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Book Reviews


A User's Guide to the Meade LXD55 and LXD75 Telescopes
Authors: Martin Peston

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9780387364896

Price: £21.99 (Pb), 253pp


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Unquestionably the Meade LXD series of telescopes and mounts have revolutionised GOTO systems, and Martin Peston can certainly call himself one of the world's leading experts on these mounts and their associated control. His book can best be described as a user manual on steroids, and quite probably something that anyone with an LXD mount should own as a reference.

Some sections of the book, particularly those aimed at the new user that cover unpacking and even how to hold the components, really don't warrant being put in print as they are so blindingly obvious. It misses useful tips on focusing for the
range of telescopes, such as the use of wire crossed over the objective to create artificial diffraction spikes, and seems to think that Hartmann masking is only really applicable to the SCT design. The colour photographs of the products are uniformly good throughout the book, as are the planetary images taken using them, but the images of deep sky objects do little to convince a prospective user that these products are a
worthwhile investment. The author also almost disregards autoguiding as something that nobody is able to do. Whilst I agree that the non-standard ports on the LXD series, and the associated 909 module, were fiddly to configure and install, I disagree totally that autoguiding an LXD is something that
nobody can do, having seen many images taken with the SN series telescopes on LXD mounts that attest to this possibility. He also barely covers using the Autostar suite software for this purpose.

Martin Peston's real skill is conveying his obvious passion for the products in a way that, were Meade ever to require someone to write them more detailed manuals in the future, he
should be their first port of call. It is a labour of love, seeded by a desire to pass on as much as he could about these products to other users, but one that ultimately could have been more succinct. All that said, it's a valuable resource for the LXD owner, and something that were I in the market for an LXD, would give consideration to.

Nick Howes

 

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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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