Last updated: 30 August 2003
Subject: Questions about eyepieces and Autostar Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 17:41:28 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hanford Mendenhalls) Like everyone else who has commented on your site, I'd like to say it's great! There's so much information to help ETX owners. I have a couple of questions, though. 1. I read that Dymo labels can be used to keep shortened eyepieces from causing excessing focusing adjustments. How can I tell which eyepieces will benefit from this modification? Do I just stand them up next to the Meade 26mm? 2. Does Brian Straight's "More Autostar Alignment Tips" apply to the ETX-60? SteveMike here: It is not just a matter of measuring the size of eyepiece; you need to determine where each eyepiece actually focuses by sliding them in and out of the eyepiece holder. Focus with one eyepiece and then see if the others can be focused WITHOUT adjusting the focus knob. You may have to try several variations until you found the best "parfocal" settings. Yes, the tips apply except any of the articles talk about a "hardstop"; the ETX-60AT (and ETX-70AT) do not have hardstops.
Subject: EXT 70-AT Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 15:27:41 From: email@example.com (Jorge Chaves) My name is Jorge Chaves, and I decided to write you after visiting your website. I live in Costa Rica, and I am planning to buy a Meade ETX 70AT in the next two weeks. I have been looking at reviews from different pages on the Internet, and althogh there I have founds pro and cons, it is more common to find satisfied users. I first bought a 60 mm telescope at the begining of this year, but it was a pretty bad equipment, so I got really dissapointed. Even so, I would like to take the chance to explore the night sky, so I am interested in the 70AT because of its affordable price. Please give me some advice, and if this a good telescope. Obviously I would prefer to get a 105, or a 125, but honestly I do not have the money. Thanks, and regards, Jorge chaves.Mike here: Yes, the ETX-70AT is a good telescope. But it is still a small telescope with a short focal length. So don't expect to see a lot of details on planets or a lot of faint deep sky objects. It makes a fine wide-field telescope though for studying star fields and open clusters. See my report linked from the top of the current "ETX-60, ETX-70" feedback page. Also, see the User Observations page for more reports.
Subject: ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 13:07:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chuck) Got out a new EXT 70 last night and was very impressed with the tracking and looks like I am going to have some fun with this. Wanted to ask about what I am going to call a Flare extending up from most stars and Mars. When an object is in sharp focus I get a long spike of light extending upward --- For Mars it is about 2x the size of Mars for a star it travels up about the same distance Tried three eyepieces 25m 9m and 4mm -- with and without barlow ---- all the same This is a new scope ---- noticed another post from and another indicated "chromatic aberration" as a concern Also alan indicated above that he had a "flare" going down and to the right --- Alan you may want to contact Meade also Called Meade and they think it's an optical problem and are going to swap mine with a new one.Mike here: Thanks for the report. Chromatic aberration is the color fringing you see on bright objects (blue on one side and red on the other). It is common to low-end refractors.
Subject: EXT70AT - Horizontal Motorskips now after power supply cord wrapped on tripod Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 22:52:56 From: email@example.com (Robert Stojkovic) While trying to align the scope, the power supply cord wrapped around the tripod and the scope stopped moving. I backup the drive and tried it again. Did not realize that the scope was hindered. When I found out I stop and unwrapped everything. Now when I turn the scope in the Horizontal direction with out the clutch on every 15 degrees or so I feel a skip. With the motor now it hesitates. At 16x it will not move forward when it gets to that point. Any suggestions? Robert Stojkovic firstname.lastname@example.org Providing Rocking Innovative Collaboration Every DayMike here: I suggest doing a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. It is possible the drag "confused" the Autostar. Let me know.
Subject: Mars through Meade ETX 70AT Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 18:38:24 From: email@example.com Happened upon your website this evening. Thanks for helping me set my own expectations of what I can, and cannot, expect to see through my backyard telescpoe. I bought the Meade ETX70AT a couple of months ago. Still haven't gotten around to setting up the Autostar, so I'm manually viewing such items as the Moon, and last night (bought into the hype) Mars. Wasn't sure if I should be seeing more than a slightly larger orange dot. was wondering if I was doing something wrong. News organizations seemed to be saying that even amateur astronomers can see the polar ice caps and other large surface features on Mars. They must be talking about scopes more powerful, and spendy then mine. Thanks again, EdMike here: Yes, different sized telescopes do perform differently.
Subject: Angry ETX-70AT (New) User Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2003 10:51:18 From: ISGWYCK@milfordhospital.org (Wyckoff Gerry) Well here we are 60,000 years since the last time Mars was this close and all I can see of Mars is a small bright dot with my ETX-70AT telescope. Who needs the scope? Even when using the 9mm combined with a Barlow 2X Lens all I get is a bright dot. From reading the other e-mails, I am gathering this is correct and all I will see of Mars. That is what makes me angry. When I purchased this telescope the box it was packed in almost promised me the entire universe at my fingertips. Surprise! I even bought the Barlow 2X Lens as an accessory to improve image quality. I even went to the Meade web site at www.meade.com/catalog/etx/etx70at.html and I quote "All of the major planets except Pluto are easily observable through the ETX-70AT. Study Saturn and its ring system; the primary cloud belts of Jupiter as well as its four major satellites; the Moonlike phases of Mercury and Venus; prominent features on Mars; the starlike images of the distant planets Uranus and Neptune." Am I a victim of deceptive advertising? Nice to find your site and the information posted. I may have driven myself crazy thinking I was doing something wrong. Or am I doing something wrong? I will continue to read the additional information posted to try and learn more. GerryMike here: The ETX-70 makes a fine wide-field instrument. But since it is a short focal length telescope the usable magnifications are limited. So, no, you are not doing anything wrong with the telescope; your expectations are just too high for this particular telescope. And marketing hype is just that, no matter what the product or vendor. A good dealer should have been able to help you make the right choice.
Subject: question Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 17:16:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron Etergino) can you tell me where on your site i can find or order instructions on how to use the ETX 60. I am new at this and have no information or knowledge on where to start with it... thanks, ron eterginoMike here: First off, see the "Email Etiquette" item on the ETX Site home page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM. And while you are looking at that part of the home page, click the FAQ link; the manual is listed.
Subject: V-block anti-fringing filter Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 11:23:47 From: Steve.Botts@transamerica.com (Botts, Steve) I searched your site for the keywords above and didn't get any hits on the above filter. I hope this is not a repeat question. Orion is advertising the above filter as a way to reduce flare and coma on short refractors. It sounds pretty exciting, but it costs $69. I am a little worried I would be paying a lot of money for a blue filter packaged with a lot of hype. Do you know anything about it? Thanks for your site. I only surface into the world of astronomy once a year or so, but I always head first for your website. It has given me twice the pleasure with the 70 ETX that I have with other scopes-sort of like belonging to a club where everyone owns nearly the same thing. Thanks, SteveMike here: I seem to recall reading some reports that it does work. Of course, it is another piece of glass in the light path so don't expect miracles.
Subject: Hartmann Mask Questions Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 19:59:36 From: "Hanford Mendenhalls" (email@example.com) I would like to try making a Hartmann mask for my ETX-60. Would such a project be worthwhile for this small of a scope? How do you determine the size of the circle cut-outs and their locations in the mask? Do you use a formula based on the diameter of the objective lens? SteveMike here: You just need two holes spaced far enough apart to make separate images. But you need them to be as large as possible without overlapping. Perhaps 20-25mm each would work with the ETX-60.
Subject: Can't see Mars Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 11:09:04 From: Nick Great website! I have a problem with my Meade ETX 70. I have a 25, 9 and 5mm eyepiece, and all of them give me the same destorted view of mars. I was in a great, dark spot lastnight and the plante focuses in just like stars do...always blue, and perfectly round! This doesn't make any sence for a red planet! I tried adjusting the focus knob in each direction for all three eye pieces, and adjusted the hieght of the lens piece in the socket...nothing. Have you ever heard of this problem? By the way, the moon is easy to focus and get great shots of, so that is not a problem. It is just bright stars and planets that are always showing up as blue and round, like they are just balls of light and not actually ther objects I am looking at. Much thanks!!!! NickMike here: It sounds like you are making a common new-user mistake. Stars should be points of light, not "balls". Mars will appear as a small dot, not a "ball", in the ETX-70. When you focused on the Moon and got a crisp view, that is the correct focus position for Mars and the stars as well. For Mars, this will make the "dot" as small as possible, not as large as possible.
Subject: Flexifocus by Scopetronix Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2003 18:20:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (elliot) Where can I purchase the Scopetronix Flexifocus? I live in Portland, Oregon. The closest dealer you can come up with would greatly help. Your web site certainly has helped me. I am "brand new" at astronomy and own an ETX70-AT. Also, I seem to be reading from some of the other e-mails to you, that if you are using a 25mm lens, then add a 2X Barlow, you shouldn't have to re-adjust your focus????? I need to try this tonight. Thanks for your help, my right hand thumb and forefinger are sore from spinning that little knob. ElliottMike here: Many of the online dealers carry it. I know OPT does. Yes, you will have to adjust the focus when adding a Barlow Lens.
Subject: new ETX-70AT user Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2003 13:03:09 From: email@example.com (Nick Murphy) I just bought an ETX-70AT, and tried it out last night on Mars (surprised?) I must have done everything wrong, because what I saw was a large black & white semi-focused disc, with no real features, except 2 black spots, some banding toward the bottom, and all the floaters in my eyes. I tried both the 25, and the 9. I am guessing that I was focused wrong, but not having any idea what I should have been seeing, or how big it should be, I was (and still am) clueless. If I ran the focus all the way back, it went from big to a small point, back to big again. I guess I was expecting it to be more than just a little dot. Any ideas? Thanks, Nick Kennewick, Wa.Mike here: Little dot is the correct one. See My Astrophotography Gallery - Planets to get an idea of what you'll see with several different telescope models. With the 25mm eyepiece you don't get much magnification with a 350mm focal length telescope. Not much better with the 9mm.
Subject: no subject Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2003 07:04:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nabil Takla) I just bought the ETX-70. I have the 25 mm eye piece. Mars does not seem to be any larger than what I can see with my naked eye. What else do I have to purchase so that I can get a look at Mars? Thanks very much. NabilMike here: See the "Email Etiquette" item on the ETX Home Page; your subject-less message was almost deleted unread as SPAM.
Thank you for you quick reply. I bought the telescope in a Discovery store that was closing out. It has a 25mm eyepiece. Thanks again!
Subject: Autostar #494 Meade ETX70 AT Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 11:53:12 From: DRFTax@aol.com I have just purchased the above telescope and autostar. However, the autostar text is in German. Is there anyway I can download an update from the PC which will change this to English text?. Hope you can help, Kind Regards Dean Fenner England UKMike here: Unfortunately, there is no user installable update for the #494. See the FAQ page for changing the language (assuming yours has multiple languages installed, which it may not). Your choices are: contact your dealer for an Autostar exchange, contact Meade for an Autostar exchange, or purchase a #497 (or a #495, which can be user updated to a #497 via software).
I appreciate you taking the time and trouble to help this complete novice with your advice, which has been very helpful. Thanks and regards Dean
And an update:
Only just realised that I purchased your book "Using the Meade ETX" last week from Amazon, whilst I awaited delivery of the telescope. It had such good reviews it seemed the ideal partner. No luck with changing the language per your instructions, it appears not to be multi lingual. Will have to wait until after our national holiday tomorrow and try something else. It looks like your book and website will be invaluable once I get up and running. Thanks again, regards. Dean
Subject: Hello from England Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 11:14:04 From: MattKidd12@aol.com My name is Matthew Kidd and I turned 18 in March. My Dad kindly bought me The Meade ETX-70AT for my birthday. Although I have successfully gazed at the moon through my 25mm and 9mm lens, with a magnifier lens (Barlow??), I still havent had time to use my Autostar. I recently bought your book, Using the Meade ETX. Although you havent specifically referred to my model of telescope, I have so far found it useful. I was wondering whether you could advise me on what I should do next. Is there any specific item I should purchase for enhanced viewing, or do you think I should first of all work out how to use the autostar? In the future, I would like to be able to look at different things in different ways, but I am unsure as to what I should buy. Also, are there any websites you know that will help me keep up to date with what special events in the sky are taking place. Thankyou for your time, Matthew Kidd ( England )Mike here: Yes, you should learn to utilize the Autostar. There is a "Guided Tour" mode which will show you objects of interest. You might not be able to see every item in your telescope from your location (due to sky brightness) so don't get frustrated if you can see something right away; just move on to the next object in the Tour. There are many sites that have current news; I like the Sky&Telescope web site.
Subject: Are there Star Guides Available for Small scopes like my EXT-70AT Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 09:06:19 From: email@example.com (Robert Stojkovic) I recently purchased an EXT-70AT. I like very much. Have been having fun looking at Mars, the Moon and the constellations. In readying some of the magazines like Sky & Telescope they have great articles but they talk about things that most beginning amateurs with start scopes cannot see. Are there any sources of information about what observers with small starter scopes can start to adventure out after checking out the Moon. Losing sleep at night looking at the stars and loving it. Mike your site is great. Robert StojkovicMike here: Sky&Telescope has a lot of starter information on their web site.
Subject: NO SUBJECT Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 07:00:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I am thinking of buying an ETX70AT as my first telescope, can you give your professional opinion? I am very interested in stargazing as a hobby and I would to buy something that will last quite a long timeMike here: PLEASE see the EMAIL SUBJECTS notice on the ETX Home Page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM.
Subject: ETX Camera Adapters Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 06:44:28 From: Crooks, Richard I have an ETX-70. At a going out of business sale, I bout the 64T (it's all they had left.) Will this work with the 70? Or do I need to buy the 64ST. It looks like the T is considerably longer than the ST. Rich CrooksMike here: You do need the ST model for the ETX-70. But even that one may not allow proper focusing with some cameras.
Thanks for quick reply. At 80% off, I guess that I didn't waste too much money. Maybe I'll try to e-bay it. I have an OLD Yashica TL Electro X I was thinking of trying to hook up and see how it goes. This camera is almost 30 years old (bought by my brother when he was in the USN in Hong Kong.) I've never tried anything like this before, but film is cheap. I see there is a new 105 out. That's a good size. It's hardly worth upgrading from a 70 to a 90, and the 125 is quite expensive, so the 105 looks like a good step up (and my 497 should work with it.) Looks like Meade did a little market research and are trying to fill a niche. I really enjoy your mighty site. I've picked up a bunch of good tips from it. Did you know that on www.jackstargazer.com (Jack Horheimer's site) he has a page saying that you can send $1 in to Meade and they will send you a Limited Edition Stargazer Software CD? I heard that you can even control the ETX with it. Supposedly, it is a version of Starry Night, but I'll have to wait until I get it to see. Rich Crooks
Subject: etx 60at finder scope Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2003 01:54:39 From: email@example.com Is it possible to attach a finder scope on a ETX 60AT scope I have seen the ones on 90ec and was wondering if this was possible? Thank you and this a great site lots of info that is invaluableMike here: Yes, it is possible. Meade makes a finderscope for ETX-70 model (#827) but I don't know if it will fit the ETX-60. See the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes page for some others.
Subject: Re: Re: RE: 70ETX with severe focus problem - rookie STILL needs help Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2003 07:03:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Roberts) star fields look good - pin points of light. I forgot to tell you that when I moved from the moon to Mars with a 25mm eyepiece Mars was a FLAT LINE at first. is that meaningful? I've posted on the Meade ETX group and several there have said that as I bring a star into focus I should see a dark hole with rings of light around it, that then resolves intto a star. NOPE. never. most stuff fuzzy and oblong shaped. some have said the scope needs collimating. do you know how to collimate a 70 ETX? really appreciate your help and patience here. since I can see the moon so well I feel like the scope is okay but seeing Mars as a flat line bothers me. markMike here: The "rings" around stars that you were told about are called "Airy disks". Seeing them is difficult and requires a really bright star (like Sirius) with a small telescope as well as optimum viewing conditions. So, don't use that yet as a measure. If stars are pinpoints of light that's perfect. Can you elaborate on what you mean by Mars being a FLAT LINE with the focus the same as for the Moon? Collimation of refractor is not required although it is possible that the flip mirror could be damaged or out of alignment and not something that can easily be corrected.
they mystery of the 70ETX that would not focus has been solved (and no, the answer was not a loose nut in front of the telescope!). went to a Discovery Channel store in the mall yesterday and saw they had an ETX70 out on display. looked at it very carefully and messed with it some. Observed a very solid "thunk" when bringing the flip mirror control knob into position from the "straight through" position as the flip mirror came up for the eyepiece. Hmmm . . . didn't remember getting a solid feel like that on my scope. took out the Blue Tube tonight and found immediately -- got wiggle in the flip mirror knob. about one quarter inch of travel takes it further back to where it really stops and can't go any more but without forcing it all the way it's stopping a quarter inch too soon. let go of the knob and the mirror comes back forward the quarter of an inch. found Mars. couldn't see it good, couldn't focus. it was the horrible FLAT line again. took the flip mirror knob in hand and turned it all the way back to proper position. Mars disappeared. held mirror in place manually and slewed scope. WOW! there it IS! the DISC, instead of the fuzzy blob or the flat line. A PLANET! then, of course, I went nuts. did it again with my 9 mm and yep, even dropped in the Barlow to get that big 78x magnification and Mars looked awesome tonight. Just amazing. the disc in the sky, not the egg shaped blob or flat line. could not believe it. it was so clear and bright it hurt my eyes to look at it after a while! focusing was also much easier and faster. everything went good and was very very enjoyable. this little telescope is amazing (WHEN YOU CAN SEE THROUGH IT RIGHT!). I am, as you can tell, VERY pleased. I SAW MARS CLEARLY! YEA!!!!!! now of course, the question: how am I going to fix this mirror so that it doesn't "stop" out of place? and finally, thanks so much for all your help and encouragement. it's great to know I wasn't just making it up or seeing things or a goober. it works superbly well now and I am seriously hooked. can't wait to see Saturn! markMike here: Glad you found the problem. So the flip mirror is wacky. Unfortunately, this is not a repair that you probably want to attempt. If the telescope is new, ask for an exchange at the dealer where you purchased it.
NOT NEW. bought from ebay. may just pack the back of the tube, through the camera access hole with some newspaper or whatever to jam the mirror in the correct position. may just super glue it there!Mike here: Be careful with what you use. Some glues will "out-gas", coating the optical surfaces, over time.
Subject: ETX-70 Problem/Question Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 05:39:55 From: email@example.com (Chris Conerby) I was referred to your website about a problem I have with my ETX-70. Basically I can't get it to lock at all. So the scope just always wants to fall downwards. The knobs on the side don't' seem to want to tighten to lock the scope in place. Any suggestions? Thanks Chris ------------------------------------------ Chris Conerby Systems Manager Mathematical Biosciences Institute The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 43210-1174 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org WWW: http://mbi.osu.eduMike here: It sounds like the Right Tube Adapter has failed. You'll need to contact Meade unless you want to try to fix it yourself. You can see article by Scopetronix at:
Subject: Can I Connect a Modern Mac to a Meade ETX-60 Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 23:18:14 From: email@example.com (Curtis Hobbs) I tried to find the answer to this question using Google but was unsuccessful. I have a Meade ETX-60 telescope. I would like to be able to use Starry Night Pro or some other software to help to control the motor drive. I have a Macintosh PowerBook G4. It has both USB and firewire ports. I also have Virtual PC 6 installed if it were necessary to make the computer think it was a Windows machine. I am using OS X 10.2.6 (Jaguar). Can you suggest a cable solution and software? Thanks in advance. Dr. C HobbsMike here: See the article "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Autostar information page. You will also need a #506 cable from Meade instead of the #505 the article mentions.. You might also want to read the reviews about ScopeDriver and AstroPlanner.
Subject: Shattered battery pack Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 06:35:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saye Atkinson) I dropped the battery pack thingy for my ETX 70 on the parking lot and shattered it. Any good suppliers for this part, or do I contact Meade directly? Also, has anyone come up with a good reason for why a standard 9V battery can't or shouldn't be clipped to the lead? Many thanks! SayeMike here: I suspect the amperage is too low. Otherwise Meade would have allowed a 9V battery. Contact Meade for a replacement.
Subject: 70ETX with severe focus problem - rookie needs help Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 22:30:16 From: email@example.com (Mark Roberts) have read much on your site (and it's great stuff!) but am still not sure what to do about this: am continuing to learn but have about decided the scope is somehow messed up, perhaps in shipping. got on the moon no problem (of course!) and got it sharply focused. tried out my new barlow lens and that was great too. then I went over to Mars. scope slewed over and got very close on the GOTO. great. try to focus in. Mars becomes a large irregularly shaped blob that looks like it is going to focus in as a planet, big sphere-looking thing that is brown. great! then it just goes away, flattening into a pinpoint of light that is actually smaller through the eyepiece than the actual naked eye view I can see w/o the scope. what's up with that? I went to Weasner's mighty ETX site and I'm not getting anything like what he has in his astrophotrography section. nothing. in fact, my view of Mars, and in fact, all stars is this intense flattened point of light that reminds me of what I used to get when I used a magnifying glass to burn holes in leaves. you know how it becomes an intense point of light, with all the colors of the rainbow right around the edges? that's what I'm seeing in my scope. in fact, I even get that tear-drop effect like with the sun and a magnifying glass when you move the glass a little and the pinpoint becomes tear-dropped shape. everyone says "stars will be perfect donuts that are fuzzy then come in sharp." nope. everything does this flat line thing, focusing into an intense pinpoint of light. if you move the focus knob more the flat line reappears out of the pinpoint, only oriented 90 degrees from before. so I see this: 1. circular blob 2. ________ (the flat line) 3. . (intense dot of light) | 4. | | (flat line oriented the other way what do you think? and if it is broken how do I fix it/get it fixed, take it to be fixed? markMike here: You are making a common new user mistake. When you focused on the Moon you achieved precise focus. Guess what, you should not have needed to change the focus when viewing Mars or stars. The common mistake is to try to make the image as large as possible rather than AS SMALL AS POSSIBLE when focusing. When in focus the image will appear crisp, a small orange dot for Mars and points of light for stars. Yes, with the ETX-70 Mars will be very small due to the limited amount of magnification available.
If this is true than I have wasted my money on a scope. I can see Mars MUCH better with the naked eye than I can after focusing on the moon. After looking at the moon, razor sharp, moving to Mars necessitates much focus change. Mars is a blur, a big irregular shaped blob that looks like nothing. Trying to fix the blur, to get even a clear disc shaped image so that I can tell it is a planet and is round (not even going for detail here) results in this pinpoint of light effect, much smaller than can be seen with the naked eye. Your pics of Mars with an etx 70 are very good. I'd take something HALF that good. Instead I've got blob-blur or pinpoint of light. And I'm supposed to be able to see Saturn's rings with this? It'll never happen. Got any other ideas? What am I doing wrong? Thanks again for an incredibly helpful site. markMike here: Changing the focus when moving from the Moon to Mars should NOT be done. Yes, Mars will be small in the ETX-70 but it will be in focus if you leave the focus set for the crisp view of the Moon. And yes, you can see Saturn's Ring but again it will be small. It sounds like your expectations exceed what the little ETX-70 is capable of providing. It is a fine wide field telescope but you may be happier with something larger and with a longer focal length.
am ready to try that. of course, it's raining tonight (cats and dogs). maybe tomorrow.... I think I believed the hype on the box too much. I thought "see Saturn!" meant "see Saturn big and clear and crisp." yes, I expect I'll end up moving up. hate to sacrifice portability though. again, mucho thanks for the great site and for your personal attention to my questions. you're a great ambassador for astronomy!
And an update:
Finally got out and got to try your suggestions for Mars. Some good, some not so good. First, I got the moon nailed with the 25mm eyepiece. Just awesome. Slewed over to Mars -- nothing but a blur, like what streetlights look like through a rainy window - that transparenty blob of light. Not even close to in focus. So, tried to make it as small as possible like you mentioned. Question: when do you stop that? Mars NEVER became a small orange dot. I can focus it down until is a flat line of pure light. A little more and the flat line morphs into a flat line oriented on the other axis. I get nothing CLOSE to what you've got on your website as pics of Mars with an ETX 70. I think the problem is I don't really know what this ought to look like. If I was looking at Saturn then I'd know - hey, where are the rings? But what does Mars look like through an ETX70? As a newbie I'm not sure, but I'd love to see what you've got on your site. Interestingly, I did get a small white shield shaped blob pretty much like your picture: ETX-125, 127mm aperture, 1900mm focal length, 25mm eyepiece (76X) I saw that in my scope. Does that mean I'm doing it right? Why is it that the focus on the moon is not right when I then I go to Mars? Thanks. I really do appreciate all your help. markMike here: Mars will appear as a small dot in your ETX-70 with the 25mm eyepiece. You can get an idea of the size by looking at the comparison photographs in My Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets. Keep in mind that Mars is low in the south for Northern Hemisphere viewers and so the view can be easily distorted by atmospheric turbulence. But I am concerned about your comment that Mars is a blur, like streetlights. It should appear essentially round (not oval) in your ETX-70. And again, in focus for the Moon is in focus for Mars so you should NOT change the focus. If you saw the same view as for the ETX-125 then it sounds like it is out-of-focus.
well, this is not good. Mars is not round and it is certainly not in focus when I look at the moon. I can focus it down and it gets to be a "shield" shape but never nice and disc shaped. your pictures are exactly what I'm comparing to, and I can't get the ETX 70 thing at all (btw, your color is awesome on the planet, I don't get that either). so what do I do now? how do I fix this very basic telescope? called Meade and they really blew me off - not enough power to see Mars through a 9mm with a Barlow, you've probably got the right view there, etc. so now what? thanks for all your help. markMike here: Well, my concern is that you DO get a crisp view of the Moon. Lets try some other objects. Look at some star fields. How do the stars look?
Subject: ETX 70 - Image Flaring Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 06:37:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alan Haynes) I have recently purchased an ETX-70 and have used it a dozen times. Whenever I look at brighter objects, such as Mars or a star, I am noticing a flaring effect extending from the object. The flare always extends the same direction from the object, lower right, and seems to be about the same size as the object I'm looking at. It gets worse with higher magnification. I'm assuming this has something to do with the telescope optics since the same thing happens with different eyepieces. I know that lower end refractors aren't going to have the best clarity, but I'm wondering if this is excessive. Thanks! Alan Denver, CO.Mike here: Could there be something on the objective lens. Was it heavily "dew-ed" at some point?
It has never been "dew-ed" before. I'll check the objective lens. Could the mirror have any effect on this as well?Mike here: Yes, if something was smeared on it.
Subject: Need copy of instructions for Meade ETX-60At digital telescope Sent: Thursday, August 7, 2003 00:25:05 From: email@example.com (Haley Ling) I misplaced the instructions for my Meade ETX-60At digital telescope. Do you know how I can get a copy? Thank you.Mike here: See the FAQ page.
Subject: no subject supplied Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2003 10:55:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (hisham d) i want to tell you that this is a GRAET web site i want to ask you some question 1-i Have the ETX-70 and i am thinking to buy some eyepieces what do you suggest? should I buy the 4mm eyepiece and use it with the 3X barlow lens? or the resolution will be damged? and is it good for observing the planets and nebulas and stars? or it will be dark and small viwe with to observe? is the 18mm eyepiece is good? 2-what is the filters? and are they usefull ? 3-what accessories I should buy ? thank you very very very muchMike here: Be certain to read the EMAIL SUBJECTS notice on the ETX Site home page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM. I assume you have the 25mm and 9mm eyepieces. I suggest buying the 2X Barlow Lens or a 3X Barlow Lens for the ETX-70 model. Either of those will provide you different magnifications than what you have. Keep in mind the theoretical maximum magnification formula for any telescope (see the FAQ page if you are unfamiliar with this). For the ETX-70 it is 140X. As you get close to that max the views get fuzzy and very faint. You can exceed the max on bright objects like the Moon and occasionally on some planets (under conditions of excellent seeing). See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info on filters. Yes, they can be useful. What accessories you should buy really depends on how you plan to use the telescope. For the ETX models, a flexible focus cable is useful (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page as well as the Telescope Tech Tips page).
Subject: Re: about Aligning my ETX-70AT Sent: Tuesday, August 5, 2003 02:38:29 From: email@example.com (hisham d) I am very happy that you read and answer my question whene Ichanged the battrey it stopd at some place and I have another question if you do not minde whene i align my telescope with the 2 star aligning can i move it manual with my hands or with the autostar arrows after i align it or will the aligning be damged? sorry for too many qusetions and sorry for some incorrect spelling for the words thank you very very much serMike here: When you do the 2-star alignment, you can physically move the entire telescope/tripod system horizontally to better point at the first star. But other than that you need to use the arrow keys to keep the Autostar in sync with the telescope.
so I can move the telescope with the autostar arrows after the alignment and it won't be damged thx againMike here: Using the Autostar to slew is the way to do it and doesn't hurt anything.
it is me again sorry for the many questions i asked you but what can i do you and your site are the BEST ! my qusetion this time is: would i be able to observe nebulas and deep space objects with my ETX-70AT telescope ? (and if it does please send me some pics or tell me where to find it) or it needs some kind of Accessorys? and if it does what Accessorys should I buy? and i have another question if you do not mind.. is the WA18mm eyepiece usefull? why? thanks very muchMike here: First suggestion: don't buy ANY accessories until you learn what your telescope can do. Yes, you can observe some nebula and galaxies. They will appear faint and fuzzy but that's OK. Since you are unfamiliar with the sky, use the Guided Tours in the Autostar. Keep in mind that some objects may be nearly or completely invisible in your telescope from your location. If you don't see anything move on to the next object in the Tour.
Subject: Best accessories for the ETX70 Sent: Tuesday, August 5, 2003 01:47:53 From: FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen) Michael Stewart asked about the best accessories for the ETX70. The number one gadget for this scope is in my opinion the Rigel QuikFinder (yes, it is spelled this way!). If you have this you don't need the finderscope. It is a tremendous help when you align the scope. The alignment stars may well be out of the field if the scope does not point exactly North in the "home position", but it is very easy to slew them into the field with the QuikFinder and then center in the eyepiece. 2nd and 3rd best gadget is the flexifocus wire (the original from Scopetronix or a homemade imitation) and the 2x barlow. Most deep sky objects get rather dim when barlowed, but for Mars and double stars you will really need it. On clear nights with exceptionally good seeing I can split the "double-double" (eps-Lyrae) with a 6.4 mm ploessl and the 2x barlow (109X) in the ETX70. I can see the Southern polar cap on Mars with the same combination, and also a hint of darkness on he Southern hemisphere. But as usual with planets and ETX70 chromatic aberration is a big problem. Details get lost in the colourful glare around the tiny disks. Finn Rasmussen, Copenhagen
Subject: about Aligning my ETX-70AT Sent: Monday, August 4, 2003 05:20:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (hisham d) when i Align my telescope (ETX-70AT) with the easy 2 star Aligning mode it slew and don't stop Arcturus (First star) it just keep going round and round is there something rong with my telescope? thank you very muchMike here: Odd. Do you have the Autostar #494 (one without numbered keys) or the Autostar #497? Not that it matters (although it could). Check the telescope model and mounting mode setting in the Autostar. You might also do a RESET to see if that clears it. If not, then also do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject: ETX-70 question Sent: Monday, August 4, 2003 03:19:50 From: porius@LineOne.net (Michael Stewart) Great website! Hope you don't mind but you seem like the best person to ask about this. I'm thinking about buying an ETX-70 and was wondering what, if any, accessories I should buy to go with. I'm sure I'll probably need a finderscope, but what about extra eyepieces? What would you suggest? I saw a rave review for the Meade 18mm wideangle, would that go with this telescope? Any views and suggestions would be much appreciated. Many thanks Best wishes Mike StewartMike here: The ETX-70 is already a fairly wide field instrument. What you will probably want is a 2X or 3X Barlow Lens to increase magnification over what you get with the supplied 25mm and 9mm eyepieces. A Moon Filter can also be handy. You might also consider the Scopetronix FlexiFocus (or make one). Makes focusing much easier than with the small, hard to reach, knob.
Subject: Using the ETX 70 as a second 'scope Sent: Monday, August 4, 2003 02:53:52 From: email@example.com (bob greef) I felt I just had to write to express my renewed enthusiasm for my little ETX 70. For just over a year I have been using a 200 mm (8 inch in old money!) as my main 'scope. The little ETX 70 has continued in use as my solar 'scope with the occasional look at the Moon through it. Last night I decided I couldn't be bothered to lug the 200 mil out and set up the ETX to wait for Mars to rise above the trees. While waiting I decided to explore the rapidly darkening sky and ended up getting superb views of M57, M27, Albirio, M13, a rather fainter M71 and an amazing M31 Andromeda Galaxy. Then Mars rose above the trees and I was able to easily make out the Southern Polar Ice Cap and some dark markings running across the planet in its Southern Hemisphere which turned out to be mostly Mare Tyrrhenum and Mare Cimmerium with some associated other smaller features all looking through the eyepiece like a continuous grey feature against a pale coral pink background. The eyepiece combinations I used were as follows 10mm Helios Kelner with Helios 2X Barlow for all Deep sky objects except M31 for which I used the Meade 25mm which came with the 'scope. For Mars I used a Meade 5mm plossl then added the 2X Barlow to tease out the fainter surface markings. Throughout these observations the ETX was used totally manually, the Autostar having been left in the house. An encouragement to all not to dismiss the usefulness of these small light and very portable telescopes. Regards, Bob Greef Norwich UK
Subject: New use for my etx-60 Sent: Friday, August 1, 2003 19:55:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Leonard Ashcroft) Not a question, just wanted to say that tomorrow I take delivery of a 6" Dob, I need to learn the night sky better. I've purchased a full aperture solar filter and will now be using my ETX for both night time and solar observing. If I manage to get any good pics I'll send them to you. Keep up the good work on this great site!
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