Meade Instruments LX90 ACF/SC User Manual

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Instruction Manual

8", 10", 12" LX90®-ACF Advanced Coma-Free Telescopes and

8", 10", 12" LX90®-SC Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes AutoStar

WARNING!

Never use a Meade® LX90® Telescope to look at the Sun!

Looking at or near the Sun will cause instant and irreversible damage to your eye. Eye damage is often painless, so there is no warning to the observer that damage has occurred until it is too late. Do not point the telescope at or near the Sun. Do not look through the telescope or viewfinder as it is moving. Children should always have adult supervision while observing.

BATTERY SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS:

Always purchase the correct size and grade of battery most suitable for the intended use (8 x “C-type”[ANSI 14A, 14AC / IEC LR14]).

Always replace the whole set of batteries at one time, taking care not to mix old and new ones, or batteries of different types.

Clean the battery contacts and also those of the device prior to battery installation.

Ensure the batteries are installed correctly with regard to polarity (+ and -).

Remove batteries from equipment which is not to be used for an extended period of time.

Remove used batteries promptly.

Never attempt to recharge primary batteries as this may cause leakage, fire, or explosion.

Never short-circuit batteries as this may lead to high temperatures, leakage, or explosion.

Never heat batteries in order to revive them.

Remember to switch off devices after use.

Keep batteries out of the reach of children; small batteries may be ingested.

Caution: If batteries or parts are swallowed, see a doctor immediately.

If you are anxious to use your telescope for the first time, read the QUICK-START GUIDE on pages 4, 5 and 6.

Specifications subject to change without notice. Images shown in this instruction book may not be representative of images seen with this telescope.

® The name “Meade”, “AutoStar” and the Meade logo are trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark

Office and in principal countries throughout the world.

“Deep Sky Imager,” “LX90”, “LPI”, “ACF”, “Advanced ComaFree” and “Tonight’s Best” are trademarks of Meade Instruments Corporation.

Patents:

US 6,304,376

US 6,392,799

US 6,563,636

D 422,610

Patent Pending.

CONTENTS

 

 

Quick-Start Guide ........................................................

 

4

How to Attach the Tripod to the Telescope....................

 

4

Telescope Features ....................................................

 

7

Parts Listing ............................................................

 

8

To Attach the Handbox Holder ................................

 

9

AutoStar® Features ......................................................

 

10

Getting Started ............................................................

 

13

How to Assemble Your Telescope ..........................

 

14

Choosing an Eyepiece............................................

 

15

Aligning the Viewfinder ..........................................

 

15

Observing ....................................................................

 

16

Observing By Moving the Telescope Manually

......16

Terrestrial Observing ..............................................

 

16

Observing Using AutoStar’s Arrow Keys ................

 

16

Slew Speeds ..........................................................

 

17

Observe the Moon ..................................................

 

17

To Track an Object Automatically............................

 

18

Moving Through AutoStar’s Menus ..................

 

18

Initializing AutoStar............................................

 

18

Easy (Two-Star) Alignment................................

 

19

Go To Saturn ..........................................................

 

21

Using the Guided Tour ............................................

 

21

Global Positioning System......................................

 

21

Basic AutoStar Operation ............................................

 

22

AutoStar Navigation Exercise ................................

 

22

Entering Data into AutoStar....................................

 

23

Navigating AutoStar................................................

 

23

Menus and Menu Options............................................

 

24

Complete AutoStar Menu Structure........................

 

24

Objects Menu..........................................................

 

25

Event Menu ............................................................

 

26

Glossary Menu ......................................................

 

26

Utilities Menu ..........................................................

 

26

Setup Menu ............................................................

 

28

Advanced AutoStar Features ......................................

 

31

Adding Observing Sites..........................................

 

31

Finding Objects Not in the Database......................

 

32

Observing Satellites................................................

 

33

Creating Your Own Guided Tour ............................

 

34

Landmarks ..............................................................

 

37

Identify ....................................................................

 

38

Alternate Alt/Az Alignments ....................................

 

38

Browse....................................................................

 

39

Photography with the LX90 ..........................................

 

40

Optional Accessories ..................................................

 

42

Maintenance ................................................................

 

44

Collimation ........................................................

 

44

Inspecting the Optics ........................................

 

46

Gauging the Movement of the Telescope..........

46

Meade Customer Service ................................

 

46

Specifications ..............................................................

 

47

Appendix A: Equatorial (Polar) Alignment....................

 

49

Appendix B: Helpful Charts..........................................

 

54

Appendix C: Training the Drive ....................................

 

55

Appendix D: Catadioptic Optical Systems ..................

 

56

Warranty Information ......................................

back page

© 2009 Meade Instruments Corporation.

4

QUICK-START GUIDE

It is recommended that you attach the supplied tripod to the LX90 for observing. Perform the telescope and AutoStar setup indoors in the light so that you become familiar with the parts and operation before moving the telescope outside into the dark for observing.

Getting the telescope ready for first observations requires only a few minutes. When first opening the packing box, note carefully the following parts:

LX90 Telescope with fork mount system

AutoStar handbox and interface coil cord

Eyepiece holder and 1.25" diagonal prism

8 x 50 Viewfinder

Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece

Variable height tripod and mounting base

Set of hex wrenches

Bubble Level / Compass Eyepiece Insert

How to Attach the Tripod to the Telescope Assembly

The Field Tripod is supplied as a completely assembled unit, except for the spreader bar (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 4).

For visual observations and short exposure astro-imaging, the drive base of the telescope’s fork mount is attached directly to the field tripod. The telescope in this way is mounted in an “Altazimuth” (“Altitude-Azimuth,” or “verticalhorizontal”) format.

Note: The field tripod also can be sued in conjunction with the optional equatorial wedge (see EQUATORIAL WEDGE, page 51) for long exposure astrophotography. The equatorial wedge permits alignment of the telesope’s Polar Axis with the Celestial Pole (or North Star).

After removing the field tripod from its shipping carton, stand the tripod vertically, with the tripod feet down and with the tripod still fully collapsed (Pg. 5, Fig. B). Grasp two of the tripod legs and, with the full weight of the tripod on the third leg, gently pull the legs apart to a fully open position (Pg. 5, Fig. C).

CAUTION: “Firm feel” tightening is sufficient; over-tightening may strip the threads or damage the tripod and results in no additional strength.

The spreader bar (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 4) has been removed for shipment. Unscrew the attachment nuts and spring from the spreader bar's threaded rod (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 2). Leave the washer on the bar. See Fig. D on page 5.

Slide the spring into the hole on top of the tripod head (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 1).

Slide the spreader bar onto the threaded rod on top of the washer that is already on the threaded rod. Position the spreader bar with the flat side facing upward (Pg. 5, Fig. E).

Slide the threaded rod back through the tripod head from underneath and through the spring. Rethread the first attachment nut over the threaded rod as far down as it will go. Then thread the second nut until it is on top of the first nut. Push the rod up higher from underneath to make it easier to attach the nuts. See Fig. F and G on page 5.

Move the spreader bar so that the 3 arms of the spreader bar are lined up with the 3 tripod legs. Place the entire telescope onto the top of the tripod head, and thread the rod into the central threaded hole in the bottom of the drive base of the telescope. Tighten the T-handle tension knob (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 3); firm tightening of the tension knob is sufficient to result in rigid positioning of the tripod legs. It is not necessary to use extreme force in tightening this knob.

To vary the tripod height, loosen the 3 leg lock-lever and slide the 3 inner tripod leg sections out to the desired height making sure the tripod head is approximately level. Retighten the 3 lock-lever to a firm feel (Pg. 5, Fig. H).

To collapse the tripod (after removing the telescope), rotate the spreader bar 60° from its assembled position, so that one spreader bar arm is located between each adjacent pair of tripod legs. At the base of the tripod is a 3-vane extension strut system, with a circular hub at its center (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 7). Grasp the tripod head (Pg. 5, Fig. A, 1) with one hand and, with the other hand, pull directly “up” on the central hub of the extension strut system. This operation will cause the tripod legs to move inward to a collapsed position. See Fig. B on page 5.

CAUTION: If the tripod does not seem to extend or collapse easily, do not force the tripod legs in or out. By following the instructions above, the tripod will function properly, but if you are unclear on the proper procedure, forcing the tripod into an incorrect position may damage the extension strut system.

5

1

 

3

 

 

(1)

Tripod Head

 

(2)

Threaded Rod

 

(3)

Tension Knob

 

(4)

Spreader Bar

 

(5)

Leg Lock Knobs

7

(6)

Extension Strut

6

(7)

Tension Hub

(8)

Attachment Nuts

 

 

and Spring (not

 

 

visible)

 

 

 

5

Fig. A: Field Tripod with legs extended

Fig. B: Field Tripod (collapsed).

Fig. C: Extend the tripod legs out.

flat side

Fig. E: Slide spreader over threaded rod. Note the washer on the rod.

Fig. D: Remove 2 nuts and spring from threaded rod. Leave the washer on the rod.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. G: Thread the first nut as

 

 

far down as it will go. Then

Fig. F: Insert spring into

 

thread the second nut down

hole on top of tripod head.

 

onto the first nut

 

 

 

lock-lever

Fig. H: Loosen leg lock lever, extend inner extendable leg, and re-lock lock lever.

2.Remove the covers from both battery compartments located on top of the drive base and carefully lift the battery holders from their compartments, being mindful of the connector wires. Insert four (user-supplied) C-cell batteries into each battery holder (eight batteries total), oriented as shown on the diagram on the battery holder.

Return the battery holders to the battery compartment. See the diagram above. Replace the covers when you are done.

HBX Port

ON/OFF

AutoStar Coil

 

 

Cable Port

3.Slide the computer control panel power switch to OFF, if necessary. Remove the AutoStar handbox and the AutoStar interface cable from the packing materials. Plug one end into the HBX port of the computer control panel and plug the other end into the Coil Cable port on the AutoStar handbox.

R.A. Lock

Dec.

Lock

4.Tighten, to a firm feel only, the Dec. and R.A. locks (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 6 & 9). Remove the dust cover from the end of the telescope tube.

6

5.Flip the Power Switch on the computer control panel to the ON position. The copyright message lights on AutoStar’s LCD display.

Slew Speeds:

 

Speed 9: Fast

 

.

Arrow

.

Keys

.

Speed 5: Medium

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

Speed 1: Slow

Number

 

Keys

6.“Press 0 to align or Mode for Menu” displays. You can use the Arrow keys to slew (move) the telescope up, down, right, or left. To change the telescope’s slew speed, press a Number key. “9” is the fastest speed and “1” is the slowest speed. See page 17 for more details. Or you can Press “0” to begin Easy Alignment. See page 18 for more information.

 

Thumb-

screw

 

Thumbscrew

7.Remove the dust cap from the rear cell of the telescope. Thread the eyepiece holder into the rear cell thread. Slide the diagonal prism into the eyepiece holder and lock in place by turning the thumbscrew to a firm feel.

Place the Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece into the diagonal prism and tighten the attachment thumbscrew to a firm feel only.

Sight along the side of the telescope’s main tube to locate an object. Use the telescope’s focus knob (Fig. 1, 8) to bring the object into focus. Practice using the AutoStar’s Arrow keys to center an object in the telescope’s field of view.

7

TELESCOPE FEATURES

Side View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A. Handbox Port

 

 

 

 

 

B. LED

 

C. ON/OFF Switch

 

 

D. Auxiliary Ports (2)

 

 

 

E. 12v Power Connector

 

 

 

Computer Control Panel

 

Some models of the LX90 have the computer

 

 

 

 

 

control panel on the left fork arm, others on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the right fork arm.

 

 

(not shown)

 

All models of the LX90 operate identically.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rear View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1@

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(not

shown)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Eyepiece

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Eyepiece Holder Thumbscrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Eyepiece Holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Diagonal Prism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Optical Tube

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Dec. Lock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Fork Arms

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Focus Knob

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

R.A. Lock

 

 

 

 

 

 

10R.A. Setting Circle

11Dec. Setting Circle/Dec. Pointer

12GPS Receiver

13Computer Control Panel

14AutoStar handbox

15Dust Cover (not visible)

16Battery Compartment

17Handbox Holder

18Viewfinder

19Viewfinder Alignment Screws

Fig. 1: The LX90 Telescope and AutoStar Handbox.

Want to learn more about the eyepieces available for your LX90 telescope?

See OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, pages 42-43

CAUTION:

Using products other than standard Meade accessories may cause damage to the telescope’s internal electronics and may void the Meade warranty.

8

LX90: YOUR PERSONAL WINDOW TO THE UNIVERSE

The Meade LX90 is an extremely versatile, high-resolution telescope with features similar to those available only with larger and more specialized imaging systems. With pushbutton controls, automatic tracking of celestial objects and software downloading capability, the LX90 telescope may be all the telescope ever required by many terrestrial and astronomical observers.

Eyepiece: Place the Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece into the 90° diagonal prism (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 4) and tighten in place with the thumbscrews. The eyepiece magnifies the image collected in the optical tube.

Eyepiece Holder Thumbscrew: Tightens the diagonal prism in place. Tighten to a firm feel only.

Eyepiece Holder: Holds the diagonal prism in place.

Diagonal Prism: provides a more comfortable right angle viewing position. Slide the diagonal prism directly into the eyepiece holder (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 4).

Optical Tube: The main optical component that gathers the light from distant objects and brings this light to a focus for examination through the eyepiece.

Dec. Lock: Controls the manual vertical movement of the telescope. Turning the Dec. lock counterclockwise unlocks the telescope enabling it to be freely rotated by hand about the vertical axis. Turning the Dec. lock clockwise (to a firm feel only) prevents the telescope from being moved manually, but engages the vertical motor drive for AutoStar operation.

NOTE: The Dec. lock knob is a knurled knob located on the fork arm to the right of the focus knob (Pg. 5, Fig. 1, 8).

CAUTION: When loosening the Dec. lock, be sure to support the optical tube (Pg. 5, Fig. 1, 5). The weight of the tube could cause the tube to swing through the fork arms suddenly.

Fork Arms: Hold the optical tube in place.

Focus Knob: Moves the telescope’s primary mirror in a finely controlled motion to achieve precise image focus. The LX90 telescope can be focused on objects from a distance of about 25 ft. to infinity. Rotate the focus knob counterclockwise to focus on distant objects, and clockwise to focus on nearby objects.

R.A. Lock: Controls the manual horizontal rotation of the telescope. Turning the R.A. lock counterclockwise unlocks the telescope, enabling it to be freely rotated by hand about the horizontal axis. Turning the R.A. lock clockwise prevents the telescope from being rotated manually, and engages the horizontal motor drive for AutoStar operation.

Right Ascension (R.A.) Setting Circle: See APPENDIX A, page 49, for detailed information.

Declination (Dec.) Setting Circle (on left fork arm): See APPENDIX A, page 49, for detailed information. Note the small, molded triangular pointer underneath the circle. Line up the desired Declination setting with this pointer.

1@ GPS Receiver: Receives information transmitted from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. See page 21 for more information.

Computer Control Panel

A.Handbox (HBX) Port: Plug the AutoStar coil cord (Pg10, Fig. 2, 10) into this port.

B.LED: The red power indicator light illuminates when power is supplied to the AutoStar handbox and to the telescope’s motor drive.

C.ON/OFF Switch: Turns the Computer Control Panel and AutoStar ON or OFF.

9

D.Auxiliary (AUX) Port (2): Provides connection for Meade accessories. See

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, page 42.

E.12v Power Connector: Provides connection so that the telescope assembly may be powered from either a 12v DC auto cigarette light plug or from a standard 115v AC home outlet using optionally available 25' power cords.

AutoStar: See page 10 for a description of AutoStar’s features.

Dust Cover: Gently pry the dust cover from the front lens of the telescope.

NOTE: The dust cover should be replaced after each observing session and the power turned off to the telescope. Verify that any dew that might have collected during the observing session has evaporated prior to replacing the dust cover.

Battery Compartments: Insert four (user-supplied) C-cell batteries in each compartment (eight batteries total).

Handbox Holder (refer to Figs. 1B and 1C below): Holds the AutoStar handbox in a convenient position on the telescope fork arm handles.

Viewfinder: A low-power, wide-field sighting scope with crosshairs that enable easy centering of objects in the telescope eyepiece.

Viewfinder Alignment Screws: Use these screws to adjust the alignment of the viewfinder. See ALIGNING THE VIEWFINDER, page 15.

2) Bubble/Compass Level: (Fig. 1A) Compass will assist you in finding North, bubble level can be used to level the telescope when setting the Home Position.

To Attach the Handbox Holder:

1.Remove the handbox holder from the plastic bag.

2.If necessary, loosen the lock knob (Fig. 1B, 1) and place the clamp (Fig. 1b, 2) on either one of the LX90 fork arm handles. Tighten the lock knob to a firm feel.

3Slide the AutoStar handbox into the holder (Fig. 1b, 3 and Fig 1c). You may also snap the handbox into the holder: Slide one side of the handbox into the holder and then firmly press the other side of the handbox into the holder until it snaps in place.

4.Adjust the tilt of of the holder by loosening the lock knob (Fig. 1b, 1) and then moving the holder clamp to the desired angle. Retighten the lock knob.

2)

 

 

 

Fig. 1a: Bubble level/Compass

 

Fig. 1b: Handbox holder: (1) Lock

 

Fig. 1c: Handbox holder attached to

 

 

fork arm handle. Adjust holder to a

 

 

knob; (2) Clamp; (3) Holder.

 

 

 

 

convenient tilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

AUTOSTAR FEATURES

Fig. 2: The LX90 AutoStar Handbox.

Tour the Cosmos with Just the Push of a Button

Control of the LX90 is through the operation of the standard-equipment AutoStar. Nearly all functions of the telescope are accomplished with just a few pushes of AutoStar’s buttons. Some of the major features of AutoStar are:

Automatically move the telescope to any of over 30,000 objects stored in the database or manually enter the astronomical coordinates of any celestial object.

Take a guided tour of the best celestial objects to view on any given night of the year.

Download the latest satellite data and software revisions directly from the Meade website (www.meade.com) and share software with other AutoStar enthusiasts.

Control your LX90 with your PC using an RS-232 interface.

Access a glossary of astronomical terms.

Calculate which eyepiece to use for optimum viewing of a celestial object.

Mount the telescope in the “Alt/Az” mode (Altitude - Azimuth, or vertical - horizontal) for fully automatic tracking of celestial objects.

Extensive long-exposure astrophotography and CCD imaging capability is available when the LX90 is mounted in the “Equatorial” (Polar) mode using an optional mounting wedge.

NOTE:

AutoStar does not require batteries; the telescope’s batteries supply power to AutoStar.

NOTE:

Throughout this manual, you will notice the term "Alt/Az." Alt/Az is frequently used to refer to Altitude (vertical) and Azimuth

(horizontal). Alt/Az is just one of many methods used by amateur astronomers to help locate stars in the night sky.

TIP:

To manually enter the R.A. and Dec. coordinates of an object:

Press and hold MODE for two seconds or more. The R.A. and Dec. coordinates display. Press GO TO. “Object

Position” and a set of coordinates displays. Then enter the R.A. and

Dec. coordinates of any celestial object using

Number keys. As soon as the coordinates are entered, AutoStar slews the telescope to the coordinates. Note that the telescope must be initialized for this procedure to

operate properly.

11

The AutoStar Computer Controller provides control of virtually every telescope function within a compact handbox. AutoStar has soft-touch keys designed to have a positive feel. The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is backlit with a red LED (Light Emitting Diode) for easy viewing in the dark. The backlit display, key arrangement, and sequential database make AutoStar extremely user friendly.

2-Line LCD Display: Provides an interface between AutoStar and the telescope.

Top line: Lists the primary category or menu item.

Bottom line: Contains a menu option or information about an object or subject, depending on which function is being performed.

ENTER Key: Accesses, in a sequential manner, the next menu or data level in the AutoStar database. See MOVING THROUGH AUTOSTAR'S MENUS, page 18 and MENU AND MENU OPTION DESCRIPTIONS, page 24.

NOTE: If ENTER is pressed for two seconds or more and then released, AutoStar emits a beep and “ENTER to Sync” is displayed. “ENTER to Sync” is relevant only after the telescope has been aligned and is pointing at an object. If the “ENTER to Sync” feature is accessed by mistake, press MODE to return to the previous screen. See HIGH PRECISION, page 29, for more details about this feature.

MODE Key: Returns to the previous menu or data level in the AutoStar database until the top level, “Select Item” is reached. The MODE key is similar to the ESCAPE key on a computer.

NOTE: Pressing MODE while in the “Select Item” level moves AutoStar to the topmost screen: “Select Item: Object”.

If MODE is pressed and held for two seconds or more, information about the telescope’s status displays. When the status displays, press one of the Scroll keys (Pg. 10, Fig. 2, 7) to display the following information:

Right Ascension and Declination (astronomical) coordinates

Altitude (vertical) and Azimuth (horizontal) coordinates

Local Time and Local Sidereal Time (LST)

Timer and Alarm Status

Accessory Port Module (APM) status (see the instructions supplied with the APM)

Date

Site coordinates

Battery status

Press MODE again to return to the previous menu.

GO TO Key: Slews (moves) the telescope to the coordinates of the currently selected object. While the telescope is slewing, the operation may be aborted at any time by pressing any key except GO TO. Pressing GO TO again resumes the slew to the object.

Arrow Keys: Slew the telescope in a specific direction (up, down, left, and right), at any one of nine different speeds. Speed selection is explained in SLEW SPEEDS, page 17. The following functions are also available with the Arrow keys:

Data entry - Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to scroll through the letters of the alphabet and numerical digits. The Down Arrow key starts with the letter “A” and the Up Arrow key starts with the digit “9” The Left and Right Arrow keys are used to move the blinking cursor left and right across the LCD display.

Moves the telescope - Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to move the telescope vertically up and down. The Left Arrow key rotates the telescope horizontally counterclockwise, while the Right Arrow key rotates it clockwise.

Number Keys: Input digits 0 - 9 and changes the slew speeds (see SLEW SPEEDS, page 17). The “0” key also turns on and off the red utility light on the top of the handbox.

12

Scroll Keys: Accesses options within a selected menu. The menu is displayed on the first line of the screen. Options within the menu are displayed, one at a time, on the second line. Press the Scroll keys to move through the options. Press and hold a Scroll key to move quickly through the options.

The Scroll keys also scroll through the letters of the alphabet and numerical digits.

NOTE: The Scroll Down key and the Down Arrow key move forward through the alphabet & digits (A to Z, 0 to 9). The Scroll Up key and the Up Arrow key move backward (Z to A, 9 to 0). Common symbols are also available in the list.

? Key: Accesses the “Help” file. “Help” provides on-screen information on how to accomplish whatever task is currently active.

Hold down the ? key and then follow the prompts on the display to access details of AutoStar functions in the Help feature. The Help system is essentially an on-screen instruction manual.

If you have a question about an AutoStar operation, e.g., INITIALIZATION, ALIGNMENT, etc., hold down the ? key and follow the directions that scroll on the second line of the LCD screen. When a word appears in [brackets], press ENTER to access the AutoStar Glossary. A definition or more detailed information is displayed. Press MODE to return to the scrolling AutoStar Help display.

When satisfied with the Help provided, press MODE to return to the original screen and continue with the chosen procedure.

Coil Cord Port: Plug one end of the AutoStar coil cord into this port (pg. 10, Fig. 2, 9) located at the bottom of the AutoStar handbox.

Coil Cord: Plug one end of the AutoStar coil cord into the HBX port (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 13A) of the computer control panel of the telescope and the other end into the coil cord port (see

j above).

RS-232 Port: plug an RS-232 cable into AutoStar for updating functions such as “Download” or “Clone”. See page 30 for more details.

Utility Light: Use this built-in red light to illuminate star charts and accessories without disturbing your eye’s adaptation to darkness.

Fig. 5: Four C-cell batteries mounted inside one of the battery holders . There are two (2) holders, requiring a total of eight (8) batteries. Note position of rib in the battery compartment.

13

GETTING STARTED

Getting the telescope ready for first observations requires only a few minutes. When first opening the packing box, note carefully the following parts:

LX90 Telescope with fork mount system

AutoStar handbox and interface coil cord

Eyepiece holder and 1.25" diagonal prism

8 x 50 Viewfinder

Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece

Variable height tripod

Set of hex wrenches

How to Attach the Tripod to the Telescope Assembly

See the Quick-Start Guide on page 4 and page 5, figures A thru H to assemble the tripod. Return to this section after the tripod as been assembled for further instructions.

How to Assemble Your Telescope

Assembly of the LX90 telescope requires eight C-cell (user-supplied) batteries or optional Meade #541 AC adapter to a standard 115v home outlet or to a 12v DC automobile cigarette lighter plug. See the Instruction Sheets supplied with the Meade #541 AC adapter for installation information. To install batteries:

1.Unlock the Dec. lock (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 6) to move the optical tube (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 5) through the fork arms. Move the optical tube to the position depicted in (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, top image) and relock the Dec. lock.

2.Remove the battery compartment covers (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 16) and carefully remove the battery holder, being mindful of the connector wires. Insert four C-cell batteries into each battery holder, oriented as shown on the diagram on the battery slots inside the battery holder. Return the battery holders to their respective compartments and replace the covers.

See Fig. 5 for the proper orientation of the holder. Do not force the holder into the battery compartment. If a holder does not slip easily into the compartment, you may have inserted the holder incorrectly. Replace the compartment covers when you are done.

Battery Safety Instructions:

Always purchase the correct size and grade of battery most suitable for the intended use (8 x “C-type”[ANSI 14A, 14AC / IEC LR14]).

Always replace the whole set of batteries at one time, taking care not to mix old and new ones, or batteries of different types.

Clean the battery contacts and also those of the device prior to battery installation.

Ensure the batteries are installed correctly with regard to polarity (+ and -).

Remove batteries from equipment which is not to be used for an extended period of time.

Remove used batteries promptly.

Never attempt to recharge primary batteries as this may cause leakage, fire, or explosion.

Never short-circuit batteries as this may lead to high temperatures, leakage, or explosion.

Never heat batteries in order to revive them.

Remember to switch off devices after use.

Keep batteries out of the reach of children; small batteries may be ingested.

Seek medical advice immediately if a battery has been swallowed.

Caution: If batteries or parts are swallowed, see a doctor immediately.

3.Be certain that the power switch on the computer control panel (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 13C) is in the

OFF position. Plug the coil cord of the AutoStar Controller into the HBX port (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 13A).

NOTE: AutoStar does not require batteries; the telescope’s batteries supply power to AutoStar.

NEVER point the telescope directly at or near the Sun at any time! Observing the Sun, even for the smallest fraction of a second, will result in instant and irreversible eye damage, as well as physical damage to the telescope itself.

NOTE:

For a list of magnification ratings of the eyepieces available for the LX90 telescope, see

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, page 42.

14

4.Remove the dust cap from the rear cell of the telescope. Thread the eyepiece holder into the rear cell thread. Slide the diagonal prism into the eyepiece holder and lock in place by turning the thumbscrew to a firm feel.

5.Remove the Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 1) from its container and place it in the diagonal prism (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 3). Tighten the thumbscrew (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 2) to a firm feel only.

6.Remove the dust cover (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 15) from the optical tube assembly (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 5) by gently prying it off.

Choosing an Eyepiece

A telescope’s eyepiece magnifies the image formed by the telescope’s main optics. Each eyepiece has a focal length, expressed in millimeters, or “mm”. The smaller the focal length, the higher the magnification. For example, an eyepiece with a focal length of 9mm has a higher magnification than an eyepiece with a focal length of 26mm.

Your telescope comes supplied with a Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece, which gives a wide, comfortable field of view with high image resolution.

Low power eyepieces offer a wide field of view, bright, high-contrast images, and eye relief during long observing sessions. To find an object with a telescope, always start with a lower power eyepiece such as the Super Plössl 26mm. When the object is located and centered in the eyepiece, you may wish to switch to a higher power eyepiece to enlarge the image as much as practical for prevailing seeing conditions. For information about optional eyepieces for the LX90, see OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, page 42.

NOTE: Seeing conditions vary widely from night-to-night and site-to-site. Turbulence in the air, even on an apparently clear night, can distort images. If an image appears fuzzy and ill-defined, back off to a lower power eyepiece for a more well-resolved image (Pg. 16, Fig. 7).

The power or magnification of a telescope is determined by the focal length of the telescope and the focal length of the eyepiece being used. To calculate eyepiece power, divide the telescope's focal length by the eyepiece's focal length. For example, a 26mm eyepiece is supplied with the LX90. The focal length of the 8” LX90 is 2000mm (see SPECIFICATIONS, page 47).

Telescope Focal Length

2000mm

Eyepiece Focal Length

26mm

2000 ÷ 26

= 77mm

The eyepiece power, or magnification, is therefore 77X.

15

Aligning the Viewfinder

The viewfinder helps you locate objects and must also be aligned to the main telescope. To align the viewfinder, perform steps 1 through 5 during the daytime; perform step 6 at night.

1.Slide the track on the bottom of the viewfinder bracket into the slot in the viewfinder mounting assembly. See Fig. 6a. To secure the viewfinder to the mounting assembly, tighten the two thumbscrews (Fig. 6a) to a firm feel only.

2.If you have not already done so, insert the Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece into the diagonal prism.

3.Unlock the R.A. (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 9) and Dec. (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 7) locks so that the telescope moves freely on both axes.

4.Point the telescope at some well-defined and stationary land object at least 200 yards distant, such as the top of a telephone pole or street sign. Center the object in the telescope eyepiece. Re-tighten the R.A. and Dec. locks.

5.Look through the viewfinder eyepiece (Pg. 7, Fig. 6b) and loosen or tighten, as appropriate, one or more of the viewfinder alignment screws (Pg. 7, Fig. 6b) until the viewfinder crosshairs are precisely centered on the object you previously centered in the telescope eyepiece.

6.Check this alignment on a celestial object, such as the Moon or a bright star, and make any necessary refinements, using the method outlined in steps 3 and 4.

Alignment

Mounting Screws

Slot

Track

Thumbscrews

Viewfinder

Eyepiece

Fig. 6a: Viewfinder Assembly.

Fig. 6b: Viewfinder Assembly.

16

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Objects appear upside-down and reversed left-for-right when observed in the eyepiece when inserted directly into the (straight-through) eyepiece holder – with the diagonal prism in place, images will be right-side-up, but reversed left-for-right.

This image inversion is of no consequence when observing astronomical objects and, in fact, all astronomical telescopes yield inverted images.

During terrestrial observing, where a fully correctly-oriented image (right-side-up and correct left-for- right) is desirable, an optional #928 45° Erecting Prism is available. See

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, page 42.

OBSERVING

Observing By Moving the Telescope Manually

If you wish to observe a distant land object, such as a mountain top or a bird, you can observe by merely pointing the telescope and looking through the eyepiece.

1.Loosen the telescope’s R.A. lock (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 9) and Dec. lock (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 6).

2.Move your telescope to observe distant street signs, mountains, trees, and other structures. Use the viewfinder to to help site-in on an object.

3.Center the object with viewfinder’s cross hairs and then in the telescope eyepiece. When the object is centered in your eyepiece, remember to re-tighten the R.A. and Dec. locks.

4.Practice focusing objects with the focus knob (Fig. 1, 8).

5.Once you get a feel for how your telescope moves and focuses, try to view something more

challenging, like a bird or a distant moving train.

NOTE: Viewing conditions vary widely from night-to-night and site-to-site. Turbulence in the air, even on an apparently clear night, can distort images. Lowpower eyepieces, such as the Super Plössl 26mm supplied with your telescope, are better suited to resolving images in poor viewing conditions.

You can also observe stars and objects in the night sky using this method, but note that objects begin to slowly drift across the eyepiece field. This motion is caused by the rotation of the Earth. As you become familiar with the AutoStar handbox operation, you can counteract the drift using the automatic tracking feature in the AutoStar Setup menu (see TO TRACK AN OBJECT AUTOMATICALLY, page 18), or by using AutoStar's GO TO capabilities (see GO TO SATURN, page 21).

Terrestrial Observing

The LX90 is an excellent high-resolution, terrestrial (land) telescope. Viewing terrestrial objects requires looking along the Earth’s surface through heat waves. These heat waves often cause degradation of image quality. Lower power eyepieces, like the Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece, magnify these heat waves less than higher power eyepieces. Therefore, lower power eyepieces provide a steadier, higher quality image. If the image is fuzzy or ill-defined, reduce to a lower power eyepiece, where the heat waves do not have such an effect on image quality. Observing in early morning hours, before the ground has built up internal heat, produces better viewing conditions than during late afternoon hours.

Observing Using AutoStar’s Arrow Keys

You may observe land and astronomical objects using AutoStar’s Arrow keys to move the telescope.

1. Tighten the Dec. and R.A. locks (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 6 and 9).

Fig. 7a and 7b: Jupiter: Examples of the right amount of magnification and too much magnification.

LX90 TIPS

Too Much Power?

Can you ever have too much power? If the type of power you’re referring to is eyepiece magnification, yes, you can! The most common mistake of the beginning observer is to “overpower” a telescope by using high magnifications which the telescope and atmospheric conditions cannot reasonably support. Keep in mind that a smaller, but bright and well-resolved image is far superior to one that is larger, but dim and poorly resolved (see Figs. 7a and 7b). Powers above 400X should be employed only under the steadiest atmospheric conditions.

AutoStar can calculate the best eyepiece for you to use. Try out the “Eyepiece

Calc” feature in the Utilities menu.

Most observers should have three or four additional eyepieces to achieve the full range of reasonable magnifications possible with the LX90 telescopes. See

OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES, page 42.

17

NOTE:

Do not look through the telescope's eyepiece or viewfinder while it is rapidly moving. Children should always have adult supervision while observing.

2.Verify that AutoStar is properly connected to your telescope. See HOW TO ASSEMBLE YOUR TELESCOPE, page 14.

3.Flip the telescope power switch to the ON position.

The AutoStar screen is activated and a copyright message displays briefly, followed by a short beep. Then AutoStar takes a few moments to start up the system. “Press 0 to align or Mode for Menu” displays (if you select “0” Alignment will begin).

4.The Arrow keys are now activated. Press the Arrow keys (Pg. 10, Fig. 2, 5) to slew (move) the telescope up, down, right, or left.

5.Press a Number key (Pg. 10, Fig. 2, 8) to change the telescope’s slew speed. See SLEW SPEEDS, below, for more information.

6.Use the viewfinder (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 18) to locate an object and practice using the AutoStar’s Arrow keys to center the object in the telescope’s field of view.

7.Use the telescope’s focus knob (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 8) to bring the object into focus.

Slew Speeds

AutoStar has nine slew speeds that are directly proportional to the sidereal rate and have been calculated to accomplish specific functions. Pressing a Number key changes the slew speed, which is shown for about two seconds on AutoStar’s display.

The nine available speeds are:

Number Key 1

=

1x

=

1 x sidereal (0.25 arc-min/sec or 0.004°/sec)

Number Key 2

=

2x

=

2 x sidereal (0.5 arc-min/sec or 0.008°/sec)

Number Key 3

=

8x

=

8 x sidereal (2 arc-min/sec or 0.033°/sec)

Number Key 4

=

16x

=

16 x sidereal (4 arc-min/sec or 0.067°/sec)

Number Key 5

=

64x

=

64 x sidereal (16 arc-min/sec or 0.27°/sec)

Number Key 6

= 128x

=

32 arc-min/sec or 0.5°/sec

Number Key 7

=

1.5°

=

90 arc-min/sec or 1.5°/sec

Number Key 8

=

=

180 arc-min/sec or 3°/sec

Number Key 9

=

Max

=

390 arc-min/sec or 6.5°/sec)

Speeds 1, 2, or 3: Best used for fine centering of an object in the field of view of a higher power eyepiece, such as a 12mm or a 9mm eyepiece.

Speeds 4, 5, or 6: Enables centering an object in the field of a low-to-moderate power eyepiece, such as the standard Super Plössl 26mm.

Speeds 7 or 8: Best used for rough centering of an object in the eyepiece.

Speed 9: Moves the telescope quickly from one point in the sky to another

Observe the Moon

Point your telescope at the Moon (note that the Moon is not visible every night) and practice using the Arrow keys and the slew speeds to view different features. The Moon contains many interesting features, including craters, mountain ranges, and fault lines. The best time to view the Moon is during its crescent or half phase. Sunlight strikes the Moon at an angle during these periods and adds a depth to the view. No shadows are seen during a full Moon, causing the overly bright surface to appear flat and rather uninteresting. Consider the use of a neutral density Moon filter when observing the Moon. Not only does it cut down the Moon’s bright glare, but it also enhances contrast, providing a more dramatic image.

18

Definition: Initialization is a procedure that ensures that AutoStar operates correctly. When you first use

AutoStar, it doesn’t yet know where the observation location site is or the time or date of the observation session.

During the Easy Alignment procedure, the system calculates these parameters automatically.

AutoStar uses this information to precisely calculate the location of celestial objects (such as stars and planets) and to move your telescope correctly for

various operations.

To Track an Object Automatically

As the Earth rotates beneath the night sky, the stars appear to move from East to West. The speed at which the stars move is called the sidereal rate. You can setup your telescope to move at the sidereal rate so that it automatically tracks the stars and other objects in the night sky. If the telescope is not tracking an astronomical object, the object will drift out of the eyepiece field of view. The tracking function automatically keeps an object more or less centered in the telescope’s eyepiece.

To automatically track objects, you must first set the telescope up in the home position, then initialize AutoStar, and finally select “Targets: Astronomical” from the AutoStar Setup menu. You must also learn how the AutoStar keypad operates in order to move through the AutoStar menus.

Setting the “Alt/Az” Home Position using Magnetic North

1.Loosen the RA lock (Pg.7, Fig. 1, 9) and point the telescope in the direction of Magnetic North.

Note: To find magnetic North, place the included bubble level/compass (Pg. 9, Fig. 1a, 20) into the diagonal prism (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 4) and adjust the horizontal direction of the telescope until it points in the same direction as the colored side of the compass needle.

2.Tighten the RA lock to a firm feel.

3.Loosen the Dec. lock (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 6) and adjust the vertical position of the telescope to

the level position.

Note: The bubble/level compass can be used to find the level position by placing the bubble level/compass into the diagonal prism and adjusting the telescope tube until the bubble in the compass is placed inside the painted circle on the compass window.

4.Tighten the Dec. lock to a firm feel.

5.The telescope is now in the Magnetic North Home Position.

Setting the “Alt/Az” Home Position using True North

1.Loosen the RA lock (Pg.7, Fig. 1, 9) and point the telescope in the direction of True North. See “Locating the Celestial Pole” on page 50 for more information.

2.Tighten the RA lock to a firm feel.

3.Loosen the Dec. lock (Pg. 7, Fig. 1, 6) and adjust the vertical position of the telescope to the level position.

Note: The bubble/level compass can be used to find the level position by placing the bubble level/compass into the diagonal prism and adjusting the telescope tube until the bubble in the compass is placed inside the painted circle on the compass window.

4.Tighten the Dec. lock to a firm feel.

The telescope is now in the True North Home Position

Moving Through AutoStar’s Menus

The AutoStar database is organized in levels for quick and easy navigation.

YOUR TELESCOPE” page 14.

3.Turn the telescope power switch to the ON position.

The AutoStar beeps and the display screen is activated. Then AutoStar takes a few moments

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