Meade LX850 12" Go-to StarLock equatorial ACF catadioptric

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The 12" f/8 Meade LX850-ACF puts Advanced Coma-Free optics on a 90 pound payload capacity go-to mount, and adds a revolutionary new StarLock full-time automated integrated guider system that takes the drudgery out of finding faint deep space objects and guiding during astrophotography . . .
Our Product #: LX85012
Meade Product #: 1208-85-01
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Product Description

This Meade 12" LX850 StarLock system Advanced Coma-Free telescope has:
12" f/8 Advanced Coma-Free catadioptric optics
An aspheric corrector of premium Schott glass from Germany
UHTC optical multicoatings for the highest possible light transmission
Internal Crayford-type dual speed focusing to reduce image shift during use
Electronic zero image shift microfocuser
1.25" 25mm 60° field HD-60 long eye relief eyepiece (97x)
New 90 pound payload capacity go-to GPS mount
StarLock full-time automatic guiding for 1 arc second drive accuracy when viewing or imaging
AutoStar II computer hand control with 144,000+ object go-to library

This Meade 12" f/8 LX850-ACF go-to catadioptric telescope has faster focal ratio Advanced Coma-Free UHTC optics that are ideal for imaging. It puts those optics on a revolutionary new 90 pound payload capacity go-to German equatorial mount. The mount has a full-time StarLock guiding system that automatically centers objects with a +/- one arc minute accuracy and tracks them for viewing and imaging with an accuracy of +/- one arc second.

The 12" Meade LX850-ACF provides the serious observer, astro-imager, and school or college observatory with state-of-the-art coma-free f/8 optics (which an optional reducer can get down to a very fast f/5). Whether you are a visual observer or a serious astrophotographer (or both), this Meade 12" f/8 LX850 ACF can keep you happily observing and photographing the heavens for the rest of your life.

This Meade Telescope's Optical System . . .

Advanced Coma-Free catadioptric design emulates the coma-free optical performance of a Ritchey-Chrétien telescope: 12" aperture catadioptric (2438mm focal length f/8) optical tube, weighing approximately 40 lbs. The low-expansion primary and secondary mirrors of borosilicate glass and the aspheric high spectral transmission catadioptric corrector of Schott Borofloat glass from Germany are all fully multicoated with Meade's time- and observer-tested UHTC (Ultra High Transmission Coatings) for maximum light transmission.

Focuser: Internal Crayford-style, zero image-shift primary mirror focusing with dual speed 7:1 ratio fine focus control. Crayford design minimizes image shift and mirror flop to eliminate the need for separate mirror locks. A separate external electronic zero image shift microfocuser provides ultra-precise focusing during critical imaging sessions.

Finderscope: 8 x 50mm straight-through achromatic design, with helical focusing.

Star diagonal: Meade Series 5000 2" mirror type with 99% reflectivity dielectric coatings and a 1.25" eyepiece adapter.

Eyepiece: 1.25" 25mm Meade Series 5000 HD-60 (97x). The eyepiece field of view is 0.62°, almost 25% wider than the full Moon, for truly expansive lunar and deep space views.

This Telescope's Mount . . .

Meade StarLock full-time automatic guiding LX850 German equatorial mount: 90 pound payload capacity machined stainless steel and aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum mount weighing approximately 163 pounds, including counterweights and tripod. It uses a 1.75" stainless steel RA shaft. 225 tooth 5.8" diameter aluminum right ascension and declination drive gears, driven by DC servo motors turning 0.68" diameter precision-machined brass worms. The mount will track 20 degrees past the meridian during imaging.

The RA and dec shafts ride on precision roller bearings for rock-solid tracking. There are home sensors on each axis. The 12 volt 5 amp DC mount is powered by a supplied 110-120 volt 60 Hz universal AC power supply. Internal cabling prevents cable snags and tangles.

With a 90 pound payload capacity, and optional counterweights readily available to balance virtually any load, the Meade LX850 mount can be the heart of a vastly expanded optical system. The dovetail on the mount head will accept both Vixen-style and Losmandy-style D-plate dovetail bars, giving you great flexibility in choosing other optical tubes for the mount to support. You can use it to hold larger catadioptric and Cassegrain optical tubes, refractors, reflectors, dual scope systems, and more. The sky is virtually the limit with the Meade LX850 mount as the centerpiece of your observing/imaging system.

Counterweights: Two 18 pound stainless steel counterweights are provided for precise payload balancing on the 1.75" diameter threaded stainless steel counterweight shaft. Additional optional weights are available.

Tripod: The Meade 36 lb. giant field tripod adjusts from a height of 29" to 45". It has 3" diameter stainless steel legs, with a center leg brace for rigidity. A single threaded rod with a large hand-tighten knob simultaneously holds the equatorial head firmly on the tripod and locks the tripod legs rigidly in the most stable position. A set of vibration suppression pads is included to damp vibrations quickly

StarLock/GPS/AutoStar II computer system: A GPS (global positioning satellite) receiver is built into the mount. The GPS receiver, in conjunction with Meade's AutoStar II computer control and unique StarLock automatic guiding system, automatically aligns the scope on the sky so that the AutoStar II computer can locate for you the more than 144,000 stars and objects in its memory.

The system starts by having the GPS use the signals from Earth-orbiting satellites to determine the scope's position on Earth in three dimensions with an accuracy of a few meters and set the time with an accuracy of fractions of a second.

The revolutionary Meade StarLock system then takes over to model the sky overhead. StarLock - the heart of the LX850 - is a revolutionary new technology that makes target acquisition in your eyepiece and on your imaging sensor (and accurate guiding during viewing and imaging) completely automatic. With Meade's exclusive LightSwitch technology at its core, StarLock uses a two refractor/two camera system to automatically find your target with high precision, immediately capture a field star for guiding as dim as 11th magnitude, and then guide while you view or image.

And it does it all with an incredible accuracy of +/- one arc second. The built-in StarLock cameras include a super wide angle 25mm f/1.04 optic with a 1/2 inch format CMOS sensor that has a field measuring 14.72 x 11.78 degrees for star field acquisition, and a narrow angle 80mm f/5 refractor with a 1/2 inch format CMOS sensor that has a field of 57.2 x 45.8 arc minutes (with a resolution of 2.68 arc seconds/pixel) for precise centering.

StarLock achieves its exceptional +/- one arc second accuracy because, unlike add-on guiders, the StarLock cameras are firmly attached to the moving equatorial head itself (not the optical tube where it might get misaligned during use as is possible when using a separate photoguide scope attached to the optical tube). In addition, StarLock is integrated into the telescope control system and communicates directly with the motor controllers in real time with a maximum precision of 0.01 arc seconds. There's no need for a separate guide scope and computer and the StarLock system requires no calibration, no user focusing, and no manual guide star selection.

StarLock even automatically programs periodic error correction into the drive and then corrects any other errors down to virtually zero. StarLock also provides computer-assisted polar alignment using the drift method for extreme precision. No expensive shaft encoders or add-on guiding systems can provide this level of performance.

Once the Meade StarLock system has locked the scope on the night sky, the AutoStar II computer quickly and automatically moves the scope to any desired object with just a few strokes on the 20 backlit LED buttons on its hand control, guided by the readouts on its double line, 16 character liquid crystal display. The scope will move to your chosen object at a slewing speed of 3° per second and with a cantering accuracy typically in the +/- one arc minute range. Once on the selected object, it will flawlessly track the object while you observe or image at your leisure. Available tracking rates include 0.01x to 1x sidereal; 2x, 8x, and 16x sidereal; and 1/4°, 1/2°, 1°, and 3° per second.

Tracking modes include EQ North and EQ South. Alignment procedures include 2-Star Align, 1 Star Polar Align, and StarLock assisted semi-automatic drift alignment for ultra-precise polar alignment. High-precision guiding accuracy is +/- 1 arc second RMS (with good seeing). It has a 1 to 4 second correction update rate depending on the guide star magnitude. The faintest usable guide star can be as dim as 11th magnitude. In addition, the Meade AutoStar II computer provides numerous additional visual, tracking, and photographic tools and functions to make your observing easier and more enjoyable.

With its combination of the finest Advanced Coma-Free multicoated optics, robust 90 pound payload capacity mount, and revolutionary new StarLock full-time automated integrated photoguide system, this 12" f/8 LX850 from Meade Instruments is the most complete 12" astro-imaging solution available. Meade calls it "the picture perfect platform for effortless astrophotography." Who are we to disagree?

Tech Details

Aperture 12"
Focal Length 2438mm
Focal Ratio f/8
Heaviest Single Component 55 lbs.
Highest Useful Magnification 610x
Motorized Controls Computerized GoTo
Weight approx. 183 lbs.
Optical Coatings UHTC
Resolution 0.38 arc seconds
Telescope Type Advanced Coma-Free
View Finder 8x50
Visual Limiting Magnitude 14.9
Warranty 1 year


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Supplied Accessories

Meade 12" LX850 ACF Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) StarLock Automatic Guider 80 mm f/5 Optical Tube with Two Camera Sensor System Internal Crayford-Style Zero Image Shift Dual-Speed 7:1 Focuser Zero Image Shift Electronic Micro-Focuser Computerized Equatorial Mount AutoStar II GOTO System with 144,000+ Object Database AutoStar Suite Software LX850 Heavy-Duty Giant Field Tripod with Anti-Vibration Pads 2x 26 lb. Stainless Steel Counterweights Losmandy-Style Dovetail with Ultra Stable Radius Blocks Universal AC Adapter USB Cable 2" Series 5000 Diagonal Prism with 99% Reflectivity 25 mm Series 5000 HD-60 Eyepiece 8x50 Viewfinder & Quick Release Bracket Extra Bracket