The Meade 10" f/8 LX600 ACF Telescope is the ultimate performer among Meade's LX series of Alt/Az fork mounted telescopes. Incredibly compact for its aperture, the 10" f/8 ACF is ideally suited for both small/medium sized observatories and taking in the car to a dark sky site on the weekend. When broken down into its constituent pieces, the LX600 10" is easily manageable and can be set up by just one person. The robust fork arms hold the optical tube rock solid to dampen any vibrations, which is critical for high power planetary observation or long exposure deep-sky imaging. Push button controls, automatic locating and tracking of celestial objects, and a wealth of object data at your fingertips in the AutoStar II hand controller make the LX600 a joy to use. This model is sold without a tripod for those who wish to mount the motor base on a permanent pier or other custom made tripod.
The patented Advanced Coma Free (ACF) optics produce impressively flat fields of view with no coma, even out to the edges of larger format cameras or extreme wide angle eyepieces. This makes the ACF system ideal for visual observers and astro-imagers alike. The Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) are included as with all Meade ACF optics, yielding maximum image brightness and contrast at the eyepiece or camera sensor. The ACF system also reduces astigmatism and eliminates diffraction spikes.
Designed and Manufactured in North America.
The ACF primary, secondary and corrector plate glass blanks are manufactured in the USA exclusively for Meade. Meade ACF telescopes, including the mounts, are manufactured and assembled in North America.
Key Features and Upgrades Set the LX600 Apart
The Meade LX600 series differs from the LX200 offerings in several key features, first and foremost being the focal ratio of the optical tube assembly (OTA). The 10" f/8 LX600 features a 2032mm focal length, shorter (and faster) than the LX200 10" (2500mm f/10). This shorter focal length yields a wider field of view with a given camera sensor or eyepiece and allows for a shorter exposure time compared with the slower f/10 system, while still providing the legendary optical quality that ACF system is known for.
The optical path and components of the ACF telescope design
Another distinguishing feature of the LX600 line is the inclusion of the StarLock automatic guider, built right onto the optical tube of the Meade 10" f/8 ACF. The StarLock system completely automates target acquisition and accurate guiding during astrophotographic exposures. No need to buy a separate guide camera or worry about locating guide stars and determining the correct guide cadence. The StarLock is solidly attached to the tube using a Vixen-style dovetail and provides both a wide-field CMOS camera sensor view for auto-alignment (14.7° x 11. 8° field of view), and a high resolution narrow-field CMOS sensor (57.2' x 45.8') for accurate high resolution autoguiding. It's also pre-focused at the factory, eliminating the need to refocus a guide scope each night.
StarLock automatic guider diagram
The LX600's focusing system boasts a couple of distinguishing features compared to Meade's LX90 and LX200 series telescopes. The first is a two-speed focus knob for ultra precise focusing of your targets. Get close to focus quickly with the course focus knob, then use the 7:1 reduction fine focus knob to dial in maximum sharpness. The second is an internal Crayford style zero shift focus mechanism built into all the f/8 ACF optical tubes. This mechanism utilizes bearings between the primary mirror and the baffle tubes, rather than the mirror sliding forwards and backwards directly on the baffle tube itself when focusing. The Crayford-style bearings eliminate focus shift and mirror flop, ensuring zero backlash and smooth motion throughout the focus range. Focusing at high magnifications on a planet by hand is thus extremely easy thanks to this internal Crayford focuser design and the ultra-precise fine focus feature. For those wishing to enhance the focusing process even further, an optional Electronic Microfocuser (Meade #07080) is available, which enables precise, touch-free focusing via the AutoStar handset.
Mechanical Advantages of the LX600 ACF Series
Mechanically, the LX600 series incorporates some notable design and feature upgrades that set it apart from other contenders in the fork mounted GoTo telescope class. Because the combination of ACF optical tube and fork mount can be bulky and heavy at the larger apertures, Meade's engineers wanted you to know they have your back — literally. How's that? Because the LX600 design allows the optical tube to be separated from the fork mount for easier, more convenient breakdown, assembly, and transport. Just below the altitude axis on both sides of the optical tube is a connection joint. You simply remove the four hex screws on each side to release the optical tube and upper fork section from the fork mount's base and lower arm section. Now you have two lighter and more easily manageable components!
Here is the weight breakdown of the telescope's main components:
- Optical tube with upper fork assembly: 28 lbs.
- Motor mount and lower fork arm assembly: 48 lbs.
- Assembled telescope weight: 76 lbs.
Also, larger ergonomically designed handles on the upper fork/optical tube section make installation easier. They're super handy for astronomers who must set up and break down their rig for each observing or imaging session. And because of the robust fork arm assembly coupled with the ability to break them down into component pieces, the LX600 series includes size options all the way up to 16" in diameter — the largest mounted size in Meade's lineup!
And one last premium feature: a tube balancing weight system. This sliding steel counterweight and rail system lets you balance the tube to compensate for heavier eyepieces or camera equipment. Balancing the optical tube ensures proper tracking and guiding performance and reduces strain on the motors. The rail is preinstalled on the bottom of the optical tube. The 10" f/8 LX600 ACF includes two sliding counterweights totaling 5.4 lbs.
Advanced Electronics and AutoStar II GoTo Pointing Technology
The LX600 system features a maximum speed slew of 8° per second, meaning the telescope can find the next object on your viewing list in just seconds, even if it is on the opposite side of the sky. Meade's SmartDrive technology provides Permanent Periodic Error Correction (PPEC), allowing the advanced StarLock system to achieve a guiding accuracy of up to 1 arc-second with good seeing.
The "brains" of the LX600 is the included AutoStar II computer system with its 145,000 object-library, multiple guided tours, and High Precision GoTo Pointing capability. The AutoStar II system provides control of virtually every telescope function. The AutoStar II handbox has soft-touch keys, an LCD display that's backlit with red LEDs to preserve your night vision, and intuitive key arrangement and menus that make AutoStar wonderfully easy and fun to use.
Precise star alignment is performed quickly and nearly effortlessly with Meade's level north technology alignment system, incorporating a 16-channel GPS receiver. The drive base of the telescope has multiple input/output ports including an RS-232 PC interface, separate Autoguider port, illuminated reticle power, and 12v output power. Mount and electronics are internally powered by 8 C-cell (user-supplied) batteries, which will typically operate the telescope for around 20 hours (optional Meade Universal AC Adapter is also available). The mount is also equipped with mechanical locks and slow motion manual controls on both axes if no power is available.
Optional Equatorial Wedge Transforms the LX600 Into an Imaging Powerhouse
The LX600 is a highly versatile instrument, able to adapt to the needs of the user. An optional equatorial wedge, the Meade #07028 X-Wedge, is available to convert your Alt/Az LX600 telescope into a polar aligned, EQ mounted instrument for deep-sky imaging. The X-Wedge is made from machined aluminum and stainless steel for unflinching rigidity and durability. There are two distinct advantages to using a wedge for deep-sky imaging. First, it will eliminate any field rotation inherent in an Alt/Az tracking system. This will allow you to take longer sub-exposures without field rotation artifacts. Second, no meridian flip will be required with the LX600 when using the wedge, as is necessary with a German Equatorial mount. Meridian flips are an inconvenience because imaging must be interrupted while the flip is performed, then a guide star must be re-acquired and the guiding re-established and stabilized. That all requires user supervision and wastes valuable imaging time. But with the LX600 and equatorial wedge combination, meridian flips are somebody else's inconvenience! Of course, for visual use the wedge is not necessary.
The optional Meade X-Wedge installed between the drive base and the tripod
Interested in astrophotography? Meade ACF telescopes, with their long native focal lengths, are great instruments for photographing planets and the Moon in high-resolution detail with a DSLR or astro camera. And the addition of the optional Meade ACF 0.68x Focal Reducer optimizes any ACF for deep space imaging. This thread-on accessory converts an f/10 ACF into a faster f/6.8 system and transforms an f/8 ACF into a speedy f/5.5 imaging beast! The reducer shortens the long exposure times needed to record faint deep-sky objects by half and expands the field of view by nearly 50%, allowing capture of larger objects in a single frame. Your Meade ACF will become a powerful astrograph capable of capturing jaw-dropping astrophotographs with your DSLR or astronomical CCD or CMOS camera!
And though it may be obvious, it's still worth noting: Every Meade ACF telescope features dual-experience functionality, meaning that you can attach a camera and capture stunning astrophotographs, or you can pop in an eyepiece to visually study a celestial object — like Galileo, Herschel, Messier, and other astronomers both professional and amateur have done for centuries. The rewards of astrophotographic endeavors with an ACF lie in the dramatic colors and structure of objects revealed with impressive resolution by the tremendous light gathering capability and sharpness of the ACF optics. The visual experience is equally breathtaking: the real-time sight of an astronomical object through the eyepiece engenders a powerful, almost spiritual connection with the heavens. The view is ethereal and immersive, 3D-like, and made all the richer by the knowledge that you're looking back in time — millions of years in the case of some distant galaxies, to when they emitted the photons that are now just reaching your retinas. With a Meade ACF as your gateway to the night sky, you can experience the sheer amazement of exploring its diverse treasures in both ways — astrophotographically with your camera, or visually with your eyes wide open.
Quality Borne of North American Manufacturing
Designed and manufactured in North America to exacting quality standards, the Meade flagship LX600 series of fork mounted Alt/Az Advanced Coma-Free GoTo telescopes are perfect for the discerning visual astronomer or dedicated astro-imager. The Meade 10" LX600 ACF features a 10" aperture, 2032mm focal length, and f/8 focal ratio with Dual-Fork Mounting. The Ultra High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) and a resolving power of 0.46 arc-seconds provide an improvement in brightness and resolution on everything from star clusters, fine detail in nebulae, to greater surface features on planets. Includes a Series 4000 26mm Super Plössl eyepiece (78x), viewfinder (8x50 optical with crosshair), and 1.25" diagonal mirror. Because of the size of the shipping box(es), most LX600 telescopes will be shipped via freight and arrive on a pallet.
Whether at home in your backyard, in a domed observatory, or on road trip to beautiful dark skies, the versatile Meade 10" f/8 LX600 ACF Telescope will provide years of astronomical exploration and amazement.
Limited Warranty against defects in materials or workmanship for two years from date of purchase. This warranty is provided by Meade for the benefit of the original retail purchaser only. For complete warranty details contact Meade at 800-626-3233.
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