Re: (IAAC) LX200 10" vs. 12" vs Starfinder 10"

Let me give you one very, very satisfied Meade 10" LX200 user opinion by
staying away from the technical details.

Back in the early nineties I built a personal home observatory and ordered
the Meade as the primary instrument.  I have consistently used it since that
time, even as recently as this evening to show the Jovian satellites and
Jupiter's rings to the young children of a friend who stopped by just to
show them the observatory.  I have implemented every software upgrade that
Meade has offered.  When doing serious work I control it with Software
Bisque's TheSky (latest upgrade) as I have from the very beginning.  There
is practically nothing within the limits of seeing that I cannot find.  This
does not mean I routinely probe out to mag. 13, 14, 15, etc.  but it does
mean that I have become a seasoned observer.

I have worked through many of the Astronomical League's observing
certificates and they all hang on the walls of the observatory.

I, too, have been subject to aperture fever over the years and could afford
to put in the 16" if I so choose.  I do not do so because, I assure you,
Meade would probably offer a 20" or 24" shortly thereafter.  Instead, I
devote my observing time to ferreting out things I've not seen and by
sharing what I have seen with many people who have never placed an eye to an
eyepiece in January or July.

I cannot help you much further except to say that in spite of Meade's
legendary arrogant customer service reputation I have not had one single
moment of buyer's regret since 1992.  In my lifetime I cannot possibly
exhaust what can be done in average limiting magnitude 4.5 skies.  I have
seen the night sky from the Arizona Sonoran Desert; I do not live there.
Instead, I simply keep up with the seasons and step out 150' from my back
door and roll the roof off.  There the rural dark skies of Maryland await me
every night the weather permits.  And the Meade 10" LX200 takes me deeply
into its splendors.

You can visit my observatory online at http://www.bluebirdobs.org if you
wish.  I hope this non-technical info has been useful to you.

Clear skies!
Jerry Persall

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