Last updated: 30 April 2000

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and specific items applicable to the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA). Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	 Finderscopes & viewing experiences
Sent:	Sunday, April 30, 2000 14:00:23
From:	stanleyc62@juno.com
About 6 months ago or so, I purchased both a Rigel Quikfinder and
Meade's right angle finder scope for my ETX-90RA.  At first I mainly
used the Quikfinder because of the ease of use.  However, lately, I have
been trying to view some of the dimmer of the Messier objects and I have
found that by using both the Quikfinder to get me to the general area of
an object, then using the right angle finderscope to see and zero in on
the object works quite well. This past week I was able to knock off a
few more Messier objects on my quest to view all of them with my ETX.  I
M3 - nice globular cluster, looked fuzzy/ grainy, but I couldn't resolve
any stars
M35 - closely pack open cluster, almost looked like a globular cluster
without a core
M36 - nice tightly packed open cluster
M37 - also a nice tightly packed open cluster
M38 - a larger open cluster, had brighter stars than M36 & M37
M44 - the Beehive - nice large open star cluster, easily found with
naked eye
M51 - the Whirlpool Galaxy - looked like a double nebula in my ETX
M53 - small globular cluster, couldn't resolve any stars
M64 - galaxy, looked like a small fuzzy patch
M65 - galaxy, faint smudge of light
M66 - galaxy, also a faint smudge of light, both M65 and M66 were
visible in the same field of view in my eyepiece
M67 - small open cluster, to me it looked almost like it had nebulosity
in it (I'm sure they were just unresolved stars)
I also tried to find (but failed) M95, M96 & M105 in Leo and also M101
in Ursa Major.  I probably failed to find these because I was observing
from my backyard and I live next to a church that likes to keep their
parking lot lights on all night!  Oh well, this weekend I'll get away
from town to star gaze.

Carl Stanley
Mountain Home, Idaho

Subject:	 Galaxies
Sent:	Sunday, April 30, 2000 05:04:36
From:	eashkena@concentric.net (Ezra E. Ashkenazi)
I've been able to located all types of objects with the "go to" feature
with the Etx-125 except for galaxies.I can't seem to find them. Any
recommendations. Thanks

Ezra E.
Mike here: Most galaxies are faint fuzzy objects. Using averted vision (look to the side of the field of view when trying to see an object in the center) can help. Also, be certain your eyes are fully dark adapted and that you are viewing from a fairly dark area.

Subject:	 simply amazing!
Sent:	Saturday, April 29, 2000 21:00:52
From:	go_dog_go@sympatico.ca (Alan Palmer)
Wow... Fantastic site!  There's been a lot of good tips in here, to say
the least.  I picked up a 90EC in Oct. ( $1000.00 Canadian! ) .  Poor
mechanics, great optics......

If I get my act together, I'll forward my tripod solution;  I cut a
plate to fit the EC and mounted it to a surveyor's tripod.  Solid?...you

Keep up the good work, and clear skies to all.


Subject:	 Had enough!
Sent:	Friday, April 28, 2000 18:14:23
From:	rmariotti@excite.com (Carrie and Ron Mariotti)
Well, I've had about enough of this weather! Going on 10 days now,
socked in over Wash, DC. and No. VA.  I believe I am growing moss
between my toes! Just recieved my solar filter (3 months later) from
Pocono Optics, they said that Thousand Oaks couldn't get the glass
(o.k.). Well, I was very anxious to try it out, by the way, what's a SUN
anyway? Haven't seen it for so long, not sure it exists. Also awaiting a
4.7mm Ultra Wide to arrive. Anybody use one of these? I do have a Meade
2X barlow but I thought I could minimize any light loss going straight
to an eyepiece intead. Did I waste my money? I own a DS-90mm scope
(1000f) and I have read that anything over 50 - 60 times the diameter is
a waste of money. I think I'm pushing the envelope here at 212X, but I
have high hopes with the wider FOV. Thanks for letting me vent! It gets
frustrating hearing about how I saw this, or I saw that, when I haven't
seen diddly. I'm kinda glad Shuttle was delayed; I may have a shot at
tracking now.

How does it go?.... Oh, yeah.... CLEAR SKYS!!!!!
Ron Mariotti
Gainesville, VA

Subject:	 Eyepiece Projection
Sent:	Friday, April 28, 2000 13:29:47
From:	GSkoubis@ussco.com (Skoubis, George)
Great Site!	
I was checking out your gallery comments
Is it easier to use the Afocal technique with or without the basic
camera adapter? I currently do not have an adapter and tried taking a
picture of the moon by putting a Casion QV-100 right up to the 26mm lens
and couldn't get any results. I also tried videotaping it. The lens on
both fit right on the 26mm lens. Any suggestions? Is this what you meant
by "While difficult, the results are rather amazing"? Do I need to play
around until I get exactly the right angle, maybe pull back? Just
wondering if I'm on the right track.

Thanks in advance.
Mike here: Whether handholding the camera over the eyepiece or mounting on an adapter, you have to be certain that the light coming out of the eyepiece goes straight into the camera lens. It is easy to have the camera pointed slightly off to one side and get nothing. You might trying zooming the camera lens; I have to do this with the Ricoh RDC-4200 in order to get the actual camera lens close to the exit pupil position of the eyepiece. Keep at it and you'll get the hang of it.

Subject:	Eyepiece Review; Meade Series 4000 SP 40mm & 32mm ($100 ea) 
Sent:	Friday, April 28, 2000 07:03:37
From:	RRossell@aol.com
For any of you ETXers out there thinking of going wider FOV and lower
power, I have recently tried the Meade Series 4000 SP 40mm and 32mm (31x
& 39x respectively) on my ETX90-RA.

I first purchashed the 40mm trying to "max out" on the low side.
Although the 40mm is a very sharp EP, I found it frustrating to use as
the eye-relief was too long for me AND the spot where you see the whole
view is very small and hard to keep in front of your eye even sitting

I returned the EP for a SP 32mm which I am much happier with. For one
thing the actual FOV is almost the same as the 40mm without the small
"sweet spot" and it's parfocal with my 9.7mm EP (a Meade claim that I
did test).

Over all I doubt it's really worth the $100 for the slight gain in FOV
over the stock 26mm, but, It IS optically excellent (crisp star images
all the way to the edges) AND parfocal to my 9.7mm EP (unlike the SP
26mm that comes with the scope). That's important to me as I plan to buy
a few more of the Meade Series 4000 lenses.

Rodney (Palm Beach Area, Florida)

Subject:	 Re. piggyback camera mounting
Sent:	Thursday, April 27, 2000 11:51:52
From:	gwyn@arl.mil (Douglas A. Gwyn)
The weight acts from wherever it exists, not at the mounting hole.

Subject:	 RA to Alt/Azimuth
Sent:	Thursday, April 27, 2000 10:27:08
From:	dpersyk@worldnet.att.net (Dennis Persyk)
I use my ETX exclusively in alt/azimuth mode.  However, most star guides
list right ascension.  I am looking for a web site that has the
transformation equations listed.  Input RA, local time, lat, lon and get
out altitude, azimuth.  The reverse would be input local time, lat, lon,
alt, azimuth and calculate RA.  The equations were published in Sky and
Telescope a few years ago but I do not have access to those issues.
Dennis Persyk  ETX90-EC  Hampshire, IL
Mike here: I probably have the equations somewhere on my bookshelf but I think I will defer to seeing if someone has that info at their fingertips before I start looking through books or past issues of Sky&Telescope.

Subject:	collimation question
Sent:	Wednesday, April 26, 2000 21:52:25
From:	MrSchmoo@aol.com
I was reading the "collimation test" described by Larry Janowicz in your
11/16/98 ETX tech tips.  He describes "perfectly round and concentric"
diffraction rings.  While using my scope under clear skies I noticed the
rings weren't perfectly round.  Does this signal a problem?

I may check it again using a higher power eyepiece as he suggests, but
at low power the rings were off on one side.

Am I looking for trouble?  Any help would be appreciated.


Mark Klesman
Added later:
I have read several letters re: collimation that describe a "Cristmas
ornament test".  What is this and should I consider it as well.

I do note a problem at 5 o'clock on the diffraction rings and this eems
to be the problem other people have seen.  Once again any thoughts would

Thanks for such an informative sight.
Mike here: Search the site for "Christmas" and you will find the ornament collimation test. As to whether you have a collimation problem or not depends upon the severity of the out-of-collimation. If the image is WAY off to the side, then yes you have a problem. If only slightly out of collimation then the problem is not severe and you probably won't notice any degradation in viewing.

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, April 26, 2000 18:32:31
From:	Fillbertz@aol.com
Hey, I used to go to your page all the time and for the last couple of
mounths well more than that i haven't had time but i was woundering if a
drive has comeout to up grade the etx to a EC without buying a whole new
Mike here: No upgrades. Sorry. Some users have swapped the mount with that from other telescopes.

Subject:	 Field report
Sent:	Wednesday, April 26, 2000 16:17:25
From:	edmosser@home.com (Edward Mosser)
The Hoosier skys cleared off and out I ventured with the ETX on Saturday
April 22 and Tuesday April 25th.

I decided to spend a little time in Gemini, as it is just about done for
the year.  CR89 is a nice open cluster.  It was still a little light out
and I only saw 15 stars in a 30' area.  Took a last look at M35 and was
able to resolve 38 stars in a 35' area.  Next was NGC 2175, which was
quite a  bit dimmer and had 11 stars in a 25' area.

I recommend looking at 59,60, and 61 Auriga which forms a nice little
"clusterette" with a couple other stars.  54 Leonis is easy to locate
and to resolve at 48x.  I was able to locate M65 and M66, but not much
for me to resolve.  Denebola, although not a binary, is a nice optical
double.  It is very wide @ 20 arc minutes and the compation is at the
7:00 position with a 8 magnitude star right where the hands would
rotate.  I tried and failed on Saturday to locate M51.

Mr. Messier's mistake (M40) was next.  I can see the mistake, as the 2
9th magnitude stars give out a little fuzz.  Finished the night with a
successful, although nondescriptive viewing of M101.

Tuesday night provided a couple more Messier objects to my list.  First,
I worked on double stars to warm up.  Gamma Leo, Struve 1399, and 93 Leo
were observed.  93 Leo has another double in the same FOV.  At 48x I
thought I saw something, it was an easily observed double @ 96x.  I
estimated the stars at 7mag and 9.5 mag, probably 60" sep with 10 degree

72 Leo is a nice reddish orange star, with a double system about 50'
south, with both stars at 9mag. Tried and failed to resolve 53 and 54
Ursa Major and gamma Spica.

M51 was observed, after several unsuccessful attempts the past month.  I
could detect an area of lighter area, with no detail.  Ditto with M63. 
Without dark skys it is hard to distinguish any features of the
galaxies.  But at least I know where to look,when I am in darker skys.

It is another clear night and there is more out there.

Ed Mosser

Subject:	 Scopetronix piggyback scope
Sent:	Wednesday, April 26, 2000 15:15:34
From:	sumoetx@hotmail.com (Howard W. Jackman)
First off Thanks for the great site!! I've used it extensively for
getting the most out of my ETX.

I have a question though about piggyback camera mounts, I've been
looking at purchasing a mount from scopetronix for my ETX90ec, I'm
leaning towards this model over the JMI model since the counterweights
can attach directly to the piggyback mount to provide me with a
counterweight when I attach my 35mm camera to the back of the scope for
solar imaging. The JMI model looks like the counterweights attach to the
tripod mounting 1/4-20 hole on the back end of the scope only,
regardless of the placement of the piggyback mount on the ETX's OTA. If
this is true wouldn't that only add to the weight at the end of the
scope, when I have the 35mm camera attached? I've looked through the
site, but I can't find any review of the scopetronix piggyback mount.
Have I missed it, or is one in there somewhere?

Any suggestions/opinions would be most appreciated!!!

Mike here: No one has reviewed the Scopetronix Piggyback mount that I recall. So, if you get one, drop a review here! And yes, the Scopetronix one does seem to be more versatile than the JMI one.

Subject:	 ETX 201xt combo.
Sent:	Tuesday, April 25, 2000 19:40:41
From:	jahorsley@uswest.net (John A. Horsley)
I just wanted to update you on my ETX set up. I've taken my ETX-90/ra
off it's mount and have placed it in it's new home a top my 8" f/10
LX200 with the help of a Losmandy's DR125 3 point rings & DM8 dovetail
plate. (I tell you this $2000 + upgrade really helps the tracking and Go
To's of the ETX's ;-) I am using the ETX now as a guide scope in
conjunction with a Meade 201xt autoguider and a Meade 4000 series 9mm
illuminated ep.

The ETX works great for this application, utilizing the ETX's built in
flip mirror.  Attaching the 201xt at prime focus and the 9mm ep in
visual port. (To attach the 201 to the prime focus I used an Orion LAR
adapter and a Meade SCT 1.25" visual back.) The ETX is parfocal at both
visual ports, and so happens the 9mm illuminated and 201xt are parfocal
too. It's as though this application was meant to be. Using the 201xt
can be frustrating at first with having to find center of the CCD chip,
to attain focus, finding the proper exposure time and calibrating, but
with practice it becomes... dare I say easier??? No! Lets just say less
frustrating. Once you get everything working, the results are.... Well
here is a pic I shot last night of M13. This 30 minute exposure shot on
Kodak Portra 400 ISO, guided with the ETX and 201xt. (DON'T USE THIS
FILM FOR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY IT SUCKS!!!! The photo lab that does my
processing gave me the roll to try. So I tried it... I hate it!)

All in all I really like this set up, and it's nice not having to guide
by hand! I've still to guide for longer than 30 minutes. Which I hope I
can give you the results of hour + guiding soon. I'll let you know how
it comes out.

Clear Skies -n- Keep Lookin UP.... John

"The Church says the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round. For I
have seen the shadow on the Moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than
in the Church." (Ferdinand Magellan) Support Science Not Superstitions!
ETX Guide Scope ETX Guide Scope

Subject:	Astronomy vs Sky and Telescope
Sent:	Tuesday, April 25, 2000 14:52:49
From:	Tides98335@aol.com
As a person very interested in astronomy, which magazine would you
suggest to get a subscription of?  Astronomy or Sky And Telescope?  This
would be the first astronomy related magazine that I would subscribe to,
and I want to get the one that most people recommend.  Thank you!!!
Mike here: I've been a continuous subscriber to Sky & Telescope since January 1960. I tried Astronomy magazine for a year MANY years ago but didn't like it. I can't really explain why; it just didn't suit my tastes. Others like it.

ETX Guide Scope

Subject:	 loose screw in flip mirror compartment
Sent:	Tuesday, April 25, 2000 11:28:53
From:	robisimo@earthlink.net (ROBERT HALSEY)
I just bought a used etx-90ec.  Scope arrived and everything looked
good.  I then moved it around, however, and heard what sounded like a
loose screw rattling around in the compartment where the flip mirror is.
I got the screw out through the photo port and it appears to be one of
the screws that appears in the attached picture.  I've looked through
the etx pages and haven't found mention of this problem.  Could you
please tell me what this screw does?  Is it essential because as a used
owner I have no warranty and it would be difficult to return it to the
seller.  Thanks!

Robert Halsey
Mike here: Offhand I suspect it is one of the screws from behind the mirror attachment as shown in the photo. Check Doc Greiner's ETX Info site (www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/etxguider.html), which you already found since the photo you sent seems to have come from there, for disassembly info.

Subject:	Filter for camera
Sent:	Monday, April 24, 2000 13:35:53
From:	TRZOUPY@aol.com
My name is Tom; my question is.  I want to take a picture of a nebular
using a filter. Where does the Filter go?  Between the camera and the
teliscope?  If so, what adapters do I need.
Mike here: The filter will attach to the eyepiece. Most eyepieces have filter threads on the inside of the tube that slides into the eyepiece hole on your telescope.

Subject:	 ETX 90EC
Sent:	Monday, April 24, 2000 13:11:25
From:	conklin@01019freenet.de (Marcus Conklin)
I'm interested in buying a telescope. I live in Germany and haven't
found a place that sells Meade telescopes over here yet. Is there a good
place you can recommend stateside? I have family in the states who can
send it to me if I have it mailed to them. But where is a good place to
buy it? I've found a couple the price range is always around $595. Is
there a cheaper one around or is that it?

Also the optional controller should be compatible for this side also
right? (yes, I'm a beginner)

Thanks in advance for your reply,

Marcus Conklin
Mike here: There are many excellent dealers on the web; you'll find several listed on the Astronomy Links page on my site. Local (US) dealers like The Nature Company and The Discovery Store are also excellent. Demand for the ETX is so high that you won't normally find any discounting. Used models are available from Shutan Camera and Video or the online auction sites like eBay. And the Autostar will work in Europe.

Added later:

Thanks for your swift reply.
I've read a lot on through your pages and learned quite a bit. What big
advantage will the ETX 125EC give me in regards to the ETX 90EC? Sure,
it's a larger scope, but will it really make such a big difference?
Are the additional $300 worth it?
Mike here: You'll be able to use higher magnifications and see fainter objects with the larger telescope. But if you live in a heavily light polluted area and don't plan to take your ETX to dark skies, then the extra aperture will do you no good. Portability may also be a factor. Both models are portable but the -90 is more easily carried.

Subject:	 ETX-90 RA play
Sent:	Sunday, April 23, 2000 19:44:10
From:	eagle@icubed.com (George M. Jacob)
Mike, many thanks for your great web site!

I think I have discovered another source of "play" in the RA drive on
the ETX-90. I dis-assembled my base and watched the torque while
shifting the RA drive back and forth.  I found no end play in the worm
shaft, and mesh to the driven gear seemed good, but I noticed that the
whole worm shaft housing was torquing back and forth!  The screws are
tight so I think it may be the plastic itself twisting!

I plan to fabricate something to press fit to the housing and bear some
of the torque load out to the shell of the base.  Will let you know how
it works out. If it wasn't such a nice set of optics, I would sell it

Thanks again for the public service!

Subject:	 New website
Sent:	Sunday, April 23, 2000 12:33:32
From:	maxinef@homestead.com (maxine foxwell)
I've just started a new website for ETX users in the United Kingdom.
Would you object to me placing a link to your site? Most users will be
very familiar with your site anyway, it's mostly for the benefit of
newcomers to the ETX. My site is rather humble compared to yours so can
I be cheeky and ask for a link to mine in return! I am also toying with
the idea of a world wide chat room on it, but I'm unsure how popular it
would be. If any of your readers have an opinion on this or anything
else please could you put my e-mail address on your feedback page. The
new site is called The un-offcial UK ETX site and the address is:


E - mail: maxinef@homestead.com

Seeing as I've been so cheeky I'd like to make a pledge, do you accept
them from overseas? Many thanks,

Subject:	 Accessories
Sent:	Friday, April 21, 2000 08:34:51
From:	acsuarez@home.net (Suarez & Echeverri)
I just got the Meade electronic focuser and the Rigel QuickFinder from
OPT.   As usual installation and operation went smooth thanks in part to
the information available in your website.

I decided to control the focuser from the Autostar rather than using the
separate control.  It doesn't seem to be such a hassle.   These days the
skies in Michigan have been awfully cloudy, so I haven't had a chance to
field test the new gadgets.



Subject:	 ETX + CCD
Sent:	Thursday, April 20, 2000 12:27:14
From:	fpinto@mail.brandx.net (Fabrizio Pinto)
I am a new user of ETX (the old model, no autostar) and would like to
try something like a 216 CCD by Meade with the ETX-90. I am wondering
whether you have any feedback on the idea, suggestions, opinios, etc.

Your comments will be greatly appreciated,
Fabrizio Pinto
Mike here: Search the site for "CCD" and you'll read about and see some examples of CCD use with the ETX.

Subject:	 RE: ETX compatibility with the Meade #140 barlow
Sent:	Wednesday, April 19, 2000 22:26:19
From:	jchalfen@goldengate.net (John Chalfen)
I remember that somewhere on Meade's site they say not to use the #140
on the ETX. I've got both the #126 (the one Meade suggests) and the
#140. Except for size and a little more play with an eyepiece in the
#140, I didn't notice a big difference.

The #126 is nice cause it's short and fits in well with ETX.


--TIA and TTFN       (Don't forget to wear your peril sensitive
--Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intellegent life on other
planets is the fact that they havent tried to contact us yet.  (Bill
Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes)

jchalfen@aol.com (I know...I know...)

Subject:	 New layout
Sent:	Wednesday, April 19, 2000 14:24:18
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
I really like the new layout of the home page.  

Ron McCafferty

Sent:	Wednesday, April 19, 2000 13:27:27
From:	Sat58@aol.com
This site is great. Much more informative than the Meade site. Have you
used or do you know anyone that has used the SACII or the SACIV CCD with
the etx 125. For the prices  (around $129/$209) listed it seems like you
couldn't go wrong.
Mike here: Bill Snyder (wsnyder@gateway.net) has an image posted on the Guest Astrophotography - Planets page. I hope to get one for evaluation at some point.

Subject:	 GPS?  why not?
Sent:	Wednesday, April 19, 2000 09:00:26
From:	jneuringer@kpmg.com (Neuringer, Jeremy)
I was wondering if I'm the only one who asked.   "Why has no one put an
add on module GPS for use with GOTO telescopes like the ETX-125ec, or
LX-200." It gives you exact time and exact location info.  You
practically wouldn't have to align the scope other than a fine
adjustment of a target star..  Or does such an animal exist?

I just purchased the 125EC.  I have not purchased a tripod yet.  I'm
concerned about the Meade Field tripod because (especially with the
adapter plate and the heavy 125) it may not be very stable.  Are the
Table top legs very stable?  Is there a MUCH better tripod in the under
$200 range for the 125??

Many thanks


Office # 617-988-6306
Pager # 888 902-1094
Mike here: Haven't heard of a GPS add-on but haven't looked for one. As to a tripod, JMI seems to have a sturdy one.

Subject:	ETX compatibility with the Meade #140 barlow
Sent:	Tuesday, April 18, 2000 19:13:33
From:	Scavone316@aol.com
Hello. I will be purchasing an ETX type telescope soon but I need to
know one thing, will the Meade #140 barlow lens work with the ETX
telescopes? I have seen nothing on the subject anywhere. I know that the
Meade #124 works well with the ETX but nowhere have I seen addressed the
#140's compatibility. If you could be any of help I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
Mike here: I did a search on the site for "#140" and the answer appeared in the Feedback page from Feb 1999:

  "From:        cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
   The barlow debate goes on.  Both the #140 and the #126 work in the ETX
   with no observable differences.  I had both of them.  I traded in the
   taller one towards another eyepiece.  Nothing wrong with it
   optically....it just looked out of scale with the ETX and had a bit more
   'play' when an eyepiece was installed.  The #126 also works just as well
   in my 6" reflector telescope."

I realize the search mechanism is not perfect but sometimes it works well.

Subject:	 thank you
Sent:	Tuesday, April 18, 2000 18:07:48
From:	crubes@flash.net (Christa)
thank you for helping me out (with the "donut" problem)!  I emailed
someone named clay johnson who had the same problem as I with the little
"bulleye" in the middle of the eyepiece...i saw his question on your
forum as you suggested.  he found that his 26mm piece had a flaw.  as i
only have the 26 so far, i looked carefully at it and i do see a very
small defect in the center.  thank you again!

brian balanoff

Subject:	 buy a used ETX-90
Sent:	Monday, April 17, 2000 19:22:09
From:	robisimo@earthlink.net (ROBERT HALSEY)
Maybe you could give me your thoughts on the following issue:  I have
located a used ETX90 that was purchased at the nature company in
November 99.  The owner never used it and I can get it at substantial
savings.  Although I trust the owner when he says the scope appears
flawless, I am worried about problems that could arise from Meade's
quality control issues with the ETX-90.  My basic question: Do you know
if Meade warranties are transferable? (ie if I get the scope and I have
a problem three weeks later, will the repairs be on my dime?)  If so,
I'd willingly pay the extra 300 for a new scope just for a little piece
of mind in light of the reported problems.  Thanks.

Rob Halsey
Mike here: According the warranty statement on Meade's web site, the warranty is for one year from the date of the original retail purchase in the USA and "applies to the original purchaser only and is non-transferable."

Subject:	 Question
Sent:	Monday, April 17, 2000 16:35:38
From:	coda@stargate.net (Linda Williams)
Im new to this telescope astrophotography, Ive done 35mm but not through
a telescope. On you Saturn pics, am I to understand that you only had
your 35mm camera and a 235mm lens to take that photo?????     The
telescope was only pointing the camera in the right direction???????

AS you can tell Im am so very new at this..  Im trying to get a grip..

thanks for your help..  Nice Sun shots......
Mike here: The Saturn shots I took were NOT done using a piggyback telephoto lens/camera. That only works for larger or wider field objects. For planetary photography, you'll need to do eyepiece projection with your 35mm camera.

Subject:	 Quick Q
Sent:	Monday, April 17, 2000 13:26:45
From:	erv8m@mail.hrs.virginia.edu (Eric R. Vanderloo)
Saw your site- great job! Had a quick question and figured that, by the
looks of your site, you'd be the guy to ask! I'm interested in getting
an ETX-90RA as a beginner scope. My wife and I are interested in the
occasional backyard astronomy, and I really like this model for it's
versatility/portability, quality, etc. There are others I've looked at,
like some 4.5" Newtonians which are a bit more inexpensive- but I'm not
attracted to the rather cumbersome equatorial mounts or open tube
designs (maintenance issues!).

Here's my question: where should I look to keep an eye out for used
ones? I've seen one at a discounter here in Charlottesville VA for
around 300 (seems a good deal to me but a hard sell to my wife!). There
are NUMEROUS web sites, but I really didn't see any ETX-90RA's for
reasonable prices. Ideas?

Thanks in advance!!

Eric VanDerLoo
Personnel Practices Analyst
University of Virginia Human Resources
Mike here: Shutan Camera and Video has (or had) some used ETX-90RA models. They are probably in better condition than some you'll find elsewhere. That is not to imply that other sources have ones in bad shape however. You can also try looking at eBay. You can also watch my site and/or the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup.

Subject:	 Silly Question
Sent:	Monday, April 17, 2000 12:45:04
From:	joseph.buss@lmco.com (Joe Buss)
I am truly a novice with boundless enthusiasm.  I just received the 125
as a gift.  A friend told me I need to get a filter to look at the moon
(to prevent eye injury).  I knew this, of course, for solar observation
but have never heard of this necessity for lunar viewing.  Is this
correct?  If so, can you make any recommendations?

Thank you,

Joe Buss
Mike here: Well, you are not likely to experience any eye damage (unless your eyes are extraordinarily sensitive) from the Moon. However, many people do prefer to add a Moon Filter (or Polarizing Filter) to cut down on the glare when the Moon is full or nearly so.

Subject:	 double star catalog
Sent:	Sunday, April 16, 2000 17:40:39
From:	edmosser@home.com (Edward Mosser)
A combination of big moon and cloudy skys have driven me inside,
although I did enjoy Friday evening outside looking at the moon.  A
couple of quick questions:
1.  Does anyone know of a manageable double star database that is on the
internet.  I have tried the Washington DB and it is just not much fun to
work with.  I would like to know if the Struve catalog is online
2.  As much as I detest looking at the moon, I would like to know of a
chart that could be used.

Any suggestions?


Ed Mosser  edmosser@home.com
Mike here: There is the CHARA site for Double Star information: www.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/double.html . SkyMap has the Struve catalog in TEXT format: http://www.skymap.com/struve.htm. And a Lunar Map is at: http://www.arval.org.ve/MoonMapen.htm.

Subject:	 Catalog ETX
Sent:	Sunday, April 16, 2000 14:37:08
From:	tabsauto@earthlink.net (Ian)
was on a plane today and was looking thru a inflight catalog and lo and
behold i see a meade etx-90 for 839 dollars. of course it came with a
3rd party hard case. just thought id pass this along,  thought some of
you would get a chuckle out of it. i was also in a store called service
merchandise a few months ago and saw a etx-70. it was selling for 50
dollars less than the etx-90. ok, clear skies

Subject:	 Thank you for the resource...
Sent:	Friday, April 14, 2000 18:37:13
From:	mattgarrett@pop.mindspring.com (matt garrett)
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the information
available on your site.  I had recently been thinking of buying a Meade
90 EC.  I suppose the astronomy bug has bitten me again.  I did it quite
often with a favorite History teacher during junion high and highschool.
He had one of the old Meade 16inch reflectors that I wrestled with on
more than a few occasions.  Now that I am finishing my bachelor's, I am
looking forward to taking the time to get back in the hobby.  I think,
however, that I am going to buy what I wanted back then, a Televue 101
refractor.  I think the idea behind the 90 EC is superb, it seems
however the execution is marginal, or am I just reading the bad reviews?
At least I know the 101 should work;-).  Regards, Matt Garrett.
Mike here: There are more positive reports than negative. The negative reports tend to concentrate on two things: the mount (which is certainly not a heavy duty mount) and the optional Autostar computer controller. If you use the ETX-90EC for its intended purpose (visual astronomy) then it does that job extremely well and those users are extremely pleased with what they see. Yes, the Autostar occasionally has some glitches but the real success rate is actually rather high (but not the desired 100%). Fortunately, the Autostar can improve since Meade can and does develop newer versions of its user-downloadable software. Only you can decide whether the ETX-90EC or some other telescope is best for you.

Added later:

I am glad to hear that the concensus is by and large positive.  The only
reason I had seriously considered the 90 EC was the Autostar computer
feature.  Have you heard anything about newer versions becoming
Thank you, Matt.
Mike here: Meade continually releases new versions of the Autostar software on their web site.

Subject:	 quick question...
Sent:	Thursday, April 13, 2000 18:56:51
From:	crubes@flash.net (Christa)
I have been through most of the info on your site pertaining to the
etx90, and haven't seen this particular question...

When I look through the viewfinder, I see a little transparent dot in
the center that looks like a bulleye; this is most obvious when viewing
a bright object like the moon.  The size does not vary with
magnification.  It appears as though I can see the lens system, as it
looks just like what I see when I look back through the telescope from
the opening, only miniaturized.  Is this normal?  It seems a little
strange to me, but this is my first nice telescope, and I don't know. 
Thus I ask for help!!!

Thank you for your time and for your most outstanding site.

Brian Balanoff
Mike here: I've not noticed anything like that in the finderscope (assuming that is what you're referring to) but then I've not used my original ETX-90 finderscope for a couple of years. You should see the crosshairs and an infocus view of your target. There is some distortion as you move towards the edge of the finderscope field of view but if the finder is in focus, there should be nothing in the center. However, what you describe could be due to some internal reflections, especially since it appears on bright objects.

Added later:

oops...I meant when I look through the eyepiece, not the viewfinder. 
Does it make sense now?  Or is this unusual?
Mike here: There was one similar report of a "donut" (see the January 2000 Feedback page in the Archives). It wasn't clear that the user was talking about the view with or WITHOUT an eyepiece inserted. In your case, you mentioned magnification so you apparently are using one or more eyepieces and seeing this. Have you checked the scope for collimation? See the Collimation Test on the Tech Tips page and my current ETX-125EC report (linked from the ETX-125EC Feedback page) for a photo of the test.

Mike here: In case you haven't heard, the United States Postal Service has released several stamps honoring Edwin P. Hubble, one of the greatest astronomers. The Press Release is new.usps.com/cgi-bin/uspsbv/scripts/content.jsp?A=B&D=23271&K=B&U=X&U1=B&U2=H

Hubble Stamps

Subject:	ccd and etx125ec
Sent:	Wednesday, April 12, 2000 15:27:13
From:	Sat58@aol.com
Could you please give me some advise on choosing a ccd camera for the
etx125? I see that Meade makes a few models and I was wondering if you
have heard of any problems with these cameras and the 125 . Thank you.

J Kuhl 
Mike here: Best bet for right now is to search the site for "CCD"; you'll see some examples and learn what models are being used. I hope to get one of the SAC-IV CCDs shown at members.xoom.com/sonfest for evaluation.

Subject:	 ScopeTronix Website
Sent:	Wednesday, April 12, 2000 06:21:48
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
I just wanted to try to get the word out that our website has been down
almost a day now due to a nameserver failure. Actually, the website
itself is up and running (just the forwarding service is not working).

While the problem is being corrected our website can still be accessed
directly at: home.att.net/~scopetronix/index.html

Thanks for helping get the word out.

I also want to give the "thumbs up" to the people who have made a pledge
to keep your great site going!
Jordan Blessing

       ScopeTronix Astronomy Products

Subject:	 Web Site
Sent:	Tuesday, April 11, 2000 10:07:29
From:	sharvey@thefuture.net (Scott Harvey)
I ran along your website while looking for info on the ETX-90RA.  I am
thinking of purchasing one of these scopes as a second scope.  What
interested me most about your site is that fact you have used the Casio
QV-10 for astrophotography.  I own a QV-300 and have tried this just
holding it in front of the eyepiece on my 8" coulter scope with out much
luck.  I may try and get one of the digital camera adapters to hold the
camera. Again a great site.  I may try and pick up a ETX-90 from one of
the camera places such as Shutan's that sell them for about $370. 
Mike here: Keep trying with the digital camera. Only takes batteries!

Subject:	 RE: Information
Sent:	Tuesday, April 11, 2000 02:28:40
From:	TJS39333@GlaxoWellcome.co.uk (Smithies, Tim)
I am now doing my web homework on what to get.....I heard some guys have
had real problems with the ETX's, like mount instability and
gearing/motor problems. I guess like everything you have to weigh it up
objectively (hoh hoh).

      NT Resource Administrator GWRD
       Specialist Information provider
GDO IS Desktop Services - Ware 781-3270

Subject:	 Polar Align with Tripod
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2000 18:25:57
From:	steve@seametrix.com (Steve)
This probably a stupid question but I am confused about the N on the
tripod and how it is mentioned the manual. It says point the leg with N
due North. My interpretation is the leg is on the north side of the
tripod. However, that does not appear correct. As I read again and
looked at the tripod again it dawned on me that maybe the leg should
'point' north due to it's angle putting it on the south side of the

What's your take?

Thanks again,
Mike here: The N leg goes on the North side of the ETX base (in the Northern Hemisphere). Some photos may show it incorrectly. In Polar Align mode, the N leg has to be on the North so that the ETX rotational axis is parallel to the earth's axis when you set the tilt for your latitude. However, in Alt/Az mode what really matters is where the control panel is located. In Alt/Az mode, the control panel on the ETX-90EC (or -125EC) base goes on the west side. So the N can either be on the North or South depending upon how the ETX base is attached or even something else when using some alternative mounting methods.

Subject:	Re: Camera Mounts
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2000 18:21:00
From:	SCallndr@aol.com
Thank you for your quick response, I thought as busy as this site must
be I wouldn't hear from you until much later.

My problem is that the digital camera I have is more like a standard
35mm camera with out a removable lens. The fliter on the end is 52mm and
needs to focus thru the T adapter not the eyepiece. Am I up a creek? It
is a great camera and I hope to use it on an ETX.

Maybe your vast network of readers have an idea on this. Help please.
Maybe I must just use my Nikon, and give up the idea of my digital.

Thanks, Scott
Mike here: The T-Adapter is used with removable lens cameras. The Scopetronix DCA works with cameras with fixed lens.

Subject:	 New EXT or Old?
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2000 18:12:21
From:	atouw@reach.net (atouw)
I am looking for my first telescope and I am really interested in the
EXT 90 EC especially with the Autostar computer controller. I can get a
used (4 mos. old) EXT 90 EC for $799 (Cnd.) or the old EXT for $649
(Cnd.) Is it worth the extra bucks? I am really interested in
Astrophotography and I think the new EXT is better geared for that. What
do you think?

Thank you very much!


Mark Touw
Mike here: For the small difference in price, go for the ETX-90EC model.

Subject:	 Doskocil Case - Great Source
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2000 09:31:33
From:	rvsarch@earthlink.net (Robert Snow)
I just took delivery of a Doskocil case based on the recommendations I
found at your site.  I was going to get it from B&H for $69 plus about
$24 shipping but found a cheaper source.  Wholesale Hunter had the
identical DOSK10803 - XLT PISTOL/ACCESSORY CASE for Just $64 and low
fixed shipping of $8 to anywhere in the US.  The case arrived promptly
and fits my ETX 90 and accessories very well.

Bob Snow


Subject:	 Aurora Splendid
Sent:	Monday, April 10, 2000 09:12:48
From:	rvsarch@earthlink.net (Robert Snow)
I was out to observe the planetary convergence on 4/6 and it was
splendid. I was just outside Philadelphia and a few hours after sunset I
was treated to the wonderful Aurora.  Since it was a rare all red
Aurora, I at first though it might be the Zodiacal band, typically
visible at the end of March or beginning of April and pinkish in color. 
I later learned that Aurora's occurring high in the atmosphere can be
all red with none of the typicall green light.  I would also have
expected to see the Aurora in the northern sky, but what I observed was
a band extending from the planetary convergence in the west along the
entire ecliptic to the eastern horizon.  The Auroral oval must have
extended very far South to have produced this effect.

Bob Snow

Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Sunday, April 9, 2000 19:46:24
From:	Panhead@Bright.Net
I really want to see the planets real well will the etx do this or
should i get a bigger scope?	 Tim
Mike here: Depends upon what you think "real well" means. With the ETX you'll be able to see the phases of Venus, dark areas and the polar cap on Mars (during good oppositions), cloud bands on Jupiter, and the Rings of Saturn.

Added later:

just wanted to know if the etx was better than a celston i got the box
said able to see sat and stuff but they just look like spots
Mike here: If you are disappointed in what you see with the ETX-90EC or the ETX-125EC, then you'll likely be disappointed with any comparably sized telescope from any manufacturer. If you only see "spots" when looking at Saturn, then something is wrong as you should be able to see the Rings of Saturn using the standard 26mm eyepiece that comes with the ETX.

Subject:	Camera Mounts
Sent:	Sunday, April 9, 2000 17:22:09
From:	SCallndr@aol.com
This weekend I finally purchased an ETX-90EC. I am new to this game, but
your site helped me make up my mind. I have worked as a photographer and
decided to try my hand at astrophotography. I have purchased the T
adapter and have ordered the adapter for my Nikons. The only problem I
now have is how can I attach a Sony Mavica FD91. Can you help?

Soon I expect to be a regular on your site.

Thank you.

Mike here: Check the Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter reviewed on the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	 field report
Sent:	Saturday, April 8, 2000 12:51:39
From:	edmosser@home.com (Edward Mosser)
More clear skys on April 6th and after the family got to bed I headed to
the backyard.  I have been concentrating on double stars lately and
continued that interest tonight.

The first stop was Iota and Kappa Bootes.  Both are doubles and both are
in the same FOV with the 26mm.  To locate them, configure a right
triangle in the sky with Mizor and Alkaid (last two handle stars in the
Big Dipper) with the doubles about five degrees east of Alkaid.  Thru
the ETX finderscope you can easily spot the two 4th magnitude stars
within one degree of each other.  This is a very satisfying view of the
doubles.  They are about 40 arc minutes apart and with the 26mm each is
easily resolved.Kappa has a 6.6 mag companion while Iota's burns at 8.2

Since I was in the neighborhood, I took a peek at Mizar and Alcor.  An
optical double, the real treat is seeing Mizar's 3.8 magnitude
companion.  Use a 2x barlow and enjoy the scene.

I tried and failed to resolve 78 Ursa Major - at 1.5" arc seconds, my
ETX 90 just doesn't have the guts to split it.  However, Struve 1695 was
split at 96x.

I decided to make a run for M51.  It was nearing midnight and the
neighborhood lights were out. I used the Sky Atlas 2000 to determine the
best route to the galaxy.  From Alkaid, use the finderscope to locate
the general area 3 degrees southwest.  There are two stars west of
Alkaid which strike an invisible line two degrees to two 7th magnitude
stars which are the "door" to M51 and NGC5195.  I got a very tight
location based on the finderscope and thought I could see it.  There was
a very faint patch of dim, ultra dim light.  When I moved the scope
slightly, it moved.  I did not feel confident to notch it on the Messier
belt, but will return in darker skys. Boy, those galaxies are tough in

Take a peek at 83 and 84 Leo (also know as Tau Leo).  These two stars
fit in a 26mm FOV and are also doubles.  83 Leo is probably a 6mag and 7
mag double and I estimated the separtion @ 100 to 120 arc seconds. 
Across the FOV, Tau Leo is a 4th magnitude, with a 6th magnitude
companion, 45 arc seconds apart.

I cruised around the Virgo area for awhile, couldn't resolve any
galaxies, but there were sure a lot of faint objects.  Oh, for a big

Mike, good luck on the fund raiser.  

Ed Mosser  edmosser@home.com

Subject:	etx or nexstar
Sent:	Friday, April 7, 2000 16:12:17
From:	Astro1807@aol.com
initially i felt the etx scope was better but after looking at some
stuff i have some doubts,  is the fork mount not secure, it was said it
was flexible,

also why is deep sky astrophotography not recomended on the etx but
suitable on the nexstar?

thanx, clear skies
Mike here: There are many pros and cons about both the ETX models and the NexStar models. Both can do astrophotography with patience and additional accessories. Celestron overhypes that capability and Meade underhypes it. But neither can do it as well as larger, more professional systems. You can see a lot of ETX astrophotography examples on my site. As to the mounts, some users like one or the other. Some find the fork mount more stable than a single fork arm; others prefer the more substantial feel of the NexStar mount. Given a good tripod or stable surface, they both do the job intended (visual astronomy). Unfortunately, both systems have experienced some growing pains. The ETX ones are noted on my site; the NexStar ones are noted in at least the newsgroups I've visited. Do your research and get what you'll be comfortable with and what will meet your requirements.

Subject:	Northern Lights images
Sent:	Friday, April 7, 2000 11:16:21
From:	Stantastic@aol.com
If any of you are interested in seeing some photos of the Aurora's,
point your browser to:


there's a bunch of really great shots there (just snoop around) (maybe
someday I'll see this happen in person -- so far, no such luck!)


Subject:	sub. slr camera
Sent:	Thursday, April 6, 2000 18:45:09
From:	Rlsteim@aol.com
i found your web-site by accident

oh man

ive been looking for help for over a year and i couldnt get any answers

my problem is......

i have a pentax 35 mm that i have attached to the etx

i cant get any decent photos

one problem is the camera has a bulls-eye lens so i cant really see my
subject clearly to focus properly

do you have any suggestions as to what 35 mm camera will work best with
the etx?

any info will surely be appreciated


rich steimer
Mike here: As you can from some of my photos, I've successfully used my Pentax Spotmatic (similar viewscreen to what you describe). As with all astrophotography, patience and lots of film are required. However, you might want to check out the Focus Aid on the Tech Tips page.

Subject:	 Tonight's Show--Check it Out--Orbital Mechanics in Real Life!
Sent:	Thursday, April 6, 2000 14:27:06
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
THURSDAY--I don't know if anyone will read this in time, but if you get
the chance, walk outside and look west just after sunset. Give it about
thirty minutes as dark falls. It was great in the UK (in between snow
flurries). It's more than worth it.

As you observe, try to expand your mind to encompass the solar system,
as I'm sure that Newton Dude (didn't he stumble across figs in the couse
of another experiment?) did.

Take some binoculars if you have them (7x50 or 7x35 preferred). Enjoy
physics in action.

A stunning planetary display begins tonight as Jupiter, Saturn and Mars
gather around a slender crescent moon. At 8pm Eastern, the planets will
converge in a tight circle just off the side of the crescent moon.
Though alarmists call it a sinister omen, these sorts of alignments are
not a rare event, and occur every few years with no effect on denizens
of Earth.

Bob Ostergaard 

Subject:	 Look before you leap !
Sent:	Thursday, April 6, 2000 12:45:53
From:	EdRouen@FairIsaac.com (Ed Rouen)
I have a request for the "user" community that would have helped me and
possibly others. I needed a travel case for my ETX125 so I scoured the
site and read all the trials and tribulations of other users about the
various hard cases (and thank all for their input). So I decided on the
"Doskocil" case from B&H. I ordered the extra large and got it in quick
time. I opened it and laid my ETX125 on it, the scope was too long. So I
quickly went to your site and re-read the write up on the case and there
it "wasn't". The user comments all said the same thing  ETX . And lots
more ETX's but not one mentioned the model i.e. -90 -125. After looking
hard the pics did show a smaller scope but that could be deceiving as
well. So users, could the model of ETX get mentioned when it is needed ?
Again thanks to all for the input. I have learned much from all of you.
p.s. By the way, the Doskocil case is extremely nice especially for the
money. I purchased the Meade case and  rigidness is not the word to use.
Mike here: I agree that citing the ETX model would be helpful. Sometimes the date of the posting will help since the ETX-125EC did not come out until around May 1999.

Subject:	 Can't get lens cover off!
Sent:	Wednesday, April 5, 2000 18:51:58
From:	flat-land@usa.net (2D or not 2D)
o.k. this sounds pretty dumb but the lens cover on the ETX-90EC is on
pretty tight.  I can't remember which way to turn it: clockwise or
counter-clockwise. In attempting to muscle it off, the front lens
mounting assembly starts turning!  Is it clockwise or counter-clockwise
to remove it?  Any suggestions?

Mike here: Well, I'm about two thousand miles from my ETX (horizontal, not vertical) but if memory serves, the lens cover unscrews just like a light bulb. That would be counterclockwise looking from the front towards the back of the ETX. The lens also unscrews in the same direction so hold it tightly in place.

Subject:	 Field report
Sent:	Wednesday, April 5, 2000 17:50:38
From:	edmosser@home.com (Edward Mosser)
We experienced a break in the weather on April 4th and I took advantage
by spending a couple hours out with the ETX90RA.  The weather conditions
were just great - crisp (35 degrees) cool with stable skys.

I decided to break down some double stars.  First was Castor.  It is a
pretty tight double and I was able to resolve it at 96x.  Not much black
between the stars.  Kappa Gemini required 178x (14mm plus 2x barlow). 
Also had to go to 178x for delta Gemini.  Both Kappa and Delta had wide
ranges between the primary and companion and were hard to resolve.

I tried unsuccessfully to resolve Epsilon Hydra.  It is a four star
system but is very difficult due to the closeness of the bright stars. 
A 12th magnitude companion star is simply not visable with the ETX. At
last I got an easy double with zeta Cancer.  @ 48x (26mm) I easily
resolved the two stars.  The magnitudes are 5.6 and 6.0 with a 5.9arc
second separation @ 89 position angle (PA).

A great double star is Iota Cancer.  This is one of the finest doubles I
have seen.  @ 48x it is very wide and easily observed.  The primary is
bright yellow orange with the companion a blue green shade.  I estimated
the separation @ 25-30 arc seconds and the PA @ 320, both were close to
the actual of 30 arc seconds and 307 degrees.  The magnitudes are 4.6
and 6.6.

Regulus (alpha Leo) is a very easy double with 180 arc seconds
separation for the 8th magnitude companion.

I found the observing of the double stars, with particular emphasis on
detail such as position angle, separation and color prepared me for the
ultimate goal of the evening - the spotting of M65 and M66. First, I
easily located M67, a very nice open cluster located several degrees
south of M44.  M65 and M66 was a real challenge to me.  I tried several
times last spring and failed.  I purposely waited until about 10:45 to
search for them, allowing some of the good neighbor's lights to dim.  I
dropped down from Chertan to a trail of 3 vertical stars, covering about
50 arc minutes.  Then, I moved about 45 arc minutes east to a 7th
magnitude star.  About 15-20 arc minutes south of this star and slightly
east I was able to spot a smudge with a bright central "star".  It was
hard to see, but after several minutes I was positive it was M66.  A few
minutes later I spotted another smudge between M66 and the 3 vertical
stars.  I popped in the barlow and was able to see both in same FOV. 
Not nearly as bright as M81 and M82 last month, but definately there. 
M65 is about 9.5 magnitude and I believe in suburban skys is about the
limit for the ETX 90.

All in all, a great evening.

Ed Mosser   edmosser@home.com

Subject:	 Eyepiece problems
Sent:	Wednesday, April 5, 2000 12:34:22
From:	pdnixon@worldnet.att.net (Phil/Debby Nixon)
We purchased a 9.7mm and a 2x Barlow from Meade for our ETX90EC. We
tried them for the first time this past week and were having trouble
with focus. In fact they wouldn't focus. We tried viewing Jupitor/Saturn
and land objects the next morning. I've also noticed a temendous amount
of shake in my tri pod ( I have the recommended Meade field tripod).

We borrowed a 2x Barlow at a star party (forget the brand) and it made a
great combination with the 26mm eyepiece that came with the scope.

Any suggestions?
Mike here: The 9.7mm eyepiece when combined with a 2X Barlow Lens really pushes the magnification for a scope the site of the ETX. Yes, they can be used together on really bright objects (like the Moon) or in conditions of excellent seeing. Jupiter and Saturn are fairly low in the west these evenings and so atmospheric turbulence will really mess up the view, especially at higher magnifications. But another problem could be, depending upon the Barlow used, is that the focus knob does not have enough travel to get the image in focus. You can adjust that be loosening the setscrew in the focus knob and sliding the knob a little further out on the shaft. Use caution that you don't let the shaft fall inside the telescope tube. As to the tripod shake, that's a known problem with the Meade tripod under some circumstances. Having the legs fully extended seems to make the problem worse, as does placing the tripod on a hard surface (e.g., concrete) versus a soft surface (e.g., grass).

Added later:

Guess I led you down the wrong path. The scope works fine with the
normal 26mm eyepiece. We were trying the 26mm eyepiece with the Barlow.
This is where we were having problems with focus. We were not mixing the
Barlow with the 9.7mm. The 9.7mm was giving us trouble with focus by
itself. Yes its possible Jupitor and Saturn were too low and yes we were
on concrete. I guess give it another shot on grass and a higher object.

Do you think the auto focus control would help eliminate some of the
shake? Haven't heard of anyone using it.
Mike here: I've used the JMI electric focuser and really like it. Others have used the Meade one. Reports vary but they do eliminate the hand-induced vibrations.

Subject:	 Information
Sent:	Wednesday, April 5, 2000 05:54:29
From:	TJS39333@GlaxoWellcome.co.uk (Smithies, Tim)
I am looking to purchase an ETX-125 for my first entry into the
stargazing community, I know it may be alot of cash but you've got to
start somewhere and this scope and the ETX-90 look impressive. The
constraints I have are space more than anything and portability is a big

The only problem I have is buying the thing. The UK prices are the same
in pounds as dollars ie 950 pounds in the UK and 950 dollars in the US.
I am basically after the ETX-125 , Autostar and heavy duty tripod. The
problem is Meade wont allow US resellers to ship to a UK address and I
am keen to see if I can get one through a colleague at work in Glaxo

Any advice would be appreciated at this stage on both the scope (?too
much for a beginner?) and what to buy in the way of accessories and
whether its feasible to ship through a third party? I am trying a
company called CAMCOR in Burlington NC at the moment but they appear to
be a little slow to respond.

I think the info on your page is excellent and I will be looking at all
the user info.

Kind Regards
      NT Resource Administrator GWRD
       Specialist Information provider
GDO IS Desktop Services - Ware 781-3270
Mike here: I suggest looking through the Buyer/New User Tips page for some thoughts on additional eyepieces, etc. As to buying outside of the US, I know this is a pain for everyone. Maybe some day the "global economy" will really be that. Until, you're stuck. One word of caution when buying in the United States and shipping overseas: warranty work will be a problem if it becomes required.

Subject:	 UWA lens?
Sent:	Tuesday, April 4, 2000 17:19:46
From:	betstom@home.com

With upcoming conjunction of 3 planets & moon, what lens do you suppose
will be optimal?


Mike here: Binoculars. I don't have my star charts with me on my trip but I don't think anything is that close. No occultations of planets by the moon and no planets really close in the sky. I could be wrong though.

Subject:	 Scopetronix Econo-Zoom
Sent:	Tuesday, April 4, 2000 15:33:20
From:	joe.goins@efi.com (Joe Goins)
Do you know of anyone who owns this beast or can give an opinion on it??

Joe Goins
Mike here: If you search the site for "econo" you'll find some comments about it on the February 2000 Feedback page.

Subject:	 Storage Bag for ETX 90 Deluxe Field Tripod?
Sent:	Tuesday, April 4, 2000 07:27:50
From:	benchmarkgroup@mindspring.com (Michael Kent)
Has anyone purchased a suitable storage bag for the ETX Deluxe Field
Tripod? What Model & Size are appropriate.

Mike Kent
Mike here: Someone mentioned on the ETX Mailing List about getting a large canvas bag at a discount store. I don't recall where he got it or what the name was. But, something like that would be an inexpensive way to go.

Subject:	 "When Jupiteeerrr Aligns with Mars"
Sent:	Monday, April 3, 2000 15:06:30
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
"And Peace will guide the planets,
and Looooovvvvvvve will steer the stars!"

Hey! Don't date yourself! Read this (after you get that hair cut!):

A visually interesting planetary dance takes place in the western sky
for the next two weeks as Mars, Jupiter and Saturn align. The bright
planets will be visible at dusk to anyone with a clear view of the west.

You can't miss them. Look for the brightest blue "star" in the sky in
the west after sunset, which will be below and to the right of the
brightest yellow "star." A pale red dot will be near the blue star. The
first is Jupiter; the second is Saturn; and the third is Mars. 7x50
binoculars will allow you to see the four Galilean moons of Jupiter.

Alarmists and survivalists have touted this as an apocalyptic sign, but
planetary alignments are not rare events: in December 1997 and January
1998, most of the planets, plus the Moon and Sun, gathered in the same
general area of the sky.


Bob Ostergaard 
"A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
or what's a Heavean for?"

Subject:	 cleaning the front glass
Sent:	Monday, April 3, 2000 12:33:53
From:	camaster@execpc.com (camaster)
Do you have any tips for cleaning the front glass on the ETX90?  Mine
seems to have spots from dew that has dried and caught dust. I do not
want to scratch the front glass. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Gary Wiltsey


P.S. Love your site. May have some images to submit to you soon.
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page. You can also search the site for "cleaning".

Subject:	etx questions
Sent:	Sunday, April 2, 2000 16:35:14
From:	Astro1807@aol.com

i currently have an 8" dob but this summer im going to be traveling a
lot and was thinking about buying an etx, probably the 125.  Would i be
too disapointed of views going from 8" to 5"?  your comments make it
sound like the etx gives pretty good views.  Plus,  is the etx very good
for astrophotography?  Your moon shots are nice but is any deep sky
possible?  Can i get an adapter for a JVC video camera i have.

thanks for your time
clear skies, chris
Mike here: Well, it depends upon what you look at and what your expectations are. Certainly, both models of the ETX give excellent views but you will lose a lot going from an 8" to a 5" or 3.5". But if really deep sky or lots of planet details is not required, you'll enjoy the ETX, no matter which model you get. While neither ETX is designed to do deep sky astrophotography, you will see lots of examples on my web site so it can be done, given patience, lots of film, additional accessories, and luck. Check the Accessories - Astrophotography page for a review of the Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter. It might work with your video camera; check with Scopetronix.

Subject:	 removing etx from mount
Sent:	Saturday, April 1, 2000 14:00:03
From:	robyrobinson@libero.it (Nicholas Robinson)
I have just bought second hand a Etx 90, which I would like to use it as
a spotting scope during the day and for 'quick looks' at night. I would
like to mount the telescope tube on a manfrotto tripod I have, but need
to remove the tube from the mount. Is it possible to take the tube off
the equatorial mount and drive? I have looked around your great site,
but could't find any reference to this. I was going to buy an etx
spotting scope new, but this second hand model came up and it seemed too
good to miss. Obviously, the scope and mounting together are heavy and
cumbersome, so if you could give me some help I would be very grateful.
Mike here: Look at the plastic ring around the outside of the rear of the ETX Optical Tube Assembly (OTA). On the left and right sides you'll see two hex screws (total four) attaching the OTA to the left and right forks. Meade used to supply the allen wrench for these screws but stopped. Remove these screws. Gently pry one side of the OTA away from the rectangular piece of plastic. The plastic stays attached to the fork. I recommend doing this with the DEC lock UNLOCKED. There is a little tab that keeps the plastic from moving so you'll near to pry the plastic away enough to clear the tab. Go slow; things should become obvious as you proceed. Once you have one side loose, you can easily wiggle the OTA enough to get the other side to release. You do have the spread the fork arms a little bit to accomplish the removal. Slide the OTA out the back of the mount. Just be gentle and try to not scratch that beautiful finish on the OTA! Take a look at my initial ETX-90EC comments; at the bottom of that page are a couple of photos which show the screw locations and the OTA removed.

Subject:	 Electronic controller
Sent:	Saturday, April 1, 2000 08:22:24
From:	bertewilliams@worldnet.att.net (Bert Williams)
I would like to buy an electronic controller for the ETX and, since they
are surplus to most perons with the Autostar, I wonder if one of the
users of your site would like to sell theirs to me. I do not wish to pay
the price of a new one from Meade. Can you assist me in contacting your
readers? I would appreciate it very much, and hopefully I will make
input to your site users in the future.  Bert Williams

Added later:

I am referring to the controller shown in the Meade ETX advertisement in
Sky & Telescope, and is described as the "electronic hand controller";
the one supplied with the scope. Incidentally, many people are having
trouble with the RS-232 computer connection. Jameco (1-800-831-4242 or
http://www.jameco.com) offers Part No. 66181 and 66211 for male and
female 9-pin connector conversion to RJ-11. These are shown on page 141
of their current catalog (#201). They also offer the 25-pin models.
Thank you very much. Your site has been very helpful, and should be
required reading for anyone contemplating an ETX. Bert Williams

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