This Meade Mini 114 Dobsonian-style tabletop telescope is a great grab-and-go altazimuth mount telescope for spur-of-the-moment tabletop observing. It has a simple design that makes it easy for beginners to use, and its no-tool setup means you are up and observing in no time.
The Meade Mini 114 mini-Dob has a fully collimatable parabolic primary mirror, just like the big Meade LightBridge Dobsonian scopes. It has a generous 114mm (4.5") aperture that gathers 265 times as much light as the sharpest eye. This provides bright, clear views of faint celestial objects and shows the Moon’s mountains and craters in crisp detail. The beginnings of serious planetary observing are also possible (Saturn's rings are clearly visible with the supplied 50x eyepiece), particularly when a Barlow lens or higher power eyepiece is used to increase the magnification. And, thanks to its wide field of view and good light-gathering, you’ll be able to observe comets and many of the more famous deep-sky objects, like the Orion Nebula, the Swan Nebula, the Beehive open cluster, globular clusters M13 and M22, and much more.
Weighing an easily-handled 10.8 pounds, the compact Meade LightBridge Mini 114 is a tabletop mini-Dobsonian telescope that you can pick up with one hand and take out to observe whenever the urge strikes you. It’s also stylish enough to be a decorative fixture on your bookshelf or desk.
This Meade LightBridge Mini 114 Optical System . . .
Reflector optical tube: 114mm (4.5”) aperture 450mm focal length f/4 collimatable parabolic mirror Newtonian reflector. The primary and diagonal mirrors are aluminized for high light transmission and overcoated with durable silicon dioxide (quartz) for long life. The optical tube attaches to the single-arm tabletop mini-Dobsonian mount by means of a Vixen-style dovetail bar. This lets you use the 114mm optical tube on any altazimuth or equatorial mount that uses a Vixen-style dovetail.
Rack and pinion focuser: The 1.25” focuser has dual focusing knobs for precise image control with either hand. The large focus knobs are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather.
Two eyepieces: You get two 1.25" modified achromatic 3-element eyepieces: a 26mm (17.3x) and a 9mm (50x). The eyepieces have antireflection coatings on their lens surfaces for sharp images and good contrast. An optional 2x Barlow lens will double those powers to 35x and 100x.
Finderscope: An illuminated red dot finderscope attaches to the side of the optical tube. This battery-operated red LED finder projects a small dot of red light onto a clear plate inside the finder housing. When you look through the finder, the red dot appears to float in space wherever your telescope is pointing, day or night, making it easy to quickly and intuitively center the scope on distant objects by moving your scope until the red dot seems to rest on top of your target. The red aiming dot can be seen from virtually any distance behind the finder, from two inches to two feet, so it is easy for eyeglass wearers to use.
This Meade LightBridge Mini 114 Mount . . .
Dobsonian-type tabletop mount: TThe simple and durable painted fiberboard mini-Dobsonian altazimuth mount uses the familiar "lazy Susan" Dobsonian base design for right/left motion at the touch of a finger, while the single vertical arm that holds the optical tube allows smooth up/down motion. The base has rubber feet that let it sit securely on a tabletop or any other suitable horizontal surface. The compact mount weighs 10.8 lbs (4.9 kg) and damps vibrations quickly at high powers. It provides smooth right/left and up/down manual motion of the optical tube. The mini-Dobsonian mount is suitable for low to medium power casual astronomical observing, and will let you easily track objects as they move across the sky.
A large knob on the mount's vertical arm allows you to adjust the friction on the scope in its up/down motion. This lets you control how smoothly the mount moves as you manually push the tube to follow objects moving through the sky.
Bonus Software . . .
Also included with the Meade Mini 114 is a planetarium software program on DVD that will calculate planetary positions and the times for the best planetary viewing. It will also display sky charts to let you identify stars, constellations, and the brighter deep space objects visible in the Mini 114 on any given night.