LX200-ACF 12" Advanced Coma-Free Go-to altazimuth With Giant Field Tripod

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The Meade 12" LX200-ACF has unique Advanced Coma-Free optics that put professional-grade visual and photographic performance in the hands of amateur astronomers at an affordable price.
Our Product #: 12210RU
Meade Product #: 1210-60-03
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Product Description

The Meade 12" LX200-ACF catadioptric telescope has Advanced Coma-Free optics to bring the astronomical image quality of a professional observatory to your back yard, at a down-to-earth price. It has a coma-free field similar to that of the Ritchey-Chrétien design optics used in most professional observatory telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope, but at a fraction the cost of a true Ritchey-Chrétien of similar aperture.

If you have the dark skies to take full advantage of its immense light gathering capacity (two and a quarter times that of an 8" scope), or are willing to make the effort to transport this rather heavy scope to the dark sky site it needs for best performance, it's a scope that can keep you happily observing and photographing the wonders of the heavens for the rest of your life. The 12" LX200-ACF has all the useful features you need to cater to virtually every observing need you might have.

This Telescope's Optical System . . .

Advanced Coma-Free catadioptric designed to emulate the optical performance of a Ritchey-Chrétien telescope: 12" aperture catadioptric (3050mm focal length f/10). Fully multicoated UHTC (Ultra High Transmission Coatings) group optics for 15% higher light transmission. Oversized primary mirror for brighter field edge illumination. Aluminum tube construction with glare-stop baffling and mirror lock. Guaranteed diffraction-limited performance. For more details, click on the "LX200-ACF UHTC optics" icon in the support tab above.

Finderscope: 8 x 50mm straight-through achromatic design, with a 5° field of view and 12mm eye relief.

Star diagonal: 1.25" prism-type.

Eyepiece: 1.25" 26mm Series 4000 Super Plössl (117x). The eyepiece field of view is 0.43° (over 85% the width of the full Moon), for expansive lunar and deep space views.

This Telescope's Mount . . .

Fork mount/drive system: Drive base and dual fork arms of die-cast aluminum. The mount includes servo-controlled 12VDC slewing and tracking motors in both altitude and azimuth. The motors are powered by eight user-supplied C-cell batteries that fit into the fork arms. Optional adapters (with 25' cords) are available to power the scope from 110-120 volt 60 Hz AC household current in your back yard to conserve battery life, or to power the telescope from your car's cigarette lighter plug or a rechargeable battery for extended use in the field. For more details, click on the "LX200 mount" icon in the support tab above.

GPS/Autostar computer: A 16-channel GPS (global positioning satellite) receiver is built into the top of the telescope's left fork arm. The GPS receiver, in conjunction with a built-in electronic compass and Autostar computer control, automatically aligns the scope on the sky so that the Autostar computer can locate for you the more than 145,000 stars and objects in its memory.

In addition to quickly and automatically moving the scope to any desired object (with an accuracy typically in the two arc minute range) and flawlessly tracking the object while you observe at your leisure, the Autostar computer provides numerous visual, tracking, and photographic tools and functions to make your observing easier and more enjoyable.

Unique "Smart Mount" technology can constantly improve the already high pointing accuracy of the telescope with every object that you center precisely and synchronize on during a night's observing. For more details on these features, click on the "LX200 computer" icon in the support tab above.

Adjustable height tripod: The 50 lb. giant field tripod adjusts from a height of 40" to 50" and damps vibrations quickly. It has 3" diameter steel legs, with a center leg brace for rigidity. Six 1.25" diameter holes in the leg brace can hold eyepieces while observing. A single threaded rod with a large hand-tighten knob simultaneously holds the scope firmly on the tripod and locks the legs rigidly in the most stable position.

AutoStar Software Suite: This standard equipment software package is designed to integrate the telescope with your Windows-based PC or laptop computer for an enhanced range of performance features. The AutoStar Software Suite includes a planetarium program with a database of 19,000,000 stars and deep space objects for display on your computer screen. It includes all the standard planetarium program features for stand-alone use when nights are cloudy. In addition, it contains programs for controlling the telescope from your laptop or PC. For more details on the many capabilities and features of the AutoStar Software Suite, click on the "AutoStar software" icon in the support tab above.

What can you see through an 12" LX200-ACF with Advanced Coma-Free UHTC optics?

With the 15% higher light transmission of UHTC optics and two and a quarter times the light gathering capacity of an 8" scope (45% more than a 10") for a visual limiting magnitude of approximately 15, this scope's 12" coma-free flat-field optics give the Universe an astonishing depth, dimension, and grandeur at dark sky sites.

The Orion Nebula grows to twice the area you see through an 8" scope, with subtle color variations becoming visible. Jupiter becomes an interlocking web of fine structural detail, with shadowy detail often visible on the surface of its largest moon, Ganymede. Faint galaxies and planetary nebulas, barely visible blurs in smaller scopes, often reveal structure during visual observing that rivals that in long exposure observatory photos.

Densely packed globular clusters are usually resolved to their core. Open clusters show stars that are sharp and point-like all the way across the field thanks to the flat field of its unique Advanced Coma-Free optics. With a photographic limiting magnitude of 17.5, all of it can be photographed in superlative detail (and with surprisingly short exposure times) by adding a few inexpensive accessories.

The altazimuth drive of the LX200-ACF is more than accurate enough for piggyback, lunar, and planetary DSLR photos and much CCD imaging. However, field rotation causes stars at the corners of an image to streak during exposures longer than five minutes if an equatorial wedge isn't used to align the scope on the celestial pole. So, if you plan on doing deep space photography, you'll need to add an optional #2575 X-wedge to the 12" LX200-ACF.

This 12" scope will perform quite nicely on faint deep space objects such as galaxies and nebulas under mildly light-polluted suburban skies, if it is provided with the proper light pollution filter. However, truly dark skies are essential if you want to take full advantage of this scope's large aperture, high light transmission, and superb optical performance. This is not a scope that's happy having its performance limited by a light-polluted suburban observing environment.

The scope is substantial in both size and weight. One very motivated individual can lift the 75-pound scope up onto its 50 lb. tripod, although probably with some difficulty and a few anxious moments. However, once on the tripod, a blind hole in the base of the scope has to be aligned with a blind hole and threaded rod in the top of the tripod to lock the scope in place. A second person to help lift and to steady the scope while you thread the rod into the scope base is almost essential to make the job easier and less adventurous in the dark.

If you have regular access to dark skies, and the size and weight of the scope isn't an insurmountable obstacle, the 12" LX200-ACF with coma-free UHTC optics may be the last telescope you ever want or need to buy. It has high light transmission and all of the aperture you need to keep you busy observing and photographing for the rest of your life. And it has enough useful features to handle almost any observing and astrophotographic chore you set for it . . . at a price that's surprisingly within reach.

Tech Details

Aperture 12"
Focal Length 3050mm
Focal Ratio f/10
Heaviest Single Component 75 lbs.
Highest Useful Magnification 610x
Motorized Controls Computerized GoTo
Weight 125 lbs.
Optical Coatings UHTC
Resolution 0.38 arc seconds
Supplied Eyepiece SP26
Telescope Type Advanced Coma-Free
View Finder 8x50
Visual Limiting Magnitude 14.9
Warranty 1 year


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Supplied Accessories

  • 12" f/10 Advanced Coma-Free catadioptric optics with UHTC group coatings (Pyrex mirrors multicoated with enhanced aluminum and a multicoated clear water white glass corrector lens), integral glare stop baffles, and primary mirror lock
  • Heavy duty fork mount with carrying/tube positioning handles, 4" diameter polar axis ball bearings, electric and manual slow motion controls and locks on both axes
  • 16-channel GPS (global positioning system) automatic alignment system, with electronic true-level sensor and automatic magnetic declination correction
  • Autostar II go-to computer control system with Smart Mount Technology, 3.5 Megabyte flash memory, multifunction keypad hand control with 2-line digital readout display, permanently programmable Smart Drive dual-axis periodic error correction, 9-speed drive controls on both axes (with slewing at up to 8 degrees per second), High-Precision Pointing, 145,000-object onboard celestial software library
  • Adjustable tilt hand control holder on fork arm
  • 7-port multi-function control panel on drive base, including two RS-232 serial interface ports
  • Computer-controlled high-torque 12 volt DC right ascension and declination worm gear drives with 5.75" main drive gears
  • DC power supplied from internal battery compartments accepting 8 (user-supplied) C-cells (optional 25' cords are available for powering from auto cigarette lighter plug or from 110-120 volts AC)
  • Straight-through 8 x 50mm finder on removable dovetail
  • 1.25" visual back
  • 1.25" prism-type star diagonal
  • 1.25" 26mm Series 4000 Super Plössl eyepiece (117x)
  • Adjustable-height all-metal field tripod
  • Dust cover
  • Autostar Software Suite Astronomer's Edition.