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Hard To Go Wrong

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Posted by Daniel Johnson on January 26, 2003 15:29:29 UTC

You'll find it hard to go wrong with either scope. I'm much more familiar with the Meade, since I own the 10-inch version, so familiarity gives me bias toward Meade. In Sky & Telescope there seem to be more photos published with Meade scopes than Celestron, but you'll see both. The Meade with the new UHTC optics does transmit more light than Celestron (despite Celestron's misleading ad to the contrary). The mount on the Meade is beefier--important if you want to do photography, but heavier to move. The Meade has a true-north sensor, not a magnetic-north sensor like Celestron's (more precisely, with Meade you can train the scope to know the difference between true and magnetic north), leading to more accurate GPS alignment in altazimuth mode. Plus you get the extra in aperture.
Celestron's carbon-fiber tube may be a slight advantage, but not overwhelming. And both scopes have very good optics--Sky & Telescope has reported excellent optics in the SCT's they've tried from either company for the last few years.
Is mobility important? Celestron's lighter weight may make a difference if you have to pack the scope into a car often. If you just want to move it out of your garage, consider the JMI Wheely Bars and leave it on the tripod permanently.
If I had received a Celestron for Christmas, I would be happy as can be, but if I had to buy it again I'd still go with the Meade. I do photography, and their mounts are solid compared with most.

Dan Johnson

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