Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Review

Hello parents and grandparents!  Welcome to my Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope review.  This classic style instrument might just be the answer if you are looking for something special to get your son or grandson; as it meets my requirements for top rated telescopes.

If you have never visited my site, then you should know that I have a son; and for all of you parents and grandparents out there who are continuously challenged as I am, we do what we can to accommodate for our sons and grandsons development and enjoyment.  You should also know that I never review a product that I would not purchase myself on behalf of my son.  I have read the reviews from customers who have used this product so that I may better help you to make the right decision.

Let’s take a look…

Some of the features:

  • This Dobsonian 8” diameter reflector optics telescope will allow your son or grandson to view the heavens such as planets, star clusters, galaxies, the moon, and even distant nebula; and it will do so with much more detail than smaller diameter reflector telescopes.
  • The Dobsonian base provides a stable platform to keep the 8” diameter reflector optical tube securely in place and totally balanced so your son or grandson can easily point it and view.

Quick Overview

The Good: Nice optics

The Bad: Not easy to transport

My Overall Take: This Dobsonian telescope is a great instrument to explore the skies, and it will excite the astronomer enthusiasts within your son or grandson who will be able to see awesome views of distant planets, stars, galaxies, and nebula – how cool is that!

Let’s get started and see what comes in the box:

General Information:

Dimensions: 50.2 x 17.5 x 15.5 inches

Weight: 41 lbs.


Other Features:

This instrument also comes equipped with a 2” Crayford Focuser which allows you to use either a 1.25” or a 2” telescopic eyepiece.  Additionally, it includes the following items as well:

  • EZ Finder II reflex sight
  • 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece
  • Collimation cap
  • Starry Night software

What you can expect to see:

Once set up, your son or grandson will be able to check out some really cool things like our moon, Saturn along with its rings, Mars, Venus.  But don’t forget to check out Jupiter along with its rings and four Galilean moons as they are clearly visible. 

The Good:

The optics are a good size which allows for more light-gathering capability so you can explore star clusters, and faint nebula and galaxies. When compared to similar telescopes in its price range, it provides a lot of extra value.  This celestial star-gazer is highly recommended by those who have purchased it and use it.    This instrument is also easy to set and use, as the finder scope allows for quick adjustment with minimal effort.  The combination of the reflex finder and right-angle optical finder allow you to easily find an area and zoom in on it.  The 1.25” & 2” allow for the possibilities of even more accessories.

The Bad:

A few customers received their telescope without a base, which pretty much renders the instrument useless; while a few others experienced some missing parts.  Customer service seems to be inconsistent, so if you are one of the few that does have issues after receiving the telescope, you may be further challenged to get your issue resolved to your liking.  This instrument is not small or lightweight, so moving or transporting could be a bit challenging, not for younger smaller hands.  Also, the finder scope may come lose while traveling and may need to be reset once you arrive at your destination before you will be able to use the telescope. 

See my 4 Top Rated Telescopes


Things to know / Tips:

  • This instrument is generally shipped in two separate boxes and could possibly arrive on different days.
  • For those of you who have younger sons or grandsons, they will need your help getting started with this instrument before they are comfortable to use it without assistance; this would be a good time to bond and have some fun. 
  • Assembling this instrument is said to take about 30 minutes, however some customers have spent hours, and even days; if you’re not sure or having difficulty with the assembly, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxo9uVqDOFc
  • If you are thinking about transporting this instrument, keep in mind that this it is not all that small or light weight for small hands, so take that into consideration.  Additionally, the finder scope may come lose while traveling and may need to be reset once you arrive at your destination before you will be able to use the telescope.   Also, you may want to think about a padded carrying bag as well.
  • Regarding the placement of the battery into the EZ Finder II, the instruction manual can be a bit confusing so when placing the battery into the EZ Finder II, make sure the positive end (+) is facing the retaining clip; the positive end/ terminal should be facing the telescope.
  • California residents – please click here for Proposition 65 warning: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=dp_prop65_warn?ie=UTF8&nodeId=3234041
  • If you are intending on checking out the heavens for the first time and are unfamiliar with using a telescope - do not expect to see them through a home telescope as they are seen on TV or through Hubble images; seeing the heavens directly from a personal telescope is a “live” viewing experience which is quite different from seeing the images in a publication; and there is really something about viewing the heavens “live” that makes it an exciting experience.
  • To make your celestial exploration even more enjoyable, you may want to get a Telrad, and a nice set of Telrad charts in order to find what you’re looking for a lot easier.
  • When collimating your telescope, make sure to adjust the primary mirror screws and secondary mirror screws separately, “one at a time” while observing your results.
  • The eye piece holder only comes with the XT6 model, not XT8.
  • When your son or grandson is exploring nebula, using various filters such as oxygen or light pollution may intensify their viewing pleasure.
  • Although this instrument will allow your son or grandson to view the heavens and provide cool images, in the future, you may want to look at an additional accessory kit with various eyepieces, lenses and filters to go from cool to spectacular, as this telescope allows you to expand.  If you are thinking that viewing the heavens during the day would be cool, acquiring a solar filter will do the trick.  Additionally, using various filters such as oxygen or light pollution may intensify the viewing pleasure when exploring nebula; while we’re on the subject, a moon filter would also be cool, reducing the glare.
  • Because this is a reflecting scope, keep in mind that everything you see is actually upside down. 
  • Subscribing to Sky & Telescope or even Astronomy Magazine will keep you informed with things regarding news, night sky events, astronomy equipment, and various eyepiece topics.

The Good:

  • Good optics
  • Value
  • Highly recommended
  • Easy set up and use
  • Ability to add accessories

The Bad:

  • Missing base or parts
  • Inconsistent customer service
  • Not easy to transport
  • Finder scope may come lose

My Overall Take:

As for top rated telescopes, this classic style instrument will excite the astronomer enthusiasts within your son or grandson, and how could it not?  As they will be able to see nice views of distant planets, stars, galaxies, and nebula, previously unknown to them.

Check out all the reviews on Amazon so you can see what these customers are saying, and you will be excited as well. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope review, and I look forward to helping you out again and again in the future.