MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

History

The Meade LX200 10" Telescope, Pentium computer and software arrived at SFA in January of 1998. The 10-foot Pro-Dome was built in December of 1998 of the Christmas holidays. (The classroom was renovated during spring break in 1999.) This document contains information about the purchase of the telescope and equipment. Meade 10" LX200's include 64,359-object onboard databases and High-Precision Pointing as standard equipment. (Focal Length = 2500mm, f/10)



MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

EXPECTED COST






Description

Unit Price

Meade 12" LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with

a Tripod and Superwedge


4,495.00

Telescope Shipping

215.00

SBIG ST-7 CCD Camera with RGB Filters, Filter Wheel,

Cables and Software


3,484.00

Telescope/CCD Computer - Gatewaty2000 G5-133 with

CD-Recordable Controller


2,178.00

TheSky Telescope Control Software

249.00

10' 16' Portable Building for Rooftop Storage

2,719.00

TOTAL

13,340.00

MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

Justification

1. The Meade LX200 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope offers a large aperture combined with an array of state-of-the-art features, including a 64,359-object database and high-precision pointing. The telescope has a level of resolution and image brightness that satisfies the advanced requirements of the serious amateur, as well as many school or college research programs. Its portability would make it useful for combining real sky observations with planetarium and observatory activities as well as trips to local grade schools and high schools.

2. The SBIG ST-7 CCD Camera is a self guiding camera with a resolution of 765510 pixels. RGB color filters would allow students to capture impressive color images of planets and deep sky objects. SBIG provides free software that students can use to analyze CCD images.

3. An IBM-compatible computer running the TheSky software would easily automate the telescope motions and collection of the CCD images. The user only needs to use a mouse to click on any one of thousands of celestial objects and the telescope will automatically move to that object. This makes the system user friendly and a good tool for training students to use the large research telescopes.

MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

EXPECTED COST

Description

Price

Vendor

Meade 10" LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with

a field tripod and standard accessories


3,195.00

Land, Sea and Sky Unlimited

Houston, Texas

(713)529-3551

Meade Superwedge for the Meade 10" LX200

399.95

same as above

Telescope Shipping

145.00

same as above

SBIG ST-7 CCD Camera

2,650.00
Astronomics, 2401 Tee Circle, Norman, Oaklahoma, 1-800-422-7876

CCD Filter Wheel Model CFW-8 with RGB filters

690.00

same as above

SBIG 12 VDC Power Supply for the ST-7 CCD camera

160.00

same as above

Gatewaty2000 Computer Minimum Requirements:

Intel 266MHz Pentium II Processor with 512k Cache

64MB SDRAM expandable to 384MB

EV700 (17" Monitor 15.9" viewable)

4GB 11ms Ultra ATA Hard Drive

3.5" 1.44MB Diskette Drive

12X min. / 24X max. CD-ROM

104+ Keyboard

Ethernet Card

CD-Recordable Controller

33.6 internal Modem

Internal Zip Drive

3 Pack of Blank 100MB disks for Zip drive


2349.00

149.00

159.00

59.00

Gateway2000

800-846-4208

TheSky Telescope Control Software

249.00
Software Bisque, 912 12th Street, Golden, Colorado, 80491, 1-800-TheSkyW

TOTAL

10,204.95





MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

DOME

EXPECTED COST


Description

Unit Price

10 ft. PRO-DOME (PD-10)

$4850.00

Circular Skirt (CS-10)

400.00

Wall Ring (PDWR-10)

650.00

DOME-WORKS, Complete (DWORKS)

850.00

Electric Dome Drive (ED-6/ED-10)

325.00

Electric Shutter (ES-6/ES-10)

325.00

Power Supply (PS-1)

50.00

TOTAL

7450.00

MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

DOME DESCRIPTION


10 ft. PRO-DOME (PD-10)

This is a complete ten foot diameter PRO-DOME fiberglass observatory designed primarily for stand-alone installations.

Circular Skirt (CS-10)

This is a 4 piece skirt in a circle 10' 8" in diameter with drip flange to make transition between the circular observatory and a flat/sloping roof or building edge. Useful to keep water away from the foundation.

Wall Ring (PDWR-10)

This is a ten foot diameter wall ring (6 pieces, 12 in. high). One or more wall rings may be stacked to increase wall height of PD-10.

DOME-WORKS, Complete (DWORKS)

This is a three component electronic system to control and automate dome rotation. Works with any motorized rotating observatory. Components may be used separately or together. 25 ft. cables provided.

Electric Dome Drive (ED-6/ED-10)

This is a 12 VDC motor drive system for dome rotation.

Electric Shutter (ES-6/ES-10)

This is a 12 VDC electric motor, windlass, and stainless steel cable system for opening and closing shutter.

Power Supply (PS-1)

This is a 12 V 10 A DC power supply with built-in key switch and two toggle switches for the electric drive and electric shutter.

MEADE LX200 PORTABLE OBSERVATORY

DOME JUSTIFICATION

Automation

Dome-Works is a semi-automation system featuring an infrared device that slaves the dome position to the telescope's position, and provides a read-out of the dome azimuth position.

Weather and Temperature Control

Weather protection is assured by overlapping flanges and baffling, not seals that will wear out or deteriorate. Temperature control is provided by a brilliant white exterior gel coat that normally keeps inside temperature within a few degrees of the shade temperature, so no cool-down period is required before your observing session begins. A dark blue interior helps preserve dark adaptation. The advantage of a dome over the roll-off roof observatory is that the dome acts as a wind breaker for the telescope. Wind gusts can move the telescope slightly resulting in poor CCD images.

Assembly

All domes use bolt-together construction. Assembly requires alignment of parts, measuring and drilling bolt holes, and use of common hand and power tools. Larger holes, for rollers and latches, are cut and finished at the factory. Typically, domes are assembled in place by two or three persons, without cranes or special equipment.

Shutters

Every PRO-DOME has a wide slot opening, extending past zenith. Two shutters move up-and-over, automatically disengaging during opening to nest together at the rear of the dome when open. This patented design makes the full shutter opening available to the astronomer and assists in sky orientation for students.

Rotation

The dome turns easily on hard rubber, ball bearing rollers mounted on the base ring. You can add motors to rotate the dome and move the shutters, and even operate the dome remotely.