Meade Polaris 90 EQ Review: Stay Inside the Solar System
Polaris 90 is perfect for planetary detail, but the mount is plastic.
Meade Polaris 90 has a great optical tube attached to a plastic mount. If an equatorial mount is an absolute necessity, Polaris 90 may be preferable.
This is a 90mm apertured refractor with a 900mm optical tube. It has an f/10 focal ratio.
Such an optical combination provides great detail with Solar System objects. Jupiter and Saturn shows a good amount of detail. You can easily see the stripes of Jupiter with its 4 Galilean Moon’s Rings of Saturn, polar ice caps on Mars, and phases of Venus. The craters and mountain ranges on the Moon will look exceptionally detailed.
F/10 focal ratio leans heavily towards planetary performance.
Deep space objects are not easy to view with an f/10 refractor, especially dimmer ones. You can get views of brighter objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula, and the Hercules Star Cluster. But you shouldn’t get this telescope for deep space since it requires a wider aperture with more light gathering ability. A large Dobsonian would be appropriate for viewing deep space. We recommend Orion SkyQuest 4.5 or Zhumell Z130 at this price range.
A telescope mount is a matter of preference. If you are a beginner and don’t want to bother with the learning curve that comes with an equatorial mount, then you should consider an altazimuth mount telescope. They are easier to use. Meade Infinity 102 or any telescope in that series would be more suitable for you.
The plastic EQ mount is “OK”.
If you are OK with the learning curve, then you will be pleased with the mount and the tripod. They are solid enough for planetary viewing. The knobs are smooth, and you also have the option of adding a motor for following celestials automatically.
The eyepieces that come with the telescope are below average. They are alright for the beginning, and there are users of this telescope who don’t consider changing them at all. But we strongly recommend getting Plössl eyepieces for this telescope. They drastically improve image quality.
The accessories are merely there to get you started.
The red dot finder is the simplest finder available. It just projects a dot in the sky.
The prism that comes with the telescope corrects the images’ rotation. It is suitable for terrestrial viewing.
The Barlow lens is completely unnecessary. It doubles the magnification but lowers the image quality quite a bit.
Deep space performance is not good. You should get a Dobsonian for that.
The Barlow lens that comes with the telescope is unnecessary.
We consider a budget telescope to be “really good” if its problems are easily fixable. This means if the things you can’t change in the future are perfect, then this is a model worthy buying.
Meade Polaris 90 EQ is just that. Its accessories are below average, but you can always get better ones. The mount has a learning curve, but it will become much easier to use after a month.
Polaris 90EQ is not an ideal beginner’s scope, but it is buyable.
First of all, you should know you are getting a telescope specifically designed for planetary and lunar viewing. That means you are not going to get good deep space images for the price.
Zhumell Z130 would be much better for deep sky observations. But it has a shorter, 650mm optical tube, meaning you will get less detail with planets. It also requires regular collimation.
Meade Infinity 102 provides slightly better deep space images and almost equal planetary performance. And it is cheaper. But it lacks an equatorial mount and has more chromatic aberrations.
900mm Focal Length
The optical performance of Meade Polaris 90 EQ is at its best at higher magnifications. An f/10 focal ratio is pretty high. The main advantage of such a high focal ratio is reduced chromatic aberrations. The longer focal tube decreases the angle of the incoming light, providing better color accuracy. That’s why this is a great model for planets. You will get great detail and great color accuracy.
The main disadvantage is the narrow aperture. To see dim space objects, you need high light gathering ability. Dobsonian telescope mirrors are easier to manufacture, which means you get higher apertures for the same price with a Dobsonian.
Gathering detail is easy, viewing large objects is hard.
An equatorial mount has its advantages and disadvantages.
If you are a serious beginner and willing to spend some time learning how to use the mount, you should get an equatorial. They have slow-motion control knobs and designed to be aligned with Earth’s rotational axis, which makes it easier to follow celestials.
Being able to use an EQ mount is useful in the astronomy realm.
If you are getting this telescope for your kids or are not willing to spend time learning how to use the mount, take a look at the Infinity line. They are incredibly easy to use and cheaper.
There is a serious problem with the mount that we’ve detected. It is not usable in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a warning for anyone who is looking for a telescope below the equator.
Red Dot Finder
There is not much to say about the eyepieces that come with the telescope. They have 6.3mm(143x), 9mm(100x), and 26mm(34.6) apertures. They span the magnification potential of the telescope, but low-quality. This is to be expected at this price. Naturally, if you get better eyepieces, you get better images.
The red dot finder is a simple, budget accessory that reflects a dot in the sky when looked through. It works properly.
The Barlow lens that comes with the telescope is a waste of money. It is only usable with the 26mm eyepiece, and it lowers the image quality. I don’t know why Meade decided to include a Barlow.
The unnecessary Barlow lens should have been excluded.
The equatorial mount is hard to use and not sturdy. It is mostly plastic.
90mm aperture is not that passionate for a starter telescope.
Meade Polaris 90 EQ is a good choice for planetary an Lunar detail. But it not an all-rounder. It has serious stability problems and low deep space performance.