Last updated: 31 December 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. 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:	RE: Meade ETX-70 Terrestrial Lenses
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 18:31:41
From: (kathleen daley)
Hi Mike,

Thank you for your recommendation.  

We returned the Parks 7.5mm lens to Scope City for a x2 Meade Barlow
#126 lens.  (It was not an easy return.  Scope City pressured us to buy
a Parks Barlow lens.  Now, we don't think much of our local Scope City.)

We are very happy with the results with the x2 Barlow with the 9mm lens.
 Out our windows we can now get a great view of the tourists on Twin
Peaks and the golfers at Lincoln Park.

We are thinking about buying the Meade PL5mm x70 lens and trying it with
the x2 Barlow, since this would put us at x140.  (You indicate that x142
is about the max for the ETX-70.)

Thanks again for your help,

Jack and Kathleen Daley

San Francisco

Subject:	Help with ETX-70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 11:44:55
From: (Michael Parker)
Hi, I recently purchased the ETZ-70AT telescope. To say that I am an
amatuer astronomer would be a compliment, but to say the least, I have
been outright confused from day one. I have followed all of the
instructions in the manual for set-up and 2 star alignment. I can easily
find Sirius and Capella with Autostar 2-star alignment but the telescope
finds nothing by its self, sometimes it gets within the general area of
a selected object, but never is it in view. Like I said I have followed
the manual line for line and have found no answers, I leveled the
telescope, got it towards north within a tenth of an arc second and
still no dice. Is there any tricks to autostar not listed in the manual?
Also when the degrees on the left side of the telescope (horizontal?)
are not set at zero when the telescope is level. I looked in the manual
and saw that they were supposed to by, (by the picture at least). So now
I must level the telescope with a level... is the telescope supposed to
be at zero degrees when level? With zero where it is at now the
telescope is about 12 degrees shy of poiting directley overhead..... I
am so sorry this is so long and unorganzed... but just one more thing.
Could you advise a good sight for operations of the ETX-70AT, perhaps
including some kind of guide to using the lenses and such?
Much thanks....

Mikel Parker
Mike here: You will find a lot of info on using the ETX telescopes on my ETX Site, including links to many other sites. As to the Autostar, I presume you have set the proper parameters (date, time, location, etc) and then done the 2-star alignment. So, what objects are you selecting to GOTO after that? Right now, Saturn would make an excellent initial target as would M42, the Great Nebula in Orion. As to the altitude scale on the fork arm, see the FAQ page for info on this.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Focus shaft
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 2:18:45
From: (Behan, Kevin)
I have received the ETX-70AT for Christmas and have no previous
experience with telescopes, so apologies if this is a basic question...

I am having difficulty with focusing the telescope. The knob simply does
not turn either clockwise or anti-clockwise - I've scoured the
instructions, but there is no reference to this problem. It feels like
there is something locked somewhere that I need to release.

The focus shaft sticks out from the back a good 5/6 inches, but in the
pictures I have seen, the focus knob is 'true' right up against the
telescope casing.

I am beginning to wonder whether the thing is actually broken?

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Kevin Behan
Mike here: Yep, sounds broken. Return it to the dealer for an exchange.


Many thanks for the quick feedback.

(Excellent website, may I say - really helps the new astronomer (like
me!) to navigate through the daunting first steps of setting up and
using a telescope for the first time).

Kind regards,


Subject:	Dew Cap Length?
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 3:45:33
From: (Keith W. Holm)
First...GREAT Site!!!  Thanks so much for taking and continuing the

Now, regarding Dew Caps.  Is there a recommended length that these
should extend beyond the front most element (i.e.: 1 diameter or some
such amount)? It seems to me that there is some proscribed length.  Has
anyone measured a Meade dew cap and figured out the length to diameter

Thanks and I will be visiting more in the near future.  I ordered my
ETX70 just yesterday so am looking forward to a lot of fun and
fabrication (dew cap, focus extension, etc.)

Keith Holm
Covington GA
Mike here: Typical dewshields are 1-2x the aperture.
Subject:	Meade ETX70-AT
Sent:	Monday, December 30, 2002 16:29:52
From: (Sue Adams)
I have a 2 week old Meade ETX70-AT, complete with tripod, 26mm eyepiece
and 3x barlow lens.  I have a question:

What is the minimum operating temperature for the ETX70?  I was
stargazing in Ottawa Canada at -15 degrees celsius and my scope has been
giving me a 'motor error' ever since. I am now back in New York City and
I cannot figure out how to get it to go away.  I tried resetting the
autostar and it is still not working.  Any suggestions?

Mike here: The Autostar electronics don't like really cold temperatures. Neither do batteries. Have you tried replacing the batteries? Also, it is possible that you might have to reTRAIN the drives.


Wow! Thanks for the fast response.  I did try replacing the batteries,
and I did re-train the drives. I'm thinking of exchanging it.

Subject:	Manual for ETX-70AT
Sent:	Monday, December 30, 2002 8:38:43
From: (Kurt Srensen)
Thanks for yuir excellent site and good advice.

I enjoy my ETX-70AT, but I only have a very short manual i poorly
written Danish which was delivered with the telescope.

Can I find a more comprehensive manual somewhere on the internet?

Happy New Year.

Kurt Soerensen,
Mike here: See the FAQ page.
Subject:	Meade ETX-70AT Motor Problems
Sent:	Sunday, December 29, 2002 19:37:40
From: (Darcy Pach)
I have an ETX-70AT that is having intermittent motor problems.  The
East-West motor movement works as expected, however, the North-South
movement does not. When commanded, the motor turns and I can see the
motor gear turn inside the fork, however, it appears that the "drive
shaft" is not turning.  Any ideas?

Your feedback is appreciated.
Mike here: It sounds like the Right Tube Adapter may have failed. This can occur if the lock was overtightened. If can also fail from other causes. Contact Meade.
Subject:	A little advise please. Mr Weasner
Sent:	Friday, December 27, 2002 15:46:33
From: (Garry)
May i say your site inspired me to purchase a telescope for Christmas
from my wife.

I have the Meade ETX70-AT, complete with tripod, 26mm and 9mm eyepieces
and 3x barlow lense. Unfortunately i have not been able to see anything
as every night so far has been cloud covered skies and rain on and off,
so i am upset but am looking forward to my first session.

From my garden i can get good views from North, west and south. I have
read my manual several times and read a few reviews and even started
reading my Skywatching book, which was also a Christmas present. I also
have the Meade #506 Astrofinder software, and i have been looking at the
starry night software.

What i would like to know is why we are unable to update the Sienna
software for starry night, as it is classed as bundled software, which
it is not.

My main point is can the telescope be used for viewing planets during
the day time or can observations only be done at night. The other point
is how do i know when planets or other things are going to be viewable
on a certain evening etc. Also what is best for me to view firstly or
the most spectacular viewable thing to view.

I thank you for your time and all your help will be gratefully received.
Birmingham, England
Mike here: Be thankful for the cloudy skies; it allows you to learn the telescope system in the daytime without the pressures of learning it in the dark while trying to actually see something. Yes, you can view brighter planets in the daytime as well as the Moon. They won't be as impressive due to the lower contrast against the bright sky as they will appear at night. Software and many websites will show you what is visible. Check out the Astronomy Links page for these. Right now Saturn is high up in the sky after dark, followed by Jupiter a few hours later. M42, the Great Nebula in Orion makes a fine object in the ETX-70AT. In fact, there are many objects (especially star clusters) that look really nice in the -70. Enjoy!


Thank you for your fast reply, it was most helpful.
Have a great new year.

Subject:	Looking for a tripod for the ETX 60AT
Sent:	Friday, December 27, 2002 12:48:32
From: (Brian Smith)
Can you recommend a good tripod for the ETX 60AT models?  I've heard
Bogen makes good ones but don't know how to tell which models fit my
scope.  I've heard mixed reviews on the Meade models.  Any advice?
Thank you.
Mike here: See the email "ETX70-AT accessory help" on the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page. I suspect that the same tripod would work for the ETX-60AT. As to other tripods, see the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page. Scopetronix has some adapters for photographic tripods. If you get a photographic tripod, be certain it is sturdy enough to not create vibrations in the magnified images you'll be viewing through the telescope.
Subject:	ETX-70AT terrestrial viewing problems!
Sent:	Friday, December 27, 2002 9:21:40
From: (Peter Palaparthy)
Thanks for all the info on your site.

I just bought a new ETX-70AT. I did the initial settings such as place
and time and did an autostar easy alignment. I tried to view terrestrial
objects by turning the focus knob all the way counter-clockwise but all
I see is white. I made sure that my flip mirror control knob is
perpendicular to the base so that the flip mirror is open to the
eyepiece. I cannot see anything, no trees, no buildings, nothing at all.
There is just white all over. I slowly turned the focus knob all the way
back clockwise and back again but with no change in the view.

I made sure that the telescope was adjusted to the outside temperature
by keeping it out for 10 hours. What can be the problem here? I removed
the eyepiece and tried placing a pencil and other things before the
lens. I can see these just fine in the mirror. Only when I put the
eyepiece on do I not see anything. I will appreciate your comments on
this. Thanks.

PS. I still have not tried looking at celestial objects.
Mike here: Glad you are practicing on terrestrial objects. Few people do that but it really helps when learning to use a telescope. You mention you did an Autostar alignment. When it asked you to center the selected star did you just "fake it" and press ENTER or were you actually using a star? If a star was used, what did you see? As to focusing, when you turn the focus knob does the objective lens cell move along the telescope tube? You will have to turn the knob a lot before noticing any movement. How far way was the building or trees; you should have been able to focus on something or at least see a change in the blurring of it as you turned the focus knob. What eyepiece were you using?
Subject:	ETX70-AT accessory help
Sent:	Tuesday, December 24, 2002 19:22:15
From: (Tim Fisher)
Thanks for your help on the #64ST. I got my 70 today. Now I have some
other questions. Is there a soft case available for the 70? Will the one
for the 90 work with the 70? Also, since there isn't an AC adaptor for
the 70 (at least I couldn't find one) is there some sort of work around
or third party adaptor for AC power on the 70? There appears to be a
space for a cord to fit into the battery compartment. Has the 883 deluxe
tripod been discontinued? It isn't on the price list I just got with my
70 today? If it has been discontinued, then can the 884 be used with the

Mike here: Take a look at the Accessory Reviews - Cases page for some ideas on a case for the ETX-70AT. A case that works for the ETX-90 could work with the -70AT (if it has a foam interior some modifications may be necessary). Meade has a hardcase; #773. There is an AC adapter for the ETX-70AT; it is Meade part# 546. Check the Telescope Tech Tips page for some alternatives. The #883 tripod has been replaced. The #882 tripod is for the ETX70AT.


The 882 doesn't allow for polar configuration. Will the 70 fit on the
884? It would stand to reason that if the 70 once fit the 883, as did
the 90 and 125, and the 884 fits the 90 and 125 that the 70 would fit as
well. Or am I missing something?
Mike here: I don't have the #884 but according to the Scopetronix site, it works with the ETX-70AT.
Subject:	ETX-70 Terrestrial Lenses
Sent:	Monday, December 23, 2002 13:56:49
From: (kathleen daley)
We are awed by your excellent website.

My wife bought me an ETX-70 telescope that we only use terrestrially to
look at the views outside our windows in San Francisco.  We want to buy
a lens that is more powerful than the Meade 9mm lens that comes with the
EXT-70 package.

We went to our local Scope City, and were advised to buy the Parks Gold
Series 7.5mm.  But, it's not much different than the Meade 9mm in
results.  Also, we read the negative comments at concerning the Parks

What type of lenses would you suggest we use?  (We are not bothered by a
small object viewing area, heat distortion, etc.)

(Also, would you advise one way or the other if a Barlow lenses could be
used terrestrially?)

Thanks for letting us know.

Best wishes for the Holidays,

Jack and Kathleen Daley
Mike here: Yes, you can use a Barlow Lens for terrestrial use and in fact I would recommend that for starters.
Subject:	Re: Re: Re: ETX70AT
Sent:	Monday, December 23, 2002 11:11:09
From: (santosh john)
The dealer in India wants me to ship the telescope to the US for the
replacement. I will check the link you have suggested and let you know
if I find something useful. Thanks for all your help.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Santosh John

Subject:	Re: Re: ETX70AT
Sent:	Friday, December 20, 2002 1:10:19
From: (santosh john)
I opened the inner right hand side of the mount ( i.e. the right hand
side vertical of the mount) by removing the 6 philips screws and got a
chance to look at the gear train that drives the dec. angles.  There is
a shaft which has the worm gear ( worm gear meshes with the dec. drive
wheel) and a spur gear at its opposite end. The problem is that the spur
gear rotates on the shaft and therefore the worm will not rotate and
therefore the wheel. There is no adhesion between the gear and the
shaft. Do you think there is a possibility of getting a dec. drive gear
assembly from Meade or will I be able to get just the shaft with the
gears on it? Would like to remind you that I'm in India and sending the
Telescope out to Meade in the US would be very expensive. Do you think
Meade will send me this part for a price or can you get it for me. If
you can help me I can have some friends of mine send you the payment. I
still do not know in which part of the world you are in. Can you also
give me directions on how to dismantle the telescope further so that the
gear can be taken out. Will I have to dismantle the drive from the
bottom part or is there any other way to reach the dec. drive assembly.

Thanks for your support.
Santosh John
Mike here: You might want to look at the "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products" linked from the Telescope Tech Tips page. There is a tip there about fixing the shaft, if that is the problem you are describing. It isn't for the ETX-70AT but may provide some info of use. There is a dealer in India that may be able to help you; check the dealer page on Meade's site.
Subject:	New ETX70 and some queries
Sent:	Wednesday, December 18, 2002 5:04:12
From: (Harris, Lee)
I am a avid reader of your site, and have finally bought an ETX70 which
I used for the first time last night.

I have a couple of queries, and would be grateful for your feedback.
Firstly I live in Bristol, England, UK and I found it difficult to align
to anything last night. I made sure the Meade standard tripod was level
and pointed the telescope north.

I tried the two star alignment and thought I had it sorted, until I
tried to find Jupiter. It was out by a large margin, as I new where it
was in the sky.

Do I need to align with magnetic north (with a compass) as I did last
night, or do I align the scope with true north first (Pole star). Is
there anything else I may be doing wrong. Your help would be greatly

As for the views I eventually slewed manually using the arrows on the
autostar to Jupiter and Saturn.

Through the Meade 9mm I could see cloud bands and three of the moons of
Jupiter and I picked out the ring around Saturn, both views were crystal
clear, the scope although small is fantastic.

I look forward to your feedback.

Thankyou again


Lee Harris
Modelling Analysis
Targeting, Rewards and Incentive Design
Mike here: Always use True North, not Magnetic North (unless you know the magnetic variation at your local is minimal and there are no magnetic sources in the area). Also, check the date (especially the year) and time. For moving objects like the Moon and planets, those are important settings.
Subject:	Differences between the #64 and #64ST Adapters
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 20:06:28
From: (Tim Fisher)
My wife bought me an ETX-70AT for Christmas and I was looking at a #64
adapter on eBay, but Meade's web site notes the #64ST for the 70AT and
the #64 for the 90, etc. Is ther a difference or will both work? on the
mail order sites, they don't seem to make the distinction either. I know
I will need a T Adapter for my camera and I already have one for my
trusty Pentax K1000. Any help would be appreciated.

Mike here: You do need the ST since it is meant for the ETX-70AT. Otherwise you may not be able to focus the image on the camera's film plane.
Subject:	ETX70AT
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 6:39:01
From: (santosh john)
I write to you from India. My two week old ETX70AT bought in the US has
just failed. The problem is that the motor is unable to lift the
telescope tube but is able to drive it down and in the horizontal plane.
I will not be able to ship it to the US because of the high costs. Do 
you think somebody can give me an idea to what the problem is and help
me fix it. I'm savy enought to open the unit but would like to get some
tips before I start on it. What do you think will be the problem and
what would be your best solution.
Thanks in anticipation.
Santosh John
Mike here: Does the OTA (optical tube assembly) stay put when you lock the altitude axis? If the tube drops down it is likely the right tube adapter has failed. You can contact Meade and they may send you the part for free. It is an easy replacement on the other ETX models but I can't speak for the -70AT. If the tube stays put then perhaps you are overtightening the axis. And:
I write to you from India and must thank you for the prompt response. I
tried to search the Meade site and found they have a rep. in India who
will not service the telescope as it is bought in the US. To get it done
in the US I will need to get a RMA from the stockiest in the US (B&H)
and pay the cost of shipping to and from the US. All these expenses will
be far more than the cost of the scope and for me the money spent on the
scope itself was from a long time put together saving.

To answer your two questions- a) The tube has no difficulty in staying
in the locked position in altitude and b) I'm not over tightening as I
have tried it with the most gentle tightening pressure and a little
over. The only problem with the telescope is that the OTA will not go up
when commanded but will descend precisely at all speeds. It also skews
left and right in RA. What do you think the problem would be?

You say that Meade will send me spares free of cost if I can find what
the problem is? How do I contact Meade directly? Can you give me their
contact email ID or telephone number? If you are having a rapport with
them can you help me out in any way? I can provide a scan copy for proof
of purchase to you. I can open the drive and let you know what exactly I
think the problem is and believe I can do it competently. Maybe even
send you a digital photograph. I have not opened the scope yet fearing
that I might not get a warranty claim if I did so. If you can collect
the part form Meade then I can get some friends of mine to collect it
from you. I do not know where in the world you are?

Please see if there is some way you can help me. I would be extremely
Thanks in anticipation.
Santosh John
Mike here: The Right Tube Adapter is a user-replaceable part from Meade but since the OTA locks in place, that is not the problem. Next troubleshooting: RESET the Autostar and then reTRAIN both drives. Use a high power eyepiece on a stationary object far away.
Subject:	broken focus knob
Sent:	Sunday, December 15, 2002 0:39:22
I sent you a message a few days ago about a broken focus knob .Sorry i
should have explained what the problem is a bit better. I think the
whole focus rod has come away from the front cell i think thats what its
called.has i use the etx 70 with a web cam not been able to focus
properly is a headache i can focus by turning the front cell .Even with 
this problem i have taken some nice shots of the moon if i send you some
maybe you could but them on your great and mighty etx site.The retailers
in england were i got my etx told me it could not be fixed but i dont
want to give up that easy. If i was to send you a photo of my scope do
you think you could help

ps.the weather is terrible here in england and as been so for 3 weeks so
i hope you have steady and clear skys were you are 

Mike here: I'll be happy to post some of your astrophotography. As to the focus rod, it is really not user-repairable; contact Meade UK.
Subject:	Old Scopes and New Scopes
Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 2:10:46
From: (bob greef)
For the past couple of months I have been using an 8" Dobsonian as my
main scope.  I "sort of" handed over my ETX 70 to my nine year old
daughter shortly after buying the Dob but can't really let it go
completely and still use it quite a lot.

Its so handy to just throw in the car and set up on a dark site and
after examining deep space objects with the Dob I frequently revisit
them with the ETX just to compare the view.

I sometimes use them together using ETX 70/Autostar to find the object
(which may or may not be clearly visible through the ETX) then having a
look through the attached Rigel Quickfinder, transferring the
Quickfinder to the Dob and looking for the same pattern of stars in it.

This helps me to get a very quick fix on an object so the two scopes
make a really good team.

So in spite of my upgrade, I still use the ETX which is still unbeatable
fo viewing open clusters and solar work and I still visit this site on
an almost daily basis

Bob Greef
Wymondham (pronounced wind ham) near Norwich, England

Subject:	Question: ETX-60 and Megawedge
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 14:54:54
From: (MJ Johnson)
I'm interested in using an equatorial wedge with my Meade ETX-60, to
assist in shooting astrophotos.  I haven't found any equatorial wedge
products designed for use with the ETX-60, other than the Megawedge from
JMI.  The JMI site says that they will work with ETX-60AT scopes and the
standard Meade field tripod.

My first question is:  are there any ETX-60 models other than the "AT"? 
How would I know if I have an "AT" model or not?

Second, has anyone used any other equatorial wedges with their ETX-60 or
70, and the standard field tripod?  If so, what are those products?

Thanks for the information!

   - M.J.
Mike here: Originally there was an EC model that did not include the Autostar. The telescope and base were the same as the later AT model with the Autostar.
Subject:	broken focus knob
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 2:57:12
hello a few weeks ago my son bless him knocked over my etx 70 breaking
the focus knob.i have been told that it can not be fixed is there a way
to open the scope and try hope you can help
Mike here: Do you mean the knob itself is broken or the focus shaft is broken or the entire focus mechanism is broken? The knob could be replaced but for anything else, the best idea would be to contact Meade.
Subject:	Possible Focus Problem with Meade ETX-70
Sent:	Monday, December 9, 2002 9:01:17
From: (John Gagnon)
I have an ETX-70 that is new out of the box, but I realize this is not a
new model.  I know nothing about telescopes and I'm having a problem
focusing on anything.  I can see light and color, but that's about it.

I think there's a problem with the flip-mirror control.  I'm assuming
the mirror should be physically mounted on the plate that moves with
control knob.  On my telescope, it looks like the mirror came unglued
from the plate and is wedged in the cylinder.  The mirror seems to be
very tightly wedged in its position and is preventing the plate from
full movement.  The plate only moves about 20-30 degrees up and down and
is fairly difficult to move using the control knob.

Would you please verify if my assumption about the mirror is correct? 
If so, how would you recommend fixing the problem?  I'm very
mechanically inclined and would be willing to tackle this myself if you

If my assumption about the mirror is completely off and everything I've
described appears normal, can you assist me with getting the telescope
to focus?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.  Please provide a
phone number if you would like to speak with me for any additional


John Gagnon
Mike here: Are you saying that the flip mirror control lever does not move through a full 135 (approximately) degrees? It should. When you look into the eyepiece hole you should see the flip mirror either at 45 degrees to reflect light from the lens at a 90 degree angle up through the eyepiece hole or totally out of the way to pass light out the rear port. With the control lever vertical the mirror is in the 45 degree position and when you turn the lever 135 degrees the mirror moves forward to be out of the way. If the mirror is being properly positioned you may not be turning the focus knob sufficiently to reach a focus with the eyepiece. The Moon makes a good target right now. Try it with the 25mm eyepiece. It takes a lot of turns when switching from the 25mm eyepiece to the 9mm.


Thanks for the prompt reply.  The most I can rotate the flip-control
lever is 20-30 degrees.  When I look through the eyepiece with the
flip-control lever vertical, I see the plate at about a 45 degree angle,
but it looks like the mirror has slipped forward toward the front lens
since I can only see a small portion of the mirror when I look straight
down.  As I try to rotate the lever forward to move the mirror out of
the way, the plate gets obstructed by the mirror after about 20-30
degrees movement forward.  The plate is almost vertical at this point.

Based on your information, I would conclude that the mirror is
definitely the problem.  Would you recommend trying to fix this myself,
or sending it out for repair?  If the latter, who would you recommend do
the repair and how much would the service cost approximately?  I know
these mirrors are very sensitive, how much would a replacement mirror
cost as well?

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you very much for the help!
Mike here: I would recommend contacting Meade. They will quote the repair cost.
Subject:	MEADE ETX60AT 
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 22:32:25
From: (Pam and Jim)
I bought my husband the Meade ETX60AT with Digital Telescope for
Christmas.    I know nothing about Telescopes or Tripods and was
wondering what would be the best tripod for this Telescope?

Thank You - Pam
Mike here: The Meade Standard Field Tripod, #882, will be adequate for the ETX-60AT.
Subject:	ext-70 - Is price good ?
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 12:40:14
$299 for ext70 at discover channel store - includes tripod and hard
carry / storage case. Does that seem like a good deal ? Guy on comments
said he got ext60 for $130.00. is the 70 that much better ? Also, they
have a kit with a 2x barlow and 4 &6mm eyepiece for $39. Is it needed?
How much magnification will that get ? Because 14x doesn't cut it. I
know alot of questions,This is our 1st telescope ( 4 & 8 yr old
daughters and me).

Thanks alot for the advice !

Loxahatchee, FL 
Mike here: Yes, that sounds like a good deal since it includes a case. The ETX-60AT has been discontinued. Many people got one for $100 at CostCo and the like. And a Barlow Lens and other eyepieces will be useful. As to determining magnification, see the FAQ page. You might want to read my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page and user comments on the User Observations page. That may help you determine whether the ETX-70AT will meet your expectations.
Subject:	Recommendation for telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, December 4, 2002 7:54:17
From: (Alfredo & Nadine)
My name is Alfredo. To be honest, I don't know much about you and your
credentials, but I was recommended your website. I have just started to
research telescopes in hopes of purchasing one for Christmas. We would
be novices in the field of astronomy, and would like to become more than
the casual stargazer.

My family and I moved out to the Western Slope of the Rockies in
Colorado where we have some incredible country evening skies. My wife
and I wished to purchase a telescope for Christmas for the family ( ages
9, 8 & 5).

I have learned that Meade is a good brand name. I have also learned that
I should look for a telescope that is an achromatic refractor which the
ETX line offers. I was considering the ETX 90 EC or the 125 EC. After
reading some of the feedback about the problems with these two
telescopes, I don't know where to turn.

Could you make some recommendations, please.

Thank you and God Bless.
Mike here: Keep in mind that problem reports are just that. If there are no problems, people tend to not report anything. If you are looking for a refractor, keep in mind that the ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC are not refractors. The ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT are refractors. They are short focal length telescopes, best suited to wide field viewing rather than seeing planetary details. See my comments about the ETX-70AT (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page) as well as the User Observations page. You should decide upon your requirements and expectations, then determine what telescopes will come closest to meeting those within your budget.
Subject:	ETX-70 AT Focus Slop and Clarity
Sent:	Tuesday, December 3, 2002 19:15:34
From: (ken)
Your site is an awesome resource for beginners such as me, thank you.

When focusing my ETX-70, There seems to be a little slop when changing
directions.... Seems like the gears do not catch until a turn a so.

It is not a big deal, but It seems to be getting worse. Is there a way
to fix this? I already tried turning it all the way clockwise and
counter clockwise with no effect.

Also, I cannot focus stars to a point at all. They always look spikey
with colors (blue/red) near the ends of the spikes. I live in the city
with lots of light. Did I get a scope with bad optics or is this normal
for the ETX-70AT?


Ken Vallis
Mike here: There should be no spikes in stars. Some color fringing is normal with low-end refractors. Depending upon the seeing, stars may not appear is pinpoints. But spikes are not right with this telescope. As to the focus, there is extremely little change when turning the knob one full rotation. That is why it takes a lot of turns to focus when you change eyepieces. You can check that movement is really occurring by looking at the objective lens cell; as you turn the focus knob the cell moves forward or backward. It will be like looking at the hour hand of an analog clock but movement does (or should) occur.
Subject:	what is the best eyepiece barlow combo
Sent:	Tuesday, December 3, 2002 18:05:49
From: (dianne siegel)
I have an ETX-70 and want to have better view capabilities for planets. 
which is the best eyepiece barlow combination to use.  What is the most
powerful eyepiece and barlow combination that can be used to yield the
best viewing experience.

Thanks for your reply
Mike here: Keep in mind that the maximum magnication (under good seeing conditions) is 140X for the ETX-70AT. So your eyepiece and Barlow Lens combination must yield less than that if you want good views.
Subject:	EXT-60-AT
Sent:	Monday, December 2, 2002 10:01:30
This was the first serious scope I bought after catching the fever with
a 60mm Bushnell found in a pawnshop. I bought my etx60 at Costco for
$130.00. What can you expect for that price?...:)  Good resolution  with
Moon and terrestrial viewing...that's it. However, it turned out to be
my friend and teacher. For busy amateurs like me who still want to enjoy
astronomy without fooling with the math and coordinates, it is a great
little instrument. It aligns well, provided that it is leveled (very
important) and pointed to TRUE NORTH (that is: Polaris). I've learned
tons of good stuff using the "IDENTIFY" feature on my keypad. It stands
to reason that, if you want bigger and better, you need to pay for it.
But, low budgeters like me, don't despair. For about $120.00 you can
purchase a decent refractor with a 1.25 eyepiece. I would suggest a
900mm focal lenght. The eyepieces aren't the greatest, but, if you can
spare about$45.00 now and then, you can get some decent eypieces that
will do the trick. In closing, wether refractor or reflector, I've come
to rely on long focal lenght for good quality viewing. Don't can your
EXT-60, learn from it and move on...:)

Kingston, NH

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