Astronomy RSS

Meade has had a gap in their product lineup the past few years of a portable and affordable computerized german equatorial mount. I'm happy to see the new LX85 not only fills in that gap, but includes some telescope options that finally provide an all-in-one astrophotography package! Meade has positioned the LX85 as a direct competitor to the Celestron Advanced VX. The LX85 mount by itself retails for $799 - $100 less than the similar Celestron Advanced VX mount. Comparing the specs of the two, it's easy to see the similarities. The LX85, being $100 cheaper, does make a few...

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Meade has been quiet on the new product front for entry level computerized telescopes, but turns out they've been working away on something new: The LX65 series. January 2019 Update: We are beginning to get limited inventory of some models. Come into the store to check out the mount for yourself! These new mounts are clearly targeted directly at the Celestron NexStar SE series, with similar price points. What sets the LX65 apart is the dual-saddle configuration of this mount. Not only can you get an 8" Advanced Coma Free scope on this mount for $1199 - you can mount a second...

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You've probably seen a very bright yellow-orange star rising from the East as the sun sets. That's Mars! July 27th is the Mars opposition - the best and brightest Mars will be for the next 17 years. Don't worry if you can't get out to see Mars on the 27th though - it will still be extremely bright and brilliant for the next several weeks through Mid-August, when it will begin gradually dimming as the planet moves further away again in its orbit.  If you DO get out on the 27th, you'll see Mars right next to the full Moon! How...

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Family, How To, Kids, Telescopes -

I see too many very well intending parents buy the toy store telescope (often with an included microscope), only to find the whole experience of trying to setup and use their child's new prize to be a frustrating, rather than amazing, experience for them and their child. 

A Little Story about a Too-little Telescope

A few weeks ago at an astronomical club open house, some kids and their dad brought in a little telescope he'd gotten them. This was one of those $20 toy store items. It had a shaky little tripod that you would sit on a table (the legs didn't extend), a very small aperture lens (about 30mm) and a couple of very cheap plastic eyepieces. The family was frustrated because they weren't able to see anything through this little telescope, and even had trouble getting it pointed at the Moon...

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Mars, Planets -

This summer will be the perfect time to observe the planets in the evening sky. Mars will be particularly bright and bold, reaching opposition on July 27th (the chart below highlights the evening of July 27th at 11:PM). Mars won't be this big and bright again until 2035! Jupiter and Saturn will also be extremely prominent, and don't forget Venus just after sunset! This will all make for a wonderful summer of planetary observing, what we are calling The Summer Parade of Planets!  The Mars Opposition will be July 27. Just four days later, the closest approach of Mars to Earth...

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