Meade - 12" LX90 ACF f/10 Advanced Coma-Free Telescope

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The Meade 12" LX90 provides a large aperture, ACF or advanced coma-free optical tube on a portable and easy to manage LX90 fork arm mount. Meade's ACF optics offer a flatter field and higher contrast images than typical Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, and with features like on-board GPS and Meade's Astronomer Inside computerized go-to mount, the Meade LX90 is easy to use.
SKU: MEA-1210-90-03
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Product Description

Meade 12" LX90 ACF UHTC Telescope


Meade's LX90-ACF brings Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics within reach of aspiring astronomers everywhere. Nearly every observatory reflector in the world uses an aplanatic (coma-free) optical system like the Ritchey-Chrétien (RC), including NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Now you can own similar optics to what the professionals use. The LX90-ACF includes all the field-proven features of the LX90 including GPS, Primary Mirror Lock, Oversized Primary Mirror, SmartDrive™, Smart Mount™, AutoStar® II and more. 

 Most notable features: (Click on the following to scroll to section of page)

 Advanced Coma-Free ACF Optics

 Meade Ultra-High Transmission Coatings UHTC

 Zero Image Focuser

 Oversized Primary Mirror

 Primary Mirror Lock

 Smart Drive

 GPS Receiver

 Auto Align

 Auto Star II

 Scope weight is 60 pounds with 19 pound tripod.

f/10 Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) Optics. Building from a classic RC design, Meade has created a new design with the same coma-free pinpoint star images and flatter field also reduces the astigmatism and eliminates diffractions spikes found in classical RCs. The LX90-ACF is the perfect platform for the demanding researcher and imaging enthusiast with telescopes available in apertures of 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. However, let's get to step one first and disect why ACF technology is so beneficial and how it functions. Using the fundamentals behind the Ritchey Chretien design, ACF just adds even more to the big picture. Diffraction refers to various phenomena which occur when a wave encounters an obstacle. Coma is very similar to diffraction effects, in which light from a specific object cannot be focused properly and therefore results in fuzzy. undetiled, and inaccurate images. Since this is purely an optical aberration and widely understood, there is absolutely NO reason why it cannot be fixed to near perfection. With this new technology by Meade directly built into the optics, observors can now obtain a more aplanatic (coma-free) and spherical free telescopic experience. Years ago, this luxury would've costed a minimum of a few thousand dollars, but with Meade's invention, that is pure HISTORY!


Meade Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC™). Increasing total light transmission and image brightness by nearly 20% over Meade's standard coatings. Objects such as stars, galaxies and nebulae will appear significantly brighter. More details are below.


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.

Light Diagram

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-90AT, ETX-105AT, and ETX-125AT; 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 is precisely controlled to within 1% of optimal thickness. The result is a dramatic increase in mirror reflectivity across the entire visible spectrum.

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

UHTC label

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-a wavelength of 656nm., total transmission increases from 76.7% to 88.5%, an increase of 15.4%; at the helium wavelengths of 588nm. and 469nm. — strong emission lines in hot planetary nebulae — total telescope transmission increases by 13.8% and 16.8%, respectively; at the

UHTC vacuum coater

two nitrogen II lines of 655nm. and 658nm. and at the sulfur II line of 673nm., transmission is increased by 16%. Averaged over the entire visible spectrum (450nm. to 700nm.), total light transmission to the telescope focus increases by about 15%.

Observing with the UHTC: Meade ETX, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Schmidt-Newtonian telescopes equipped with the UHTC present dramatically brighter images 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.

Emission Line Wavelength
Transmission: Standard
Coating (%)
Transmission: UHTC
Group (%)
Hydrogen-alpha (Ha) 656 76.7 88.46 15.33%
Hydrogen-beta (Hb) 486 76.8 89.22 16.17%
Oxygen III 496 77.6 89.78 15.7%
Oxygen III 501 77.9 88.98 15.51%
Helium II 469 75 87.63 16.84%
Helium I 588 79.2 90.1 13.76%
Nitrogen II 655 76.7 88.5 15.38%
Nitrogen II 658 76.6 88.39 15.39%
Sulfur II 673 75.7 87.79 15.97%

* The % increase is obtained by dividing the UHTC-transmission (column 4) by the standard coatings transmission (column 3).

The overall effect of the UHTC is, as it relates to image brightness, to increase the telescope's effective aperture. Image brightness of the Meade 10" LX200GPS is, for example, effectively increased by about 0.75 inch of aperture.




UHTC vs. Standard Meade Coatings



Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser. Allows you to obtain precise image focus with no image movement. Perfect for astroimaging or during planetary observation. Focus is controlled thru the Autostar II handbox. The Meade #1209 Zero Image-Shift Microfocuser allows precise, vibration-free image focus during visual, CCD, and astrophotographic applications. It also allows you to achieve focus without causing a viewed object to move out of position in the eyepiece. The microfocuser comes equipped with a handbox which requires 8 AAA batteries (user-supplied). The microfocuser maintains precise image centering on even the smallest CCD chips. The microfocuser operates at four speeds.


Oversized Primary Mirror. Meade primary mirror diameters are greater than their listed aperture. This additional 1/4" yields a wide, fully illuminated field-of-view.

Primary Mirror Lock allows you to lock the mirror in place preventing movement during long-exposure astrophotography.

Smart Drive™ provides permanent periodic error correction (PPEC) on both axes by learning and averaging error over the course of one or more training periods, thereby minimizing guiding corrections during long-exposure photographs. PPEC is available on both axes and functions in both polar and altazimuth modes.

GPS Receiver automatically inputs precise time, date, and geographical location to help quickly and precisely align the telescope. Communicating with satellites provides relief of stress and extra time to align the telescope correctly. This GPS Reciever along with the mirror lock decreases the overall chance of the telescope becoming misaligned due to bumping or other minor movement.

AutoAlign™. Telescopes with Meade's AutoAlign are smart scopes that know the night sky right out of the box. AutoAlign picks two alignment stars for you and places them right in your view-finder. Just center to fine tune your alignment and the wonders of the universe are at your fingertips. This feature will also provide a reasonable indication to how precise and accurate the telescope is aligned right out of the box before you begin to use it. So if AutoAlign manages to perfectly center image the star without any human intervention, chances are you as the observor are already ready to observe!

AutoStar® II controller features "Hot Keys" for quick access to a 145,000 celestial object database. AutoStar II can be updated with the latest software upgrades, guided tours and timely objects like comets free at


The 12" LX90-ACF with Advanced Coma-Free optics #1210-90-03. Meade’s popular LX90 with its great combination of highly usable electronic features, solid and relatively light weight mount, and very reasonable cost, goes to the next level with the revolutionary ACF optical system. The patented Meade Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optical design offers the coma-free pinpoint star images and flatter image fields greatly desired by discerning amateur astronomers, astrophotographers and professional observatories alike. This system also reduces the astigmatism and eliminates the diffraction spikes found in classical Ritchey-Chrétien designs. No competing Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope can make those claims.

The 12" LX90-ACF has an 12” diameter f/10 ACF optical system (focal length 3048mm) and Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) for maximum image brightness and contrast. This largest of the LX90 models collects over twice as much light as an 8" telescope, effectively doubling the image brightness on faint deep sky targets. Electronics include the advanced Meade 497 AutoStar computer system with over 30,000 object library, multiple guided tours, High Precision Pointing capability, and Meade SmartDrive with Permanent Periodic Error Correction.

Precise and quick star alignment is done near effortlessly with an incorporated 16 channel genuine Sony GPS receiver. The Autostar is flash-updatable via free downloads at (optional cable required).

All LX90 models feature the solid and stable LX90 aluminum double fork mount, with fast slew speed adjustable from 1 to 7 degrees per second. Fine slewing and photographic guiding speeds can be adjusted from .01x to 1x sidereal in one one-hundredth increments. The mount and all electronics are internally powered by 8 (user supplied) C-cell batteries which will typically operate the telescope for a generous 60 hours (optional Meade Universal AC adapter also available). The mount also has mechanical locks in both axis allowing adjustment even without power.

The LX90 comes fully equipped with a heavy duty height adjustable Meade Field Tripod, 1.25" diagonal prism, 26mm Series 4000 Plössl eyepiece, Meade AutoStar® Suite Astronomer Edition Software for PC and an 8x50 viewfinder with quick release bracket. Scope weight is 60 pounds with 19 pound tripod. Ships in 2 boxes.
Product carries full one year Meade factory limited warranty.


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Name Meade - 12" LX90 ACF f/10 Advanced Coma-Free Telescope
Manufacturer Meade
Model MEA-1210-90-03
UPC 709942370249
Custom Stock Status Ships in 3-5 Days
In The Box Meade 12" LX90 Telescope with Fork Arm Mount Base Standard Field Tripod 1.25" Star Diagonal 8x50 Finderscope & Bracket 26mm Series 4000 Super Plossl Eyepiece
Telescope Aperture 10.1" - 12"
Aperture 305mm (12")
Batteries 8 x C cells
Computer Hand Control AudioStar™
Database 30,000 objects
Eyepieces 26mm Series 4000™ Super Plössl
Focal Length 3048mm
Focal Ratio f/10
Mount Dual fork GPS equipped mount with GOTO
Optical Coatings UHTC
Optical Design Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) with UHTC
Power (Optional) 12v DC, 5 amp power supply
Star Diagonal 1.25" diagonal prism
Tracking Rates Sidereal, Lunar, or custom-selected from 2000 incremental rates
Tripod Standard Field Tripod
Viewfinder 8x50mm with cross-hair reticle


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Review by:
I travel the State of Maine viewing with several Astronomy clubs and this has been the ideal scope for me. I do not do astro imaging but the lighter weight LX90 mount reduces its weight to about the same as a 10" LX-200. That makes it nicely compact for transporting in the back of my car and light enough to enable remote setups while still providing a generous 12" aperture. I've had many complements on the image quality using my favorite Televue eyepieces. If you make an extra effort to carefully level the base before sky alignment, the mount puts the object in a moderate power field of view every time. I'm taking one star off because the the finder should be replaced with a matching right angle finder scope for similar sky orientation. A separate eyepiece focuser is also useful because of the effort needed to adjust the position of the large primary mirror. At Woodland Hills' current holiday pricing, this is an extraordinary bargain. (Posted on 11/16/2014)
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In the Box

Meade 12" LX90 Telescope with Fork Arm Mount Base
Standard Field Tripod
1.25" Star Diagonal
8x50 Finderscope & Bracket
26mm Series 4000 Super Plossl Eyepiece