ETX USER FEEDBACK - APRIL 1999
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and applicable to users of both the original ETX model, the ETX-90/EC, and the ETX-125/EC. Items specific to the ETX-90/EC are posted on the ETX-90/EC User Feedback page. Items specific to the ETX-125/EC are posted on the ETX-125/EC User Feedback page. 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: Meteor Shower, end of May/early June Sent: Friday, April 30, 1999 15:13:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike & Debra) Has anyone gotten any information on this? I have been trying to find a little info out on this to pass to my customers, and I can't seem to locate anything...yet. I appreciate any help anyone could give me. Thanks. Debra L. Mills MikeDebr@digizen.net Manager, Natural Wonders Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VAMike here: The Aquarid meteor shower occurs in early May. The Pegasids in late May. The Scorpiids in early June.
Subject: ETX Accessories Sent: Friday, April 30, 1999 5:56:39 From: email@example.com (Elliot Rubinsky) Solar Filter Thousand Oaks Polymer Plus ($53 - Pocono Mountain Optics) This filter is mylar, coated with the same caoting in their Type 2+ glass filter. It is felt-lined for a slip-on but secure fit with extra felt for smaller aperature scopes. It did not fiot over My Tele-Wrap Dew cap. The image of the sun was yellow-orange with a blue background, and reminded me of the image in the Orion Catalogue. It did not come with any instructions or marking on the box nor the actual filter. (Not a problem, I trust Mt. Pocono as I've done business with them before and were reccommended by a co-worker. All-in-all a good purchase. Eyepiece 32mm "UWA" Seibert about $40 (ebay) I've only seen seibert sell his EP's on eBay. I purchase it out of couriosity to see what an utlra wide angle EP can do.. The eye piece is hand made and painted black, not the prettiest one on the block. It has a rubber o-ring on the bottom to hold filters in place. (It works!) With a solar filter, I was able to fit the whole sun in the field of view with the sky in the back ground . The color seems to be consistent accross the F.O.V.. Views of the moon were sharp. I would reccommend this EP. Elliot
Subject: ETX Sent: Friday, April 30, 1999 3:39:07 From: ARNEPETER@aol.com First of all: Your Web-Site is great! Thanks for all the valuable information! I'm writing from Frankfurt, Germany. I don't have a telescope yet and was planning to get an ETX 90/EC. Now I see there's the 125 coming. What's your opinion: Will the performance of the 125 be worth the extra weight and size and (50% higher price)? Also, I checked out your picture gallery: Can I expect the visual appearance of the moon and planets to be as good as the photographic pictures or is there a difference? Thank you in advance for any comments. Kind regards, ArneMike here: Can't comment on the new ETX model except it is larger and more expensive. As to visual vs photo, visual will be MUCH better on the moon and planets.
Subject: Photography on the ETX/EC-90 Sent: Thursday, April 29, 1999 13:38:23 From: Warren_Pugh-CFIN25@email.mot.com (Pugh Warren-CFIN25) Just love your site. I have been reading it religiously since November when I bought my original ETX. As a novice, I find the site just a wealth of good information. Many thanks to all those who have contributed their good questions as well. I recently upgraded to the new ETX through Natural Wonders in Vernon Hills, Illinois. They were just wonderful...no hassles. While waiting for the Autostar controller to come in, I've been taking pictures through the eyepiece. Not bad, but not great either. Question...I want to take photos through the ETX with my Pentax. Would you recommend placing the T-Mount on the back of the scope, or getting the eyepiece adapter and placing the camera on top? Thanks and keep up the nice work. Warren Pugh WarrenPugh@aol.comMike here: Either mounting location will be a challenge for photos, even short duration ones. SLR mirror and/or shutter enduced vibrations will ruin most photos unless you have an incredibly sturdy tripod. Long duration exposures will trail since there is no way (with purchasing an off-axis guider attachment) to see and manually correct for drive and/or polar alignment. But if you are up to the challenge (and ready to go through a LOT of film), then you have to decide what objects you want to shoot. The moon (surface details) and planets will be better with an eyepiece projection adapter. Nebulae and the full moon are better with the camera at Prime Focus. Be certain you read through the Accessories - Astrophotography and the Astrophotography Gallery pages.
Subject: Things to see. Sent: Thursday, April 29, 1999 12:03:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Westmaas) In response to gw's question about finding things to see. May I suggest that he tries to get hold of 'Turn Left at Orion' by Consolmagno and Davis? It's a great starter with lots of suggestions for a 'small scope' like the etx. Ron ----------------------------------------------- Website http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~rwestmaas E-mail: email@example.com ----------------------------------------------
Subject: ETX Reflection Sent: Thursday, April 29, 1999 2:20:29 From: ROGER_WORTLEY@compuserve.com (ROGER WORTLEY) First thanks to Craig, Gregg and Cameron Brennan for replying to my E-mail on Skymap pro. With regards to the processing speed problem I have determined it only occurs on WIN98 and not 95. I have just read John Watsons problem with ETX reflection and I have seen the same circular or horse shoe reflection when a bright star or planet is at the top of the scope. This only occurs with the 26mm eyepiece. With my zoom eyepiece set at 23mm or the 13mm wide angle the reflection can only be seen when the star is out of view. With the wide field adapter it can be seen at the top. Bottom or side of the Scope but seems more pronounced at the top. It might indicate the mirror is not dead true but is probably within manufacturing tolerance. When de-focusing on a bright star at the top of the scope you only see half of a "donut" in actual fact you see the top half when turning the focus one way and the bottom half when turning it in the opposite direction. I don't know what this is telling me but it doesn't appear to be effecting the quality of the image. The donut ring appears correct once the star is not near the top of the scope. Anybody know what is going on? Roger Wortley.Mike here: It continues to be foggy here where I live so I can't test this out on my ETX. What do you see when the star is centered in the eyepiece and you defocus in each direction?
When defocusing a planet or star in the centre of the eyepiece the result is a perfect donut in both directions.
Subject: ETX and ETX-90/EC Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 16:48:16 From: BILLINJ@HughesLuce.com (Billingsley, James) I got your name and e-mail address from your ETX Web page, which I just found and intend to explore in much more detail. As an avid ETX owner, I'd like to know whether Meade intends to sell the base for the ETX-90/EC separately, so that ETX owners such as myself can upgrade to the ETX-90/EC (including the Autostar computer controller) without having to actually purchase the entire package. Last month's issue of Sky & Telescope, which had a review of the ETX-90/EC, said that as of the time the issue went to press, Meade had not decided whether to sell the base separately. Has Meade made a decision?Mike here: As you'll discover when you start catching up on some of the Feedback archives, Meade has no plans for an upgrade path.
Subject: MEADE dealer in Japan Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 1:28:58 From: BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .) Dear Mr. Minoru Hironaka, I saw your mail to Mike about trying to get the ETX 125 EC in Japan. I remembered seeing Meade dealer in Japan while searching for the regional dealer last year when trying to locate one in my area. I quickly go back to Meade homepage and copy the dealers in Japan for you. Hope you can contact them and get the scope. But it is not launched yet ! You may have to wait 2-3 months before it is available in Japan. Anyway, you are more lucky than I am as there is no Meade dealer in Thailand. Best regards, Sukun T. Bangkok, Thailand MIC International Corporation 8-1 Kugenuma Tachibana 1-Chome Fujisawa JP (0466) 27-3950 Fax: (0466) 22-4262 MIC International Corporation 28-2 Higashimatano-cho Totsuka-ku Yokahama JP (0458) 58-1317 Fax: (0458) 58-1328
Subject: Scopetronix ETX -90/EC tripod adaptor Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 1999 14:30:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I purchased the Scopetronix tripod adaptor mentioned on your web site, and I find it to be a well made product that provides a steady mount for the scope. As one needing to watch my budget this adaptor is a great alternative to purchasing a $200.00 tripod! Thanks for the information. Scott D. Texas
Subject: RE: A case or carrier for the Deluxe Field Tripod Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 1999 6:09:39 From: email@example.com (Isaac Hassoun) Just wanted to let you know that I found what I was looking for. One of Orion's catalogs, Telescope & Binocular, has a number of tripod bags. Keep up the good work, I just wish I could reciprocate. Cheers, Ike H.
Subject: Mars Polar ice cap Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 20:03:26 From: BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .) It has been either cloudy/rainy every night and last night was the 'first' night with clear sky in Bangkok since late March. I looked at Mars about 1.5-2 hrs after sunset. It is a very bright reddish planet with naked eyes. Through the ETX, its surface is bright orange-red with remarkable Maria and a small ice cap at 128X and 256X. It is much better than the view in Jan-Feb this year which appeared dimmer and the Polar ice cap is not visible from my observation point. One point is that after it rises to a higher altitude in the sky, the polar ice cap is very fade or even not visible through the ETX. I think I will confirm this again tonight, but unfortunately, today and the next few days will be rainy/cloudy again in BKK (& most of Thailand). So, for those who want to observe the Mars Polar ice cap, may be the best time is when it is only 20-30 degree above the horizon (1.5-2.5 hrs after sunset). After Mars, I looked north and the Big Dipper is there. In Thai starlore, the constellation is known as 'Crocodile' (7 stars, four stars for legs and three for its tail). I aimed at the easy Mizar (The 2nd star of the Crocodile's tail) and its the double (Alcor) resolved up at 96X. That's all as the cloud is covering up again. Only got a chance to take two pictures of the Moon before it's too cloudy for further observation. Congratulations (to Meade and our Group) on the long-awaiting new ETX 125 EC to be launched soon. I might get one if the unit appears to be stable, i.e. not many problems in the fork base unit to prevent it from proper functions because there is no MEADE's repair service in BKK. Since US Meade dealers cannot export Meade scope, and Meade Regional Dealer's price in KL is more than double of US price, I have to take the risk again as with my old ETX. Have to get a friend buy it for me and carry or ship back to Thailand. I will wait to see the comment from our pioneer user group before making the decision. Actually, I prefer to get a computerised 5" Celestron because there a small dealer in BKK. Unfortunately, Celestron does not launch such things.(OR anyone knows about any similar scope from Celestron??) I am still wondering what Celestron is doing, letting MEADE take all the market?? Best regards, Sukun T.
Subject: Comments on New User comments Sent: Monday, April 26, 1999 13:50:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Cameron) A couple of comments in response to some other New User comments: 1) Starry Night Deluxe vs. Redshift 3 software (for the Mac). I bought both of these. (I should say that I'm not enough of an astronomer to judge the nitty-gritty astronomical details of these programs. My judgments are based on the features and ease of use I found as an amateur user.) I bought Redshift first, because it was cheaper and the reviews were great. And it's a fine program. I have grown tired of a few of its features, though: It has an animated opening title that you have to go around; it has "movies" that are good introductions to some astronomy concepts, but after you've seen them, they just take up space. I do like the control panel for the "sky view" portion of the program. And the "sky view" works well. Starry Night also has a fine "sky view" and good controls. It costs two or three times as much as Redshift. It doesn't have "movies," although you can make your QuickTime shows with it. It has one big advantage over Redshift, in my opinion: you can load Starry Night onto your hard disk and play it without the CD-ROM. The CD-ROM gives you the fainter stars and celestial objects. Since I got Starry Night, I haven't used Redshift. 2) The Meade "Deluxe" Field Tripod. I bought one, because it's got that special head for the ETX/90C. But I'm sorry, it's a piece of crap. Cheap aluminum channel legs with cranky locking points. The tripods I use for nature photography, which cost about the same or less, are SO much heavier, sturdier, and easier to work with. My Meade tripod had one leg that kept sliding out of position...I finally took it apart and added two pieces of (fuzzy-side) Velcro to the clamping area. Now the leg is tight amd I trust it to hold the 'scope (mostly). The central "stiffening" arms are really flimsy...one kept coming loose from the central plate until I squeezed the connection with some pliers. But I still have trouble attaching the eyepiece-holder because the contraption just isn't built well. I also wish I didn't have to remove the eyepiece holder to fold the legs...it would be so much easier to get the set-up tripod-and-scope through doorways! All in all, the Meade tripod is a disappointment.
Subject: Eyepieces 4 Sale Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 10:51:19 From: email@example.com (John Martellaro) I have some eyepieces for sale. Model fl (mm) App Field (deg) Eye Relief (mm) Price -------------------------------------------------------------------- Meade Super Wide Angle 24.5 61 19 $110 Brandon Orthoscopic 12 48 12 $100 Nagler I 7 78 12 $195 All are in immaculate condition. Send inquiries to John Martellaro (firstname.lastname@example.org) I will pay postage. Terms are C.O.D., cash or money order. No checks. I won't pay overseas postage. The buyer will have to do that. The M.O.s must be drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. funds.
Subject: Re: Tripods Sent: Sunday, April 25, 1999 10:27:43 From: KC8DDQ@aol.com I've been on your website off an on for several hours. All I've got to say is "ONE SUPER WEBSITE!" Extremely informative. Thanks for having such a site. It has helped tremendously. I think I'm goint to get the Meade tripod. Seemed to be alot of people who were very satisfied with it. Now I need to look for a hard case and other accessories as well. I'll check with your site first. Paul
Subject: Upgrades Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 23:01:56 From: email@example.com (Douglas E. Cann) Not too much to report. Just when I thought the 'old' versus the 'new' ETX upgrade questions were done with, Meade comes out with an ETX 125. This should really stir up some interesting 'upgrade' questions from the ranks of the ETX 90's owners !! I hope that you are having enough time to actually observe while you are keeping this web site going. It really is a great site. I bet when you started in the summer of 1996 with the initial comments, that you wouldn't have guessed how mich it would have grown. Anyway, I hope that you get to observe Mars and enjoy the views.... Cheers.....DougMike here: Observing has been slim lately due mostly to poor weather (fog, rain, etc). But yes, the site does take a lot of time! And you are definitely right about never expecting that this site would become what it has over the last couple of years. But I'm enjoying it and learning myself from the experiences of others.
Subject: ETX-125 vs LX-50 7" Mak Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 22:33:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (JK Saggese) I'm considering trading in my old ETX-90 and buying either an ETX-125 when it becomes available, or holding off a little while and then buying an LX-50 7" Mak. The latter is obviously the better telescope, and much more expensive, but I've read in several places that while larger telescopes will obviously show more detail under optimum seeing conditions, they are more significantly compromised by light pollution and other imperfect seeing conditions than smaller telescopes are. If anyone who's had some experience looking through various larger telescopes could indicate how this tradeoff plays out in practice, especially in moderately light-polluted suburban skies, I would very much like to know. I'd really hate to buy the LX-50 (more than double the cost of the ETX-125 by the time I buy a tripod for the LX-50) and discover that on 9 out of 10 nights it really doesn't show much, if any, more than a good 5" scope would. The cost difference between the units would not be objectionable if I could expect to consistently see more, and occasionally much more, with the 7" than the 5". Any thoughts are appreciated. JK SaggeseMike here: Ah, cost versus capabilities. The age-old question. One factor to keep in mind is portability. The ETX-125/EC looks to still be easily portable. With larger scopes that gets more complex.
Subject: equatorial mount? Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 22:19:21 From: email@example.com (JK Saggese) Out of curiosity, has anyone tried a radical treatment of the drive accuracy by replacing the entire fork mount with an aftermarket mount of some kind, like a traditional German equatorial mount? I'm considering buying a Microstar II to allow for tracking correction for photography but thought it worthwhile to consider more radical measures as well. Thanks, JK SaggeseMike here: JMI has a replacement drive for the ETX. And the ETX could be mounted on several other types of mounts.
Subject: do all faint fuzzies look alike? Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 11:10:02 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com i live in a fairly light polluted area, but last night i went out to a national park just outside of town where the light pollution is not as bad and did my first deep sky observing. unfortunately, while the city lights were not a problem, the moon was... but i was able to see a couple globular clusters! m3 showed up the best. but i could not locate any galaxies. the only one that i thought i could see was m101, but even that i'm not sure about... it was not clearly visible like m3 was, but i used averted vision and saw what looked like a faint star out of the corner of my eye. is that what a galaxy will look like through the etx or should it look more like what i saw when i looked at the globular clusters? i used the "high precision" mode so i know the galaxy should have been dead center. i guess my question is, should all faint fuzzies look somewhat alike? ~noahMike here: Sky brightness (moon or light pollution) will hamper viewing of faint objects. So will viewing with insufficiently dark adapted eyes (15-30 minutes of near total darkness). Also, magnification will affect the apparent surface brightness of faint, extended objects like galaxies and some nebulae. Generally, you get the best view with low magnifications and averted vision with really dark skies and well dark adapted eyes. No, you won't see the same details as long duration astrophotography but you will varying shapes, sizes, brightnesses, etc. when looking at different objects.
Subject: A case or carrier for the Deluxe Field Tripod Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 8:29:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ike Hassoun) Let me first thank you for a great site and the great service you and the contributors provide. I'm very new at this and have just received my unit last week. Your site was instrumental in my choice for a first telescope. Thanks to your site, I not only bought what I think is the correct carrying case, the Doskocil Seal Tight, but also saved $60 in the process by following the advice found here. I've looked for references for something in which to pack the Meade tripod for field usage and couldn't find any. Could you please help? Cheers, Ike H.
Subject: RE: Vibration Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 7:36:07 From: email@example.com (Andrew Jackson) The mount is the new ETX 90/EC base on the Meade ETX tripod. The Vibration definitely comes from the R/A motor. As a side issue I discovered that if you tighten the screws holding the base onto the tripod too tightly, the whole base resonates and amplifies the motor noise. This may help some of your other readers who have mentioned the motor noise.. Thanks firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: As to the RA drive-enduced vibration, I do recall seeing some similar reports. Could be a malfunction that needs to be repaired (or exchange the scope at the dealer where you bought it).
Subject: ETX reflection Sent: Saturday, April 24, 1999 3:34:29 From: Watson_J@compuserve.com (John Watson) When looking at a field that has a brilliant star just outside its edge I get a bright, circular reflection in the eyepiece field. Same with three different eyepieces (two meade, one not). It appears to be an internal reflection from the central baffle tube of the ETX. Is this normal, am I being hypercritical, or have Meade forgotten to paint something dead black?Mike here: What I've seen is more linear rather than circular. Some reflection is normal, even on many other telescopes. But if it is really bad it is possible that something is wrong.
Subject: Meade ETX Disappointment Sent: Friday, April 23, 1999 23:41:46 From: email@example.com (kodiak) Maybe I expected too much! I just came in from trying to view Mars. Nada! I had contacted you about the Meade ETX around Christmas. I bought the ETX, 2X Barlow and an additional 9.7mm eyepiece. So far the Barlow worked well for looking at Saturn and Jupiter. They were a real rush.....rings of Saturn........Moons of Jupiter! I was fired up! After looking at Saturn, Jupiter and the Orion Nebula (great) and the moon (too damn bright), I'm outta things to see. Stars just look light bigger dots. I don't want to sound stupid but where do I go from here. Bigger Scope? If I sold my house for a down payment would I ever be able to afford one that would make me happy? I'm frustrated. I thought I would never run out of new things to look at. I am leary of doing the terrestrial stuff, don't want to accidently get a glint of the sun. Book says that will blind you! Please let me know if I am doing something wrong. I just don't know what else to do with it. And I am not the type of person to stare at the same things over and over again. Shalom, gwMike here: There are two things you are doing "wrong". One, Mars is actually pretty nice right now; see the photos on the Guest Astrophotography - Planets page. But you'll need good seeing to see dark areas and a polar ice cap. But you CAN see these on Mars. Just don't expect to see the same image quality as the Hubble Telescope or NASA photos from Mars missions. Two, you need to learn the sky. There are MANY MANY MANY things to see if you take the time and effort to learn more. With an ETX-90/EC and Autostar, learning the sky is less required but is still a useful skill to have. So, get some astronomy software (almost any will help you), get some basic astronomy books from your local bookstore. Visit the Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazine web sites, and many others are available as well. Remember, you didn't just get behind the steering wheel of your car and begin driving cross country. There were many things to learn first. Once you learned them you could beging to enjoy driving (well tolerate it at least!). Using an astronomical telescope OF ANY SIZE AND CAPABILITY is similar.
Thank you. I will try. gw
Subject: Vibration Sent: Friday, April 23, 1999 7:19:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Andrew Jackson) I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for reducing the vibration from the RA motor. Even in my 48X eyepiece I can see the shakes. I do not want to return this ETX as otherwise it seems OK. Any suggestions are welcome (well almost any) :) Andrew email@example.comMike here: You don't mention the mounting but seeing vibration at 48x from the drive tracking does seem extreme unless you have a really shakey mount. I don't see that with my ETX (original model).
Subject: Question About Buying a Meade EXT-90EC Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 13:28:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ryan Sutter) A friend of mine is interested in purchasing an EXT-90EC and asked me if I could search the web for him to find a dealer where he could get a good price. Not knowing anything at all about purchasing telescopes (but knowing a little about the web) I went looking for a site on the thing and lo and behold I found yours. :-) Nice little web site. Anyhow, I was wondering if a telescope enthusiast like yourself might be able to point a newbie in the direction of a good dealer where one might acquire one of these. If there really aren't any places much better than the usual local places, I'll just tell Jim that. Either way, your help would be appreciated and (again) nice site. Ryan SutterMike here: Hardly little anymore! Hasn't been little since 1996!!! Anyway, local dealers include The Nature Company, Natural Wonders, The Discovery Store. Online and mail order dealers include Shutan Camera and Video, Astronomics, Pocono Mt Optics, Oceanside Photo and Telescope, and many others. Check the Astronomy Links page, dealers section.
Subject: Dealer Links Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 11:26:29 From: email@example.com (Astronomics) We were taking a look through your website and we would appreciate it if you could add us to your dealer list. As you know, the ETX has been selling like crazy. Our URL is www.astronomics.com. Clear Skies, Mike/astronomics -- Astronomics/Christopher's Ltd. - Norman, Oklahoma 73069 Fax: (405) 447-3337 Tech: (405) 364-0858 Orders: (800) 422-7876
Subject: Orion Telescopes Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 10:01:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) I love the full color Orion catalogue, chock full of useful information...if only their tech support was as good! They gave me slightly incorrect coordinates for my zip code - ok, you get what you pay for... I bought the moon filter (seems ok, didn't try, but the instructions were disappointing - you have to jury rig it with tape, etc. if you want to adjust the polarization (light passing through ness) with the eyepiece in place - not convenient! I bought the skyglow light pollution filter - lots of the sky is pink here in lovely staten island, ny (otherwise known as stinky island) - and the filter did NOT improve my view of the pleiades, orion, M51 (still can't see it), etc. I called tech support, and the guy told me it won't improve galaxies, but only nebulae (i thought their catalogue implied improved viewing in general). He suggested i try it on a nebula like orion - when i told him i did, he then said orion was not a good choice because it had unusual emission characteristics (kinda like this double talking tech support fella!) i told him i was in new york, and he mentioned saggitarius had great nebulae - i told him i didn't think i could see it this time of year, and he mentioned i probably couldn't (hmmm, that was fairly useless). So, between that, their camel hair cleaning brush that sheds on my lens, and their Lanathium Zoom prices $40 higher than Adorama (just bought a new one there today), I am sending back the filter, cleaning kit, zoom, and almost everything else i bought from them - i think their prices are high (ala the doskocil case, their tripod bags, accessories, etc.) I didn't have a chance to ask if they would price match - which would have at least avoided my sending the lens back - guess i should have given them a shot. Also, i think i bought books from them, or someone else - hard to keep track - Amazon had plenty of the typical astronomy books at discount, but some were not - so it might be worth checking out. Incidentally, I noticed in the Adorama catalogue that there is a Celestron 20 mm lens (Kelner, I believe) with crosshairs which they mention is good for alignment, etc. - i would have to agree - wish i saw it BEFORE i left the store, now i have to go back for it - it's $34.95 and i don't know anything else like it on the market - imagine how much easier it would be to train or align the etx. with a barlowed 20 mm with crosshairs! if anyone else knows of a similar product, please let me know! Happy slewing! Gary
Subject: Meade Stock Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 9:53:07 From: email@example.com (Gary) As you can see, I have too much time on my hands... Recently I bought some Meade Stock - symbol MEAD on Nasdaq. I am not a broker, and there is never a guarantee that a stock will perform well...with that caveat in mind, i think Meade has a relative monopoloy on the market - it's closet competitor is of course Celestron, but I don't think they have the same retail network as meade - ala natural wonders, discovery store, etc...sure, meade will probably have plenty of bugs to work out with the ETX (and inevitable returns), but they have the 125 coming out one of these days (more sales, more sales!) plus whatever trade ups they offer, if any. The ETX has been mentioned in Popular Science, and elsewhere. They are coming out with the DS series soon (department store?) (doesn't slew?) which is supposed to bring even more computerized telescopes to the masses - my guess is the DS scopes with autostar (the 495 cheaper one) may run in the $400 range (just my guess) but it is sure to be a hit. As the stock already took some beatings, I think it's a great time to buy it - just my humble opinion - just remember, the guy who gave you this information still can't get his scope to goto very much... Happy slewing and stock buying! GaryMike here: The above is neither a recommendation to buy, sell, or otherwise procure Meade stock. Consult your financial advisor before acquiring stock.
Subject: Advice/Help Sent: Thursday, April 22, 1999 8:59:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mario Taporco) First of all I would like to say thank you for all the effort that you compiled on your site, tremendously painstaking. I have been wondering about here and there trying to find good source of information about the scope that I have purchase @ Natures Wonder; great price for the ETX classic to say the least. It was headache for me to make a decision between the ETX-E/C or the CLASSIC, and I've chosen the classic instead. I just like those mechanical parts that are sticking out all over the place, or maybe Im the type of guy just like to tinker with mechanical parts. Hold on, were getting to the good part or should I say I have notice something that was a concern to me, also to others as well. My ETX classic was mounted on the Meade field tripod, set up out in our backyard (April 21 99) beautiful clear sky but, with gale force wind of about 5 to 10 mph. Everything looks good until I have look thru the eyepiece 26mm mounted w/ ND96 Meade filter w/ 2X Barlow at the Lunar phase, gorgeous craters on the terminator side. Here is the problem, my ETX classic vibrated ranging from 3 to 4 0r 5 even on the Richter scale. I didnt feel the ground moving but looking thru the eyepiece was terrible. On closing, and let me make this short. HELP!!! My ETX classic still under warranty, so I can easily send it back, but I want the facts; the root of the problem for this matter, and your site has that great knowledge thats being passed around. Thanks. Mario TaporcoMike here: Had some minor trouble with the text in your attachment but if I understand your question, you were wondering why there was vibration in the image seen through your ETX while the wind was blowing. As with any high magnification device, any physical movement of the optics will be visible in the eyepiece. And since your ETX was probably not protected from the wind, you were seeing the results of an unstable mounting (typical of non-permanent OR extremely heavy duty mounts). The ETX legs do not provide that much stability, especially when there is some wind blowing.
Subject: ETX-90 or ETX Mailing List?? Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 22:27:54 From: email@example.com (Steve McDonald) Do you know of any dedicted meade reflectors? or specific ETX reflectors (mailing lists)? PS...your sight is WONDERFUL!! Any prices announced on the new 125EC?? SteveMike here: Visit the Buyers/New Users Tips page. There is an item there called "ETX Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists".
Subject: Star Parties in Wis Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 8:33:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brooks, Shawn) Anyone know of any star parties or who I could contact for information on local star parties? I am in the Madison Wisconsin area. Thanks Mike for the great site.
Subject: dew shield Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 15:20:45 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com i just wanted let everyone know that there is an easy alternative to buying a $30 dew shield. i went to my local hardware store (Lowes) and went to the floor section. they should have sheets of lightweight black rubbery material. (like $1.50 per foot) i got 2 feet (so i had room to screw up) and cut it into a 5' X 16' rectangle (these are the dimensions that companies advertise as the size for their ETX version). i then attached velcro to the ends and had myself a dew shield for under 5 dollars! happy slewing, ~noah
Subject: (Fwd) New ETX 125/EC Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 13:33:06 From: email@example.com (TLN) FYI if you haven't seen this... Tom Nagy ------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date sent: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 17:39:50 -0500 From: Astronomics (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: New ETX 125/EC I apologize if you have already gotten this. Our pop servers have been acting up and messages haven't been going out very well. The ETX will now have a big brother, the ETX 125/EC and it will be fully Autostar compatible. The 125 model doesn't have a delivery date or a solid price. We will have a full update on our webpage in the next week or so. Just thought you would like to have some information. Clear Skies, Mike/astronomics -- Astronomics/Christopher's Ltd. - Norman, Oklahoma 73069 Fax: (405) 447-3337 Tech: (405) 364-0858 Orders: (800) 422-7876
Subject: ETX 125 EC is official Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 1999 5:40:42 From: email@example.com (Skinner, Glenn) Late last night Mike from Astronomics, posted on sci.astro.amateur a notice that the EXT 125 EC is officially announced by MEade. Pricing and ship date has not been announced, but Astronomics will post a full page announcement within the next week on their web site. Glenn
Subject: ETX Website Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 20:38:33 From: Petz2@aol.com Heard about your ETX web site from a man at Scope City in Sherman Oaks. I am enjoying mine and looking to buy some accessories. Thanks for the info on your site. Steve
Subject: focuser Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 15:02:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Manuel) I just purchased a new etx telescope and was wondering about an electric focuser. I have called a few places to order the new etx focuser, but they said that meade wont have them available til at least June. So my question is what other focuser would you recommend. I know there are a few electric focusers out on the market, but I dont know how good they are. Please help!Mike here: JMI has one that I review in the Showcase Products area. I don't know if it fits the new model but if not I'm sure JMI is revising it. Scopetronix used to offer one but no longer does.
Subject: mars Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 14:50:38 From: email@example.com (marwine) I've had difficulty finding time to write about my last hours with Mars which took place on April 11 from about 1:30AM until about 3:15. It was a fine night, made even better by the company of my 11 year old friend, Jeremiah. I've been helping him work up an interest in the night sky since the first of the two great comets came into view a few years ago. Last Christmas, his father bought him a 4.5 inch SkyView Delux Newtonian from Orion which we've looked through once since Christmas. That night, we had nice views of the nebulae in Orion (M42,43), and the Pleiades (M45), after we were finished gazing at Jupiter and Saturn, and before the almost-full moon rose over the hills behind his house. All views, including those of the moon, were very satisfying. He does not have a large patch of sky at his house, but he really enjoyed first light through his own telescope. He's keeping a journal of sorts, and is doing drawings of everything he sees. So, I was very happy to learn that he could bring his telescope, stay overnight, and was willing to be awakened at 1:30 to look at Mars. This was the first time our scopes had been side-by-side as well. We set them both up and did very crude polar alignments while it was still light out. These turned out to be more than adequate for keeping Mars in view in the ETX with only minimal slewing with the Microstar controller, and in the Orion with manipulation of the RA We covered the scopes with our shirts to keep off the dew and retired early to bed with my alarm set for 1:30. When I woke him, he rushed immediately to the window: "Wow, it's bright," he said. And bright it was. Also very steady, probably the best night of viewing I've yet had for the planet. As it turned out, Jeremiah spent most of his time at the ETX because he could sit comfortably while I hunched over the Newtonian. We talked about what we were seeing and he already new that his view would not be the same as mine. We both saw the polar ice - clearly and persistently - and dark spots on the surface, and we were both pretty excited by it. The Newtonian's views were clearly brighter at 200 magnification (900mm focal length with a Meade 126 Barlow and the Orion 9mm Plossel) than the ETX at 124 magnification (1200mm focal length with a Meade 9.7 Plossel) but the surface detail was clearer in the ETX. That may have been due to imperfect collimation in the Newtonian plus higher contrast, but I don't know. Both views were well worth observing. I'm now convinced that nights of really good seeing demand something more than a 9.7 lens - even with the Barlow that I normally use with the 13.8SWA or 9.7. And, I'm going to have to get Jeremiah a lens or two for his birthday. He was glued to the scope for most of the hour before we took our first break to gaze at the moonless sky. I was especially pleased that he wanted to check his planisphere before going around the yard to see what we could see. Scorpius was well above the southern horizon, Leo was setting in the west (we could still see the Beehive M44 easily with the naked eye), Corona Borealis and Hercules graced the zenith with Lyra and Cygnus rising in the east. It was a beautiful night. Jeremiah likes Scorpius the best because he says its the only one that looks like it is supposed to look. O.K. Orion is pretty neat, too, but "Scorpius really looks like a scorpion," he says. We were both pretty pleased with ourselves - we got to see the polar ice cap for the first time, at the same time. Too bad he's going away to camp for the summer. I know he'll be taking his planisphere. And I am going to try to begin locating some of those M objects that others are seeing so well. Lyra did bring thoughts of the ring. I received three filters from Orion for use in viewing mars (23A, 56, and 80A), but I've not had a clear night to use them. I'm anxious to see how they work. Thanks for all your work maintaining such a fine site. Good seeing, alan
Subject: Meade caalog and ETX125/EC Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 12:27:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Osika) I just received the new 100 pg. Meade catalog in the mail today and it is showing an etx125/ec next to the etx90/ec. Any idea if the 125mm is available? Michael O.Mike here: Anyone else receive this catalog? There is nothing on their web site as of 20 April 1999.
Subject: Mars and more Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 9:58:35 From: email@example.com (Arne Tjolsen) User feedback: Wonderful site! Saturday night was a wonderful observation night with good seeing here in Palo Alto, California. Mars was stable, and with more surface markings than I've seen before. Very clearly visible was the bright Hellas area toward the south, roughly triangular Iapygia and Syrtis major, and intermittently the small northern ice cap. Comment on Mike Hartley (April 11): What he described as the southern ice cap, probably was the Hellas area, because it seems Mars now is tilted with the north pole against us. As he did, I saw this very bright area at the south rim, that fits with Hellas. See very nice map in S&T for April, p. 106. The maps for 270-315 degrees fit very well with what I saw. Note the maps are upside down compared to the image in the ETX. After Mars, I checked out some of the Virgo cluster, and found quite easily M60, M49, M87, M84/M86. The night being nice and warm, it was really fun to star- and galaxy-hop. Arne Tjolsen firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A new astronomy link Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 8:47:58 From: email@example.com (doug) Love you site! Would it be possible to add Todd Gross' web page to your links? It provides some useful ETX tips among many other useful things. http://www.weatherman.com/ DougMike here: He's been on the Astronomy Links page since February 1998 (but not with his name).
Subject: Distant Suns Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 4:50:59 From: TSpina@sr.csg.com (Spina, Tony) I wanted to pass along a message from Mike Smithwick, author of Distant Suns, which is an excellent astronomy application. Mike offers a free version of Distant Suns (version 4.0), and he also has a new commercial version of Distant Suns (version 5.1). For those of you who do use this application Mike has posted a bug fix, which updated the events calendar. For those who have not used this application I strongly recommend it. It is an excellent tool for finding objects, and knowing what is up in the night sky. But enough said! Check out his web site which is listed in the e-mail below. To friends and fans of Distant Suns : There is a minor bug that was pointed out to me in the "Major Events" feature of Distant Suns. I neglected to update the data for 1999. (duh!) Which explains why upcoming meteor showers and eclipses have not been announced along the top of the screen as they should have. There is a new file with installation instructions posted to the web site in the downloads section. This will work for both Distant Suns 4 and 5. Also, this word from our sponsor : When I released DS4 as freeware, the idea was to use it as a tool to spark interest in the ever curious in space and astronomy. Unfortunately, for all of the wonderful notes I have received, the word just hasn't gotten out, and my download count is frightfully low for a program this highly regarded. For those of you who do use it, and enjoy it, I ask first that you try to tell 10 friends about it, and have them in turn tell 10 of their friends. Secondly, if anyone of you have good ideas for PR purposes to spread the word, please feel free to suggest them. While I do intend to continue developing the software, improving it as time permits, it is always nice to know that it is being appreciated. Thanks one and all, Mike Smithwick -- Mike Smithwick, author First Light, Distant Suns, Galileo, AmigaTrek, Babylon 5-The Musical Distant Suns Web Site : http://www.distantsuns.com *** We're whalers on the moon! We like to use harpoons! But there ain't no whales So we tell tall tales And we sing these whaling tunes! --- Futurama
Subject: Craig TeleWrap/Dew Cap Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 16:56:28 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Elliot Rubinsky) I have just received the new TeleWrap (with felt lining). It is a great fit. At $22 it is also one of the cheapest dew caps on the market. My only concern is that its seam may come loose in the future. Elliot P.S. I have been told by a coworker that dew caps are very useful on cardioptic telescopes as they reduce local light pollution.Mike here: I've had one for over a year; the seam still seems fine.
Subject: An Overview of ETX finder options Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 15:32:34 From: email@example.com (Jose Rizal) An Overview of ETX finder options At about 70 degrees DEC or 70 degrees ALT on an alt-azimuth mount, the base of the ETX increasingly interferes with straight-through finder views particularly at the stock finder's location. I'm not sure just any rifle scope offers a good solution. ETX OTA }[ ] long axis}[ ]+++++++ QwikFinder or tall mounted finders }[|| ] <<--- ||= finderscope location, see below BASE [xxxxxxxxx] [xxxxxxxxx] [^viewing direction^] On the above diagram, your viewing direction would be pointing in the direction of the caret, ^ . Unless the finder's mount has sufficient height to clear the base obstruction, it would be difficult to view through a finder when the OTA is over 70 degrees ALT or DEC and most difficult using the ETX tabletop mount. Celestial objects are best viewed at or near the zenith, so a comfortable view near this angle is optimal. Mike Weasner's site has several solutions. Finders that offer height enough to overcome the obstruction cost ~> $40, and those less than $40 require some user modification to the finder or the ETX OTA. Mounting stick-on finders closer to the corrector lens provide a better straight-through viewing angle despite the base obstruction, but it will interfere with a dew shield and is less than optimal view. The daisy-site modification will cost $20-30 including Radio Shack parts and the acid to remove the Daisy lens coating. The $10- 20 difference can buy a better designed and fitting finder such as the Orion EZ finder or a Rigel Systems Qwikfinder, QF. A 90 degree finder is a better solution. Your viewing direction would be as <<--- labeled above. It improves your viewing position throughout the equatorial or alt-azimuth axes. These finder optics currently flip objects left-for-right [which matches the ETX eyepiece view] or even north-for-south. If you like this view, then the 90 degree finder is for you. Meade recently introduced their own replacement, so there is no need to make modifications to the ETX. Adding a 1x finder, like QF, is indispensable if you aren't using the AutoStar on an ETX-EC. QF offers many of the Telerad benefits in a smaller footprint with a profile that overcomes the base obstruction. QF locates object with the same orientation as naked eye viewing; it has over 12 inches of eye relief [you can view through it over a foot away from QF]; its lightweight and doesn't affect ETX balance; it can be sturdily mounted with double-sided tape; its periscope like design clears the base obstruction; its detachable so the ETX can be packed optimally in stock cases; its easy to align but rarely looses alignment; its cheaper and smaller than a Telerad [which is large for an ETX]; the reticule is dimmable and pulse-able; and its single CR2032 batteries last over 200 hours. QF doesn't replace a finderscope entirely but is an ideal 1x finder for an ETX. In light polluted skies, a magnified finder view improves visual magnitude, and is indispensable for zeroing in on telescopic objects. The QF projected reticule is useful only at night. The QF viewing position is improved but less optimal than a 90 degree finder. Properly aligned, the ETX-EC+AutoStar limits the need for a 1x finder, the computer replacing naked-eye finding and star hopping. The AutoStar calibration guide stars are rarely within the stock finder's blind spot, so a finder get less use. AutoStar allows the ETX-EC to be used in an alt-azimuth mount, so polar alignment is unnecessary. However, to make corrections to computer error, a magnified finder remains an indispensable backup. AutoStar obviates and doesn't develop a users navigation skills, so this effect needs consideration. I still use the stock finder and added a QF. It used to take minutes to polar align the ETX classic, now its done in seconds with higher accuracy. The 70-90 deg DEC blind spot is corrected by the QF. With less objects of interest toward the north celestial pole, there is no current rush to get a magnified 90 degree finder. The stock finder remains useful when using the ETX as a spotting scope. Sincerely, JP Rizal
Subject: Star Party Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 10:19:15 From: RonMcCafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty) I belong to an Astronomy club and went to my first star party last night. I would like to share my experience. When I arrived I was a little reluctant/embarrassed to get out my ETX since the next smallest scope was a 10" Dobsonian. My wife had fun teasing me by suggesting I wait until dark. I decided to go for it and set it up. I arrived early and regretted not packing my solar filter. As I set up a couple of the members walked up to see if I had the EC90, I don't. One of the most respected/knowledgeable members told me he's had an ETX for years that he uses from his back patio all the time. Other members were aware of the ETX and came over for a look. They all had nice things to say about the optics and views. It didn't get very dark. The Milky Way wasn't visible. I also got a chance to look through other scopes. While I didn't get a chance to do direct comparisons I looked at the Moon, Mars, and the Beehive, from an 8" LX200 ,a 10" DOB, and a 11" Celestron. I'm not sure what to say about what I saw. I expected a huge, gee whiz, difference but didn't notice one. Maybe because it wasn't that dark. Maybe because I didn't get to do direct comparisons. The bigger scope users concentrated on finding hard to see items which I think are beyond the capability of the ETX. It was interesting when focusing on Mars the big scope users would place a blocker over their scope effectively making it a smaller scope. The star party was a great. Attendees love to share views and help newer members find stuff for the first time. I had been struggling trying to find the Beehive. I've got it now. I expected the ETX to get blown out of the water and I don't think it did. I couldn't see the faint fuzzies they could but I thought I saw some of the other stuff just as well. My club has a 10" Dobsonion they loan out so I think I'll put my name on the list and try it out. I think I'd like to have a larger scope but in addition to not as a replacement of the ETX. I've also decided to not purchase a JMI or Meade tripod next. I'll use a sturdy table and the table top legs for polar alignment. I'll continue to use a heavy duty video tripod which works, I think, pretty well. I will buy a better pair of binoculars. I was "gee whizzed" by the views through a Orion 10X50 UltraView compared to my Tasco's. I highly recommend going to a star party. The web has several places for star party etiquette. I'll add 2 tips. Park where it's easy to get out. I got blocked in and had to wait for someone else to leave before I could. The BIG mistake I made was to pull into my parking space. When I put my car in reverse my back up lights came on and probably ruined everyone's night vision for a while. Ron McCafferty
Subject: possible link Sent: Sunday, April 18, 1999 9:50:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Here is a site you might wish to post: http://www.bbwebb.com/galaxy/ good seeing, alan
Subject: etx 4 $ale Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 19:47:24 From: email@example.com (Hamidou Pryor) I have an etx-ec90 brand new with all of the access. someone would need for sale. Do you know of anyone interested??? Please reply asap. It is a hot item!!! reply at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: dew shield Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 17:35:33 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) Dew shields are usually about 1.5 times the diameter of the 'scope. My homemade cardboard one (due for a replacement after months of hard use) sticks out about 6" past the end of the tube. I haven't had a problem with dew on the main corrector lens since I've started using it. ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: Opinion on Nebular Filters & their use on small scopes like the ETX Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 13:30:21 From: email@example.com (Michael Wrobel) To help out LooneyRoo@aol.com on the question about Nebular Filters. I own an Orion SkyGlow Boadband filter. At the time, a paid about $80 dollars for it. When using it with the ETX, the short focuser of the ETX results in the eyepiece + Skyglow filter not being able to fit all the way in. This is only a minor annoyance. An older & shorter nebular filter that is owned by my astronomy club, the Chagrin Valley astronomical society does not produce this mechanical problem. When used with the ETX my filter does indeed work to filter out sky glow. It does indeed provide more contrast in the eyepiece field of view. Don't expect to see a dramatic enhancement of the image itself when using it "casually" with the ETX. A nebular filter is of coarse an image "filter" and not an image "amplifier". The image itself appears brighter because your eye "amplifies" the remaining starlight better because your eye can essentially dark adapt to the filtered image better. I consider my nebular filter to be useful only as an optional accessory when using it with the ETX. I only use it when I have actually found the object in the sky that I am looking for. To appreciate its usefulness, you have to be patient & let you eye adapt to the better contrast provided. Sometimes I find that the filter detracts rather than enhances the particular image. The key I find to making a nebular filter work for you is patience and an upfront understanding as to what it will accomplish for you. I find that utilizing other techniques such as averted vision works better than the filter in some cases. Other members of my astronomy club have told me that I really need to use a nebular filter with a larger scope to appreciate its usefulness. Bear in mind that some of these larger instruments themselves are more subject to the effects of Light pollution because the larger aperture not only brightens the image of the desired celestial image, it also greatly brightens the accompanying light pollution. The smaller aperture of the ETX makes it less susceptible to the effects light pollution/skyglow. I live in an area where there is moderate light pollution to my south & west. My northern view is virtually free of light pollution (Lake Erie is only a mile north of me" My eastern sky is only slightly affected by light pollution. My view towards the zenith is also not significantly affected by light pollution. The site of the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society's observatory is located in a very rural portion of Ohio ( about 30 miles south of me ) and virtually free of light pollution. These are my primary observing sites which I rate good & excellent respectively in terms of being affected by light pollution. From my home, the faintest nebula I saw was the Owl Nebula (M 97) once on a very clear night towards the northern horizon. Other less faint nebulas have alluded me and my ETX. I find that I only use my nebular filter as an optional accessory. Any one else who observes at a more light polluted site should bear this in mind when considering my opinion. I would recommend using a nebular filter if you are unfortunate enough to be more than moderately affected by light pollution. Clear Skies Mike Wrobel
Subject: auto/manual focusing Sent: Saturday, April 17, 1999 13:01:15 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com i don't remember if i read this on your site or if i read it on some other discussion board, but i've found the cheapest way to make "focusing bounces" go away. all you need is one clothespin! by attaching the clothespin to the focusing knob, it allows for quick focusing without the wiggles. i guess it has some physics behind it, with levers and the such, i have no idea, but i just know that it works... so for those out there who were considering buying the auto focuser, they might want to reconsider! happy slewing ~noah
Subject: deepsky Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 13:45:07 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com i have a quick question about barlow lenses. i understand that they magnify an image, my question then is, do they make deep sky observing easier? if not, I've heard of nebular filters that block out light pollution and exaggerate deepsky objects (or say they advertise), but is that mainly for photography or will i see a noticeable difference in the eyepiece? i'm really not sure which one i want to invest in, a barlow lens or a nebular filter (if either), but i'd really like to know your opinion on the matter. thanks alot! ~noah ps i guess i'm really begging the question, is there a way around getting a larger telescope? i know that the larger the scope, the more light it will gather...Mike here: Check the Accessories - Filters page for some comments on narrowband filters. These may help in light polluted areas when viewing nebulae. Adding a Barlow Lens can actually reduce visibility of dim nebulae since you are spreading the light out across more surface and because there is more glass for the minimal amount of light to get through.
i just wanted to add that i answered my own question about the barlow lens... i know that the higher the magnification, the larger the object gets but it also gets dimmer... my question still stands with the filter. thanks again
Subject: New ETX Model Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 11:00:53 From: Frank.Depizzo@qwest.com (Depizzo, Frank) I am a novice when it comes to owning a scope and this is my first message on the board. With that said I like probably many others have the older ETX scope. Now Meade has come out with the newer version, ETX90C. I understand that they do not currently offer a upgrade to the older scopes. However, I would like the feature and functionality of this newest release. I really like the fact of being able to have the feature of linking the scope with your PC and having it auto find a target. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks, FrankMike here: As noted on the Feedback pages, if you want the new model the best solution is to sell your old one and buy the new one. Some dealers were taking trades and one dealer was offering just the new base. But reportedly both offers are no longer available.
Subject: re: Price Value Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 8:10:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jose Rizal) Hi from a Filipino amateur astronomer! Generally, astronomy is an expensive hobby, the small market tends to require high prices to keep it going. Quality optics and collimation are labor intensive, so you pay high US labor rates. Large Russian and Chinese brand scopes have quality that varies but are worth a look. Don't let this deter you! The Philippines is superb for astronomy because its closer to the equator, views both southern and northern skies and doesn't suffer from light pollution. I was very impressed by the dark sky in the Philippines and beach locations were especially dazzling. Lighting tends to be low-watt incandescents, and even if unshielded, are not so common, so sky glow is minimal even in heavily polluted Manila [you're in Cebu is see?]. I hope its that way still, In the US, we get only the Northern sky. For Philippine use, you'll need a water tight hard case. Transportation is rough to rustic sites, and by banca you don't want the thing to get wet or sink if it fell overboard! The ETX plastic and aluminum construction is an advantage [there's nothing to rust] and it doesn't need a tripod. What I did notice in the Philippines is a small astronomy market, and what's sold tends to be low quality 'department store' telescopes. Information was scanty on all aspects of amateur astronomy, but the internet availability makes than a non-issue now. If you can BUILD your own scope using quality optics, you can get a superb telescope for low prices, as you shift your labor to Philippine rates. WWW.edsci.com/ has books ~$3 for plans, and about $30 for their lenses to make a superb 6" dobsonian telescope. They ship internationally. Is the ETX a good telescope? Yes. Can you find a new one for lower price? No. Used? Under $450. Meade doesn't sell outside the USA because it has international dealer arrangements. However, I've found international dealers charge almost double what we pay here, but I don't know of SouthEast Asia markets. Hong Kong amateur astronomers have been lucky finding Celestron's C90 or its astronomical cousin the G3+ and G5+ at discounted prices there. If you've the means, Hong Kong is a place to find quality telescopes. The ETX-SC is not yet fully bug free. If you get one of the problematic ones, it'll be very hard to fix in the Philippines without a local dealer. The older mechanical ETX is a better deal, since there are less electronics to malfunction [the clock drive is reliable] and if you value knowing how to locate objects without automation. I've been impressed by a "Jeff Nukowitz" who posts on Weasner's site and the newsgroups. He can view in 1 night what takes me 3 nights, using the automation of the ETX-90. Hope this helps.
Subject: Re: etx-90/ec Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 2:17:13 From: email@example.com (mote) i'm back from the states and i now have my own ETX-90/EC! question: is it possible to take the ETX tube out of its fork mount? i'm curious coz i want to use it as a lens for my camera. rgds, moises singaporeMike here: You can remove the OTA from the fork. You should have received two allen wrenches with the scope; one is for the four screws holding the tube (2 screws on each side).
Subject: quality Sent: Thursday, April 15, 1999 10:16:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Damien) I don't mean to be critical, but these photos on you page do not present a very appealing view of the planets included. Is this a result of the Internet, your astrophotography, or the limits of the ETX? I am a first-time scope buyer and had been considering an ETX but if what I will see is anything like your photos, and I am told photos are better than naked eye viewing, this scope appears to suffer dreadfully from aperture limit. Can you be of any help in recommending the ETX as compared to, say a basic 8 inch SCT? thanksMike here: The photos indicate what type of PHOTOGRAPHY you can expect. Astrophotos rarely indicate what can be seen, or not seen, visually. Bright objects (moon, planets) will look super in the ETX. Faint objects (dim planets, nebulae, galaxies) will never look as nice as long duration photos, no matter what size telescope. The ETX is an excellent visual telescope FOR ITS SIZE. If you want better (brighter views with more magnification) you'll need a larger aperture.
Subject: dew shield Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 1999 20:29:29 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com i am probably going to construct my own dew shield for my ETX. i was wondering if you knew the dimensions i should cut the material into. i read somewhere that you make the material wide enough for it to overlap around the OTA by about an inch, but i can't remember how long it's supposed to be. is it 1.5 X the length? if you know where i can find out, please let me know. thanks! ~noahMike here: I believe the dew shield should stick out past the end of the OTA by 2-to-4 inches.
Subject: Price Value Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 3:19:47 From: email@example.com (Christy) Great site. Is the meade ETX 90 really worth the 595 dollars. Can you help me with this?, Please. Hey iv seen the Meade website and some of its dealers and iv noticed that there's a restriction to the Philippines. Isnt there any other way it can be shipped to the Philippines? Please reply. -wailhiMike here: As to whether the ETX-90/EC is worth $595, few users and reviewers have complained about the price. And considering that the ETX-90/EC has more capabilities than the original model, which also sold for $595, you are even getting more for your money. As to shipping to the Philippines, perhaps some dealer will see your message, or you can visit dealer web sites and see if anyone will ship one to you.
Subject: how to mount etx on wedgepod Sent: Monday, April 12, 1999 21:03:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Fernando, If I'm reading your post correctly, then you need some help polar aligning your scope in the southern hemisphere. Firstly, forget everything you've read about polaris. You are in the southern hemisphere, and there are no stars at the pole for us to realistically use. First, set your wedgepod to your latitude (in your case 12 degrees - I assume the wedgepod can tilt this far) then with the telescope tilted parallel to the fork arms (see the instruction manual) point the whole system due south. Use a compass to get you as close as possible to magnetic south, but note that the metal on the tripod / telescope can sometimes affect the accuracy of a compass (eyeballing from a distance is usually good enough). That's normally about the best you can do without using one of the 'star drift' methods to fine tune your alignment, except, that with the ETX there's a sneaky thing you can do to align even more accurately. Once you have done the above, turn the autostar on and opt for an 'easy alignment' (make sure your autostar is set for polar under the telescope options). The autostar will then choose your first star and slew to it, and it assumes that because your scope is polar aligned correctly, that the star will be in the field of view. If it isn't, adjust the latitude and azimuth of the wedge pod until the star is centred (ie, don't use the arrow keys on the autostar). In theory, you now have a perfecty aligned telescope (provided your site, time and date etc. were all set correctly). Having said all of that, I've been using the EC in alt/azimuth mode. In my opinion it's not worth the hassel of polar aligning when you have a telescope that tracks in alt / az (and I've owned and built a number of equatorial scopes in the past). Good luck and clear skies, Paul (Perth, Western Australia)
Subject: ETX for sale!!! Sent: Monday, April 12, 1999 17:15:45 From: email@example.com (bill topolsky) I live in washington dc and was wondering if you knew of anyone interested in buying an ETX-EC90. It is brand new and I am looking to sell it allong with some accesories. If you know of anyone in the market or a place on the web for me to advertise it let me know. By the way you site is cool, keep it up!!! Reply at :firstname.lastname@example.org Hope to hear 4rm U soon!!!
Subject: How to contact Steve Stanford? Sent: Sunday, April 11, 1999 15:28:16 From: email@example.com (Doug Criner) Would you know how to contact Steve Stanford, who has a posting in your Accessories/Tripod area? I would like to purchase his offset device for a Bogen tripod, but his listed e-mail address is no longer valid. Thanks. Doug Criner 8 Tartan Lakes Dr Westmont, IL 60559-6157 630-986-9467, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: microstar II versus 90EC Sent: Sunday, April 11, 1999 15:07:36 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com I read carefully (and saw) your very nice pictures you did (piggy back adapter, microstar II and celestron EP). Just a question: What is the best tool (to keep a guiding star into the center of the EP) between aan old ETX+microstar II and the new ETX90EC? Thanks FrancoisMike here: Since they both provide control over both the RA and DEC axis, either will work. If you have an original model ETX, you'll need the Microstar II+. If you have the ETX-90/EC, you don't need to add anything. Of course, with either model you'll want an illuminated reticle eyepiece.
Subject: RE: Mars, Messier and me Sent: Sunday, April 11, 1999 13:24:28 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) Greetings I too have easily found (via Autostar, don't get jealous...I found most of these objects before, via starhopping, with my venerable Criterion Dynascope RV6 6" newt) M51 and several of the other objects you described below. No Sombrero yet, as the one time I tried, skies were pretty bad and I have not had a chance to try again yet. M101, on the other hand, should have been easy, and I know that the Autostar had me aimed at the proper location, on a night that was good. Like you, I simply could not see it. Perhaps the surface brightness is just too low for it to be seen with the ETX90 under anything less than perfect, truly dark skies. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: field rotation in AltAz mode Sent: Sunday, April 11, 1999 11:41:43 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com Do you have an idea of the maximum exposure (even an idea) time I can get without field rotation problems in altazimuth mode on the ETX90EC? Thanks FrancoisMike here: No, but it can be calculated based up on the magnification at the film plane and exposure. In fact, there is probably a formula floating around some LX200 site since they have to deal with it unless they have a field derotator. But I doubt that it will be a problem for the length of exposures you'll be able to do before tracking errors would ruin the photo.
Subject: Mars, Messier and me Sent: Sunday, April 11, 1999 9:30:51 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) Well, I had a great night last night with the old ETX. I started out by trying for some of my standard Messier objects - M36, 37 and 38 in Auriga, M35 in Gemini, all of which were in the west - and I was picking them up easily simply by pointing the Daisy red dot to the right point in the sky. The finder wasn't even needed. Bolstered by this success, I went for a few smaller objects - M3 and M13. It took me seconds to locate them, first with the Daisy, then to the finder, and then the ETX. Not difficult, but I was picking them out with extreme accuracy, getting them centered in the finder with just the Daisy sighting. Then I started to try some tough stuff. I'd spent hours last week picking out M65 and M66 in Leo and M104 (the Sombrero galaxy) in Virgo. I grabbed them out of the sky 1-2-3! The Sombrero was particularly gratifying, as that took me the longest to get of all the M objects that I've seen so far. I was already in the area, so I decided to go for Mars. Not usually an interesting sight, but still... WOW! I boosted the magnification up to 258x (with the 9.7mm and Barlow), and I was amazed - even through the light pollution and turbulance, I saw down at the south a polar ice cap and a darker area, like a dark dot, just above it. Dirt on the lens? A Martian "canal"? Worth looking at later. My luck was running high, so I tried for a new object - M51. A few minutes between the eyepiece and SkyAtlas 2000.0, and there it was. Dim, of course, but with a little averted vision I could pick out a bit of the whirlpool shape. I then decided to push on and go for an object that should be relatively easy to find, but which has vexed me all week long - M101. Multiple trips between SA2K and the eyepiece proved fruitless. I'm pretty darn sure I was pointed right at this galaxy, but I was totally unable to see it. After a while of fruitless pursuit, I decided to try something else. Noticing Vega rising up through the bare trees to the northeast, I reied for M57 (the Ring Nebula) and picked it up immediately. This was the first time I'd ever seen this object outside of photographs. I was absolutely amazed. Averted vision helped me pick up the ring shape through the heavy light pollution in that direction. I took a break for an hour or so at this point, waiting for Mars and M57 to rise higher in the sky. A few minutes of naked-eye gazing to help get dark-adapted again, and I looked in the eyepiece at... nothing. The batteries in the ETX had conked out! Oh well, a bit of manual pointing and I had the ring again. It was a bit easier to see, but still in the poor viewing area. Once more over to Mars, and yes! The dot I'd seen was further to the left, still above the ice cap! It wasn't my imagination, or dirt on the lens. I was seeing more detail than I had 2 weeks earlier through an Astro-Physics Starfire 7" refractor! I'd lost the electric focus (with my Scopetronix MSII+) as well as tracking, so on this high note I picked up the gear and headed back into the house, where I changed the batteries in light and warmth :) Even though I wish I'd gotten M101, It was just about a perfect evening for me. A great deal of fun! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: ETX-90EC Focus Sent: Saturday, April 10, 1999 11:31:15 From: MLesko0825@aol.com I use my ETX-EC for both terrestial and astral viewing. Is there any danger in the focus knob going to far in either direction, or are there stops to prevent any damage? Thank You Mike Lesko MLesko0825@aol.comMike here: The only problem I've heard of is if the knob setscrew comes lose, the shaft can fall inside the ETX tube.
Subject: cover for the eyepiece hole Sent: Saturday, April 10, 1999 8:22:28 From: email@example.com (Fernando Sotomayor) Instead of inserting a plastic film can, I found a little plastic cup which came with some antibiotic, to measure the dose. This cup covers the eyepiece holder like a hat and does not enter in it. I had to make a little canal on the side of the cup for the screw on the holder. The cup is secured with the holder's own screw, for that I used a little plastic disc as a watch (the screw passes through the disc center) , which stays permanently. I hope it helps someone. Fernando Sotomayor
Subject: Where to hang the Autostar handbox Sent: Saturday, April 10, 1999 7:18:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Randy Zimmerman) I couldnt find a good place to put a hook on my deluxe tripod. However, with sticky backed Velcro applied to the back of the Autostar, and two strips applied to each leg section just below the head of the tripod, it is very convenient to just slap [gently] the autostar to the tripod no matter where you are around it. I also used some Velcro on the side of my flashlight so it ,too,is instantly available. When I need either I just grab and lift--this has worked great for me--I believe Radio Shack has some pretty sticky types in a small package. Love your site--thank you very much,it has helped me a lot. I've read Astronomy mag. for years and always thought it would be stupid to own a telescope when what you could see could in no way compare to what a large telescope could see, not to mention the Hubble. But, your site helped to convince me that maybe I should try it for myself, and Meade made it possible with a great little scope. I m having a great time, learning a lot, and there sure is a joy to doing it yourself. Thanks!!! Randy Zimmerman
Subject: ETX-Advise Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 15:37:22 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com i first want to thank you for all the help that you've given me over the past few months. i really appreciate it! i also want to apologize, because i'm sure you get alot of stupid questions... here's another one for ya: i got a can of compressed air to dust my optical tube lens and while i was spraying it a bit of liquid came out and created a semitransparent smudge the size of a penny. i have not had a chance to see if it affects the optics, because it's been cloudy lately, but when i look through the tube at the primary mirror, the view is slightly distorted at the point where the smudge is... do you think that the smudge will cause a problem when i look at the night sky? should i attempt to clean it or should i leave it alone? i know that sometimes cleaning the glass can make it worse... what would you do? any advise would be greatly appreciated. thanks again for all your help... the website is great. ~noahMike here: As you have now noticed, compressed air should be used with caution since water can form and be sprayed onto the surface you are trying to clean. As to whether I would clean it or not at this point would depend upon whether I thought it was affecting the image quality. If it wasn't, I would leave it alone. But if I thought it was, I would carefully clean it using proper lens cleaning solutions and materials. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for some info on Cleaning Optics or search the site for "clean".
Subject: how to mount etx on wedgepod Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 15:30:55 From: email@example.com (Fernando Sotomayor) Again looking for help. I already got my etx-90/ec. I also bought a jmi wedepod. My latitude es 12 south the equator. I can figure out how to mount the etx on the wedgepod polar aligned for tracking objects to the north of my place, but I do not know how to mount and align for tracking in polar mode objects to the south of my place. Could you tell me how to do this? I think there is a similar problem for people living in the northern hemisphere. Thanks very much. Fernando Sotomayor.Mike here: The ETX does have some DEC limitations when in polar aligned mode (which can make the Autostar a nice addition since it can track even in the Alt/Az mode). The biggest problem will be for objects that are so low in the sky that the OTA hits the drive base. But once you have polar aligned (in your case to the southern pole), you will not change the alignment. About all you can do is re-orient the ETX and mount to see the object in question but then you'll lose the polar alignment and tracking will be inaccurate.
Subject: Digital Astrophotography Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 10:28:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Surgalski) Thanks for the outstanding website. You had mentioned you did some photos with a Casio, then got a Ricoh, but weren't as happy with the results. Any thoughts? I'm considering a camera along the lines of the new Nikon Collpix 950. Is this brutal overkill for this? I like the fact that the Coolpix 950 has up to a 4 sec shutter speed. I'm impressed with what people are doing with even older cameras through the ETX. Is the ability to get close to the eyepiece more important than the number of pixels? Is this the problem you are having with the Ricoh? I would appreciate feedback from anyone on this. Thanks again for such a helpful place to go.Mike here: Glad you like the site. And yes, the main problem with the Ricoh RDC-4200 is getting its lens close to the eyepiece. I found that by zooming it to the full 3X setting it would work but that would also magnify the image (which was not necessarily all bad). One other minor problem versus my old Casio QV-10 is that the Ricoh seems more sensitive to light and so exposures of Jupiter will overexpose even when I select the minimum setting.
Subject: RE: Something is up at Meade! Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 10:24:32 From: email@example.com (Art Griggs) Memorial Day Weekend, I plan on going to the sky party and manufacturer's showcase at Big Bear Lake, Calif. (Meade's backyard) and see what's new. Maybe an ETX-125 EC will be there! This is more the size I want in a portable scope so I am hoping. Read the ETX-90 EC article in the May issue of Sky & Telescope. - Art - firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Are you referring to the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference? I was there last year but will miss this one. Anxious to hear your report.
Subject: ETX review Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 8:12:48 From: email@example.com (Greg Deiss) Steve Ingraham's test of the ETX against the C90 and Questar's birding scope did not make the April edition of Birding magazine as hoped for. Steve indicates that due to decisions beyond his control the article will not appear until the June issue. Greg
Subject: new ETX130 Sent: Friday, April 9, 1999 2:38:08 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com the ETX90EC is really to light for medium exposure time (around 30mn), but is perfect for everything else. No news from its little big brother (125EC or 130EC?) If you 've got an indication about the release date, don't hesitate .... Before summer? Thanks Francois Ps: if you know a place (unofficial meade place for example....)
Subject: Something is up at Meade! Sent: Thursday, April 8, 1999 16:10:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Art Griggs) I am starting to hear about a new "companion" for the ETX-90EC. It is an ETX-120EC. That's right, a 4.7 inch version of the current 3.5 inch. Meade certainly needs a something to compete with Celestron's C5+ and a larger ETX would just blow the C5+ away! (I personally think a 127mm, or full 5 inch, makes more sense.) All the ETX accessories transfer over, including the AutoStar. I just thought you would like to know.Mike here: The Autostar does have an "ETX-125" setting... And there was one report of a sighting. (Gee, now we are getting like X-Files! The Truth Is Out There.)
Subject: ETX Sent: Thursday, April 8, 1999 12:28:27 From: LooneyRoo@aol.com Hi Mike, I was wondering if you knew a good way to secure the autostar hand-controller to the tripod. When I have an object in the eyepiece, and the controller is not needed, I can't do anything but hold it. I would really like to be able to have a way that I can put the controller down when it's not in use. Would Velcro be good or should I try gluing a hook on the back of the controller so that I can hook it onto the tripod leg? I know you don't have the ETX-90/EC, but if you have a good idea please let me know. Thanks. ~NoahMike here: This is always a problem with controllers that don't have hooks. I'd suggest adding a small hook. Velcro could work but then you'd probably want to have several attach points on the ETX or tripod.
Subject: original ETX setting circles. Sent: Thursday, April 8, 1999 10:36:20 From: email@example.com (Claire Rainville) Would anyone have the patience to explain Mead's instructions... After I have polar aligned with the tube still parallel to center tripod leg and polar axis pointing N. andMotor turned on. 1. Center bright object in scope field of view." How do I do this without changing Dec and RA. ? or do I look for an object at 89* 2. Center new object in scope field of view. Manually turn RA circle to read RA of object. " To view a new object my RA numbers automatically move to new reading. 3. Is the tube still pointed thru its polar axis.? Thank youMike here: I'm not certain I understand your question but I'll try to respond. If you are trying to polar align, set the ETX latitude leg (or tripod) for your latitude and the ETX to 90 degrees Declination (to start with) and rotate the whole telescope until you can see Polaris (Northern Hemisphere) in the Finder. Manually do some fine adjustments to get Polaris in the 26mm eyepiece field-of-view. You may have to physically move the telescope or slightly adjust the DEC since Polaris is not precisely at 90 degrees. The next step is to manually move the telescope in Right Ascension and Declination to an object with a known RA and DEC. Next move the Right Ascension setting circle to match the RA of the object. With the RA drive engaged you're all set. Now you can use the setting circles to locate objects.
Subject: ETX 90 EC base?? Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 23:38:55 From: BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .) Just read about the ETX 90 EC base in the March feedback archieve. I have visited astroptx.com but the item is not in their list. This is rather cautious as you mentioned that where they got the product from. I think you should ask MEADE to explain about this for all of us?? Also read about someone mentioning ETX 130 EC sometime this year.. Just hope it will be priced economically as ETX 90 EC. Best regards, Sukun T.
Subject: mars Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 10:22:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (marwine) I'm catching up on the postings after 10 days away. Took the scope to southern PA to try to get in some additional Mars time. Unfortunately, the seeing was so bad that the little disk was positively swimming in the field. Even the moon (which was full) was boiling and viewing it with moon filter and 13.8 SWA was too much for comfort. The 26 mm provided pleasing views. But Mars was unavailable. When I headed north again on April 5, I found clear skies and steady viewing from western MA. My Deep Sky Planner computer program informed me that the disk was 14.5" and that transit would be around 2AM. Luckily I have about an hour's worth of unobstructed viewing time just on either side of transit where I can also sight the north star for alignment (at least when there are no leaves on the tree). Mars was at the height of its journey when I started viewing and it was quite an enjoyable hour. I was astonished to see surface markings with the 13.8 SWA (87 power) right at the start. The air was so steady that I found myself using my Meade 9.7 mm lens with the #126 Barlow which gives almost 250 magnification. I actually wished for an even shorter lens, but 9.7 was my limit. At some point I decided that a smaller but sharper image was more reasonable for sustained viewing and used the 13.8 SWA with the Barlow for about 175 magnification. I, without any doubt, observed substantial dark areas on the surface - they were almost always visible, and occasionally really snapped into place. I am not yet going to say that I saw the polar cap. Once or twice I thought that a bright white area appeared in the north which was so bright it almost made the planet appear out of round. But it was so ephemeral that I wouldn't count it. Nor have I really sought out what those dark areas might have been (by name). I'm still trying to keep myself more generally naive about the planet's orientation so that I can be more sure that I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing. It was a thoroughly rewarding hour to spend even though I had to get up at 5AM for another two hour's of driving north before reporting to work. Thanks Joe (March 29) and David (March 30) for your encouragement and for your observing histories. And thanks, also, to Gary (March 30) and Doug (Apr 2) for the comments on filters. I had discarded any thoughts of filters (other than a moon filter) because I thought too much light would be lost. It's really helpful to hear that the #23A, #56, and #80A will work with a 90mm scope. I'm ordering them today. One of those may bring the cap into view. Getting up for mars afforded the added treat of seeing a tack-sharp moon with new features. Just as I was about to finish, I got a clear shot through the branches of a large tree. I realized how little of the moon I have seen at that angle of illumination - or the of the waning portion of its cycle in general. I'm going to have to make an effort to see more on the down side of full, for sure. Loved the Messier reports! The moon is on the wane, and let's hope for clear skies and good seeing. alan
Subject: Filters Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 10:13:27 From: email@example.com (Jeff Shy) I just purchased a set of filters for use with my ETX 90/EC from Orion. When I screw them into the end of the eyepiece, the eyepiece will not go all the way into the tube. There is a small stop at the end of the tube that obstructs going further into the scope. Is this a problem in general with using filters on the ETX or is this a problem with Orion filters? Does this also happen with Meade filters?Mike here: I don't know about the Orion filters but the Meade filters do add some extra length to the eyepiece tube. And since the eyepiece tube (without a filter) will hit the stop when inserted all the way, adding the filter just means the eyepiece will hit the stop a little sooner. This has not caused me any focusing problems however.
Subject: meade ETX 125EC Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 1:26:56 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com One more thing Mike, Do you have some informations on this new product? (release date?) For me it will be the right instrument.... Is it real? Thanks FrancoisMike here: no info. rumors only. no facts.
Subject: Re : Re: maximum exposure time Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 1:25:30 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com I see. But do you try prime focus photography on the ETX90EC (or do you heard some results). My wish would be to do 2 or 3 minutes exposure time without guiding, then I will add several pictures. Is it possible? Thanks FrancoisMike here: I believe (but have not confirmed) that the exposures will either trail (very slightly) due to either drive glitches or a not-quite-perfect polar alignment. Remember, you'll need to do a polar alignment; otherwise the field will rotate during the exposure.
Subject: Thanks for the great ETX site! Sent: Wednesday, April 7, 1999 1:16:48 From: FPLT@aol.com Just wanted to thank you for the great site. I've had an ETX since July of last year and have enjoyed every minute of use I can get out of it. Two months ago I traded my ETX Astro for the ETX-90/EC. I'm not quite as enamored with it as I was the original. Its more complicated and takes some getting used to. A couple quite tips that might be of help. For astrophography, I've had great success using the #64 camera adapter with eyepieces for eyepiece projection photos. If you use the Meade series 4000 Super Plossls, the folded back rubber eye cup holds them in the camera adapter quite well. For both models during cold weather observing, take the batteries out of the chilled scope when you get inside. I couldn't understand why my scope wouldn't power up earlier this evening until I opened up the battery compartment. They must have frozen the last time I was out (It got a little cold here in MN during February) and ruptured when they warmed up. Talk about a mess. That leads me to a small problem I now have. While I was cleaning the battery compartment, one of the battery contacts snapped off. It was really corroded. Would you or some of the visitors to your page have a "chewing gum and bailing wire" fix for this? I hate to think of sending it back to California just as the good viewing season here is starting. And finally, I just started a web page dedicated to the things I've done with my ETX. Its real basic now, because I've never tried making a web page before. I hope to expand it in the future. Give it a shot if you like. The address is: http://hometown.aol.com/fplt/index.htm/LancesETX.html There are a couple of good pictures there. Have a good one Lance H. firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: maximum exposure time Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 16:21:10 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com What is the maximum exposure time you can get with an ETX90EC+35mm camera attached for prime focus photography (with a very good accuracy and good results)? Did you try this last configuration with an additional off axis guider? Thanks FrancoisMike here: I don't have an off-axis guider. With the original ETX model I tried some many minutes long exposures and the drive always had some tracking glitches that were evident in the photos. While the RA tracking is pretty good for visual work, inaccuracies in polar alignment and other variables combined with the magnification on film at prime focus, long duration astrophotography at prime focus will be nearly impossible without an off-axis guider.
Subject: Quick question. Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 13:01:05 From: email@example.com (Matt Softich) I have been researching what to buy for my first telescope. Over and over again everything seems to point to the ETX. The main concerns for my first scope are portability and performance. I plan to take it back to Montana with me on vacation. I also want to make sure that it is a solid enough performer to see the planets and Messier objects in fairly good detail. Does the ETX fit these parameters? If you had you choice of other M-C's out there would you still pick the ETX? How hard it is to find a tripod for it that won't cost an arm and a leg? I really appreciate your feedback regarding these issues. I will (hopefully) be ordering one by the weekend. I also think your site is great and if I choose to buy an ETX I plan on visiting it often. Thanks much, Matt Softich firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page. Many of your questions will be answered there. Also, see the Accessories - Tripods page. Remember, don't go for skimpy tripods; they will not provide enough stability for high magnification use.
Subject: My Web Site Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 12:05:53 From: email@example.com (Ryan Sciara) Hello, I was wondering if you would include my web page to your Astronomy Links page. I am a fellow ETX user and my page consists of info on the ETX as well as many pictures taken through the ETX, with info on how they were taken. The address is members.xoom.com/Ryan50. It also has a few other links to other pictures of thunderstorm clouds, sunsets, and wildlife photography through the ETX. Thank you Ryan Sciara FSBV91F@Prodigy.com
Subject: Natural Wonders ETX swapping Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 1:54:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Thomas) I can't tell you enough what a great site this is. You've got more information than I could have ever needed. As of April 1st Natural Wonders is no longer accepting the old ETXs for trade for the new ec/90's. Even with the receipt, they will only accept old ETX's that have never been opened or used. They said that because Meade is no longer acccepting exchanges they will not either. Apparently they cannot send the old units back anymore. They are selling the old ETX for $100 less in their stores when they still have them though. But they still exchange defective units for new ones. Just thought you'd like to know. Keep up the great work. Matt Thomas
Subject: Wow! Sent: Monday, April 5, 1999 22:21:00 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) I've just come in from the most enjoyable night I've had with the ETX in weeks. It's a beautifully clear night, and not too cold. The dew fell, making things damp, but the homemade dew cap kept the big corrector lens clear, and I remembered to keep the cover on the Doskocil case (which holds all the eyepieces) closed this time, so I was able to get in quite a bit. The clear skies surprised me, since I received my Apogee right-angle finder kit today. The clounds must have found someone with a 12" LX200 to bug tonight :) The RA kit was simple to install and has no obvious flaws. In use, it's just fine. I like the fact that the image in the finder is now reversed left-to-right like it is in the ETX. It make the scope movements consistent. I also like the fact that the finder is right there next to the eyepiece at the same angle; no more contortions going back and forth between the finder and the mail eyepiece! On the downside, it's tough to look in the finder when I'm using my 52mm Rini eyepiece, since the EP has such a big barrel. At that low power, though, it's simple enough to use the Daisy red dot sight to aim the scope and go right to the EP, ignoring the intermediate step of sighting through the finder. At the other end of the spectrum, I found that with the 9.7mm Plossl, at certain positions, the finder is perfectly positioned to touch the tip of my nose! So this unit isn't without its quirks, but I like it a lot more than the stock finder. As to the viewing, I got M36, 37 and 38 in Auriga easily right at the start. These 3, which are usually easy clusters, had been giving me some problems. Part of this was due to the fact that they've been close to the zenith early in the evening, and the old finder was a bit awkward. The moon hadn't helped either; in the past 2 weeks it had been either too bright or too close to Auriga, making these objects tough for me. It was a quick jump over to Perseus for the double cluster, which I seem to be able to find with my eyes closed these days. I love this sight; it's beautiful in the 26mm. I also easily picked up M35 in Gemini, and M67 and M44 (Praespe) in Cancer. From there it was over to M3. I'd only found this in the past with the help of the setting circles; this time, I was able to star hop over to it thanks to my new copy of SkyAtlas 2000.0, which is just a great reference to have. It can be a bit unwieldy to use (I have the laminated field edition, which has pages 13.5" x 19.5"), but I found that if I hung it over the back of the camp chair I use as a stand for the ETX/eyepiece case, it's handy while remaining out of the way. I plunged even further into space and picked up M65 and M66 in Leo. These were very easy to find, but with magnitudes around 9+ cried out for more aperture, or at least darker skies! I finished up with M13 in Hercules, which was finally high enough to be viewed from where I had set up. Easy to find, and just spectacular! Well, the scope's dried off enough to pack away now. Off to do that and then to bed, where no doubt I'll be dreaming of globular clusters and spiral galaxies! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: RE: Wow! Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 14:50:53 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) Fascinating! I was out with my ETX/Autostar last night, and observed almost an identical set of items, except for omitting the double cluster and M13, and adding M51, 42, and 41. The clusters were wonderful, though the faint fuzzies, as you note, could use some aperture, OR much darker skies than those found anywhere within 3 or 4 hours of Philadelphia, let alone the one hour drive I made. The Autostar had almost every object well within the field of view of the 26mm Plossl, and the two or three that weren't, were just outside and easily seen in the finder. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: RE: Wow! Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 16:21:21 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) "Jeffrey Nutkowitz"
wrote: > Fascinating! I was out with my ETX/Autostar last night, and observed almost > an identical set of items, except for omitting the double cluster and M13, > and adding M51, 42, and 41. *Autostar*? Well, sure, anyone can find things with that. Why, I... Nah, I can't seem to sustain the indignation that festers in sci.astro.amateur around the Autostar. I'll just turn a lovely shade of green to denote my envy :) I'll have to try for M51, 42, and 41 tonight. Clear skies! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: RE: Wow! Sent: Tuesday, April 6, 1999 17:40:58 From: email@example.com (vernlw) Doing double stars under an urban sky officially described as one degree less than "0", or "yuck" last night (early this am, actually), I could have used autostar trying to find 16/17 draconis, which isn't very close to anything. However, when I buckled down, used the setting circles and the Sky atlas 200, there it was, not in the scope, but in the finder. Good enough, and a pretty little double it was. Don't even talk to me about galaxies and and nebulae, I could barely see mag. 2 stars with the naked eye. Still had fun at 3:00 am, though. Mars was beautiful. With patience, a little coloration appeared from time to time. Nice set of sunspots today. They have been increasing over the last few days, and there were 5 groups today. Dark skies, Vern Weiss
Subject: Stupid ETX tricks Sent: Monday, April 5, 1999 20:39:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Bertschy) I was fooling around with my ETX and some 96mm eyepieces I had laying around. In order to fit them to the ETX, I had to make an adaptor. For this, I went to Ace hardware and bought a plastic 1.25 x 6" slip joint extension tube for sink drains and cut a two inch section off of one end. I then fit a plastic 96mm eyepiece case with the bottom cut off into the 1.25 pipe. The eyepieces fit snugly into the eyepiece case and the plastic pipe fits perfectly into the ETX! It being noon, I focused on a ranger fire tower on top of Mount Lemmon, about 25 miles from here. I then proceeded to test the eyepieces, a 22mm Kellner, a 9mm Huygenian, and a 4mm Ramsden. All of them worked fine! The 4mm Ramsden did a creditable job producing 312X! This is way beyond the performance I expected from a 90mm Mak. So, I figured "what the heck" and barlowed them all. The 22mm and 9mm did good jobs. Nice, clear images. The 4mm was dark but I could discern the fire tower quite easily. Focusing on a closer object (the wire mesh screen on my neighbor's chimney, about 200 feet away), the 4mm Ramsden with a short barlow lens resolved the mesh perfectly! Now, we're talkin' 625X! I didn't expect to see anything at all. Now, looking at objects millions of light years away is a totally different matter, but tonight is a clear night and I'll experiment with these cheapo eyepieces. I've read where you could get away with using cheap eyepieces in slow scopes but I was really surprised at how well these 96mm eyepieces performed on terrestrial targets. Next target, the moon.
Subject: Original ETX Sent: Monday, April 5, 1999 13:55:11 From: email@example.com (Tilo Melcher) I'm an owner of an original ETX Astro Telescope. Is it possible for this telescope to be converted to a ETX-90/EC. If so, would you please let me know of names of companies that would provide this service. Thank you, MargieMike here: See the Feedback page for March 1999 (in the Feedback Archives); there is a report there that Astroptx is selling just the new base, which is what you need. Throughout the January, February, and March Feedback pages there are comments about swaps by some dealers and trade-ins by others.
Subject: What an useful scope! Sent: Monday, April 5, 1999 1:12:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Knox King) Hope you're all doing well. I had a phantastic spring-night recently with really great seeing! With a 180-degree clear horizon I followed the sun set. With very low magnification I was intently looking for the famous 'green flash', having only read about it before. And YES, just before the upper part of the sun disappeared a strong, dark-green color appeared and lasted for about two seconds. Magnificent! I was shouting:) Well, darkness set in and I was tracking some satellites and also saw a beautiful, mag. -6, Iridium flash, waiting for the twilight to vanish. Now I pointed the ETX towards the action, the back of Leo. Having seen only M65 and M66 before I was curious to see what the ETX would show me. I was pleasantly surprised to see M87 rather bright and the pair M86 and M84 was a true beauty! I also got M60 and from Ursa Major, M51 and M101! Very nice scope, for being carried around in my small packpack, don't you think?!:) Enjoy your sky! Knox \o |/ / \
Subject: ETX-90/EC FINDER SCOPE Sent: Sunday, April 4, 1999 13:15:02 From: email@example.com (Terry May) Just wanted to ask if anyone has attempted to retrofit the 90 degree finder from the EC scope to the original ETX? Couldn't find anything in the archives about it. If it is the same diameter and will fit the rings on an old ETX it would seem a better deal than the currently available mod kits, since it is only supposed to be about $50. Thank -keep up the great work! Terry May
Subject: RE: Wide Field Adapter Sent: Sunday, April 4, 1999 10:57:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mr.N.Jeevaraj) >From: email@example.com >Sent: Sunday, April 04, 1999 2:20 AM >One tip that has been suggested by many others is to loosen the focus >knob setscrew and slide it outwards a small amount along its shaft. >Then retighten the screw. This will allow a little more travel for the >focus shaft. Brilliant..worked perfectly. Thanks a million. Jeeva.
Subject: Want to find your latitude? Sent: Saturday, April 3, 1999 8:26:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Roderick Kennedy) A recent post on polar alignment talked about finding one's exact latitude. There's an easy way, if you're reading this website: Using the sunrise/moonrise calculator at the US Naval Observatory will also provide you with your pretty much exact latitude. If it works for Cuba, NM, it'll work for you, too. Who needs a GPS? Here's the link. Sun and Moon Data for One Day (riemann.usno.navy.mil/aa/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html) Enjoy P.S. least I could do for the great tip about the daisy sight conversion. -- Roderick Kennedy P.O. Box 133, Albq. NM 87103 505.841-8287 / FAX 505.841-8228 "For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity." - Mark Twain, letter to William Stead, 1890Mike here: There are a couple of other sites shown on the Astronomy Links page and I'll add this one.
Subject: Accessories + weight Sent: Saturday, April 3, 1999 7:27:05 From: FjhDAVID@aol.com What is the maximum weight (about....) you can put at the ETX90EC back without getting troubles with the drive accuracy? In fact, I hesitate for 35mm camera between: - an ETX visual back + an ETX tele-extender or - a SCT 8" adapter + my old SCT 8" extender... Thanks FrancoisMike here: With the proper counterweights you could probably hang almost anything off the back. But without them, almost any weight that would include a camera would not allow long duration astrophotography. You'll be OK for terrestrial or short duration photography (except for possible vibration due to camera mirror flipping). On the other hand, users have successfully used CCDs and cameras so it can be done.
Subject: Wide Field Adapter Sent: Saturday, April 3, 1999 1:15:37 From: email@example.com (Mr.N.Jeevaraj) This has got to be one of the greatest sites for the ETX. Really wonderful. I have been watching for a while and based on recommendations I read, I decided to buy the Wide Field Adapter and 1.25" adapter bpth by Apogee and purchased through Pocono Optics. I have a problem in that when I use the WFA and 1.25" adapter, I am not able to focus the telescope using the meade 26mm Plossl, or the other meade eyepieces I have. The focus knob has to be rotated fully and my star images are a little/tad bit out of focus. I'm not able to focus to a point becos my focussing knob on the ETX is screwed fully and there is no more play left. Anyone out there with any ideas? Thanks Jeevan.Mike here: One tip that has been suggested by many others is to loosen the focus knob setscrew and slide it outwards a small amount along its shaft. Then retighten the screw. This will allow a little more travel for the focus shaft.
Subject: Mars and filters Sent: Friday, April 2, 1999 12:14:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Douglas E. Cann) Just a follow up to a recent e mail regarding mars and filters...I concur. The following Meade filters are transparent enough to work well with a 90mm telescope, yet have enough colour depth to be effective. These same filters are also good with the other planets, not just mars. The light red is also great for viewing venus during the dusk, just at sun set. Light red #23A good for the green and dark details Light green #56 good for the pole that is currently visible and dust storms Blue #80A also good for the pole cap The 'numbers' are standard colour designations that have been in use for eons ie photography etc. Any other manufaturer of filters will use the same colour designations. Darker filters will not be as succesfull as they reduce the light in the image too much. As your other guest suggested, patience and clear, steady air are pre-requisites for seeing details on mars. Last night was very good at about 11.00pm even though mars was still quite low. The next few weeks will be really special if you enjoy observing the planets and especially as far as mars is concerned. Cheers........Doug
Subject: Re: Doskocil Case & Padded Tripod Bag Sent: Friday, April 2, 1999 11:41:09 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) Regarding Gary's comment on the Doskocil case: > The latches on the case not only seem indestructible, but they actually > HURT MY WRISTS opening and closing them (and i'm a weight lifter!) - > anyone have any suggestions? The latches wear in within a short amount of time to where opening them isn't difficult. The best way to close them that I've found is to flip the latch down and whack it with the heel of my hand. I really like the Doskocil case for my ETX. I simply carry that and my tripod to the site, and I'm ready to go. I've also found that the Doskocil case makes a handy step for the shorter people who want to look through my scope at star parties! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: ETX purchase Sent: Thursday, April 1, 1999 14:20:14 From: MLP40@aol.com I am very intrigued with your website and would like to purchase a used Meade ETX. Would you know of anyone wanting to sell one as I cannot afford a new one. Thanks, Mike MLP40@aol.com
Subject: Neatest Freeware-Astronomy program for your ETX! Sent: Thursday, April 1, 1999 13:01:36 From: email@example.com (Knox King) I found the neatest Freeware astronomy program for all telescope owners which show stars down to mag.9 and also has over 8000 deepsky objects! Not bad for that kind of magnitude to be freeware.. ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/han_kleijn/astronom.htm. I found my download at http://to-scorpio.com by the way. Sincerely Knox \o |/ / \Mike here: This is already listed on the Links page but I thought I'd remind everyone of it.
Subject: 125 ETX Sent: Thursday, April 1, 1999 8:37:34 From: PKNOLL@prodigy.net (P. Knoll) Just for your info I saw the 125 ETX at the last (March) Oceanside Photo and Telescope Star Party . At first, from a distance I thought it was the 90ec but as neared the scope it was definitly larger. I looked at the scope for a up close for few minutes and was envious. Almost identical in appearance to the 90. As I was looking a gentleman ( I don't know) kept saing "you didn't see this" and "It does not exsist". OK! But if it is so secret, WHY take it to a Star Party for everyone to see?????. Anyway outside of who I was there with, you are the only one I have written ... so maybe you have a scoop. I guess secrecy is important to some or they are having fun with it. Kind of rediculous to display it so openly. All that aside ..... I WANT IT!!!! Pat KnollMike here: I suspect it could have been either the real thing or one of the design models that Meade told me they are always doing.
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