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Meade Telescopes

What's a childhood without a telescope? If you don't believe us, go watch almost any early Spielberg movie. Yeah, one with a kid in it. What's in the bedroom of every single one? A TELESCOPE. See? If it's good enough for 80s movies, it's good enough for you.



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  • (1:19 PM, 12/13/2012) zambonikane gazes into the stars, discusses Astrophotography.


inkycatz


quality posts: 105 Private Messages inkycatz

Do you have a telescope? How do these compare?

Twinkle, twinkle, little deal... tell us how these make you feel.

I'm just hanging out, really.

marquis1photo


quality posts: 3 Private Messages marquis1photo

would love to know if people have had success with using adapters to take photos with any of these.

Buckycubes and misc kids.woots.
I love woot-offs

mschauber


quality posts: 40 Private Messages mschauber
marquis1photo wrote:would love to know if people have had success with using adapters to take photos with any of these.



That was going to be my question. I'm looking for a telescope to which I can attach my Nikon DSLRs (D300 & D800.)

--
Hey you, out there in the cold; Getting lonely, getting old; Can you feel me? - Pink Floyd/Roger Waters
My CT

joecooool


quality posts: 20 Private Messages joecooool

StarNavigator 102 is the one to get here.

globe1013


quality posts: 0 Private Messages globe1013
marquis1photo wrote:would love to know if people have had success with using adapters to take photos with any of these.



I never owned one but I used to sell Meade's telescopes at Brookstone. I would say the 102 is the best overall telescope here but if you're looking to take pictures it will be easier with one of the short tube refractors. I know on the one we sold, a DSX-90 (which is smiliar to the ETX-80), it had a another viewfinder on the back of the scope where you could attach a camera. That way you could line up your shot with the eyepiece pointing up the in the picture. Then you could flip a lever on the side to switch the view to the back one to take the picture. Granted you still need to order an adaptor from Meade but it was just easier than the long tube refractors because they don't balance themselves very well with a camera hanging off the end.

I had a friend that bought one of the DSX-125s and took some really great pictures with it. However with telescopes its all about aperture size (not magnification) which makes all the difference. I'm not expert but Meade makes really good scopes that were easy to use with AutoStar. However I can't speak to these but I would recommend bouncing over to their website before you jump on this deal.

ddevil


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ddevil

If you want a GoTo scope then these are pretty good deals. I've never used a GoTo scope personally but I imagine it's great if you want to just sit back and relax and view lots of things all in one sitting. I opted for a dobsonian which is where you're going to get the most bang for your buck if you're serious about starting out in astronomy. I feel like you're cheating yourself a bit though with a GoTo scope. For me half of the fine is actually finding the object I'm after. It also forces you to become more familiar with the sky and it's always fun to learn little tricks on how to find things. For example, I call M81 and M82 the metal galaxies because to find them I put up the horns at arms length and use those fingers to measure the distance from the tip of the big dipper to M81 and M82. I'd recommend going with the Celestron AstroMaster 114 which is only $150 and picking up a spiral bound copy of NightWatch.

edit: Saw that astrophotography was brought up. I'm sure you could get some ok pictures with the GoTo scopes but astrophotography increases prices of things dramatically. If that's what you're wanting to get into then you're going to have to do a lot more research in choosing a good telescope.

xdavex


quality posts: 15 Private Messages xdavex

I have a different brand of 102mm refractor (Celestron)and have taken photos of the moon using a T-adapter and a Canon xsi. I haven't tried any planet shots yet. I would also agree on one of the ETX models being good for astro photography. I had an ETX 80 for a short time but never had a chance to use it for photos.
The 'go-to' scopes are nice, I have 2, but I did learn the night skies with a small reflector without go-to abilities.

jd3538


quality posts: 3 Private Messages jd3538

The ETX scopes have a port on the back where you can attach a camera via an adapter. I have an ETX-70 at home. These are short focal length scopes (400mm) which is about 8X the power of a normal lens on a 35mm camera which is also about what a standard pair of binoculars provides. The StarNavigator 102 provides about twice as much magnification. You will still need an adapter to attach your 35mm or digital camera.

Also, the AutoStar controller on the StarNavigators is better (more objects in the database and upgradable). The one on the ETX scopes requires an almost impossible to find (and expensive) cable to upgrade.

I have seven Meade scopes and have been dealing with them for a few years. Customer service is not toll-free, but they are pretty helpful. One scope I purchased came with a slightly damaged AutoStar controller. I contacted Meade and they sent me out another no questions asked. I didn't even have to return the original.

ngc6475


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ngc6475

These telescopes and their mounts are not especially well-suited for astro-photography. It wouldn't be impossible, but it would be frustrating and the results may not be worth the effort. That being said, some of these are fine starter scopes, such as the 102mm and even the 80mm scopes. Stay away from the lower end rigs, though.

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." - Mark Twain

joecooool


quality posts: 20 Private Messages joecooool

The Star Navigator 102 is such a good deal that I am going to suggest that Woot got the prices backwards for the 102 and the 90. The 90 is cheaper than the 102 everywhere else on the internet.

jamesbottomtooth


quality posts: 41 Private Messages jamesbottomtooth
mschauber wrote:That was going to be my question. I'm looking for a telescope to which I can attach my Nikon DSLRs (D300 & D800.)



dslr could be a bit heavy for some of these scopes. you might need a good mount and counter-weight.

the issue with astrophotography, you will not be able to use auto-focus. so with manual focusing you need to constantly check the image and adjust focus manually. so a laptop connected to camera helps.

madgonad


quality posts: 1 Private Messages madgonad

These scopes are for children. About the only thing they are useful for to an adult is looking at the moon or spying into a neighbor's window.

If you want to look at nebula, see the planets as more than a smudge, or attach a camera you are going to need to spend some actual money.

That means you want at LEAST 5" of aperture, preferably 8" of more. Shooting images with camera requires a solid base for short exposures and a tracking equatorial mount for longer exposures. Expect to pay no less than $500 to get started - more likely over $1000.

You really need good equipment to achieve impressive results.

exillinimj


quality posts: 0 Private Messages exillinimj

I didn't know Eli Manning use a telescope.

brrt50cal


quality posts: 0 Private Messages brrt50cal
madgonad wrote:These scopes are for children. About the only thing they are useful for to an adult is looking at the moon or spying into a neighbor's window.

If you want to look at nebula, see the planets as more than a smudge, or attach a camera you are going to need to spend some actual money.

That means you want at LEAST 5" of aperture, preferably 8" of more. Shooting images with camera requires a solid base for short exposures and a tracking equatorial mount for longer exposures. Expect to pay no less than $500 to get started - more likely over $1000.

You really need good equipment to achieve impressive results.



+1 to this statement. You'd be causing yourself a lot of undue frustration by trying astrophotography with one of these. Not to say that they're not a decent scope for what they are but if you want to get that hardcore, it's a lot more difficult and expensive than most people think.

However, one thing I do disagree with is the value of an auto finder. Astronomy isn't for everyone, even the ones that love looking at stars. I think you'd be best served to get a higher entry model like one of these that can take out some of the leg work if you're really struggling to figure out how to get the techniques down. I don't believe you HAVE to use the feature on these, but I could be wrong. If you find out this is something you love doing, you'll quickly move past a $300 scope, no matter who makes it.

madgonad


quality posts: 1 Private Messages madgonad
brrt50cal wrote:However, one thing I do disagree with is the value of an auto finder. Astronomy isn't for everyone, even the ones that love looking at stars. I think you'd be best served to get a higher entry model like one of these that can take out some of the leg work if you're really struggling to figure out how to get the techniques down. I don't believe you HAVE to use the feature on these, but I could be wrong. If you find out this is something you love doing, you'll quickly move past a $300 scope, no matter who makes it.



I love my GOTO scopes even more than my larger unguided Dobson. They save a ton of time, especially with the kids around. Being able to quickly get from Messier to Messier in a time frame that doesn't extend bedtime too much is invaluable.

If you really want to have a nice instrument for viewing the stars, even if it is only a few times a year, just spring the extra money. If you start out cheap you will see dim images and finding stuff on a wobbly mount just sucks. It will piss you off more than astound you. Drop the extra money, find a dark place to go, and be prepared to be amazed. I'll never forget the first time I saw M31 and M57 through an 8" CAT under dark skies. Pictures just don't do justice to seeing them directly.

ttfitz


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ttfitz
inkycatz wrote:Do you have a telescope? How do these compare?



I have this one - http://tinyurl.com/azxzr3h - and feel it is better for the money than any of these. Generally speaking, the bigger the light bucket, the better. The 102 might be okay.

pplug


quality posts: 0 Private Messages pplug

Oh man, I cant believe that meade still sells these small refractors. The only one with any possibilities is the 102 refractor. All the other scopes do is make people frustrated and disappointed.

If your serious about a telescope and want to see anything really cool you need to buy a scope with at least 8" of aperture (diameter). The best buys are found on craig's list used. Look for a Dobsonian mounted newtonian reflector with the biggest aperture you can afford.

I have a 12" dobsonian and a 8" schmidt-cassagrain. I have beautiful views with quality eyepieces.

steveemert


quality posts: 0 Private Messages steveemert
marquis1photo wrote:would love to know if people have had success with using adapters to take photos with any of these.



None of these particular scopes are very suitable for taking more than very simple snapshots. It's not the optics, it's the mount. These are all altitude-azimuth (generally shortened to alt-az) mounts, meaning they go up-down and left-right. For good astro photography you need an equatorial mount, one that has an axis that points at the north star (the polar, or declination axis) and the other that rotates from east to west along an imaginary projection of the earth's equator in the sky (the right ascension axis). Why all this? Because that is the way the stars appear to travel across the sky due to the earth's rotation. Why do you need to worry about that? Stars are DIM! For good astro photos you take long time exposures. Without the proper tracking, all you will get is streaks or blobs, not nice pinpoints of stars.
These scopes are all small aperture (lens size) and are suitable for looking at the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, maybe some of the very brightest star clusters and nebula like the great globular cluster in Hercules (M13) and the Orion nebula (M42) and the Double Cluster in Perseus (NGC 884 and 869), but that is about it. The best of these are the computerized ones, since they help you find objects and more accurately point to them.

steveemert


quality posts: 0 Private Messages steveemert
pplug wrote:Oh man, I cant believe that meade still sells these small refractors. The only one with any possibilities is the 102 refractor. All the other scopes do is make people frustrated and disappointed.

If your serious about a telescope and want to see anything really cool you need to buy a scope with at least 8" of aperture (diameter). The best buys are found on craig's list used. Look for a Dobsonian mounted newtonian reflector with the biggest aperture you can afford.

I have a 12" dobsonian and a 8" schmidt-cassagrain. I have beautiful views with quality eyepieces.



I also have a 12" Dobsonian mounted Newtonian reflector scope, and also a 6" Maksutov Cassegrain. Both are good. I agree that 8" is a good starting point for serious observing, but you can get some nice views with 6" of aperture as well. And those are much more portable. I won't put a plug here for other brands, and Meade makes some very good larger telescopes. Just Google telescope or astronomy and you will find a lot of sites and Internet retailers selling nice scopes, many for not much more than these scopes. As with the previous posting, I agree Dobs are nice. Inexpensive but solid and stable and very easy to point mounts. Shaky mounts and scopes with inexpensive eyepieces are the biggest killers of interest in stargazing. Get a scope with a good, solid (not necessarily expensive) mount and expect to spend at least $45 per eyepiece for a decent Plossl design eyepiece good for starting out. With that combination, there are many beautiful objects to see. To know what to look for, start at www.seds.org/messier

steveemert


quality posts: 0 Private Messages steveemert
brrt50cal wrote:+1 to this statement. You'd be causing yourself a lot of undue frustration by trying astrophotography with one of these. Not to say that they're not a decent scope for what they are but if you want to get that hardcore, it's a lot more difficult and expensive than most people think.

However, one thing I do disagree with is the value of an auto finder. Astronomy isn't for everyone, even the ones that love looking at stars. I think you'd be best served to get a higher entry model like one of these that can take out some of the leg work if you're really struggling to figure out how to get the techniques down. I don't believe you HAVE to use the feature on these, but I could be wrong. If you find out this is something you love doing, you'll quickly move past a $300 scope, no matter who makes it.



Why foist one of these onto your children? Get them one of the easier to use scopes with better eyepieces and larger aperture for them and they may actually develop an interest in astronomy! If they get so frustrated and give up because you can't find or see anything, why bother!

Mathemagic


quality posts: 0 Private Messages Mathemagic

The 102mm will be for my daughter. I had a Celestron 8" Compustar and thoroughly enjoyed it. Does anyone know if this will be delivered in time for Christmas? Only standard shipping listed for this...

powermatt


quality posts: 7 Private Messages powermatt
inkycatz wrote:Do you have a telescope? How do these compare?

Twinkle, twinkle, little deal... tell us how these make you feel.



Telescopes are a wonderful thing. Even relatively inexpensive ones like these can show you things you wouldn't be able to see with just your eyes.

Personally, I own a Celestron 6" Schmidt–Cassegrain on an equatorial mount. It cost me around a grand, but don't fall for the myth that more money = better viewing. These scopes are a great way to get into the hobby, and Meade is definitely a notch above the department store specials you may see during the holidays.

brrt50cal


quality posts: 0 Private Messages brrt50cal
steveemert wrote:Why foist one of these onto your children? Get them one of the easier to use scopes with better eyepieces and larger aperture for them and they may actually develop an interest in astronomy! If they get so frustrated and give up because you can't find or see anything, why bother!



Ummm.... I don't know. I never suggested that you should. My assumption is that whoever is looking at these may not be looking for a $500-1000 scope.

There's definitely a cost/benefit analysis when buying a telescope and I wouldn't recommend starting off with something even moderately expensive because if you don't like it, you'll have nothing but an expensive paper weight sitting in your house.

zambonikane


quality posts: 1 Private Messages zambonikane

RE: Astrophotography
Aperture is not necessarly everything when it comes to astrophotography, but it does help. I currently image with an 8" Newtonian attached to a German equitorial mount (the perfered mount for astrophotography). Also, don't be drawn in by magnification-often times, the really interesting objects are very large in terms of thier angular size. For instance, our nearest galactic neighbor, The Andromeda Galaxy, is five times the angular size of our full moon and cannot fit within the field of view of my scope. If you check out astrobin.com, you will see the work of a ton of amature astronomers using everything from just thier DSLR, a kit lens, and a tripod, to a mount that costs more than most new cars and a total imaging set up that costs more than many peoples homes. When I got into the hobby about a year an a half ago, I thought I could get what I wanted for under $700, but the more I researched, the more I realized that I would ultimatly be unhappy with the rig and it would just sit in the garage. I currently have over $3000 invested (using that term loosly), but I am finally at a point where I feel like I can make the most of my equipment.

ngc6475


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ngc6475
brrt50cal wrote:I wouldn't recommend starting off with something even moderately expensive because if you don't like it, you'll have nothing but an expensive paper weight sitting in your house.



Well said.

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." - Mark Twain

bacalum


quality posts: 4 Private Messages bacalum

How much can you see through the light pollution? As cities grow, proliferate and switch to halogen lighting, star-gazing means driving farther and farther from "civilization" to be able to really see anything. Then there's smog. Look at the documented problems with visibility at the Grand Canyon. If it's too polluted to see well across the canyon, how exactly do you propose to peer at nebulae and other objects a few to millions of light years away? There are good reasons we launched Hubble!
If you live in a remote area, astronomy is fun. If you live in a suburban or urban area, don't expect to see scenes like the ones in photos. If you live in an area with fog, it's amazing how the fog seems to materialize every time there's an interesting astronomical event.

When rich or powerful people propose a change, it is designed to make them richer or more powerful.

powermatt


quality posts: 7 Private Messages powermatt
bacalum wrote:How much can you see through the light pollution? As cities grow, proliferate and switch to halogen lighting, star-gazing means driving farther and farther from "civilization" to be able to really see anything. Then there's smog. Look at the documented problems with visibility at the Grand Canyon. If it's too polluted to see well across the canyon, how exactly do you propose to peer at nebulae and other objects a few to millions of light years away? There's a good reason we launched Hubble!



It really depends on your area. If you live in the heart of Manhattan, you'll have trouble seeing anything short of the brightest objects (orion's nebula, the Pleiades). If you live in the suburbs outside a larger city, typically viewing in the direction of the city will have similar problems. Where I live I've got great viewing in every direction except north, which is towards the city. It does make polar alignments slightly challenging, but not impossible.

bacalum


quality posts: 4 Private Messages bacalum
powermatt wrote:It really depends on your area....


You're right. I used to stargaze when I was a boy; living in the middle of the Pacific may have spoiled me, visibility-wise. In suburban California, your statement that one can only see the brightest objects is correct. If you happen to live there and are interested in astronomy, the Griffith Planetarium in L.A. recently completed a pretty nice overhaul. Also the 2nd or 3rd weekend in May is the JPL Open House. Great event, and it's free! Go see where the real Big Bang Theory guys work, and pick up some free stickers or posters!

When rich or powerful people propose a change, it is designed to make them richer or more powerful.

thormj


quality posts: 5 Private Messages thormj

If you go after something else -- the goto and compu-nav mounts are different and not easily retrofitted to things like a stock Dobs.

For DSLR use, I'd recommend an intervalometer (check out the Android app; it's a little more, but it is flexible to be a time-lapse intervalometer, remote, motion detector, etc) -- that way you can take several 1 minute exposures (-- really, for faint objects 1 minute is the least you can do --) and align them later if you have a couple of bright guidestars in the field.

Dunno. I think mirrors are better (mainly for large diameter for large light gathering, but also for chromatic dispersion).

If you're in/near the city, you need a cold, dry night to cut down the light pollution.

ckeilah


quality posts: 149 Private Messages ckeilah
joecooool wrote:The Star Navigator 102 is such a good deal that I am going to suggest that Woot got the prices backwards for the 102 and the 90. The 90 is cheaper than the 102 everywhere else on the internet.



Dammit joecooool! Thanks for spoiling our fun. Woot! jacked the price on the 102. :-P

Please do not increment my Quality Posts count. 69 is a good place to be. ;-)
MOD: We had to...we just HAD TO...

ckeilah


quality posts: 149 Private Messages ckeilah

And dammit woot! You do not have to "check my ID" every random-x time! I missed getting this thanks to your snowmanic intervention after I had clicked the Big Yellow Button. :-P

Woot! just made some pretty ponies sad for Christmas.

Please do not increment my Quality Posts count. 69 is a good place to be. ;-)
MOD: We had to...we just HAD TO...

rsquarci


quality posts: 0 Private Messages rsquarci

I ordered the NG70-SM 70mm Refractor Telescope on Dec 11th. Says it's still awaiting shipping??? Better get it before Xmas!

ROGETRAY


quality posts: 152 Private Messages ROGETRAY

Staff

rsquarci wrote:I ordered the NG70-SM 70mm Refractor Telescope on Dec 11th. Says it's still awaiting shipping??? Better get it before Xmas!



Sorry to hear that you are still awaiting shipment of your order.

It usually can take up 5 days for shipping, so if you don't see any update on your shipping status by tomorrow, please feel free to email Woot Member Services at support@woot.com and they'll be glad to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,
Forum Moderator

joecooool


quality posts: 20 Private Messages joecooool

So mine was opened as a Christmas gift and not only was it used, it was broken. Now I have to send in the computer and who knows how long it will take to get the replacement parts.

inkycatz


quality posts: 105 Private Messages inkycatz
joecooool wrote:So mine was opened as a Christmas gift and not only was it used, it was broken. Now I have to send in the computer and who knows how long it will take to get the replacement parts.


Computer? These are telescopes. Regardless, we highly recommend whatever's busted, contact the manufacturer and keep us advised if there are any problems.

I'm just hanging out, really.

joecooool


quality posts: 20 Private Messages joecooool
inkycatz wrote:Computer? These are telescopes. Regardless, we highly recommend whatever's busted, contact the manufacturer and keep us advised if there are any problems.



Yes, the model 102 come with a computer guided system - which is the whole point of ordering that telescope.

I did contact them, I will have to send the part into them and then wait for them to send me the replacement part. They suggested it may take about three weeks.

joecooool


quality posts: 20 Private Messages joecooool

I purchased a telescope from Woot on 12/11/12 and received the item a few days later. The Woot order number is 42770314

The specific reason I bought this telescope is because it has a computer on it that automatically locates celestial objects. When I set up the telescope, the AudioStar computer mechanism did not function. I called Meade technical support and after discussing the problems, they asked me to UPS back just the AudioStar computer. I did this several weeks ago and never got a response. I called Meade today and asked them what the status was and they told me that they had received the defective part back from me but they no longer had any stock to replace my defective part with. When I asked how long it would take to get the new part I was told they had no idea, that it could be a few weeks to maybe a couple of months to maybe never.

I no longer have the box because I was told it was a simple fix and they would have me up and running in a few days. Its now been almost a month since I bought the telescope. I've yet to be able to use it and have no idea when or even if I will ever get the part I need to fix it.

I need you guys to contact Meade on my behalf and either force them to fix this problem now or allow me to ship the telescope back without the box or computer for a full refund.

ROGETRAY


quality posts: 152 Private Messages ROGETRAY

Staff

joecooool wrote:I purchased a telescope from Woot on 12/11/12 and received the item a few days later. The Woot order number is 42770314

The specific reason I bought this telescope is because it has a computer on it that automatically locates celestial objects. When I set up the telescope, the AudioStar computer mechanism did not function. I called Meade technical support and after discussing the problems, they asked me to UPS back just the AudioStar computer. I did this several weeks ago and never got a response. I called Meade today and asked them what the status was and they told me that they had received the defective part back from me but they no longer had any stock to replace my defective part with. When I asked how long it would take to get the new part I was told they had no idea, that it could be a few weeks to maybe a couple of months to maybe never.

I no longer have the box because I was told it was a simple fix and they would have me up and running in a few days. Its now been almost a month since I bought the telescope. I've yet to be able to use it and have no idea when or even if I will ever get the part I need to fix it.

I need you guys to contact Meade on my behalf and either force them to fix this problem now or allow me to ship the telescope back without the box or computer for a full refund.



Sorry for the late reply and to hear that you experienced this issue.

I've forwarded your post onto Woot Member Services to see if they can't help find you a solution to this issue.