Not all big aperture reflector telescopes have to come in at a high price. With the Polaris 127EQ Reflector Telescope, Meade Instruments has created a marketable reflector that does not sacrifice quality and extras for the sake of price. For a similar price to many, lesser, telescopes, you can get yourself a big aperture reflector with all of the accessories you could want.
- Reflector design
- 127mm primary aperture
- f/7.9 focal ratio
- 254x highest useful magnification
- 27lbs assembled weight
There is a lot to like about this telescope package and not many downsides. The scope is a bit on the heavy side for a reflector and big aperture reflectors can be difficult for beginners to get the hang out right off the bat. Other than that, if you know what you’re getting, there is a lot to like here.
This telescope is perfect for the beginner who wants to take a stab at their first reflector without breaking the bank or someone who is trying to upgrade from their first refractor to their first reflector scope. Either way, this telescope will have something for everyone.Check Latest Price
Bang For Your Buck Power
The Meade Instruments Polaris 127EQ Reflector Telescope offers great power, especially for the price. At 127mm, the primary aperture is a full 5” in diameter which is a good size. This is only an inch smaller than some of the Dobsonian telescopes on the market meaning this is one of the biggest tripod mounted telescopes you can buy.
The aperture size, combined with the solidly middling focal ratio, leads to a telescope that has a very high level of imaging potential.
With a solid focal ratio of f/8, this telescope is going to be able to give you an equal opportunity for deep sky scanning as well as planetary and lunar viewing. This is great for the all-around astronomer who does not want to be pigeonholed by the specs of their telescope. Whether you want to take a shot at seeing some distant galaxies or nebulas or if you just want to try and see the moons of Jupiter, this telescope is going to be able to do both very well.
What could you see…
I got some easy, quick, and stunning views of the moon on a clear night and then was able to switch out the eyepiece and track the Andromeda galaxy for a while. The tweaks did not take long and it was easy to go from lunar gazing to deep space gazing in the course of a few minutes.
With 127mm of aperture, this telescope has enough light gathering power to really see beyond our solar system and unveil some truly amazing sights in deep space. On a dark night, this telescope has enough power to really stretch the sights to the max.
This power and versatility makes it a unique telescope in that it can really do whatever you ask it to. While it won’t be able to be a classic light bucket and it won’t give you the high contrast of a solid refractor, it can do elements of both those things. It is a jack of all trades.
All of that size adds to the weight. With only a tripod for the base, that means that most of the 26lbs assembled weight comes from the optical tube itself. This makes the tube a heavy piece of equipment.
The telescope comes with a counterbalance to keep the scope steady during use. However, the whole setup is a little cumbersome. The telescope does not like to sit well on the tripod. A sturdier tripod could be purchased to compensate for the weight but the one it comes with is just a little too lightweight for the weight of the telescope.
The slightest movement to the optical tube or the tripod can cause it to vibrate out of position. These shakes and micromovements of the scope can be frustrating if they occur too frequently during actual viewing.
This is not to say that these annoyances take away too much from the performance of the telescope but depending on what kind of footing and how surehanded you are, it could cause some issues during viewing.
This demonstrates perfectly why the Dobsonian telescope was invented. Much larger than this and the telescope would need a heavy Dobsonian style base to keep it grounded properly. That is the trade off for getting one of the largest reflectors available that is not a Dobsonian.
Speaking of the Base
The Meade Instruments Polaris 127EQ Reflector Telescope is not a Dobsonian telescope. Despite its size, this scope comes with a German designed equatorial mount and a standard tripod as it’s base and mount. They perform adequately but are just at their limits of supporting such a large optical tube.
The equatorial mount is nice because it is capable of tracking objects across the night sky with very minimal input from you. The adjustment knobs are smooth, durable, and work fluidly. This allows you to be able to keep a unique deep sky object in the eyepiece for longer as the night goes on. You will not have to worry about losing the celestial objects in the void as the Earth rotates away from your favorite sights.
They have also added a few nice quality of life additions to their equatorial mount such as setting circles and a lattitude adjuster with scale. This makes it easier than ever to orient, align, and track your telescope over long periods of time. It also makes learning how to use an equatorial alignment mount easier than ever.
As mentioned, the tripod leaves a little to be desired. It holds up the telescope fine, but the weight and the size of the tripod mean any little bit of movement from the tripod or telescope causes the other to move ever so slightly which is an annoyance.
Meade Polaris Series Overview Video
Lots of Accessories
Meade understands the optical versatility this telescope has and they have reflected that in their accessory set. All of the accessories here aim to flesh out the sights that you are able to see with this telescope.
The accessories included with this telescope are three eyepieces, a 2x Barlow lens, a finderscope, an accessory tray, and a focuser. This is a great assortment of visual upgrades that really will allow you to use this telescope as intended.
Most telescopes, of almost any price range, only come with two eyepieces. This one comes with a third. It also comes with a 2x Barlow lens which effectively doubles the number of eyepieces included from three to six if used properly. This shows that Meade is comfortable with what their telescope is able to see and want to make sure that you are able to see everything you can with it, without having to spend anything out of pocket.
This shows respect for your time and your money by fleshing out the visual options. The eyepieces included here are a 6mm, a 9mm and a 26mm size. This gives you great options for a short distance, medium distance, and long distance viewing.
With these eyepieces and Barlow lens, you will be able to eke out the most of every magnification level from the lowest useful magnification all the way up to that 254x highest useful level.
I like this accessory kit because instead of tossing in a random moon filter or some other junk, Meade clearly looked at the strengths of their telescope and decided to complement those instead of just filling up the stat sheet so to speak. It is a good lineup that adds a lot of value to a telescope that already is shockingly affordable.
On its own, the Meade Instruments Polaris 127EQ Reflector Telescope is a great reflector telescope for people of all skill levels. It is big enough to satisfy the more advanced astronomers who want to focus more on deep space but it is easy enough to use and versatile enough that it can satisfy beginner stargazers as well.
While not a specialist, this telescope is a solid jack of all trades that does everything very well. It has a wide range of viewing levels thanks to the diverse and varied eyepiece and lenses that Meade includes.
All of this comes at a surprisingly low price. Most vendors are selling this for less than $200 which is borderline shocking. There are telescopes twice this price that are not as good or as well rounded as the Polaris 127EQ. The only thing that comes close is the Polaris 130EQ, its cousin that is a little larger.
If you are looking for a versatile, powerful telescope on a budget then the Meade Instruments Polaris 127EQ Reflector Telescope should be near the top of your list for potential candidates. It has something for everyone and can be purchased for half the price of similar competitors.