With the total solar eclipse scheduled for August 21st, expect to see new lines of products catering to the novice observer wanting to get up close with the event. Meade has recently announced the EclipseView product line for April 2017 which includes a binocular, a small refractor and three small reflector telescopes specifically for those wanting to experience the eclipse but with a limited budget and beginner experience.The product line offers the following models, all equipped with removable white-light solar filter required to view the sun at all times.
- 10×50 Binoculars
- 60mm f/13.3 Refractor (includes 12.5 and 4mm eyepieces and 2x barlow) with an AZ mount
- 76mm f/9 Reflector (includes 26 and 6.3mm eyepieces and 2x barlow) with an AZ mount.
- 82mm f/3.7 Reflector (includes 26 and 9mm eyepieces and 2x barlow) in a compact table-top mount
- 114mm f3.95 Reflector (includes 26 and 9mm eyepieces and 2x barlow) in a compact table-top mount
Of the bunch, only the 114mm has the better parabolic mirror, the others opting instead for the simpler spherical mirror. Therefore the 114mm will provide a sharper view edge to edge, especially a high magnification.
These aren’t new telescopes from Meade, but existing models from their Infinity, Polaris and LightBridge Mini Series kitted for solar observation. While Meade advertises that these telescopes can also be used at night to view the Moon, planets and the stars, you’ll want to get a red-dot view finder to replace the existing solar pin-hole finder.
Of course you can also add the appropriate solar filter to any telescope, no need to limit yourself to the above gear.