Meade 12" f/8 LX850 ACF Telescope with StarLock and Tripod
- 12" f/8 Advanced Coma Free Optics - 2438mm focal length
- StarLock automatic guider, Crayford zero image shift micro-focuser, and AutoStar II GoTo system included
- Mount carrying capacity of 90 pounds
- Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC)
- Includes Series 5000 HD-60 25mm eyepiece, 2" diagonal, and 8x50 finder
The Meade 12" f/8 LX850 ACF Telescope is part of Meade's flagship equatorial (EQ) mounted telescope series, built around the LX850 mount — a true astro imaging powerhouse! The massive LX850 mount holds up to 90 lb. depending on size, and the optical tube can be swapped out for many other telescope tubes, thanks to the included dovetail saddle, compatible with both Losmandy and Vixen dovetail rails. Very compact for its aperture, the included 12" f/8 ACF optical tube is ideally suited for both small/medium sized observatories, or when simply loading up the car to take out imaging at a dark sky site on the weekend. When broken down into its constituent pieces, the LX850 12" is quite manageable and can be set relatively easily in the field (please see the component weight breakdown below to make sure you are comfortable lifting the heaviest individual components). The robust EQ mount, machined from solid 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel, holds the optical tube rock solid to dampen any vibrations, ideal for both high power planetary observation, or long exposure deep-sky imaging. Push button controls, automatic locating and tracking of celestial objects, and a wealth of object data at your fingertips in the AutoStar II hand controller make the LX850 a joy to use.
The patented Advanced Coma Free (ACF) optics produce impressively flat fields of view with no coma, even out to the edges of larger format cameras or extreme wide angle eyepieces. This makes the ACF system ideal for visual observers and astro-imagers alike. The Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) are included as with all Meade ACF optics, yielding maximum image brightness and contrast at the eyepiece or camera sensor. The ACF system also reduces astigmatism and eliminates diffraction spikes.
Designed and Manufactured in North America.
The ACF primary, secondary and corrector plate glass blanks are manufactured in the USA exclusively for Meade. Meade ACF telescopes, including the mounts, are manufactured and assembled in North America.
The optical path and components of the ACF telescope design
Key Features and Upgrades Set the LX850 Apart
There are several key areas where the LX850 differs from the LX600, the first and foremost being the style of how the optical tube attaches to the equatorial mount. The 12" LX850 features a 2438mm focal length (f/8) ACF telescope tube attached using a sliding Losmandy dovetail rail and cradle on the head of the LX850 mount, instead of permanently attached between two fork arms as with the LX600. The advantages are two-fold: Counterbalancing is more precise and can be fined tuned to a higher degree of precision when compared with a wedge fork mounted EQ system. Additional counterweights may be necessary to add to the R.A. counterweight shaft depending on the weight and size of your attached equipment. And since the tube detaches from the dovetail rail, you are free to use any other optical tube on the LX850 mount depending on what you want to observe or image. More on this specific advantage below.
Next is the mount itself. The LX850 is the most robust and stable equatorial mount in the Meade line. Capable of holding up to 90 lb. of telescope gear depending on size (up to a 14" ACF or similar optical tube), the LX850 is designed specifically to obtain beautiful long exposure photographs of deep-sky objects, but works equally well visually for tracking objects through the eyepiece. Of course, if your goal is only visual use with large apertures or you don't care to swap optical tubes, you might consider the LX600 series, as there is no need to polar align the Alt-Az style LX600. But for critical long exposure photography, the LX850 EQ mount can be precisely polar aligned to eliminate field rotation without requiring a wedge, and so allows exposures as long as required for your imaging camera and conditions. And don't forget that the optical tube can be easily removed from the mount, thanks to the included dovetail cradle (compatible with both Losmandy and Vixen dovetail rails). Need a high resolution image of a small planetary nebula or galaxy? The 12" ACF is ideal for pulling out those small details. Or do you feel like framing a wide angle shot of a very large swath of the Milky Way with a much shorter focal length telescope? No problem! Simply remove the 12" ACF from the mount, and swap it out for any small rich-field astrograph you have in your imaging arsenal. The options are almost endless thanks to the versatility and weight capacity of the LX850 equatorial mount.
The mount includes the StarLock automatic guider system. StarLock optics make target acquisition on your imaging sensor and accurate guiding during exposures completely automatic. No need to buy a separate guide camera — the StarLock is solidly attached to the mount head and provides both a wide field CMOS camera sensor view for automatic target acquisition (14.7° x 11.8° field of view), and a high resolution narrow field CMOS sensor (57.2' x 45.8') for accurate high resolution autoguiding. The side-by-side positioning of the StarLock on the LX850 mount alongside the main optics allows it to be used with any other optical tube you may wish to attach to the mount. A bracket is also included on the top of the optical tube if you wish to mount the StarLock system on the OTA instead of in the side-by-side configuration.
StarLock automatic guider diagram
The LX850 optical tube features a very well designed focusing system that eliminates backlash and focus shift. The primary mirror is firmly affixed to the baffle tube and moves forward and backwards along the Crayford style focus bearing (a zero-shift focus mechanism), to ensure there is no backlash and smooth motion throughout the focus range. Focusing at high magnifications on a planet by hand is extremely easy thanks to this Crayford focuser and bolstered by the two speed 7:1 reduction gear on the focus knob. Get close to focus with the course knob, then find precise focus easily with the fine knob. An electronic Microfocuser is also included, which simplifies the focus routine, ideal for hands-off deep-sky imaging or remote work. The Microfocuser also utilizes a zero-shift Crayford bearing, ensuring you can get accurate focus on your imaging camera every time.
Mechanical Advantages of the LX850 ACF Series
Mechanically, the LX850 series incorporates some notable design and feature upgrades that set it apart from the other LX GoTo series in the Meade lineup. Compared with the LX600 combination of ACF optical tube and fork mount, which can be bulky and heavy especially at the larger apertures, the LX850 system can be broken down into several much lighter pieces, ideal for transport and setup/disassembly. In fact, even the LX850 EQ head itself can be separated into an R.A. section and a Dec assembly using four socket head cap screws, further reducing the amount of weight when setting up or transporting the system.
Here is the weight breakdown of the telescope's main components including the head assembly subsections:
- Optical tube Assembly: 41 lb.
- LX850 head assembly: 60 lb.
- R.A./base section: 25 lb.
- Dec section: 18 lb.
- Saddle plate: 9.5 lb.
- StarLock weight: 8 lb.
- Included counterweights: 26 lb. (x2 weights included)
- Assembled weight: 203 lb.
Once set up, balancing the system is easy, and more precise than balancing an Alt-Az system when using a wedge. Simply adjust the main counterweights up and down the counterweight shaft to balance in Right Ascension. Declination is adjusted by sliding the optical tube forward and back in the main dovetail cradle. And even the StarLock includes a small counterweight system (since it is attached offset on the side of the optical tube in the default position). Simply slide the small StarLock rectangular weight back and forth to achieve perfect balance for your setup.
Advanced Electronics and AutoStar II GoTo Pointing Technology
The LX850 system is a fully robotic equatorial GoTo system, with no need to manually move the telescope around the sky. Meade's SmartDrive technology provides Permanent Periodic Error Correction (PPEC), allowing the advanced StarLock system to achieve a guiding accuracy of down to 1 arc-second with good seeing.
The "brains" of the LX850 is the included AutoStar II computer system with its 145,000 object-library, multiple guided tours, and High Precision GoTo Pointing capability. The AutoStar II system provides control of virtually every telescope function. The AutoStar II handbox has soft-touch keys, an LCD display that's backlit with red LEDs to preserve your night vision, and intuitive key arrangement and menus that make AutoStar II wonderfully easy and fun to use.
Precise star alignment is performed quickly and nearly effortlessly with Meade's one-star alignment routine, which incorporates a 16-channel GPS receiver for precise time and location data. Ultra Precision Pointing and Assisted Drift Alignment is also incorporated with the help of the StarLock system, which provides very precise slewing, and even more accurate polar alignment. The drive base of the telescope has multiple input/output ports including 12v input, an RS-232 PC interface, separate Autoguider port, illuminated reticle power, Microfocuser power/control, and 12v output power. The mount and electronics are powered by an external 12v DC power source, and an AC adapter — the Meade 12v 5 amp Universal Power supply — is included. If you are using the mount remotely and far from any AC wall outlet, a separate DC power source (not included) will be necessary.
Quality Borne of North American Manufacturing
Designed and manufactured in North America to exacting quality standards, the Meade flagship LX850 series of EQ mounted Advanced Coma-Free GoTo telescopes are perfect for the discerning visual astronomer and dedicated astro-imager. The Meade 12" LX850 ACF features a 12" aperture, 2438mm focal length, and f/8 focal ratio with dovetail mounting. The Ultra High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) and a resolving power of 0.38 arc-seconds provide an improvement in brightness and resolution on everything from star clusters, fine detail in nebulae, to greater surface features on planets. The mount features precision roller bearing on each axis, a 1.75" diameter stainless steel RA shaft, 5.8" diameter, 225 tooth polished bronze main gears, low periodic error with StarLock assisted PPEC, and internally routed cabling. Includes a Series 5000 HD-60 25mm eyepiece (98x), viewfinder (8x50 optical with crosshair), Series 5000 2" diagonal mirror, and Giant Field Tripod with 3" diameter legs. Because of the size of the shipping box(es), most LX850 telescopes will be shipped via freight and arrive on a pallet.
Whether at home in your backyard, in a domed observatory, or on road trip to beautiful dark skies, the versatile Meade 12" f/8 LX850 ACF Telescope will provide years of astronomical exploration and amazement.
- Best for viewing
- Fainter deep sky
- Best for imaging
- Solar, lunar, planetary & Messier objects
- Astro-imaging capability
- Lunar, planetary & long exposure
- User level
- Optical design
- Advanced Coma-Free (ACF)
- Optical diameter
- Focal length
- Focal ratio
- Finder scope magnification
- Finder scope lens diameter
- Magnification with included eyepieces
- Resolving power
- Lowest useful magnification
- Highest useful magnification
- Highest theoretical magnification
- Limiting stellar magnitude
- Optical quality
- Diffraction limited
- Finder scope
- Diagonal degrees
- 2" 90° Mirror Star
- Secondary mirror obstruction by diameter
- Mount type
- Dovetail bar system
- Computerized compatibility
- Go-To included
- Number of objects in database
- Tracking rates
- Motor speeds
- .01x to 1x, 2x, 8x, 16x, 1/4°, 1/2°, 1°, 3°
- Motor type
- DC Servo motors with encoders
- Power requirement
- 12-volt DC - 5A (tip positive)
- Backlash compensation
- Latitude range
- Setting circles
- Electronic, via the hand controller
- Polar-axis scope
- Not available
- Two 26 lb.
- Available ports
- RS-232, Aux, autoguider
- Tube material
- Tripod material
- Aluminum & Steel
- Tripod leg diameter
- 3.00 in.
- Counterweight bar length
- 12 in.
- Diameter of counterweight shaft
- Weight, optical tube
- 41.0 lbs.
- Weight, mount/tripod
- 162.0 lbs.
- Weight, fully assembled
- 203.0 lbs.
- Additional included accessories
- Series 5000 2" mirror star diagonal, Brackets for alternate OTA Starlock mounting
- Other features
- StarLock automatic guider, LX850 mount with a payload capacity of up to 90lbs, Internal zero-shift Crayford style
- Two year