Last updated: 1 January 2001

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

Subject:	Tube alignment problems
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 16:05:06
From:	SKBROTHERS@aol.com
Finally, after receiving my ETX-90EC for Christmas I had a small window
of opportunity (Break in the clouds) to see the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn,
and Venus. All I can say is WOW!!!  This scope has renewed my father's
interest in amateur astronomy and may lead him to purchasing an ETX-125
in the near future.  The moon was absolutely jaw dropping.

I will say that I was a little disappointed in the view of Saturn.  The
rings were very crisp and distinct but the planet as a whole was very
small, even with the 2x Barlow/26mm Super Plossl combo.  I am hopeful
that the addition of a 9.7mm super Plossl will remedy this situation.

I do have a question.  I tried to align my autostar and in doing so
discovered what I think may be a flaw with my scope.  My declination
setting circle I feel is not properly installed.  When I level my tube I
get a reading of 81degrees not 0 degrees as is indicated in the manual. 
To get a reading of 0 degrees My tube ends up slightly off of the
zenith.  Have you encountered this issue before?  Can the declination
circle be manually reset (my tentative attempt to manually rotate the
circle was fruitless).

Let me know what you think.  I'm looking forward to a lifetime of use
out of this fantastic piece of equipment.


P.S.  What eyepiece do you recommend for viewing nebulas.  I zero'd in
on the Orion Nebula and couldn't resolve any of the cloud with my 26mm
super plossl.  Will a 40mm be better?
Mike here: The DEC setting circle is adjustable. Just slightly loosen the DEC lock knob and reposition as needed. Retighten the knob. With the 26mm eyepiece, you'll get a good view of M42 in Orion. You really can't resolve details in many nebulae but with dark skies and dark-adapted eyes you can see some wisps. More aperture and/or perhaps a nebula filter (see the Accessories - Filters page on my ETX) can help too. Lower power can also help with some nebulae.

Subject:	 Thank you & 3 questions
Sent:	Sunday, December 31, 2000 11:59:41
From:	Chad Shahin
I have known about ETX for a while but seriously started looking at it a
few days ago when I came across a Discovery store.  I ran into your site
last night and as a long time user of the Web, I was very impressed with
the depth of your information.  Everything I ever buy I research the
heck out of it on the net first.  On  your site I finally got to see
actual pictures of what to expect out of the ETX and that was one of the
best things about your site.  I also now have a better understanding of
what extras I need and a big question on whether or not to buy used was
answered (eBay prices are not far from the new and with the risk of
problems and like the support of a dealer is the way to go if you are
looking to get into this for the long run).  So Thank You very much for
your time, and I will repay you by spending many hours reading every
part of you site.

Now three questions: I am already tapped out for x-mas, but looking at
the tripod offer that ends today is tempting (the ETX-90EC).  I assume
the tripod is very useful.  So I guess the question is if this tripod
offer is the kind of thing that comes around again soon (or even the
Autostar instead - since I am going to get it also)?  $200 is quite a
bit of savings.

I live in Irvine, CA and also spend a time in San Pedro and Torrance
area (I lived in San Pedro for half my life and lots of friends that I
still visit in that area).  Are there any amateur groups in either South
Orange county or South Bay?  I assume that in time I will come across
the site that lists them but I thought since you're from the local area
you might know the site that lists them.

I live in North Irvine - near the hills (relatively speaking).  So kind
of like area.  Is it correct to assume that is dark enough?  I have read
that sometimes being in sub-urban area, the brightness factor is
mitigated by the fact that the microclimate above such area helps lessen
the air disturbances above.
Mike here: Sales and promotions come and go. No way to predict them except by noting they seem to occur around holidays, financial quarter ends, and year ends. As to user groups, there is the South Bay Astronomical Society that meets in Torrance. There is also a group somewhere around Irvine or Oceanside but I forget their name. Your local telescope dealer might be able to help. Depending upon what you expect to see, your location may or may not be dark enough. For the planets and Moon, you'll be OK. For the brighter nebulae and galaxies you'll be OK.

Subject:	 Re: Celestron E-support
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 23:57:56
From:	relgert@datanet.ab.ca (Rob\Karen Elgert)
I have noticed that in the last couple of posts, you mention that both
Meade and Celestron have no e-mail address. While this is technically
true of both companies, at least Celestron has a tech support page on
their site to which you may send the tech department questions and
requests.  Both times I have used this service, tech support has
e-mailed me back within 1 working day. It's not e-mail exactly but it
works just as well and the responses are quick.  Infinitely better than
Meades "ignore em and hope they'll get tired and go away" policy
regarding e-mail.
Just wanted to clear that up - Rob
Mike here: Thanks! I missed that when I was checking their site; I was looking for an email address.

Subject:	re: Tale of Three Telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 21:28:20
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Pete wrote:

> When you turn the DEC lock knob the pseudo-setting circle underneath
>  rotates with it.

Two nights ago i disassembled that arm on my ETX90/ec to perform the
 "tune up" degreasing procedures listed at 

The aluminum disk is completely separate from the knob, and floating
free on my scope, which was assembled on April 13th, 1999.
(or at least QC'd that day, based upon the scribble at the end of
the optical tube, seen when looking into collimating it.)

When you clamp the Dec lock, it pinches the disk between the plastic
of the drive shafts and the knob.  I even had aluminum shavings
collected on the ends of my shafts.

I can't comment on relative shininess of plastics.

Subject:	 re: fuzzy image with an ETX90
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 21:17:54
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	csdemko@phoenixdsl.com
Another possible source of the fuzziness is a mis-assembled
It can either be not fully screwed together (does it rattle
if you shake it? it shouldn't)
Or one of the lenses in backwards.  That's harder for a first-timer
to tell, but the outermost surfaces should be fairly (but not -dead-)
flat.  If one end's lens bulges a lot further out than the other end,
then the bugly end is probably in backwards.
The -best- fix is to take it to a good telescope store and have
someone there flip it.  You -can- certainly do it yourself, but
you need to be -CAREFUL- and do it on a lint-free SOFT surface.
(you WILL drop a lens... and you don't want it to bounce or chip).
When reassembling it's REALLY REALLY easy to cross-thread the holders.

good luck

Subject:	 ETX 90 Questions
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 18:49:51
From:	csdemko@phoenixdsl.com (Cullen Demko)
I just purchased an ETX-90EC and have a couple of questions. First, when
checking it out and setting it up during the day, I focused on a
telephone pole some distance away and was a bit surprised at the
fuzziness of the image. I attempted to focus, slowly as the manual
suggests but to no avail. Am I expecting too much? I assumed I would be
seeing crystal clear images. The image in the viewfinder was good.

Also, I'm probably putting the cart before the horse a bit, but I've
always been interested in astrophotography. Is the ETX suited to
producing decent photos? How about with a CCD imager? Do you have any
experience with SAC's imagers? Being on a bit of a budget, the price of
theirs is pretty attractive.

I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, I'm sure with
time I'll come up with more.

Thanks again


Cullen Demko
Mike here: You'll find tons of answers to your current and probably future questions on this ETX site. If you were viewing that telephone pole through a window or screen you were distorting the image. Take it outside and try it. If you were outside then there should be no fuzziness if the pole was hundreds of feet away. Try the Moon or a planet and see if you can reach a sharp focus. As to astrophotography (film, digital, and CCD) look through the examples on this ETX site. Also check the Accessories - Showcase Products page for comments on the SAC CCD.

Subject:	 ETX 90 lens cap stuck
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 13:59:33
From:	hanford@cruzio.com (Mark Hanford)
I was wondering if you've heard of this problem.  I bought an ETX90EC
two days ago at Scope City in San Francisco.  When I was in the store,
one of the salesmen was on the phone with a woman who purchased an ETX
and was having problem getting the lens cap off -- she claimed it was
stuck.  The salesman told me he'd had several calls complaining of the

Before I purchased the scope, he unpacked it from the box (which had
obviously never been opened) and check the lens cap to make sure it
would come off easily.  It did.  He then screwed it part way back on and
warned me not to screw it on too tightly.  Not a problem.

I got it home and had no trouble removing the lens cap and trying it
out.  Then, I replaced the cap, being careful not to tighten it down,
though I think I did screw it on a bit farther than the sales guy.

The next night, when I went to remove the cap, it was stuck!  Try as I
might, I couldn't get the damn thing off.  I ended up getting a small
screwdriver and carefully and lightly pried on the edge of the cap. 
That seemed to do the trick, as I was then able to unscrew it normally. 
It was like the cap was cross threaded, but I definitely didn't cross
thread it when I put it on.

My theory is that the cap can be screwed on to the point that the
threads on the cap drop below the threads on the inside of the scope. 
Have you heard of this problem?  Is there a missing gasket or o-ring on
the lens cap which normally keeps this from happening?

I'm going to try to solve it by putting a couple of rubber bands around
the cap so it can't be screwed all the way down.  Or maybe I'll go get
an o-ring.  Anyway, it was a frustrating problem to have with a brand
new scope.


Mike here: Sometimes the cap can become stuck and users have loosened the corrector lens assembly. Cross-threading or just putting it on too tightly are common causes. It is easy to cross-thread in the dark or even in the light. I have noticed this myself but have always been able to unscrew it with a little extra effort (and care). I'd be cautious about adding rubber bands or an O-ring; debris from the rubber material could be flaked off and get onto the corrector lens.

Subject:	 The Story of Three Scopes
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 13:25:
From:	peterz@erols.com (peter zimmerman)

Early in December I fell in love with the idea of getting the ETX-90EC
to replace my original ETX-90.  The idea of a GOTO telescope seemed
fantastic, and once I got my 'scope aligned correctly (much harder than
the adverts, reviews, and instructions indicate), it was great.  I could
snap between M42, Jupiter, Saturn, and M31 in just a few minutes with a
few key pushes on the Autostar and get each object right in the view of
my 40 mm eyepiece on the first try.  Felt almost like cheating, and the
ETX-90 optics are very, very good.  But the mechanicals are not, and I
am now on my third ETX-90EC in four weeks.  Let me describe this not
very pleasant story.

Telescope 1) Bought in early December.  Everything seemed fine, except
that when I tried to put a camera on the camera port I found that the
mirror pivot was binding.  It squealed like the proverbial stuck pig,
loud enough to scare my cats and to get my wife's attention from the far
end of the house.  A couple of flips and it became obvious that this was
not just the result of sitting in one position for an extended period.
In all likelihood the pivot and axle hadn't been lubed at the factory, a
pure failure of quality control (QC) and final inspection.  I called
Meade and was advised to try squirting WD-40 on the pivots from
_*inside*_ the camera port and with the mirror in the 'up' position
blocking access to the OTA.  Even so, I was unwilling to squirt a greasy
aerosol into a cavity with direct access to the optics and opted to
return the telescope.  I wasn't entirely upset, because the collimation
of the tube, while acceptable, wasn't up to the collimation on my
original ETX-90 RA

Telescope 2)  Lordy, what beautiful optics!  Unfortunately, it wasn't
mechanically as good.  The DEC lock had a lot of play, more than 5
degrees, and the clutch had to be tightened rather more than I was
comfortable doing in order to initiate tracking.  In addition, the
little tape that serves as the RA setting circle was binding and would
not move, no matter what I did under Meade's instructions.  And the DEC
setting circle was 10 degrees off, but that's trivial to fix and should
probably be trued up once in a while anyway.  But the real problem was
in the cover plate for the right fork arm assembly.  Two days ago I was
standing next to the telescope on its tripod when I heard a 'sproing'
and felt the impact of a small pellet.  The pellet was a chip out of the
ring around the pseudo-setting circle under the DEC lock knob, and the
sproing was a significant crack in the plastic.  No, the DEC lock was
not overtightened; in fact it was fairly slack.

I called Meade for advice and to request a new cover plate.  They
declined to provide a part ("it would void your warranty to dig that far
into the telescope, sir; it's more complicated than it looks") and
advised me to return the telescope for an exchange, which I did
yesterday.  Discovery was again very generous about making a swap.  This
seemed to me an example of poor design or poor checking of parts coming
in the door (or both), and an example of what happens when you fail to
implement W. Edwards Deming's principles of designing in quality and
doing it right the first time.  Inspecting for quality costs money in
rejected items and may cost even more money in warranty claims which can
ruin the profitability of a company.  I have to believe that Meade has
lost money on me, because they've sold me three telescopes for the price
of one.  While they may be able to sell the first return at their outlet
store (if they have one) after reconditioning or lubing, I don't think
they can do that so easily on the second.

Telescope 3)  Mechanically, this is definitely in a different class than
the other two.  Everything seems to be working very smoothly and
accurately, but I don't have a check on the optics.  Last night it was
quite cloudy, so I couldn't look at a star and had to make do with a
porch light a quarter of a mile away -- not quite the same thing, but it
did exhibit a clean collimation pattern.  Tonight should be clear since
Washington, DC seems to have dodged the big storm.

I want to give a vote of thanks to the Discovery Store people.  They
honored (under a little protest) the old guarantee of The Nature
Company, their predecessor in my area, and allowed me to trade in the
original ETX-90 although not at full price ($595) but only at the price
of today's ETX-90RA ($495), which I thought was more than fair on a
three year old instrument.
And additional:
More on the multiple ETX saga:

Telescope 3)  I still haven't had a chance to star test it; it's still
daylight as I write.  However, I have gone through the
reset/calibrate/train routine and have poked around at terrestrial
objects.  Telescope 3 is definitely somewhat different mechanically than
its predecessors.  First, the 1/4 x 20 screws to cover the tripod holes
are made of a slightly shinier plastic, and at a very subtle level the
texture of the body plastic seems just a bit glossier.  When you turn
the DEC lock knob the pseudo-setting circle underneath rotates with it. 
Yes, with finger pressure you can stop that, but there seems to be
something different about the mechanism.  Also the M trademark seems to
be under a more jewel-like bezel.  Not _sure_ of that since I don't have
the other to compare to it.  But I am sure of the following: the motors
are quieter except in fast slew and sound (slow slew) more like the
ticking of a clock.  There does seem to be less backlash to be taken up
when you start a motion as well.  Does anybody have any ideas whether or
not Meade slipped in some running design mods and improvements?

I don't think a reader of this list would recognize the differences
unless he had been handling the instruments one after the other over a
short time period.  They are subtle, but all seem to be in the direction
of better operation.  We shall see.
Mike here: The above is an update to an earlier email from Pete. In that earlier message he asked about an email address for Meade tech support. I responded with the following:

As to Meade not having an email address, well neither does Celestron (according to their web site). Neither does Intuit (a well-known software vendor) for technical support questions. So not having an email address is still not that unusual even as we approach the 21st Century and the 3rd Millennium.

Subject:	 A little info...if you have time.
Sent:	Saturday, December 30, 2000 09:21:32
From:	wrhphd@home.com (Bill Humbert)
I ran across your ETX site this morning.  WOW!  I'm impressed.  I bought
an ETX from Sams yesterday for $350.00.  Specifically, the box says ETX
Astro telescope Model M.  It has a 90mm aperture and came with 9 and
25mm eyepieces.  I think this is the predecessor to the ETX-90RA.  Or is
it the RA? Do you have any further information about the Model M?

I set it up last night and enjoyed views of the moon and venus (I
believe in half phase).  But I have to admit I was a little
disappointed.  I expected more power and resolution.  Of course, this is
my first telescope so expectations were exagerrated I'm sure.  Anyway,
this morning I disassembled and packed it up (after painstaking borsight
the finderscope) to return it.  I then began looking for more
information.  I found your site and I think I've changed my mind.  I
guess I just need patience.

In taking pictures with this ETX, should I always guide the scope? 
Also, how do you accurately guide with only a single axis drive motor?

I'm suree I will have more questions later.  For now, thanks for all the
work.  I will be at your site often.  Maybe one day, I'll submit a photo
or two.

Best Regards and Happy New Year,

Bill Humbert
Ft Walton Beach, FL
Mike here: Since you are new to the site, I'll forgive you for not seeing all the comments that the Model M is the same as the original ETX Astro (now also called ETX-90RA). Once your expectations match the capabilities, you'll find that it is a fine telescope. Look through the Astrophotography Gallery pages for information and examples of what you can do. Guiding is only required for long duration photos and except for piggyback photography you really can't do long duration photography with the ETX-90RA.

Subject:	 Hello Again
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 21:48:02
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty Jr)
I recently bought a used 1987 vintage Celestron Super C8.  I wasn't
really planning on buying another scope but a friend of mine was getting
out of astronomy and made me a deal I couldn't refuse.   I did a side by
side comparision to my ETX 90RA.  I looked at Jupiter, Saturn, the
Pleides, and the Orion nebula.  The best analogy I can think of is the
difference between adjusting your computer screen resolution between 640
and 1024 pixels.  This is in light polluted conditions.

The C8 is bigger and heavier but not really harder to set up.  It is
definately more stable but then again I'm using a heavy duty video
tripod as my ETX mount.  I want to do more comparisions but I left
batteries, which corroded, in my ETX and had to send it to Meade for
repair.  I want to compare moon views.

Having said all that I have NO plans on getting rid of my ETX.  If I had
to make a purchasing decision today on 2 new scopes and factored in
money the ETX provides big bang for the buck.


Subject:	 View Distances
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 16:26:49
From:	swish41@yahoo.com (Ashley Dias)
I have an ETX-90EC and I have been trying to learn how to use it and I
don't understand how the telescope can see so far into space yet will
only increase views only miles away when looking at objects on the
ground. I have the standard eyepiece.  I am just curious how that works,
or am I overlooking something.

!   _____   !    
!  !     !  ! 
!  !_____!  !  
Mike here: For starters I suggest reading "How Telescopes Work" on the Meade web site: http://www.meade.com/support/telewrk.html. And then you need to know that stars are so far away that even with the largest telescope you CAN'T afford they remain as pinpoints.

Subject:	 date fonts
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 10:37:36
From:	dean@cwdi.com (Dean Schwartzenberg)
I have noticed that the dates showing beside each new update, except the
main page, have a weird, block style font.  I really cannot even read
them.  This seems to have just started recently.  Is it just my computer
or a translation error from the Mac to PC?

Thanks, Dean.
Have you got your hands on a LX90 yet?  They are great!  Just like an
etx on steroids.
Mike here: I haven't changed any of the font stuff; just a font size="1" to make the dates slightly smaller than normal, except on the main page where it is size="2" for all the links and dates. It should be showing in your normal font face in your browser prefs.

Added later:

Maybe that smaller size is whats messing up.  I did have to completely
reload this computer awhile ago and maybe my resolution settings are
off, come to think  of it, I do remember seeing this 'weird font' on
some other stuff being e-mailed to me.

It looks like we are getting several 'converts' from the nexstar group
that have changed from the nexstar8 to the lx90 with lots of good things
to say about it.  Meade may have learned alot about new product
introduction from all the ETX problems associated with rushing it to
market.  Maybe Meade will mistakenly send you back a LX90 instead of the

Thanks, Dean.

Subject:	 Christmas Ornament Test?
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 09:18:26
From:	epluta@ohio.net (Edward Pluta)
I,m new to telescopes and astronomy. I have been doing some reading and
found some info on collimating which I found interesting. One term that
seems to pop up is THE CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT TEST. I Can't seem to
find any info on this test. Can anyone fill me in on what it is and how
it's done.   Thanks
Edward J. Pluta
Mike here: Search on "christmas" and you'll find two references to this test with the explanation.

Subject:	 ETX-90Ec  and Super Plossl 9.7mm  (4000 series)
Sent:	Friday, December 29, 2000 07:52:22
From:	felch_richard@emc.com (felch, richard)
I received a ETX-90EC for Christmas.  I went out and purchased a Super
Plossl 9.7mm  (4000 series) eyepiece.  When I got home I found that it
did not fit into my scope.  Have you ever heard of this problem before? 
The 26mm lens that came with scope fit perfectly. Any thoughts?
Rich F
Mike here: By not fitting I presume you mean that it could not be inserted into the eyepiece holder on top of your ETX. It should as long as it is the same 1.25-inch diameter as the included 26mm eyepiece. Check for some metal "burrs" on the eyepiece tube as some users have reported this; just carefully file them off.

Added later:

There were no burrs, it looks like it was just "machined" to the wrong
size. Thank you

Subject:	 Re: Guest Planet shots
Sent:	Thursday, December 28, 2000 21:14:12
From:	rjkrejci@earthlink.net (Rick Krejci)
I would find it hard to believe as well if I didn't actually do it
myself.  And just look at Jim Berry's web site...incredible stuff.  I
use his freeware capturing SW and I use freeware Astrostack for
combining...both great programs.  Like Mike said, luck plays a great
part, as about 10 minutes after capturing that shot, my pics didn't look
nearly as good.   Also, hand-picking the nicest shots (out of 200!) help
alot, but is very time consuming...I was seeing Jupiter in my sleep for
a while.  The key is quantity AND quality.  The electric focuser is a
REALLY nice accessory to have as well.

I also had major troubles keeping the images into view until I went back
to equatorial mount and the default controller.  Much smoother and
better control.  I still get drift ( I don't spend much time aligning),
but a small amount of drift actually makes for better shots, as it
nullifies some noise.


Subject:	ISS
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 22:52:21
From:	MeTMaXxEd@aol.com
this is a great site Mr. Weasner.  I live in Key West Florida and i have
recently aquired a meade etx 90 telescope for christmas and its amazing.
I was wonderin if u could tell me what direction and what time  i would
be able to look into the night sky and see the international space
station?	Thank you so much for you time.

-Patrick Lewin
Mike here: Check the "Heavens-Above" site for ISS (and more) predictions for your location.

Subject:	 ETX 90 vs. ETX90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 10:50:52
From:	billw@3rtechnologies.com (Bill Walker)
I bought an ETX90 (RA?) and the following year Meade released the
ETX90EC. After 6 months of letter writing and phone calls Meade finally
said there was no upgrade to the EC model, only buying the EC outright. 
They thought there might be someone in the Chicago area doing

Bottom line is this: what can I do with my ETX90 to get it the
capabilities of the Autostar system without having the EC drive base? Is
there 3rd party hardware that I can use?  Suggestions?


Bill Walker
Mike here: As has been pointed out on this ETX site since the ETX-90EC came out, there is no upgrade path from the original model ETX (ETX-90RA). Shutan (www.shutan.com) was doing trade-ins or you can sell the original and get a new one. There are some third party add-ons that can provide some of the capabilities of the EC models but you still won't be able to use the Autostar.

Subject:	 EXT-90EC Focusers
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 10:01:19
From:	CoghillTG@alyeska-pipeline.com (Coghill, Thomas G.)
I live in colder climates and found that focusing my new EXT-90 EC can
be painful without gloves (temperatures here -10 F to -40 F) and shaky
(vibration) with or without gloves.

What are your experiences with electronic focusers and has anyone come
up with a fine adjustment knob for the EXT?  I was thinking something
like a piece of 24-inch surgical tubing with a larger disk at one end
and the other end fitting over the existing knob.  Has anyone done this?
Does it work? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help and advice,   Tom
Mike here: There are several alternatives available: see the Accessories - Miscellaneous page on my ETX site as well as the Accessories - Showcase Products page for several focusing aids. Some users even attach a clothes pin to the knob; this provides better control at an extremely low cost (assuming you have a spare clothes pin around).

Added later:

Thanks!  I think the clothes pin idea is great.  I can do that with

I looked at your site and found another item that I can't live without. 
I will order it today  (Dew Cap).

Subject:	 Guest Planet shots
Sent:	Wednesday, December 27, 2000 08:21:48
From:	P.MacDonald@compaq.com (MacDonald, Paul (OGO))
The ETX90 shot of Jupiter posted on 12/26 ... I find it hard to believe
that one can get that level of resolution with an ETX90 and any CCD
device, nevermind a low-res QuickCam. What do you think?

Mike here: Combining images to improve the results is a standard technique. So, yes, with patience, luck, proper software, and reasonable shots to start with, you can get results like that.

Added later:

Well, I am impressed! I can't even get jupiter to stay in the field of
view long enough to get one immage with my SAC IVc!

Subject:	 Merry Eclipseness
Sent:	Tuesday, December 26, 2000 12:17:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Nice shots!

--dick (very clouded out)

Subject:	 Question.....
Sent:	Monday, December 25, 2000 20:54:50
From:	bleggee@responsivetech.com (Brian Leggee)
Great Web page (just like everyone says!)

I thought you might have a bit of advice for me...I noticed that you
have experience taking Photo's with the "Ricoh RDC-4200 digital camera
mounted using a Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter) on an ETX-125EC".

I am using the exact same setup (Ricoh 4200/ETX125/Scopetronix adapter)
and I am having difficulty getting anything other than Moon shots, due
to the camera's inability to hold the shutter open for long exposure

Do you have any ideas? Maybe one can get adequate exposure of
higher-magnitude objects like the Pleides (sp?) cluster or M43?  There
must be other things up there that one can snap photo's of, using that
Ricoh digital camera, other than the Moon...


Brian Leggee, Technical Director
 Responsive Technologies
"Engineers Placing Engineers"
San Diego, CA
(760) 839-0400
Mike here: You can take digital camera photos of the brighter planets but nebula are beyond the reach of that Ricoh model (and most digital cameras as well). You can adjust the exposure level in the Ricoh's menu and you should use the self-timer to let vibrations dampened out.

Subject:	 ETX Drive Modifications
Sent:	Monday, December 25, 2000 11:22:18
From:	jlkeppoch@yahoo.com (Jon Keppoch)
I have an older model of the ETX90 with the clock drive but not the
cuurent one with the Autostar Controller.  Has anyone come up with a way
to upgrade this scope with this feature?

John Randall
Mike here: Trade in or sell and buy an EC or AT model is the only option if you want to use an Autostar.

Subject:	 Merry Holidays ...
Sent:	Sunday, December 24, 2000 15:23:48
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Please allow me to join the chorus of happier ETX users who've benefited
from your tireless work on our behalves..
and to wish you and your family a happy holiday season,
 tempered by the loss of your brother, but enlightend by your
 company with each other.

HAve happy times, warm memories....

and brace yourself for the after-Christmas-evening's onslaught of
 questions, comments and reports as the wrappings come off a bunch
  of telescopes...

Merry Christmas
 Thanks for the t-shirt (to be worn proudly)
   Happy New Year (although i think you'll be hearing from me before then)

_-- Dick & Karen
rseymour@wolfenet.com, when within range of our home ISP

Subject:	 IDO-Q
Sent:	Sunday, December 24, 2000 00:52:28
From:	bareketj@internet-zahav.net (m&j bareket)
I've heard there is a focal (from f/14 to f/8.2) reducer for the ETX.
Where can I get one & how much will he cost me?
Thank you very much IDO
Mike here: See the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter" comments on the Accessories - Showcase Products page for one such adapter.

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Saturday, December 23, 2000 20:21:41
From:	ATATCmdr23@aol.com
i was looking at your ETX web page.  i see you are using the Thousand
Oaks Solar II Type 2 Plus solar filter.  about 6 months ago i  bought
the BAADER Astro Solar film from astro-physics.com.  if you get a
chance, you should check it out.  it gives great pictures with my ETX 90
and Canon F-1.  the write-ups are very accurate.

Mike here: I received this error message when trying to reply to this account:
"** ATATCmdr23 - This member is currently not accepting e-mail from your account."

Subject:	 my experiences with an ETX in England.
Sent:	Saturday, December 23, 2000 05:29:46
From:	Garvinf@pollock83.fsnet.co.uk (Garvin Pollock)
I saw an advert in a newspaper for a second-hand 4.in Meade Newtonian
for 150.00. To cut a long story short I purchased it for 100.00 from an
American who had bought it in California.I took it home and set it up.I
found because of the wooden tripod it vibrated every time you touched
it. The moon looked great but otherwise it was a waste of time.So I part
exchanged it for a new ETX90RA this was before the EC came out.I was
very happy with my 90 until I went to a Star night where I had a chance
to look through a 8in LX200 .which I could not afford to buy .Decided to
build a 6in Dobsonian as some one had given me a 8in Plastic tube 48ins
long. This turned out to be one of the best 6in telescopes in the star
club I had joined. The only trouble was carrying it around in the back
of the car, because I had to recaimate it each time, and it weight half
a ton.So I sold it and bought a second hand 7"LX200 .Known as a Mac 7.
This gave me many enjoyable evenings, the only trouble was weight again.
I even put it on a low steel platform with industrial castors. This
worked quite well as I always kept my scopes in the garage so they were
always cool enough to go straight out for viewing. I then heard about
the ETX125 and thought this was the scope for me.It was the GOTO part I
liked as I knew I would never be able to find M45 etc etc. I ordered one
from the Meade main agents in London.UK. There was six months waiting
list, so I borought a ETX90EC and had a lot of fun GOING to all the
stars I could never find. It was then I came across this web sight and
started reading about the problems you chaps in the USA were having with
the 125, infact I nearly cancelled my order.It was then my 125 turned up
and I part exchanged for the 90EC. Well gentlemen I experenced every
type of fault you had written about.In the end I took it back and they
exchanged it for a mark 2. I had the feeling that Meads had sent a batch
over to England that had been sent back to them.7000 miles away ,out  of
sight out of mind. I was very happy with the 125 and it did every thing
I wanted.the only trouble was the weight. I wanted to take it abroad
with me. The Hard case was too large to carry onto an aircraft, and I
did not want it to travel out of sight. So I purchesed a second hand
ETX90EC and exchanged the 125 hard case for the 90.To crown it all I
purchased a second hand LX50 tripod and the first time I used it with my
125 . I closed the up and over garage doors forgetting the tripod was
4ins higher. The door caught the 125 and knocked over smashing one of
the side arms right off. I now have an ETX90EC on the LX50 tripod and
the optics of the 125 which are still perfect thank god onto a
Equatorial tripod. The best thing I bought was a electric focuser which
gives me pin sharp views of the rings of Satan and the terraces inside
the craters on the moon.I am waiting to see if my insurance company will
pay up. I am not certain if I will buy an ETX125 ,at the moment I can
travel any where with my 90, and the 125 is great in the back garden.
One other item I can recommend is the computor program "Starry Night."
Before I go out I always look at Starry night because it tells me what I
can see  and where all he planets etc are. One spooky thing happened
with it. I put my self in Israel on the 20th of April 3AD at 14.00 hrs
and there was a total eclipse of the sun for nearly three hrs. This was
the day Christ was crucified???

Subject:	 Views
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2000 22:10:23
From:	pjr@eclipse.net (Paul)
Tried out my ETX 90 tonight.  First, I tried out the star colimation
test you suggested and I do see a  concentric circle one way and a
reasonably concentric circle the other way.  When I looked at  Saturn I
could see rings quite easily but I can't even imagine how one could see
a cassini division with the image resolution I was getting.  With
Jupitor, I was seeing a very bright almost solid white almost
featureless mass with a suggestion of three bands.  Four planets were
quite obvious.  The images really were not much different from some of
the less impressive guest photos on your site, however I thought viewing
the planets directly should give better resolution than astrophotography
not a little less  (I know deep sky objects are seen much better with
astrophotography).   Is this because many of the photos have been
computor improved or do you think my resolution is not as good as it
should be?

Can you think of any other way I can test the scope to make sure all is
well?  Unfortunately, I've never used this scope before and I have
nothing to compare to.    Thanks again, Paul
Mike here: Keep in mind there are many variables when viewing astronomical objects. Atmospheric conditions ("seeing") can affect your views as can dirty optics. And then there are user expectations. On a good night you can see the Cassini Division in Saturn's Rings with the ETX-90 and the standard 26mm eyepiece. However, higher magnification makes this easier. Some of Jupiter's cloud bands are easily seen but as you note, there isn't much contrast in them. You can enhance the views by using certain filters (see the Accessories - Filters page). Again, good seeing and higher magnifications will help.

Subject:	 Happy holidays and thanks
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2000 21:12:28
From:	jchalfen@goldengate.net (John Chalfen)
Just wanted to say happy holidays and a large thank you for all the time
and effort you put into your site.


--Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intelligent life on other
planets is the fact that they haven't tried to contact us yet.  (Bill
Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes)



Subject:	Solar Filter
Sent:	Friday, December 22, 2000 20:56:22
From:	RBSAUER@aol.com
Astro-Physics, Inc. sells solar filter material (film) and provides easy
instructions for making your own filter cell.  I purchased a sheet (7.9"
x 11.4", $30) last week and constructed a filter for both the ETX-90 and
the finderscope.  The instructions are very simple and easy to follow. 
I have had only one chance to test it out and I was very pleased with
the results. Their web address is:

You can also read a recent review of this product from Sky & Telescope
magazine at the following address:

Good Luck,

Ron Sauer

Subject:	 Can I ask one last question in 2000...?
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 13:50:19
From:	MFRiesco@directvla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
Dear all-knowing Mike --

Firstly, I REALLY appreciate your taking the time to answer questions --
you very kindly responded to an e-mail I sent you earlier this week
(asking about the Meade 2x Barlow lens, Model 140).  Can I trouble you
with one more request for advice, and then I'll leave you to your Happy

I will shortly be getting an ETX-90EC, and my question is this:  I know
that the scope comes with a 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece, yielding 48X
magnification.  I want to invest in one more eyepiece (at least for
now), to have the ability to go to higher magnifications.  If you were
going to recommend one more eyepiece, which would it be?  I think I've
narrowed it down to either the Meade 6.4mm Super Plossl (which would
give me about 195X) or the Meade 9.7mm Super Plossl (which would give me
about 128X). Obviously, each of these could be doubled with my Barlow

What is the "down-side" of going with the 6.4mm vs the 9.7mm?  I would
imagine that there is an optical "price to pay" for the higher
magnification of the 6.4mm (vs. the 9.7mm) -- what is the tradeoff?

Or, am I barking up the wrong tree with either of these 2 eyepieces, and
if so, what type of eyepiece would you recommend?

Again, thanks so much for your help.  I promise no more e-mails from me
for awhile!!

Mike Riesco  (mfriesco@directvla.com)
Mike here: Glad to be able to help. Asking questions is good, whether I can answer them or let others answer them. That is why this ETX site became and remains so popular; we help each other out. In choosing between the 9.7 and the 6.4, personally I'd go for the 9.7 (which is what I did in 1996). Double-ing the 9.7mm is doable with the ETX on bright objects but doubling the 6.4 will likely not yield very good results. So, if you were to get the 6.4, in reality you'd only have three magnifications, not four, to work with.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC and Cold Weather
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 13:30:47
From:	jhawley@ochsnerusa.com (Jamie Hawley)
I'm a complete newbie.  I have absolutely no telescope experience... 
However, I have always been fascinated with the night sky.  I started
doing some research and came across your site.  It is wonderful and very
informative.  I have been able to scratch the surface in understanding
all the technical terms of this science.  Through the info on your site
I decided to purchase an ETX-90EC, Autostar and a couple of starter
accessories (different Plossl and moon filter).  Here's my question, we
have a cottage in northern Wisconsin that we will be at between
Christmas and New Years.  It's freezing up there (single digits).  I'd
like to bring the scope and do some observing (learning) from the deck. 
Will I damage the scope using it in such cold conditions?  Again Mike,
thanks for the site, it's really helping me to decipher all of this
technical jargon that is Greek to me.

Best Regards,

Jamie Hawley
Mike here: See my comments to the "Cold weather viewing" email further down this Feedback page.


Thanks a lot.  I found the related post.  I'll let the scope cool down
gradually and the same with warming it back up.  I'd hate to have to
wait 'till spring to use the scope!  It was brutal here last night -10,
too cold! I hope it warms up a little by the time we get to the cottage.

Subject:	 IDO-Q
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 11:04:43
From:	bareketj@internet-zahav.net (m&j bareket)
I've just wondered, is any one tried to do deep sky photography with the
new LX90? I'm own an etx90 and it is almost impossible to do so.I also
want to buy LX90 telescope, If some one can show me any deep sky shots
he did with his lx90 or any astrophotography experience It's would be
really great!
thank you! IDO
Mike here: The LX90 scopes are just being received. But you might check the "LX90 eGroup" (linked from the Astronomy Links page).

Subject:	 RE: Barlow Lens Question
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 06:16:31
From:	MFRiesco@directvla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
Thanks very much!  I had looked though your site before e-mailing you,
but under the "eyepieces and accessories" section, I did not find any
mention of the "140" Barlow, just the "126", which is a shorter-barrel

Thanks again,

Mike Riesco.
Mike here: The reports on the 140 were on the Feedback pages. No one has sent in a review of the 140.

Subject:	 Televue Starbeam on ETX
Sent:	Thursday, December 21, 2000 05:41:31
From:	d_armes@sympatico.ca (resident)
I was curious if you knew of any  way to mount a Televue Starbeam ( zero
power finder ) to my ETX 90.  I really find the finder to the best I've
ever used in conjunction with my Televue refractor, and think it would
make an excellent substitute for the existing finder on the ETX which is
( literally) a pain in the neck.

Thanks for any assistance you may be able to offer!

Seasons Greetings,

Mike here: Velcro, pads with glue, superglue, plastic cable ties, rubber bands (don't laugh; I use rubber bands to mount the Rigel Systems QuikFinder)?

Subject:	new 'M' model at Sam's
Sent:	Wednesday, December 20, 2000 16:13:48
From:	Lawmic@aol.com
I'm not sure how fast you get a chance to respond but if you see this
quick and can get back to me I'd appreciate it, as I'm under the gun
looking for a Christmas gift for my daughter. I've become almost
thoroughly confused trying to decide which model to buy and in fact
right now have both a 70AT and a 60AT tucked away. I gave $314 for the
70 at Natural Wonders, so I got the nicer numerical autostar, but then I
found a 60AT for $269 with a free tripod by mail. While I was ready to
pay the $50 for the upgrade, this is now close to $145 when the free
tripod is tossed in. Now I notice Sams has a ETX model M, that looks
like an ETX 90 in disguise.  It's going for $349.  So now I'm really
confused.  I can pay an extra $100 for the Autostar and pick up a tripod

Have you seen this Model M and if so what can you tell me about it?

If there's any chance you can send me a direct reply to save me the hunt
around your web sight I'd appreciate it.


Mike here: The ETX Model M is the same as the original ETX model (also now known as the ETX-90RA). It is NOT compatible with the Autostar and CAN NOT be upgraded to be compatible.

Added later:

thanks for the quick reply

Subject:	 Barlow Lens Question
Sent:	Wednesday, December 20, 2000 14:54:38
From:	MFRiesco@directvla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
A quick (& hopefully not too dumb) question for you -- I plan to buy an
ETX-90EC sometime next year. However, I just bought a Barlow lens for my
son's small Celestron 60 mm refractor which, like the -90EC, accepts
1.25 inch eyepieces. The Barlow lens I bought is the Meade model 140,
which is their more-expensive ($85) 2X apochromatic model, with a 1.25
inch diameter.  My question is: will this lens be compatible with my
future ETX-90EC?  I ask because I read somewhere that the "short-focus"
Barlows are well-suited for the -90EC, and this Barlow that I bought is
NOT a "short-focus" lens.

Thanks in advance for your response!!
Mike Riesco  (mfriesco@directvla.com)
Mike here: I searched the site for "140" and found the answer to your question: it does work according to a report.

Subject:	 Just for The Fun
Sent:	Wednesday, December 20, 2000 02:38:03
From:	yann.duchemin@free.fr (Yann Duchemin)
I don't know if it's very interesting but I've create a small Java apps
to send my webcam pictures on my website. Sometimes, all the people
could see the sky behind my ETX in the same time than me, but in their
sweet home (or office).

The next test is for the lunar eclipse in the next 9th january.

Best Regards,
Yann Duchemin

Subject:	Purchased my ETX-90EC this week!
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 21:02:01
From:	SKBROTHERS@aol.com
After pouring through the info. on your awesome sight I finally pulled
the trigger and purchased an ETX 90EC from ehobbies!  I'm impressed with
the optics thus far but want to add a Barlow lens.  Would you recommend
the standard Meade 2x for about $40? I have also seen a 3X version, is
this worthy of consideration?  I want to maximize my investment and get
the best Barlow available.  I checked your eyepiece link but didn't find
a comparison of Barlows.  Is a Barlow a Barlow or is Meade, Celestron,
or Televue optically superior?  Thanks for your help!

Mike here: I find a 2X Barlow worthwhile as it effectively doubles the number of eyepieces you have. Yes, you could get a 3X but that complicates things and with the ETX-90 model might be overkill. High optical quality is important in a Barlow Lens so don't get a cheap one. The #126 Barlow from Meade works well.

Subject:	 Meade ETX90 Question
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 20:29:42
From:	pspagnoli@deloitte.com (Spagnoli, Peter J (US - Parsippany))
Today I received by Meade ETX90 from astronomics.com.  I have a question
that I am hoping you can answer for me.  I am new to astronomy but for
the last several months I have been studying the sky with a star map and
a pair of binoculars.  My interest increased so I purchased the ETX90. 
However, now I am debating whether the $600 would have been better spent
purchasing the Meade 4" refractor for $600.  Can you please provide some
guidance.  I would really appreciate it.

Thank you!

Mike here: Aperture vs portability is always a key decision that must be made. Your decision depends upon how you want to use a telescope and what your expectations are.

Added later:

My expectations are not drastically high.. I guess I am somewhat suspect
of the long term reliability of the motors within the ETX90.  I'm also
questioning "how much better" would the 4" refractor be when compared to
the ETX90.

I'm curious.. you dedicated an entire website and a lot of your personal
time to the ETX90.  Why?  What "sold" you on this scope?
Mike here: As I state on the ETX site home page, I've had my original model ETX since September 1996. Its looks, size, capability, and price were what initially attracted me to it. After using it for a short while I found that its optical quality also made it a fine astronomical instrument, a "mighty" telescope for its size. I've never had any problem with its motor (it only has the original RA drive). From the success of the ETX line I guess I'm not alone in liking the ETX.

Subject:	 Cases for telescopes and cameras
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 17:13:34
From:	gbonner@home.com (Gerald bonner)
I was referred to your sight by one of my customers who bought a
Doskocil #10803 extra large case for his telescope.

After looking at your site, I would like to have a link to your site,
and would be happy to chat with your members via email, or telephone. My
company is a distributor for Doskocil, SKB, and Pelican cases, plus a
few aluminum case manufacturers.  We specialize in hard side cases
airline approved that will provide years of protection for valuable

Our goal is to provide our customers with high quality cases for the
rest of their life, and inorder to accomplish this goal, we must stand
behind the customer and be available for discussion inorder to make
recommendations of the best case available within the customers budget.
We will compare prices with any other company!

Gerald Bonner
The Case Place
(817) 784-9138

Subject:	 Dewcap
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 11:36:37
From:	kowalzik@gmx.de (Stefan Kowalzik)
Hi, I just tried to use the dewcap of the Bresser "Champ" (80/400mm
Refractor) with the ETX-90 ---- it fits exactly! So it's always good to
have a second scope....

Merry Christmas from Germany, STEFAN

Subject:	 Telescope evaluation
Sent:	Tuesday, December 19, 2000 06:22:18
From:	thomcope@yahoo.com (Copenhaver Thom)
I currently have a Celestron 60mm refractor with an impossible-to-align
finder scope. Other than the finder, I'm pleased with my current scope.
I >>DO<< think that not having a good finder limits my star hopping.

I have the opportunity to borrow and optionally purchase a used loaded
Meade ETX-90EC (with Autostar, hard case, field tripod, several
eyepieces, for $300). The guy who's selling got a bigger Celestron with
GOTO for Christmas, and he doesn't need the ETX anymore.

Here's the question: What should I look for (on the scope and in the
sky) when considering a scope upgrade? For the couple of weeks that he's
letting me borrow it, are there any particular DSO's that would be
useful test cases for proving the value & quality of this scope? Are
there any common issues to address when buying a used scope?

Even without trying it out, I'm almost positive that I want this scope.
I believe that the optics alone would be worth the money, and if the
Autostar is easy to use, well, that's just great. However, it's always a
bit of a commitment to get a new scope....

TIA,        thom in Omaha
Mike here: For starters, look at the "Purchasing a Used Telescope" on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 new camera
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 19:03:32
From:	lpdisadog@netzero.net (THOMAS)
Need help to hook up a Olympus d460 to a Meade ETX-90EC.
Mike here: See the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page as well as the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	 ETX MODEL M
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 16:43:19
From:	bsuggs@nwwin.com (B SUGGS)
I'm sure as Christmas approaches, newbies like myself come out of the
woodwork for free advice. Hopefully you have time for one more.  I had
decided to purchase the 70AT as a nice big-boy's-toy for $349 and enjoy
the auto-finding features -- Then, I'm walking thru Sam's, as if it was 
"meant to be" and see a Model M for $399 which I impulsively add to my

Now, I'm searching the Web to see what I got, but to no avail.  Is the
Model M is a discontinued item, and/or worthy of consideration?

Also, if I stick with it, which I am now inclined to do, I will wonder
forever how well any auto-find feature would have worked.  Your thoughts

Bob Suggs - Friendswood, Texas
Mike here: The M model is the same as the original ETX, now also called the ETX-90RA. I still like mine and use it a lot.

Subject:	 question
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 16:15:00
From:	lithend@hotmail.com (Luc Tang)
I wanted asked a question to an expert astrophotography, please respond
if you know the answer.  I own a Meade EXT-125 and tinking about getting
into astrophotography.  What slr cameras do you recommend and will the
newer models work and what kind of adapters do you recommend?

Thank you and any info you provide would be helpful.
Mike here: Any SLR camera with a removable lens can be used. See the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page as well as the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	 Solar filters
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 15:10:38
From:	rmarchionna@voyager.net (Ray Marchionna)
I would like to make or purchase a solar filter for my Meade right angle
finderscope. It seems to me that I read somewhere ( probably on your
site Mike, but my searches haven't found anything yet), directions for
making one. I have read that a #14 welders lens provides sufficient
protection for looking at the sun, but I'm concerned that using one with
the magnification of the finderscope would not be safe. Does anybody out
there know for sure ?

Thanks for the best telescope site on the web, Mike

Mike here: I don't know if this is the reference you recall but check out:
for the email on the "$5 solar filter". I'd opt for a real solar filter; afterall, it is your eyes we are talking about protecting.


Thanks for the speedy reply. I agree that a real filter is the way to
go, I just haven't found one that will fit the finderscope.

Subject:	 Cold weather viewing.
Sent:	Monday, December 18, 2000 11:10:26
From:	csorgatz@ford.com (Sorgatz, Chris (D.))
I've just found your web site, I LOVE IT!!!  Your answering all my
questions, except one.

Here are all my facts: I have recently purchased the ETX125/motor
drive/Autostar.  I live in Michigan. It's REALLY cold here this time of
year.  I do have many years experience in photography, none with

Here is my question: What preventive maintenance should I do to the
scope before taking it outside in the winter here?  I'm sure that it
will be anywhere from 0-20 degrees F next week when I plan on using it.
Are there any possible ill effects for the telescope?  Or should I not
even take it outside in the winter?

Hope I'm not out of line here writing in a question to you like this,
Thanks for all your advice!!!
Christopher D. Sorgatz
Mike here: Cold temps are OK as long as you don't subject the telescope to a cold shock but taking it from a real hot indoor location to sub-zero temps. Try to let it cool down at a slow rate. Same for the reverse. Condensation might be a problem coming back inside so watch for that. The Autostar display may blank when it gets cold so try to keep it in a pocket when not actually using it. Battery life will go way down in the cold temps so AC may be a better choice.


I'll look forward to getting out next week and trying out the telescope.

Subject:	 Primary mirror shift while focusing ETX
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 20:18:03
From:	vedransi@mbox.com.au
First of all, thanks for a great site.
I hope you can help me with the problem I've got. (Or maybe I don't, who
knows?) I have noticed the shift in the image when I turn the focusing
knob on my ETX90. The supplier where I bought the scope claims that this
is normal for a "Mak" because the primary mirror is being moved forwards
and backwards. They also claim that a certain amount of movement is
acceptable and that I should not worry about it. This is OK with a
standard 26 mm eyepiece, but when I use a 6.3 mm eyepiece, the star I'm
watching shifts significantly from side to side and sometimes gets out
of the field completely. I am very careful during the focusing and I've
got a flexible focuser, so that the vibrations are kept to a minimum.

Have I got a faulty telescope? Or this is indeed normal...

Please help.


Mike here: I've never seen the image shift entirely out of the field of view when using a 9.7mm eyepiece + 2X Barlow Lens (effectively a 4.8mm eyepiece) on my ETX-90RA. But some shift is normal due to the design of the ETX.

Added later:

Thanks, Mike!

Should I contact Meade for this?
Mike here: Wouldn't hurt. I'd be interested in their response.

Subject:	 Telescopes
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 17:46:02
From:	capellt@swbell.net (Tim Capell)
This is a stupid question...is the photo of you and a ETX telescope on
the main-page real life? Does Meade make a telescope that is that LARGE?
or is that just a PhotoShop computer job?

And what do you think is the best telescope for your money....if you had
to pick one what model would it be??
Mike here: As I have mentioned earlier on the site, the photo is edited to get across the idea that the ETX is a "mighty" telescope for its size. And yes, Meade makes LARGE telescopes, up to 16 inches, just not in the ETX line. Since I don't own every telescope in the world, I really can't say which telescope is the best for the money. I certainly would like to own an LX200 12" but I'll keep the ETX-90RA for now.

Subject:	 Lens Pen
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 16:24:54
From:	jdcjdr@skynet.be (Looping)
Do you know the cleaning pens sold to clean camera lens ?
I have one from Hama and it works really good on camera coated lens but
do you know if I can use it to clean my Etx correcting lens ?

Best regards,
Mike here: See my comments re: the LensPen products on the "Cleaning Optics" page (linked from the Buyer/New User Tips page). I used one on my ETX-90RA corrector lens with no evident problems.


Thanks a lot for your fast reply.

Subject:	 ETX 125 EC eye peices @ photography
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 15:26:58
From:	alec917@hotmail.com (Alec C)
I have recently purchased an ETX 125 EC and would now like to purchase
some additional eyepeices.  Which eyepeice and or barlow lens would you
recommend for viewing Saturn.

Also I'm a photojournalist who shoots with several  Nikon D1's (35mm
digital camera), is this camera to heavy to mount on the ETX 125?

Is there an additional bracket I can use to help support the weight of
the camera?

Thank you,
Southern California, USA
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page, as well as the Accessories - Eyepieces page for info on eyepieces and Barlow Lens. Also, see the Accessories - Astrophotography page for info on camera mounting attachments.

Subject:	 sac-iv and autostar
Sent:	Sunday, December 17, 2000 05:59:10
From:	hzels@netscape.net (Henryk Zels)
Hi there,

some questions about the sac-iv. i've read the test description on your
side and its very interesting. But there is a "sac-iv c" on their
website that has a special feature :

"The integration program now comes with auto tracking for the Meade
LX200 line, ETX line and the DS line.  This allows the camera to
integrate a large number of images. It also allows you to use the SACIV
for auto tracking when imaging with other brands of cameras that don't
have auto tracking." <- (text from www.sac-imaging.com)

The questions are now : 
a)Has anyone buyed the c-version of the sac-iv and tested this tracking
- feature?
b) What precision can i get (using a standard ETX-90EC/Autostar)?
c) Will it work as an autoguider for a piggyback - mounted SLR (over
more than the 1 - 4 minutes with possible with the autostar alone)?

And, finally, d) is there a standalone - software that will do tracking
with any (modified) USB - Webcam? (because sac-imaging won't sell the
software without the cam. i've asked them.)

Hey, thanks a lot for your great website. It's very helpful if you got
an ETX
(especially in germany :-)).
And sorry for my bad english.

Mike here: I have the integration software but just haven't found the time to try it out. Maybe over the holidays.

Subject:	 Holidays and good viewing
Sent:	Saturday, December 16, 2000 22:12:27
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
Merry Christmas Mike,

Lots to agree on here.First I agree that Richard Seymour has contributed
one helluva lot of info on the Autostar and its many ways. He should be
commended, and I totally agree. However, without your site, Dick, Meade
and myself would probably not exist. I commend you all for a very
exciting and informative site to visit.

What have I learned? Only about a billion things I never thought I'd
ever need to know, but what fun it has been, and exciting because its
all new and unexplained to we novices. The heavens are truly mysterious,
and that make it all the more appealing.

The International Space Station and its huge solar panels have even
given some excitement to my wife. We've both seen satellites before,but
none of them had humans onboard. This beast is awesome on a clear
evening. Some good buddies of mine have flown in the shuttle (several
times), but I never saw live pictures from space before like this last

Xmas time, which means I have to show of the scope. No problem, I did
choose to go with Alt/Az because its lighter and easier to set up. But
it has been almost too cold to use this beast, like -19 F That should
put the ol Autostar to the test.

Keep up the good work, more on cold temps later, 
Tony Bulat

Subject:	 ETX Model M
Sent:	Friday, December 15, 2000 15:12:40
From:	mcvicker@socket.net (Dave and Tracy McVicker)
Which of your headings would direct me to information concerning the
scope I have? The ETX 90 Model M (Manual). I have enjoyed perusing your
wonderful sight. It will definitely be a favorite.
Mike here: The ETX-90M is the same as the original model ETX released in 1996. It is also known as the ETX-90RA. See the "User Feedback" page for user comments.

Subject:	 Meade 4504 & Starfinder 494 (yes 494)
Sent:	Friday, December 15, 2000 00:57:08
From:	screi@peoplepc.com (Wayne Scharphorn)
Hi Mike..great site, thanx

Meade Customer support tells me the handcontroller supplied with my
model 4504 is a #494 Starfinder model of the Autostar (no numeric
pad,otherwise it looks like the 497 or 495).. When it initializes it
flashes "c[00] Meade [1.0] STARFINDER" and requests date..time..etc. Do
you know if this can be updated? I've looked on your site and Meade's
but can't seem to find any info specific to Starfinder or #494..Meade is
vague in my request for info but they did say this model can be updated
and requires a #506 cable set but wouldn't be more specific...?? Thanx
for any help you may offer


P.S. Someone asked in the feedback section of your site if the drives
could be put in "neutral"... on my Starfinder if it is tracking and I
push "Enter" for about 2 sec. it beeps, the drives stop and the display
reads "enter to sync"; the drives only start tracking again after
pressing "enter". I have no idea if this "feature" is specific to my

Subject:	Re: HI Mike
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 19:55:19
From:	Misterjingle@aol.com
Thanks for the replay and the information.  So would you say if a person
was to make the jump that he should to the ETX 125 then? By the way I
have read alot of what people had to say about all the ETX
models....Your site has theBest information on the Web forsure!


Mike here: It depends on how you will use it and what your expectations are. Check the recent Feedback pages; I've answered this question a lot in the past couple of days.

And a response:

Oh yes, I understand Mike.....Thanks for  having a great web page.  I've
decide that I'm going for the Meade 125, If I feel I love looking at the

thanks again!

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Thursday, December 14, 2000 07:06:00
From:	DuchyDog@aol.com
Saw you web site so I thought I would write.

I just received my first telescope which is an ETX-90EC with the
Autostart controller. In fact, I have yet to open the box. Should I try
an upgrade to the 125 while it's still brand new? Is it worth the
difference? My uses are basically unknown since this is my first


Mike here: The extra aperture of the 5" is nice and noticeable (for smaller and/or fainter objects), if you can handle the decrease in portability (although the 5" is still generally portable). The ETX-90EC makes a fine first and last telescope. But you really need to decide how you want to use the telescope.

Subject:	 Buying an ETX.
Sent:	Wednesday, December 13, 2000 16:41:05
From:	110641.1527@compuserve.com
You asked that I let you know about my progress in buying my first
telescope, so I'll tell you.
It is painful.

I live near Princeton, NJ.  The University has a public viewing night
where I hoped to do a little viewing & make contact with other amateurs
& get some local advice.  Unfortunately the weather has not cooperated
and the last two sessions have been cancelled.

The ETX series appeals to me because I live in a small valley with tall
trees all around.  Any real viewing means putting the scope in the car &
driving up to some nearby fields.  Portability is important.  I also
visit family on the Eastern shore, & taking it there should be very
rewarding. I like the idea of the Autostar because it will allow me to
see a lot of identifiable objects rather than "points of light." & speed
a learning process that probably should have started many years ago.

The best thing about the ETX is your website, because it's been the only
source of "real world" info on the ETX.

Trying to find an ETX 90 or 125 isn't easy.  Most stores are out of one
or the other, and I had hoped to compare them side-by-side. One store
had only and ETX-90, and they wouldn't even take it out of the box to
let me look at it!

Tonight I found a "Knowledge Store" nearby that said that they had both
in stock, so there I went.  The 90 was on a tripod & the 125 was under a
plexiglass box that they would not remove.  Nobody in the store had the
faintest idea how either of them worked or could answer any questions.
Because of lessons learned from your website comments, I wanted to know
if the unit needed warranty repair it could be exchanged there or if I
would have to send it back to Meade - blank stares for a while, then a
suggestion that I exchange it under their "gift receipt" program within
30 days.  After some fiddling, I could slew the 90 up,down, left, &
right, but since the farthest object was @ 75 feet away there wasn't
much to learn from looking through it.

If you were my friendly, local telescope salesperson I'd discuss the

I'm 54 years old with several daytime & summer pastimes.  One month ago
I had my first look through a telescope (a 4" Meade Refractor) & saw 4
of Jupiter's moons, plus a very good look at our moon.  I want to see
more.  I hope to see a lot and keep note of what I see, but have never
had much interest in photography.

Portability is important, as well as a wish to avoid a maintenance

Some questions:
1.  I don't mind spending money, but I hate to waste it.  For someone
who probably won't advance beyond the hobbyist level, will the 125
provide noticably better views and/or offer a qualitative advantage over
the 90? Simply put, is the cost delta worth it?
2.  I read the Sky & Telescope comparison of the Celestron & Meade 5"
M-Cs, & it seemed that the things that are important to me favored the
Meade, but I'd like to hear your comments.
3.  Since there seems to be no value in buying from a local store, which
mail order house will be the most helpful if I need service?
4.  For either model that you would recommend, what accessories are
essential for the first few sessions?

Since it appears that the first time I will be looking through either
scope will be after I own it, I thank you in advance for your answers to
these questions, and any other suggestions that you might make.
Bob Thompson
Mike here: Sorry you had some rough experiences. Fortunately, not all dealers are like that but there are probably more than there should be... At any rate, the extra aperture of the 5" is nice and noticeable (for smaller and/or fainter objects), if you can handle the decrease in portability (although the 5" is still generally portable). I have some realworld comparisons of the NexStar5, C-5, and ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC linked from the top of the current ETX-125EC Feedback page. Mail order dealers frequently mentioned on this site as good include Oceanside, Scopetronix, and Shutan. Others are mentioned, just not as frequently or vocally. As to accessories, check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some thoughts. A 2X Barlow Lens is a good first accessory since it essentially doubles the number of eyepieces you have. As you add more eyepieces, you can continue to double the number.

Added later:

Don't know how I missed this page (the comparisons), but it was just
what I wanted.  Thanks. The 125 it is.

Subject:	 ETX question
Sent:	Wednesday, December 13, 2000 13:25:18
From:	David.P.Morley@Hitchcock.ORG (David P. Morley)
Thanks for your quick response to my recent ETX question. Appreciate
your help & will tune in to your website more often.

Sent:	Wednesday, December 13, 2000 12:50:38
From:	terry.conde@which.net (terry)
The amount of information supplied relating to the meade etx90ec on your
site really is great. Everything you want to know,or find out about is
there if you look.

Every one likes a good deal if there is one to be had, and anyone who
pays more for anything that can be bought cheaper by shopping around is
either lazy, crazy or has too much money to spend.

Thanks to you posting my earlier comments on your site, regarding
importing a meade scope from the states, i have had some really usefull
comments and offers from enthusiasts from the uk and the usa.

Keep up the good work

Subject:	 RE: Digital Camera
Sent:	Wednesday, December 13, 2000 06:13:08
From:	GSkoubis@ussco.com (Skoubis, George)
Thanks Mike! I think I'm going to go with a "multi-use" digital camera
for the money I will spend.


Subject:	 Digital Camera
Sent:	Tuesday, December 12, 2000 07:28:38
From:	GSkoubis@ussco.com (Skoubis, George)
I'm looking for a digital camera for astrophotography. The first that
came to mind was the SBIG ST-4. Have you heard anything on this
performing well with the ETX 90? Does it have enough light gathering
capabilities for some of these nice ST-4 pictures (one-hour exposures)
I've seen.  If I can't really find feedback on this, I was going to
purchase a regular digital camera and use it for taking regular images
as well.

Thanks in advance -George
Mike here: It will be a challenge to track for hour exposures. Other than that and the expense of the ST-4, it should work.

Subject:	 digital cameras
Sent:	Monday, December 11, 2000 21:55:39
From:	slvrbula@mato.com (Tony Bulat)
If you had all the money in the world and you wanted to purchase the
best digital camera that was compatible with the ETX-125 with a #64 T-
adapter, and the T-ring  adapter and the basics 1.25" camera adapter,
what would you buy? Kinda putting you on the spot,I know, but I feel
there's a lot of confusion out there and some of your guest
astrophotographs try to explain what they shot and how they shot it, but
put it in terms that are really hard to decipher.

Seems there is a bunch of good stuff available on the market, but
digital cameras that don't allow a person to change  focus, F-stop, and
exposure time are a waste of time. Zoom capability is one of those
things that doesn't interest me in the slightest. Prime Focus or
Eyepiece Projection with a digital camera seems far superior to A-Focal
projection. Am I wrong?

The beauty of a digital camera is it's ability to take several shots
over a short period of time, and then stack the results and play with
them as one sees fit to make the photo look better through enhancement.
That's very enticing since my old SLR is even older than yours. A Cannon
Pellix circa 1970 with non-movable mirror. Good ol buddy takes some damn
good pics, got combat photos to prove that, including some friends of
yours if I wasn't so lazy to dig them out

You take care and check six good buddy,
        Tony Bulat
Mike here: Since I don't (currently) have all the money in the world (the Pledges haven't been THAT forthcoming, at least not yet...), I haven't done all the research necessary to formulate any opinion. To do what you want will require a digital camera with a removable lens OR you can purchase one the new "digital film packs" that replace a 35mm film can with a CCD at the focal plane. The last time I read about them they were about $1000 for a 12-shot version. You'd then need a 35mm camera with a removable lens.

Added later:

Thanks for the info, as usual. I do have just such a camera, the trusty
old Cannon Pellix with the famous bayonet. You sparked my interest with
the "digital film packs". I had not heard of that option before, even
though C-Net sends me all kinds of stuff on digital equipment.

One of your readers just recently mentioned the "Olympus C-3000" that
has a threaded lens barrel that permits direct mounting to the scope via
a T-ring adapter. Sears has these for about $585.00 vs. $799.00 regular
price. Makes me nervous, but this is the kind of critter I think I'm
looking for since all my other Camera accessories would also work. BTW,
the info on the Olympus was posted either on the 10th or 6th of Dec.
I'll check it out some more, meantime have a Merry Merry Christmas.

Tony Bulat

P.S. Having fun looking at the ISS every night since the solar panels
were deployed. It's been a while since I've observed a satellite in
orbit, let alone one with humans on board. Cool.

Subject:	 Telescope
Sent:	Monday, December 11, 2000 14:10:25
From:	maf@completesoft.com (Mike Fawcett)
I was just wondering if the Meade model #4504 was a good telescope for a
beginner or a slight novice?  I can't find any info on it right now. 
The Meade sight really sucks on that kind of stuff.  Thanks for your

Mike Fawcett
Mike here: The 4504 model is not really supported on my ETX site. There have been some questions about its usage so I'll post your inquiry on the next site update. Don't know if you'll get any responses or not. You might have better luck posting your inquiry on the alt.telescopes.meade newsgroup.

Subject:	 DOSKOCIL Cases
Sent:	Monday, December 11, 2000 08:35:44
From:	rraiton@qwest.net (Rick Raiton)
Just wanted to add that I received the case on 12/8/00 in perfect
condition - Wow 4 days delivery!  This is a great case, anyone who is
looking for a case should consider this one.

Thanks again for a great ETX site,

Rick Raiton
Mike here: You can read Rick's initial comments on the Accessories - Cases page.

Subject:	 etx90
Sent:	Sunday, December 10, 2000 19:28:32
From:	dlsms@earthlink.net (Dave Stevens)
Hi thanks for the web site, im a 1yr. owner of a etx90 astro scope, all
that i can see is the moon and a tiny saturn and jupiter. i was told
that i could see other galaxies and other nebulas etc., what do i need
to buy too see these things. when i do look at other stars its just
blobs of unfocused light. please help.
Mike here: You didn't indicate if you have more than just the standard 26mm eyepiece that Meade supplies with the ETX Astro scope. Stars, like the Moon and planets, should appear in focus, assuming that you can focus on the Moon and planets. If you can't get these in focus, you may have to reposition the focus knob a little further out on the focus shaft. You can see galaxies and nebulae but you have to know where they are (you need some astro charts) and you need to realize that most will appear as faint fuzzy blobs. Some, like M42 or M57, will have distinct shapes. Also, trying for maximum magnification is not always what is needed, especially on faint objects.

Subject:	 ETX question
Sent:	Sunday, December 10, 2000 18:38:12
From:	David.P.Morley@Hitchcock.ORG (David P. Morley)
Just discovered your ETX website--it's terrific!  I have an ETX 90/EC. 
Looking at the opening pix on your website, I wondered what exactly  you
have threaded on the rear cell (flip mirror port) of your ETX. Could you
just explain what accessories you have added to your scope??  Looking at
your pix suggested to me that possibly I could attach a high power
eyepiece to the rear cell of the ETX and at the same time keep the
normal 26mm eyepiece in it's normal right angle position--thus being
able to flip back and forth from high power to low power without having
to be changing lenses in the dark. Is this possible? If so, what parts
would I need?

Any help you can render will be greatly appreciated.
Mike here: That device at the rear port is the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter", described on the Accessories - Showcase Products page. Full details on this page. And yes, I do the same thing of keeping an eyepiece at each port.

Subject:	 newbie needs help with a meade purchase
Sent:	Sunday, December 10, 2000 14:26:27
From:	nsmyth@nc.rr.com (Nathan Smyth)
I know you are probably very busy, but if you have a minute, could you
help a newbie?  I am looking at three entry level models:

     Meade DS-127, ~$500, 127mm, ~350X Max
     Meade ETX-90 EC, ~$600, 90mm, ? 350 Max ?
     Meade ETX-125 EC, ~$900, 125mm, ? Max ?

I guess I have three questions:

1)  If you had it all to do over again, would you go with Meade, or with
another company?  (Does someone else have a clearly superior product in
this price range?)

2)  Which gives a better view:  the traditional long tubes (DS-Series)
or the newer short tubes (ETX-series)?

3)  Is the ETX-125 worth the extra $300 over the ETX-90? (Is it clearly


Nathan Smyth
Mike here: 1. If I were to do it over again I see no reason to not still pick the ETX-90 model. For the money, I think it is the perfect scope to match MY needs. You needs and expectations may require a different scope. 2. Depends upon what you expect to see. Contrast is higher on the ETX model due to its optical design. That is good on planets. 3. Aperture is good, but for some people (me included) portability is also good. Again, it depends on how you plan to use your telescope.

Subject:	 Dear Mike!
Sent:	Sunday, December 10, 2000 11:21:26
From:	billt@netacs.net (Billy)
I recently bought an ETX 90-RA.  I am a "newbie" and have very little
knowlege of anything.  Last night I was looking at Jupiter and Saturn
(b/c those are the only two objects I know besides the moon 8-)  and my
problem is that I was having a problem focusing!  It was soo difficult
to get the image crisp! (actually, it took me a long long time to get it
crisp on saturn).  I own a refractor (piece of crap 60mm) and i had
better focus than this!(well, maybe a little exaggeration there)  I just
bought it and so I dont understand..am I doing something wrong??  I
focus on it, and its just not crisp and clear as the reviews Ive read
say I would get from this scope.  Some of the reviews I've read are from
Sky and Telescope etc. Thank you for your time..

Bill Terrell  
Mike here: Sorry you are having a problem. You didn't indicate whether this was a new or used ETX-90RA. If used, there are several possibilities. If new, there are some possibilities. In either case, there is one thing you can easily do IF there is not enough travel in the focus shaft. If the knob reaches the back plate on the ETX, then point the ETX upwards (to keep the focus shaft from falling inside the tube), loosen the small setscrew on the side of the focus knob, slide the knob a little further out on the shaft, and then retighten the screw. Try focusing again. Repeat if it appears that this is correcting the problem. If this is NOT the problem, do the star test described on the "Purchasing a Used Telescope" (linked from the Buyer/New User Tips page. If this is a used telescope you may have to adjust the collimation ("Collimating an ETX Mak" on the Tech Tips page).

Added later:

Thanks for your quick response.  I just bought this new ETX 90 RA a
couple of days ago.  I tried it out for the first time last night.  My
problem is not having enough room on the focus shaft to focus.  My
problem is just that it was EXTREMELY difficult to get objects in sharp
focus.  I could get objects in a pretty close focus.  But at the
slightest turn of the focus nob it would go from one side of really
close to the other side of really close..but not right on the money
focus.  for a slight instant i might see it focused but it would shoot
right past it as i slightly turned the focus nob.  I've seen @
scopetronix taht i could buy a larger focus nob, would that help?  I
also noticed something else.  When I would go to focus an object...it
moved the scope sligtly.  The blob of light would be right in the center
of view, but as i focused it moved the scope, which means as im focusing
I would have to use my ra nob to keep it in view.  Im thinking about
buying the flexi-focus..in hopes that the larger nob might allow me to
focus easier.  If you think that would help let me know.  I dont think
its out of collimation..but then again..it might be slightly.  the moon
was full last night(i think 8-) and it looked real sharp in my 25mm
lens.  When i move to my 9mm...its much harder to focus finely.  Thanks
for your help.
Mike here: OK, we've ruled out the knob-shaft problem. It now sounds like you are just having difficulty reaching a fine focus. This can be due to the small knob, atmospheric turbulence, unstable mounting, and a lack of patience when focusing. A larger knob (including the "clothes pin" trick) can help as can the Flexifocus or electric focusers. Of course, patience (letting the hand-induced vibrations settle down) or waiting for better "seeing" conditions may also be required.

Subject:	 Quick Telescope Question
Sent:	Saturday, December 9, 2000 23:08:56
From:	nitro5955@Home.com (Mike Fawcett)
I'm not to knowledgeable about telescopes but I wanted to ask you a
quick question.  My wife has a Bushnell 340X60 telescope and I am
looking at getting her a better telescope.  I was looking at the Meade
ETX-60 or 70 but not sure if it will be much better.  If you could be me
some good ideas on some telescopes I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for you help,

	Mike Fawcett
Mike here: Well, it might be a "quick question" but it does not and should not have a quick answer. Do your research (as I've said to others on this site). But to begin to address your question, the ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT make a fine beginner's instrument. The only question is whether your family will outgrow its limited capabilities. The ETX-90EC also makes a fine beginner's instrument, and it is one that you may end up keeping for life. However, if your visual expectations are grander you might want to consider the ETX-125EC (or other larger telescopes, perhaps even Dobsonians).

Subject:	 Starfinders and rs232 cables...
Sent:	Saturday, December 9, 2000 22:40:08
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ericball@bigfoot.com
The big question (since i've never seen a Starfinder) is:
does it have an rs232 port?

Or does it simply have the AUX port like the ETX60/at?

IF the latter, then you need a #506 cable/converter set,
and the simple build-it-yourself #505 clone WILL NOT WORK.

The 506 has active electronics (left out of the 494 Autostar)
to convert rs232 to i2c bus signals. It's not just a set of wires.


Subject:	 Quickcam color
Sent:	Saturday, December 9, 2000 13:32:28
From:	ArnaudBrassard@Home.com (Arnaud Brassard)
Hi, I need the QuickCam Color schematics. Do you know where I could get
them? and if you have them, can you send them to me? Thanks. You're help
will be gradly appreciated.


Subject:	 Looking to buy a telescope
Sent:	Saturday, December 9, 2000 06:41:42
From:	dblyth@dial1.co.uk (David Blyth)
It looks like you're the man to talk to on the internet when it comes to
the Meade ETX-90 telescope.

I recently sent an e-mail to a retailer here in the UK but I wasn't
entirely convinced with their response after having looked at your

Here's what I want to do. I have a sony PC5E digital camcorder, this is
very small (smallest in the world) and very light, it can also take
digital stills. Rather then looking through the eye-piece all the time I
want to take the DV or SVHS link from the camera and feed that into
either the capture card on my PC or TV monitor. When I see an image I
like I can then either capture a photo from the DV output, via the
memory stick or the cameras RS232 port. I also want to be able to
control the telescope from my computer to be able to point-and-click on
a star and have the telescope automatically orientate itself.

The UK retailer (http://www.sherwoods-photo.com) had some positive &
negative comments about what I was trying to do, here are some of the

>The ETX would be the best contender at 549.00 but I feel that putting a
>camcorder on the back is going to cause you two problems. Firstly the size
>of the cameras is going to foul the mount when looking near vertical and
>the other is the weight, the scope is not really designed for continuous use
>with a camera strapped to it. This may cause problems with motor strain.
>In theory the scope can be used to point and aim using a PC with software
>packages such as Sky Map Pro 7 etc but for your type of 'arm chair
>observing' it is not going to be possible with the budget in question.
>You would need to look at something like a Meade LX200 (or LX50 if you can
>find one with a Magellan II) range of scope which are considerably more
>expensive but do have the advantage of better tracking and more clearance.

Do you think he's right? Can't the vertical viewing problem be solved
with a stand? Did I see something on your website that put the base of
the ETX at a 45degree angle? And is 'arm chair observing' such a bad
thing. I've just started to get my 2 year old daughter interested in
using the computer, already she loves looking at the stars and moon. If
I can combine the two, she'd love it.

Looking at your website you seem to be putting quite a lot of weight
onto the ETX. In one case I saw a second telescope and a large camera
with telephoto lens all mounted on the one ETX, did you experience motor
problems with this?

The LX200 is way out of my price range, although it looks very
impressive and it would appear to give the clearance for vertical

The Sony PC5 only weighs 0.5Kg (1 lb 2oz), so I would have thought the
lens attachment could hold the weight of the camera. If I'm wrong do you
have any thoughts on how best to attach it (its 25mm).

I hope you can help


David Blyth
West Sussex
Mike here: What you want to do IS possible with the ETX-90EC. But there are challenges and limitations that you'll have to understand going into this. The dealer's comments are valid. Extra weight can cause problems; that "dual ETX" you saw had drive slippage in some orientations. As to extra clearance, there are two solutions: yes, you can use an equatorial wedge to potentially avoid the clearance issue when pointing near the zenith. You can also just mount the camera at the normal eyepiece position on top of the ETX. The Autostar can not easily recover from drive slippage (due to the extra weight) so once slippage occurs the pointing accuracy (from your computer) will be degraded. As to an adapter that might work for you, see the "LE-Adapter" described on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. Finally, you should consider whether this camera-computer-telescope combination will meet your expectations. Once you have everything working, viewing the Moon and the brigher planets will likely be OK. But do you want to observe fainter objects this way? If so, your expectations may exceed the capabilities of the small aperture when combined with the video camera. If you do pursue this, let us know the results (positive or negative).

Added later:

Thankyou for responding, I feel more confidant about preceeding. The LE
Adapter is quite expensive so I'll try and shop around a little first. I
won't have the money I need for the whole setup until April, so I have
plenty of time to study and learn about all the things I need to know.

Does using a camera mean that you can't view the sky with maximum
Mike here: There are two methods to using a camera with a telescope: prime focus and eyepiece projection (or afocal photography). Prime focus images the object directly onto the film (CCD) plane. There is no eyepiece or camera lens involved (the telescope acts as a telephoto lens). If you use an eyepiece then you can get various magnifications (with or without the camera lens still attached). Note that higher magnifications mean smaller field of view on the film (CCD) and that you will need a very steady mounting to avoid vibrations.

Added later:

Now I know how my trainees feel when I'm teaching then about control
systems for the first time.

Can you recommend some books that can teach me the basics from scratch.
Assume I know very little about photography as well as telescopes.
Hopefully theres one nice book that will get me started to build the
'pc-telescope-digcam' system.

I think I'll get more from your web site once I understand the
application and all the jargon a bit better.

Thanks again.
Mike here: See the Book Reviews page on my ETX site for some info. Couple of books you might want to consider:
"Practical Astrophotography" by Jeffrey R. Charles, 2000, Springer-Verlag
"Through the Telescope" by Patricia L. Barnes-Svarney, 2000, McGraw-Hill

Subject:	 ISS
Sent:	Friday, December 8, 2000 13:07:56
From:	Steve.Brightman@dalsemi.com (Steve Brightman)
Someone asked about viewing the ISS. NASA has a nice Java applet called
Skywatch which will tell you when it can be seen:


Not just the ISS but other objects too.

A while back I tried to track (manually) an ISS transit with my
ETX-125EC. I could keep it in the finder but it moved way too fast to
get it in the EP! I guess theoretically the AutoStar should be able to
track it if you can get it in view fast enough.

Subject:	 Camera Mount ETX90
Sent:	Friday, December 8, 2000 12:37:47
From:	andy@goldingsway.demon.co.uk (Andy Sutton)
Just purchased an ETX 90. I have an Olympus CL2500. Do you know if there
is an adapter I can buy to enable me to get started ?
Mike here: Have you looked at the Accessories - Astrophotography page?

Subject:	 ETX Astro help
Sent:	Friday, December 8, 2000 10:08:58
From:	Thom_Tarter@usairways.com (Thom Tarter)
First let me congratulate you on a very nice site dedicated to the Meade
ETX family.

Right before the ETX 90/EC was introduced, your site contained some
technical "suggestions" about modifying the Astro for better
performance.  Things like teflon pads in the drive base, a power light,
etc.  I was wondering if you might still have some of that information
as I do not plan to purchase an EC anytime soon and would like to make
some of those mods to my Astro. Also, can you recommend a book on

I plan to catch the Christmas partial eclipse.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thomas Tarter
Mike here: All of the past information is still online. Search for "teflon" and you'll get lots of hits. As to a good book on astrophotography, there are many good ones. Browse the your favorite book dealer. Get one that has info on the type of astrophotography you plan to do. As to the solar eclipse on 25 December, be certain you use PROPER PROTECTION, both for your eyes and your equipment.

Subject:	 Dealers Specials
Sent:	Thursday, December 7, 2000 21:35:05
From:	dschmitz@onramp.net (Dan Schmitz)
Are you ready for astrophotography and digital imaging in general?  Now
is the time to act. After weeks of homework on the web I settled for the
Olympus C-3000 digital camera and the Epson Stylus Photo 870. The camera
has superb optics,  a zillion features including a remote (no shutter
shake), is so lite the scope barely knows its there, and a threaded lens
barrel that permits direct mounting to the scope via t-ring. The printer
just can't be beat for print quality.  Now for the DEAL. Sears has a
price matching policy that applies to web prices also!! Result, $799.00
camera for $585.00, and I don't have to deal with those questionable
merchants in Northeast. (if you've tried those discount sites in NY and
NJ you know of what I speak.) First camera had minor flaw, back to
Sears, exchanged, no problem. The printer, normally $299.00, now can be
had for $249.00.  And if thats not enough, if you purchase that model
printer and ANY digital camera between now and Dec 31 you qualify for a
$50.00 rebate. ($100.00 if you opt for the Stylus Photo 875DC, normally
$349.00) Lets see, total savings of over $300.00,,,,with that its time
for a larger memory card , case, lens extention, filters and t-rings
with $$ left over. Just dosn't seem fair.(But I won't lose any sleep
over it) See you soon in the Guest photo zone,,,clear skys

Subject:	 ETX-90 EC
Sent:	Thursday, December 7, 2000 07:34:05
From:	blumount@webtv.net (Leo Eastham)
Contemplating purchase of above tele, any suggestions on where
i could get the best deal on one? Thanx, leo
Mike here: As I've noted many times on the ETX site, deals are hard to come by since the ETX is so popular. However, watch for sales or other events where there might be discounting. Sometimes I hear from users who see such sales and I post them on the Feedback page. I've also started a new "Dealer Specials" page, which hopefully dealers will use.

Added later:

Thanx for quick response. I saw the etx-90 mc at sam's for $399 but I'm
looking for the  ec.    Leo

Subject:	 RE: RE: 4504 site?
Sent:	Thursday, December 7, 2000 07:12:23
From:	ericball@bigfoot.com (Eric Ball)
Yes, I realised after further study of the manual that the R.A. dial
needs to be adjustable separate to the R.A. axis - oops!

I'm busy looking at the information on your site re Autostar cables, my
Starfinder control panel has only four 'cursor' direction keys, a
'enter', 'mode', 'goto', 'up' and 'down' arrow keys along with a
'speed/?' key. it has a full goto ability with some 1400 internal
coordinates. It would appear that if I follow the instruction re
interface cable I should be able to guide the telescope from my laptop's
RS232 port using proprietary software supporting ETX or LX telescopes.
What do you think?


Eric Ball

tel         +44 (0)1952 813558
cell       +44 (0)7884 468272
E-mail ericball@bigfoot.com
Mike here: Well, if the Starfinder command set is supported from the software you'll use, then you should be OK. Check with the software vendor.

Subject:	 re: slipping RA circles on 4504's
Sent:	Wednesday, December 6, 2000 21:24:53
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	ericball@bigfoot.com

I saw your question on Mike's site.

My ETX-90 also has (slightly) slipping circles...
especially when the cords drag them along...

My solution? a small piece of blue masking tape to
hold the circle fixed against the moving part of the scope.

You point the scope at a known target of known RA,
Line up the target's RA number on the scale to the 
fixed pointer on the 4504's base, and then 
apply the masking tape so that the motor-driven part of the
scope drags the RA scale with it.

have fun

Subject:	 RE: 4504 site?
Sent:	Wednesday, December 6, 2000 13:11:33
From:	ericball@bigfoot.com (Eric Ball)
Thanks for the reply, it's appreciated - you must get hundreds!

Is Autostar a 'grown up' version of Starfinder?

Incidentally perhaps you could help me. I received my Meade 4504
yesterday and upon assembling it this evening I note the R.A. setting
circle calibration ring moves independently of the axis, in other words
when I rotate the telescope around that axis the calibration ring either
remains stationary or moves fitfully as it sometimes gets carried along
by the axis - surely this can't be right??

All assistance gratefully accepted :)


Eric Ball

tel         +44 (0)1952 813558
cell       +44 (0)7884 468272
E-mail ericball@bigfoot.com
Mike here: Yep, I do get a bunch of email. I don't know if I would call the Autostar a grown up version of the Starfinder (I don't have one). But certainly it is a capable system. As to your RA setting circles, they are probably designed to be adjusted (set to a known RA) at the start of a session and then it should stay "calibrated" as the scope is moved in RA. This allows you to locate objects by RA by moving the scope until the RA setting matches the object desired.

Subject:	 Meade Freebies
Sent:	Wednesday, December 6, 2000 10:13:57
From:	pillows@voyager.net (pillows)
Meade has several "Free" offerings when purchasing certain telescopes - 
eg buy an ETX90-EC and get a #883 tripod free!

Subject:	 Site
Sent:	Tuesday, December 5, 2000 23:22:40
From:	henkel@stadtastronomie.de (Christian Henkel)
Apology for my bad English!

I am today encountered by coincidenceyour ETX pages.

Prima it in the network gives such a thing.
I am amthree days owner of a ETX-125EC and autostar computer.
Your pageshave very much contents.

Must fight me now only once by means of thewhole contents.

Many greetings from Berlin/Germany Christian

handle nevertheless times on www.stadtastronomie.de

Christian Henkel
Tel: ++49 171-1804874, Fax:++49 30-82702036
ICQ 24908607

Subject:	 question
Sent:	Tuesday, December 5, 2000 12:26:55
From:	mvgasy@c2i.net (CHRISTIAN  HAUGERUD)
Im thinkig of going into astrophotography , but I dont have a clue of
what to do. I hope you can help me with one question I have right now...
Do I just need a camera body , an eyepice and a adapter - or must I have
a lense also? You must probebly thing im realy dumb to ask this....

Hope you can help me Chris
Mike here: See the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page on my ETX site. This should help answer your question.

Subject:	 International Space Station
Sent:	Tuesday, December 5, 2000 12:00:55
From:	dlangham@win.bright.net (David Langham)
First of all, I understand that your site is dedicated to use of ETX
telescopes, which I am proud to say that I own an ETX-90. However, I was
hoping that you might have some knowledge about viewing the
International Space Station.

I have read that as soon as they are finished extending the solar
panels, the space station will be one of the brightest objects in the
sky. Anyway, I have gone to NASA's and the Discovery Channel's websites
and all they show is a "picture" of where the station is.

Do you know of any websites that would offer exact location coordinates
(declination,etc.) of the space station? I wonder if Meade would have
information like this that could be downloaded into the Autostar such as
many satellites are?

Well, thanks for considering this question. 
Mike here: Visit the Heavens-Above web site. It has predictions for your location.

Subject:	 Telescopes
Sent:	Tuesday, December 5, 2000 09:56:19
From:	Joseph.A.Meschino@dupontpharma.com (Joseph A Meschino)
I hate to do homework before buying anything.  So before I make a bad
mistake in the purchase of a telescope could you kindly take a couple of
minutes to guide me on the following:

I would like an instrument that 

- can be used for celestial as well as land viewing 
- is for amateur use
- is reasonably simple to use
- is in the $500 to 1200 price range

I have been looking at the Celestron 114 GT and NexStar 5

I have not looked at any of the Meade ETX instruments.

What do you advise?


Mike here: I advise: do your homework. You'll be happier with your decision, or at least understand why your made your decision. Know your requirements and expectations before hand. Browse through my ETX site for lots of comments on the ETX line.

Added later:

Thanks for the sage advice.  

Subject:	 Foam
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 19:58:26
From:	tconnell@surfsouth.com (Tommy Connell)
Nice site!  I have not been here until I got an ETX90Ec for my son for
this Christmas and found out about your site. It's been a great help.

I have an LX-200 8" myself and got the ETX for him as he wants to look
at things every time he and his family come down here from Athens, GA.

Now, my question for you is, do you know of a good place to get good
quality foam to line cases with.  I have a couple of old aluminum
Haliburton camera cases that I want to make into eye piece cases and
accessory cases.

It seems to me that I say either here on your site or on the MAPUG site
someone making the comment that they had found a good source for the
foam sheets in like 1 and 2 inch thicknesses, but I have done a search
on both sites and haven't come up with anything.

If you remember something about this, I would like to get the info from

Thanks a bunch, and God Bless to you and yours on this great Christmas

Tommy Connell
Connell Studios
Mike here: I did a search on "foam" and found the entry you probably recall on the November 2000 Feedback page.

Subject:	 tiny etx mods
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 19:06:52
From:	roblane@execpc.com
I have tried several of the modifications on this site; now it's my turn
to contribute.

I painted the small RA and Dec indicator triangles with white enamel.
(Black triangle on black case, at night...)

I cut a narrow (2 or 3 mm) strip from a self-adhesive mailing label. I
stuck this on the top of the OTA as a front "gunsight". By sighting over
the eyepiece, I can aim quickly and accurately. YMMV. I used an adhesive
sticker instead of paint so I could adjust the mark later. I now want to
add sighting marks on the sides of the tube for adjusting declination by
eye.  I later touched up the triangles with some glow-in-the-dark paint,
but it really didn't seem to make much difference. Gloss white model
enamel shows up nicely in the light of a red flashlight.

I bought one of those little stick-on clocks and set it to UT. It came
with a velcro pad. I stuck bits of complementary velcro on my tripod.
Now I can stick the clock to a convenient surface, depending on where in
the sky I am looking.

When I made a dewshield from craft foam ( $0.99 ) and self-adhesive
velcro patches ($1.49), I had some left-over foam. I made an itty-bitty
dewshield for the front of the finderscope.

This last is not my idea, but I tried it: hang a sheet of red acetate
over your computer monitor. You can still use sky software (even when it
claims to be in "dark" mode) and not fry your dark-adaptation.

dark skies,
Robert Lane

Subject:	 ETX-90-EC
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 13:58:48
From:	terry.conde@which.net (terry)

I live in the u.K.  Europe, and i am interested in buying an etx 90 ec
from the states.  I have seen one advertised at telescopes for less for
595.00 Dollars.  I was wondering whether you could advise me if there is
any one else who supplies telescopes reliably and who could ship one out
for me.

We think your site is awsome by the way.

Mike here: Check the UK dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page.

Added later:

I was interested in buying one from the usa. They charge too much for
everything in the uk.
Sorry you were not able to advise as to who would be the best to buy
from.  Thanks anyway
Mike here: Meade has some export restrictions on US dealers. If this concerns you, you'll have to take it up with Meade.


sorry, didnt know meade did not like to sell to uk direct.
there must be a way around this problem. would really appreciate it, if
you could help in the near future. any ideas etc, or if you know anyone
with a used ex90 for sale.
many thanks
Mike here: Meade does sell in the UK. Check the dealers section on the Astronomy Links page.

Subject:	ETX Question
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 13:57:14
From:	WJAlspaugh@aol.com
Sam's Club is selling an Meade telescope package designated as ETX
90RA-M and including some kind of auto-tracking motor drive and a
"$79.00 value" Sky Software Package.  Their price is $399.00.  Do you
think this is a good deal, or should I look at the more expensive ETX
90EC instead?

Thanks a lot.  

I love your website.

Jack Alspaugh
Mike here: This is the original ETX model. It does not accept the Autostar and there is no upgrade path other than selling the old one and getting an EC. Both are excellent first telescopes. The original price was $499, then it was raised to $599, so $400 sounds OK.

Subject:	 ETX-90RA
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 12:17:55
From:	grbutcher@home.com (Lisa/Grant Butcher)
Thanks for putting the effort into keeping this site up. It really is
one of the best sites I have had the pleasure of Bookmarking. I am a
"Newbie" and I have recently obtained a used 90 RA with tripod. I live
in Canada so I have had limited use of it lately. I also am stuck on
afternoons the last two weeks but I still couldn't resist looking at
Saturn at 04:30 in -8 celcius weather. I was amazed that I could see the
rings, I was using the standard 26 Plossel but I could still make out
the rings. I can't wait until the weather warms up so I can spend more
time in the backyard. I also have a cheap 2X multiplier, could you
recommend a good next lens to purchase.
Grant Butcher
Bowmanville ON
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some thoughts; also check the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 help please !!!!
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 10:34:45
From:	claudine.lodier@wanadoo.fr (claudine.lodier)
sorry for my english which is not perfect but I am french. Some friends
have visited you site and they tell me that it is the best reference for
the ETX90. I just would like you to show me the way to make quicker the
motor for the first ETX90.
Thank you very much
Mike here: I'm not certain what you mean by making the motor quicker. If you mean better, check out the Scopetronix Microsoft II+ (see the Accessories - Showcase Products page). If you mean you need to tune it up, see the "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products" link on the Tech Tips page.

Subject:	 Question regarding the Solar filter in Astronomy magazine (User Feedback 11/29)
Sent:	Sunday, December 3, 2000 22:21:43
From:	drounds@jvlnet.com (Dave Rounds)
This is in regard to the comments in your User Feedback 11/29/2000.
Apparently there must be two different versions of the December
Astronomy magazine. The copy on the newstands in southern Wisconsin have
red/blue "3-D" glasses. I did not find any references to solar glasses,
although I did see some info on the partial solar eclipse.
Added later:
I got my own answer to my inquiry...one of the guys I work with also
told me about the eclipse glasses today. I usually buy the magazine in
the local Wal-Mart around the middle of the month and did not realize
that the new issue (i.e., January, in this case) actually comes out
almost a month early.  Our local store was still selling the December
issue when I checked on Saturday. Now today, Tuesday, they started
selling the January issue--the ones with the eclipse glasses.  None of
the  messages I read indicated that it was the January issue, not the
December issue that had the eclipse glasses. I do not buy the magazine
every month--depending on content.
Thanks for your time.

Subject:	 ETX90M
Sent:	Monday, December 4, 2000 05:49:26
From:	tbelastock@adelphia.net (T. Belastock)
2 questions:

Question#1: What model to choose.
I'm considering an ETX90M for my first (and probably only) telescope. It
will be used for both terrestrial and astral applications. (about 50/50)
I would appreciate your opinion regarding the choice of the "M" versus
the "RA" or "EC" or "Spotting" models. Is the "M" a good choice, or is
one of the other models better?

Question#2: Price.
The best price I've found on the "M" model is $ 399.99. I have no idea
if this is a really good deal or not. Can you advise if the $ 400.- is
worth it or if there's a better deal around?

I appreciate your time.
Mike here: The M and RA models are essentially the same. This is the original ETX model. Neither accept the Autostar and there is no upgrade path other than selling the old one and getting an EC. Both are excellent first telescopes. The original price was $499, then it was raised to $599, so $400 sounds OK.

Added later:

Thanks very much for the reply.

Subject:	 Newbie ETX-125EC Owner
Sent:	Sunday, December 3, 2000 10:02:27
From:	johnnb@home.com (John Bedford)
I found your site fascinating!  Thanks!

I am getting close to retirement, and we own a home in Anguilla BWI
(18S63W). I have always been interested in astronomy, and with the
prospect of more spare time on my hands, I plunged and purchased the
125, with the basics plus Autostar controller and carrying case.  I did
discover that the case does not fit in the overhead or under an airline
seat, so had to entrust same to the risks of being handled by AA baggage
handlers in Perto Rico.  The 'scope survived with only minor damage -
One of the plastic fork-mounting arms broke, I made a temporary repair,
and plan on ordering a replacement arm.

Which leads to my question - I had quite good results for a
"first-timer", and was able to get real good views of Jupiter and
Saturn, Orion Nebula, etc.  However, I was plagued with telescope shake,
due to the constant (and quite gentle) tradewinds which are hard to
avoid in my viewing location (and they do provide comfortable viewing
conditions!)  I did not purchase a tripod yet, I have a very stable
balcony with wide cement rail at just about the right height for alt/az
alignment, and I am confident that the base is very stable.

Does anyone have suggestions?  I had thought about trying to devise some
kind of wind shield, but I feel this would be quite cumbersome.  I would
also like to set up a viewing site on the flat roof (requiring a tripod
of some type) to give me a 360-degree view, but up there the wind
problem would be even greater.

John Bedford
Mike here: You might want to look into the tent-style observatories. See the "TeleDome Portable Observatory" review on the Accessories - Showcase Products page for one such observatory.

Subject:	 LX90 eGroup
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 17:46:25
From:	wayne.powell@aerowood.com (Wayne Powell)
I'm old participant of your great etx web site, I owned one of the early
ETX's and an ETX90ec after that, and participating on your site was
always the best support and source of info.  Last year, I traded for a
NexStar5, but I'm on the waiting list for a new Meade LX90.

A group of us prospective (and we have 2 actual new recipients) LX90
owners started an eGroup for the LX90 a while ago and the members are
asking me to ask you if you might provide a link to our e-group (and we
are providing a reciprocal link to the great AutoStar info on your

It's located at; http://www.egroups.com/group/lx90

As a web developer, I'm also planning an "unofficial" LX90 Support Web
[www.lx90.com] very much inspired by your efforts.

Thank you for your consideration, and all the best.

Wayne Powell
LX90 eGroup Moderator

Subject:	 Field of view
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 16:53:18
From:	pvalent@easy-pages.com (Paul Valent)
Can you tell me what field of view is?   I realize that it pertains to
how much of the sky you can see through an eyepiece but the numbers I
read mean nothing to me.  My 4 year old wants daddy to buy a telescope,
would you recommend an EXT?  My only concern are some of the problems I
read about the Autostar.   Thank you very much!

                      Paul "still learning" Valent
Mike here: Apparent field of view is the angular size of the image as seen through the eyepiece. True field of view is the angular size of the sky seen. The ETX (any model) makes a fine beginner's telescope. The smaller ones probably won't be satisfactory if the interest in astronomy grows while the -90 and -125 models can be the only telescope you'll ever want or need.

Subject:	hey i need to ask you something
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 15:14:07
From:	Meadeetx125@aol.com
hey how much was your camara 35mm nicon b/s i am planing to buy a 35mm
camara so if you dont mind tell me whaere you go is and modle # and the
price thanks
                            weston S.

Mike here: I don't own a Nikon camera. Sorry.

Added later:

ok how much is the camara you have now
Mike here again: $499

And finally:

who made it camara?
and where did you git it from? 

and i dont mean to bouther to but i am looking for a grate camara to get
for my meade ETX125 so i hope i am no bouthering you thanks and i love
your web site!!!!!!!
Mike here: If you've read the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page on my site you'll see that the digital camera I use right now is a Ricoh RDC-4200. I got it at a Frys Electronics store. I don't think that model is available anymore.

And more:

do you know any outher good camaras for the ETX125 cuzz i am look good
and hard for one i live in TX and i am 15 years old and i am intrested
in space if you dont mind, where do you live thanks
Mike here: I don't live in Texas. Check the various Guest Astrophotography Gallery pages for examples of what can be done with various cameras.

And finally:

ok thank you

Subject:	 Power pack for UK users
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 08:39:34
From:	i_darlington@hotmail.com (Ian Darlington)
I recenctly saw the recharable 'Pocket Power Junior' battery discussed
on your site. However living in the UK I have been unable to find
anything similar. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Ian D.

Subject:	 ETX125 and Meade Off-Axis Guider
Sent:	Saturday, December 2, 2000 05:56:32
From:	chris_howard@ie.ibm.com
Do you know anybody thats tried (or have you tried) using the Meade
off-axis guider, reticle eye piece and 35mm camera.  It should be
possible to use the SCT Adapter from Shutan to mount the guider and
attach a camera using the standard T-ring. The only problem you will
have is the scope clearance through the forks, but you should be able to
get some degree of sky coverage in Polar mode.

I understand that the ETX is not the best scope for long exposure
through the telescope photography, but it may be possible to get some ok
results with this setup. It has to beat using the camera view finder.
Anyone tried it?

Best Regards
Mike here: I've been wanting to try an off-axis guider but haven't done so yet. Anyone used one with the ETX?

Subject:	 ETX 90 or ETX 125EC ?
Sent:	Friday, December 1, 2000 10:55:40
From:	rollandx.e.matson@intel.com (Matson, RollandX E)
I have really enjoyed your site and all the contributions users have
added since I started researching new telescope products during the past
few month's. After reading hundreds of articles on scopes of all types&
trying to get a"feel" for what is right for my rekindled interest in
astronomy, I have focused on the ETX line as a likely next step.

My experience goes back 25 years with a 60mm refractor and its obvious
limitations. The question in my mind is,  if you were to step into this
hobby with some experience but a 20 year gap , which model would you
chose? From surveys and comments posted on the web it would seem that
the ETX 90 has left a more favorable impression on its users. I suspect
this is because it has been on the market longer and some of the " bugs"
have been worked out. Since you now own a 125EC does the added
apperature make viewing significantly better. I understand the
limitations on astrophotography with these instruments, that is not my
primary interest, but viewing is. Do either of these provide truly
satisfying deep sky views? I would appreciate your thoughts.


Rolly Matson
Mike here: The ETX-125EC I have is on loan from Meade. I only own the original ETX model. There are arguments that can be made on the side of either scope but it comes down to whether you want the increased portability of the ETX-90EC or the larger aperture of the ETX-125EC. Your choice. Your decision.

Subject:	 4504 site?
Sent:	Friday, December 1, 2000 09:32:36
From:	ericball@bigfoot.com (Eric Ball)
Love the site, found it around 18 month ago when I really wanted an ETX
but couldnt really justify the cost. Then recently got the bug again and
discovered the 4504 selling here in the UK for some $430.00 or so and
decided, its now or never!

My 4504 arrives next week and after learning how to assemble I shall be
packing it for a 3 week vacation in New Zealand. Any suggestions re
set-up when I get down there?

Also, love all the astrophotography it just goes to show that even
comparative amateurs can get stunning results with patience and

Do you plan to broaden the site to include more other Meade telescope
information or, if not do you know of a similar site covering the

All the very best and thanks for a really great site.

Best regards,


Eric Ball

tel         +44 (0)1952 813558
cell       +44 (0)7884 468272
E-mail ericball@bigfoot.com
Mike here: The discussion about expanding the site to include other telescopes came up earlier in 2000. To avoid too much fragmentation I elected (without a recount...) to keep the site focused on the ETX line and related scopes (such as the DS models which include the Autostar). It remains to be seen if the LX90 8-inch is system that should be added to the site. Since it uses the Autostar, an argument could be made (but not in court, please) that the site should cover it. We'll see as the scopes get out in the field now that dealers have them.

Subject:	 Solar Filters
Sent:	Friday, December 1, 2000 08:56:13
From:	datkinson_p1@hotmail.com (Dave Atkinson)
I'd like to echo Calvin Martini's comments about the Orion solar filter.
I am very satisfied with both its quality and price.

I too was taken aback by how hard it is to locate the sun when using the
filter. The density of the metal film is such that the sun is the only
thing you can see, and it's not as big as it looks! Attempts to point
the scope by minimizing its shadow were both useless and frustrating.

I solved this problem by inventing my amazing film-can finder. I drilled
a small hole in the lid of a black plastic 35 mm. film canister, then
snapped the lid onto a translucent white film can. With a little
persuasion, the film can was pressed into the mounting ring for the
ETX's otherwise useless finder scope, with the opaque pinhole end facing
forward. (The finder was long ago supplanted by a Daisy red-dot sight).
Both the film can and the mount ring's interior have slight tapers, so
the rearward set of adjusting screws can be used to help retain and
align the film can.

The pinhole projects a white spot on the bottom of the film can, and
when it is centered in the middle of the little central bump, the sun is
usually at least partly in the field of view. A piece of tubing longer
than a film canister could be used to make a more precise version of
this finder.

This is my 1st contribution, though I have been a long-time "lurker". 
My thanks to you, Mike, for maintaining a really invaluable site.

Regards, Dave Atkinson

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