Last updated: 30 August 2000

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

Mike here: This site is now being hosted by Raptor-Net, a professional web authoring and hosting service. I want to thank Raptor-Net for their cooperation and willingness to help promote this site's activities. The ETX community owes them a big "thank you". I would also like to thank John Martellaro, a good friend for over 30 years, for hosting the site for the past year and a half. John's new employer is paying for his ISDN line and so this site had to move. The site grew a lot in size and popularity once it was moved from American Online to John's web server using my own domain name. Thanks to John for his help and services!

Subject:	 IDO-Q
Sent:	Tuesday, August 29, 2000 13:10:06
From:	bareketj@internet-zahav.net (m&j bareket)
Hi, whats up?
I 've been heard on the "hat trick" sistem, can you explan to me on it
please? whats its mean?

take care  

Mike here: Search the site for "hat trick"; you'll find two references that explain the technique.

Subject:	 etx mount
Sent:	Monday, August 28, 2000 13:25:39
From:	chrisorban@yahoo.com (Chris Orban)
I'm a high school senior with an ETX, and I wanted to get a tripod for
it, so my options are either get a new tripod, or an adapter for my
parents video camera tripod. I found the shutan mount, but I could not
find the article on your site with the plans to make a mount for the
video camera tripod, even though there was a link to it.
Chris Orban
Astronomy Club founder
Manatee High School, FL
Mike here: Not certain which plans you mean. There are several tripod related items on the Tech Tips page.

Added later:

a video camera tripod, and I want to convert it to an ETX tripod. Which
article has the plans to do this?
Mike here: Well, if the "Equatorial Mounting on a Manfrotto Head" (Tech Tips page) isn't something that will help, then perhaps any of the other Homemade Tripods pages will give you some ideas. If you don't like the Shutan adapter plate, check out the Scopetronix "Photo Tripod Adapter for the ETX-90".

Subject:	 for sale
Sent:	Sunday, August 27, 2000 17:24:04
From:	garyc@voicenet.com (Gary)
Did you ever think about having a section on your site where people can
post for sale items that have to do with astronomy. I have a 2 week old
only used twice meade 4000 8-24mm Zoom eyepiece. I am selling everything
I have. I paid $200.00 for it and I will take $140.00

Mike here: Currently I post "for sale" items on the Feedback page. I'd rather not do a special FOR SALE page as keeping it current would be a pain. There are better solutions (eBay, for example) out there.

Subject:	 new etx owner
Sent:	Sunday, August 27, 2000 14:34:40
From:	Kgrumpy@prodigy.net (Karl Schulze)
I just bought a ETX90 and had my first clear night to watch the planets.
I am totally new to sky watching, and upon finding Jupiter and Saturn I
was surprised to see only a small bright colorless planet. I thought I
would see some color. My question is their any attachments I need to get
better color and or larger size? I was using the 26mm eyepiece and
switched to a 15mm. Not much change. Any help would be appreciated.
               Thanks Karl
Mike here: Seeing color in Jupiter and Saturn is difficult. Don't expect to see the same image as in photographs; the eyes don't have it compared to film/CCD. As to accessories, check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some suggestions.

Subject:	 Uranus & Neptune
Sent:	Friday, August 25, 2000 21:59:25
From:	billcollins3@juno.com (William D.  Collins)
Mike, a couple weeks ago you suggested trying for Uranus & Neptune with
the ETX. I was able to see them both tonight with my 125 but it took
some doing. First, for each planet, I printed a chart  with a one degree
field from Software Bisque's "The Sky," scanned the chart, converted it
to .jpg format, then flipped it left for right in MS Photo Editor (to
match the scope's L/R flip)  then printed out the flipped versions.
There may be an easier way to do this but I don't know what it might be.

I also noted the planets' co-ordinates from that software for 9p.m.
Pacific time this evening. Then I went out to the scope, punched in
those co-ordinates directly with High Precision mode on, and presto,
there were the exact fields I had printed out. Uranus showed a definite
disk at 196x with the Meade 9.7mm Super Plossl, but Neptune was still
just a point. The seeing wasn't good enough to use the Barlow with that
eyepiece tonight.

Using High Precision mode and entering the R.A./Dec manually produced a
much more accurate position than just doing a "Go To Neptune" command,
probably for two reasons: first, the two-step high precision method is
just a whole lot more accurate, and second, the R.A./Dec co-ordinates
calculated by the Autostar were significanly different than those from
"The Sky" software. In fact, using the Autostar's co-ordinates I could
not match the eyepiece fields with the charts, even with High Precison

Thanks for all your work. This site in invaluable to us.

Bill Collins
Walnut Creek CA

Subject:	 re: stacking barlows
Sent:	Wednesday, August 23, 2000 20:44:43
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	mvgazy@hotmail.com

I saw your note on Mike's site...
You can get an effecctive 3x from a 2x balow by simply putting an empty
pipe between it and the eyepiece.  Since the Barlow works by diverging
the light path, moving the eyepiece further away brings a smaller (hence
dimmer!) piece of into the eyepiece's working zone.

You'll sometimes see this mentioned when referring to using star
diagonals on a Celestron... if you put the barlow -before- the diagonal,
you get a 3x effective system.  If you put the Barlow -after- the
diagonal (hence with the eyepiece directly in it), you get the barlow's
rated 2x.

Here in the USA you can buy a piece of 1.25 inch pipe with an
eyepiece-accepting flange at plumbing stores... it's a "vanity drain
tailstock extender" ... Just remember to deburr it (remove all the extra
dust and sharp bits) after you cut it with a hacksaw.  It isn't pretty,
it isn't stunningly good, but at about $3, it's sure cheap...

(they sure look at you funny in plumbing stores when you are dropping an
eyepiece into the drainpipes...)

Subject:	Piggy Back Sidereal Rate
Sent:	Wednesday, August 23, 2000 10:58:11
From:	Etxstargazer@aol.com
Yesterday, my new piggyback mount from scoptronix came in. I couldnt go
out last night, but it is nice in KC today, so I would like to know that
when You take an exposure with a 30mm Wide Angle lens,  do you run the
ETX drive at sidereal rate? I will be using the included hand
controller. Do I need to slow down the drive rate because of the wide
angle lens. Thanks ahead of time.

							Clear Skies,
								Taylor Chonis
Mike here: When doing long duration astrophotography of most objects in the sky you use sidereal rate.

Subject:	 A bit of help, please...
Sent:	Wednesday, August 23, 2000 07:02:30
From:	nkarytia@x-treme.gr (nkarytia)
I visited your fabulous site about Meade ETX. I am a newbie at the world
of amateur astronomy and I am bout to make a long lived dream true. I am
going to buy my first telescope. My choices are Meade's 90-ETX and 114NT
4.5" Newtonean telescope. I understand that they are completely
different telescopes my concern is that for about the same amount of
money which one can provide more impressive images.

Thanks for your help and congratulations for your site that reveals the
real thing about ETX.
Best regards,
Nikos. Greece
Mike here: Glad you like the site. I have no experience with the 114NT 4.5" Newtonian telescope so really can't comment on it. Its larger aperture will provide greater light gathering power and higher useful magnification than an ETX-90EC. Whether the views were will be better or worse I really don't know.

Subject:	 Image through an ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, August 22, 2000 05:45:59
From:	bohlsen@northnet.com.au (Terry Bohlsen)
I have taken some photos through my old ETX90mm mounted on a cheap
German EQ mount. They have been taken with a Genesis CCD home made
camera. Would you like to put them on your ETX page? I have the photos
and how I built the camera on the following page.

If you would like to use them please do so.
Terry Bohlsen

Subject:	 Stacking Barlows
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2000 14:53:23
From:	mvgazy@hotmail.com (gfjyhgkjjg l,klnkjh)
I dident know were to put this question , but i still hope you or
someone else can help me! When "stacking" 2 balows (Meade S4000), does
it magn. 3x or 4x ? This is wery important to me , becouse im going to
buy new eyepices soon an I dont want to get someone with the "same"

Mike here: Stacking Barlow Lenses is not really recommended. The quality of the image will deteriorate very rapidly and you may be disappointed. You may also have focusing problems depending upon the telescope, eyepiece, and Barlows used. That said, putting a Barlow Lens into the optical path is like multiplying. With a single 2X Barlow, you double the magnification. If you add another 2X Barlow Lens you double the magnification again. So, if you were using a 26mm eyepiece on the ETX-90, you'd have 48x. Adding a 2X Barlow you get 96x; adding a second 2X Barlow doubles the 96x to 192x.

Subject:	 Miscellaneous
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2000 11:10:52
From:	downing@Larscom.COM (Downing Robert)
As always, appreciating your site.  Just a quick note to let you know
that Meade continues their high-standard for customer service. Last
night, finally had the declination failure, which along with the
worsening headache with the Field Tripod caused me to contact Customer
Support.  After a short conversation (during which I admitted the 'scope
was ~ 2 years old), the engineer on the phone agreed to send both the
repair kits, no questions asked.

I've been in the communications industry for longer than I care to
admit, & this response was quite frankly overwhelming.  If there would
be some way to indicate to the doubting Thomases that Meade Customer
Support is a five-star operation, I sure think that would be the least I
(or we) could do...

Thanks a bunch.

Rob Downing
Senior Marketing Manager
Larscom, Inc.
1845 McCandless Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035
Phone: (408) 941-4214
Fax: (408) 956-0108

Subject:	 Sky too Bright (ETX for sale)
Sent:	Monday, August 21, 2000 10:45:35
From:	garyc@voicenet.com (Gary)
About a month and a half ago I bought an ETX90 EC and alot of
accessories for it.I am new to astronmy and didn't realize that the sky
in my area is to bright for viewing the things I wanted to see. I was
wondering if you would know anyone interested in buying everything. I
payied about $1,200 for everything about a month and a half ago. I still
have all the boxes and packing materal. Everything is in perfect
condition I will take $900.00 for everything and I will pay shipping!

1- ETX90 EC + everything that came with it!
2- Auto-star controller for ETX90 EC
3-ETX90 EC hard case
4-Barlow short lens
5-Series 4000 Zoom Eyepiece 8-24 mm
6-ETX #883 Tripod

The scope was used 3 times never used the case or the barlow lens I
still have all boxes and packing!

                                                gary copestake

Subject:	 Meade 883 tripod defect response
Sent:	Saturday, August 19, 2000 23:29:26
From:	calvun@home.com (Calvun)
I noticed the same problem with the slots on my 883 I received about two
years ago.  It was a little detritus on the rear slot that prevented a
smooth insertion of the screw.  It was only a matter of a little
abrasion of the rough spot to get the screw to slide in and out
smoothly. The impact of the problem was that in attaching the 'scope to
the head on the tripod, I found it convenient to pre-thread one of the
screws in the base in order to 'slide' the ETX onto the tripod.  This
(in my mind, at least) provided some more security than putting the base
to the head, then trying to insert the screws.  [Made it easier, too.]

I have found, though, that the forging for the head is very brittle. 
Came a case when one of the girls knocked the tripod over (no, the ETX
was safe and snug in the case), and bent the fine RA adjustment knob's
shaft.  In trying to straighten the shaft, part of the head (a
non-essential part) simply cracked off...

With others, I wish that there had been greater attention paid to the
833, but given the value of the 'scope, well who am I to complain!

Subject:	 RE: Brand New User - Disappointed 
Sent:	Thursday, August 17, 2000 14:55:36
From:	farside@btinternet.com (Richard)
First of all thanks very much for your mail - you have no idea (or
perhaps you do!!) how good it is to get some help at the beginning.

I have had some replies from other users of your site - and I have to
admit your site was what made my mind up to buy the EXT - because of all
the help available !!

Question: The magnification is x48 with this eyepiece - and when I look
at the moon I can see a fair bit but not in any great detail. The moon
can be seen in full through the eyepiece - is this right (I expected a
closer shot somehow ??)

Or should I be trying for a deeper sky object such as a planet or nebula

Your thoughts and any comments are eagerly anticipated !!
Mike here: The Moon does about fill the field of view with the 26mm eyepiece on the ETX-90. If you want more magnification you have use a Barlow Lens or use shorter focal eyepieces. See the Accessories - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on eyepieces.

Subject:	 About Tripods
Sent:	Wednesday, August 16, 2000 22:54:34
From:	krishna_murthy@hotmail.com (krishna murthy)
keep up the great work, your web site is very informative and helpful
for beginers like me, with all the tips / tricks and advices from other

I recently purchased the ETX 90EC telescope and am all excited.

After spending a lot on the telescope and on a tight budget, i started
searching for a cheaper / alternatve solutions to the tripods.

The original tripods cost anywhere from $190 upwards. So one day i was
browsing around the hardware store and came across this wonderful
CST/Berger contractors aluminium tripod for about $85 inc. tax. and
wanted to share this info with all other users of your web site. I got
mine from lowes but it should be available in any hardware store.

It will need some aditional stuff like a small strip of metal with 3
holes, 2 for the telescope base and one in the center to attach to the
tripod. A few dollars worth of material and it should be ready to go.

please let every body know. because a piece of aluminium tube should not
be costing $190.

here's the link.

* next i will try the carry case for the etx *
I saw this craftsman tool box about $19 and a bit of foam / rubber
packing should do the trick. another saving of about $70

Saved just enough for the Autostar controler :-)
working on alternatives for this too.



Krishna Murthy
E-mail: krishna_murthy@hotmail.com

Subject:	 Re: 883 Tripod Defect
Sent:	Wednesday, August 16, 2000 22:36:37
From:	jchalfen@goldengate.net (John Chalfen)
I had the same problem with my tripod. One screw fit, one didn't. I
filed the slot out until the mounting screw fit properly. Turns out that
the slot was not de-burred properly and needed some clearing out.


--Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intellegent life on other
planets is the fact that they havent tried to contact us yet.  (Bill
Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes)


Mike here: From the original problem description I didn't think a burr was the problem. That I have seen.

And a response:

From:	mbbyrd@prodigy.net (Margie Byrd)
Thanks for replying,
Talked with Meade today. They have not heard of this before. They are
willing to send another 883 tripod. Tomorrow i fax  a copy of the sales
order and they will send me another tripod and i will return mine with
the problem. They have already given me a return authorization #. I will
let you know how this ends. They seem willing to right this situation
and if it turns out good i think this might be a good item to post so
everyone knows their customer service response!

Subject:	 Meade #3200 Filter set for ETX-60 & 70AT
Sent:	Wednesday, August 16, 2000 13:19:57
From:	bald1@usa.net (Bob Allman)
Mike Bieler of Astronomics was kind enough to clarify what filters will
be in this kit, as the Meade web site is devoid of this data.  It will
consist of a #8, #23A, #82A, and a 50% Neutral Density filter.
Astronomics lists this kit for $39.95 + $3.96 S&H, but Mike advised that
Meade hasn't started shipping to dealers yet.


Subject:	 Meade 883 tripod defect
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 17:47:04
From:	mbbyrd@prodigy.net (Margie Byrd)
I have a ETX-90 and have just recently purchased the 883 tripod. Upon
mounting came across a defect? There are two screw mounts on the tripod
that line up with the ETX-90 base. I noticed the screw slots, if you
will, on the tripod diameters were slightly off on one. Example, the
same screw that fit one slot would not fit thru the other slot. Just
slightly off. I attempted to flex this slot ever so slightly, enough to
fit thru the screw, but cracked the slot. Enough on one side of the slot
to have to glue. Have you heard of this problem before? I plan to call
Meade customer support when i get the chance, i don't think they have a
email cust. support. Thanks in advance. By the way, you have a great
Mike here: Unless you were trying to use the wrong holes on the base of the ETX, this is the first I've heard of this problem.

Subject:	 Natrual Wonders Meade's
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 16:01:43
From:	lstaud@uswest.net (Lee)

This JUST showed up ...the RUMOR is true on
the BIG SALE at ..


Just click MORE details next to the products
OLD price!

Take care ...Lee
Lee Staudacher (Retired Electrical

Subject:	 Brand New User - Disappointed 
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 14:42:15
From:	farside@btinternet.com (Richard)
I live in the UK and spent a lot of time looking for the right Scope -
and despite my grumbling, still feel I have the right scope. What I am
disgruntled about is the eye piece that came with my ETX. I got a 26mm
lens which I assume is standard - on the first night of looking I could
see better with the naked eye than with the scope. Is this the right one
to start with (without having to shell much more money for a new eye
piece (the scope costs over $1000 U.S.) ? Is there somewhere on the net
where I can get cheaper eye pieces, or even second hand. I would really
appreciate some help. I admit I am a novice and this site works perfect
for people like me - which is why I'm asking. Please bombard me with
mails and give me some advice - all are welcome !!
Mike here: Gee, you have amazing eyes if you can see better with them than with the 26mm eyepiece attached (and properly focused) on the ETX. ;-) Or more likely, you have really bad skies. (In the UK???) But seriously, the 26mm eyepiece does allow you to see way more than you can with your naked eye. Details of craters on the Moon, the Rings of Saturn, cloud bands on Jupiter, nebulae, galaxies, and more. As to dealers that sell eyepieces, check the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 Meade Customer Service...AOK with me.
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 10:52:21
From:	tpmiles@bellsouth.net (Tony Miles)
I wanted to pass along my experience with the Meade customer service

After hearing all the hype about Natural Wonders slashing prices on
Meade products, yesterday I decided to venture to one of their mall
locations here in Atlanta. I quickly found out its no hype...15 - 25
percent off all their Meade stock. Even though I wanted to walk out with
half the store, I ended up purchasing the #825 Right Angle Viewfinder. I
paid only $40 for it, not too bad compared to the usual $54.00 price

Well, I got home mounted it and found out the  crosshairs was screwed
up. They weren't straight, kinda curvy, and they would not focus
correctly. Well, instead of trying to return the item back to Natural
Wonders, I called Meade customer service support.

The guy I spoke to was very friendly and told me that they would ship
out a new one as soon as I could fax them a copy of my receipt proving
that I purchased the RA viewfinder. Before hanging up with the customer
service rep he asked me how I liked my ETX-90EC and how it was
performing for me. I mentioned that the DEC lock was slipping a little
and it wouldn't tighten down. So, he told me that he would add to my
shipment a replacement/repair kit for the DEC lock.

I have to admit I was impressed how this guy had a genuine concern about
my opinion and happiness with their product. Now as for Natural Wonders
and their people, that another story.

Take care.

Subject:	 Power adapter for ETX125EC and 90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, August 15, 2000 08:19:43
From:	jah@helix.nih.gov (John Hanover)
I have noted a number of postings recently who are taking advantage of
the Natural Wonders "closeout" on Meade products. I purchased the Meade
#541 AC adapter and the PC cable kit.  I thought that the readers might
be interested to know that the #541 AC adapter ($29.00 on sale) contains
both an AC adapter and what is apparently the #607 12 V. DC car plug
adapter with a 25 foot cord.  Meade literature does not make it clear
that the #541 contains both.  I own the Scopetronix AC adapter but
purchased the #541 to allow DC connectivity as well.  At $29.00 bucks,
having both adapters is not a bad deal.

Thanks for maintaining the best ETX site on the web.

John A. Hanover
Chief, Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry and Biology
National Institutes of Health
Bldg 8 Rm 402
8 Center Dr MSC 0850
NIH Bethesda MD 20892-0850
Ph: (301) 496-0943
FAX : (301) 496-9431
e mail: jah@helix.nih.gov

Subject:	SAC ccd cameras
Sent:	Monday, August 14, 2000 06:38:25
From:	Astro1807@aol.com
i want to know if you or anyone on the site has had any experiance with
Sonfest SAC ccd cameras: SAC (Keyword to:
members.xoom.com/sonfest/) .  I saw the ad in a Sky and Telescope
magazine and on their web site they claim to be a good camera for ETX
telescopes.  The reason these look interesting is the cheap prices:
there are two models costing $129 and $224.  There is no cooling system
but the pictures of the moon and planets on the site are pretty

Mike here: I am currently working with one and will report on it at a future date. Some guest shots are in Astrophotography - Guest galleries.

Subject:	 What I was refering to was the size of telescope in the picture 
Sent:	Monday, August 14, 2000 01:05:40
From:	rvator@gte.net (Roy McDonald)
frankly after buying the etx 90 and then seeing the etx 125  a week
later aand then seeing a picture of a etx 12" I was just wooondering how
big that one is that you made the picture with and what the cost was
ps don't hold back just wondering and where is that telescope
Mike here: Sorry for the confusion on my part. I gather you are referring to the photo on my ETX home page. That is a Photoshop edited image which I did to enforce that the ETX is a Mighty Telescope. Sorry to have confused you!

Subject:	 Meade Sale
Sent:	Sunday, August 13, 2000 14:53:34
From:	SWick@magellanhealth.com (Wick, Steven)
I just wanted to let folks know that the Natural Wonders store is
closing out their entire Meade line of products: scope, accessories,
everything.  In addition to their retails stores, they have a web site
at www.naturalwonders.com.  All products are on sale 10% - 25% off.  I'm
not affiliated with them in any way other than I just purchased the
field tripod from them.  Sale priced a 152.00, it seem like a good deal,
even if the girl friend seems to think this money would be better spent
on jewelry.   Diamonds in the sky are certainly more valuable than a
small chip of rock, no?

Also, I'm a newbie to all this and really appreciate your web site.  It
has helped me out a great deal.

Keep up the good work.


Subject:	 ETX Setting Circle
Sent:	Saturday, August 12, 2000 03:04:40
From:	edwin.holden@btinternet.com (Edwin Holden)
Hi, just read you humours comments on the setting circle.  Your not
alone with the confused bit.  I too couldn't work out which bloody set
of numbers to use at first, until like you I read the manual.

Bet your a bit of  a techie that goes by the rule - when all else fails,
read the manual.

Ed Holden

Subject:	 Comments....
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2000 20:49:21
From:	tim@columbia.total-web.net (Tim Sheets)
Let me first say that your site is greatly appreciated.  I think I speak
for all of your users when I say that we are in your debt for providing
such a nice site...

That said, I would like to wholeheartedly concur with the comments of
spowell@columbus.rr.com (Scott Powell)  in your ETX "Comments from New
Users" section that suggest the book "Turn Left at Orion".  I have been
interested in Astronomy for several years.  Unfortunately, I do not
currently own a scope, but, the first scope that I owned was a Meade 8"
starfinder EQ.  Not having a clue how to find stuff to look at (other
than the moon and planets), I took the suggestion of another buff and
bought this book.  It is a superb book for the beginner, detailing not
only how to find objects, but also what you can expect to see when you
find it.

I strongly urge any new amateur to get this book.  Not a few months
after you fight your way through trying to find objects, but buy it at
the same time, or even before you buy your first scope!


Subject:	 Hello my name is Roy 
Sent:	Friday, August 11, 2000 01:11:30
From:	rvator@gte.net (Roy McDonald)
I am new to this kind of thing I just bought a etx 90 and am learning
some but could use a little help, I don't have a site where I can see
the stars real well due to ambiant light in the area. I have a couple of
questions maybe you can answer. first how big is your etx? holy cow  #2
where is the best place to buy more eyepiceses I have the standard 26mm
and a 2x barlow I would like to get a 6.7mm or a 9.7mm . #3  I really
want to see some of the objects that nasa left on the moon is it
possible to see any of them with an etx 90 or even with yours like the
lunar rover or the flag? thanks for taking the time to answer I have a
lot more questions but only three for now thanks Roy
Mike here: Welcome to the universe! Unfortunately, the ETX (or most any earth-based telescope) will not see man-made objects on the Moon. Now if your name is really Bill Gates and you own Microsoft, then maybe you can afford something larger... There are many excellent sources of eyepieces (Shutan Camera and Video, Scopetronix, and others listed in the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page. As to the size of my ETX, I have the -90 and -125 models.

Subject:	 Overcast ETX
Sent:	Thursday, August 10, 2000 21:27:40
From:	teb1013@hotmail.com (Thomas Brown)
Two weeks of vacation here in the East, and I was looking forward to
some good observation.  Sadly not one night of truly clear skies; mostly
rain or heavy overcast, but tonight, I decided to go out anyway even
though the only object easily visible was the moon.  Aligning the ETX 90
EC was no picnic, even the alignment stars selected by the Autostar:
Altair, and Arcturus, were barely visible through what looked like a sky
of milk.  Anyway, I spent most of my time looking at the moon, and
despite the overcast the conditions were stable, and the ETX provided
great spectacular views of Plato, Copernicus, Tycho Clavius and many
other craters.  After a few early views, I think many of us forget just
how spectacular the moon can be.  Too bad that most lunar
atlases[including Rukl's Atlas of the Moon, which I have] are so
detailed that they are hard to use at the scope.  I find that those 4
pictures of the moon in Turn Left at Orion are still the best to orient
oneself especially because they are "flopped" to represent the eyepiece
view of a scope like the ETX.  I wish that full page size images of the
lunar phases with more craters illustrated were available.

After a satisfying hour or so "moon gazing" [another advantage to
overcast is that you don't have to use a lunar filter]; I managed to
catch a few of my favorite double stars: even split the Double Double;
quite a testimony to the Autostar seeing that by now, even Vega was
difficult to see with the naked eye. I did try to catch a couple of the
brightest deep sky objects but even M 13 was nothing more than the
vaguest smudge.

Still it was great to be out for the first time in quite a while. 
Hopefully some of you in other parts of the country have been having
"clear skies."

Tom Brown

Mike here: The Meade Instruments home page has been redesigned. Hopefully this means more attention will be given to their site. Currently the links from the new home page seem to point to older pages.

Subject:	 Secondary baffle
Sent:	Wednesday, August 9, 2000 08:23:52
From:	brians@mdbs.com (Brian Straight)
Anyone with an older ETX suffering from the secondary baffle adhesive
problem might want to check out the procedure I went through to correct
the problem (Meade now charges to fix it).  As usual, please be aware
that there is a potential to damage your scope in undertaking this
procedure, so proceed at your own risk.



Subject:	 Re: Astronomy
Sent:	Wednesday, August 9, 2000 08:22:04
From:	burdpaul@hotmail.com (Paul Burd)
Hi again, i am considering buying some books to read about astronomy
before i buy a telescope.  Are there any book that you reccomend within
the $50 range. Also, what is the best magazine to suscribe to if you are
getting into amatuer astronomy?  THanks for your time.
Mike here: Check the Book Reviews page on my ETX site. Also the "How to Begin in Amateur Astronomy" on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 Meade & Natural Wonders end relationship
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 19:06:08
From:	etx@me.com

Subject:	 Re: [ETX] Meade & Natural Wonders end relationship
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 22:44:25
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
So, for curiosity's sake, i visited 
and clicked to their telescope page...
Ahhh... Celestrons... and, what's this?
a whole new line of Nexstar-equipped 
refractors and newtonians!
(hey, it's news to me)
All prices include the Nexstar controller.
60mm refractor: $399 (classic long-tube)
80mm refractor  $499
114mm reflector  $549
and the familiar NexStar 5 ($1200) and 8 ($1900)

Compared to non-controlled telescopes, they're
"charging" about $200 to $250 for the NexStar-ness.

Reading the back-stories behind the merger
( http://biz.yahoo.com/n/w/wosi.html ) hints that
Natural Wonders (or WoS) may negotiate by walking away...
so maybe they'll return to selling Meade... but their 
Celestron contract may be either much more profitable 
or restrictive for them ...  ah, business...
--dick (rampant speculation at the drop of a hat)
And more info on this:
Subject:	 A terrible tragedy
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 22:57:14
From:	lovemouse@webtv.net
I just learned today that Natural Wonders is no longer going to carry
Meade products. Instead, they're switching to Celestron. They are
blaming Meade's inability to ship products on time for this decision.
And they feel that Celestron offers a better telescope than the ETX
series. I don't know what they're thinking. On the bright side, all
their telescopes are on sale to liquidate their inventory. i know a lot
of your readers have bought their scopes at Natural Wonders and I
thought you'd like to know.
Keep up the good work,
Matt Thomas

Subject:	 Bolt pattern for etx new and old
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 16:28:36
From:	volvo_man@juno.com (chris g Lindsay)
I would appreciate it if anyone who has the  bolt measurements from the
center of the base to the center of the outside bolt hole for the LX 10
and all ETX models could send them to me.  I have a prototype for a
portable pier for small telescopes, but I need these bolt patterns to
finish it.   If you should have information on any of these or are
interested in the pier you can e-mail me at volvo_man@juno.com or I will
be at the Oregon star party/swap meet.  I'd like to thank Mike for
posting this message and thank everyone for the help they have given me
in this project. 


Subject:	 Thank You
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 13:57:35
From:	rmarchionna@voyager.net (Ray Marchionna)
I found a link on your great sight that seems to have solved all of my
astrophotography problems. Its http://web.archive.org/web/20100105230338/http://home.att.net/%7Ejblessin/etx.htm

Not only did it tell what to look for in a camera, it even mentioned one
that had all of the desired features. Based on that recommendation, I
purchased a reasonably priced used camera that seems to work great. ( No
more "hat trick" necessary. )

Naturally, since I got it, it's rained almost every day and night, but I
did shoot a roll of solar pictures that came out great.

Thanks for doing such a great job.


Subject:	 Meade free modification kit
Sent:	Tuesday, August 8, 2000 09:55:52
From:	dcgrafix@home.com (Dan Cullen)
Hello I was reading your info on the free modification kit from Meade. I
have 2 of the Meade tripods and was wondering how I go about getting the
free modification kit from Meade ? Their page contains no info on this.
Mike here: Call Meade and request the kit.

Subject:	 Uranus & Neptune
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2000 19:52:35
From:	stanleyc62@juno.com
I saw on your web-site that you recently viewed Uranus & Neptune with
your ETX.  I also was able to view these for the first time a little
over a week ago at a star party in McCall Idaho.  I found Uranus pretty
fast, but it took me quite a while to find Neptune.  I probably had seen
Neptune several times before I positively identified it, and even then
it took me seeing it in a friend's 8" LX200 before I found it on my own
with my ETX-90RA.  Both planets appeared pale blue in my eyepiece.

Anyway, I've been having a blast the last few weeks going to several
star parties.  To date, I have found 71 Messier objects with my ETX,
hopefully I will be able to find all of them eventually.  I have been
having trouble seeing three of them, all in Ursa Major, M97, M108 and
M109.  Has anyone seen these with an 90mm ETX?

Carl Stanley
Mountain Home, ID

Mike here: Late Friday night I did some good old-fashioned "star hopping" to observe Uranus and Neptune. These two planets are currently well positioned (almost due south in the Northern Hemisphere around midnight in the constellation of Capricornus). I printed out a finderchart using the Voyager III software (charts also available on the Sky&Telescope web site) and just hopped from one star to another until I located the planets. Both planets are easily found using this technique although you will need about 100X or more magnification to really see any disk, especially with Neptune. But you will notice a color to each planet; I won't say what so that I don't spoil it for new observers. If you have never seen any planets beyond Saturn, now is a good time to view Uranus and Neptune as they are nearly in opposition (directly opposite us from the Sun and so closest to us and at their brightest). I also took this opportunity to show the fine double star Albireo (Beta Cygni) to my wife. She had never seen it before and the striking colors really got her.

Subject:	 Tune up
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2000 18:29:28
From:	2travel@gte.net (Mike Gruendel)
I seem to remember having read somewhere, I believe on your site - some
suggestions as to tightening up the ETX90/EC.   When the RA is locked,
the scope still "rocks" about 1/8" to the left and right.  Is there a
way to eliminate this movement, is something broken, or is this normal?
- I haven't noticed this movement before.

My sympathies to you and your family at the loss of your friend and
brother.  I'm sure you all take some solace in the fact that he is
finally at peace.

Mike here: There are several tuneup tips on the Technical Tips page.

Subject:	 the etx
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2000 16:35:40
From:	tedwt@aol.com
My name is Ted Timmer (tedwt@aol.com) and I am very interested in
learning more about the meade etx 90 and 125 scopes.  I am looking to
buy one for my mother who retired from teaching last year and is out
adventuring around and having a a great time.  She actually asked for a
telescope for her retirement gift and I have been looking at scopes for
a year trying to find one that will both be easy to use and not dash any
expectations she has about seeing the night skies.  i have lloked
through the Meade catalogues and they seem too glossy.  I am happy to
have found your site and will be coming back to learn more.  Any info
you might have as to possible competition to Meade would be great as
well.  And is the 125 worth the extra money?

Ted Timmer
Mike here: You'll find the good and the bad about the ETX telescopes on the site. There's a lot to like about them as well as things we all wish were better (but then they would cost more). Look through the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as some of the recent feedback pages.

Subject:	 RE: doskocil case for ETX
Sent:	Monday, August 7, 2000 08:31:00
From:	Ray.Wartinger@usa.xerox.com (Wartinger, Ray C)
I bought the large case - should've bought the extra large.  The large
is a real tight fit.  I have the old ETX-90 so I don't know if the
dimensions of the new scopes are different.  I'd still recommend the
extra large.  I never took it on a plane so I can't answer that
question.  As far a being watertight, its supposed to be but with the
tight fit of the large case, its possible that the lid doesn't seal
completely.  Again, go with the extra large.  Check with the airlines to
see if it'll fit.

No problem with the foam 'bits' going where they shouldn't (so far at
least).  I don't have an electric focus - is that standard equipment or
did you add it?  You'd have to check the instructions for the focuser to
see if it can be turned manually.  I'd suspect that you can - it should
have a clutch in it to allow you to turn manually with power to the
controller. Again, I don't have one so I can't answer for sure.

I'd buy the sturiest tripod you can afford.  I have the Bogen with the
quick disconnect mount (real handy since to put the scope on, you just
set it down and it clicks).  Its a real nice tripod.

Have fun with your new telescope!

- - Ray

Subject:	 Eyepieces/Magnification
Sent:	Sunday, August 6, 2000 14:57:14
From:	rob_gaston@email.msn.com (Robert E. Gaston)
I have recently purchased a Meade Series 4000 9.7mm eyepiece to
compliment the 26mm that came with my 90EC.  The enhanced magnification
of the 9.7mm is pleasant, especially for the observation of the Moon,
Jupiter and Saturn.  Of course, the objects appear a bit fainter, but
this was to be expected.

I would like to squeeze the most magnification out of my scope.  I am
contemplating purchasing an Ultrawide 4.6mm or similar eyepiece.  Would
this be practical for the 90EC?  Would deep space objects be
complimented by such an eyepiece, or would the reduced light
transmission of such an eyepiece be too detrimental?  Can you recommend
[affordable] eyepieces to make a complimentary set for the 90EC?

Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Mike here: The Accessories - Eyepieces page has lots of comments on several eyepieces. Also, see the Buyer/New User Tips page for more on eyepieces. A 4.6mm will be pushing it but can be using on brighter objects. I doubt that faint deep space objects will be very clear or even visible.

Added later:

Thanks for the quick response.  I am checking out the pages that you
recommended as we speak.

Subject:	Lost Eyepiece holder screw
Sent:	Sunday, August 6, 2000 10:44:57
From:	Etxstargazer@aol.com
Last night while shooting the moon, I accidently unscrewed the screw
that holds the eyepice in place too far. The screw came out and i
dropped it in the grass. I looked for it, but it is too small and the
grass is too thick. I have no idea where it is. I think this little
asset is something we all take for granted. The screw is actually and
important piece of the scope. Using the telescope with the heavy camera
with out the screw made me very nervous. I was afraid whatever i had in
there (wheather it be my camera or an eyepiece) would fall out. What
should I do?

Clear Skies,
Taylor Chonis
Mike here: Call Meade; they will most likely replace it, possibly free.

Subject:	 Field report
Sent:	Sunday, August 6, 2000 05:48:55
From:	edmosser@home.com (Edward Mosser)
Saturday August 4th was a perfect night here in Northwest Indiana and I
took advantage of it to get out with my ETX90RA.  I did not go out until
the moon was nearly set at 11pm.  Even with the light pollution of the
suburban skys, the Milky Way was visible.  I knew it would be a great
evening and reality would match expectation.

The first object was M11 in Scutum, the famous Wild Duck open cluster. 
To me it appears a cross between an open cluster and globular cluster. 
The ETX can only resolve about 5 stars, but the cluster is a wonderful
sight.  There is a considerable amount of "nebulosity" which is not an
accurate description, since it is actually dim stars.  Just west of M11
is a pretty wide double star with about 120 degrees of separation at 180
degrees.  Dropped down to M26, another open cluster in Scutum.  Find the
triangle formed by Alpha, Delta, and Epsilon Scutum and then use the
Alpha/Delta stars to point to M26 about one degree from Epsilon.  I
could see why Mr. Messier added this to his catalog, as it appears comet
like in the small scope.  Not any bright stars to distinguish it. 
Epsilon Scutum is not a true double, but has a line of site star giving
a nice FOV.

NGC 6664 is about 1/2 degree east of Alpha Scutum.  I "barlowed" up to
96X to place the open cluster outside the FOV with alpha.  Much easier
to view this way. I spotted 8 stars in a 10-15' area with the brightest
star about 9mag. M16 was next.  Nice open cluster with lots of real
nebulosity surrounding it.  There is a nice double star in the north
central part of the cluster.  Two degrees south of M16 lies M17.  I was
running out of time, as it was about to pass behind the neighbor's tree
and was unable to sketch or take good notes, but the nebulosity seems to
cover 15-20' and there is a double star to the south of it.

I scanned the area known as B312.  I do not know much about it but it
was an interesting view.  I jumped up to I4756, which was probably the
highlight of the night.  Take some time and find this, it is easy to
locate and worth the trip. It is a rich open cluster well over a degree
in size with over 60 stars visable.  A 7th mag star anchors the cluster
and many of the stars are 8-9mag.  Many doubles are in this cluster. 
West about 2.5 degrees is another fine cluster, NGC6633.  "Wow" was my
initial muttering, as I viewed this fine cluster.  There are 35+ stars
in an area at least 30'.  I went to 96x but was disappointed.

I4756 and NGC 6633 by themselves are worth getting the scope out. 
Everything else is a bonus.

I will finish this report later, when I describe my visits to M71, NGC
6885, NGC 6940, M31, M103 and NCG 457.  For now, it is off to church.

Ed Mosser
Subject:	 Field report part 2
Sent:	Sunday, August 6, 2000 13:52:57
From:	edmosser@home.com (Edward Mosser)
Part of the fun of this hobby is revisiting old friends.  Last year I
struggled to find M71.  This year it took just a couple of minutes to
reacquaint myself with the constellation Sagitta.  The arrow points east
and by working from delta, it was spotted.  I could not identify it's
neighbor Harvard 20, an open cluster nearby.  M27, the dumbell, was next
and I did not use the finder or star hop to get there.  Just moved north
about 3 FOV and there it was.  I thought I could see a dark rift in the
nebula.  This fine nebula handles higher power very well.  I ramped up
to 96x without losing any quality.

I then wandered over to the stars 18,19, and 20 Vulpecula.  While these
are not a physical multiple system, it forms a nice north-south
arrangement.  So often we search for the Messier or other objects and
bypass the nice "arrangements" that are not physically linked, just
random rays of light.  NGC 6885 seems to be centered around 20
Vulpecula.  It includes 19 stars in a 18-20' area.  All stars, except 20
are in the 8 -10 mag range.  Is 20 a part of this cluster?  Perhaps I
spotted NGC 6882, just north of NCG 6885.  There were quite a few stars
between 19 and 20 Vulpecula.

Drifted east to NGC 6940, which I identified by spotting a double star
on the east side.  Total stars numbered 15 in a 20' area. My log states
"not real exciting".

By this time (1am) the autumn stars were well up in the sky and I turned
to M31.  As usual, it really did not do much for me.  ETX 90 is just not
the scope for this object, in my opinion.  Next were two great
Cassiopeia open clusters - M103 and NGC 457.  Just peaked in to make
sure they were ok before I turned in for the night.

Autumn is just great for the ETX.  The open clusters in Cassiopeia and
Persius, plus the summer triangle in the west makes this the best season
in my opinion.

Ed Mosser

Subject:	doskocil case for ETX
Sent:	Friday, August 4, 2000 22:03:18
From:	LEIBOV@aol.com
I read your reviews of the case in Weasner's ETX page, and just got an
ETX-90EC, with the Autostar controller.  I want a waterproof, hard-sided
case (might take it on a rafting trip sometime, and for airplane trips).
I wasn't sure from your reviews if the large or extra large you got was
for the 90 or for the 125EC, and if either has been taken by you as
carry on luggage in the airplane, and if so, did it fit under the seat?
in the overhead compartment? get any grief about its size from the
boarding agent at the airport gate?

How do you feel now about your decision re: the case, and any further
feedback?  do you need plastic baggies to prevent foam bits from getting
into the working parts?

Also (I just got it out and set up yesterday for first time):  do you
need to turn off the power for the controller (regular one or Autostar)
to use the manual focus knob on the back of the scope itself, that is,
will it hurt the motor to adjust the focus with your fingers with the
knob while the controller is plugged in and the power on?

I'm not sure about tripod either--thinking I might get a Bogen but most
of the less expensive ones written about on the Weasner site have weight
ratings of only a few pounds, while the ETX90 is over 7 pounds and with
an adapter plate like the one recommended from Shutan, it looks like a
heavier/sturdier tripod is needed--? like the Bogen 3046.  A local photo
shop has one with the Bogen 3046 (?#136) head for $250 which seems like
a good deal, tho not sure I need the head with the Shutan Easy Mount.
Can anyone give me some feedback on these questions too?

Lew Leibovich (leibov@aol.com) 
Mike here: If the airline you'll be traveling has the new X-ray machine entrance shield, you will find that most cases won't go through because they exceed the 9x14 inches of the opening. You will want a sturdy (read heavy duty) tripod, otherwise a slight breeze will cause too much vibration.

Subject:	 filters
Sent:	Thursday, August 3, 2000 14:34:05
From:	garyc@voicenet.com (Gary)
I saw in the meade catalog that meade sells a set of 4 filters #3200 for
the 60at and 70at they are red,blue,yellow and a netral are these as
good as filters for the etx90? there cost is $45.00.also could you tell
me a good replacement sighting scope for the one on the etx90 I hate it,
I have to squat down to see through it. Can you buy some type of open
sight. When I used to hunt I always prefered open sights to the scope.

thanks for any help!
gary copestake
Mike here: The filters should be OK for the ETX-90 assuming they connect to the eyepiece. As to replacements finderscopes, check the Accessories - Finderscopes page on my ETX site. There are several different types covered there. Also check the Accessories - Showcase Products page for the "Shutan RA Finder Conversion".

Subject:	 ETX-90RA or ETX-90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, August 2, 2000 09:08:53
From:	a_trombetta@hotmail.com (Alberto Trombetta)
After visiting few dealers and going through a lot of your excellent
site I've pratically made up my mind about buying and ETX90 as my first

I live in London and I'm looking for something portable that I can set
up quickly on my roof terrace and more importantly that I can take to
the countryside or even on planes when I go abroad. The ETX seems to fit
the bill combined with good optics.

I visited the UK dealer who is offering the last few RA at 400 (100
discount) and the EC at 550.

So my question is: are the 150 extra worth it? I know it would also
allow me to by the autostar, but realistically I don't think I will be
able to use my telescope very frequently so I wouldn't like to spend
over the top!

I would appreciate any comments you might have.


Mike here: The ETX-90RA is an excellent telescope. From the time it was introduced in early 1996, it was one hot seller up until the ETX-90EC was introduced in January 1999. So, if you can use star charts to find your way around the sky, the ETX-90RA will give you years of enjoyment. On the other hand, as was recently mentioned on one of the feedback pages, having the Autostar can allow you to more easily locate faint objects in light polluted skies, where "star hopping" with the ETX-90RA might be difficult.

Added later:

Thanks Mike for the quick reply!

Subject:	 Field of view and home lat/long
Sent:	Monday, July 31, 2000 20:31:29
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
Since the skiies in western So. Dak. are obscurred with smoke and haze
from the wildfires burning all over the place in ten western states,
I've been forced to view the night skiies using "Starry Night Backyard".
 Fun, but not the real McCoy,even tho it does a great job of honning
your knowledge of the night sky.  Couple of quick questions:

1). What is the effective Field of View(FOV) of the ETX125EC at 300x, or
500x? I'm curious because my math days and Michael Covingtons equations
for this sort of thing don't quite add up.

2). If you have your local coordinates in lat/long set in "site" on the
autostar, will those be used during initialization, or the one I
originally picked (Rapid City, about 60 miles SE) during the first setup
of the autostar. When I call up home location, it shows Rapid City. I
want that changed to my local coordinates if that is what needs to be
done for better alighnment purposes. I've got the info from Richard
Seymour on how to reset. Is that what I need to do? Thanks again Mike,
there is still no site that even comes close to equalling yours.

Let the wildfires burn out, the cool winds blow, and clear skiies

            Tony Bulat

P.S. Sorry, but I forgot to ask. Do you know the formula to compute
Field Of View when using the ETX125EC with various eyepieces?
            The following are constants:
                1). F=1900mm
                2). f=15mm
                3). aperture=127mm
Let's pick an eyepiece of 9.7mm.  What is theFOV? Does a 2x barlow lens
reduce that by 1/2 ?

Mike here: You should set your HOME location for the best alignment. As to effective FOV, locate a star on the celestial equator and put it at the east edge of the FOV in the eyepiece you are measuring. With the RA drive OFF, time the passage of the star across the entire diameter of the FOV. Knowing that it takes 24 hours for a 360 degree rotation, or 15 degrees per hour, or
 15 degrees X 60 minutes/degree X 60 seconds/minute
 -------------------------------------------------- = 15 arcsecs/sec
 1 hour X 60 minutes/hour X 60 seconds/minute
If it takes 4 seconds of time for the star to cross the FOV, then the effective FOV would be 1 arcminute. And a 2X Barlow will normally reduce that by half but depending upon the design of the Barlow, might not.

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