Encourage your kids to fall in love with astronomy by getting the one telescope guaranteed to keep them glued to the night sky. The Meade StarNavigator 102 Refractor #20099 Beginner Telescope is suitable for all ages. It's easy to set up and use thanks to its computer-controlled tracking features and GoTo mode. With its preprogrammed mapping of the night sky, this Meade computer-controlled telescope will have you visiting distant stars in no time.
Gazing at the stars is not all this well-built telescope can help you do. Even though it is a starter telescope, you can turn the StarNavigator 102 into an astrophotography camera by simply replacing one of its eyepieces with a DSLR or dedicated astronomical camera. This is also one of the Meade telescopes for sale that's capable of daytime terrestrial use. When you take the scope on your next camping trip, you can gaze at the stars at night and watch birds during the day.
The Makings of an Excellent Starter Scope
The StarNavigator 102 is a refracting telescope, as opposed to a reflecting telescope, and employs a fixed lens rather than mirrors for collecting light. Refracting light with lenses usually causes color distortion in the final images, but this Meade computer-controlled telescope overcomes such chromatic aberration by using a lens shaped and coated to be achromatic.
Besides this lens, the StarNavigator 102 includes these important features:
- Two Meade 1.25-inch eyepieces
- A red dot viewfinder
- A DS-2000 single-arm robotic altazimuth mount
- An aluminum tripod with an accessory tray
- A Meade AudioStar hand controller with Astronomer Inside technology
- An internal clock
You'll also find a copy of AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition software and instructional materials on DVD bundled with the Meade computer-controlled telescope. The StarNavigator 102 has an internal battery pack that takes eight AA batteries (not included), so you don't have to plug in the telescope to a main supply.
What Is GoTo?
Right out of the box, the StarNavigator 102 knows the night sky. This makes aligning the telescope and its initial setup simple and straightforward. After turning on the telescope and going through its brief alignment procedure, you can immediately take it on a guided tour of the sky. To make it easy to accurately find any of the 30,000 celestial objects in its internal memory, Meade equipped it with a feature known as GoTo.
With GoTo, you simply instruct the telescope to go to a selected object. Once triggered from the hand control, the StarNavigator 102 slides into position and trains itself on the celestial object you picked.
AudioStar is the other innovative feature of this Meade computer-controlled telescope. It refers to the scope's hand controller as well as its internal software. These are the major features of the AudioStar hand control:
- A built-in speaker
- A database of 30,000 celestial objects
- A library of over 500 audio presentations
The Astronomer Inside technology is a recorded voice coming from the speaker in the hand controller. The voice presents educational information about 500 of the celestial objects the StarNavigator 102 can find in the night sky. These presentations are available in French and English.
AutoStar is the name of the astronomy software included with this Meade computer-controlled telescope. It is PC software that displays a number of detailed sky charts as well as the Hubble Space Telescope guide stars. The software is also essential for turning the StarNavigator 102 into an astroimaging camera.
Quantifying a Telescope
The core hardware of any telescope is its optics. Seasoned astronomers look at the spec sheet of a telescope in order to make sense of its capabilities. For a beginner's telescope, the optics in the StarNavigator 102 are quite impressive. The telescope has a lens with these specs:
- Diameter of 102 mm, or 4 inches
- Focal length of 800 mm
- Focal ratio of f/7.7
The other optics built into the scope's tube are the red dot viewfinder and two eyepieces. The first eyepiece, an MA25mm, has a magnification of 32x, while the second, an MA9mm, has a magnification of 89x.
The Meade StarNavigator 102 Refractor #20099 Beginner Telescope is not only an excellent first telescope for aspiring astronomers, but a good backup telescope for seasoned stargazers. Unlike barebones starter telescopes, the StarNavigator 102 packs features usually reserved for more expensive telescopes and doubles as a ready camera for astronomy photography. If you can't quite decide which of a number of Meade telescopes for sale to start your astronomy hobby with, consider taking the StarNavigator 102 out for a spin.