Meade LX65 8" f/10 GoTo ACF

$1,339.00

Availability: More on the way

The LX65 Series 8" ACF Telescope has an Advanced Coma-Free (ACF™) optical design offering the coma-free pinpoint star images and flatter image fields while reducing astigmatism and eliminates diffraction spikes. 

Our Product #: LX658S
Meade Product #: 228004
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Product Description

The LX65 Series 8" ACF Telescope has an Advanced Coma-Free (ACF™) optical design offering the coma-free pinpoint star images and flatter image fields while reducing astigmatism and eliminates diffraction spikes. Features include a 8" (203mm) aperture, 2032mm focal length, and f/10 focal ratio. Equipped with an internal single speed focuser and Ultra High Transmission Coatings (UHTC™) for the improvement of brighter star clusters, additional fine detail in nebulae, and greater surface features on planets. Includes (1) 26mm,1.25" Super Plossl eyepiece and a red-dot viewfinder along with a vixen-style dovetail. The OTA alone weighs 11.10 lbs and has dimensions of 9.8” x 18.1”.

SINGLE-ARM MOUNT

The LX65 features a newly designed single-arm mount with Meade’s AudioStar™ Hand controller. This new mount is compact, yet sturdy, providing a great combination of portability and performance. Additionally, the LX65 has the ability to hold two optical tubes, making your experience twice as enjoyable! With its quick and portable setup, you’re ready to start observing in minutes. The LX65 system breaks down into 3 compact pieces and does not require any tools, making it a breeze to transport to your favorite dark sky location!

This versatile scope features two dovetail receivers that allow you to use two optical tubes at once, for a chance to observe your objects both in wide field or close up! The main saddle can hold up to 14lbs, while the secondary saddle can hold up to 7lbs. The max payload capacity for the LX65 mount is *21lbs. This added versatility makes the LX65 great for astronomy outreach or sharing the night sky with others and will be sure to impress anyone with its technology and optics.

*The max payload capacity for the LX65 mount is 21 lbs. - that is the combined load capacity only. We don’t recommend anyone put 21 lbs on the main dovetail saddle or the secondary saddle.*

MEADE PREMIUM OPTICS

The heart of any telescope is its optics. Meade delivers the highest quality professional grade optics available. These optical tubes feature large apertures and Meade's Advanced Coma-Free (ACF™) optics coupled with Meade's Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC™), giving you the ultimate in premium optics. The LX65 is an ideal high-resolution visual observing instrument but is also fully qualified for the more advanced areas of astronomy, including planetary astrophotgraphy. Observe Saturn's rings, the surface of the Moon, and even the cloud bands on Jupiter in great detail.

EASY ALIGN

The LX65 are smart scopes that know the night sky right out of the box. Enter your site information, find level and North, and Easy Align picks two alignment stars for you and places them right in your viewfinder. Center them to fine tune your alignment and the wonders of the Universe are at your fingertips.

AUDIOSTAR™

The Meade AudioStar™ hand controller features audio files and an internal speaker. This computerized celestial object locating system plugs into the telescope's handbox port, allowing a quick telescope alignment. Once aligned with the sky,  AudioStar™ is ready to take you to any object in the over 30,000 object-database. In addition to GoTo and tracking capability, AudioStar™ permits a wide array of fascinating and educational functions such as multiple guided tours, digital positional readouts, the ability to link with a PC using optionally available software and cord, and much more.

Tech Details

Aperture 8" (203mm)
Focal Length 2032mm
Focal Ratio f/10
Heaviest Single Component 15 lbs.
Motorized Controls Computerized GoTo
Weight 39.5 lbs.
Optical Coatings UHTC
Supplied Eyepiece 1.25" 26mm Super Plossl
Telescope Type Advanced Coma-Free
View Finder Red Dot Non-Magnifying
Warranty 1 year

Reviews

Review by:
Here's my review of the LX65 8" ACF SCT scope that I recently bought from Astronomics.

Packaging
The scope arrived via UPS in well padded and secure packaging. The optical tube was in it's own foam padded box whole the mount and tripod were in a separate box.

Assembly
It doesn't get much simpler than this scope. Open the tripod, screw on the accessory tray, set the mount on top and align to the tripod head, and screw it down. The OTA already has the dovetail attached so you just slide it into the mounting bracket and tighten. It should take less than 20 minutes for most people.

A complaint I have seen in regards to the tripod/mount combo is the alignment "star" on the tripod. The complaints have been about the difficulty of getting the mount and tripod to line up, but honestly I can't see why someone would have a hard time with this. You basically just put the mount on the star and rotate until it slides down into place. Then you tighten the bolts to secure it.

Oh, and check your battery compartment for whether or not you have the white dot sticker to indicate if your AUX ports are wired correctly. All the new runs of the scope are wired correctly but there may still be some old ones out there that aren't (mine is wired correctly).

Power
I strongly recommend using a 12v/5 amp power supply. The scope does not need 5 amps, but it it's better to have the extra juice and not need it then need it and not have it. Some of the complaints I have read in my research were in regards to the mount getting weird, which reminded my of similar complaints with the EQ6-R pro when it gets under powered/volted. Electronic mounts are happier when their voltage and amperage requirements are met. That means ensuring you really are getting 12 volts when running off a battery.

The scope does not come with a power supply, but you can find ones that will work just fine for less than $20 on Amazon.

OTA
My scope arrived perfectly collimated which was nice. The optics are everything you'd expect from the ACF line, with the bonus of being in a lighter assembly. More on the optical performance later.

One complaint that has merit is that at least on the 8" OTA is the focuser seems a bit stiff. Not unworkable, but it makes it a little more challenging to get the focus right. There are some cheap workarounds to improve that, or you can fork over the money to buy a different focuser and install it.

Mount/Tripod
I had read complaints about the 8" being to much for the mount and the tripod being a bit wobbly. Seeing how I'm eventually going to mount this in my big ol' Meade field tripod this wasn't much a of a concern, however for my first use I had it on the tripod it came with. Here's my take on that.

First, the 8" OTA is not too much for the mount. It handles the scope just fine, at least for visual (and most likely short exposure astro). With the mount sitting on the floor tapping the tube showed that vibrations damped in a few seconds. While not being the rock that something like the EQ6-R pro is, it's not an unstable wobbly mess either.

Now I will say that the tripod CAN be wobbly if you extend the legs. But with the legs retracted the tripod isn't half bad. This is how I would use it most of the time since I usually sit for long viewing sessions. However if you prefer to stand you might want to look into a sturdier tripod, or a sturdy platform to put the scope on. But I would suggest waiting until you get the scope and see for yourself before dropping more money on a tripod you might not need. It may not bother you as much as others.

(Real) First Light
I had the scope out a couple times for short viewing session before clouds/mosquitoes forced me back inside, but last night I had relatively clear skies and a whole can of DEET which allowed me to have a nice 6 hour viewing session. I also added an old crappy 4" Mak on the second saddle, more to just test the mount capacity and performance than to do any real viewing.

With a 60% moon high in the sky combined with local light pollution, the persistent summer haze, and bit of upper level winds, my targets for the night were going to be somewhat limited. My main focus for the evening was going to be nailing the outer solar system, with the occasional bright DSO thrown in to pass the time while waiting for them to climb out of the horizon soup.

Go To Setup
As with previous Meade Go-To's, alignment was simple though a bit different than what you'd normally do since you can't rotate the mount without power.

First, try to get the mount to be more or less either facing true north (polaris) or magnetic north if that is what you plan to use. It does not need to be perfect. Close enough will work. Next level the mount. Again, this doesn't need to be perfect. Next, level the OTA horizontally. The OTA should be either point in the general direction of either true north or magnetic north (I use true north).

Next, power on the mount. The hand controller will prompt you for location information (you can use your zipcode if you don't know your lat lon), date, time, etc. Then it will ask if you want to align. I usually skip the alignment at this stage and instead adjust the direction of the mount a bit to get it better aligned to the north (ONLY use the hand controller to do this at this stage). Then I perform an easy alignment. Center stars, hit enter, and your ready to go.

The go-to's for the mount range from good to excellent. Over the course of my session all targets were well within the 32mm eyepiece, with a fair amount close to center. If the go-to seemed to be drifting off a bit I would resync it to the target (hold enter for a few seconds, then press enter again to resync). This kept things accurate for the night.

Target #1: The Moon
Big, bright, and blinding I decided to get the big white sky ord out of the way first so I could save my night vision for later.

In the 32 mm eyepiece the moon was very sharp and detailed. Since it was so high in the sky I decided to march down the eyepieces and see how far I could push it before it turned into a mess. Surprisingly, I managed to have my 5.5mm Meade UW in with a 2x barlow (739x) and it still didn't turn into mush. Would have a been a bit clearer without the haze and steadier air, but still more than I expected.

Target #2: Jupiter
Bright enough that I needed to use a couple filters to see the finer details, Jupiter was putting on a bit of a show for me last night. Not only was the great red spot making an appearance, but Io was transiting across the northern hemisphere casting a small black shadow in the ruddy red-brown norther band.

Couldn't push it with the 5.5mm as the atmosphere was just to unsteady, but the 9mm Celestron XL showed plenty of detail, with the main Jovian moons appearing as small disks (even with a tiny bit of color variation detectable).
You'll see the 9mm show up pretty much the rest of the night. It seemed to pair very well with scope and seeing conditions. The Edmund Scientific 21mm RKE also gets an honorable mention.

Target #3: Saturn
Saturn was putting on it's own show, with the Cassini division clearly evident despite the atmosphere. Plenty of banding apparent on the planet itself, and with moments of still air some of the more subtle variations in the rings stood out as well.

Titan appeared above Saturn as a small pale tan/orange dot, and few of the other larger moons could be picked out as well.

Target #4: Neptune
Since it was already fairly high up at that point, I decided to try and take a look at Neptune. I had to consult with Stellarium on my phone to ensure I had the right object due to the fact that it really looks like a faint star more than a planet. I was hoping to at least be able to pull out the slight coloration of the planet, but with the atmosphere and skyglow that didn't happen. And there was no hope of catching a glimpse of Triton.

At this point I was waiting for Mars and Uranus to get far enough the horizon so I decided to poke around the sky a bit.

Target #5: Wild Duck Cluster
I really wasn't expecting much with the bright moon and sky glow from objects like this, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a sparkling field of stars come into view.

Target #6: M13
One of the brighter globular cluster, it was little more than faint blob in the 32 mm. The 9mm still managed to tease out some individual stars in spite of the conditions.

Target #7: M5
Another relatively bright globular cluster. Like M13, the 9mm managed to do it's job again and pull out a few individual stars.

Target #8: Dumbbell Nebula
Pulled out the UHC ultrablock for a couple nebulae. First up was the Dumbbell nebula. Even without the filter it showed up, but the filter definitely made it pop.

Target #9: Ring Nebula
One of the brighter and more easily recognizable nebula, the scope had no problems showing this one. The filter made it stand out and showed some structure detail with the 21 and 9mm eyepieces.

Target #10: Sunflower Galaxy
By the time I thought to target this object, it was already heading low into the west. The combined moon, atmosphere, and terrestrial light pollution made it difficult to get much out it, even with the ultra block. You could tell it was a galaxy (if you knew what to look for) but not much else.

Target #11: Pluto
Yeah, not a chance with that moon and haze. Based on the position of other objects in the view I could at least determine the go-to was fairly accurate.

Target #12: Mars
By this point Mars had risen high enough to be above the worst of the horizon soup. Big, orange and bright. With the 9mm, the darker features (like the various planums) were readily apparent, along with the southern ice cap and perhaps just a sliver of white on northern cap. Looking forward to the full opposition in October.

I spent quite a while looking at Mars. I kept trying to push the magnification up but the conditions simply weren't having it. Or rather, at least not consistently. If I looked long enough there would be moments of stillness and the detail would just pop, but they were few and far between.

Target #13: Uranus
My last target of the night was Uranus. Because of the way my house is situated I had to wait a while before I could get a clear view.

Unlike Neptune, Uranus was much easier to identify. It showed up as a small pale greenish disk, which is about all you can expect from an 8" scope. But it is no less amazing to see.

Conclusions
The driving reason behind my purchase of this scope is that I was looking for something that was a bit more on the grab-and-go side, while still having the power to do decent deep sky and planetary vierwing. I already have an EQ6-R pro and an old school Meade SCT 10" for astrophotography and long sessions of deep sky goodness, but that's a little much to set up if I only have a 2 hour window of no clouds or I want to have a quick 30 minute view of Mars.

In my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find another complete package like this with this performance and at this price point. At the sale price ($1078), you're practically getting the mount/tripod for free. The optics of my sample were spot on, and the go-tos were accurate even over a long viewing session. The scope is powerful enough to allow for deep sky along with planetary viewing, while being sturdy enough for said viewing and (most likely) short exposure planetary and astrophotograpy. And it does all this in a package light enough that most people can simply pick up and carry fully assembled.

I had gone into this with the mindset of the worst case scenario being that at least I get a solid OTA for a reasonable price, but I have to say I'm fairly impressed with the whole package overall. It's a solid choice, or at least it was for my purposes. As usual, YMMV and all that.

Clear skies and big eyes. (Posted on 8/1/2020)
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Supplied Accessories

Tripod, Red Dot Finder Scope, 1.25" 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece, 1.25" Star Diagonal, Audiostar Hand Control