Meade telescopes – Buying guide & Comparison
Finding a good Meade telescope is never easy, especially when you’re a beginner. Despite hearing the name of this legendary telescope manufacturer, you probably don’t know nearly enough about these devices to make sure that you buy the best model for your astronomer adventures. Fortunately, we’ve searched the internet for the best entry-to-mid level Meade telescopes to bring you a selection of the very best. When it comes to a great all-around telescope, the Meade Instruments LX90-ACF is surely the best one you can find. While a bit pricey, it comes with all the great features you could expect from a pro model. You get to learn as you use it, thanks to the AudioStar computer module, which will teach you about the secrets of the universe with an extensive database. In the unfortunate event that the Meade Instruments LX90-ACF is out of stock, the Meade Instruments LightBridge Mini 130 is yet another great choice you should consider.
One of the first mistakes beginners make before buying a telescope is not learning the basics. How can you be sure that you choose the right model when you don’t know what a focal length is? It is understandable that you don’t have the time to read books or extended guides on the internet, and this is the reason why we have compiled a much shorter guide which should help you make a great pick without wasting too much of your precious time.
Aperture and focal length explained
With a telescope, regardless if it’s a reflector or refractor type, you always have an aperture. This is the diameter of the main optical element, be it a lens or a mirror. Apertures capture light bounced by distant bright objects, and the larger they are, the more light they can capture. If you want bright and highly detailed images of planets and stars, then you need a large aperture.
However, telescopes with large apertures can be pricey, and you may also prefer to watch closer objects such as the Moon. This is where the focal length comes it. It is the distance from the main lens to the focal plane, and it affects how close or how far distant objects appear.
Narrow or wide field of view?
Divide the focal length by the aperture, and you get the f-number or the focal ratio. The bigger the number, the higher the magnification but you get a narrow field of view. The smaller it is, the lower the magnification, but you get a much larger field of view.
You also get eyepieces, each with its own focal length, which can increase or decrease magnification, so a telescope is quite versatile and provide you with plenty of observation opportunities for all your astronomy adventures.
How much are you willing to spend?
This is an obvious consideration. If you’re just starting out, perhaps you want to test and see if this passion is really going to stick. This is why a cheaper and less complex model is great for beginners, as you don’t want the priciest telescope for sale only to abandon it in the basement in case you lose interest.
However, if you are already excited by learning about the wonders of the universe or you have related hobbies, then getting a more expensive telescope isn’t a bad idea. The learning curve is going to be steeper since you’ll have a lot more components, knobs, and aligning accessories to familiarize with, but you won’t need to buy a new model when you start getting the hang of it.
Top Meade telescopes reviews in 2018
Finding the right telescope that’s not overly complex to use, with a good focal length, wide enough aperture and all the features and accessories you’ve come to expect from a legendary manufacturer such as Meade is not as easy as it sounds.
This company has quite a few great models on the market and picking the one that best suits your knowledge, skill, and budget could take a lot of your time. Fortunately, we have analyzed and compared all the top rated telescopes on the market to provide you with a list of the 5 best products, each with a short description, to help you make the best possible choice.
The LX90-ACF is perhaps the best telescope from Meade Instruments in its class. With a wide aperture of 8 inches and a focal length of 2000mm or 78.43 inches, this is one of the larger models which can provide superb quality details of far away objects as well as good magnification.
All glass components use the latest Ultra-High Transmission Coatings which ensures that more light gets in at the correct angles to make the images brighter as well as with a much higher contrast.
The Meade Instruments LX90-ACF also comes with a stable mount which provides increased stability without sacrificing portability, ensuring that you get to take it with you on field trips.
This model benefits from the dual-fork mount which provides better, faster and smoother tracking abilities. The AudioStar computerized module can help you locate distant celestial objects while also giving you access to a large database containing a lot of useful information.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1799)
LightBridge Mini 130 203003
The LightBridge Mini 130 is a portable and easy to set up telescope that’s meant for both amateur stargazers as well as enthusiast astronomers. With a 130mm or 5.11-inch aperture, this model will provide you with a great view of the Moon and planets in our solar system as well as deep sky objects, depending on which eyepiece you choose to equip.
Thanks to the 360-degree swivel mount, you can point your telescope in any direction easily, allowing you to smoothly track any distant object you wish to observe.
The LightBridge Mini 130 comes with a modern red dot viewfinder which can aid you in accurately aiming your telescope, as well as a 26mm eyepiece for low magnification and a 9mm for high magnification.
Thanks to its compact design and one-arm Dobsonian-style mount, you can easily have it ready to look at the stars, whether you’re in your own backyard or in the great outdoors.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($175.09)
If you’re looking for the best Meade telescope with a long focal length, then you definitely don’t want to miss the new ETX125.
With a 127mm 5-inch aperture and a 1900mm 74.80-inch focal length, this f/15 focal ratio Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope is surely one of the best telescopes to get a close-up view of even distant planets and stars.
You get to easily control the movement of the entire assembly with the DC Servo Motor mount, smoothly tracking objects as the Earth rotates around its axis and the Sun. You also get to enjoy greater stability with a solid steel tripod with a special EQ equatorial tilt plate.
This telescope comes with two Plossl eyepieces: a 9.7mm and a 26mm, providing you with both a wide view of close objects such as the Moon and planets as well as a deep-space images of star clusters and nebulae.
StarNavigator NG 90 218005
The Meade StarNavigator NG 90 is a great telescope model for beginners.
It comes with a 90mm 3.5in aperture, a focal length of 1250mm 49.21in and a focal ratio of 13.8, making it a balanced telescope to suit both beginners and advanced astronomers.
With the 26mm and 9mm Super Plossl eyepieces, you get to explore Moon’s craters in amazing detail, observe Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s moons.
Benefiting from a single speed internal focuser, you can easily get sharp images of objects in the deep sky. You also get extra help thanks to the Red Dot focuser, which will help you get started.
The Meade StarNavigator NG 90 also comes with a computerized AudioStar hand controller with a database of 30,000 objects. It’s like having an expert astronomer, as it will tell you all you need to know about objects in view and enhance your sky gazing experience.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($318)
Polaris 80 EQ 216002
The Meade Instruments Polaris 80 EQ is a very good telescope for beginners. You get to start exploring the deep sky without emptying your pockets, as this entry-level telescope comes at a more than affordable price.
With an aperture of 3.2 inches and a 35.43-inch focal length, this device can provide the novice astronomer all the controls needed to enjoy a great stargazing experience.
This achromatic refractor comes with fully-coated optical elements, which means that you get to enjoy brighter and more detailed views of distant planets, galaxies and star clusters. With the Red Dot focuser, aligning should be a breeze even for a beginner.
The Meade Instruments Polaris 80 EQ also comes equipped with the AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition software which contains engaging information on more than 10,000 celestial objects, helping you learn planets, stars, and nebulae on the go.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($134.26)