Meade Instruments has built its reputation and its products through ground-breaking and industry-leading innovation. You’ll find that on every product we make. Meade Instruments is adding technology to all of our products to make them easier and more fun to use. At Meade, we believe in using technology to make astronomy accessible and enjoyable to everyone, regardless of your experience level. It's the way we've done business for the past four decades, and the way we'll continue to do business into our fifth decade and beyond.
In September 1980, of the Model 2080 — the first commercially-available 8-inch SC to include worm-gear drives — Meade telescopes began to grow rapidly, and to amass a list of firsts unrivalled in the amateur astronomy market:
The LX3 – introduced in 1984, the first SC to include an integrated electronic drive system. This is also widely recognized as the first integrated astrophotography system in the mass market.
The LX6 – in 1990, featuring Smart Drive, the first permanently-programmed Periodic Error Correction software. Considered a luxury model upon its release, many of its features are still found today on the LX200 line.
The LX200 – in 1992, the first commercially successful GoTo telescope system. With the launch of the LX200, Meade also introduced a new, heavier fork-arm mount that dampened vibration, establishing the LX200 as the new standard in amateur astrophotography platforms.
The 16-inch LX200 – in 1994, the first commercial, fully-computerized, observatory-class SC. With the 16-inch LX200, Meade opened the door for the serious amateur. It was finally possible to get observatory-class optical power at a fraction of the cost of other, similarly powered telescopes — and the only ones available to the general public.
The ETX Series with AutoStar – in 1999, the first portable, fully-computerized telescope. Combining lightweight portability and the convenience of GoTo electronics, the ETX became an instant favourite with the astronomical community — a position it still holds today.
Moving into the 21st century, Meade Instruments has continued its series of industry firsts, solidifying its place as the innovative leader in the amateur astronomy market:
Meade’s UHTC – in 2002, the first ultra-high transmission coatings for commercial telescopes. Precisely designed to improve the performance of a telescope’s optics, these advanced multi-coatings increase light transmission — on average across the visual spectrum — by about 15% (for example, Meade UHTC coatings will increase the image brightness of a 10-inch LX200-ACF by the equivalent of about 0.75 inch of aperture), providing much higher performance for observers and astrophotographers alike. Still the industry standard, these coatings are available only from Meade.
Advanced Coma-Free optical system, the first affordable optics delivering Ritchey-Chrétien-like performance, in 2005. A traditional Ritchey-Chrétien (RC) is a type of reflector that delivers a coma-free view via hyperbolic primary and secondary mirrors. Because the mirrors in these telescopes have always been very expensive to make, few amateur astronomers could enjoy them. Suspecting that there was a better way to design this optical system, Meade engineers developed a radical new Advanced Coma-Free design by combining a hyperbolic secondary mirror with a corrector-lens-and-spherical-primary-mirror combination that performs as one hyperbolic element. This ACF design produces a coma-free, flatter field of view that equals traditional RC telescopes at a fraction of the cost. The design also eliminates diffraction spikes and improves astigmatism, both of which are inherent in the traditional RC design. No other optical design delivers both the level of performance and affordability as ACF.
LightSwitch Technology, the first one-touch, fully-automatic alignment system, introduced in 2009. Meade’s revolutionary LS LightSwitch series of telescopes use advanced technologies like GPS, LNT and ECLIPS CCD imaging to do what no other consumer telescopes have done before: take all the hassle out of using a telescope. Simply flip the switch and the LS automatically aligns itself without any input from the user. Quite simply, it is the most sophisticated, easiest to use telescope ever produced.
Astronomer Inside, the first integrated, multi-media content, introduced in 2009. As an integral part of the development of the LS line of telescopes, Meade produced audio and video content to allow users to experience the Universe like they never had before. Culminating in over five hours of fascinating facts and history, it was decided the content was too good not to include with other products. A decision that led to the: AudioStar, the first audio-enabled, computer control handbox, in 2010. With all the content and no delivery system, the next step was obvious: design a handbox with all of the features of Meade’s ground-breaking AutoStar, with the added ability to deliver audio content. First included with the StarNavigator line of introductory telescopes, AudioStars are now standard equipment with almost all Meade telescopes.
In 2012, Meade celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Few telescope manufactures can claim such longevity. And now, as Meade embarks on its fifth decade of providing advanced technology coupled with affordability, they have introduced two new platforms encompassing another list of firsts the LX850 and LX600 with StarLock.
The LX850 with StarLock is the latest in a long line of advanced astronomical products. Using revolutionary new technology, every aspect of this system has been designed to deliver the new standard in astrophotographic and visual performance. StarLock — the heart of the LX850 —makes target acquisition on your imaging sensor and accurate guiding during exposures completely automatic. With Meade’s exclusive LightSwitch technology at its core, StarLock uses a 80mm f/5 optic and a super wide-angle lens in a two camera system that automatically finds your target in ultra-high precision, immediately captures a field star as dim as 11th magnitude and then guides to an incredible accuracy of one arcsecond. StarLock achieves this amazing accuracy because, unlike add-on guiders, StarLock is integrated into the telescope control system and communicates directly with the motor controllers in real time with a maximum precision of 0.01 arcseconds.
The LX600 with StarLock builds upon the venerable foundation of the LX200, integrating Meade’s’ StarLock full time Autoguiding, fast f/8 Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics, detachable fork arms and the all new precision CNC-machined X-Wedge. This telescope combines the visual ease-of-use of alt/az mode with the option to perform serious astro imaging with the addition of the X-Wedge. Never before has there been such a versatile astronomical instrument.
Meade Instruments has built its reputation and its products through ground-breaking and industry-leading innovation. Meade Instruments is adding technology to all of their products to make them easier and more fun to use.