I got the chance to use for a few nights a 6 inch Meade LS telescope.
So far, I can say I’m pretty impressed. Of course, this telescope is one of the most technological advanced telescope produces so far. It has GPS, compass, lights switch, a lot of media content, etc.
I think it’s a great telescope for beginners and more advanced amateur astronomers, too.
And I’ll explain why.
My first telescope was a “hobby killer” from WalMart – a cheap 3 inch telescope with an horible mount. It is tough to manually move a cheap telescope like that on a target and keep it aligned. Keep in mind – the earth rotates and even if we use eyepieces with low magnification (and large field of views), these targets will get out of view in no time (let’s say 1-2 minutes for a 1 degree target – i.e. moon).
So, it’s really important to start with a telescope with a good tracking system.
That’s why I had to return that telescope and replaced with a good but small goto DS2000 Meade telescope.
Beginners don’t really know where to look at. Yes, you can start with the bright objects: moon and the planets. But it makes more difficult to find a target which is not visible with the naked eye. And, unfortunatelly, many people live in a light poluted location (urban areas) where it’s even more difficult to see relatively bright stars to be used as guideposts.
So, a telescope with a good goto tracking is probably the best bet for a beginner. Yes, they can start with a dobsonian, too – but those are usually big and heavy and require some basic star hopping skills.
Any goto telescope will still require some basic alignment steps (which can make some users unpatient or angry): input the location and time, set the telescope on a flat surface, point it to north and perform a 2 or 3 star alignment. It seems simple, but in reality alignment may not be so straight forward, due to the lack of experience.
Here’s where a telescope like LS rocks. It does almost everything for you:
– it uses its GPS to get your time and location
– it uses its internal compass to find north
– it rotates and checks the level errors (this is quite important in my opinion)
– it uses its eclipse camera to align itself against 2 bright stars
Basically, you can set the telescope outside, push the button, leave it for a few minutes and return to find it aligned by itself.
And on top of that, the telescope talks and presents a lot of instructive movies. Quite impressive!
The optics are good – it’s a 6 inch telescope with good quality. so, it’s a good telescope even for more advanced amateur astronomers. And it’s quite easy to carry it outside. Bigger telescopes are better but they are more expensive and more difficult to move around.
Overall, I’m happy with it and I would recommend this telescope.