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Jan 13

What Do You Know About Meade Telescopes?

Unlike their main competitors – Orion and CelestronMeade had a very different but very direct start in the business of creating and selling telescopes to amateur astronomers. In fact Meade Telescopes started out as a one-man operation (run by a guy called John Diebel) in 1972, selling refracting telescopes by mail-order from magazine and newspaper ads. Obviously the world was “space crazy” in the 1970s because we’d just had the moon landings and the Space Shuttle program was also in development. Basically people wanted to learn all about our solar system and our galaxy so there was strong demand for telescopes of all kinds.

While most of their customers were happy with the imported refracting telescopes they were getting, Meade noticed that a large number of their customers were enquiring about more powerful telescopes. This meant that there was a serious gap in the market which nobody seemed to be filling, so by 1977 they had gone into business making their own branded Meade telescopes and the world soon got to see what the Meade 628 (6-inch aperture) and Meade 826 (8-inch aperture) reflecting telescopes were capable of. Obviously they were a big hit with both existing Meade customers, plus all the new Meade fans which appeared as a result of the release of their own range of telescopes.

Meade 628Meade 826

The next step Meade took in the development of their business was to invest very heavily in the manufacture of their own Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric telescope, which absorbed pretty much every financial, technical and human resources the company had. To outsiders it appeared that Meade had bitten off way more than they could chew but the release of the Model 2080, an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, finally made people sit up and pay attention to Meade as a serious contender in the amateur astronomy market.

Since then Meade have gone on to release innovation after innovation in terms of the types of telescopes they’ve produced, including the first commercially successful GoTo telescope system in 1991, and they were also responsible for the ETX series of Meade telescopes – the first truly computerized telescopes to be created for the amateur astronomer. This constant state of creativity has won them many fans, as has the fact that Meade telescopes are also reliable and don’t make a major dent in your wallet or credit rating either.

How Good are Meade Telescopes Though When It Really Comes Down to It?

Let’s take a look at one of the more popular telescopes in the Meade range – the ETX90EC AutoStar telescope.

The Meade ETX90EC Telescope

Meade ETX-90EC TelescopeThis is one of the many Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes manufactured by Meade, and if you’re new to astronomy a MC telescope is what’s called a catadioptric or compound telescope. This means it uses both lenses and mirrors to create those stunning images of stars and planets you look forward to seeing each night. Now a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope is nothing new but the this particular catadiopter is mounted on a twin fork equatorial mount, all of which is managed via an electronic controller.

The ETX90EC also features the AutoStar computer system which is designed to help you locate the exact celestial body you want to gaze at and all without using star charts or maps of any kind. One of the many benefits of the catadioptric design is that it means the optical tube is smaller and this means your telescope is lighter as a result. So even though this telescope is a computerized model it’s small enough to be carried around in the back of a car or simply moved around your home as you need to. The supplied Plossl eyepiece provides a 48x level of magnification but you can obviously swap this out for 12.5mm or 6mm Plossl eyepieces instead, depending on your preferences.

The final advantage/benefit of owning a telescope like the ETX90EC is that it can be used during the daytime too, so you’re getting two telescopes for the price of one really.

Conclusion 

Meade have been manufacturing telescopes for a long time now and that doesn’t seem set to change anytime soon, so if you’re looking for a home-grown telescope with a wealth of features that doesn’t cost the Earth then you should check out the range of Meade telescopes which are available online right now..

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