tube assembly can be lifted off the base.

Q.) Are IntelliScope Dobsonians suitable for astrophotography?
A.) Not really, since they do not have automatic tracking. However, you can take short exposures of the Moon and planets using afocal, through-the-eyepiece techniques.

Q.) Can the IntelliScope be "controlled" by a computer running astronomy software?
A.) Yes. Please see the IntelliScope-to-Starry Night Pro Interface section below for details on configuring your software.

Technical Questions About SkyQuest IntelliScope Telescopes

Note: For general troubleshooting, refer to Appendix A in the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator instruction manual (IN 229)

Q.)Does the base need to be level when I use the Object Locator?
A.) No, the base only needs to be leveled once to adjust the vertical stop. Once the vertical stop is properly adjusted, the base does not need to be level.

Q.) Why is there a white nylon bushing in the left side panel for the tensioning knob, but no corresponding bushing in the right side panel for the retaining knob?
A.)This is part of the base design. It ensures the Dobsonian altitude bearings will work properly. If a nylon bushing was in the right side panel, the bearing surface would become the nylon bushings themselves instead of the telescope side bearings riding on the UHMW altitude bearing cylinders.

Q.) What is the purpose of the black nylon spacer for the retaining knob?
A.) The nylon spacer prevents the retaining knob from pinching the right side panel of the base. If the spacer is removed, the retaining knob can be tightened so that it will come into contact with the right side panel and prevent smooth altitude motion of the telescope.

Q.) Is the brass azimuth bushing supposed to rotate with the top baseplate?
A.) No, it is not. If it does, the azimuth encoder will not function reliably. If rotation of the bushing is observed, the hex lock nut on the azimuth bolt is probably not tight enough; it should be tightened about 1/4 turn past the point where the fender washer underneath it can no longer be moved by your fingers. It is also possible that the fit between the bushing and top baseplate is too tight. If you cannot install and remove the brass bushing from the top baseplate with your fingers, then roll up a piece of sandpaper and sand the inner wall of the central hole in the top baseplate until you can.

Q.) What is the material for the altitude bearing cylinders? I thought UHMW was white in color?
A.) The altitude bearings cylinders are indeed made of UHMW. We have added black dye to the material to match the color of the base.

Q.) Can the IntelliScope Dobsonians be used in conjunction with an equatorial platform?
A.)Yes, the IntelliScope Dobs are fully functional with equatorial platforms. This requires turning off the internal clock of the Object Locator, which is a menu option for the "hidden functions."

Q.) What can I do to ensure best pointing accuracy?
A.) Besides proper assembly, make sure the vertical stop is precisely adjusted by means of a carpenter's level. Also, use a high-powered illuminated reticle eyepiece to center the alignment stars.

Q.) Why do the azimuth encoder and encoder connector board come with the telescope, but the altitude encoder comes with the Object Locator?
A.) The azimuth encoder is needed for proper assembly of the base, regardless of whether the Object Locator is used or not. The altitude encoder is not needed if the Object Locator is not used. The encoder connector board is not needed if the Object Locator is not used, but it acts as a cover for the modular jack hole in the left side panel.

Q.) My encoder disk(s) has some marks and/or scratches on the magnetic ring. Should I be concerned?
A.) No, the magnetic rings of the encoder disks are not affected by impressions or scratches. If the magnetic ring is torn, contact Orion Customer Service.

Q.) I wish to make some modifications to the bearings of my IntelliScope Dobsonian. Is this okay?
A.) No, modifications to the bearings are not recommended, as the IntelliScope system may be adversely affected. The spacings and tolerances of the parts are critical, and all modifications are made at the customer's own risk. If the telescope is properly assembled, there should be no need to modify the bearings.

Q.) What is the pointing accuracy I should expect with the IntelliScope system?
A.) If properly assembled and aligned, the Object Locator will locate objects to better than 0.5. This will always place the desired object within the field of view of the supplied 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece.

Q.) Will the IntelliScope system perform in extremely cold weather?
A.) At temperatures colder than 0 F, 9V DC batteries typically do not provide enough power to operate most devices. This is the case with the Object Locator. If it's that cold out, you should be inside with a hot beverage!

Q.) Will time elapsing between alignment star sightings affect pointing accuracy?
A.) Generally, no. It should not take more than a couple of minutes between entering the first and second alignment stars, which will not affect pointing accuracy. You should identify two available alignment stars in the sky before even turning the Object Locator on. If more than 5 minutes elapse between entering alignment stars, then pointing accuracy may be somewhat diminished.

IntelliScope-to-Starry Night Pro Interface

  • To use Starry Night Pro as the graphical interface for controlling your IntelliScope, you will need to download the ASCOM driver update after installing the Starry Night Pro software (see below). ASCOM version 4.1 (or later) is required, and is available at: http://download.ascom-standards.org/ascom41.exe

  • Works on Windows Vista, Windows XP (not 2000, NT, ME or 98) and Macintosh 10.3 or higher.

Install the Starry Night Pro software. Follow all prompts and change discs as necessary. Allow Starry Night Pro to install QuickTime and the ASCOM v3.0 driver. Adobe Acrobat is not necessary if you already have a .pdf reader on your computer. Do not restart the computer after the ASCOM (v3.0) driver is installed; complete the Starry Night Pro installation first. When the Starry Night Pro installation is complete, then restart your computer. Then download the ASCOM (v4.1) update, and restart your computer again.

You are now ready to configure Starry Night Pro for use with the IntelliScope system:

  1. Open the Starry Night Pro program on your computer.
  2. Click on the tab marked "Telescope" at the bottom of the vertical row of tabs on the left side of the main display screen.
  3. Click on "Configure." The ASCOM Telescope Chooser will pop-up.
  4. From the ASCOM Telescope Chooser pull-down menu, choose "Orion IntelliScope Mounts."
  5. Click on "Properties."
  6. Indicate which of your computer's COM ports you will use to connect the IntelliScope object locator from the pull-down menu. The COM1 port is the default. If you have another accessory (printer, scanner, etc.) connected to the COM1 port, you will have to choose another COM port.
  7. Check the box marked "Align Upon Connecting."
  8. Enter the aperture and focal length of the IntelliScope you are using in the appropriate fields.
  9. Make sure the box marked "Clock Driven" is unchecked.
  10. Click "OK."
  11. Click "OK" on the ASCOM Telescope Chooser.

To physically connect the IntelliScope object locator to your computer, you must have the PC Interface Cable (Orion #5222). The modular plug end of the cable goes into the object locator's RS-232 jack, and the other end connects to the serial cable interface (COM port) of your computer.

To use the IntelliScope system with Starry Night Pro:

  1. Set up the telescope and object locator as you would normally do.
  2. Make sure the PC interface cable is properly connected to the object locator and computer.
  3. Press the object locator's POWER button, then press the ENTER button. The telescope does not need to be in any specific position at this point.
  4. Open the Starry Night Pro program on your computer.
  5. Click on the tab marked "Telescope" at the bottom of the vertical row of tabs on the left side of the main display screen.
  6. Click "Connect" and follow the prompts:
    • Set the telescope so that the tube is horizontal (estimating is OK); click "Continue."
    • Set the telescope so that the tube is vertical (estimating is OK); click "Continue."
    • Do a two-star alignment using the procedure and star list displayed.

The IntelliScope system is now connected and aligned to the Starry Night Pro software. The current position the telescope is pointed to will be indicated by a red crosshair on Starry Night Pro's sky map. We recommend clicking the box marked "Follow Scope" in the "Telescope" tab; this will center the Starry Night Pro star map on the current position of the telescope crosshairs.

Be aware of the time-out feature of the IntelliScope object locator. Press one of the arrow buttons periodically to avoid the auto-shutoff routine. Since you will not be actually handling the object locator, it will be easy to forget to do this. You will have to perform the alignment procedure again if the object locator does shut off.

Due to our dealer agreement with Orion, this item can not be shipped outside the USA.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 20 August, 2008.
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