Star Instruments sues over Ritchey-Chrétien optics

NEWNAN, GA-Star Instruments, a manufacturer of quality optical systems, filed a federal lawsuit against Meade Instruments, citing false representations, racketeering activities and deceptive claims that Meade’s RCX400 and LX200R line of Telescopes employ the Ritchey-Chrétien technology.

NEWNAN, GA-Star Instruments, a manufacturer of quality optical systems, filed a federal lawsuit against Meade Instruments, citing false representations, racketeering activities and deceptive claims that Meade’s RCX400 and LX200R line of Telescopes employ the Ritchey-Chrétien technology. Filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, the lawsuit alleges that Meade Instruments and 14 Meade distributors as being in repeated violation of the Lanham Act and 18 U.S. Code Title §1962(c). RC Optical Systems and an individual who purchased one of the controversial telescopes are listed as co-plaintiffs on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Meade and the distributors falsely described inexpensive telescopes produced by Meade as having the same advanced design as the Hubble Space Telescope. The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing Meade and the distributors from advertising the inexpensive Meade telescopes as having an advanced “Ritchey-Chrétien” design. Established in 1976, Star Instruments specializes in Ritchey-Chrétien optical systems for manufacturers of quality tube assemblies and complete telescopes, universities, and government agencies (including NASA), the company designs, fabricates and performs testing of custom optical systems.

The Ritchey-Chrétien telescope is a specialized Cassegrain telescope with a hyperbolic primary and a hyperbolic secondary mirror. It was invented in the early 1910s by American astronomer George Willis Ritchey (1864-1945) and French astronomer Henri Chrétien (1879-1956). The optics deliver a large, coma-free field of view from edge-to-edge, allowing astrophotographers to use the latest in imaging technology to capture tack-sharp images over a wider field. Ritchey-Chrétien configurations are most commonly found on high-performance professional telescopes such as NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

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