Diffraction-limited Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain optics, assembled into advanced electromechanical systems.
The large apertures of Meade LX-Series catadioptric (mirror-lens) telescopes permit the use of higher observing magnifications than is the case with smaller instruments, and because of the telescopes' greatly increased resolution and resolving power, extremely fine celestial detail may be observed and photographed. The four principal satellites of Jupiter become finite-sized orbs rather than pinpoints; the planet itself, under favorable atmospheric conditions, is an intricate web of whirls, festoons, and discontinuities. Saturn's rings resolve into finer detail, with at least 3 rings observable, and with detectable color variations. Six of Saturn's satellites are visible in revolution about the planet. Numerous features of the Martian landscape, including the white polar cap, are clearly identifiable. The Moon is a veritable treasury of incredibly fine fault lines, craterlets, and rilles. Deep-space phenomena take on a new character when explored through the tremendous light gathering capability of the 7", 8", 10", 12", and 14" models. Galaxies merely visible in smaller telescopes begin to show their essential structure; globular star clusters are resolvable in fine detail, in some cases to the core of the cluster; diffuse gas clouds such as the Orion Nebula are visible in such wide extension that the nebulosity may fill the field of view. This listing only hints at the breadth of galactic and extragalactic objects visible through the eyepiece of a Meade 8", 10", 12", or 14" SCT or 7" MCT model: it is a rare observer who might in a lifetime view all of the enumerated phenomena in the above categories.
Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain Optics: In astronomical optics the term diffraction-limited is used to rank an optical system as being of professional quality. Simply put, diffraction-limited means that the performance and resolution of an optical system are limited only by the size of the theoretical stellar diffraction image - i.e., limited only by the inherent aperture of the system and by the laws of physics. Meade hand-matched and hand-figured Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain optical systems - in continuous, independent, random tests by advanced amateurs and in definitive test reports by leading astronomical magazines - are consistently ranked as diffraction-limited. That Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain optics carry such a reputation worldwide is perhaps the prospective purchaser's best assurance of optical quality.
Astrophotography: Many Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain owners have done fine, high-resolution photography of the Moon, planets, and deep-space, as the photos on these pages confirm. A large complement of optional accessories is available for virtually every type of photographic application.
CCD Imaging: Creating a multifold increase in the effective aperture of any Meade telescope, CCD imagers enable the imaging of the planets and deep-space objects with a level of resolution and detail therefore impossible to achieve. Many of the finest astronomical images in this catalog were obtained with a CCD imager.
Meade LX10, LX90, and LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrains: Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes include a wide range of features and specifications, permitting a choice of telescope precisely tailored to each buyer's requirements. The tube assemblies of LX10, LX90, and LX200GPS models utilize identical optical systems. Differences among the various models lie primarily in the relative levels of mechanical and electronic sophistication. Detailed descriptions of all models will be presented later; basic model concepts are as follows:
8" LX10 Schmidt-Cassegrain: Responding to the demand for a relatively light weight, moderately-priced 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain, the Meade 8" LX10 is nonetheless fully qualified as a serious instrument. The LX10 operates for about 50 hours from its internal battery-powered motor drive system. The standard-equipment hand controller enables precise 2x guiding corrections in Right Ascension during long-exposure astrophotography; corrections in Declination may be effected from the same hand controller by adding the optional Declination motor.
8" LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain: Announced in June, 2000, the Meade 8" LX90 Schmidt-Cassegrain is the first full-capability, computer-controlled 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain ever offered in its price range — a telescope that includes many advanced features:
Dual-Axis worm-gear drive system: With 4.9"-diameter gears for smooth sidereal-rate tracking and slewing, the LX90's microprocessor-controlled drive system allows for precise long-exposure photographic or CCD imaging.
Autostar Computer Controller: Use Autostar to GO TO any of over 30,000 celestial objects in the LX90 database or to any object of known RA and Dec., automatically, at the push of a button and at a speed of 6.5°/second on both axes, simultaneously. The telescope's pointing precision is a remarkable 5-arc minutes or better.
Die-cast aluminum, double-tine fork mounting: The LX90's fork mounting yields all of the rigidity required for advanced applications of the telescope, from high-power, high-resolution visual observing of the Moon and planets to long-exposure astrophotography or CCD imaging. A 3-connector control panel is integrated to one of the fork arms.
Variable-height Standard Field Tripod: Consistent with the mechanical standards of the LX90 system, the chromed-steel Meade Standard Field Tripod (the exact same tripod included with Meade 8" and 10" LX200GPS models) provides rock-solid support for the telescope.
Cordless operation: Power the telescope from eight (user-provided) C-cell batteries located internal to the telescope's drive base.
Nine selectable slew speeds: Push the Autostar speed button to change dual-axis speeds from a slow 1x sidereal to a fast 6.5°/second in any of nine increments.
8" and 10" LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrains: Meade 8" and 10" LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrains, announced in September, 2001, present to the serious amateur instruments ready for an amazing array of state-of-the-art capabilities. Built into the new LX200GPS fork mounts — the strongest, most rigid mountings available on Schmidt-Cassegrains of these apertures — is one of the most advanced electronic packages ever offered, at any price, in a commercial telescope, an electronic package that makes using these telescopes a revelation, for the beginner or for the most experienced observer. Imagine being able to select any of over 145,000 celestial objects — objects that include entire catalogs of galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, double stars, and variable stars, as well as all eight of the major planets from Mercury to Pluto — and, at the push of a button, having the telescope automatically move to the object and center it in the telescopic field to a precision of within arcminutes. Meade LX200GPS models perform such feats of pointing precision time after time, on object after object, enabling the user to observe or photograph extremely faint galaxies, for example, at the very limit of the telescope's capability, knowing that the object is precisely located at the telescope's field center. In addition dozens of telescope functions — from changing slew speeds to automatic GO TO — can be actuated from the Autostar II hand controller.
12" and 14" LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrains: The large light-collecting apertures of Meade 12" and 14" Schmidt-Cassegrains extend the serious amateur's ability to engage in a wide range of significant astronomical research, from variable star observing to planetary study and supernova imaging. Combining the LX200GPS package of advanced electronics and precise automatic GO TO object-location with large, extremely rigid fork mountings, Meade 12" and 14" models present an amazing level of detail and resolution in the solar system and in deep-space.
7" LX200GPS Maksutov-Cassegrain: The Meade 7" LX200GPS Maksutov-Cassegrain exploits fully the extraordinary imaging characteristics of the Maksutov design. Housed in a compact optical tube assembly, the Meade 7" Maksutov optical system rivals the optical performance of even a fine ED apochromatic refractor, and, mounted aboard the awesome electromechanical capabilities of the Meade LX200GPS fork mounting, the telescope is a formidable astronomical tool. Equatorial Wedges: For placement of Meade LX200GPS models in the equatorial mode during long-exposure CCD imaging or photography, three equatorial wedges are available: the Standard Equatorial Wedge for 8" Meade SCT telescopes; the 10"/12" Superwedge for 10" and 12" LX200GPS models; and the 14" Superwedge for the 14" LX200GPS.
8" LX90GPS UHTC $2099.99 S/H
10" LX90GPS UHTC $2749.99 S/H
12" LX90GPS UHTC $3299.99 S/H
8" LX200GPS SMT UHTC $2499.99 S/H
10" LX200GPS SMT UHTC $3249.99 S/H
12" LX200GPS SMT UHTC $4099.99 S/H
14" LX200GPS SMT UHTC$5674.99/ S/H