The original finder scopes that came with the Meade Research Grade series was a 50mm straight-through type. It had a removable .965″ (sub-standard) crosshairs eyepiece which gave 8 power. Now for the 8″ version of the Research Grades, this would be a fine finder scope for it. The 8″ is equipped with the same finder but with s shorter tube for use of a diagonal. For the 12.5″, it just doesn’t seem right for a scope of this size to have the straight through system. It’s difficult to be up on a stepladder leaning over this huge telescope tube looking through the finder which is neck twisting to use. I thought its time to change that.
Initially, I thought it would be simple – buy a .965″ diagonal and be done. Problem is that there is insufficient back focus for this to work, so I thought I would have to cut the tube. Of course if doing this, it seems logical at the same time to convert it to 1.25″ eyepieces. Then also filters could be used to enhance large faint nebulae, which only look good (and usually only visible) in rich field telescopes like such.
Then Chuck Hards, an astronomer on Cloudy Nights, told me about a finder of his that would work for my scope, a right angle, 40mm finder equipped for 1.25″ eyepieces. It even fit the existing rings perfectly. Chuck sent me this finder and I have been thoroughly enjoying it.
I find that I am seeing more in the 40mm because I am more comfortable when using it. I’ve had some stunning views of the Orion Nebula / Orion’s Sword. It provides around
9 or 10 magnification and a very wide true field. I haven’t measured but its very adequate. The only drawback with this system is that things are reversed in the eyepiece. This is disorienting with star charts, but I’m sure in time I’ll have no problem with it. I’m still undecided whether to put a Telrad on the scope, but for right now it’s a no. Glad to have a great, quality finder, thanks Chuck!