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Meade 203 - 60mm

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Date: NA
Price: $99
Design: 60mm refractor operating at 700mm focal length (f/11.6)
Description: Small refractor with an Alt-Az mount and aluminum tripod.  Two eyepieces and a finder are also included.  The eyepieces are a 25mm and a 9mm of unknown design and the finder is a 5x24mm.

Review

This was my first telescope, bought after an enthusiasm boom after reading a couple of astronomy books. I later saw that my decision was maybe a bit too rash.

The Telescope 

The scope came in just one middle sized box. The box was painted in magnificent nebulae which, I suppose, made some people believe that this is what you can see. The instructions were not as good as you would expect from a company like Meade. Just a few pages covering assembly and aligning the viewfinder and a bit on "what you can see" the later being a bit to optimistic. But even without good instructions assembly was easy due to the simple design of the scope. I was finished in 10 minutes! Now the scope was ready and waited for the first clear night.

Observing

Before talking about anything else I would like make a note about the viewfinder: It's a joke.The image threw it is so blurry that you can't use it even for bright objects! The first target I observed was the moon. The scope performed better than I had expected after reading so much about how people got disappointed after looking threw their first scope! I could see uncountable numbers of craters and the black Maria. At 78x the whole moon just fitted into my eyepiece, a very beautiful site! Next I looked at Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter had two reddish cloud belts .The four Galileans were all bright and sharp. The scope showed Saturn's rings nicely but without any detail on the planet. Altogether I would say that for planetary observations this scope makes a good beginner instrument. Next I tried looking at stars. I was disappointed to see that the scope had a serious problem with false color. All the brighter stars were blurred and sort of greenish.

Mount

I think the mount is the worst part of this telescope. If you just slightly tap the tube the image will bounce around for ages. It is because of this that it's very hard to find the objects you would like to observe. It's made out of light aluminum that wobbles and wobbles.

The Final Word

This telescope could be a good starter scope for somebody with a passing interest in astronomy. It's cheap and VERY portable making it ideal for camping trips. You can just pick it up with one hand, carry it to your observing site and start observing. It performed well with the moon and planets but was disappointing at deep sky observations. Overall I would give it 5 out of 10. You could add a few points if you used it with another mount.

Submitted by Mario Pallua - mario_pallua@yahoo.com - Zagreb, Croatia 

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