Meade Instruments designed and engineered the LX850 Go-To EQ Mount to be a precise platform for long-duration observation or astrophotography sessions. Built to handle their heaviest OTAs and gear, the mount is made of stainless steel and aluminum with a total payload capacity of 90 pounds. A 26-pound counterweight is included, with the capability to add more if it's required, and a large Losmandy-style dovetail saddle specifically designed for heavy optical tube assemblies. The LX850 is offered here without a tripod for users who already have large tripods or permanent piers and are interested in upgrading their mount.
Multiple technologies work together to put this mounting system above the standard Go-To mount. Meade outfitted it with a built-in GPS receiver and a time chip, so the mount can automatically determine its location, day, and time when it's turned on. This information is sent to the StarLock system which uses two digital cameras built into an 80mm f/5 refractor OTA. The cameras take wide-field photos of the night sky and compare them with an internal database to automatically align the scope. During observation or imaging sessions, the StarLock system continuously checks its tracking and adjusts as needed, sending the data to the Smart Mount system which learns the tracking errors and adjusts itself for the future.
The brains of the mount are Meade's iconic AutoStar II computer controller. This hand-held unit has an internal database of over 144,000 objects from the Moon and planets, to galaxies and nebulae. Coupled with the StarLock system, the AutoStar's tracking accuracy is an impressive ±1 arc second. It can calculate future events like Sunrises and meteor showers, and predict Solar and Lunar eclipses for the next 100 years. Once set up and running, the AutoStar II can take you on guided tours of the best objects visible above, including audio tours that can be heard from the internal speaker.