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 How to Choose a Telescope


The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) is easily observed through small telescopes. Meade CCD image by Jack Newton; Meade 16" LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope
1. What will the telescope be used for? Astronomical observing? Terrestrial observing? Both?

If the telescope is a first-time purchase, most people want to observe the entire range of astronomical and terrestrial subjects. Refracting telescopes (Meade Models NG-60, NGC-60, DS-2070AT, ETX-70AT, LXD55-AR5, LX55-AR6) and mirror-lens telescopes (ETX-90AT, 105AT, 125AT, LXD55-SC8, 8LX90, LX200 GPS Series) are generally more versatile in a wide array of land and astronomical applications. If your applications in land-viewing and astronomy are about of equal importance, then one of these models will probably be the instrument of choice. As a telescope exclusively for terrestrial viewing, the ETX Spotting Scope is one of the premier instruments ever designed.

Alternatively, if your interests run more strongly to astronomy as a field of study, then reflecting telescopes (Meade Models DS-2114ATS and DS-2130ATS) or mirror-lens telescopes (the Meade ETX Series, LXD55 Series, 8LX90 and LX200 GPS Series) are ideal. Reflecting telescopes usually represent the largest telescope aperature available per dollar of cost. Mirror-lens telescopes are the most versatile of all optical designs: it is this versatility, combined with uncompromised image resolution and portability, that have made the Meade ETX-90AT and other Meade mirror-lens models the most popular telescopes in the world among serious observers.

The Meade Model DS-2114ATS reflecting telescope is an excellent choice for the serious beginning or intermediate-level amateur astronomer.
2. How serious are my intended applications?

Many advanced amateur astronomers began the study of astronomy with a 60mm refractor. Meade 60mm-diameter telescopes (Models NG-60 and NGC-60) are perfectly suited for a person at an introductory level of interest. But if one's interests are maintained, he or she may want a larger telescope, such as the Meade ETX series or DS 2000 series. Larger Meade telescopes enable the study of much greater detail in all observed celestial objects, and the ETX Astro Telescope and Model 4500 are excellent choices for the serious beginning amateur astronomer.



The LXD55 Telescope, an example of an equatorial mounted telescope.

The intermediate-level observer, or the non-casual telescope user who wishes to purchase one telescope for a lifetime, should consider a Meade Model LXD55 series, 8LX90, or LX200GPS. It is an uncommon observer who will require a telescope of larger than 8" aperture for any astronomical or terrestrial studies.

If your interests tend strongly toward astronomy, consider the purchase of a Meade telescope equipped with an equatorial mount, such as the LXD55 series. The equatorial mount greatly facilitates tracking all celestial objects with its electric motors.





The ETX Spotting Scope is the ultimate in high - resolution telescopes for land viewing.
3. What is the size of my budget?

Meade Instruments manufactures only high-resolution telescopes, instruments designed for a lifetime of clear, sharp, high-performance imaging, irrespective of a telescope's price level. However, if your budget permits, consider the advantages of larger telescope diameters; try to buy a telescope you won't quickly outgrow. The Model NGC-60 is a fine beginning telescope, but the Model DS-2114ATS collects more than three times as much light for a relatively modest additional expenditure. The Model DS-2070AT yields an impressive level of observable detail, but the Meade ETX-90AT Telescope, at only a slightly higher price, allows for unprecedented portability. The 5" diameter Meade Model LXD55- AR5 Refracting telescope is a high-resolution telescope by any standard, but the model LXD55-SN10 Schmidt-Newtonian telescope at a slightly higher price, collects four times as much light and has four times the resolving capability of the LXD55-AR5.

The purpose of these statements is not to press the unitiated into purchasing more telescope than required for the user's intended applications. But a little study before purchase can pay important rewards in long-term satisfaction with the telescope's full range of capabilities. Listed within the discussion of each telescope series throughout the Meade website is a description of what you can see through each telescope model. These descriptions, in conjunction with a model's price level, permit a useful balancing of budgetary and performance characteristics.

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