8-inch ACF te­le­scope

A ca­pa­ble, com­pact and colour­ful te­le­scope with a wide se­lec­tion of ex­tras

Sky at Night Magazine - - FIRST LIGHT - WORDS: PAUL MONEY

Meade is a long-estab­lished man­u­fac­turer and brand with a huge range of tele­scopes, mounts and ac­ces­sories, so we were pleased for the chance to re­view its lat­est LX65 mount and ACF (Ad­vanced Coma-Free) 8-inch te­le­scope. The sys­tem comes with a stain­less steel tri­pod, 26mm eye­piece, Red Dot Finder, star di­ag­o­nal, bub­ble level with com­pass, and a DVD with plan­e­tar­ium soft­ware.

The LX65 mount is a sin­gle straight arm alt-az­imuth Go-To mount, pow­ered ei­ther by eight C-type bat­ter­ies or an ex­ter­nal 12V power source. An in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion is that there are two Vixen-style sad­dles, the main one for hold­ing the sup­plied te­le­scope and an ad­di­tional one on the outer side for a sec­ond te­le­scope that weighs up to 3.2kg. This sec­ond sad­dle can be ad­justed to line up the view ex­actly with WKH SULPDU\ LQVWUXPHQW ,W V LGHDO IRU DGGLQJ D ULFK HOG re­frac­tor to give wide views of the same target. The mount is sturdy de­spite its outer plas­tic cas­ing, which looks good in the blue livery com­ple­ment­ing the op­ti­cal sys­tem.

All in hand

Con­trol­ling the mount and pro­vid­ing func­tion­al­ity is the Au­dioS­tar hand con­troller. This plugs into the top­most of the ports on the back of the mount arm, clearly la­belled HBX. A re­mov­able bracket al­lows the hand box to be at­tached to the mount for con­ve­nience. The Au­dioS­tar fea­tures 30,000 ob­jects cov­er­ing all the main cat­a­logues of deep-sky tar­gets, such as Messier, Caldwell, NGC and IC, along with So­lar Sys­tem tar­gets of the plan­ets, as­ter­oids and comets. Other op­tions in­clude named stars, vari­ables and dou­bles along with the choice to take a tour of ‘Tonight’s Best’ – which au­to­mat­i­cally se­lects the best night-sky ob­jects for that time and lo­ca­tion – so there is plenty to ex­plore. The Au­dioS­tar also fea­tures au­dio voiceovers for 500 ob­jects in the data­base.

The op­ti­cal tube is a Meade ACF cata­diop­tric te­le­scope with a di­am­e­ter of 203mm (8 inches) and a

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