Telescope and Astronomy Store

sky optics

A new world standard in telescopes

Building on the legendary reputation of their predecessor LX200 telescopes and the result of a two-year design effort at the Meade Irvine facility, Meade LX200GPS models take previous telescope technology to a level heretofore unimagined.

Announced in September, 2001, few telescopes in the thirty-year history of Meade Instruments have aroused such intense interest, or been so quickly accepted, among both beginning and experienced amateur astronomers.

New Heavy-Duty Fork Mounts: All-new LX200GPS fork mounts are the strongest, most rigid mountings ever made available for telescopes of these apertures. DC-servo-motor-controlled (12v DC) worm gear drives with almost two hundred selectable drive speeds, combined with the Meade Smart Drive on both telescope axes, permit observatory-level precision in tracking, guiding, and slewing.

Photo-guide speeds are selectable from 0.01x to 1.0x sidereal, in increments of 0.01x; fast-slew speeds are selectable from 1°/sec. to 8°/sec. in 0.1°/sec. increments. Use the 8°/sec. speed for rapid motion of the telescope across the skies; once near the target, switch instantly to a speed of 1.5°/sec. or 3°/sec. for centering in the viewfinder. Observing in the main telescope, use the 16x or 64x sidereal speed to place the object in the center of the field.

Precision GPS Alignment: Telescope alignment is accomplished automatically using signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite system that enables extremely precise communication to the telescope of the observer"s latitude and longitude, as well as local time. Integrated true-level and North electronic sensors in combination with a 16-channel GPS receiver located in the left-hand fork arm result in accurate telescope alignment to the sky at the touch of a button: Just press the ENTER button on the Autostar II hand controller and watch as the telescope measures level, points North, and slews at 8°/sec. to its first alignment star. Magnetic declination compensation designed into the telescope software automatically engages during the alignment process.

photo pleine lune

Orion Argonaut™ 150mm EQ Maksutov-Cassegrain

A Host of Great Features
The Orion Argonaut 150 Mak-Cass 1800mm focal length (f/12) delivers exceptional high-power imaging performance on lunar, planetary, and double-star subjects. And its 150mm aperture—just 2mm shy of 6"—grabs enough light to reveal a vast array of deep-sky luminaries. Focusing is as smooth as it gets with the backlash-free, gearless 2" Crayford focuser, and there’s no mirror shift, which can affect Schmidt-Cassegrains.

Now With SkyView Deluxe EQ Mount
We’ve combined the Argonaut 150 Mak-Cass telescope with the SkyView Deluxe equatorial mount to create a high-performance telescope system suitable for the dedicated observer. This rock-solid mount features enclosed worm gears and dual slow-motion controls, and high-visibility setting circles. The rigid, gold-anodized aluminum tripod adds a touch of distinction. Standard accessories include a 7x35 achromatic finder scope, a convenient carrying handle on the optical tube, and a deluxe padded case for the tube assembly. Built-in 1/4"-20 mounting plate. Eyepiece not included.

Orion Argonaut™ 6" GP-DX Maksutov-Newtonian

A Match Made for the Heavens
The classical Newtonian and Maksutov optical configurations are cleverly combined in the Argonaut, yielding a high-performance, hybrid design that has distinct advantages. The fully multi-coated “meniscus” lens on the front end provides excellent correction for the 6" spherical primary mirror. The meniscus also seals the tube, preventing dirt and dust from accumulating on the mirrors. With a relatively short focal length of 900mm, this f/6 system provides a pleasingly wide field of view

The GP-DX Mount—A Performance Plus
The telescope tube is solidly constructed of thick, 3mm aluminum. It is supported on the Great Polaris Deluxe (GP-DX) mount-our sturdiest, highest-precision equatorial mounting. It boasts engraved setting circles, a built-in illuminated polar scope, slow-motion controls, and an extra-rigid aluminum tripod. Optional motor drives install in a snap. Rounding out the standard features are a premium Crayford 2" focuser, large 10x50 achromatic finder scope, metal tube rings, and dew shield. Eyepiece and accessory tray not included. Tube assembly weighs 21 lbs., mount/tripod, 44 lbs. One-year limited warranty.

Orion SkyQuest™ XT4.5 Dobsonian Telescope

The SkyQuest XT4.5 comes complete with great accessories. Instead of a small 5x nonachromatic finder scope like you get with most beginner scopes, you get a 6x30 achromatic finder in a two-ring aluminum bracket. You also get two fully coated 1.25" Plossl eyepieces: a 25mm for low-power views at 36x, and a 9mm for getting in close at 101x. A dust cap is also included.

Orion SkyQuest™ XT6 Dobsonian Telescope

In his best-selling book, Nightwatch, veteran author and astronomer Terence Dickinson says, “There may not be a perfect telescope for the beginner, but the closest thing to it is the 6-inch Dobsonian-mounted Newtonian reflector.” And our SkyQuest XT6 is the best example we’ve seen of that very telescope.

Orion SkyQuest™ XT8 Dobsonian Telescope

The SkyQuest XT8 comes complete with a wealth of terrific accessories—all standard equipment. In addition to the 6x30 finder scope, you get two 1.25" Plossl eyepieces of 25mm (48x) and 9mm (133x), a Moon filter, an aluminum eyepiece rack that mounts on the Dob base, and a snap-on dust cap. This telescope was voted one of “25 Hot New Products of 2019” by Sky & Telescope magazine.

Eyepieces & Barlows

Tele Vue Radians

A 60 deg. Field (a Radian = 57.3 deg.) , uniform 20mm eye-relief, full field sharpness, freedom from distortion, freedom from ghosting (for critical planetary viewing) along with a unique adjustable eyeguard assembly which we call "Instadjust."
Usual Tele Vue features such as full multicoating, blackened lens edges, parfocalization, and grip-ring complement the Radian line. With a reasonable size, weight and cost, I anticipate the Radians will set a new benchmark in viewing pleasure for any person and any target within the eyepiece focal length range of 3mm-18mm. 18, 14, 12, 10, 8mm models have just 6-elements. 6, 5, 4, 3mm have 7 elements

Meade Series 3000 Plossl Eyepieces

A fine alternative to more expensive eyepieces, Meade Series 3000 Plössls are available in a wide range of focal lengths from 5mm through 40mm and fully exploit the excellent image corrections obtainable from the classical Plössl design.
All five Series 3000 Plössls from 5mm through 25mm are parfocal, so that, at most, only slight refocusing of the image is required when switching from one eyepiece to another.
Meade Series 3000 Plössls are multi-coated for maximum light transmission and image contrast. Chrome-plated brass barrels are threaded for standard filters. All focal lengths include rubber eyecups.

Meade Super Plössls

Designed to utilize the very latest in optical glass types, Meade 4-element Super Plössls are excellent general-purpose eyepieces. For observing hairline lunar and planetary detail, splitting close double stars, or for resolving faint nebulosity in deep-space, Meade Super Plössls optimize the performance of any telescope type, whether f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain, f/16 refractor, or f/4 reflector.
They also operate well in conjunction with the air-spaced design of the Meade #140 2x Apochromatic Barlow. All focal lengths through 32mm are parfocal. The Super Plössl 56mm eyepiece with 2" O.D. barrel yields 36X and an actual field of view of 1.4° on an 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Meade Ultra Wide Angle

The ultimate in modern eyepieces, Meade 8-element Ultra Wide Angle eyepieces permit extreme image fidelity and sharpness over an amazing 84° apparent field. On an 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, for example, the Ultra Wide Angle 14mm eyepiece yields 143X and an actual field of view of 0.6°; used with a 10" f/4.5 Newtonian reflector, the same eyepiece results in an actual field of more than 1° at 82X. For moderate-to-high-power applications Meade Ultra Wide Angle oculars provide an uncommon observing experience. A magnificent optical match with Maksutovs, Schmidt-Cassegrains, apochromatic refractors, and fast Newtonians.

Meade #140 2x Apochromatic Barlow Lens

The most advanced Barlow lens yet developed for commercial telescopes, the Meade #140 2x Apochromatic Barlow includes a 3-element, air-spaced telenegative lens unmatched in image resolution, contrast, and color correction.
Used with any telescope — refractor, reflector, or Schmidt- Cassegrain — equipped with a focuser accepting standard 1.25" barrel-diameter eyepieces, the #140 Barlow doubles the telescope’s effective focal length, thereby doubling the effective eyepiece magnification. With a diagonal mirror or prism placed between the Barlow and an eyepiece (e.g., in applications with refractors or Schmidt-Cassegrains), effective eyepiece magnification is approximately tripled.
The #140 optically complements Meade Series 4000 eyepieces, while enhancing the performance of other eyepieces as well. Mechanical components are of machined aluminum and brass. Lens diameter is 28mm; clear aperture is 26mm.
The multi-coated optics of the #140 Barlow provide maximum light transmission and image contrast. Thousands of these Meade Barlow systems are now in use by advanced amateurs worldwide. There is no finer Barlow available.

moon observatory

Astronomy Books

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
Terence Dickinson & Alan Dyer
This companion volume to Dickinson's NightWatch takes amateurs to the next level in pursuing their interest in astronomy. More than 200 astrophotos and illustrations accompany instructions on observing a wide variety of sky objects, with tips from well-known astro-experts. It also discusses observing sites and equipment selection, with special emphasis on new products.

Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, 3rd Edition
Terence Dickinson
This delightful introduction to backyard astronomy has just been updated for its 3rd edition. Complete with user-friendly sky charts, NightWatch covers observing and equipment basics, telling you just what you need to know. It also suggests where to find more information as your interest in astronomy grows. Suitable for ages 12 and older

Peterson Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, 4th Edition
Jay M. Pasachoff
A newly revised 3rd edition of a perennial favorite! It includes hundreds of photographs (many in color), maps of the Moon, 52 newly revised atlas charts, and 72 monthly sky maps for observers in both hemispheres -- all packed into a compact field-guide format.

Deep-Sky Wonders
Walter Scott Houston
Highlights from Sky & Telescope's Deep-Sky Wonders column display the independence of thought and devotion to craft that made writer "Scotty" Houston a favorite among readers for almost 50 years. S&T contributing editor Stephen James O'Meara has selected and arranged the best of Scotty's work into a year-round guide to the star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies that lure skygazers into their backyards on clear, dark nights. Scotty intersperses his engaging commentary with expert advice on becoming a more capable observer.

Starlight Nights: The Adventures of a Star-Gazer
Leslie C. Peltier
Long out of print, the much-loved autobiography of celebrated comet-hunter Leslie Peltier is being reissued on the 100th anniversary of his birth. In a career spanning six decades and using telescopes from 2 to 12 inches in diameter, Peltier discovered a dozen comets and six novae and made more than 100,000 observations of variable stars. In Starlight Nights he recalls these achievements and reflects on the meaning of observational astronomy as well as all of nature. This new edition features an introduction by S&T contributing editor David H. Levy plus 16 black-and-white photographs from the Peltier family archives.

The Night Sky Observer's Guide, Volume 1, Autumn & Winter
George Robert Kepple and Glen W. Sanner
This book proclaims the wonders of modern visual astronomy for 8-inch and larger telescopes. Written in a conversational style, it is designed for observers who like to search out the dim, distant beauties of the night sky. Kepple and Sanner show you how to find more than 5,500 objects (Volumes 1 + 2) including star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies, and they describe what you'll see when you do. Arranged alphabetically by constellation (omitting only those in the far-southern sky), each chapter gives practical descriptions of deep-sky objects as they appear through telescopes of various apertures. There are numerous tables of information on brightness, distances, angular separations, sizes, shapes, orientations, and what size telescope and magnification is recommended for best viewing. All this is accompanied by more than 1,500 sketches (Volumes 1 + 2), astrophotos, and finder charts. Every serious deep-sky enthusiast will want both volumes.

The Night Sky Observer's Guide, Volume 2, Spring & Summer
George Robert Kepple and Glen W. Sanner
These two books proclaim the wonders of modern visual astronomy for 8-inch and larger telescopes. Written in a conversational style, they are designed for observers who like to search out the dim, distant beauties of the night sky. Kepple and Sanner show you how to find more than 5,500 objects including star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies, and they describe what you'll see when you do. Arranged alphabetically by constellation (omitting only those in the far-southern sky), each chapter gives practical descriptions of deep-sky objects as they appear through telescopes of various apertures. There are numerous tables of information on brightnesses, distances, angular separations, sizes, shapes, orientations, and what size telescope and magnification is recommended for best viewing. All this is accompanied by more than 1,500 sketches, astrophotos, and finder charts. Every serious deep-sky enthusiast will want both volumes. Volume 2: Spring & Summer

The Year-Round Messier Marathon Field Guide
Harvard Pennington
Each year, many amateur astronomers do the "Messier Marathon" -- a mad dash to observe all 109 Messier objects in a single moonless night in late March or early April. Amateur astronomer Pennington helps you train for the race by learning bright star and constellation "finders" that will help you locate each object. Tips for rapid telescope pointing and field identification and a variety of maps, drawings, and descriptions are included. The Messier Marathon is a great way to test your sky knowledge -- and this book is your personal trainer!

Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects
Stephen James O'Meara
Introducing the Messier guide for the modern age! This first book in the Deep-Sky Companions series by noted observer and Sky & Telescope contributor Steve O'Meara provides a fresh perspective on these perennially favorite viewing targets. Along with pages of observing tips for novice stargazers, O'Meara presents the most recent scientific data about each object, accurate drawings done at the eyepiece, new insights on the "missing" M objects, and more!

Astrophotography for the Amateur, 2nd Edition
Michael A. Covington
This is a much expanded and fully updated edition of Covington's best-selling handbook of astronomical imaging. Suitable for beginners and advanced amateurs alike, it's a remarkably complete guide to taking pictures of celestial objects using both film and electronic detectors. Covington explains how to capture stunning views of the Sun, Moon, and planets; stars and star clusters; comets and meteors; galaxies and nebulae; eclipses and more, using readily available equipment and materials. New chapters cover CCD imaging and digital image processing, choosing a telescope and camera, and modern films. Includes exposure tables, film and filter specifications, and hundreds of photographs, many in color.

Wide-Field Astrophotography: Exposing the Universe Starting With A Common Camera
Robert Reeves
The easiest way to capture the night sky on film is to use an ordinary 35-mm camera with interchangeable lenses. Such equipment affords a wide field of view, making easy work of imaging constellations, comets, meteors, the Milky Way, and much more. This book is a wonderful introduction to wide-field astrophotography. The techniques it describes will help you produce stunning astronomical portraits time after time. The author discusses cameras, lenses, filters, film, and photographic accessories, exploring both the theory and practice of astrophotography. The book is filled with numerous images of equipment and celestial objects. Both novice and experienced skyshooters will find it to be a valuable source of information and inspiration.

Solar Astronomy Handbook
Rainer Beck, Heinz Hilbrecht, et al.
This observer’s guide to the Sun is lavishly illustrated with black-and-white diagrams and photographs. Includes a buyer’s guide to telescopes and accessories for solar astronomy, an inspiring discussion of observations amateurs can do themselves, tips for planning eclipse expeditions, and an extensive bibliography.

Astronomy Photographers

Aurora and Astrophotographer - Ron Berard
Kevin Black, Winnipeg RASC member, sitting at his guide scope pretending to image on a night somewhat "spoiled" by aurora. This is a one minute exposure on Kodak Supra 400 Print Film. Nikon F, 28 mm F3.5 lens, wide open. A hand held flash was used to illuminate Kevin from an oblique angle to his right.

Comet C/2001 Q4 Neat - Steve Barnes Taken May 7th, 2004. Tele Vue 101mm refractor @f/4.3. Stack of six 25second exposures with Canon Digital Rebel at ISO 800. Processing with ImagesPlus and Photoshop.

Astrophotography Course

Sky Optics is offering a hands on Astrophotography Course. The course instructor is Steve Barnes who's astroimages have appeared in Sky News, Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines. See the image Gallery for a sample of images taken by Steve.

Next Course Starts March 19, 2020 and runs every other Wednsday for 4 nights 7:30-8:30pm. In addition there will be practical field experience. Topics covered include:

- Basic equipment
- Camera on Tripod Astrophotography
- Piggyback Astrophotography
- Digital Camera Photography NEW!
- Prime focus Astrophotography
- Films for Astrophotography

Space is limited to 8 students. Cost is $100