Meade - 16 " LX200-ACF Advanced Coma-Free Telescope with UHTC
If you are into serious astronomy, whether it's as a hobby or as part of a professional research project you may be involved with, you need a telescope with certain qualities. Obviously, a Coma free telescope is preferred. But in addition, you would like something built to last, one that offers bright and crisp images, something that is easy to focus and maneuver around the night sky, and a scope with plenty of intelligence. Well, put all of those features together, add many more, and you come up with the Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope.
A really smart scope should start behaving smartly right out of the box, and that's exactly what the Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope does. Conventional scopes require endless hours of calibration and alignment using known objects to "fine tune" your scope. Not so for telescopes in the Mead LX200 family. Using it's intelligent AutoAlign feature, these scopes will show you that they know their way around the night sky by automatically picking up two known stars and placing them smack dab into your view finder. All you have to do now is fine tune your alignment and that's it - you're ready to get underway on your space tour.
Serious work calls for serious tools, and the 16" member of the Meade LX200 ACF family is definitely no pushover. This (literally) 320 pounds of feature-packed telescopic marvel comes with Mead's Super Giant Tripod, and ships on a pallet, and has been designed to last for a long time to come.
Any piece of equipment built like the Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope needs a serious mount. And this 16" powerhouse in the Meade LX200 ACF family comes with an equally heavy duty fork mount that uses four 80mm roller bearings to deliver perfect declination (vertical) control for your scope, and two massive 150mm roller bearings to provide smooth horizontal (azimuth) movement. Using this mount you can control the swerve of your coma free telescope at a user selectable fast clip of between 1o to 6o per seconds with . 1o increments, or at a fine slew speed from .01x to 1x sidereal using 1 1/100th increments.
Avid sky watchers are like football fans watching their favorite team play a closely contended match on TV. They don't want to blink an eyelid or move a muscle for fear of missing the action. Users of the Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope are the same when they are locked onto a celestial object. They can watch the action for hours. Unfortunately, minor bumps and moves could shift your regular scope off focus. But not so the Meade Coma free telescope.
Anticipating situations like this, Meade has equipped every one of its Meade LX200 scopes with technologies that specifically deliver uninterrupted long viewing pleasure to you. Pioneering features such as Zero Image Shift Microfocuser and Primary Mirror Lock technologies ensure that, once an image is locked onto by the Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope, your scope never loses sight of its target even if the scope is inadvertently moved slightly. Meade's intelligent technologies help you to lock the primary mirror in place, and also helps automatically corrects the focus on an image in case it detects slight movements of the scope - which are very likely when using your Coma free telescope for extended periods of viewing.
For a telescope to really stand out, it must deliver crisp, well centered and perfectly focused images every time - there is no compromising on that requirement. The Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope stands out in its use of ground-breaking optic technologies pioneered by Meade. To make your heavenly observation an experience to remember, the Meade 16" scope uses precision-driven f/10.0 ACF optics. This unique design in the Meade LX200 series uses best-in-class reflection and refraction techniques, called Catadioptrics, to deliver tightly circular formations of planetary objects from the center to the field's edge.
And that's not where Meade's optical technology stops. Each coma free telescope in the Meade LX200 series uses lenses coated with a specially created coating developed at the Meade Irvine coatings research facility. Known as Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC), this pioneering technology helps remove restrictions that you find in conventionally coated scope lenses by dramatically reducing light losses, and allowing the human eye to view heavenly objects as images that are more brighter, much more clearer and sharper. This is technology paralleling that which is used on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and now made available to you in the form of the Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope.
To make your night sky watch a near "hands free" event, the Meade LX200 series comes with an ultra-precise original 16-channel Sony GPS receiver that is intelligent enough to input ultra-accurate coordinates for heavenly objects in the night skies, and then effortlessly align your Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope to point to the specific object. Pretty neat for a 320 pound gorilla, huh?
And things get better with even more technology to help you enjoy your viewing experience. Your Meade 16" LX200ACF computerized telescope comes loaded with Meade AutoStar II, an intelligent piece of software technology that works together with the Sony GPS to effortlessly chart the night skies for you. Meade AutoStar II comprises of a flash-memory based database containing the heavenly "addresses" of over 145,000 celestial objects that are just waiting for you to explore.
But where would you start searching for one of those 100,000+ objects? Fear not, Mead AutoStar II provides you software tools to simply pick an object using Hot Key features, and stand back and enjoy the sight. Using the GPS coordinates, your Coma free telescope will automatically position itself at the selected object so that you can view it to your heart's content. And while you are enjoying the sight, Mead AutoStar II displays vital statistics about the object on its display, heightening your viewing pleasure even more.
For your continued benefit, Meade provides frequent updates and upgrades to its celestial database as well as to the software. Download the latest version free of cost, and allow Meade AutoStar II to take you on a guided tour of upcoming on in-progress celestial events, such as a comet passing through or a meteor shower.
LX200-ACF Advanced Coma-Free Optical Tube Assemblies
|An important optional feature to optimize the performance of your Meade telescope. Image brightness in a telescope is crucially dependent on the reflectivity of the telescope's mirrors and on the transmission of its lenses. Neither of these processes, mirror-reflectivity or lens-transmission, is, however, perfect; light loss occurs in each instance where light is reflected or transmitted. Uncoated glass, for example, reflects about 4% of the light impacting it; in the case of an uncoated lens 4% of the light is lost at entrance to and at exit from the lens, for a total light loss of about 8%.|
Early reflecting telescopes of the 1700's and 1800's suffered greatly from mirrors of poor reflectivity- reflection losses of 50% or more were not uncommon. Later, silvered mirrors improved reflectivity, but at high cost and with poor durability. Modern optical coatings have succeeded in reducing mirror-reflection and lens-transmission losses to acceptable levels at reasonable cost.
Meade Standard Coatings: The optical surfaces of all Meade telescopes include high-grade optical coatings fully consistent in quality with the precision of the optical surfaces themselves. These standard-equipment coatings include mirror surfaces of highly purified aluminum, vacuum-deposited at high temperature and overcoated with silicon monoxide (SiO), and correcting lenses coated on both sides for high light transmission with magnesium fluoride (MgF2). Meade standard mirror and lens coatings equal or exceed the reflectivity and transmission, respectively, of virtually any optical coatings currently offered in the commercial telescope industry.
The Meade UHTC Group: Technologies recently developed at the Meade Irvine coatings facility, however, including installation of some of the largest and most advanced vacuum coating instrumentation currently available, have permitted the vacuum-deposition of a series of exotic optical coatings precisely tuned to optimize the visual, photographic, and CCD imaging performance of Meade telescopes. These specialized, and extremely advantageous, coatings are offered here as the Meade Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) group, a coatings group available optionally on many Meade telescope models.
In Meade catadioptric, or mirror-lens, telescopes (including the ETX-90EC, ETX-105EC and ETX-125EC; LX10, LX90, and LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrains; and LXD55-Series Schmidt-Newtonians) before incoming light is brought to a focus, it passes through, or is reflected by, four optical surfaces: the front surface of the correcting lens, the rear surface of the correcting lens, the primary mirror, and the secondary mirror. Each of these four surfaces results in some loss of light, with the level of loss being dependent on the chemistry of each surface's optical coatings and on the wavelength of light. (Standard aluminum mirror coatings, for example, typically have their highest reflectivity in the yellow region of the visual spectrum, at a wavelength of about 580nm.)
Mirror Coatings: Meade ETX, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Schmidt-Newtonian telescopes equipped with the Ultra-High Transmission Coatings group include primary and secondary mirrors coated with aluminum enhanced with a complex stack of multi-layer coatings of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and silicon dioxide (SiO2). The thickness of each coating layer precisely controlled to within +/-1% of optimal thickness. The result is a dramatic increase in mirror reflectivity across the entire visible spectrum; at the important hydrogen-alpha wavelength of 656nm. - the predominant wavelength of emission nebulae - reflectivity is increased from 89% to over 97%.
Correcting Lens Coatings: Meade telescopes ordered with the UHTC group include, in addition, an exotic and tightly-controlled series of coatings on both sides of the correcting lens or correcting plate, coatings which include multiple layers of aluminum oxide (Al2O3), titanium dioxide (TiO2), and magnesium fluoride (MgF2). Per-surface light transmission of the correcting lens is thereby increased at the yellow wavelength of 580nm., for example, to 99.8%, versus a per-surface transmission of 98.7% for the standard coating.
The importance of the UHTC group becomes apparent when comparing total telescope light transmission, or throughput, caused by the multiplier, or compounding, effect of the four optical surfaces. With each optical surface contributing significantly to telescope light throughput, the effect of all four surfaces combined is indeed dramatic, as demonstrated by the graphs on the facing page, as well as by the table of the brightest nebular emission lines. At the H-alpha wavelength of 656nm., total transmission increases from 77% to 93%, an increase of 93/77 or 21% at all three nitrogen-III and sulfur-II wavelengths of 655nm. and 673nm.- prominent lines in certain galactic nuclei and in supernova remnanats such as the Crab Nebula- transmission increases by 21%; ; at the helium wavelengths of 588nm. and 469nm. - strong emission lines in hot planetary nebulae - total telescope transmission increases by 18% and 19%, respectively; at the two nitrogen II lines of 655nm. and 658nm. and at the sulfur II line of 673nm., transmission is increased by 21%. Averaged over the entire visible spectrum (450nm. to 700nm.), total light transmission to the telescope focus increases by about 20%.
Observing with the UHTC: Meade ETX, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Schmidt-Newtonian telescopes equipped with the UHTC present dramatically enhanced detail on the full range of celestial objects - from emission and planetary nebulae such as M8, M20, and M57 to star clusters and galaxies such as M3, M13, and M101. Observations of the Moon and planets, since they are observed in reflected (white) sunlight, benefit in image brightness from the full spectrum of increased transmission. The overall effect of the UHTC is, as it relates to image brightness, to increase the telescope's effective aperture. Image brightness (i.e., the ability to see faint detail) of the Meade 10" LX200GPS is, for example, effectively increased by about one full inch of aperture.
|Emission Line||Wavelength (nm.)||Transmission: Standard Coatings (%)||Transmission: UHTC Group (%)||Increase*|
* The % increase is obtained by dividing the UHTC-transmission (column 4) by the standard coatings transmission (column 3).
Effects on CCD Imaging: While the human eye loses sensitivity to light beyond wavelengths of about 700nm., CCD imaging chips remain sensitive to about 750nm. and longer, wavelengths at which the reflectivity of an aluminum coating is near its lowpoint. Importantly, however, the UHTC's total light transmission at 750nm. is 83%, vs. 72% for standard coatings, an increase of 83/72, or 15%.
|Name||Meade - 16 " LX200-ACF Advanced Coma-Free Telescope - (UHTC)|
|Mount||Dual fork GPS equipped mount with GOTO and Tripod|
|Optical Design||Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) with UHTC|