I take a look at some of the various telescopes that Mead makes and I give you my opinion and thoughts about them. If you are considering buying a telescopes here is some good information that will help you make the right decision based on your needs and wants with information about price, price versus performance, accessories, usability and more.
A Quick Note about Meade the company
The Meade company was founded in 1972 and they have been producing telescopes and optics with two important things in mind: Quality of performance and value for your dollar. They have truly achieved both these things because their telescopes are outstanding in performance and at a very competitive price. You can take a virtual tour of their factory here
If you want to browse through a selection of Meade Telescopes I have them right here on this website Meade Telescope Store
First Question: What will you be using the telescope for? Strictly astronomical use, terrestrial use or both? This is an important question and has an impact on which telescope you should buy.
If you are going to do predominantly astronomical viewing you should strongly consider getting a reflector telescope (this is the one with the mirror rather than the lens) and this is because you will get a substantial amount of more power for less money. These reflecting telescopes are a very good value for astronomical viewing.
If you are going to mix up your astronomical viewing with terrestrial based viewing you should consider getting a refractor telescope. These are much better suited to terrestrial viewing.
For amateur astronomy there are three classes of Meade telescope that I will recommend based on how serious you are about your astronomy.
Some Telescope Buying Recommendations
If you are a beginner astronomer and just want something of quality to try out astronomy without breaking the bank here are my recommendations:
This is an excellent refractor telescope. Very reasonably priced, high quality and good for both astronomical and terrestrial viewing. If you are making your first foray into astronomy this is a great place to start. And if your love of astronomy grows and you end up getting a bigger telescope this one will still be very useful to you for its ease and portability.
The Meade Reflector Telescope - If you are going to be using your telescope pretty much just for astronomical viewing you should get a reflector telescope. The light gathering power of a reflector is significantly higher for the price and this beginner reflector is a great value at a comparable price to the refractor with a significant increase in size.
For the more liberal budget minded this telescope is hands down the best choice. It is compact in size, performs absolutely outstanding and is just a fantastic telescope that will astound you. It is more expensive than the others but performs accordingly without being hard to use. And it also has an optional computerized object finder which means you can just press a button and the scope will automatically go to the object. It makes stargazing real easy. Costs more than the other beginner scopes but is still a fantastic value and something that will give you a lifetime of pleasure. This is the scope where meade says let's give the highest possible quality at a good price for the beginning astronomer or hobbyist. See a youtube video of this telescope without the tripod
If you are an intermediate level astronomer, know a bit about telescopes and have done some astronomy yet are looking for a powerful telescope that will give you a substantial amount of more light gathering power without breaking the bank.
Significantly more light gathering power than the beginners refractor and perfect for both terrestrial and celestial viewing. Compact size for ease of use and comes with a computerized database that will automatically find objects in the night sky for you. This is an outstanding refractor for the intermediate user See the youtube video on how to set this telescope up The Backback Observatory video
Meade finally brings a serious telescope into thecasual-consumer price range. The ETX-90EC Astro offers extraordinaryoptics at an affordable price. It combines a high-resolution opticaldesign and diffraction-limited imaging with microprocessor-controlled,precise celestial-object tracking, all in a nicely styled, highlyportable package.
Improvements to this model include a new forkmount with dual-axis drive system. The ETX-90EC also includes hightorque DC motors on both telescope axes, permitting electronicoperation from the hand-held controller. This push-button electroniccontroller has four dual-axis drive speeds: slow, 8x for imagecentering at high power; medium, 32x for image centering at lowerpower or for pushbutton tracking in altazimuth mode; moderate, 0.75degrees per second for image centering in the viewfinder or forterrestrial tracking; and fast, 5 degrees per second for fast scanningacross the sky.
The Meade ETX-90EC is specially designed to beportable and used in the field. It offers cordless operation, allowingyou to use the telescope's dual-axis drive system for more than 40hours on eight AA batteries. At approximately 8 pounds and 15 inchesin length, it packs a lot of power into a compact unit.
TheETX-90EC uses a 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design, and Meadeactually warranties the optics of the ETX-90EC "to equal or exceed theoptical performance and resolution of any Maksutov optics of similaraperture ever manufactured at any price." The ETX-Series optics offersuperb contrast, image brightness, and resolution; Meade claims thetelescope consistently outperforms many instruments of largerapertures. Meade also uses EMC super multicoatings on all opticalsurfaces to maximize light transmission through the corrector lens andreflectance from the primary and secondary mirrors. The flip-mirrorsystem allows for 90-degree observation of land and sky objects,straight-through observation using the optional #932 45-degreeErecting Prism, or photo-ready imaging using the optional #64T-Adapter and your own 35mm camera.
Overall, the Meade ETX-90EC isa fine piece of craftsmanship at a surprisingly affordable price. Forthose of us who spent our childhood peering through old-style consumertelescopes, using the ETX-90EC is like getting time in the PalomarObservatory. From shifting cloud belts on Saturn to the glowingfilaments of the Orion Nebula, this instrument lets you observe theheavens in extraordinary detail.
GPS telescope automatically finds over 30,000 stars, planets, galaxies and more! Just turn it on this astonishing telescope with GPS will do absolutely everything else. The built-in Sony GPS sensor talks to satellites to determine your precise date, time and location. AutoAlign technology can then locate over 30,000 objects at the push of a button! Or select "Tonight's Best" for a guided tour of the evening's best sights. Observatory-quality optics with an oversized primary mirror ensure unbelievable detail and clarity. This scope moves from star to star more than twice as fast as the competition, so you can see more in a shorter time. Plus, you can download free upgrades to keep your LX90GPS up to date for years to come. Uses 8 C batteries (not included). Order yours today! Stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae, comets and more! This scope knows more than 30,000 of them. At the push of a button, it will automatically move to your desired target. Or, just opt for the guided tour the Tonight's Best feature will show you the best sights, tailored to your specific date, time and location. The LX90GPS slews (moves) from star to star at 7 degrees per second, more than twice as fast as the competition, so you can see more in the course of an evening.The phenomenal industry-leading optical technology in this telescope delivers stunning images like those you'd see at an observatory or planetarium. Meade individually figures its legendary Schmidt-Cassegrain optics for superior light transmission, temperature stability, smoothness and correction. Plus, the oversized primary mirror yields a wider, fully illuminated field-of-view. Years of up-to-the-minute use. Just log on to meade's website to download software upgrades, guided tours and the latest information on comets, satellites and new discoveries FREE! Keep your LX90GPS up-to-date, and it will grow with you for years to come. Additional specifications 8" (203mm) clear aperture 9.1" x 16.75" optical tube 3-5 arc minute
Aperture: 12-Inch. Focal Length: 1524mm. Focal Ratio: f/5. It's not just a big telescope. It's a big telescope that goes anywhere. New LightBridge truss-Dobs from Meade take down and set up quickly. So you can take one of these massive windows on the universe out to your favorite dark sky locations with ease. LightBridge Dobs give you high quality Meade optics, premium components, and ultra portability - all for about the same price as an ordinary tube Dob. So get a LightBridge truss-Dob. And prepare to cross the universe. FEATURES: Diffraction Limited Optics Meade optics consistently outperform telescopes of similar and larger aperture. Consumers know that "Meade Optics Inside" means that what they see through our telescopes will be views that are detailed, crisp and full of contrast. 2-Inch Crayford-Style Machined Aluminum Focuser With 1.25-Inch Adapter Smooth precise focusing is achieved with this classic design. A unique focus tension knob and focus lock design gives complete control over focus. Built-In Primary Mirror Cooling Fan Bring the telescope into thermal equilibrium quickly and efficiently with the battery powered cooling fan. The fan is mounted to the rear of the "vented" primary mirror cell for fast cool down.