Monday, 27 June 2016

Meade LightBridge Mini 130 review

The Meade LightBridge Mini 130 is reviewed in the July issue of Sky at Night magazine.

Lightbridge Mini.

The July issue is out now.

Find out more about the July issue of Sky at Night magazine at:

More information about the LightBridge Mini series on the Meade UK website.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Meade at NEAF 2016

Meade's Scott Byrum demonstrates to Dennis di Cicco from Sky & Telescope magazine the LX600, LX850, ETX Observer and LightBridge Mini telescopes. Plus, the Stella Wi-Fi Adapter.

The video was shot at NEAF 2016 (North East Astronomy Forum) that took place on the 9th and 10th April 2016. NEAF is the world’s largest exhibition of its kind and the venue is at the Rockland Community College, 28 miles (45 km) north of New York city.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Tim Peake returns to Earth

Earlier today, British astronaut Tim Peake returned to Earth concluding a six-month mission in space on board the International Space Station (ISS). Tim was part of a three-member crew that landed in Kazakhstan inside a Russian Soyuz capsule. The other crew-members on the Soyuz were American astronaut Col Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.

At approximately 3am UK time, the three men climbed from the ISS into the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft. Closing the hatch between the station and the spacecraft 34 minutes later marked the end of ISS expedition 47 and Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

Tim Peake safely back on Earth after landing in Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz made a rapid and at times shaky descent through the atmosphere, with temperatures outside reaching more than 1,600°C. The craft completed its de-orbit to enter the Earth’s atmosphere at about 10am on Saturday UK time. It landed by parachute in a remote spot in the scrubland steppe of Kazakhstan 15 minutes later. The Soyuz landed on its side after being caught by the wind, but this was a common occurrence and the search and recovery team made its way to the landing site and extracted the crew.

The astronauts appeared one by one and attended to by flight surgeons and nurses. Tim Peake was tired but smiled and gave a thumbs up to the reporters. He responded to questions by saying “good thanks, very good” and the journey “was incredible, a real ride. Best ride I’ve been on ever.”

He added: “It’s just been fantastic, from start to finish … I’m just truly elated, just the smells of Earth are so strong, it’s wonderful to be back … to feel the fresh air. I look forward to seeing the family now.”

About the mission

Tim Peake was the first British astronaut to be sent to the ISS by the European Space Agency. His mission was named Principia after Sir Isaac Newton’s landmark work describing the laws of motion and gravity, and its main purpose was to contribute to scientific knowledge by conducting experiments in zero gravity. Peake did more than that as he kept in touch with the public on social media and took part in video-linked question and answer sessions. He also engaged in educational activities with schoolchildren.

During his mission, he participated in over 250 experiments, performed a spacewalk, run the London Marathon on a treadmill and inspired more than one million schoolchildren, in the process receiving an honour from the Queen for “extraordinary service beyond our planet”.

The crew will be transferred to Karaganda airport. From there Peake will be flown to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, while his US and Russian colleagues go to Houston and Star City respectively.

Source: European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Tring Astronomy Centre

The Meade UK dealership network has been expanding as part of Meade’s ongoing effort to improve the availability of its telescopes, solar scopes and sports optics. The latest dealer to stock Meade and Coronado products is Tring Astronomy Centre (Tring Astro).

Tring Astro website.
Tring Astro’s showroom is based in Tring in Hertfordshire. It is one of the largest telescope dealers in the UK with an extensive selection of telescopes. Soon Tring Astro will offer the full range of Meade and Coronado telescopes and accessories.

It is worth pointing out that Coronado Solar is part of Meade Instruments and all Coronado solar telescopes are manufactured in Meade’s factory. Coronado manufacturing benefits from the same state-of-the-art manufacturing technics as Meade’s other telescopes ensuring consistently high quality optics.

All Meade dealers also supply Coronado solar telescopes and Tring Astro will offer the complete range of both brands. In fact, Tring Astro already participates in the Meade summer promotion offering many of the bestselling Meade telescopes at low prices.

Find out more about Tring Astro on their website.

AutoStar and AudioStar explained

Updated: 24th September 2018

Often we have been asked to explain the difference between the various Meade handbox controllers to people who wish to replace their old handbox with a new one. Often the original handbox is not in production anymore and they would like to know which of the newer handboxes is compatible with their telescope.

AutoStar (#494) discontinued.

AutoStar (#494)

This is mostly a legacy handbox. It is badged simply as “AUTOSTAR”. It has been bundled with some Meade entry level telescopes. It has a small keypad and it was used on older Meade ETX-60, ETX-70, ETX-80, DS-2000 range (e.g. DS-2130) and some other telescopes that have not been in production for a while. In some cases, the AutoStar #494 is badged as “STARFINDER”. Internally, the Starfinder has the same hardware as the AutoStar #494 but the firmware is slightly different.

AutoStar (#495) discontinued.

AutoStar (#495)

This handbox has a large keypad. Once again, it is badged simply as “AUTOSTAR”. The difference between AutoStar #494 above and AutoStar #495 is that the latter has a full numeric keypad. The AutoStar #495 has not been in production for several years. It used to be bundled with LXD-75 and LX90 telescopes as well as some DS-2000 telescopes. The AutoStar #495 is not always backwards compatible with the AutoStar #494. Some telescopes that use an AutoStar #494 can also be controlled with an AutoStar #495 but not all.

AutoStar (#497) discontinued.

AutoStar (#497)

This handbox has a full numeric keypad and it is visually indistinguishable from the AutoStar #495 for good reason. Both these handboxes use the exact same hardware.  Once again, the AutoStar #497 is badged as “AUTOSTAR”. The difference is in the firmware. The #497 has a newer version of the firmware, replacing the older AutoStar #495 model. This handbox is no longer in production. In the past it was bundled with various telescopes including some ETX-90, ETX-105, ETX-125, StarNavigator, DS-2000, LX80 and LX90 telescopes. The AutoStar #497 is backwards compatible with the AutoStar #495 and AutoStar #494. Therefore, telescopes that use the previous AutoStar handboxes can also be controlled with an AutoStar #497.



This is the latest AutoStar-type handbox and has replaced all previous AutoStar handboxes including the AutoStar #494, AutoStar #495 and AutoStar #497. It is badged as “AUDIOSTAR”. It is currently bundled with the StarNavigator NG, ETX Observer, LX65, LX85 and LX90 series. If you wish to replace a handbox used on an older telescope, upgrading to AudioStar is the best option. It includes the latest firmware and it incorporates new features that are not present in previous AutoStar handboxes.

The AudioStar is compatible with all ETX, DS-2000, StarNavigator, DSM, LT, LXD-75, LX80, LX65, LX85 and LX90 telescopes. A unique feature is the Astronomer Inside digital audio software. It is combined with the built-in speaker inside the AudioStar handbox to produce over four hours of high quality pre-recorded audio descriptions of the objects you observe.

People around the telescope can listen and learn about more than 500 of the celestial objects contained in the AudioStar database, including planets, nebulae, star clusters and the Moon. The AudioStar has a database of over 30,000 astronomical objects. Approximately twice as many as the AutoStar #497. The AudioStar Meade part number (SKU) is 07640.

AutoStar II.

AutoStar II

The AutoStar II handbox is designed for larger Meade telescopes such as the LX200, LX600 and LX850. It is not compatible with the AudioStar or AutoStar (#494, #495 and #497) handboxes. Therefore, if you wish to replace the old handbox of your LX200, LX400, LX600 and LX850, the AutoStar II is the only option. The AutoStar II Meade part number (SKU) is 07200.

AutoStar III.

AutoStar III

The AutoStar III handbox is designed exclusively for the Meade LS (LightSwitch) telescopes such as the LS6 and LS8. It is not compatible with any other AutoStar (#494, #495 and #497), AudioStar or AutoStar II handbox. The AutoStar III Meade part number (SKU) is 04700.

To summarize, if you are looking to replace the handbox controller of your ETX, DS, DS-2000, DSM, StarNavigator, LXD-75, LT, LX80, LX65, LX85 or LX90 telescope you should upgrade to the AudioStar. If you have a LX200, LX400, LX600 or LX850 you need an AutoStar II. And finally if you have an LS you should get an AutoStar III.

Read about the features of these handbox controllers at:

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Legislation to combat light pollution

Currently there is a UK government petition in progress to introduce legislation to combat light pollution. The petition requires 10,000 signatures for the government to take it into consideration and respond. The deadline for this petition is 22nd July 2016.


The petition states:

"Light pollution does not only steal from us our stars, but also has massive negative implications for both people and the environment.

Therefore, steps should be taken to reduce light pollution, particularly in areas where it has the greatest impact on the wellbeing on humans or other species. In humans, light pollution contributes to increased stress, sleep deprivation and disorders like insomnia as well as having less apparent impacts such as an increased risk of obesity and breast cancer.

Environmentally the impacts are even more clear. Light pollution affects the migration patterns of birds, the breeding of amphibians and insects, and the survival of sea turtles to give but a few examples."

To support this petition, follow the link below to the UK parliament website.


Elsewhere, according to Dr Christopher Kyba, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam.

"The artificial light in our environment is coming from a lot of different things. Street lights are a really important component, but we also have lights from our windows in our homes and businesses, from the headlights of our cars and illuminated billboards."

Dr Kyba adds.

"The night is so bright that they [people] use their colour daytime vision to look up at the sky."

As a result, nights never get darker than twilight and it affects nocturnal animals, while in humans, the trend has been linked to sleep disorders and disease.

According to Dr Kyba.

"In the UK, 26% of people are using colour vision and not night vision."

To reduce light pollution as well as save energy, action needs to be taken so that lights are dimmed, shielded or turned off when not in use. Light pollution hinders astronomy. The consequence of light pollution is that a third of the world now cannot see the Milky Way.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Promotion extended through summer

Last April, Meade launched the spring promotion in the UK that was intended to last to the end of May. However, due to popular demand the promotion has been extended into the summer months and it has now been re-labelled the summer promotion.

Line up

This is good news for those considering the purchase of a Meade telescope that is part of this promotion. The range of telescopes on offer include the LS ACF (LightSwitch) series, LX90 ACF series, LX200 ACF series up to 12” aperture. All these telescopes feature outstanding quality optics, the best in their class and a wealth of other features.

Gem among the stars

Meade StarNavigator 90.
Among these large, impressive telescopes there is also a little gem that is included in this promotion; the StarNavigator 90.

This impressive starter telescope comprises of a 90mm achromatic refractor optical tube, a single arm robotic mount (DS-2000 series), tripod and an AutoStar handbox controller.  The aperture of this telescope is large enough to observe the Moon and the planets.

The Moon will always look impressive and the planets will reveal a lot of detail including the rings of Saturn and the Cassini Division, Jupiter and its belts, the red spot and so on.

It is also possible to observe some of the brighter deep sky objects. More detail will be visible from a dark site.

Value and performance

Meade telescopes have always been the easiest telescopes on the market to setup partly thanks to the AutoStar handbox. Star alignment is simple and quick. But probably the most impressive part of the package is the price. Due to the summer promotion it now costs just £215 (normally £285). This is unmatched value for money. A higher quality telescope against any competing offering and at the lowest price too!

If you are considering the purchase of a new starter telescope there has never been a better time. Find out more about the StarNavigator 90 at:

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Coronado advert in print

There is a new advertisement that has appeared in two British magazines. It promotes the Coronado solar telescopes. The advert appears in Astronomy Now and Sky at Night magazines.

Coronado solar telescopes are manufactured by Meade and deliver the highest quality solar images of any comparable telescopes on the market.

Coronado solar telescopes.

The printed advert appears in the magazines as show below.

Coronado solar telescopes print advertisement.

Find out more about Coronado solar telescopes at: