Planetarium Telescope

The Planetarium at SMSU has recently purchased a state-of-the art telescope through a grant for use with Astronomy courses, viewing sessions open to the public, and student projects.  The telescope is a 10" Meade LX200.  The size of this telescope allows for serious observation but yet portability to move around from site to site.  One of the main viewing sites is on the rooftop of the Science and Mathematics building at SMSU where an observation deck is available along with a permanent telescope pier mounted in a large cement pad.  We are extremely fortunate to have both a planetarium and a research-grade telescope system at Southwest State University!

This 10-inch Meade LX-200 Schmidt-Cassegrain scope comes with a built in computer-controlled object finder,  which allows it to be controlled by a  computer. This telescope can automatically find sky objects after an initial set-up. Click here to read the owners manual for the LX200.  In Fall 2002, a state of the art, research-grade digital camera to be mounted on the lx200 was purchased through a grant from the American Astronomical Society.   The instrument we chose was the SBIG (Santa Barbara Instrument Group) ST-9XE.  To read more about the ST-9XE click here.

LX200 Telescope
LX200 10" Telescope

ST9XE CCD Camera (It's hard to believe this camera is worth more than the telescope itself!)

LX200 electronics are integrated into a rigid heavy-duty fork mounts. DC-servo-motor-controlled worm gear drives on both telescope axes permit observatory-level precision in tracking, guiding, and slewing. The 9-speed dual-axis drives cover every possible contingency of telescope positioning: Press the SLEW button on the keypad controller for rapid motion of the telescope across the skies at 8° per sec., or at any speed between 3°/sec. and 8°/sec., in 1°/sec. increments, on both axes simultaneously. Once near the target, switch instantly to the FIND speed for centering in the viewfinder at 2° per sec. Observing the object in the main telescope, use the CNTR speed (32x sidereal) to place the object in the center of the field. During long-exposure photography press the GUIDE button for precise corrections at 2x sidereal speed.

Coordinate GO TO Capability: Enter into the display the celestial coordinates (Right Ascension and Declination) of any object, press GO TO, and the telescope automatically slews to the object and centers it in the field.

Built-in 64,359-Object Library Included as

Enter into the keypad any of the 64,359 celestial objects stored in the LX200’s onboard database, press GO TO, and the telescope automatically slews (moves) to the object at 8° per sec., centering it in the main telescope field. Additionally, the display reads out for each selected object its magnitude, size, object-type, visual quality rating, RA and Dec. Or, let the telescope take you on an automatic guided tour of the heavens, simply by pressing the next key. If the selected object is not visible at the time of observation, the display reads Object Below Horizon, and the GO TO command is automatically canceled.

LX200 Data base includes:

12,921 galaxies from the Uppsala General Catalog;
the complete UGC catalog.

7,840 objects from the New General Catalog;
the complete NGC catalog.

5,386 objects from the Index Catalog;
the complete IC catalog.

21,815 variable stars to magnitude 16.6 from the General Catalog
of Variable Stars.

15,925 stars from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) catalog of stars brighter
than 7th magnitude.

351 alignment stars for the LX200 telescope.

110 Messier objects; the complete listing.

8 major planets from Mercury to Pluto.

To learn more about this telescope visit the Meade website.

Last Modified: 7/6/17 10:31 AM