MEADE 12mm RETICLE EYEPIECE
Last updated: 14 December 2011
[11 October 2008]
After my LXD75-8"SC and most of my accessories were stolen in December 2007, one of the items I needed to replace was my Celestron Guide Eyepiece with a Rigel Systems PulsGuide. I decided to replace both with a Meade 12mm MA Illuminated Reticle Eyepiece (Wireless model; $80).
The instructions said to insert the batteries correctly but there was no indication in the instructions or on the illuminator which way they should go. So I called Meade; the tech said it didn't matter and then he told me that "+" goes UP. I asked which way was UP on the illuminator but he couldn't answer that. I then asked which end the LED was on (positive or negative) and he said positive. So I inserted the batteries with "+" on the LED side. No light. Unfortunately, he then disconnected me. So I reversed the batteries and got a light. Whew.
You focus the reticle lines by rotating the rubber eyepiece guard end of the eyepiece. You can change the illumination brightness by rotating the ON/OFF knob on the end of the illuminator. There is no automatic "pulsing" like with the Rigel Systems PulsGuide. I really liked having the adjustable automatic ON/OFF pulsing of the PulsGuide.
Unlike the Celestron eyepiece, with its detailed reticle, the Meade eyepiece has a basic double crosshair, seen here:
At times I found the Celestron reticle too cluttered and even at the lowest illumination and pulse settings of the PulsGuide, it was difficult to sometimes see and keep track of a faint star when guiding. The Meade reticle is uncluttered, perhaps a little too basic, but once you have a target star positioned in the reticle, it is easy to see and keep track of it. However, because it is a crosshair design, you really do need to put the guide star near the center of the eyepiece. This can be difficult when using a Off-Axis Guider as the object being photographed will likely be in the center of the field-of-view and the guide star off-center. The Celestron reticle made it easy to have the guidelines positioned for tracking an off-center star. The Meade reticle is nearly unusable for tracking an off-center guide star. That said, I will continue to use it with the Off-Axis Guider.
One other difference between the Celestron and Meade reticles is for making measurements of position angles and separations. The Celestron reticle has excellent markings for making measurements; the Meade reticle has none.
[14 December 2011]
I finally purchased a Rigel Systems PulsGuide for use with the Meade eyepiece. This works much better for faint objects when the reticle eyepiece is used for manual guiding corrections with the Off-Axis Guider on my 8" LX200-ACF. I still use the Meade illuminator when doing drift alignments, as it works best for that.
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