|Brand and Model:||Meade DS2090 At-TC|
|| Go-To PEC|
|Electric Power:||12 vdc|
|Tripod:||Aluminum and plastic|
|Description:||I recently purchased a Meade DS2090AT-TC telescope for at a bargain price on Ebay. I was looking for a go to mount for my vintage Meade 2045; a 4 inch Schmidt Cassegrain with a fork mount I purchased in the early 1990s. I’ve lived in Greece since the late 1990s and have not seen any of Meade’s or Celestron’s newer telescopes. I bought the DS2090AT-TC sight unseen based upon my perception of Meade Quality gained over the years of use from my existing Meade 2045 SCT. |
For those not familiar with the DC2090AT-TC:
Aperture: 90 mm
Focal Length: 800 mm
DS2000 mount with AutoStar 497
5 Eyepieces (25, 20, 17, 12, 6 mm)
Red dot finder
First, let me say that I am very satisfied with my Meade DS2090AT-TC scope and would recommend it for a casual observer like myself or for some one just starting in astronomy. However, my first impression was something entirely different.
My spirits and hopes sank as I unpacked the DS2090AT-TC. Plastic, plastic every where. I was shocked. The scope seemed more like a toy made for ToysRus and not a precision piece of astronomical gear. It definitely did not hold a candle to my all aluminum and steel Meade 2045 SCT. Obliviously, Meade has greatly relaxed its standards over the years. I now understand my brother-in-law’s comments about plastic and his EXT when he saw my aluminum and steel 2045 SCT.
Oh, well, I thought as I finished unpacking the scope, I bought the thing for its mount, not its optics. Maybe my grandson, Nickolas, will like it as a toy.
Assembly of the Meade DS2090AT-TC was simple and straight forward. Meade has an excellent DVD with instructions as well as a printed pamphlet. Only one tiny negative. I almost lost the set screw for the focuser as it was loose and lying in the bottom of a box.
After waiting a few days for a cloudless night, First Light for my new scope. I was pleasantly surprised. The go to mount worked great and the telescope’s optics far exceeded my expectations. While not perfect, they are more than adequate for a first scope and for the price range of the scope. The red dot finder looks like a toy and it performs like it looks; essentially worthless. If Meade is trying to save money, a riffle aiming site would be far cheaper and far more effective. The focuser; well the first night was a disaster. Focusing required considerable force and always moved the scope from the object being viewed. To focus, I had to hold the diagonal with one had and focus with the other. When I held the focuser I got grease on my fingers from the focuser track. Greasy fingers ended my first night of viewing prematurely as I feared getting grease on an eyepiece, etc. Five eyepieces are furnished with the scope. While almost para focus, they are not and close only counts in horse shoes. The eyepieces are not the best in the world, but again, are more than adequate for a first scope and a bargain considering the price paid for the scope. The range is well matched to the scope with the 6mm eyepiece still providing views of planets and some nebula in considerable detail. A barlow lens is not needed.
During the first night, I had my Meade 2045 SCT out and observed the same sky objects with it as I did with the DS2090AT-TC. The 2045’s optics are superior to the DS2090AT-TC. However, the DS2090AT-TC has more contrast making objects such as nebula stand out better. A star does not focus to a sphere but has a definite star shape. Chromatic aberration is present but not that bad, as least for my purposes. Overall the optical performance of the DS2090AT-TC is addaquate and I have dropped my plans to and install my 2045 SCT on the DS2000 mount. The DS2090AT-TC is my scope now for viewing at home but My 2045 will go with me on trips as it is far more portable (more compact in size) than the DS2090AT-TC scope. Nickolas, my grandson, well, he lost out.
Focusing the DS2090AT-TC was a bear. I looked at the focuser and noticed that it was covered in grease. The grease was thick, almost like bee’s wax. I removed the grease and found that the focusing problem, while not gone away, was greatly improved and I could focus without unduly moving the scope.
The DS mount case is made of plastic and alumimun but is solid and reflective of my perception of Meade quality. Setting up the DS2000 AutoStar go to mount was relatively simple. Important first steps before using the scope at night are to calibrate and train the motors. For folks living in the USA, you can just use your zip code to tell the AutoStar computer where you are located. For us outside the USA, we select a city in our country then adjust the latitude and longitude to our particular location. Setting the scope to its home position is very important (level and pointing true north). Meade furnishes a bubble compass that works great as long as you adjust for the declination for your area. After doing the easy align, the scope and mount are ready to show its stuff. I chose the night tour for my first attempt. Of the 14 objects that were viewable from my location (some objects were blocked by the neighbor’s house, trees, etc.), the scope clicked and whirred and 10 of the object appeared in the 25mm eyepiece. The other four were just outside viewing range and easily found using the spiral search feature of the mount. The mount uses 8 AA batteries which will last three or four hours of viewing.
The tripod is a mix of thin wall aluminum tubing and plastic. It is fragile and I suspect that it could be easily damaged. I live on the seashore and we often have brisk winds in the evenings. The tripod provides solid support for the scope with no vibration during focusing but some due to wind gusts.
DS2090AT-TC refractor scope is a good telescope for an occasional observer or beginning amateur astronomer. Over all, it is a lot of value for its price bracket.
Its 90 mm (3 ½ inch) aperture is sufficient for viewing a wide range of celestial objects. It provides nice views of the planets as well as many deep space objects. Its optical performance is far superior to its ToysRus appearance. The focuser is all plastic and a weak link. The red dot finder is a waste of the energy it took to make the plastic used in its construction.
The DS2000 go to mount is excellent. It alone is worth the price of the telescope. Its go to features are an excellent tutor and eliminates the frustrations that cause so many to abandon astronomy as a hobby.
The tripod is very sturdy but fragile. I suspect that its life is limited.