ETX USER FEEDBACK - AUGUST 1998
If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Astroscan vs ETX Sent: Monday, August 31, 1998 10:08:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ernie Cagliostro) Excellent sight. Just a quick question. In your humble opinion, do you think an ETX will outperform an Astroscan (4" f/4 reflector) for planetary viewing? I know the ETX has a drive and the Edmund does not, but strictly optically, how much different are the 2 scopes? I figured the Mak Cass might be better, but the Astroscan does have a larger mirror. I own a 10 inch f/10 LX-200 and the astroscan, but would consider selling the astroscan for a ETX if it would yield better planetary views for those quick 30 minute observing sessions. Thanks for your help Ernie Cagliostro PPG Industries email@example.com
Subject: ETX Sent: Monday, August 31, 1998 09:01:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Betty Matlock) Please can you help me, I own the ETX and the finder is causeing a very bad back problem. Would the 90 deg. finder conversion help? I am very new to telescopes. Is the 12mm Ultra Wide Angel eyepiece for viewing land? I was impressed with you web site and so I bought the ETX. Also have ordered one for each of my two adult sons. Thank You for the time that you have spent on this site for all of us. You must be a very kind person to do this. I am still trying to understand how a Barlow Lens does double duty and yet it decrease the field. I'm sure that I'll learn more in time. Thank You Betty email@example.com
Mike here: The 90-degree finder conversions may help prevent some contortions, depending upon the elevation of the objects you are observing.
Subject: meade etx Sent: Monday, August 31, 1998 08:38:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tommeehonda) Hi I just purchased a meade etx a couple of weeks ago. Opticly the telescope is fantastic. It accually out performs my meade 10" dob on the bright planets and the moon. Saturn was almost tack sharp at 260x with a televue 4.8mm nagler. Jupiter was very good at 100x with a celestron 12.5mm ultima. Up to 4 cloud bands could be seen when condition got good. The was excllent at 100x with the celestron 12.5mm The only quirp i have with the scope is the drive. It can be tricky to use at high power. You need to get what you are looking at in the very edge of the eyepiece, tighten the ra lock and hope that the drive kicks in before the image moves out of the field of view. This can take several tries. but if you keep at it you can always get it to work. If any body wants to email my email is email@example.com Tom
Subject: Eyepieces etc. Sent: Sunday, August 30, 1998 10:36:40 From: FGBIKE@aol.com While trying several types of eyepieces I recall that some optical authority of some years ago was proclaiming the virtues of the older designs such as the Kellner mainly because of less light loss in such a design (3 elements) which seemed to be very appropriate for small telescopes. So I tried my Edmund RKE 28 mm and 15 mm on the moon last night. The image did seem noticeably brighter and clearer and I especially liked the 2.4X barlow and the 28 mm combination which gave 107X. Although there is considerable eye relief the positioning of the eye above the eyepiece seemed critical. Also tried an old Criterion ASP 9 mm which may also be a Kellner and seemed to give a much brighter image than my Orion wide field and even some of my Orthoscopics. When you consider the light loss at the ETX's meniscus lens (how much?) plus the approximate 90% reflection at the primary mirror plus approx. 90% of that light reflected from the spot on the meniscus then 90% of that light reflected from the diagonal to the eyepiece then the light lost passing through the eyepiece it looks to me that we are getting close to an overall transmission of 60+%. Even so doesn't the ETX do a fantastic job? Possibly some optical expert would be willing to calculate the actual transmission factor for the ETX. In any event it seems to me that we can improve the situation by using eyepieces with the least number of elements especially those older folks like myself that have a significant light loss through the lens of our eyes. Maybe Edmund Scientific would be willing to send some of their eyepieces to you for evaluation. Best regards, Frank
Mike here: Really older eyepieces probably don't have the newer coatings to reduce loss. So, while the number of elements is a factor, the coating may also be as well.
Subject: Telrad Sent: Saturday, August 29, 1998 15:23:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mauro Alves) I recently read a message about mounting a Telrad on a ETX. I use a very "low tech" approach to the problem and it works just fine. I use ruber bands(1/4" X 10") cut from bicycle tubes to tie the Telrad to the ETX. In this way the Telrad is not permanently mounted , can be easily removed, and I do not have to remove the finder from the ETX. Mauro
Mike here: I mount the QuikFinder using rubber bands. Simple, effective, not permanent.
Subject: ETX & Telrad Sent: Friday, August 28, 1998 15:34:35 From: Clouseau@webtv.net I wanted to share with others my experience of permanently mounting a Telrad to my ETX. The only comments I've seen about doing that were negative so I wasn't sure if I should even try. But, my experience with mounting other types of finders wasn't good and since I already had a Telrad for my other scope, I thought there wouldn't be much to lose. So, I purchased another base for about $8.00. Here's how I installed it: 1. The base is about 1/4" longer than the blue part of the tube. So, I trimmed about 1/2" of the double sided tape off the Telrad base so I could still unscrew the front of the scope. 2. Second, I removed the finder that comes with the ETX. You really need to mount the Telrad on the left side of the scope. It can be mounted on the right side but it leaves very little room to use the declination knob. Removing the ETX's finder makes room for the Telrad. 3. Orient the base with the thumbscrews pointed to the inside of the scope. 4. Mount the base as far to the rear and left of the scope as you can get it. You can't go to far because there are parts of the scope the base will bump into before you do. Mounting the base as far to the rear as possible leaves room up front to attach a dew shield. Mounting as far to the left as possible maximizes the distance from the eyepiece. 5. The only problem I can see so far is the scope becomes slightly front end heavy. I'm sure it's not enough to be a strain on the declination assembly though. 6. The back end of the Telrad is only a few inches from the eyepiece. This isn't a problem though because looking back and forth is quite easy.
Subject: a question and a tip Sent: Friday, August 28, 1998 00:16:46 From: email@example.com I wonder if anyone could explain to me the rule-of-thumb I often see in telescope catalogues which states that "if you live in a light-polluted city, you should stick with telescopes of 4" apertures or less." I live in the light pollution mecca of Los Angeles and, while I love using my ETX on the moon and planets, I often consider buying a 6" or 8" Dobson for better deep-space images. I obviously lack a basic understanding of optics, as it seems that the bigger aperture & thus greater light grasp would help, not hinder, particularly if a light-pollution filter (which, I understand, will dim the images somewhat) is used. A tip for right-eye dominant folks frustrated at having their noses bump against the viewfinder when using short eyepieces: in the plumbing section of any hardware store (I went to Home Depot) you can purchase a 2" piece of copper pipe (bring the eyepiece and compare diameters until you find a match--the 1 1/8" wide matches almost perfectly) for about $2, then you can tape the pipe to the eyepiece barrel with duct tape, thereby increasing the length of the eyepiece (be sure to paint the inside of the pipe with flat black paint--I used Testors model paint--to cut down reflection). I don't know much about optics, so I don't know if this method degrades the quality of the image or reduces the apparent field, but it seems to work well--you just have to turn the focuser knob a few extra turns to focus the image.
Subject: Thank you Sent: Thursday, August 27, 1998 14:17:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I have been looking at many, many telescopes to give my fiance for our wedding. Today I was shown the Meade ETX and got on-line to see if I could get information on it. I was surprised and very pleased to find your website. It gave me many answers I needed and I'm sure my new husband will use it constantly. It's nice of you to take the time to share.
Subject: ext.txt Sent: Thursday, August 27, 1998 08:48:47 From: email@example.com I bought the Etx Astro 3 days ago. For the price, the Etx is an excellent buy. Without any complications, I was able to put together, and setup the Etx for an evening of AMAZING sights. It took me no longer than 5 min. to align the viewfinder. As for getting it aligned with Polaris...even less. I havn't messed with a telescope since I was nine. Four moons of Jupiter along with it's banded clouds were Easily visible. Saturn's rings left me breathless. Without a doubt, I must say this is the best telescope in it's size and price. So, I send you many thanks. Your site is one of the many on the Etx that led me to that purchase. Three cheers for Meade and yourself! - A new amazed user. fyi- the barlow 2x lens was a good buy for 60$ from Nature's wonders. Now to find a stronger eyepiece than the 26mm... soo much for my next check.. ;) -Tim M.
Subject: JSP's Easytester Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 1998 05:55:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Ledingham) Hoping to be able to test the optical quality of my ETX, I came across an ad for JSP's Easytester on the net. This is an eyepiece-like device that makes use of a Ronchi grating in a regular 1.25" eyepiece tube. Has anyone out there had any experience with this on the ETX? Does it work? Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks. Best from 70 North, Mark Ledingham
Subject: etx scope Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 19:54:36 From: email@example.com (george) I have a 8" starfinder that's not been used very much. About 2 1/2 years old. I've been thinking of trying to trade for an ETX, but seeing mixed reviews, I'm not sure this is a good idea. What's your opinion. If you think that might be worth pursuing, do you know somewhere I might try to contact to accomplish?
Mike here: Obviously I think the ETX is a good scope, as do many, many other ETX users. Yes, it is not perfect in all respects but optically it is amazingly good. And for the portability it is a jewel. As to how to trade/sell, you might check out the Starry Messenger (link on the Astronomy Links page).
Subject: Orion EZ Finder Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 17:47:26 From: Clouseau@webtv.net I recently purchased the Orion EZ Finder to use on my new ETX. My experience was not very good. It was easy to mount. But, I had a great deal of difficulty seeing guide stars through it. That may well be because I live in a large city and many stars are quite faint. I contacted the company about it and the person I spoke to said some light is lost as it passes through the finder. The good thing is that Orion took back the finder and gave a full refund, even though I had used the double sided tape to mount it. Next, I'm going to try to mount my Telrad to the ETX. I have purchased an extra base but it hasn't arrived yet. It seems like it is about 1/4" longer than the blue part of the tube. I believe if I trim that much of the mounting tape off, I can successfully attach it. I would appreciate any comments from people who have tried to mount a Telrad to their ETX.
Subject: What is the ETX classified as Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 15:30:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Vechell) Lately I've been having some interest in buying a telescope for my family to enjoy. I've been reading about the different types of telescopes their are and seem to be leaning towards purchasing a catadioptric telescope. Is the ETX this type of telescope? I like a catadioptics compactness and all purposeness. What advice do you have for a first timer to buy? Thanks. I also really enjoyed your web site. Mike
Mike here: You can check out the full ETX specs. The ETX is a "Maksutov-Cassegrain" telescope. Sort of a combination reflector and refractor. For more info on the "Mak" designs, check out the "Evolution of the Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope" on the Guest Contributions page. As to whether the ETX makes a good first telescope, yes it does, depending upon what you expect to do with a telescope. Check out the Buyer/New User page for more info.
Subject: ETX Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 12:27:13 From: email@example.com (Chris Gooden) I love the site. I have been there many times to check out your updates and all the wonderful pictures that you and other ETX owners have posted. I am a semi-professional photographer, and I enjoy using my telescope to take pictures. I only have a very, very basic telescope, but I want to upgrade, and your site has helped me to determine whether or not to purchase the ETX. I still am not sure whether to buy one or not, opting only to get the bigger LX10 that MEade sells. Someday I will buy a bigger one though. All I have now is a small 60mm refractor, but being that I have some good camera equipment and photoshop, I managed to get a few good pictures. Keep up the good work on the page, and I will update you on whether or not I purchased the ETX. Chris www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/1797 C.M.G. Photography "A Shuttering Experience"
Subject: Me and my ETX Sent: Monday, August 24, 1998 16:33:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Vern L. Weiss) Since purchasing my first telescope (at age 68), an ETX in June, I've had a blast. The most important accessory is a 90 deg. conversion kit from JMI for the viewfinder. Mine came in perfect condition and took about 5 minutes to install. The only problem is that it gets in the way of my nose with the 9.7 mm eyepiece. No worse than kissing a girl with a big nose, though. One can always find a way. As a total novice I was really nervous about taking the ETX to star parties. Not any more! Now I have owners of "light buckets" lining up to look. The usual response is "Wow, that's a better image of Jupiter than I can get with my 10" (sometimes larger!). At a recent public star party I spent a lot of time explaining to people why my ETX wasn't better for everything because the planets and the Moon looked so much better in my ETX than in much larger scopes. Even M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy) held many folks enthralled. I just got back from 3 day Star Party with 600 people. Response was the same. NO one looks down on it. No I'm anxiously awaiting my solar filter. Your site is wonderful, and a great help. Thank you. Vern L. Weiss
Subject: Your recent Pictures Sent: Monday, August 24, 1998 15:46:36 From: email@example.com (Jordan Blessing) Hey, your new pictures look real good. I wish the weather and mosquitos would clear up around here so I could get out for a while. After being at the Grand Canyon starparty under those awesome clear, dark skies I am really starting to hate Florida! I notice that most of your pictures are on Max800. If you haven't tried Fuji G800 or 1600 give it a shot, I guarantee you won't ever use Max again. The Fuji film has a much finer grain (even the 1600 is finer than Max800) and is much more color corrected (blacks are BLACK). -- Jordan Blessing L1 Master Tech Maker of LX-50 Dec Fix Kits & ETX Dual Axis Drive Correctors LX-50 & ETX Owners Come Take a Look: [LX-50 Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products] http://home.att.net/~jblessin/
Subject: Questions on misc. accessories Sent: Sunday, August 23, 1998 12:34:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Burke Burnett) Congratulations and thanks for putting together such a helpful website. I just got my ETX, and so the questions I have below about additional accessories aren't going to result in any imminent purchases, but I am curious and want to know how I might upgrade the ETX in the near future. (I live in downtown Washington DC, so any additional ways to enhance the telescope's performance in this very light-polluted area is going to make a more-than-marginal difference -- I hope). 1. I saw Lumicon's ad for their "enhanced aluminium star diagonal" that will supposedly enhance the performance of any scope due to its superior reflectivity ("94-96% as opposed to 86-89% for normal diagonals). Any thoughts on just how much this would actually enhance the ETX? Lumicon says it's "like adding up to an additional inch of aperture" -- quite a hefty claim, but worth the cost if true. 2. The above-mentioned star diagonal will also require an Apogee ETX to 1.25 adaptor. I am also wondering what other items would be required to put the diagonal/eypiece mount at the rear cell of the ETX. Just a visual back? What if I want to adapt the ETX to accept other SCT accessories such as a rear cell filter mount? They sell these, but are there advantages/disadvantages to this type of setup? Will a SCT mount be all that I need to hook up the enhanced star diagonal, or do you need a visual back as well? Sorry for so many questions. Your advice is much appreciated. Cheers, Burke Burnett Washington, DC ------------------------------------------------------------------- John Burke Burnett Special Projects Asia-Pacific Program Conservation International 2501 M Street, NW Tel. 202-973-2224 Suite 200 Fax 202-887-5188 Washington, DC 20037 email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------------
Mike here: One ETX user reported that the Lumicon OIII deep-sky filter worked well for him. You'll find his comments on the Accessories - Filters page. As to mounting stuff at the rear port, Shutan sells a SCT Accessory Adapter for $30. Some comments are on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page. As to whether that is all you'll need, and whether it will even be advantageous to use the "enhanced aluminium star diagonal" with the ETX, I don't know.
Subject: ETX vs. LX10 Sent: Saturday, August 22, 1998 20:21:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Christopher A. Chambers) To: email@example.com I saw your question on Weasner's Mighty ETX page and thought that I would give you my answer to your question. I bought an ETX about 5 months ago and am very happy with it. After going to Stellafane I got aperature fever and bought an 8" LX10 the very next week. The view through my ETX isn't even comparable to the view through the LX10. For example, M13 in the ETX is a fuzzy bright spot of nebulosity. M13 in the LX10 shows many resolved stars and spiral arms as well as the beautifull nebulosity of the core. The ETX comes quite a bit closer on Jupiter and Saturn, but still falls well short of the LX10. The LX10 is a bit more cumbersome. However, I keep the tripod and wedge in the trunk of my car. Thus I only have to cary the optical fork/tube down to the car when I want to go observing. The fork/tube even has a handle built into the fork and can easily be carried in one hand. Setup of the LX10 takes only 2-3 minutes. I still use my ETX for a quick peek as well as when I'm going away for the weekend. However, if you are only going to have one scope and want to really experience the deep sky I would vote for the LX10.
Subject: new ETX model? Sent: Saturday, August 22, 1998 06:27:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Reed) In sci.astro.etx, I saw a message about a 5" ETX Mak! I guess it is being sold in Europe, and may arrive in the states early 1999. The price in Germany is 2.2 * 90mm ETX price, which would mean we would see price around $1400. Note that Celestron's G5 is an SCT (the same OTA as the C5). I hear the Celestron Mak, the G3, is pretty much an old C90 (I've never seen one), which is supposed to be a little cheesy as far as optics go (nothing close to the ETX). -Mike
Subject: polar alignment Sent: Friday, August 21, 1998 08:58:24 From: email@example.com (KM O'Rourke) I own an ETX but am a VERY rank amature when is comes to Astronomy. I'm trying to learn though. I bought a polar alignment sight from JMI but the instructions are vague for me to understand it's use. I can only assume I set the ETX on my tripod and tilt the adjustments of the tripod while aligning polaris in the finder?
If you notice, the sight is hinged and it isn't clear what position it should be in when sighting, at least not to me. I've indicated position #1 or #2 on the top view. Also sending this to JMI via fax since they have no site I can find or e-mail. Thanks for your help Kevin O'Rourke
Subject: ETX ques from Oak wedge guy... Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 1998 20:20:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich Ray) Hello again, Mike, and thanks for posting reference to my oak wedge - I have already received two inquiries about making them for sale (we'll see, would take half-dozen or more for it to be worthwhile) Anyway, reading some of your site's feedback section, saw reference to your living in Los Angeles area, as do I (Santa Clarita / Magic Mountain). Wondering if you are familiar with the Mt. Pinos amateur scene. I have seen several references to the gatherings there, on other telescope / astronomy web sites, and look forward to checking things out. Just wondering if you have any tips, or if you were aware (I'm sure you are already, but thought I'd pass it on in case) Thanks again for your efforts, Richard Ray -- "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -Lazarus Long -as written by Robert A. Heinlein Responses to: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org - NOT!! http://home.earthlink.net/~rayra/rland.html
Subject: ETX MicroStar 1 Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 1998 13:45:26 From: FGBIKE@aol.com The MS 1 is just what the ETX needed. Installation was a snap and the manual is as good as it gets. I am sure this is old news to you. Now if there was a fix for my weak eyes all would be right in the world. I am eagerly awaiting the motor focus add on. I read with interest the news of the Celestron 90 mm and the 5 inch. However I will wait to see it Meade will offer a ~ 5 inch maksutov with the optical quality similar to the ETX. A 5 or 6 inch Mak would sure help my view of the universe provided the price was scaled after the ETX. To me the portability of the ETX is paramount. Regards, Frank Dement
Subject: .965 lenses and the ETX Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 1998 14:22:39 From: Mark.Banks@digital.com (Mark Banks) I just got an ETX and it's everything everyone says it is. I have a Bushnell spotting scope and it has several lenses I'd like to use with the ETX. I know that Celestron made (emphasis on made) a part called an "expanding bushing." This would have enabled me to utilize the .965" eyepieces in my ETX. While I realize that I'm potentially going down in image quality, as they say down on the duck farm, "I don't give a quack." I know I have 3 perfectly good lenses that I'd be willing to risk the $20.00 it costs to get one of these things to see if it works. I'm still in credit-shock from the scope, barlow, additional lens, heavy-duty tripod, etc., and if this will work, even though not great, I don't care. Any thoughts out there???? I could Mickey Mouse it, but I'd rather not. Thanks. Mark Banks Compaq Corp. CCS Helpdesk email@example.com dtn 298-4613 outside (508) 978-4613
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page on my ETX web site. I review the Celestron Expanding Bushing.
Subject: ETX versus LX10 Sent: Monday, August 17, 1998 13:30:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joseph Fairchild) Your page has a tremendous amount of helpful information. I was hoping you could give me a little input. I am looking for a first scope. All I've used in the past is a cheap 60mm department store scope. I thought I wanted a Meade LX10 but then your page made me reconsider. I like the portability of the ETX but I will probably never take the scope anywhere but my patio. My house is on the smaller side so the ETX definately would be easier to store but I'm sure I could find a place for the LX10. I guess the bottom line is just how different is the view through the eyepiece of the ETX versus the LX10? Money aside, if you were stranded on a desert island which which scope would you choose? Any comments regarding the comparison to the ETX versus would be appreciated.
Mike here: Well, if I were stranded on a desert island I'd go for the LX10. But since I don't live on a desert island, I have to deal with setup time and moving the scope from inside to outside. Plus I like being able to travel with the ETX. So, for me, at this time, the ETX remains the right choice. Yes, I want a larger, better telescope (LX200???) but that is in the future. It comes down to usage. Will you really use the larger scope even though it can not be set up at a moment's notice. The views through the larger aperture are certainly nice but will you see anything while it is setting in the closet? Good luck with the decision.
Subject: Can you help? Sent: Saturday, August 15, 1998 18:21:43 From: email@example.com (Parek Islam) I've just been at your site, excellent infomation for potential ETX owners like myself. The only query I have are the actual images that I've seen, they seem practicaly identical to the 4.5inch Konus reflector I use at the moment. I'd much rather be using an ETX, but even if I part-exchange my current scope its still gonna cost me about 300 - 350. Can you give me an honest opinion on the matter as I'd greatly appreciate it. Hope to speak to you soon and thanks for your time. Regards, Paz.
Subject: MircoStar 1 Sent: Saturday, August 15, 1998 12:59:32 From: FGBIKE@aol.com Mr. Blessing: The MicroStar 1 arrived in fine order this 10:30 AM PDT. Installed before lunch incl. the dec fix. Peak Temp. today 94 deg. which is about 13 deg. less than this time yesterday, Clear skies and am looking forward to great observing tonight. First class product and excellent manual to boot. Some months ago I mentioned to Mr. Weasner that some knowledgeable person should build a board like this. Thank you very much! Its getting crowded inside the ETX base as I have moved my Astromaster RA encoder inside, which I will try tonight also. Best regards, Frank Dement
Subject: Automatic tracking Sent: Thursday, August 13, 1998 18:11:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (N. CLAUDE) If you use an equatorial wedge (instead of the tripod legs shipped with the ETX) will I still be able to track celestial objects automatically? Nick
Mike here: If you set it for your latitude and do an approximate polar alignment.
Subject: Focus problems Sent: Thursday, August 13, 1998 11:45:20 From: rong@pogo.WV.TEK.COM (Ronald M Gilbert) When I site in a new object, center it , and start to focus it, the object shifts out of the center of field of view, like to the left. Then as it comes into focus it returns back to the center of the field of view. This is really bothersome. I thought at first I was bumping the scope but after many attempts the condition still exists. What are the internal moving parts in this scope that could cause this problem? It also appears that objects are not as sharp as I have read about the results of other users, even at lower powers. Any help from yourself or others in the group would be helpful. Thanks.
Mike here: It sounds like something is out of alignment (or collimation). You might check that the correcting lens at the front is fully screwed on. Also, if you can, try using an eyepiece at the rear port and see if the same problem occurs. Collimating the ETX is not easy and should probably be returned to the dealer where you purchased it or to Meade.
Subject: ETX Sent: Thursday, August 13, 1998 09:23:17 From: W.Zuiderwyk@caiw.nl (wezz) My name is Wesley Zuiderwijk and i live in the Netherlands, Europe. I was looking for information on the ETX and i found your site. After reading many positive things about the telescope i decided to buy one myself, and it should arive in the next couple of days. I think you've done a really good job with providing ETX information on your website for users and prospective buyers for the ETX. Sincerely, Wesley Zuiderwijk email@example.com
Subject: drive operation on the ETX Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 1998 09:25:12 From: Joseph.Mirabile@gs.com (Joseph Mirabile) Great web site!! I am fairly new to astronomy and have recently purchased a Meade ETX. I have been enjoying great views of the moon and Jupiter. I can make out the bands on Jupiter pretty well, even from light-polluted New York City skies. I just have a question about the drive on the ETX. When I view Jupiter at high power, I notice the image drift to the left and then approx every 8 seconds the drive will correct and shift the image back to center. The drive tracks correctly and the image stays in view, but it is constantly moving back and forth. Is this normal for the ETX, or should the drive be a bit smoother? thanks, Joe
Mike here: It should be smoother. Do a search on the site for "teflon"; the problem (and solutions) might be what you are experiencing.
Subject: Eclipse emergency Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 1998 07:55:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Philippe RD / PHT) Greetings from Tokyo, Here is a small challenge which I hope someone can solve: I have learnt today that manufacturing or selling of solar filters is against the law in Japan (??!!!), because of the potential danger I suppose. There will be an annular eclipse on Saturday 22nd and I was planning to fly down to Guam to take a few shots. I now end up without any filter and may have to reconsider my journey. Is there anyone out-there who is able to sell a filter and Fedex it to Guam in time for August 22nd ?? Suggestions are appreciated and can be answered directly on my E-mail. Mike, if this work, your site will have another eclipse shot !
Subject: Meade Tripod Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 1998 09:22:35 From: RonMcCafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty) Mike, Called Meade today. The ETX Tripod will not be available until September just like you said. At $179 it's less than the Wegepod which I last saw at $219. Ron McCafferty
Subject: Polar aligning Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 1998 06:26:37 From: email@example.com (Stephen G. Pritchard) As a proud new owner of an ETX i have been struggling to polar align it using my tripod. Your site convinced me that the ETX was for me but the various comment son your web site left me confused - is there a definitive method? The tripod has a geared head and I fixed the ETX's base onto its centre pin, aligned the tube so it was vertical to the base and then tilted the head and hence the ETX to the angle of latitude of my home city (Vilnius, 54 degrees 37 minutes north). Now the next step confuses me. Do i then use the DEC and RA to point to the Polaris or do i twist the base to align it? Then what happens? I know this sounds dumb, but although the manual was good and easy to understand the transition from using the "legs" to using a tripod was not covered. I would appreciate your help. regards stephen
Mike here: Once you have the tilt of the ETX mount set for your latitude, the next step is to point the tripod attach screw towards Polaris. You can do that by setting the ETX to 90 degrees on the DEC setting circle and then move the tripod (without moving the ETX on the tripod) until you see Polaris in the finder, and then an eyepiece. You now have the axis of the ETX roughly parallel to the earth's axis. This is usually good enough for observational astronomy.
Subject: ETX field-of-view Sent: Monday, August 10, 1998 14:05:38 From: Clouseau@webtv.net Thanks for your quick response to my question about the ETX drive. I have one more question related to something I am very concerned about. I've seen quite a few comments about the ETX having a narrow field of view. I haven't seen any comments where the ETX was compared to other scope's FOV though. I've done some quick math to see what true field of view I would have with my eyepieces. I have a 40mm eyepiece with a 43 degree apparent FOV. I like to use this eyepiece to find objects and then go to others for viewing. I has a nice wide FOV that makes it easy to find objects. In my 1200mm focal length Newtonian, this eyepiece gives me a 1.43 degree field of view. In the ETX with a 1250 focal length, the same eyepiece gives me a 1.37 true FOV. That doesn't seem like much of a difference from the Newtonian. It is easy to find objects in my old scope. The numbers seem to indicate I will have a similar result with the ETX. I know objects will probably not be as bright but right now, I'm only concerned about getting the object in the FOV. Have I missed something here or are the comments about the ETX having a narrow FOV in error? Thanks, Harold Williams
Subject: ETX drive Sent: Monday, August 10, 1998 12:31:34 From: Clouseau@webtv.net I have a question I hope you can answer. I just purchased an ETX but haven't had a chance to use it except for looking at the moon a few times. I roughly polar aligned it and even at high power, the RA drive did a pretty good job of staying on the object. This is my first experience with drives. My other scope is a 10" Newtonian on a Dobsonian base. I know that deep sky objects, planets, the sun, and moon move across the sky at different rates. I'm wondering which of these rates the RA drive of the ETX is set closest to. I'm also wondering how well it does at tracking the objects it's not set for. I really don't want to by a drive correcter but will if necessary. Thanks, Harold Williams Philadelphia, PA USA
Mike here: You really don't need a drive corrector for visual observing. The Microstar 1 (reviewed on the Showcase Products page) is handy for "touring" the sky and correcting for drift when doing long-exposure "piggyback astrophotography". The Moon moves at a higher rate than the background sky (which is why it appears to move eastward from night to night). But that really shouldn't bother you much with the ETX. Comets also have their own "rates" but again, that probably won't bother you with the ETX.
Subject: palomar Sent: Sunday, August 9, 1998 19:11:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Mike, thanks for a great tour of Palomar. I can just imagine how much fun you had there - your words and pictures carry the excitement. Does anyone ever look through the telescope anymore, or is all observing nowadays done with electronic equipment? I've been to the VLA in New Mexico, and to Lowell in Flagstaff. Lowell was, of course, drenched in wonderful and exciting history - I got goose bumps when I got close to that magnificant refractor. The VLA was awesome because of its scale and its place in the landscape - as well as for its work and for the neat ways they've managed to link various sites together for very long baselines. Now I know I've got to see Palomar one of these days. It's been hot and hazy here - not good seeing at all, but I've been zooming around the neighborhood from the back porch with the MicroStar1. I still would not be without one. Am really looking forward to the time when Jupiter and Saturn will rise at a more decent hour, and for clear skies. Best regards, alan marwine
Mike here: Glad you enjoyed the tour. I was hoping that ETX users would enjoy it. Everything is now electronic at Palomar (as it true at most of the large telescopes). I visited Kitt Peak when I was in Tucson in 1974. In the early 1980s I visited the Mt Wilson grounds, but not inside.
Subject: telescope Sent: Sunday, August 9, 1998 14:39:43 From: email@example.com (Rick Evans) Meade Telescope Model 390 90mm (3.5) Altazimuth retracking I have a chance to buy this telescope for $400.00 CND Can you please tell me if that is a good deal? Thank you very much -- ICQ# 2667906 HOME PAGE http://webhome.idirect.com/~mechanic
Mike here: Depending upon accessories, condition, and your intended use, it may or may not be a good deal.
Subject: tripods Sent: Saturday, August 8, 1998 18:43:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron McCafferty) Your web site is great. To me it's what the internet is all about. Can you make a recommendation on a tripod? Thanks, Ron McCafferty
Mike here: I like my JMI Tripod and Wedge. JMI also has a Wedgepod. Meade is coming out with a tripod for the ETX. Check the Accessories - Tripods page or search the site for "tripod".
Thanks for the reply. I apologize for making you repeat what's already on the web page. I have read the items you've mentioned. According to my local ETX dealer, The Nature Company, the tripod is available now. It's in Meade's current catalog and ETX brochure. This is odd since you reported it wasn't available until September. I went back and looked at the year you said it would be available and it is clearly dated 7/98. That's what prompted me to email you and ask. As well as wanting an actual recomendation. Maybe I'll call and try to actually order a tripod. I've seen the JMI Wedgepod advertised in Astronomy and/or Sky & Telescope. Right now I'm using a video tripod which makes polar alignment tricky. The supplied legs work great on a picnic table which I just happen to have in my back yard. I have to lower the tripod a great deal so my twin 7 year old girls can see. (Tonight is Jupiter night.) I still haven't mastered using coordinates but I'm getting plenty of wow's and way cools from the wife and kids. People I talk to and look through the eyepiece can't believe what I'm able to see with the small and inexpensive ETX. Thanks again for a great web site and dialog about tripods.
Subject: greetings Earthling Sent: Saturday, August 8, 1998 16:11:18 From: email@example.com (Jack) Michael, really like the site and find it very helpful. I'm a beginning ETX user and the reviews and users' feedbacks sections are especially enlightening. Can't wait for you to review the new Meade ETX tripod. I was all set to purchase the JMI wedge/tripod unit until I heard Meade had one coming. But patience is a shortcoming; I want a tripod NOW and hope Meade does actually meet the Sept. date as planned. Also am interested in electronic camera photography with ETX and notice some users results. I plan to use a Kodak DC-120. Any info/comments/gosssip? I've spoken to folks at Kodak (5 months ago) and they were notably unhelpful. Anyway, thanks for maintaining the site. --Jack By the way, my company is in the web site devel business and one of our "fun" sites won Best of the Web '97 for Best Community Site. Ruralvermont.com
Mike here: Search the site for "DC-120" (or just go to the May 98 Feedback archive) and you'll find a comment from another user who has one. He was having a problem at the time.
Subject: ETX Sent: Saturday, August 8, 1998 15:44:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edwin Stewart) Thanks for the Web site and all the info. Just getting back into the hobby after 25 years. Hope to make purchase in the next month after sorting out all the new equipment on the market. Thanks, Ed
Subject: Canon and ETX photos? Sent: Saturday, August 8, 1998 12:13:18 From: email@example.com (Mathew Caughron) Your pages are an excellent resource! I've archived them to my hard drive just in case (for whatever reason) your site goes down! The reason for this email... I have a Canon EOS RebelG 35mm SLR camera. Was wondering whether anyone has taken pics through the ETX with it? In particular, it would be nice to know what mountings are best and where to obtain these. Cheers! Mathew Caughron Quincy, Massachusetts
Mike here: Glad you like the site. And I hope it doesn't go down! Maybe one of these days I'll move it to a cable modem ISP but I'm still waiting for the service to get installed in my area.
Subject: New Celestron C3 Sent: Saturday, August 8, 1998 09:28:12 From: JDDGA@aol.com The picture of the "new" Celestron C3 indicates to me that Celestron just took the Celestron C90 spotting scope and mounted it on the equatorial mount that comes with their 80mm wide angle scope. For some reason, perhaps because I never see astronomers commenting about the C90, I have a feeling it is not in the same class of optical performance as the ETX. We'll just have to see. John D'Angelo
Subject: ETX: Astro vs. Spotting Sent: Friday, August 7, 1998 07:44:35 From: David_L_Holt@vapower.com My family and I are looking for a telescope for general purposes (spotting and astro). I had decided upon the ETX, and now Meade has come out with the spotting version. Have you gotten any feedback about which scope is preferable for the casual observer? Or, do you know what questions that we need to ask ourselves to answer which scope to get. Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated. BTW, I enjoyed your ETX page immensely. David
Mike here: The spotting scope is intended for terrestrial observations whereas the astro version is intended for astronomical observations. However, they are the same telescope, just with different accessories and the astro version comes with the equatorial mounting and drive. Either model can be used for either purpose with the additional of the missing pieces, from Meade or elsewhere.
Subject: Etx Sent: Thursday, August 6, 1998 14:54:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (WILLIAM J JONES) I am new to astronomy and was wondering if you could offer some advice. I live in Hoboken, New Jersey. I am thinking of getting the ETX because of its portability. I figure that the light polution in the NY metro area would render the scope near useless and the portability of the ETX would allow me to take it on short trips/vacations/etc to try to get into things a bit more. Do you live near a metro area? Doy you think this is a good approach? A good telescope for my usage? I was also wondering why the price seems so consistently $595. Is there no competition out there? I have looked at quite a few sites and called a few stores and they all seem to have identical prices. Should I go for the Barlow lense? for the right angle viewer? Sorry to have so many questions but any help you can give would be appreciated. Thanks Bill Jones
Mike here: The ETX is a fine scope for metro areas. I live near Los Angeles and although I now have reasonably dark skies since moving a year ago, when I bought the ETX, I lived next to a Post Office parking lot with its lights on all night. But that didn't stop me from observing the moon, planets, Comet Hale-Bopp, and more. And being so portable, you can set it up in a couple of minutes or take it on the road with you when traveling (I took mine to Indiana last Fall and will be taking it to Australia next year). As to price, yep, $595 is pretty much it. Demand is high so there is little discounting. However, Meade is about to get some competition from Celestron in the ETX size range so we'll see if that has any effect. A Barlow Lens is handy because you get another magnification from it. Then when you add more eyepieces, you immediately double the magnifications available, assuming you get the eyepieces sizes to avoid duplication on magnification; that is, you might not want to get a 13mm eyepiece since that is half the 26mm which is the same as adding a 2X Barlow to the 26mm. The ETX finder has come under lots of user comments. Some users like the right angle convenience and some can stick with the straight-through finder. I like both myself. By the way, there is a lot of information on the ETX site. And you can search it for items like Barlow, Finder, and much more. Plus most pages are organized into appropriate categories to help you find information. Feel free to browse through the site and definitely read the Feedback pages.
Thanks for the great answers. I appreciate your taking the time to respond. It sounds like the ETX is a good choice for me now. I can certainly make some use of it even in my populated area. I will read up a bit more from your site. It does look like there is a lot of info. The portability is really appealing. I think, based on what you said, I will pop for it. Maybe you can get a commission! Thanks again Bill
Subject: Re: telescope advice Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 1998 19:40:41 From: RyanHecox@aol.com Thank you very much for the telescope advice. I decided to buy the ETX and am very pleased. I have used it every night since getting it because it is so small and portable. I didn't realize how important that would be. I am also very impressed with the performance of the ETX. The first time I looked through the scope at the moon I was amazed!!! Thak you again for helping me make a great decision! Ryan Hecox:)
Subject: Greetings Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 1998 09:53:25 From: email@example.com (Philippe Laurent) Thank you for your wonderful website. I practiced astronomy for several years now but, thanks to your pages, I discovered the Casio digital cameras (I bought the model QV-200) and I can say that it is a real revolution in astrophotography... I'm currently in holidays in south of France and my first pictures look really great, and without effort ! As soon as I return in Paris, I will send you the nicest for your gallery... Friendly, Philippe Laurent (France)
Subject: your opinion Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 1998 09:17:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (vivey) I am currently looking at diferent scopes and was elated to find your page about the Meade ETX, it has been very informative and optomistic with many areas of information on various topics. I like what I hear about the ETX and I am also considering a new product offered very soon by Celestron. This product is called the G-5 and is supposed to be the same optics and tube and such as the C-5, and the only real difference is supposed to be the mount which is going to be an german equitorial mount but will still have an ra drive and due to the different drive it is supposed to cut the price of the G-5 to about $750. Celestron is also going to be producing a direct competitor to the ETX called the G-3 and it is a 90mm scope and is very close to the ETX, it is a Maksutov-Cassegrain but I believe the focal length is only 1000mm. I know you are probably very buisy and such, but I wanted to know any info and advice you might have about the G-5 if you have heard about it or the C-5 and Celestrons products. I did find some information about the scope and I have listed the pages below. This has a picture of the scopes but is a fairly bad copy of a flyer sent to the store about the G-5 and their smaller new design to compete with the ETX called the G-3 web.lconn.com/antek/page29.htm This is readable and has alot of information on the product www.astronomics.com/Content/frames/frames11.htm Thank you VERY much for your opinion and time. Sincerely, Vaughn email: email@example.com
Subject: Re: Can't focus camera with T-64 Sent: Tuesday, August 4, 1998 21:52:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Walter Warren) After I sent that note asking the question, I noticed the little set screw on the knob. Sure enough, there's enough shaft to move the knob a little farther out. No problems focusing now. Thanks for the reply anyway. You've been a great help. BTW, I wrote awhile back that my setting circle didn't move. You said it should, so I looked closely, pushed and pulled, and eventually found that there seemed to be a spot of glue in one spot preventing it from sliding. I was able to work a thin piece of flexible plastic under a loose section of the band and slide it to where the glue was. A little working of it back and forth unstuck the glue, and the band slides just fine now.
Subject: ETX Eyepieces / Magnification Sent: Tuesday, August 4, 1998 19:15:41 From: email@example.com (Guy W. Lawrence) I am considering purchasing the Televue Nagler 9mm eyepiece for my ETX. I am interested primarily in observation of the Moon and Planets (Jupiter, Saturn & Mars). I currently have the 26mm eyepiece which came with the scope and a 12 mm Meade Series 4000. Any other suggestions for eyepieces? Any opinion on use of a Barlow with these eyepieces? Thanks for putting such a tremendous resource on the internet for us ETX amateurs !! Guy L.
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Eyepieces page for comments on several eyepieces and the Meade 2X Barlow Lens. Also, search the site for "eyepiece" and you'll find lots of references to various eyepieces. You can also try a search for particular brands, types, sizes (Televue, Nagler, 9mm); you will get some hits.
Subject: Can't focus camera with T-64 Sent: Monday, August 3, 1998 21:36:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Walter Warren) Have you ever heard of the following problem? I just got the T-64 adapter and hooked my 35mm camera to the ETX. However, I find that the focusing knob on the telescope won't turn far enough for a far off image like the moon to be in focus through the camera. With both sections of the T-64 its a long way from being in focus. With only the short section of the T-64 I only need one or two more turns to get it in focus, but the focusing knob is all the way in and won't turn any more. Have you heard of this? Hopefully there's an easy solution I'm missing. Walter Warren
Mike here: Several users have commented on this in the past. Loosening the knob and then sliding it out a little on the shaft may help.
Subject: Help needed Sent: Monday, August 3, 1998 13:18:38 From: email@example.com (Haroldo Level) I'm looking to buy a ETX but i was told that this Telescope is not recommended in my location (i live in Venezuela about 10d N 67d W (UT-4hrs) ), the reason is because the tree foot tripod that come with the scope is not recommended and need a SPECIAL one. Could you please comment on that, what should i need. Haroldo
Mike here: The legs that are supplied with the ETX will not tilt the mount far enough to align to the Earth's axis when near the equator. Some heavy duty tripods can hold the ETX in this unbalanced position without tipping over. So that is what you would need. However, the telescope is still useful AND you can make a mounting that can hold the ETX in a stable position at your latitude.
Subject: Zeiss camera mount Sent: Saturday, August 1, 1998 12:15:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barry K. Rayburn, MD) Mike - as always, a killer site. I have a wonderful old Zeiss camera from my mother that has great optics and is definitely all manual. I'm anxious to try some low level astrophotography with it and the ETX. Does anyone happen to know if the Zeiss lens mount is compatible with one of the available T-mounts? Barry Rayburn email@example.com
Subject: 1999 solar eclipse Sent: Saturday, August 1, 1998 06:44:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (sfe) Hello Mike, I live in Paris and I am one more member of your huge fan club :-) Do you plan to come in France for solar eclipse? That would be great to have an etx's owners party at this time. I heard that good spots reservations have yet begun ... Special thanks to Ray Wartinger for the clothes pin and the "magic button" which accelerate temporarily the drive. I think these modifications are indispensable for high magnification photos. I know, I've lost warranty but like Ray I prefer a stuff which works without warranty than inverse :-) And thanks to Han Kleijn for his very helpful exposure excel sheet. Many thanks, Mike, and hope to meet you next year (or before) in Paris. Bruno Najac P.S. It seems to me that if Meade doesn't give you any percent on each etx sold, they could at least lend you, for unlimited try :-), any stuff including sct you would test. Your contribution to them is very consequent, with above all a neutral opinion which makes the credibility of your site and of their products. If they don't understand that, ask Celestron, I'm sure they would do it.
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