Meade 20218 NG-70SM 70mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope Meade's value priced NG-70SM Altazimuth Refractor is an affordable entry level telescope that features an easy to use Altazimuth mount with slow motion controls for precise tracking. The complete package includes a sturdy metal tripod, a red dot viewfinder, two 1.25 inch eyepieces and a star diagonal, and a software DVD with instructional video.
The NG-70SM Refractor Telescope comes disassembled in a compact box, but the instructional DVD video guides you through all the steps required for assembly. Go ahead and try it out in the daytime, that's the best time to align the red-dot finder scope while looking at a distant tree or telephone pole.
The optics of Meade's NG-70SM produce an image that is right side up but the diagonal mirror reverses the image left-to-right. That's no problem most of the time, but an optional correct image diagonal is available. The low power 25mm eyepiece produces a magnification 28X which is just right for spotting the Moon or the planets, while the 9mm eyepiece (78X magnification) can be used to zoom in for more detail. The MH25 eyepiece at 28X shows a lovely view of the Lunar disk in a dark sky, while the MH9 eyepiece at 78X shows literally hundreds of craters on the Moon and begins to show the rings of Saturn and the cloud bands of Jupiter. For even better views it's easy to add better eyepieces. My best view of Saturn, for example, came with an optional 6.4mm Super Plossl eyepiece, about 110X magnification.
The Altazimuth mount included with Meade's NG-70SM is lighter and easier to use than an Equatorial mount, yet the slow motion knobs make it easy to keep objects in view. The rotation of the Earth causes the Moon or planets to appear to drift out of the eyepiece, but the slow motion knobs make it easy to keep the telescope on target, even with a high power eyepiece. The telescope is sensitive to vibration, however, so a high power eyepiece can be difficult to focus.
Meade's NG-70SM is a good entry level telescope at a very good price. The optics are good, the Altazimuth mount is easy to assemble and easy to use, the instructional DVD includes a nice Lunar Atlas as well as planetarium software, and it's easy to add better eyepieces to improve your view of the planets. –Jeff Phillips
Pros: Light and easy to use Altazimuth mount includes slow motion knobs Easy to add better eyepieces Instructional DVD included; Cons: MH eyepieces have narrow field of view Vibrates while focusing at high power
The world's top astronomers got started with a telescope just like this one - and so will you. A quality refractor telescope for land or sky viewing. Perfect for observing Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon and land objects. A first look at Saturns rings or the crators of the Moon can inspire a lifetime of exploration. Go to any star party anywhere in the world and you'll see more Meade telescopes than any other. Comes with AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition Software on DVD AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition software will help you learn the night sky. It displays more than 10,000 celestial objects including planets, stars, galaxies and nebulas. You can print out star charts and even plan your observing sessions. It operates on any Windows based PC. Also includes instructional videos. You'll be up and running in no time. The universe is waiting. Features: Slow motion controls on both axes - Find and track objects easily with precision controls Includes Red Dot Projection Viewfinder - For easy acquisition of guide stars while star-hopping for celestial targets. Heavy-Duty Steel Tube Tripod - Provides a rock solid platform for viewing 9mm and 25mm Eyepieces Great for kids and beginners. Full Size tripod included. Red Dot viewfinder. 9mm and 25mm eyepieces included. AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition software.