LightBridge 12" Plus truss-tube Dobsonian


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This 12" Meade LightBridge deluxe Dobsonian is a true "light bucket" for bright views of the faint objects outside our solar system. You get big-scope performance in an easily-disassembled package that fits into any car for a quick trip to your favorite dark sky site . . .
Our Product #: MLB12D
Meade Product #: 204011
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Product Description

Like all Dobsonian reflectors, this 12" Meade deluxe LightBridge truss-tube Dob gives you more light-gathering for your dollar than any other telescope type. Its large 12" aperture, which gathers two and a quarter times as much light as an 8" scope, is ideal for observing the faint fuzzies outside the solar system from a dark sky site.

Despite its large mirror, the 12" Meade LightBridge is easy to get to your favorite dark sky site. Unlike bulky competitive Sonotube or metal tube Dobs, you don't need a van or small truck to transport this big 12" scope to the dark sky sites it needs to perform at its best. The 12" LightBridge weighs only 80 pounds fully assembled and breaks down into a few compact components that will fit into virtually any car trunk or into the back seat of just about any compact car. The heaviest single component weighs only 36 pounds. Assembly and disassembly take just a few minutes, with no tools needed. After you set up, take a few moments to collimate the optics (no tools are required here either) and you're ready for an evening of fascinating viewing at your favorite dark sky location.

First is the seven pound aluminum upper cage containing the diagonal mirror, focuser, and multiple reticle illuminated finder. Second is the aluminum tub holding the primary mirror. It weighs only 36 pounds, including the mirror. Six light-weight but rigid aluminum truss tubes connect the upper cage to the mirror tub. They weigh only four pounds and attach quickly to anodized brackets on the cage and tub by means of large hand-tighten knobs, making assembly easy. Finally, there's the 33 pound laminated particle board base in which the mirror tub sits.

The performance of the BK7 optical glass parabolic primary mirror of the 12" Meade LightBridge is guaranteed to be diffraction limited - for sharp high contrast images of nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters. Planetary images are also sharp and crisp. The mirror is overcoated with magnesium fluoride for high reflectivity.

The Meade LightBridge uses a fully adjustable metal cell to hold the primary mirror. The open frame of the mirror cell allows the mirror to cool down to ambient temperatures quickly, so you can start high magnification observing sooner. In addition, there's a standard equipment battery-operated cooling fan on the mirror cell. This lightweight low-vibration fan draws cooling air over the back surface of the mirror for faster cool down times.

The scope's BK7 diagonal mirror is mounted in a fully adjustable diagonal holder on a low-diffraction four-vane thin spring steel spider. The diagonal is polished to diffraction-limited accuracy, aluminized, and overcoated with magnesium fluoride.

The altazimuth base that the mirror tub rides in is crafted of strong, lightweight, and water-resistant laminated particle board. The base is shipped disassembled, but can be put together in about a half an hour using only a screwdriver and the supplied hardware. The polished aluminum trunnion bearings of the mirror tub are good-sized, for smooth scope motion. Teflon altitude bearing surfaces assure smooth, effortless, and backlash-free movement. This deluxe model scope moves in azimuth on steel roller bearings riding on a metal track. Push the scope lightly in any direction and it starts moving at the touch of a finger - smoothly and with no fuss. Stop pushing and it settles down immediately, with no shudder or vibration to mar your viewing experience.

The deluxe 12" Meade comes with a machined aluminum 2" Crayford focuser (with a 1.25" eyepiece adapter). A quality 26mm 2" QX-Series Wide Angle eyepiece is standard equipment. It provides a magnification of 59x. With an apparent field of 70°, it has an actual field of view that's a very wide 1.18° across, over two and a third times as wide as the full Moon. Deep space views of star clouds and nebulas are rich and expansive. The scope's non-magnifying illuminated finder has four different reticle patterns available by simply rotating a dial in the finder.

Because of its compact component size and light individual component weight, the 12" Meade can easily be transported and set up by one individual, although two people will make assembly of the truss tubes somewhat easier. Set-up time is only about 10-15 minutes. The 12" Meade LightBridge Dobsonian is designed for visual observing only - to show you as much of the night skies as possible. Photography is not possible with a Dob.

Under dark skies, the Orion Nebula becomes a glowing and subtle complex of filaments, and color starts to become visible. The spiral structure of the Whirlpool Galaxy becomes apparent, as do dark dust lanes across the nucleus of the Andromeda Galaxy (although the full 3° width of the galaxy itself is far too large to fit into the field of view of any eyepiece generally usable with the scope). Globular clusters are frequently resolved to the very core. Messier, NGC, and IC objects show detail and structure never visible in smaller telescopes.

As with any large aperture telescope, the performance of the 12" LightBridge on faint objects will be markedly improved by a dark sky observing site. Light-polluted city and suburban sites are not recommended as the primary observing site with a 12" scope. Such sites require a nebula (light pollution) filter to take even limited advantage of its immense light-gathering (1900 times greater than the sharpest dark-adapted eye).

While it is in deep space observing of galaxies and nebulas from a dark sky observing site that the 12" Meade LightBridge excels, significant planetary and lunar observing is also within its capability. All you need is a neutral density eyepiece filter to cut down the immense brightness of solar system objects seen through this "light bucket."

Taking advantage of the weight-saving sophistication of a truss design, the 80 pound Meade 12" LightBridge Dobsonian makes it practical for one individual on his or her own to explore the heavens with a truly big scope. Simply-made, but with precision optics, this Meade 12" LightBridge Dobsonian reflector will reward you with thousands of bright deep space images and years of trouble-free observing enjoyment.

The Meade 12" LightBridge is drop-shipped directly to the customer from the Meade distribution center in California. Consequently, California sales tax applies to any 12" LightBridge shipped to any customer living in California.

Tech Details

Aperture 12"
Binary and Star Cluster Observation Very Good
Focal Length 1524mm
Focal Ratio f/5
Galaxy and Nebula Observation Very Good
Highest Useful Magnification 305x
Lunar Observation Great
Planetary Observation Very Good
Resolution 0.38 arc seconds
Supplied Eyepiece QX226
Visual Limiting Magnitude 14.9
Warranty 1 year


Review by:
this is my second lightbridge the first was from 2005.the new one has added features like 2 speed focuser. bearing brake which comes in handy with heavier eyepieces.the tubes are painted black also.its just light enough that i dont have to take it apart when i go to my dark sky site. (Posted on 7/22/2019)
Review by:
I love my lightbridge, it is built like a tank, is relatively light considering its size, and fits together neatly and quickly with no fussing around in the dark wondering what goes where cause who wants that!. This scope does what its supposed to do without you needing to call NASA for help like some scopes i've owned over the years. It is a simple design and it works, optically it is a good performer, take it out to a dark sky away from the city and its true versatility will be seen, does great on planetary and deep sky. (Posted on 12/18/2018)
Review by:
Build quality is great. The base is particle board so I put some silicon caulk on the seams to protect the wood from swelling from exposure to dew. The truss rod assembly is solid and the scope is easily transported, assembled, and collimated by one person. The crawford style focuser is precise and smooth as butter. The assembled scope is well balanced until you add a shroud or heavier eye pieces so if you use these, you will need some magnetic weights to counter-balance it. The only real strike for me was the red-dot finder. I picked up an Orion 9x50 right-angle finder to solve that.
If you've got a smaller reflector and want to upgrade this is a great way to go! (Posted on 12/2/2018)
Review by:
Wonderful scope. Great value. Almost bulletproof. Arrived in boxes that were slightly damaged but nothing inside was disturbed. The boxes got damaged when I got to the top of a 14-stair flight and lost my grip. The main OTA and mirror went tumbling down but nothing was damaged. Then when assembled, collimated and transported to the dark site, the collimation remained spot-on.

I made a couple of minor modifications, adding 2 handles to the dobsonian base and one on the OTA, all to aid in transporting.

The Lightbridge matched well with Nagler and Explore Scientific eyepieces for many wonderful nights' viewing. (was not crazy about the supplied eyepiece and never used it) (Posted on 11/20/2018)
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Supplied Accessories

  • 2" 26mm Series 4000 QX eyepiece (59x)
  • 4-vane spring steel diagonal mirror support with adjustable mirror holder
  • Adjustable primary mirror flotation system
  • Diffraction-limited BK7 optical glass mirrors
  • 2" Crayford-style machined aluminum focuser with 1.25" eyepiece adapter
  • Advanced four-reticle pattern red dot finder
  • Primary mirror cooling fan
  • Aluminum tube open truss design with fast no-tool assembly using large hand-tighten knobs
  • Aluminum upper cage and mirror tub
  • Laminated altazimuth mount with steel azimuth roller bearings
  • Oversized aluminum trunnion bearings
  • Autostar Suite Astronomer Edition software.