Last updated: 30 April 2002
Subject: ETX-70AT Serial Connection Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 13:50:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Shoesmith) Sorry to bother you again with another dumb question. Having read your reply to my last e-mail I have purchased the #497 Autostar for my ETX-70AT. Now which serial cable do I use and which port do I plug it into, the AUX on the base unit or the Serial port on the Autostar. Thanks in advance for your help. RichardMike here: You'll use the #505 cable (purchased or make one using the info on the Autostar Information page). It plugs into the base of the Autostar.
Subject: Turning a 60AT into a 70AT Sent: Monday, April 29, 2002 13:00:35 From: TRAVIS.WHITLOW@newark.com Here's my experience in trying to do what "Nevancik" wants to do to his 60AT. Like quite a few 60AT owners, I got aperture fever after buying the 60, so I started looking around for a way to get that extra 10mm. I found a 75mm diameter, 400mm focal length cemented achromat billed as an "Edmund" at a reputable seller for about $38, so I thought I'd see if I could make it work. The 60mm lens in the 60AT sets in a molded plastic "adapter" that's actually 75mm in (outside) diameter and drops into a 75mm (inside) diameter fixture that's a part of the scope. Unscrew the retaining ring and the 60mm lens and its adapter slide right out and the 75mm lens slides right in. So far, no problem. The original retainer ring has (of course) a 60mm opening. So I (first mistake) cut this to provide a 70mm aperture. Placing the new lens in position and screwing on the "new" retainer ring used up all the threads inside the barrel, so it was no longer possible to thread the lens cover or dew cap onto the scope (oops!). But I figured, what the heck. We'll solve that problem later. I made an adapter (1-1/4 O.D. at one end, 1-1/4 I.D. at the other) for the eyepiece end of the scope to allow for the extra 50mm in focal length the new lens added. And Voila! (At least initially), it seemed to work. Then came the night of the big test! The moon was about three-quarters, so I thought it would be a good place to start. I brought it into focus and ... I've never seen such pretty blues, reds and yellows. The chromatic abberation was really really bad. So, on the chance it was a bad match with the eyepiece, I switched. It didn't help. The place I bought the objective allowed me to return it for a full refund (HandsOnOptics. I found them to be a good place to do business). The owner suggested that the baffling inside the scope might have been the problem. I tend to doubt this because the baffles are a part of the insert that holds the objective, which accepts either the 60mm or the 70mm. So Meade (or more accurately Meade's supplier) would have to have two two production lines just for the baffling. Bottom line? Making the change isn't impossible, but if you decide to experiment, make sure that all the pieces work together before you commit. And remember, your warranty goes away when you make these changes. There is a happy ending to all this, though. I put my 60AT back together as a 60 and went out and bought a 90RA. Together, they make quite a team.
Subject: Re: ETX-70AT Aberration Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 21:00:57 From: email@example.com (Thomas Henry) I just read the question from Richard Judge concerning an optical problem with his ETX-70AT, and your reply to him. You mentioned the usual info with regard to chromatic aberration, but I didn't see any mention of false color in his e-mail, and don't believe that's what's causing his problems. I'm no optical expert, but his description of the distortion suggests astigmatism to me (the elongation that he describes). Having tested some five of these scopes now, I can report that the inexpensive optics used in the ETX-70AT show varying amounts of astigmatism, all the way from tolerable to rotten. (The Sky and Tel review mentions this too). I have also seen coma in several of these, which could account for the "ears" on planetary disks that another user asked about earlier this month. Since Richard didn't mention false color in his post, I suspect that either astigmatism or coma are bothering him, not chromatic aberration. I can sympathize; one can get used to seeing extra violet, but the other two problems are very annoying to the eyes. In a nutshell, my experience has been that the optics in the ETX-70AT are borderline, but given the low price of the unit, what should a person expect! In any event, the scope is usable---just don't expect the sharpness of a more expensive refractor. Best wishes, Thomas Henry
Subject: re: increasing the lens size of an ETX60 Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 19:36:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com There have been postings (and photos) in the past by someone who used the Meade Dew Shield to hold an 80mm lens in front of his ETX70. The postings were at the Yahoo MeadeETX-60 group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadeetx-60/ The dew shield is hard plastic, and threads into the front of the telescope. He removed the normal front lens, and held the 80mm in place with retaining rings. It worked (sort-of). His 80mm lens was not very good, so the viewing was not improved. But physically, it -can- be done. The person who did it has a website under: http://www.data-plumber.com and is Christopher Erickson His descriptive web-page seems to have disappeared, but the photos are at: 18.104.22.168/files/Astronomy/MyScopes/Meade-etx60/60to80/ and click on etx60-80-1.JPG etx60-80-2.JPG etx60-80-3.JPG descriptive text at: upgrading-etx60-80.txt clicking on the other photos in that page would be instructive, too. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: Re: ETX 70 maint. question Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 12:54:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Snay) I must say, I amazed you followed up with me so quickly. I went to the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston's public gathering last night. I was able to peek through a couple of Mak's and a 17" reflector. While the other scopes did provide larger and brighter images, I must say that my 70mm performed just fine. The images in those scopes wasn't any crisper, just bigger and brighter. I don't think I'll be touching that mirror any time soon. Thanx for the advice. Dave
Subject: Re: focusing Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2002 20:42:11 From: email@example.com (Nicholas J. Evancik) I am curious why then is the telescope set up so that it cannot work with the accessories designed to be used by turning the knob that moves the optical train from the built in diagonal to the path straight through to the back of the telescope. I cannot use the erecting diagonal that meade designed to be used by screwing it into the back of the telescope as it was designed to do. I cannot use a camera using the meade camera attachment and T-mount adapter. Nothing that Meade designed to work with this telescope by attachin it to the screw mount at the back of the telescope will work as meade states it is designed to be used. I also seem to have the reverse of vignetting in the telesope. It seems that the field in the eyepieces are too large and it is difficult to center my eye over the evepiece lense and view the entire field. There must be something wrong with the telescope in order for it to not be able to use the accessories that have been designed to be used with it. Do you have any suggestions as to why none of the accessories I have purchased to use with the meade will focus on an object that is more than ten feet away from it ( The erecting prism, attached to thhe back of the telecope will only focus on an image that is less than ten feet away, it will not come to focus on any object farther than that or at infinity, I cannot focus to photograph anything farther away than ten feet away as well, which suggests the problem is that the lense is not places properly in the tube and only a part of the focal range is available when using the rear access to the focal plane, or that the lens' focal length is not correct for the designed length of the tube, that is is not precisely 350 mm but something loke 345 to 349 and so using the rear access to the focal plane does not allow access to the complete range of focus. If you have any theories as to why the telescope cannot come to fucus at infinity using the straight through the tube focal plane rather than the interanl diagonal focal method Iwould greatly appreciate it.Thanks for all the help dp far, but I am not trying to make and adaptation to perform something that the telescope to do something other than it was designed to do. I am trying to get it to do something it was designed to do. Nicholas J. EvancikMike here: Yours is the first report that I recall like this. Perhaps you have a problem with the telescope itself that only Meade can fix. Other users have successfully used attachments at the rear port.
Scopetronix sent the wrong diagonal. When I ordered it I asked for the diagonal for the ETX 60AT and they sent me one for the catadiaptric model of the ETX's The erectos prism for the ETX refractors have a lens in one of the diagonal tubes that corrects the focal plane. WHen I first had the problem I called scopetronix and wastold that it was probably a problem with the telescope as the unit they sent me was the correct one, but looking at It I see no lens inside, only a prism. Scopetronix agreed to let me send the item back and will replace it. Thanks for the help. Nicholas J. Evancik
Subject: ETX 70 maint. question Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2002 5:11:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Snay) Love your site. I have a question about my ETX-70. When I was looking at the moon last night, I looked into the port for the eyepiece and I saw what looks like lots of smudges on the mirror. Is there a recommended way to clean that? I was thinking about using a Q-tip with alcohol, but I thought I'd check with the expert first. Thanx, DaveMike here: Do you think that viewing that has deteriorated? If not, don't clean anything. A typical error is overcleaning. As to the flip mirror, that is a dangerous area to be messing around in. You can easily damage the mirror. If you think it does need cleaning, use extreme caution and follow the cleaning advice on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
It's hard for me to tell. I'm very new to this. I was given the scope as a christmas present this past year, so I don't really know what to expect for images. I'm going to try to get to a few star gazing gatherings in the area (if the skies ever clear up at the right time!). I'll see if I can get someone to take a peek through the scope and get their opinion of it's images before I touch anything. Thanx for the advice, Dave Snay
Subject: Re: 827 Right angle Viewfinder for ETX 70 Sent: Friday, April 26, 2002 18:55:08 From: email@example.com (Freind Harry) Finally got my right angle viewfinder. Managed to install without too much difficulty, even without instructions. What a difference!!!!. Can find items with minimum hassle. It's now fun!!
Subject: ETX 70AT aberration Sent: Friday, April 26, 2002 6:33:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Judge) I am having a problem with aberration on my recently purchased ETX 70AT. When viewing bright objects (Jupiter and Arcturus) there is serious aberration to the left of the image. The Right hand side of Jupiter, for instance, is perfectly focused but the left is distorted outward. I initially thought this was due to the proximity of a bright Moon but the Moon has moved away somewhat and the problem remains. Also Arcturus is on the other side of the Moon but the distortion remains on the left. I have checked the lens and mirror for obvious signs of damage or dirt but they are clear. I have also tried rotating the eyepiece in the holder, as I have read your advice, but the image remains the same. Today I have searched the archives and there are a number of others who also describe similar problems specific to the left hand side with both 70 and 60AT's. Having given this a great deal of thought I think I may have a solution of sorts and wanted your opinion of it. If I look through the rear port on the scope at a light (without eyepiece) there is a reflection on the right where the threaded bar for the focus is attached to the optical tube. (There is a plastic tube which contains the threaded bar that protrudes slightly above the second field stop) Do you think that this may be causing the problem and if so can you think of a way to resolve it? Best regards Richard JudgeMike here: All low-end refractors suffer from some "chromatic aberration". This is due to the nature of light and glass. Different frequencies of light are defracted differently as they pass through the glass lens. Hence, not every color will arrive at the same point. The tube you mentioned protruding into the light path would not change the chromatic aberration. If the aberration has really become worse over time (rather than your observational technique improving as you gained experience), then something else is at work. Either the lens coatings have become less effective (possibly due to cleaning improperly or exposure to high heat), or they are dirty (even though you may not see it) which changes the refraction.
Subject: Focusing? Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 23:16:33 From: email@example.com Hello Michael. I have had a ETX 60 AT for a little over 2 years now and have only recently looked for info abouot small pronlems I have with the scope. First. Using my terrestrial adapter prism that was purchased from scopetronix. I cannot get the scope to focus, except within 10 feet, which means mt telescope is somewhat myopic. I know that either the objective must be moved or somehow the focusing range must be ahnged. This aside. I ove my little telescope. Second, and it is not a problem, CAn the objective on the ETX 60 AT be upgraded to a 70 millimeter lense, As the tube size, and the focal length of the lenses fo both telescopes seem to be the same. The only difference SEEM to be the objective mount. I cannot figure out how to ask questions on any other site, and even the Meade site does not seem to give s way to email questions. I would greatly appreciate any info if you have it, Or if you know of any other sites that would help, I soul appreciate it. ThanksMike here: Have you contacted Scopetronix about the focusing problem? But there may be a simple solution: loosen the focus knob on the shaft and slide it further towards to the rear on the shaft. Be certain to point the telescope upwards at about a 45 degree angle to keep the shaft from slipping inside the tube. There is no upgrade from the 60AT to 70AT.
Thank you.I have tried moving the focusing knob and that did not help. I was wondering if there was a way of adjusting the position of the lense in the tube, or repositioning the range of the length that the tube travels in the focusing path. I think if the objective were just 1/4 of an inch further back from the fropnt of the tube the proble would be solved. It is strange about the upgrade through, becasue it seems that the 70 mm version simply has a different lense cell and lense in the same tube assembly. 350 mm foccal length on both. Nicholas J. EvancikMike here: Have you discussed it with Scopetronix? As to an upgrade, where would you get the lens? Meade doesn't sell it separately?
I bought my accessories from scopetronix. When I asked them about it, they did not have an answer. I do not know how one would move the objective lense in its cell. The cell sees to be placed on threads. There are two small holes in the front of the cell, but it does not look like the small allen wrench fits in them If the lense cell can come out and there is enough room to nove it back a small amount, no more than a qurster of an inch, or inccrease the amount that the focusing screw can move in or out, then the problem would be solved, but I do not know how to work with the focuser or its gearing. I cant tell if there is anyway to take apart and re assemble the tube assembly. Actually, I have had this telescope for two years, and finally bought the meade tripod 4 months ago. Tonight is the first time I actually set up the automatic controller. I have onlt beeen pointing and manually slewing the thing, but tonight I set it to go look around at various objects in the database. AS far as the objective goes. Meade may not sell it, but if they did I cannot see one thing that would stop a person from placing the new lense and lens cell into the tube assemble for the 60AT. Mechanically they are exactly the same telescope. Its like they were made for the purpose of more easily making the 60 mm model by placing a smaller lense and cell into the tube. I have been comparing the two models in local stores (Wolf Camera) and the only visible difference is the cell size and the lene size. It would jusr be a nice way to upgrade If someone made the lense and cell available. If you know of anyway of opening the tube assemble to get at the focusing mechanism or even remove the objective to see if it can be moved to change the focal plane slightly, or even know how I can email Meade to askthem about my focusing problem I would appreciate it.And more:
The way the telescope seems to be working, is that when you put the erecting prism in place, the telescope seems to have myopia. The focal falls just a bit before theend of the connection onto which you screw the erecting prism unit. The amount it would need to move would be very small. It would be easier if it had ther opposite problem, as then all that would be needed would be to screw a small extension tube onto the back and then screw the prism onto that. It would easily escape a quality assurance testing process.And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nicholas J. Evancik) The objective in the ETX 60 AT is an achromatic lense at the front of the tube. THE telecsope was designed to have the the erecting prismed screwed onto the back of the tube into which you would also hook up a camera extension tube and t-mount, Which means right now, as the telescope is set up, I would also not be able to focus a camera and take pictures of anything further away than ten feet. I do not believe that meade would have designed the telescope to be able to use its own accessories and to be able to use it as a telephoto lens and then have it set up so that the accessories will not work, becasue the focal plane of the telescope is too short. Therefore I believe that the condition is an error in assembly, and that the solution lies in returning the lense to it's correct position or to enable to focuser to focus in further than it already does. The telescope has been working this wsay since the day It was purchased new. As I said, there must be a way of moving the lens to the position that it should be in to make the accessories usable.And from our hardware expert:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) There is NO modification short of actually CUTTING OFF THE TUBE at the tail end to accommodate a closer focus. This has nothing to do with any mechanical issues at all. It would be an absolute travesty to modify the ETX 70 in this manner. It CAN be done; the field will be severely vignetted for both visual and photo use once done and at high magnification the image brightness will be reduced substantially as will resolution. Clay
Subject: Updates ETX70AT Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 20:28:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carlos Family) I went to PA last weekend and looked around Friday night into Saturday early morning. Jupiter and Saturn were even brighter because it was out in the country. At around 2am-3am I started looking for IZ comet but around the N- NE direction failed to find it. As I was looking around I came across this really big patch of blurry object. At first I thought it my eye, then was the comet but the more that I look into it the more it did not make sense. It was more towards NE and was really low from were I was (up on a hill surrounded by higher hills). I tried to reconcile it with the star chart from Skypub. According to their log it was the M31. How can I confirm? It wasn't bright really blurry almost like a puff of smoke. There was I thought a star to the lower right. I bought the flexi-focus from Scopetronix, definitely much easier to use. A bit pricey but it does help a lot. I also got the Meade filter set. The yellow and nuetral were helpful especially the other night when I was observing the moon. For Jupiter and Saturn, it seems to have reduced the glare but not as much as I would hope. The blue was also ok for the moon. I don't know what the orange is for. The product description said it would help looking at Jupiter but it did not. Maybe I'm using it wrong. Also, because of my encounter with M31 (I think), I'm trying to locate M81/82 and M51. No luck yet. Any suggestions? Last thing, is there any reason why the Dec setting circle would point to 90deg and when I look at the scope it's definitely not perpendicular to the base. Is my scope off? If so is there an adjustment process for these. I did notice that when I was pointing to Polaris it was at 46deg and not 43deg as most books have it. Sorry it's a bit long.... Regards EdMike here: That was probably M31. As to finding other objects, let the Autostar be your guide! As to the DEC scale, see the FAQ page.
Subject: RE: ETX-70AT Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 6:35:39 From: Glenn.Giatto@gecapital.com (Giatto, Glenn (CAP, GEFA)) Mike, thanks for the tips...I will try them out. I live in a development outside of a small town, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia. There is some definite heat sources about (parking lots, neighbor's houses, etc.). I guess I will try viewing multiple times to see if I can get any differences. I currently have the 2 standard eyepieces that came with the 'scope (9mm & 25mm). It's tough to really see close with the 25mm (obviously), so you can tell that the ghostly "ears" that I am seeing is through the 9mm. I am looking to get a Barlow. I appreciate the feedback and love the site! Glenn
Subject: 827 Right angle Viewfinder for ETX 70 Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 15:31:14 From: email@example.com (A. Pfeffer) Thanks for maintaining this very helpful site! I too got 825 instructions (i.e., the wrong ones) with my new 827 viewfinder and duplicated Harry Freind's experience. Figured out how to attach it (so that's what the hard-to-see Phillips-head screw on the back face of the OTA is for!) and how to use the two adjustment screws to align (very simple; I used the moon & 25mm eyepiece, but will refine later). With only the two screws and no locking screws the viewfinder barrel skews if touched., so I'll try to keep my fat fingers away from it. The thick crosshairs suggest aligning a tiny bit off center so as not to block out the object). On the whole a very nice accessory, but why doesn't Meade post instruction sheets on the Web & save itself time & stamps? Art Pfeffer
Subject: ETX-70AT Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 8:54:35 From: Glenn.Giatto@gecapital.com (Giatto, Glenn (CAP, GEFA)) You have a great site, keep up the good work! I received my 70AT for Christmas and have used it a few times. I have enjoyed the portability and the wide field view of stars, etc. One question I haven't seen asked (maybe I missed it) is regarding focusing in on an object (Jupiter for example). I took your advice and focused (as well as I could) on Polaris and then manually moved to Jupiter. I could see planet and 4 moons. Problem is, I noticed instead of crisp "ball", Jupiter resembles more of a oval with faint ears. I focused to both sides of clarity and still notice ears. I am worried that the lens is shot. Is that a normal sight in the 70AT or should the object be more crisp? Glenn Buckingham, PAMike here: There should be no "ears" on Jupiter. But how is the "seeing" where you live? Are the warm rooftops in the line of sight to Jupiter? Parking lots or other heat sources? Do the "ears" move? What happens if you rotate the eyepiece in its holder? What about other eyepieces? I know, more questions. Just trying to narrow down the possible culprits before we assume that the telescope is at fault.
Subject: Meade ETX-70AT Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 5:04:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Shoesmith) Having been a 70-AT user for only a week or so, your site was a welcome find. I too suffered from some of the frustrations mentioned in some of your posts and thought that a couple of my solutions might be of interest to others. 1. The Focus Control. I removed the one supplied with the scope and made my own using a propeller/motor coupling for a model boat. The flexible joint allows movement of the focus control away from the axis and I find much more user friendly. 2. Re-focusing between eyepieces. To overcome the large number of turns required of the focus control when swapping between eyepieces I have made collars for two of my eyepieces out of plastic drain pipe. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the right lengths, but now when I swap eyepieces I have at most to turn the focus less than one turn. The attached photo shows both fixes in position.Mike here: That's a neat focus control! I don't recall the version number but there is an update to ACP (acp.dc3.com/meade.html) from the one that came with the #494 Autostar. And yes you can use a #497 Autostar and you'll gain the keypad and more current versions.
I also have a question which maybe you or others could help me with. I have been unsuccessfully trying to control the scope from Starry Night Pro using ACP 1.3 as the telescope controller. The scope communicates, but refuses to point in the right direction when using the slew commands from within the Starry Night telescope menu. My scope came with the #494 Autostar which works fine. Is there any advantage in upgrading the Autostar to #497? Thanks in advance for any help and keep up the good work, a brilliant site! Richard Shoesmith
Subject: ETX-60 dew-cap improvement Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 14:54:47 From: Benito@loyola.com (Benito Loyola) I got the ETX-60 for less than $100 from Price Club during their sale and have enjoyed it. For the cost, it provides a pretty decent view of the moon and planets, and it takes me through the alignment which has gotten me learning a bunch of the bright alignment stars. I also have been squeezing every bit I can out of the little scope by investing in a great set of Nagler and Pentax eyepieces...can't wait for the next scope. But living in the city I am near a street light and I noticed a bit of reflection off of the black, but slightly shiny, interior finish of my dew-cap. So I just ordered some flock adhesive paper to line the inside of the dew-cap with. I figured this should help squeeze out a little more performance. So then I was thinking what's good for the dew-cap should be good for the scope. What are your thoughts about lining the inside of the scope with flock paper and what is the best and safest way to get inside. Thank you BenitoMike here: I wouldn't do that. The inside is already properly coated. And you run the risk of damaging something.
Subject: More on ETX-70AT Tips Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 14:44:42 From: email@example.com (Thomas Henry) Recent e-mail-writer Michael is right; I should have mentioned the longitude and latitude settings as part of getting accurate GOTO results. But keep in mind that the Autostar only uses a geographic coordinate accuracy of 1 minute of arc, and completely ignores elevation (unlike most full-blown astro packages). Who knows what the default elevation is! For this reason, there's only so much you can do to improve your accuracy. However, you'll need accurate coordinates and elevation for better software (I use Cartes du Ciel), so you really ought to search them out anyway. May I suggest you don't necessarily believe what you see on the Internet? When I got my ETX-70AT last year, I checked the 'net and found two different sets of coordinates for our little town; one set was incomplete and the other differed by some 30 seconds of arc in longitude (and these were from the USGS!) Instead, I went to City Hall (yes---we have one!) and one of the street engineers looked up the coordinates and elevation for the intersection only 100 feet away from my home. Most cities have well mapped "benchmarks" that a worker can look up for you; get some value for your tax dollars and ask them. With regard to another of Michael's comments, I suppose "visual satisfaction" is a relative quantity. I can imagine Galileo being absolutely ecstatic with a shot of Jupiter or Saturn through our little scopes, compared to the rough instruments he used. But the fact remains that no telescope is ideal for all types of objects. As an example, I have a $200 3" Edmund reflector (about the same aperature as the ETX-70AT, and a bit cheaper). The views of Jupiter and Saturn are much, much better than through the Meade (and it's not just the absence of chromatic aberration either). On the other hand, the Meade outperforms it in the area of doubles and puts on an excellent show with deep sky objects. In a nutshell, I think of the ETX-70AT as a handy richfield scope. Sure, I look at planets in it from time to time, but that's not where it really shines. With regard to magnification, as mentioned in a previous post I prefer clarity to larger size and tend to stick to the lower powers. I own a 25mm, 9mm, 6mm, and a 2X Barlow but use the 9mm almost exclusively for deep sky objects, of which I've cataloged many dozens of rewarding views. I haven't found the four colored filters to be of much benefit, but I do use the fifth moon filter regularly. When doing doubles, I do in fact boost the power. By the way, the best I've accomplished thus far is a 3 arcsecond split---has anyone here bettered that with the ETX-70AT? Finally, there are lots of excellent colored doubles out there. Albireo is perhaps the best known, but if you're looking for an early evening one this month, try Iota Cancri. You'll find it at 8h46m42s, +28d46'00". It's a very colorful gold and blue. Another excellent one visible now is 24 Coma Berenices, again gold and blue. It's at: 12h35m06s, +18d23'00". I find the double star catalog in the Autostar somewhat disappointing, and so punch in several new ones by hand each night. My User Object menu is really growing! And, oh, Vesta is currently well placed for early evening viewing; a fun project is to plot its course over several nights. This puppy really moves. Best wishes, Thomas Henry
Subject: etx-70at Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 8:27:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Liam Crowther) hi there, i wonder if you can help me. I live in the UK and am considering buying a 70at from germany as it is cheaper! Could you tell me if the instructions are multi-lingual and also whether the handset can be set to operate in english or are they factory set for specific countries. I am new to astronomy and this would be my first telescope- obviously it wouldn't be much use if it spoke german and i don't. Thanks for any info. you can give me, Liam.Mike here: I believe the foreign sold models that include the #494 Autostar do have some foreign languages in the Autostar but that English is one of the options. Don't know about the documentation. Perhaps someone else will respond once I post your inquiry.
Subject: 827 Right angle Viewfinder for ETX 70 Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2002 11:05:16 From: email@example.com (Freind Harry) I love this sight. Not only is it informative, It permits me to ask what might seem as "dumb questions" with some degree of anonymity. Here's my latest: Just got an 827 Right Angle view finder from my local dealer (after about a five week wait) and it came with instructions for the 825 that goes on the ETX 90 (not the ETX 70 that I have). Well I figured out how to mount it (not exactly rocket science) and I did align it on a terrestrial object a bit away. I did call Meade and they are sending correct instructions. But in the mean time. 1. Did I do it right? Been able to check out on land objects (No clear sky lately for astronomical test yet). Seems OK. 2. If not. Any suggestions? Anyone else "out there" have experience with the 827 right Angle view finder? Thanks Harry FreindMike here: As long as you have it attached so that it doesn't obstruct movement of the telescope tube in the forks or movement of the moving aperture lens, nor get in the way of swapping eyepieces, and you can still look through it, you should be OK. Just get the finderscope as precisely aligned as you can so that what it shows as centered as actually centered in the eyepiece.
Subject: Autostar 494 for ETX70 scrolls too fast Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2002 7:51:19 From: Strgzzr8@aol.com Your site is an awesome resource. It covers just about any question I could come up with. One problem I've not seen adressed regards my hand controller. The second line of my Autostar 494 hand controller scrolls too fast to read. How can it be slowed down ?Mike here: Use the UP/DOWN scrolling arrow keys to adjust the speed of the scrolling text. UP=faster, DOWN=slower.
Subject: re: Thomas Henry's response to the Carlos Family (further down the page) Sent: Friday, April 19, 2002 12:54:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael) I've just read Mr. Henry's lengthy discussion about the ETX-70AT's setup, abilities, and shortcomings, and I'd like to make a few comments: I, too, own an ETX-70AT, and thoroughly enjoy it. I follow the same basic setup procedures as listed in Thomas' email, however, he left out probably the most important point for new users: The very first thing you must do is know your site's longitude and latitude and setup your scope as accurately as possible. There are a lot of built-in city locations, but they may not be accurate enough for your location within the city; e.g., if you choose L.A., but live in a suburb that is not listed, your alignment will be a bit off. I found the exact coordinates of my own backyard on the internet. I also have the other sites we frequent, campgrounds in the nearby mountains and deserts that we visit as often as possible, programmed by name into my Sites. As for "seeing", I would never limit myself to the two lenses that came with the scope, and feel the 70 is perfectly suited for viewing Jupiter and Saturn, particularly through my 2X Barlow and 9mm lens. A 4-color filter set is another great addition, but find them most helpful for lunar observation. I haven't had the pleasure of Uranus or Neptune, and have heard they are not much to see, but I'll check them out when they come around (or, rather, we come around). On the subject of doubles. I plan to stay up late enough tonight to catch Albireo after it rises, provided the skies stay clear. I read where you can really see the color difference between the two stars with a small scope -- I've seen them through 8", 12", and 20" scopes (OCAA), but never through my own humble 70mm. Can't wait! Well, best regards to all. I wish you all clear skies! Michael
Subject: ETX 60 AT Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2002 22:29:49 From: email@example.com (JODIE ERICKSON-MIGUEL) Hello!. I have an ETX 60 AT telescope. I don't really see a good picture of the planets or the solar system so I bought the 128 3X barlow lens and it was just okay, What do you recommend so I can view a great picture? Do I need to buy another type of lens?. I appreciate all your help!. Thanks, GaryMike here: First off, read my ETX-70AT comments linked at the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. Also, see the User Observations page. I suspect your expectations are exceeding the capabilities of the ETX-60AT. It makes a fine wide field instrument but provides limited magnification. If you want high magnification and lots of details you will need a larger (more expensive) telescope.
Subject: Re: Meade ETX 70AT issue Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2002 22:19:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Ashton) FYI...I returned the scope and got a new one...went home and tried it out and it didn't work! The horizontal lock was broke. I was frustrated. My wife returned it the next morning and this one works!! I was about to give up...guess they just had a bad batch. Thanks for your help. Mike
Subject: Re: Motor Not Turning Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2002 14:48:07 From: email@example.com (Linda Walker) 1. Yes there are motor noises when I lock and try to slew. 2. Yes there are clicking noises when I unlock and move by hand. Interestingly, when I lock, I can still move by hand fairly easily. DonMike here: It sounds like the lock isn't locking. You can try to reposition the lock lever on its shaft so that it can more tightly lock. See the FAQ for info on doing this. If that doesn't do it I suspect that something has failed inside.
Thanks for your quick responses. I will attempt to correct this weekend. Otherwise I will return to vendor. They have agreed to full refund. Don
Subject: Motor Not Turning Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 15:05:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Linda Walker) I've had a ETX-60 since Christmas. Its been great fun for me and has certainly rekindled my interest in astronomy. Took it out on Saturday and had a great evening of viewing using the GOTO feature. Took it out last night (Tuesday), and although I can make the scope go up/down with the motor control, the side to side control makes noises but does not turn the scope at all. Did nothing in between the two days. When i shut the motor down and turn the scope by hand it makes a clicking noise like something is not grabbing. Any thoughts on my problem? Thanks DonMike here: When you lock the horizontal axis and attempt to slew horizontally using the handcontroller can you hear any motor noises? Does the scope try to move either left or right? When you unlock the axis and move the telescope horizontally by hand do you hear the clicking noises you mentioned?
Subject: Re: help - ETX70AT Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2002 20:03:24 From: email@example.com (Carlos Family) Update - Thanks to your and David T's advice I finally received my order of the 3x Barlow lens and 4mm lens from Scopetronix. I used the 9mm with the 3x on Jupiter and it's amazing. We were definitely able to see the details of Jupiter and it's moons. We were able to locate Saturn easily tonight Apr 16 since it was right below the moon. Now that was impressive. Saturns rings were very clear and pronounced. My kids did not have a problem seeing it. My wife whose been the skeptic was even impressed... Then we turned scope onto the new moon. Just using the 9mm we were able to see the surface without any problem. (ooohs and ahhhs!!!) I'm really impressed by this ETX-70AT. Money well spent specially when my younger sound yelled out wow!!! when he saw the surface of the moon. Also, definitely worth and highly recommend spending on the additional lens. Downside with the scope - now I see why everyone was complianing about the focus knob. It was a pain to change. It hard to reach, and when I do the scope starts shaking. It gave me a headache at times. I'm thinking about getting the ScopeTronix Flexi-FocusT from Scopetronix. Has anyone used this or is there a more practical solution for this? Another thing that was anoying a bit was the glare of the image. Sometimes it worse when the object is bright. For example Jupiter's glare was worse than Saturn's. I saw some filters for this scope, are they worth the money? Or will I get the same result. I did get the case just to make sure that I can protect my investments. The #773 case is steardy but not at all what I thought it was. It looks a bit cheapy and the foam inside was really cheezey but for $59 it should do. I'm going to be hauling the scope around, so I'd rather have something to hold it in properly rather that using the box. It does have some useful compartments for the lens including the pill and the Autostar controller. Hope it lasts... Anyway, thanks for all your advice and your site has been really helpful. I 'm really hooked into astronomy now. Hopefully I've started something with the kids. Thanks again EdMike here: The Moon Filter is just like wearing sunglasses. I found it useful (see the Accessory Reviews - Filters page). The Scopetronix FlexiFocus is handy; see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page. Or you can make one yourself (see the Telescope Tech Tips page).
Subject: Meade ETX 70AT issue Sent: Monday, April 15, 2002 20:15:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Ashton) Hello, Love your site. I recently bought a 70AT and like it alot. I'm really new to telescopes. I thought the veiw would be a little larger, but the quality seems high. After reading many stories on the model I got I understand the size limits. Anyways...When I flip the telescope up and down (not attached to the tripod...base and all) it makes a rattle sound, like there is a screw rattling around in one of the sides that holds the scope itself. It is not in the scope. It is on the left side if you were looking into the eyepiece. Everything seems to work ok...but I wouldn't really know since I'm new. Do you think something is wrong and I should take it back? Or do you think someone just dropped an extra screw in when manufacturing? Thanks for your time. Mike AshtonMike here: It could be almost anything from a piece of plastic or metal that has broken off to a small screw. Since any rattling sound is disconcerting and since the scope is new I'd exchange it.
Thanks for your reply...I'm going to return it soon.
Subject: re: Star Finder Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2002 21:15:41 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (i think you mean the 494 Autostar?)("Starfinder" is/was the -particular- model programmed for the 4504 or 114eq-dh4 German Polar Mounted scopes) If your dealer cannot supply a 494 Autostar, consider buying a 495 Autostar from www.ritzcamera.com for $50. (or a 497 from JCPenny.com for $69.99, if that sale is still on...) good luck --dickMike here: But the ETX-70AT ships with the #494. Unless he has the ETX-70EC, which is possible. Hence, my reason for asking for clarification.
email@example.com (Freind Harry) said: > But what I am looking for is the "Right Angle Finder". The Autostar works > great ONCE I GET ALIGNED. That requires me to find the right stars. If my > dealer can't get it in soon, I will begin to look elsewhere. Ahhh... what i usually call the "viewfinder" (a left-over term from camera days...) good luck in the search... --dick
Subject: Star Finder Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2002 5:03:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Freind Harry) I'm getting a bit frustrated in trying to obtain a starfinder for my EXT70. Ordered one about 5 weeks ago through my local dealer and "it's on back order". Any one know of an alternative to the one Meade specifies? Harry FreindMike here: Just to clarify, what do you mean by "star finder"?
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: help - ETX70AT Sent: Friday, April 12, 2002 18:52:55 From: email@example.com (Carlos Family) That's exactly what my problem was. I was thinking that the scope is like a camcorder that you can zoom in. I read a couple of articles in the Sky and Telescope site and they gave some tips which helped me realize this yesterday. So with this I went out again last night and used the 9mm after spotting Jupiter with the 25mm. Finally, I got to see the bands of Jupiter clearly. I showed it to the kids and they were delighted. Next stop Saturn... Thanks Ed ----- Original Message ----- > ... those two eyepieces are not "zoom" eyepieces. > ... > Mike Weasner
Subject: focuser EXT 70AT Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2002 13:39:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (JIM JACOBSEN) I have been through your site a few times looking for any information about modifying a JMI focuser to work with a EXT 70AT. I have found in the site where you have said that there is no focuser manufactured for the 70AT but I was wondering if you have heard of anyone doing a modification. Jim JacobsenMike here: Don't recall any mods for the ETX-60/70.
I have written JMI about getting my hands on a broken unit in order to see if it is possible to do a modification. If I get one, I will post something on your site just to let others know somebody has tried. Jim Jacobsen
Subject: Re: help - ETX70AT Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2002 21:19:48 From: email@example.com (Thomas Henry) Hello all, This is in response to the Carlos family's and other's recent requests for help with the ETX-70AT. I'm no expert by any means, but here are some ideas you might find helpful. 1. I always level the tripod first (and hence the base) with a bubble level. This makes the telescope base a tangent plane to the earth at my locale. 2. Next, I always use a bubble level to level the tube during Setup. I ignore the altitude setting circle completely; a bubble level is far more accurate. 3. Then (again during Setup) I set the time, accurate to 1 second or better. I use a digital wristwatch for this. I synchronize the watch to my computer about once a week, and use the free government time-keeping service to synchronize my computer every couple days. 4. I use Polaris to set the azimuth during Setup. By following these four steps carefully, I have perfect Goto, every night, even in the limited field of a 6mm eyepiece. As far as observing goes: 1. The same questions keep popping up here repeatedly (especially with regard to magnification). A good place to begin would be by scanning Mike's site completely. Virtually every ETX-70AT question has been answered here, so dig in! 2. With regard to focusing, Mike gave a great tip the other night that most of us forget to mention to scope beginners: when trying to focus on an extended object (a planet disk, nebula, etc.), concentrate on a nearby star and focus that to a crisp image. A pinpoint is best if possible, but usually lousy seeing and the cheap optics of the ETX-70AT make this impossible. Just go for the crispest image you can. 3. About "seeing colors": this is a brain-eye thing and takes practice. For example, it took my girlfriend months to train herself to see the vivid gold and blue colors of Albireo. Her eyes are fine---she just needed to get her brain to process the data properly. This is mostly a matter of experience and practice. 4. With regard to higher powers and Barlows: Meade knew what they were doing when they supplied 25mm and 9mm eyepieces. I have observed many, many dozens of galaxies, globulars, open clusters and doubles with these alone, getting nice, sharp and rewarding images. If the seeing permits, I ocassionally go to a 6mm (about 60X). I never use the 2X Barlow for anything other than tight doubles. In this case, I'm willing to sacrifice crispness to get the split. So, forget about magnification---concentrate instead on clear images. 5. And finally, with regard to objects: everyone's always talking about Jupiter and Saturn. But the ETX-70AT with its short focal length really isn't suited to doing a good job on these. May I suggest double stars instead? My log book is filled with hundreds of double star observations, some quite challenging. These are tremendous fun, rewarding, and often do-able on nights with poor transparency or bad sky glow---they'll get you outside on nights you might have given up on otherwise. But if you're really committed to the planets, why not try Uranus and Neptune, or the minor planets? Draw sketches of what you see over the course of a week or two and chart the progress. This gave me many wonderful nights of fun plotting their orbits back in the autumn when they (Uranus, Neptune and Vesta) were up; I'm looking forward to their return in a month or two. I hope this gives the new users who wrote in recently some ideas on how to have even more fun with the ETX-70AT. There really are a zillion fun things you can do with this scope, but seeing images like you would in a photograph isn't one of them. Best wishes, Thomas Henry
Subject: Re: help - ETX70AT Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2002 17:46:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carlos Family) Thanks for the info. I did read this. I think you may be right in expecting too much. But that's OK as long as I did not buy a bad scope. I tried using it terrestial, focus seems to work. Someone responded on my question as well and suggested the barlow lens. I'll give that a try. Ed ----- Original Message ----- From:
> You might also want to read through my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the > top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. Also, there are > some User Observations you might want to read though. > > Mike Weasner
i did forget to mention that i saw some gray spots when looking at jupiter. i wasn't sure if it was dirt or what but as i moved the scope it seems to have stayed in the same place. any ideas on what they were? thanks again edMike here: Probably some dust on the eyepiece, if they were spots not bands.
We went out again last night. First time in awhile that the sky was clear in the east. I focused the scope (25mm) in a way that I can see Jupiter in a wide range view, see other stars around it. Jupiter was a very bright object no details except it was really bright and looks like a very big star using the naked eye. However, there were three other very small but bright objects lined up next to it. They're almost in a perfect row. Would these be the moons of Jupiter or are they different (stars)? Also, this may sound like a stupid question but I'll ask it anyway. I tried to focus in my 9mm into Jupiter. I was able to get the same view that I got above. When I tried to zoom in, Jupiter became really prominent but blurry. At the extreme end of the zoom the whole view is on Jupiter but it was really fuzzy. Somewhere in between it's a small ball with I think some details. I still can't make out the details but I thought I did see some strands. Now for the question, how far do I zoom in from the view of the 25mm which shows Jupiter as a bright object to see real details? I'm afraid that I'm seeing things and do not know when to stop zooming in. My barlow lens are on the way can't wait for them to come in. Thanks EdMike here: Yes, those were some moons of jupiter. As to the eyepieces and magnification, those two eyepieces are not "zoom" eyepieces. With the 9mm, when in proper focus objects will appear about 3 times larger than they did with the 25mm eyepiece. However, with the ETX-70AT that is still not a lot of magnification.
Subject: 60 etx Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2002 15:37:11 From: JohnF@attcanada.ca (John Fournier) i have a problem with my focusing shaft and can't find the answer on your site-when i turn the focuser clockwise it moves the lens back like it should- whaen i turn the knob counter clockwise, the shaft moves out- i have to push on the shaft to move the lens tube???? please help thank youAnd:
i think i found the problem with my focus shaft-the knob got loose as i was trying to fit a longer gripper and when i retightened it -the knob was not pushed right to the end of the shaft so there was too much play in it. i am epoxying a shaft to the end of the knob to give a better focus thanks mike for a great site
Subject: help - ETX70AT Sent: Monday, April 8, 2002 18:53:10 From: email@example.com (Carlos Family) I found you site via google and I'm glad that someone is looking at ETX products. If you don't mind me asking a few things. I just bought the ETX70AT model for myself and my kids. We've had it for a couple of weeks and we've tried it three times. I'm not an astronomer so I really have no idea on where things are but after reading some books and looking at the Starry Night software that came with the scope I figured we could find Jupiter easily. So we tried. There's this bright star/planet towards the W/NW (from New Jersey). When I focus the scope into it all we see is a white ball/disc. I would have figured I would have seen some color but it was all white. I tried focusing but the focus only made the view smaller. I know I'm doing something wrong but I cannot figure out what. I used both the 25mm and 9mm lense but neither one seems to work. I have to say it's been really cold and windy lately so I wonder if it has something to do with it. The autostar was hard to use because we have high trees. So I tried manually. In anycase, do you have any recommendations or suggestions. Am I expecting too much or am I getting what I'm suppose to be getting. Is Jupiter really visible through this scope with colors? The manual also say not to clean the lense but when the scope came in it had a smear or finger print on the lense. Should I clean it or leave it alone as the manual says? If I can what can I use to clean it? Thanks again. I hope you could help. I'd really like my kids to get into astronomy. I know I would have loved it if I grew up with it. EdMike here: Welcome aboard! Jupiter is about straight up during the early evening hours. It is very bright. Through the ETX-70AT it will appear as a small white disk but you should be able to see a couple of cloud bands along with up to four of the larger moons. You may be expecting too much for this small, short focal length telescope. If stars (or Jupiter's moons) appear as pinpoints then Jupiter will be in focus. The ETX-70AT makes an excellent wide field telescope but magnification is limited due to its short focal length. For questions on the Autostar, see the Autostar Information page on the ETX Site. For info on cleaning, see the Buyer/New User Tips page. You might also want to read through my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. Also, there are some User Observations you might want to read though.
Subject: re: wide view plossl Sent: Friday, April 5, 2002 4:52:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ted Wilbur) To: email@example.com This may not be exactly what you're after but I thought I'd throw it out there. I have an ETX70 and I also wanted a wider view eyepiece. I purchased and love the Scopetronix 40mm ST Plossl. I often do quick and dirty alignments and get right to viewing. When using the extra low power 40mm for this purpose, I have yet to have an alignment star that didn't show up somewhere in the field of view. As Mike mentioned, vignetting can be an issue if you're too close to the eyepiece. I usually hold my eye a good 1/2 inch away to eliminate this issue. Focus is not a problem, crisp and clear. Using the A squared + B squared = C squared length of hypotenuse formula I came up with the following: On the 70, the 40mm eyepiece fits Procyon and Gomeisa (Beta Canis Minoris) exactly at opposite edges of the eyepiece. If I did my math right, the diameter of the field of view is 3 degrees arc, 4 min arc, 15.627 sec arc, pretty wide!
Subject: Wide view PlÝssl respose-ETX-70 Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2002 22:58:12 From: SonomaPilot@mac.com (
) I have a Televue 32mm that I use for both my ETX-70 and 90RA, and it works great for me. I have not tried it with a barlow, so I won't comment on that. This was my first Televue product, and any other eyepieces that I purchase will be from them ! I LOVE IT !!! I hope to one day buy one of their refractors (TV-101). Hope this helps, Mike Goddard
Subject: re: ETX-60 (was: newsgroups) Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2002 22:50:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com regarding focusing: The ETX70 requires over 50 "twists" of the fcous knob to go from end to end... if that still doesn't do it, try pulling the eyepiece out a little and clamp it with the screw. That extra 1/4 inch (5 mm) might do it. Another trick is to focus on something -close-, then something a chunk further away, then further.. each time assessing the quality of image and how much twisting you have to do. (close=100', middle=1000', further=3 miles...) Controllers: -any- of the 495/497 will operate an ETX60 and be upgradable. "News"groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadeetx-60/ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/etxastro/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadeetxowners/ are my faves for that model (and Mike's site) have fun --dickAnd:
Thank youf or the reply. I have actually managed to be a bit more patient and have figured out the focusing issues. As you suggested, I got up early the next morning and used the moon to focus. Once I got used to the focus adjustment, that next night I did quite a bit better - able to focus on Jupiter and other constellations. Being the first time that I'm using a telescope, I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I'm already finding myself saying, "there has got to be more". Seeing Jupiter and other planets as brightly lit 'spots' is exciting only to a point. So I'm already considering listing the ETX-60 on ebay and moving onward and upward (no pun intended). Before I set my expectations too high and spend money on something that might not get me what I'm anticipating, could you help me to understand how much better (closer, colorful, etc.) things will be if I chose a bigger scope. How about the ETX-105EC or ETX-125EC? Should I consider another brand that will get me more for my money? Any suggestions or insight would be very much appreciated. Obviously its difficult for a newcomer to make such decisions as the scopes can't be rented or borrowed for comparison. Regards, David SteinmanMike here: The short focal length of the ETX-60AT (350mm) is why objects don't appear as large as you expect. If you go with a longer focal length telescope, you MAY get closer to your expectations. Read through the User Observations and look at the photographs on the ETX Site (although don't expect that the photos will show exactly what you'll see). Take a look at my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. There are some comparison photos there.
David Steinman wrote: > Once I got used to the focus adjustment, that next night I did quite a bit > better - able to focus on Jupiter and other constellations. Great! ... any new tool/instrument requires some practice before what -later- appears "obvious" becomes clear.. or at least focused. > However, I'm already finding myself saying, "there has got to be more". Uh, oh... hide your wallet! The "aperture envvy" bug is nibbling at you... > Seeing Jupiter and other planets as brightly lit 'spots' is > exciting only to a point. The ETX60 is a bit on the small side for detail views of the planets... but it's a very decent scope for wide-angle view of starfields and a lot of extended objects. Mike and i both started star-gazing with cheap 90mm(3-inch) reflectors. The Meade DS-114, 4504 or 114eq-dh4 (all 4.25 inch) exceed that. But they're still not going to deliver -to your eye- the images on the 60's box. (to a camera, yes, with effort) > So I'm already considering listing the ETX-60 on ebay and moving onward > and upward (no pun intended). Before I set my expectations too high and > spend money on something that might not get me what I'm anticipating, > could you help me to understand how much better (closer, colorful, etc.) > things will be if I chose a bigger scope. How about the ETX-105EC or > ETX-125EC? Should I consider another brand that will get me more for my > money? No matter what scope(s) you acquire, there's -always- a bigger and/or better one (NASA won't sell you Hubble (yet), but it's being surpasssed for some tasks by the 8-meter scopes in Hawaii and Chile). Unless you can define your goals -now-, it's almost impossible to choose "the perfect scope"... cost/portability/desires/tecchniques all factor in. Do you require GoTo? Are you willing to home-build mounts or components? Do you want to see small things magnified large (planet work)? Or would you prefer large things made visible (wide-angle deep sky)? Each question leads you to (perhaps) entirely different types of scopes. (if this were transportation, it'd be like choosing between roller blades, scooters, bicycles, sedan, sports car, minivan, dump truck.. each does something -far- better than all the rest, but cannot do something the others can)(with range of prices to match... many bicycles cost more than what i paid for my car) > Any suggestions or insight would be very much appreciated. Obviously > its difficult for a newcomer to make such decisions as the scopes can't > be rented or borrowed for comparison. Ahhh... but you CAN! There's probably an astronomy club within reasonable distance of where you live... they have star parties where folks bring a wide variety of scopes and components. You're welcome to wander from scope to scope and chat about what/how/why. There are -massive- star parties (Texas, New York, Florida, California) where hundreds of the "clan" gather... but even small-to-middling are listed in Sky & Telescope, and can be found on the web. Even here in the middle of light-(and cloud)-polluted Seattle there are two monthly public viewing nights (well, same night, two locations)... weather permitting. There are even Bed & Breakfasts in Arizona and elsewhere which have a number of scopes for their guests to use... it's a BIG hobby... you've only got the universe to discover... there's probably not a single scope that might meet all of your needs. Many of us have either bought/sold a sequence of scopes, or have accumulated them to have a choice depending upon the need of the moment. Some of us are lucky enough to have chosen (or lucked into) one scope which meets 90% of what we like to do (the ETX90 fits me, an ETX125 would provide better views, but at the loss of some portability). Sometimes other factors intrude. The ETX60 won't bring much on eBay, i suspect, since they were sold new for $100 last year... you might keep it as a quick-grab scope, or as a pointer to where to look if you pick up a non-computerized style. (my ET90 is being a -very- handy accessory to my new LX200gps... it knows where to go, and help me figure out where the LX200 -should- be going) have fun --dick
Subject: wide view plossl Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2002 7:46:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David A Tinney) just have a question for ya......i need a wide view eyepiece for my etx60at. i have a few already for magnification and someone told me i can go with the orion sirius 40 or32mm wide angle is that ok to use with a meade telescope? i know meade says in there catalog that you should only use there products but im thinking i can use this.......yeah!....hope so........whats your input?......i just want to get a little more view than the MA25mm that comes with meade.......as long as its a 1.25 barrel which it is i think this will work with the sirius plossl thanks again dave!Mike here: There can be compatibility issues with some eyepieces, especially long ones or very wide angle ones. The problem can be vignetting (cutting off the image at the field's edge) or not reaching a focus. Off the top of my head I don't recall any ETX-60 or -70 users commenting on WA EPs. Perhaps someone has some direct experience.
Subject: ETX 60 Sent: Monday, April 1, 2002 19:22:45 From: email@example.com (Leonard Castro) I just bought an ETX 60 and I can't get it to work. When I try an easy align with Sirius as the first star it just points straight up and the motor keeps running. I then have to just turn it off. Could it be the scope or the Autostar? I bought it at Service Merchandise for $30 but it seems to be ok except for the declination marking is off about 35 degrees (any ideas on a fix for that?). Also, do you think Meade will recognize the warranty? Please respond, Leonard.Mike here: See the FAQ for info on the DEC scale. As the alignment, have you checked ALL the settings in the Autostar (date/time/location/daylight savings/telescope model/mounting mode)? Are you setting the telescope up in the proper HOME position? See the Autostar Information page for more info on alignments. Right now I don't know if warranty work is required but if the telescope is new it should be honored.
Mike, your website is fantastic! Thanks for the DEC tip. Also, I connected a 12 volt DC 400mA adapter and now it works fine. I guess batteries cause most slewing problems. Now I just need to know how to connect it to my car battery for those beach trips. Thanks again, Leonard.
Subject: Newsgroups? Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 21:02:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Steinman) Thank you for your site! I received a Meade ETX-60AT as a gift this weekend and can see an upgrade in my not too distant future. I've found answers to questions and preliminary 'getting started' suggestions. Now, if we can have one night without clouds I might actually get to use the scope! ;-) I have a couple of questions though that I hope you could answer for me. First is that I can't seem to find directions on the site pointing me to the entry point or manner to sign up for any of the discussion groups. How are these handled? Second, I want to upgrade the Autostar (#494) that came with the ETX-60AT. I would like to do this since it seems that starting with the next model and up, they are firmware upgradeable to accept updated celestial and satellite information. Do you know which Autostar models are compatible with the 60AT? Is the 497? I think I'm going to make my first purchases a 3x Barlow eyepiece, the Digit-T adapter for my digital camera, the Astrofinder software/cable kit and the 882 tripod. If you don't agree with these items I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thank you again for the information you are providing! Regards, David SteinmanMike here: There are no discussion groups sponsored at my ETX Site. Email is how things are currently handled. However, there are discussion groups that discuss the ETX and Autostar. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on this. And yes, the #497 will talk to the ETX-60AT. To upgrade it you'll need the #505 cable from Meade or others or make one yourself. You may or may not like the 3X Barlow Lens; just be aware of the maximum magnification for your telescope (see the FAQ if you are unsure what this is).
Thanks for your response. I hope you might help me one more time. I took the telescope outside for the first time tonight. I purchased a Meade 884 tripod. Forgetting about the Autostar for a moment. No matter what object I pointed the telescope at with either the 25mm or 9mm eyepieces, every object seemed perfectly round and no matter how hard I tried to focus, never seemed clear or provided any color of any kind. Everything was washed out 'grey'. Tonight is a perfectly clear night, no haze. I was standing on the deck behind my home, no lights on and turned the lights off in the house as well. I keep looking at pics on the web and know I should be seeing more and more clearly. Am I doing something wrong? Might there be something wrong with the telescope? I just received it as a gift (ETX-60AT). I pointed it at very large objects in the sky and some small. Same results. Help keep me from getting frustrated and hanging it up before I even start! I know there is more to this. Thank you in advance! David SteinmanMike here: It sounds like you are not turning the focus knob sufficiently to reach focus. Stars will appear as pinpoints when in focus. Jupiter will appear as a small round disk.
It sounds quite simple enough but I am turning the focus knob completely in each direction. At this hour, the moon is appearing. I am trying to focus on it since it's the closest and brightest object. I cannot bring it in focus. It sounds like there must be something wrong with the scope.Mike here: Since you have turned the knob fully in both directions without reaching a focus, there could be something wrong. When you turn the knob can you see the objective end of the telescope tube moving in and out?
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