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. The various reticle patterns are shown in the feature illustration below. Also supplied is a CD-ROM of the Autostar Software Suite Astronomer Edition. This planetarium program will let you plan your observing sessions on your computer and print out star maps to use at the eyepiece to guide you to the many deep space objects the scope is capable of revealing. Its database contains enough stars and objects to keep you busy observing for years.
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.