The Telescope  

Specifications of the Meade 10" Model LX200: Includes 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube assembly (f/10) with EMC super multi-coatings (D = 254 mm, F = 1600 mm - f/6.3 or 2500 mm - f/10); heavy-duty fork mount, with 4"-diameter sealed polar ball bearing, quartz- microprocessor-controlled 5.75" LX worm gears on both axes, and multi-function control panel on the drive base; manual and electric slow-motion controls on both axes; setting circles in RA and Dec; handheld keypad Electronic Command Center with digital readout display, permanently-programmable Smart Drive, 9-speed drive control on both axes, GO TO controller, High-Precision Pointing, and 64,359-object onboard celestial software library; 25 ft. power cord and adapter for telescope operation from 115v.AC (for field operation from 12v. auto cigarette lighter plug, the optional #1812 Electronic Adapter is available ); 8 x 50 mm viewfinder; eyepiece-holder and diagonal prism (1.25"); Series 4000 multi-coated Super Plössl 26 mm eyepiece; variable-height standard field tripod; operating instructions. 

Built-in 64,359-Object Library Included as Standard Equipment: Enter into the keypad any of the 64,359 celestial objects stored in the LX200's onboard database, press GO TO, and the telescope automatically slews (moves) to the object at 8° per sec., centering it in the main telescope field. Additionally, the display reads out for each selected object its magnitude, size, object-type, visual quality rating, RA and Dec. Or, let the telescope take you on an automatic guided tour of the heavens, simply by pressing the next key. If the selected object is not visible at the time of observation, the display reads Object Below Horizon, and the GO TO command is automatically cancelled.
The Meade 64,359-object library includes an incredible array of phenomena - virtually a lifetime of deep-space study, even for the advanced observer:
  • 12,921 galaxies from the Uppsala General Catalogue; the complete UGC catalogue
  • 7,840 objects from the New General Catalogue; the complete NGC catalogue.
  • 5,386 objects from the Index Catalogue; the complete IC catalogue
  • 21,815 variable stars to magnitude 16.6 from the general catalogue of variable Stars.
  • 15,928 stars from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) catalogue of stars brighter than 7th magnitude
  • 351 alignment stars for the LX200 telescope
  • 110 Messier objects; the complete listing
  • 8 major planets from Mercury to Pluto

Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

Various types of optical systems exist, such as refractors, Newtonians, Schmidt & Maksutov Cassegrains. Schmidt-Cassegrains are known as "Catadioptrics" and are hybrid mirror-lens systems. They are a modern design (developed in the twentieth century) and offer a large aperture in a relatively compact and portable package, portable at least for apertures less than about 300 mm. This type of telescope proves to be the most popular in amateur astonomy and new developments in computer-based optical design and fabrication have allowed instruments of the highest performance to be mass produced. With the addition of a CCD detector, these instruments are the most versatile in the field .

Views through the scope

The most common assumption made by those who have not looked through a telescope before is that the views will be crystal clear, colourful images like those obtained through the Hubble telescope. What you can expect, however, is a view of the heavens that not many people have seen or ever will see in their lifetime. The LX200 telescope that has been installed in the observatory is extremely user friendly and will allow the beginner to observe planets as well as many deep sky objects in the first nights.

If you decide to come along to the observatory one night to do some star gazing, you need not worry about having to align or set up the scope unless you wish to learn this procedure. The telescope works off a small computerized keypad or directly from a computer using sky software. Most first-time users will be introduced to the keypad. This small computer has an LCD screen which can gives you a humble amount of information on what you are observing. It works on a menu system: first you select the type of object you would like to see from the drop-down menus and then simply press the GOTO button on the keypad. The telescope will directly slew across the sky to the desired object and place it in the field of view of the eyepiece. Check out the guide to using a telescope and accessories.

This page has been translated into Latvian courtesy Arija Liepkalnietis and Ukrainian courtesy Anna Matesh


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