Focus Scientific

Meade Lightswitch 8\" Advanced Coma-Free (ACF™) Telescope LS-8

What if astronomy could be as simple as flicking on a light switch?

The *NEW* Meade Lightswitch 8" ACF telescope with Lightswitch™ technology adds fun to astronomy. Meade combined their advanced coma-free optical design with their time-tested Autostar computerized pointing technology and bleeding-edge sensor network to deliver the worlds first exciting new self-aligning telescope. All you have to do is flick the switch.

How does it add fun? Multimedia content (video, photos and audio) make the scope more interesting to beginners, plus the built-in camera lets you dazzle crowds with real-time pictures of your favorite celestial objects. Store the images for future processing; you can even leave your laptop at home.

The most frustrating part of owning a computerized telescope is the night sky alignment process. Without alignment, the telescope can't find or follow anything. Manufacturers have made the alignment process easier with each new generation of telescope, but user interaction has always been required. With Meade's Lightswitch™ technology, the night sky alignment has finally been automated, so virtually everyone can easily enjoy the night sky.

This scope's setup is similar to the Meade LX200-ACF. The scope automatically acquires a GPS fix, a North and level alignment, and a tripod tilt measurement. After this is done, it aims the scope to a bright alignment star, and automatically aligns on it using the built-in ECLIPS™ camera.

The instruction manual is provided on a DVD-ROM.

We're impressed with the overall build quality. The audio quality is excellent. So far the collimation has been excellent out-of-the-box, and the out-of-focus star pattern is highly desirable.


  • Proprietary Advanced Coma-Free optics deliver sharp, flat, coma-free star images across the full field, similar to Ritchey-Chr├ętiens, but without the diffraction spikes
  • Exotic Ultra High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) make objects appear dramatically brighter
  • ECLIPS™ CCD camera for stress-free telescope auto-alignment, and image capture or display
  • Astronomer Inside - Multimedia features provide details about the objects in a fun and interesting way
  • Computerized goto mount eliminates the difficulty of locating objects
  • Includes "The Beginners Guide to Using Telescopes" written by our knowledgeable staff.

Telescope Specifications

  • Aperture: 203mm (8")
  • Focal length: 2000mm (60")
  • Focal ratio: f/10
  • Optical system: Advanced Coma-Free™
  • Pyrex® glass primary mirror
  • Resolving power 0.76 Arc Seconds
  • Faintest Stellar Magnitude Visible: 14.2
  • 26mm (77x) Plossl ocular (1.25")
  • Red dot finder
  • Standard SC threaded rear cell
  • 90° star diagonal (1.25")
  • 2" star diagonal upgradeable

Mount Specifications

  • Sturdy Aluminum single-fork arm
  • Long fork arm allows clearance for most cameras
  • 4.875 inch precision worm-gears in both axis for smooth and accurate slewing and tracking
  • Large precision roller bearings on both axis
  • Adjustable height steel-leg tripod w/ quick mount attachment
  • Built-in Autostar holder
  • Convenient carry handle at the top of the arm

ECLIPS™ CCD Camera Specifications

  • Sensor type: Color CCD
  • Resolution: 640x480
  • Built-in wide-angle lens
  • Real-time display capability (requires a composite monitor/TV)
  • ECLIPS stands for: Electronically Controlled Locate Identify Position System

Computer Drive Specifications

  • Autostar III Controller with over 100,000 object database, flash upgradeable
  • Two line, 16 character LCD display with red LED backlight
  • Integrated Sensor Module (ISM) includes Global Position Satellite receiver (GPS) and Level North Technology (LNT) sensors
  • 9 different slew speeds
  • Periodic Error Correction
  • Processor: 400Mhz Blackfin
  • Memory: 256Mb NAND flash
  • Storage: Mini SD Card slot (or Micro w/ Mini adapter) 2Gb Max.
  • Interfaces:
    • USB 2.0
    • 12v power-in
    • Electric focuser - 3.5mm (1/8") phone jack
    • Audio out - 2.5mm (3/32") stereo mini phone jack
    • Composite video out - RCA
  • Meade DSI/DSI-II/DSI-III camera can be hooked up to the USB port for imaging
  • Multimedia content including:
    • Descriptions of the Planets, Moon, Stars, Clusters, Nebulae, Galaxies and more
    • Over 4 hours of audio featuring the voice of Sandy Wood from "Star Date"
    • 30 minutes of movies, animations and hundreds of still images
  • Built-in speaker
  • Autostar Suite Astronomers Edition planetarium software helps you learn the night sky and control Autostar telescopes (requires a Windows compatible PC, DVD-ROM)
  • Powered by 8x C cell batteries stored internally (not included), ~3-5hrs runtime
  • Optional accessories: 12v car adapter, 12v AC adapter

System Specifications

  • Eyepiece Height (at Zenith): 87cm-135cm (34"-53") (to be revised)
  • Tripod Height: 64cm-112cm (25"-44")
  • Mount Height: 52cm (20.5") - from base to tip of handle
  • Optical Tube and Mount Weight: 14kg (30.8lbs)
  • Tripod weight: 4kg (8.8lbs)
  • Total weight: 18kg (39.6lbs)
  • Color: Blue tube, black mount
  • Meade One Year Warranty

3/11/09 Firmware Update - Meade is now shipping scopes with v1.4a firmware. We'll post the changelog when we get a hold of it. As of the last check, this update is not yet available through the Autostar Firmware updater.

8/28/10 Firmware Update - v1.5F Beta - a list of changes is not available yet.

12/8/09 Firmware Update - Meade has just released firmware v1.3 for the Lightswitch telescope. The changes include:

  • Improved GPS reception
  • Improved auto alignments
  • Control of external monitor
  • Re-arranged brightness/contrast setting
  • Changes to memory card handling
  • Housekeeping

Update yours today by downloading the latest version of the Autostar Updater Software (ASU) - v5.9 from the Meade website.

Our sales manager has scoured the internet to bring you the most complete specs available. If you have any additional information you'd like to share, please email us.