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Explore Scientific 10” Truss Dobsonian Reviewed – Recommended Product

The Explore Scientific 10” Truss Dobsonian requires some fine-tuning and shopping to reach its full potential, but is well-made and extremely rewarding to use.
NOT included in the Ultimate Telescope Shortlist

Explore Scientific is one of the newest telescopes and astronomy equipment manufacturers, and it is taking the US by storm with its high quality and relatively low-cost telescopes and eyepieces. Now Explore Scientific has introduced truss type telescopes into their lineup, to much joy from amateur astronomers worldwide, one of the first manufacturers tointroduce these extremely lightweight and portable telescopes to the market.

The focus of today’s review is the 10-inch truss telescope from Explore Scientific. I will discuss the specifications of the scope, what it includes, what makes the truss design different, and how you use truss telescopes. Of course, I will discuss whether it is worth buying this scope, who it’s for and what you use it for.

How It Stacks Up
Rank 8
Explore Scientific 10” Truss Dobsonian

Best Similar Featured Alternative: Apertura AD10 Dobsonian is the best 10" dobsonian ever, but if you're adamant on getting a truss tube 10" dobsonian, Explore Scientific 10″ Hybrid Dobsonian would be a better choice.

What We Like

  • Large aperture
  • Portable
  • High quality of manufacture
  • Good optics
  • Relatively user-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • Poor light baffling
  • Unusual collimation system can be problematic
  • Needs significant aftermarket purchases to perform well

Bottom Line
Recommended Product Badge

The ES 10” is a very portable and lightweight telescope thanks to the truss-style construction, while still being able to handle heavy eyepieces and accessories. While it is the best in its class short of purchasing a premium custom instrument, beginners might want to stick to a simpler instrument with fewer frills.

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For purchasing this telescope, we highly recommend HighPointScientific, the largest telescope retailer in the United States. Their knowledge of the subject, combined with features like a price match promise, free lifetime tech support, a 30-day return policy, and financing choices, makes them a great pick.

What makes this scope different?

The main factor that makes this 10-inch Dobsonian different is that it is a truss telescope. In the past, telescopes and, for that matter, almost all commercial Dobsonians were what’s known as “solid tubes.” A solid tube telescope is one where the tube that holds the mirrors is completely solid, typically metal or, in some cases, wood. A truss-style telescope is almost completely different, as it is constructed with truss poles. This means that there is no tube at all. How can that be? Won’t light spill into the telescope? I will answer that here, and also explain why it can be very advantageous.

Explore Scientific 10" Truss Dobsonian

A truss telescope consists of four major parts: the base/rocker box, the mirror box, the truss poles, and the upper tube assembly. The rocker box in a truss telescope is the part that contains the bearings to move the telescope up, down, left, and right, and it is what the telescope sits on. Because the truss telescope design has a much different center of gravity, the rocker box can be very short. 

Next is the mirror box, and it is, as the name implies, where the main mirror is located. The mirror box is typically very short because it only serves to hold the mirror in place and collimate the mirror. The mirror box is where the altitude bearings attach, as they pivot up and down. The truss poles attach to the top of the mirror box.

The upper tube assembly sits on top of the truss poles, and it holds the secondary mirror, finderscope, and focuser of the telescope. Typically, the upper tube assembly is formed of two lightweight rings with struts in between, as you will find on this telescope. The upper tube assembly is also very light as it is almost completely hollow while still being quite strong.

The truss poles are the main feature in a telescope like this. Truss poles replace the typically very heavy metal tubes that become impractical for large telescopes, and they make the telescope far more portable. Truss poles are the set of eight poles that form a triangular shape (hence the name “truss”) and make the telescope extremely rigid-perhaps more rigid than a closed tube telescope. The truss poles detach from the upper and lower sections of the telescope easily, leaving only the lower and upper tube assemblies, which themselves are very small. The poles make up the bulk of the telescope’s length but are quite small. These factors make truss telescopes extremely portable and lightweight.

Tech Specs

While it is a truss-style telescope, the Explore Scientific 10 inch dob is still a Newtonian reflector type telescope with some basic features that you will find in most telescopes that you should be aware of before purchasing this scope. I will list them here.

  • The Explore Scientific 10” Truss Dob is, as the name states, a 10-inch Dobsonian. This means that the primary mirror has a diameter of 250 mm, or 10 inches. A 10-inch dob is on the verge of a “large” Dobsonian, as it will reveal some of the darker objects like faint galaxies under dark skies but may not show them in great detail. Luckily, Explore Scientific makes larger Dobsonians, up to a staggering 20 inches.
  • The ES 10” has a focal length of 1250mm, which is f/5 when you consider the 10-inch primary mirror. F5 is a decent speed for a 10-inch telescope, as it is usable for both planetary and deep-sky observing comfortably, while still being short enough to use without a ladder. Because of that, the F/5 focal ratio also does not create as much coma as a faster mirror, and because of that, you do not need an expensive coma corrector to remove distracting aberrations.
  • The best feature that the truss design brings about is the extremely lightweight and portable telescope. As the large, heavy tube is ditched for eight poles, the truss design allows this telescope to be far lighter and far smaller than its alternatives. This scope weighs 59 pounds and it packs down into an extremely small space. Solid tube Dobsonians would be much harder to transport, as the rocker box is much larger, and the tube itself is very long.

Accessories Included

The Explore Scientific Dobsonians are known for the high-quality accessories that come with them. These accessories make the telescopes easier to use and better to look through. Some of the accessories can make observing a lot more fun, so I’ll list them here.

  • The ES 10” dob includes a red dot finder. A red dot finder is useful to use on a telescope to locate and move targets in the night sky. The red dot finder included projects a simple red dot onto a glass screen, which you look through and center the target you wish to view in the red dot. In my opinion, something like a Telrad finder is much improved, but a red-dot finder gets the job done without being extremely heavy.
  • The dob includes a high-quality 2-inch focuser, which is fairly high quality and smooth, and accepts 2-inch eyepieces and 1.25-inch eyepieces with no trouble. The focuser includes a dual-speed knob, which allows you to focus more finely. It is not a terrible focuser, and in my opinion, unless something is wrong, you do not need to upgrade it.
  • The telescope includes mirror cooling fans that are incorporated into the box. These fans allow you to cool the mirror quite quickly at night, so the views are not compromised by a changing mirror shape. Fans also have the advantage of blowing away any would-be dew that could land on the mirror surface, ruining views.
  • The telescope has an optional shroud. A shroud is a large piece of fabric that goes around the truss poles and blocks any light that would ruin views. The shroud can help deter dew, but it is most important if you observe in areas that have bright streetlights that could seriously impact viewing if they shone directly onto the primary mirror. However, it is an additional expense you’ll have to factor in when purchasing this scope.

Using the Truss Dobsonian

The Explore Scientific 10” Dob, being a truss tube, has some fairly major changes in operation compared to other telescopes, but also includes a novel form of collimation. Here I will go over the whole process of operations needed to set up this telescope and the front collimation feature. The ease of setup is what makes the truss-style tube an interesting alternative to solid tube telescopes, even if it needs more setup steps.

The ES10 begins with laying down the mirror box. Then, you attach the altitude bearings. These bearings can be taken off, which makes them easier to move because they are so big, especially the extra-large ones on this telescope. You can mount the altitude bearings at different positions to take different eyepiece weights into account so the telescope does not become unbalanced.

Next, you install the truss poles at four locations on the mirror box. The truss poles come in pairs, so they stay together reasonably well in transport. If you use the same poles at the same locations, you can reasonably maintain collimation when taking down and setting up the telescope. The poles are attached with easy-to-use thumbscrews.

Next, the upper tube assembly is attached to the top of the 4 truss poles, also with thumbscrews. At this point, the actual assembly is complete.

Then comes the collimation of the mirrors. A great feature found in the Explore Scientific line of truss telescopes is that the primary mirror is collimatable from the front of the telescope. This means that you no longer have to reach to the back of the telescope, risking bumping it, and walk back and forth between the eyepiece and the mirror box. Instead, the ES dob includes a tool to collimate the telescope from the eyepiece, so you do not have to reach down to the mirror cell. This, along with the large knobs on the secondary, makes it very easy to collimate this telescope. After you collimate, you are all good to go.

Alternative Recommendations

The Explore Scientific 10” Truss Tube Dobsonian is a great telescope, as well as extremely portable, though you certainly aren’t getting a lot of aperture – or features – for the price tag.

Under $1000

  • The Apertura AD10/Zhumell Z10/Orion SkyLine 10 offers similar performance to the 10” Truss but with significantly better included accessories, a simpler setup, and a lower price tag – though the focuser is similar quality, the fans are worse and the altitude bearings’ design is greatly inferior.
  • The Apertura AD8/Zhumell Z8/Orion SkyLine 8 has less light gathering ability or resolving power than the 10” Truss but is a bit more convenient to set up and just as well-accessorized as the AD10/Z10, though only slightly less heavy.
  • The Explore Scientific 10” Hybrid Dobsonian is largely the same design as the ES 10” Truss but with a less compact upper tube assembly and only a single-speed 2” Crayford focuser instead of a dual-speed unit. Those on a budget or less concerned with maximum portability but otherwise interested in the 10” Truss should really consider the 10” Hybrid if it is an option.


  • The Apertura AD12/Zhumell Z12/Orion SkyLine 12 offers more aperture and better accessories than the ES 10” Truss, albeit in a significantly less portable package that may be too bulky for some users, especially if you plan on transporting your telescope to dark skies in a car.
  • The Celestron StarSense Explorer 10” Dobsonian features Celestron’s StarSense Explorer technology to aid in finding targets, and its lightweight base has cutouts to aid in portability, along with several handles placed on the tube to make the scope easier to carry. However, like the 10” Truss and Hybrid from Explore Scientific, Celestron only provides a single low-power eyepiece and a simple red-dot finder, but the StarSense Explorer 10” Dobsonian also features a fairly inexpensive single-speed 2” Crayford focuser, which is not exactly terrible but isn’t particularly high quality, especially for the high price this telescope commands. An 8” model is also available from the StarSense Explorer lineup, but is similar in portability requirements and otherwise identical in features to the 10” and thus we’d recommend the 10” model by far as it will provide significantly better views despite the near-identical form factor and weight.

Aftermarket Accessory Recommendations

The first thing you should probably do for this scope if you don’t already have eyepieces is get some. At a minimum, we’d recommend three to start out with. Here are our picks:

  • GSO 30mm SuperView (42x): Good low-power eyepiece for finding targets and viewing larger ones such as emission nebulae and star clusters.
  • GSO 15mm SuperView (83x): Good medium-power eyepiece for general viewing of most objects.
  • 6mm “goldline” (208x): High-magnification eyepiece for the Moon, planets, double stars, globular star clusters, and planetary nebulae.

If you’ve got a little more money left in the budget, we’d also recommend something in the 8-11mm range and 18-24mm range for moderate magnifications.

Next up, you pretty much need the accessories ES offers for the scope in order to actually use it:

  • Shroud – Keeps light and moisture out of the tube, and curious hands from touching the optics, or stuff from being dropped on the primary.
  • Counterweight kit – Properly balances the telescope.


In conclusion, I think the Explore Scientific 10″ truss Dobsonian telescope is one of the best portable scopes that have come out in the past few years. At a relatively cheap price, it is sure to be a great choice for anyone wanting to start getting into deep sky observing.

The ES 10” is a very portable and lightweight telescope thanks to the truss-style construction, while still being able to handle heavy eyepieces and accessories. The truss-style is also very compact and can shrink down to an incredibly small form factor which makes this telescope east to move around. In conclusion, I highly recommend this 10-inch Dobsonian to anyone who has the budget for it as it is an excellent all-round performer.

Performance Score Of Explore Scientific 10” Truss Dobsonian


Quantitative measurements of how the telescope performs in various performance categories:









Rich Field










Optical Design:Newtonian Reflector
Mount Design:Wooden Alt-Azimuth
Focal Length:1270mm
Focal Ratio:f/5.2
Focuser:2” helical geared, dual speed focuser
Total Assembled Weight59.3 lbs
Warranty:2 year limited

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