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Building on the Orion SkyQuest XT8i Computerized IntelliScope's legacy of award-winning design and performance, we've enhanced the world's best-selling 8" Dobsonian telescope 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 XT8i Computerized 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 telescope 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 Orion SkyQuest XT8i Computerized 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" telescope 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 Telescope 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 XT8i Computerized IntelliScope. One-year limited warranty.
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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 Telescopes 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 Telescope — with a slew of great design and performance features not found on competing Dobsonians.
Q. How many objects are in the Computerized IntelliScope XT8i database?
A.) There are more than 14,000, enough for a lifetime of observation:
Q.) How do you polar-align or initialize the Computerized 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 Computerized IntelliScope system use?
A.) The Computerized 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 Dobsonians 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 telescope 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:
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:
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.
Download a PDF file of the Instruction Manual for this product.
Download a PDF file of the Addendum for this product.
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IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator Instructions
IntelliScope Controller Holster Instructions
Printable Alignment-Star Charts (the same charts in the Computerized Object Locator manual, only larger.