A tale of two telescopes.

I’ve just taken delivery of a new Meade 8″ LX90-SC telescope and tonight had the first chance to take it for a spin, as it were. This is despite the British weather trying its best to get in the way. Still, the breaks in the cloud were big enough for me to align the ‘scope.

I have been surprised by the contrast between this ‘scope and the one I bought for my Dad the Christmas before last, however. That ‘scope seemed to be a Friday afternoon job. It arrived with the wrong type of Autostar controller and the battery boxes weren’t (and still aren’t) connected properly. Also, it was far harder to get it to align properly and never seemed to do so accurately enough. His ‘scope is a 10″ Meade LX90-ACF (i.e. has the more expensive optics).

My new ‘scope, on the other hand, seems far better put together. Other than a slightly bent bolt on the tripod, which is used to hold the ‘scope on the tripod, everything is in good working order. Not only this but the alignment process actually works and works well. I think this is partly helped by the replacement of a electronic compass and level (which never seemed to work) with a good, old-fashioned compass with a bubble.

Just to show how good the alignment and calibration was, I set the ‘scope to point at Jupiter about 10 minutes before it rose above the roof of a near-by house. (It also happened to be in cloud as well, but that’s beside the point.) When it did appear it was right in the centre of the field of view. I didn’t need to tweak it at all. This never was possible with my Dad’s ‘scope.

Also, the image was a great deal better than with my Dad’s ‘scope, and the magnification seemed higher (with the same type of eye-piece), even though they’re supposed to have the same focal length. This was very unexpected as the ‘scope is smaller and has the cheaper optics.

Am I happy? Yes. Other than the minor problem with the bolt, which makes it slightly more difficult to set the kit up and dismantle it again, it’s actually better than I expected.


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