Last updated: 31 December 2002
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS 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:	Happy New Years
Sent:	Tuesday, December 31, 2002 17:08:39
From: (David Cummings)
I wish you and your family the very best of a New Year.  I also wish to
thank you for the great web site and your enthusiasm for the ETX and
their owners.

David W. Cummings
Mike here: I wish everyone a wonderful 2003 with lots of clear sky nights!!
Subject:	Link to Chesmayne
Sent:	Sunday, December 29, 2002 9:29:38
From: (Raymond  Reid)
I have given you a link on my astronomy web page.......

My main web page is to be found at....... 

Yours sincerely,

Raymond Reid.
Dublin, Ireland. 
Mike here: Thanks. But please remove the content of my ETX Site Home Page. Just link to the page instead.
Subject:	Telescope help for a "newbie"
Sent:	Friday, December 27, 2002 22:49:53
From: (Mike Neder)
Im getting ready to buy an LXD55 AR-5. First scope for me. Im going to
move up top a high-class Dob in the next 1-2 years (10-12
Portaball/Teleport).  Meanwhile I plan to buy the LXD55 AR5 to start
getting used to the skies.  Not a bad choice.  $800 + shipping + $99
Meade EP Special all of it for less than $1K.

Then I started looking at your Website and started wondering if I might
not be better off finding an ETX package on Astromart ( scope/ mount/
accessories) to use for a while until I step up.

If I buy an ETX package, what would you recommend?  I read a comment on
your website that the 90RA was your most used scope.  How come?  How
about the 125EC?  Other?

Assuming I buy an ETX package to sell in a year or two (time to pay for
the Dob) which one will maintain its resale value the best?

I know you must be busy, and I thank you for whatever time you can spend
answering questions from a newbie.

Mike Neder
Mike here: Well, have you visited my LXD55 site?
The ETX-90 is the most portable yet most capable telescope I have. The ETX-125 comes in second in portability but does provide better views than the -90 due to increased aperture and focal length. The LXD55 8"SC is not that portable but of course does provide the best views overall. So you need to decide what factors are important to use. If you want to compromise, the ETX-105EC makes an excellent choice for portability and performance. At the right price, all models will sell.
Subject:	Your book at Amazon
Sent:	Wednesday, December 25, 2002 22:15:13
From: (Michael W. Hoy)
I was building links to from one of the pages in my own
little ETX site when I
stumbled upon your book. Naturally becouse I'm an associate with I took the opurtunity to link to it. It's just a text link
right now, maybe when I eventually rebuild the site I'll add the cover
art. Anyway I thought you might like to know, you can see the link
slightly buried in the "Magazines and Books" paragraphs of the above

Michael W. Hoy

Subject:	ETX-125 eyepiece question
Sent:	Wednesday, December 25, 2002 12:59:34
From: (mvdevine)
Hi all, I am planning to purchase a Televue 19mm Panoptic.  This
eyepiece will be used on my ETX-125, and was wondering how it would
compare to the Meade 18mm SWA.  There is a lot of info on the Meade SWA
with this scope, but little on the Panoptic.  Since it's not cheap, I
wanted to make sure the Panoptic holds no surprises being used with an
f/13 scope.  Anyone in the group using one?  Also can this eyepiece be
used with a Celestron 2X Ultima SV series Barlow without the need for
the Televue Barlow interface lens?  I appreciate your time and knowledge
in this.  Thanks in advance.
Mike here: I don't have any of those but there is a user review of the Meade 18mm SWA on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
Subject:	Collimation of ETX-90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, December 24, 2002 8:49:36
From: (Jorge J. Ahumada Barona)
Where exactly in your website can I find stepwise instructions to
collimate my scope ?

Thank you.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2003.

Jorge Ahumada 
Mike here: Owner collimation of the ETX is not recommended. It is easy to make things worse than they might already be. But if you want to read about it, see the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	electric focusser
Sent:	Monday, December 23, 2002 9:37:24
From: (Marc Delaney)
You first place the brass gearwheel onto the shaft where the original
focus knob comes off from, so that it's front face is level with the end
of the shaft (front is the side which does not have the hub with the
setscrew), tighten the setscrew securely, then slide on the focusser and
attach it with the long screw.

Happy Xmas and new Year!
Marc (Wales, UK)

Subject:	Re: Cool down time on ETX-125
Sent:	Monday, December 23, 2002 7:02:00
From: (Alan McDonald)
I forgot about the dew shield . . .   I use one too - it is Meade's
screw on one, which I know I will cross thread and ruin one of these
days because it's hard to use in the dark.  I leave it off during the
cool down period because it will really slow things down, especially if
you point the tube down.  In fact, if you want to have the dew shield on
during the cool down period then I would not recommend that the tube be
pointed down.  But leaving it off will save lots of time.  I put mine on
after about 30 minutes, just before I turn it on and start aligning.

Without getting into all the thermodynamics of this (uh-oh, you found an
engineer), our goal here is to increase the heat transfer function so
that the warm objects cool to ambient temperatures as quickly as
possible.  And we are doing this because it is the convective heat
transfer currents that cause the poor seeing (because these thermal
currents are caused by variations in the density of the air, and this
leads to slight variations in the refractive index of the air across
this differential in density).  To keep it simple, we have two large
masses that need to be cooled - the corrector lens, and the primary
mirror.  The primary is the difficult one, because it is enclosed in the
tube.  That means that we have to find a way to get the air in the tube
cooled quickly so that it can shed its heat.  A big part of that is
accomplished by getting the corrector cooled quickly, because it is
radiating heat into the tube as well as outside the tube.  And we have
to get that heat out of the tube, because thermal currents within the
tube are as disruptive as those outside the tube - probably more so!

That is a big part of why pointing the tube down helps so much (provided
a dew shield is not installed, as that traps warm air near the outside
of the lens) - it maximizes the flow of cooler air within the tube
against the corrector, thus cooling it quicker.  This, in turn, leads to
lower temperatures within the tube faster, which allows the primary to
cool faster as well.  Having the ability to put "hole" in the tube (the
eyepiece hole) near the top helps let the heat out.

So all this has caused me to offer up an even better suggestion for
faster cool downs (two actually).  The first is to also remove the rear
port cover - this helps by allowing better air flow in and out of the
tube. Basically, with the tube pointing down, the warm air will rise to
the top, and flow out the eyepiece hole and the cold ambient air will
flow into the rear port.  This would make for wonderful convective
current, and would probably knock another 10 minutes off the cool down
time.  But remember not to let your scope cool with open ports/eyepiece
hole if there is a lot of dust, pollen, or bugs in the air!  The time
savings would not be worth it - and remember dust accumulates over time.
 And don't forget to put the port cover back on when you start

The other is to move from "free convection" to "forced convection"
through the use of a fan.  You could use a fan to improve the airflow
around the scope for faster cool downs - although I don't recommend this
as it will not speed things up enough to offset the risk of damage to
the scope from blown debris.  If one really wanted to do this, I would
suggest the use of a small pedestal fan (to keep it off the ground and
away from dirt), positioned behind and below the scope so that the air
flows up and over the scope without directly hitting an optical surface.
 I would not open the rear port this way as it would be asking for dust
to enter the scope.

In the end, patience is probably the best route!

Enjoy, and clear skies!

Subject:	Re: True north Vs. Magnetic North
Sent:	Sunday, December 22, 2002 21:07:33
From: (Bradley S Kaplan)
Thanks for getting back with me so quickly.  I will get my daughter on
this project quickly (She will have to find out how to determine true
north....:-)  So in fact in order to use the autostar features we do
need to use true north and not magnetic north, correct??  I want to make
sure I have this correct, the 11 year old kid gets a bit cranky looking
up into the sky at nothing...  :-)    Thanks again for your help, it
truly is appreciated..

Houston, TX.
Mike here: Yes, use True North.
Subject:	dew on lens
Sent:	Sunday, December 22, 2002 20:53:05
there is a used scope that i bid on e-bay . i found out by talking with
the owner of the scope that there is dew on the lens. this is my first
scope so is this a bad thing or can it be fixed? it is a meade etx90ec 
thank you  rose
Mike here: Yes, it can be cleaned. See the Cleaning tips on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	True north Vs. Magnetic North
Sent:	Sunday, December 22, 2002 20:05:14
From: (Bradley S Kaplan)
Mike, thanks in advance for your help.  I have bought an ETX70 for my 11
year old daughter and myself to learn a little about astronomy.  I am a
computer teacher, not a science person and am learning a littl emor each
day.  I read in the last question asked about lining the scope up with
"True North" Vs. Magnetic North.  Stupide question would be how do you
determine true north??  Thanks in advance for your help.  My daughter
and I would appreciate it.

Brad Kaplan
Houston, YX.
Mike here: True North is where the Earth's rotation axis points in the northern sky. If you can see the star "Polaris", then draw a line straight down from Polaris to the horizon. (If you don't know the night sky, see the Astronomy Links page for sites of charts or software that will generate star charts.) That direction is within a degree of True North. If you can't see Polaris you can use a magnetic compass but then you have to correct for the Magnetic Variation (and any other anomalies) for your area. Magnetic Variation is the difference in True North vs Magnetic North and varies from 0 to about 20 degrees around the Earth. See the Astronomy Links page for some sites on this.
Subject:	etx-125
Sent:	Sunday, December 22, 2002 16:38:53
From: (Ross Weinberg)
New to astronomy and purchased an ETX125 and cannot for the life of me
get the power to turn on...very frustrating.. have replaced batteries,
tried the volt adapter in the car and still no red power light on...
any suggestions would be of great help..

Mike here: Since you have tried two different power sources it sounds like the switch may be disconnected. I suggest you contact the dealer.
Subject:	re: Cool down time on ETX-125
Sent:	Sunday, December 22, 2002 16:22:57
From: (Alan McDonald)
Something I sent directly to Jeroen, based on his note in the General
Feedback items.  I don't think you have much experience with your scope
when it is below 20 degrees F outside (snowmobile suits make great
observing gear here!).  Do with it as you wish.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Alan McDonald 
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2002 10:51 AM
Subject: Cool down time on ETX-125

I saw your note, and thought I share what I do.  I live in Michigan, so
I have about the same thermal change you do.  I have found that the
fastest that I can get the scope moderately stable with this large
temperature swing  is about 60 minutes, but I can actually start using
it in about 30.

What I do is to set mine up on the tripod for a cool down period, and I
go ahead and level the base it and set it to north using the viewfinder
at this time.  I then point the OTA down about as far as it will go, so
that it is pointed down at about 25 degrees.  This maximizes the ability
for heat to get out of the eyepiece hole.  I leave it with both the lens
cover and the eyepiece cover off - at these temperatures, there is no
chance of bugs getting in there anyways, and I don't use it if there is
a chance a precipitation.  I know that I won't leave the hole open in
the spring or summer, but then there is not as much heat to shed, and it
doesn't get dark to much later anyways.

I leave my external batty inside to minimize the impact of the cold on
it, along with the autostar (to keep it warmer longer) and my eyepieces
(they usually do better if a little warmer, as this avoids fogging and
freezing from vapors off my face and breath).

After about 30 mins or so, I go out and hook up the power and take out
my low power eyepieces, cause I know that I'll start with deep sky stuff
(lower power minimizes the effects of scope currents as it continues to
cool.  By the time I'm up and running with a good alignment, it has been
about 45 minutes or so, and the views are pretty good.  I avoid high
power stuff until about a total of an hour has passed, as the scope is
still not ready for that, but the views of clusters and other things
with my 40mm eyepiece are quite pleasant.  After an hour, things still
keep getting better - I think true equalibrium is not even close until
about 90 minutes have passed.  If I want to just do high power stuff, I
just either start earlier, or wait longer to go out to it.

Part of your problem might be fogging of the eyepieces.  When they get
cold, they practically grab moisture from your eye.  That is why I keep
them inside as much as possible.  I find that if I have my 9.7mm
eyepiece outside for more than 25 minutes or so, it fogs pretty easily
due to the short eye relief - so I rotate it back into the heat, or give
it time for the moisture to flash off.  I let my Barlow get cold, but
that is about it.  You might want to try leaving one inside to see how
your views work out.

When I'm all done, I pack the everything away in the hardcase (except
for a few of the eyepieces that don't fit), seal it up, and take it
inside and leave it alone until the next afternoon.  I've never had any
condensation on it using this approach.  I have an ETX-60 (which is also
ready to use very quickly), and I learned through it how damp the scope
can get (inside and out) if you bring a frozen scope into the house to
warm up with out putting it in a case first!

I hope this helps, and best of luck.  Stay warm!
Alan McDonald
Mike here: I did my first observing during the Winter in Southern Indiana. Later, I was in Wisconsin. But that was a LONG time ago. Now I'm in Southern California...
Subject:	Orion guide
Sent:	Sunday, December 22, 2002 1:17:10
From: (Ian Bacon)
I would like to thank you for the excellent guide to Orion and M 42. My
plan is to carefully investigate Orion over the coming months from
Perth, Australia (32 south). I came across your guide while searching
for online resources. Yours are concise and oriented towards an
observer. Great work.

Thanks again.
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Wonderful....I am always so glad when folks take the time to stop and
let us know that these guides and efforts that go into both those and
the Mighty ETX Website are being put to good use and appreciated.

Thanks so much and Happy Holidays!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	Sirius Optics CE1 Contrast Enhancement Filter
Sent:	Saturday, December 21, 2002 10:19:33
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
do you know anyone that has experience with the Sirius Optics CE1
Contrast Enhancement Eyepiece Filter. is it a better purchase than a

thanks for all the help

Subject:	And the winner is...
Sent:	Saturday, December 21, 2002 8:24:56
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Two contributors stood out quite vividly to a panel of seven individuals
across the United States that had the difficult task of sorting through
many nominations.  For the 2003 award, ASO received 27 nominations from
all over the world and we are very appreciative of these.  ALL were
deserving of the Award without a doubt; it was indeed a difficult
decision for our judges and in some cases, many remarked that several
nominees were deserving but had been recognized "so much" in past years
in various awards and endeavors that they felt like this year's
recipients best represented the goals of ASO toward public outreach and
assistance to others.

We are proud to announce that Mr. Richard Hill (Instrumental in the
maintenance of the ALPO and its website)and Mr. Bill J. Gray (The
developer of Guide 8, CHARON and FindOrb through his endeavors at
Project Pluto) have been jointly selected to represent the standards of
unselfish contributions to astronomy throughout the year 2002; however,
for those who nominated - and those who know - these two individuals are
aware, both of these gentlemen have been very active for years in
uniquely different pursuits that have resulted in the advancement of
thousands of astronomers, professional and amateur, worldwide.


I very much hope that you and your family have a wonderful holiday and a
New Year filled with discovery, promise and memories...

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43
Mike here: Thanks Clay. Sounds like a tough job of judging! Congrats to thw winners!!!
Subject:	even more etx-125 problems!!
Sent:	Saturday, December 21, 2002 8:03:22
hello again.. just an update on my continuing etx-125 problems.  i've
posted here numerous times since buying my etx-125 in july 2002.  i've
had NON STOP problems with both the actual telescope and the autostar..
motor failures, under construction messages, bizarre intermittent
slewing problems, etc...

meade initially replaced my autostar but that didn't fix the problem...
so on november 19th i sent the entire etx back to meade for repair. they
were also nice enough to reimburse my shipping costs.

on december 16th i was pleasantly surprised to see the ups guy walking
up to my porch with my etx.  however everything pleasant quickly
dissapated into the familiar cringe of disappointment i've felt since i
bought my etx.

an entire new assortment of problems were noted:

1- my autostar had obviously replaced with an older used handbox.  there
were noticible scratches on the screen,  the actual display was dim and
'washed out', and the utility light was smaller and less-bright.  the
actual handbox had the older 'etx autostar' label rather than the newer
'autostar' of my original unit.

2- someone at meade had tightened down the dec. knob so tight that the
little plastic 'fins' underneath it were all either bent or broken. this
action also caused the metal dec. disk to become severely bent under the

3-  and the big one-  when i reattached my electric focuser it no longer
worked properly!   when i tried to focus the motor would vary in speed
and would actually 'stall' to a complete stop and grind the gears of the
focuser.  there seemed to be a problem with the etx focus shaft and/or
internal mirror.  i'm positive the focuser was properly installed and i
was using the meade a/c adaptor for power.  prior to sending the etx
back i NEVER had this problem with the focuser.

soooo... on december 19th i had to send the thing back to meade again.
i'm so completely disappointed with this entire situation although i
have to say that the meade employees have been very pleasant to work
with on the telephone.  i nicely demanded a NEW etx 125 as opposed to
another attempt to fix my original scope.   i'll have to wait and see
what they decide to do.

i'll keep you posted
tom vitacco      

Subject:	ETX90EC Electric Focuser Installation Instructions
Sent:	Saturday, December 21, 2002 1:01:16
I recently sent my ETX90EC to Meade for a repair.

I sent it with the electric focuser installed, but my scope was returned
with it  removed from the scope.

That's fine, I don't mind putting it back on, but I have misplaced my
installation instructions (and wrenches) for the #1244 electric focuser
and can not find them on the Meade website.

Can someone give me a description of how to install my electric focuser?


Mike here: I don't have one but I think essentially you tilt the telescope upwards at about a 45 degree angle (to keep the focus shaft from slipping inside the tube), remove the focus knob by loosening the setscrew, slide the electric focuser into place and tighten its setscrew.


The focuser has a long screw that attaches the focuser to the telescope

There is a hole just above the focusing shaft where the focuser fits. I
guess I remove that screw from the telescope and screw the electric
focus screw into its place. I can't tell what kind of tool I need to
remove that screw. Perhaps an allen wrench?

Thanks Mike!

Subject:	ETX Spotting scope
Sent:	Friday, December 20, 2002 16:50:52
Meade offers their ETX90 and ETX125 in stripped mode as spotting scopes.
 I'm considering the 125 for terrestrial and astro.  Do you think the 5"
aperture too large for a terrestrial spotting scope?  I'm concerned
about heat wave atmospheric distortion and excessive brightness.

For casual astronomy, is there enough difference between the 90mm and
125mm to really matter for planetary observation?

Thank you

Mike here: The 5" is somewhat large for terrestrial observations unless you plan to use it in low-light conditions. As to planetary observations, the ETX-90 performs nicely but its focal length is shorter than the ETX-125, meaning you'll get less magnification with a given eyepiece. And the -90 has a lower maximum usable magnification than the -125. So you'll have to decide which is your priority.
Subject:	Fw: RA axis jumps the wrong way
when manually slewing on new model EXT-125
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2002 14:54:12 From: (Alan McDonald) More interesting information on this one: I got brave, and decided to open up the base and see what was happening with the gears. It also gave me the opportunity to remove some of the excess grease (there was tons of it!), so that it does not end up on the encoders. I figured I was safe since I wasn't actually taking anything apart or modifying anything. What I found was quite interesting. There were no circumstances under which the motor would move in the wrong direction! At all speeds, and with both controllers (although it spins too fast to really tell with the standard controller), the motor and drive train go in the proper direction. So the condition has nothing to do with the motors or the electronics. This is a little baffling, as it still does the wrong way movement. The only thing I can figure is that the vibrations within the drive train are allowing the axis to shift slightly when the direction reverses. This could occur because the slop is taken up in only one direction. When I go to move it in the original direction, the scope instantly moves as it should. But when reversing directions, it has time for the slop to "work it's way out" in the other direction. As previously reported, there is a lot of slop in the RA axis (so much so that I have not tried polar traking yet), and I would love to find a way to get it out. If I could, I'm sure that this problem would go away as well. Alan
From: (Clay Sherrod)
This is what I call "reverse backlash" and can be quite bad and
annoying....also very difficult to diagnose as to the source of cause. 
It is caused by binding, whether it be between the worm gear and drive
gear (this typically the cause) or even in the main axle of the
telescope itself binding against the drive base, a situation that is
very difficult if not impossible to rectify.  It is also possible that
the worm gear has been tightened too tightly in its small housing via
the small hex nut on the right end (if the worm is positioned below the
drive gear); you must be VERY careful when adjusting that nut however,
and follow the Tune Up specs for that to the must not allow
the worm to turn when adjusting that nut or the small plastic gears will
certainly strip.  You want the worm gear to be free enough for you to be
able to "rock" with your thumbnail via move the large white gear to its
left, yet not so free that you can actually SEE the gear moving L-R when
rotating the fork arms with the RA clamp locked.

Good is a pesky and difficult situation, with many scopes
exhibiting this right now, even brand new ones.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43
Thanks for the advice, and most of all thanks for letting me know I'm
not going crazy - at least on this one . . .

I checked the worm gear, and I'm pretty sure that it is not the source
of the problem.  I can rotate the plastic gear ever so slightly with my
thumb nail, although there really isn't any visible movement.  And it
does not exhibit any side to side play when the axis is manually rotated
with the clutch locked (although "locked" is a poor word for it - when I
crank on the lever about as hard as I dare to, it is still very easy to
override the clutch, and there is not much difference in feel in this
regard between locked and free).  When I do put the load on the locked
RA axis, I see nothing at low force, but as I get to the point where the
clutch starts to slip, the worm gear deflects as the plastic thrust
bearings load up - but there is no apparent side to side slop in the
worm gear.

This is the only one I've ever seen, but I think it looks OK in terms of
the worm gear.  It sounds like it is pretty hard to diagnose much beyond
that. Will operating it like this hurt anything?  It seems to track OK

I also started playing with the percentages for the RA, and found
something interesting.  While the scope seemed jumpy at more than 40%
before, I tried it at 99% just to see the extreme end of this, and it
was much better!  It seems that the rapid jump dramatically reduces how
far the scope can move in "reverse" backlash, and then drops it pretty
close to where it started - plus the scope seems less jumpy than at 60%
because it transitions right into normal movement (at 60% it was moving,
then stopping after the reverse backlash and then starting up again).  I
think I can learn to live with it like this, at least until I can get
around to maybe setting up a Supercharge at some point in the future . .
. . provided I'm not doing damage in the interim.

What do you think?  As always, I value your opinions.

Hi there it will not hurt anything but your stress level and
nerves at times.  It is very common...actually the up side of this is
that most of them actually get MUCH better in time!


Subject:	ETX-90 Use at McDonald Observatory
Sent:	Thursday, December 19, 2002 21:18:26
Thought you might like to know that McDonald Observatory, according to
their WEB Site
(http:/ is using
an ETX90 mounted piggyback on a 14" Celestron in their public solar
viewing program.  The ETX90 is using a white light filter and the 14"
Celestron is using a hydrogen alpha filter for this use.  I am leaving
tomorrow to visit the observatory and plan to check it out.  The new
visitor's center at McDonald Observatory is complete just this year and
is very impressive.  Star party's (Tues, Fri. & Sat. nights) feature the
use of a 16" Meade, a 22" Cassegrain, several 8" telescopes and some
impressive binoculars.  The public has access to (on a reservation
basis) the 82" and 107" telescopes here.  Of course, the Hobby Eberly
362" gets a lot of attention also.  Having visited here many times over
the last ten years I can testify that the seeing quality on Mt. Locke is
incredible.  I have witnessed two comets and several deep sky objects
from this mountain in great conditions.  Hope you can visit here some
day and/or attend the Texas Sky Party nearby at the Prude Ranch.

Bill Winscott
San Antonio, TX

Subject:	NEW E-MAIL
Sent:	Thursday, December 19, 2002 7:14:13
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Change of e-mail address:  NEW:

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY please note my new e-mail address.  The old
address ( will be available for only two weeks, but the
following address should be used effective DECEMBER 17, 2002:

for all mail.  NOTE that attachments on the OLD (
account are no longer loaded; all attachments should be sent to .

Sorry for the inconvenience, but problems with Earthlink over three
years has finally forced me to move to the quality service of tcworks. ( )

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	Cool-Down Time before observing
Sent:	Wednesday, December 18, 2002 16:33:37
From: (Jeroen J. Kwast)
Great Site. Lot's of info to read!

I have 1 question and hope you can answer it for me:

I have resently bought a etx-125 next to my etx-70 I had for about 1
year. I know that this scope needs quite a lot more cooldown before
viewing then my old etx-70. I searched the site but I could not find
exactly what I am looking for.

Now its about 20 degrees inside and 0 degrees outside (Celcius) I want
to start observing. How long must I place the scope outside before I can
really begin?

If I take the 70 then I can view an clear image of jupiter on a clear
night within 10 minutes. If I take my 125 and the default 26mm plossl I
can;t get a clear image. I get a reasonable good image but it fades
again. When I look at the sky it looks pretty clear so i guess I need to
wait a bit more. After 1 hour it looks better through an 32mm plossl but
26mm i can't get a good focus. I looked at full moon tonight and I got a
rocksolid total view of the moon in a 32mm plossl no shifts after about
1 hour. a 20mm still got in/out focus a bit. If I tune in to saturn I
still have a not quite in focus image after 1 hour with the 26mm plossl.
Sometimes it does and then again not. If I look at a different angle
it's in focus again ... and not. you know what I mean?

I hope nothings wrong with the scope?

So is there a way to tell how long you need to cool your scope?



Mike here: Cool-down times depending upon a lot of factors. I seem to recall a "rule of thumb" like 20-30 minutes per inch of aperture. You may be able to decrease that time by leaving the eyepiece out (to increase airflow).
Subject:	Question for Clay
Sent:	Wednesday, December 18, 2002 13:21:49
From: (Graham Evans)
On the ETX125 page Clay says:
From: (Clay Sherrod) I do not recommend working on the
new model....for many reasons and that is why I have NOT put out any
instructions on how to do so.

Could Clay please give an opinion on the item from dcrocker on the ETX
Technical Tips page "ETX-105 DEC drive jitters". I have an ETX-105 with
noisy DEC drive and taking this cover off to have a look sounds pretty
non-committal but I've been reading your site for long enough (even
though it's not very long) to have great respect for what Clay says.
From: (Clay Sherrod)
A noisy drive is typical for the 105 and I would not worry with it; 
many folks chose to get into scopes more than observe with them (on a
general basis....not referring to dcrocker) and many times more problems
are introduced by the owner than the scope was originally shipped with.

I will re-emphasize that I would under no terms recommend that users get
into the workings of the ETX newer models.  There are several key small
fittings that are, in my opinion, intentionally vunerable to placing
back in the improper position and really messing up the soup.

Just my opinion....

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	EXT125 Focus Problem?
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 20:14:16
From: (Charlie Freed)
To: (Clay Sherrod)

You did a super tune a while ago on my EXT and it was great. After
sitting idle for the seemingly unending rain and cloudy nights, I just
tried to observe Saturn, only to find that my focus adjustment has no
affect. I added a motorized focus and it worked great for several
months. I removed the motor unit. Turning the shaft manually has no
affect and it turns forever in either direction. Is there an easy fix
for this, or does it require complete disassembly of the EXT?

Charlie Freed

Subject:	Clay Sherrod and ETX-105 repairs
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 14:13:35
From:	Tammaro@VNTSCEX.VOLPE.DOT.GOV (Tammaro, David)
Two weeks ago, I contacted Dr. Clay to see if he could help me with my
ETX 105 that wasn't working properly.  The scope had just been
Supercharged last winter and it was working great.  Unfortunately, it
recently got damaged in use during a moment when 1.) I wasn't paying
attention, and 2.) I wasn't being quite careful enough.  Actually it was
a case of a child grabbing the eyepiece/diagonal assembly while trying
to look through the telescope.

Anyway, I sent the scope in to Dr. Clay.   As it turned out the scope
had some major problems in the RA and DEC drives, and it need serious
repair.  More precisely, it sounds as if Clay had to rebuild at least
one of the drives.  The scope has been repaired,  and it's on its way
back to me right now, but there's a story that goes along with it.

It doesn't have a lot of technical information on the repairs that were
made, so in that sense it maybe of  limited benfit for other ETX users. 
But on the other hand, it really does make a statement about what a
special kind of person Dr. Clay is.  He did more than just fix the
scope.  He really went out of his way to help me out when I was in
trouble.  And I'm sure I'm just one of the many.

Especially during the Christmas season, I would be simply thoughtless if
I did not share my story with other ETX users.  I hope that you'll post
at least some of this on the Mighty ETX website.

The whole story follows (just start reading at the bottom).

Thanks, Mike.  And my thanks again to Dr. Clay.  He is the man!

Dave T.
Boston, Massachusetts

-----Original Message-----
From:	Clay Sherrod []
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 3:09 PM
To:	Tammaro, David
Subject:	Re: Problem with ETX-105

Same to you Dave and the greatest of moments with your family this
Season. Make it all special; that little girl will grow up so fast you
will feel like she is aging faster than you.

Merry Christmas.


-----Original Message-----
From:	Tammaro, David 
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 2:38 PM
To:	Tammaro, David; 'Clay Sherrod'
Cc:	''
Subject:	RE: Problem with ETX-105

Hi Clay,

Now it really appears that I'm pestering I'll try to be brief.

My wife just called, and she passed along your message from last night
telling me that you did ship the scope out yesterday.  That's really
great news -  Thank you!!

As I mentioned last week,  you worked me in much sooner than I had any
right to expect, and for that I am greatly appreciative.  And now it
sure sounds like you must have performed a miracle in getting it working
properly again.

When I shipped the scope to you, I told my daughter Gabrielle that it
"was sick, and I was sending it to "The Telescope Doctor" to make it all
better again."  I think now I'll also tell her that The Telescope Doctor
is a good friend of Santa Claus.

I'll let you know when it arrives and I'll stay in touch thereafter.

Thank you for everything Clay, and may you and your family have a
wonderful Christmas!

Dave T.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Clay Sherrod" (
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2002 7:19 PM
Subject: Scope is on its way!

Hello David...

I shipped out your ETX early this morning and it is on its way....turned
out just fine; I took care of the problems in both RA and DEC and
totally rebuilt the DEC drive.  All is well!  Have a Merry Christmas and
enjoy the scope...lots of new comets coming up!


-----Original Message-----
From:	Tammaro, David 
Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 12:45 PM
To:	'Clay Sherrod'
Subject:	RE: Problem with ETX-105

Hi Clay,

Glad to hear from you.  For some reason I didn't get your earlier email.
I really didn't expect you to begin working on my scope so soon.  Thank
you for squeezing me in so quickly.

Yikes!  From the sounds of it there was a lot of damage.  But that was
my suspicion as soon as the accident happened.  Were the optics damaged
at all, and was the scope knocked out of collimation?

I know that the scope couldn't be in better hands right now.  I just
need to know (gulp), before you ship it back, is there anything that
cannot be fixed, or anything that will just never function as well as it
did when it left your shop after the initial Supercharge?  I realize
that there's always the possibility...

Please keep me posted (even if it turns out to be bad news), and let me
know if there's anything else that you need before shipping it back here
to Massachusetts.

Thanks again, Clay.  I really do appreciate all of your effort on my

Dave T.

-----Original Message-----
From:	Clay Sherrod []
Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 11:35 AM
To:	Tammaro, David
Subject:	Re: Problem with ETX-105

Hello David - YES, your scope arrived on Monday and I have been working
on it.  The scope appears to be in fine shape, but the worm gear
assembly has been knocked very much loose from the fork arm and stripped
out; some major problems in RA axis too....I am working on it and all
seems very well.  Should be ready to ship it back on FRIDAY!!

Please let me know if you get this e-mail....


Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

-----Original Message-----
From:	Clay Sherrod []
Sent:	Wednesday, December 04, 2002 7:00 PM
To:	Tammaro, David
Subject:	Re: Problem with ETX-105

Send her on in Dave (well, the telescope, not Gabrielle!)..... Be sure
and e-mail me again your observing location and full address and I will
be ready for the scope.

Best of luck!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tammaro, David" (Tammaro@VNTSCEX.VOLPE.DOT.GOV)
To: "'Clay Sherrod'" (
Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2002 5:41 PM
Subject: RE: Problem with ETX-105


Great. Thank you so much!  You are a life saver.  I can send the scope
in right away, if that's okay.

I'll tell you, I feel a lot better now after hearing from you, but this
was a tough one to swallow.  I really I wish I had gotten interested in
atronomy when I was kid.  Now I have a chance to help my daughters and
our two neices to some day develop an interest in the night sky.  So if
one of the kids ever asks if they can take a look through the telescope
(even to look at birds),  I don't want to say "no."  In hindsight
though, the accident was preventable.   I guess I learned the hard way
that I need to be a bit more careful.

Funny thing though, it may not be our niece who becomes the world's next
great astronomer.  It may turn out to be my my older daughter Gabrielle.
When she was an infant, I use to carry her out into the yard, bundled up
in a blanket, and I'd hold her in my arms while we looked up at the
moon, stars and planets.  She's 3 now and about once a week she gets her
blanket and asks me to take her outside.  Last night at around 7:30, she
asked to go outside because she wanted to see Saturn.  Now, she's a
sharp little kid, but how she knew that Saturn was just rising up over
the neighbor's house at that time is beyond me.

I'll send you the tracking numbers once the telescope is shipped, which
will hopefully be tomorrow or the next day.  I know you'll take good
care of it.

Thanks again for your help.  I really do appreciate it.

Dave T.

-----Original Message-----
From:	Clay Sherrod []
Sent:	Wednesday, December 04, 2002 4:18 PM
To:	Tammaro, David
Subject:	Re: Problem with ETX-105

Dog gone it....I am so sorry.  What is curious is that kids is the most
common element of damage to these scopes, in all seriousness....

I have several suspicions as to what has happened; first it is very
likely that the locking mechanism for the DEC assembly has been warped
to where it will not engage.  That in itself would not give all the
issues you are describing; I am prone to believe that the DEC "worm gear
assembly" has been pulled loose from the right fork arm OR that the
actual OTA support arm (the swinging arm that holds the telescope to the
mount arm) has been sheared away from the locking clips underneath.

Send it down here and let me tear into it and get it working right;
whatever happened is NOT good and it obviously is not performing
properly and likely will get worse.  Since you just paid for a
Supercharge, just put $100 in there and some return UPS and I will fix
it up as good as new; I doubt I will need to get parts, as the 105's
have strong steel components where the damage was done and I can likely
fix and refit.

Let me know!

Sorry...but thanks for working with the kids...she might be our next
Carl Sagan.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

-----Original Message-----
From:	Tammaro, David 
Sent:	Wednesday, December 04, 2002 3:44 PM
To:	'Clay Sherrod'
Subject:	Problem with ETX-105

Hi Clay,

I wish I could have been writing on a more positive note, but I'm afraid
my ETX-105 may have been damaged the other day when it was being used
for some terrestrial observing.  Maybe be it's nothing serious, but
something's not right.  I was hoping you might be able to help.  Here's
what happened:

I was using the scope to watch birds at a neighbor's bird feeder 100
yards away and in trying to be "the nice uncle", I agreed to let our 4
year old niece look through the scope at the birds.  The scope was
already aimed and focused and I had been sitting on a stool set up
behind the telescope.  As I stepped aside, the little girl's mother
picked her up and sat her on the stool.   Before I had a chance to ask
either of them not to touch anything, my niece reached up, grabbed the
eyepiece/diagonal assembly and "yanked" it downward so she could look
through the eyepiece.

The scope had originally been pointed down hill a bit and I was using
the electronic controller (not the AutoStar) to navigate, so the
horizontal and vertical locks were fully engaged when my niece grabbed
the scope.  She pulled it down pretty hard and the abrupt movement left
the scope un-responsive to commands from the electronic controller.   I
turned off the power, unplugged the controller, and released the
horizontal and vertical locks.  Then I tried to set everything back up
to see if I could get the scope to move properly again.

The thing that concerns me is that I now have to tighten the vertical
lock very tightly (much tighter than in the past) to stop free hand
vertical rotation of the OTA and to engage the vertical motor drive
clutch.  After I've gotten the vertical lock knob turned tightly enough,
everything seemed to work okay, but I really have tighten the knob now. 
Up until this happened, I only needed to tighten it to the point of just
being firm.  Now I have to go quite a bit beyond firm to get to the
point where the scope will not move vertically under light hand pressure
and will respond properly to commands from the hand controller.

The eyepiece/diagonal assembly never got near the rotational base of the
scope so I don't believe there was any damage to the eyepiece, diagonal
or OTA.  I just have a sinking feeling that the gears, the clutch or
something else inside is all messed up.

I can tell there is something wrong, and I don't want to cause any
additional problems so I haven't used the scope since this happened.

At this point, my first inclination is to ask about your soonest opening
for a SuperCharge/repair.  If you'll take me on (again), I wouldn't
hesitate to send it down and have you take a look at it.

Needless to say, I'm very disappointed.

Can you help me?

Dave T.
And a final note from Clay:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Thanks and Merry Christmas to you both....
I would do it again in a is too short to not reach out
to others any time you can.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	RX 14
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 13:34:32
From: (L&P Schmidt)
I have two star charting programs that show C/2001 RX14 is in Ursa Major
not Auriga.

Lenny Schmidt

Subject:	reply to RA Axis Jumps, in General
Sent:	Tuesday, December 17, 2002 2:24:53
From: (Al Adrian)

Subject: RA axis jumps the wrong way when manually slewing on nw model
Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2002 17:34:36
From: (Alan McDonald)

While using my scope the other night, I noticed that I was having

Out of curiosity, I went back to the standard hand controller, and it
does the same thing (although it is happens very quickly because it
moves SO fast as it overcompensates for backlash, as though its

My ETX-105 does this in DEC.  No amount fiddling with training or
percentages will make it better.  While inside tightening up the slop
caused by loose motor mounts (see another message by me last month) I
carefully watched what was going on in DEC while it was doing this
initial wrong movement.. I think It's caused by lateral slop in the worm
gear assy.  When the system starts to reverse, the whole worm gear assy.
moves a bit, (in a direction that is not rotation) causing the scope to
continue in it's original direction for a bit, before reversing. I
haven't worked out a fix for this yet, (that doesn't obviously violate
the warrantee) perhaps Clay could offer some advice.


Subject:	Filter to view Saturn
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 16:46:09
I don't know which filter I should get to view Saturn.

I'm looking it without a filter for the past 1 month. and all I can see
is a bright star with a ring... What should I do?

When will you have a new book for ETX?

Thank you for answer my question.
Merry Christmas.

Mike here: Orion Telescopes and Binoculars has an excellent write up on their site.
As to a new revision of the book, thanks for the interest.
Subject:	Max Magnification
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 11:29:21
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
a friend wrote me the following:

"What probably won't be very efficient for you is a Barlow, since you
have enough (again, IMO) higher mag eyepieces (26,22,18,9). You dont
need anything smaller than the 9mm since its already close to your
scopes' Maximum Effective Magnification (MEM for ETX-125 is 125x2=250,
mag with 9mm is 1900/9 = x211). A 7mm would be way beyond your MEM and
the difference to the 8mm is unnoticeable."

is this true about my MEM.  i shouldn't purchase eyepices with a
magnification of les than 9mm?

Mike here: There are times when you can exceed the theoretical maximum magnification and get views that are OK. I've done this many times on bright objects like the Moon and brighter planets when the seeing is really good. But I don't make it a habit.
Subject:	More on eye relief
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 5:02:29
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
i have been doing my required research into eyegpieces before making
another purchase (i have now the Meade MA9mm, Meade 18mm SWA, and Rini
22mm).  i now have reached a difficulty that maybe you can "resolve".  i
wear eyeglasses which led me to the discovery that "eye releif" may be
important to me.  so what should i do?  i would like to by a set of
Vixen Lanthums, which provide good eye releif for high powers but i
cannot afford it right now.  help!  do the high power UWA have good eye
relief, like theMeade UWA 4.7mm?  could i buy low powerd eyepieces and
rely on a barlow?  does the barlow affect eye releif?  are their
different quality barlows?

thanks for the help
Mike here: Further down this General Feedback page there is an item on Eye Relief. Check that out for some answers. There are good Barlow Lenses and not so good ones. For the ETX, use the ones recommended by Meade for best results. You can use others as long as focus can be reached.
Subject:	RE: Image shift problem
Sent:	Monday, December 16, 2002 0:07:14
From: (Nils Schwarz)
OK, so frustration gained the upper hand, and I spent Saturday morning
conducting open heart surgery on the OTA. I found that the main mirror
was very loosely attached to the backing plate (which the focus rod
links into). It is held down by a ring that threads onto the baffle tube
passing through the middle of the mirror. I rested the whole assembly on
the end of the baffle tube, and by turning the backing plate one way and
the mirror the other way, managed to get the ring to tighten down very

There was also half a tub of runny grease between the backing plate and
the collimation plate. I never understand why manufacturers drown
everything in grease. I cleaned this off and also cleaned the inside of
the baffle tube. I then applied a very thin layer of high temperature
grease to the outside of the inner baffle tube and to the bottom seat of
the backing plate. After sliding the mirror assembling back down the
inner baffle tube, I tested the movement of the focus, and it seemed
very smooth.

I put everything back together, and took it out that evening. I was able
to focus on Saturn using a Meade 6.4mm Ploessl and with a 4.7mm
Ultrawide, with only minimal shift in the image during focus.

Problem appears to be solved. I hope this is of use to some other
frustrated ETX users.

Now all I have to do is to get the @#$%^^$ polar alignment in the
Southern Hemisphere right!

Nils Schwarz
Sua Pan (What is light pollution?? Never heard of it.)
Republic of Botswana
Mike here: You might want to check the collimation by doing a "star test". See if the rings are concentric.
Subject:	Orion on my wall
Sent:	Sunday, December 15, 2002 19:29:38
From: (Joe Rodricks)
Mr. Weasner, Mr. Sherrod;

Now that I am mostly done with my final exams, I have more time to spend
with astronomy. However, I have been plagued with clouds lately and the
forecast for snow doesn't seem to be any more promising. My new scope
(an LXD55 6" Schmidt-Newt) is on an (atleast) 8-week back order. So it's
back to the books for me. I finally had time to start your guide on
Orion, Mr. Sherrod. Which I'd like to now thank you for. As for Mr.
Weasner, the thanks for your work in amateur astronomy, through your
website and book, goes without saying.

I used my Epoch 2000 software to measure the linear distance between the
main stars in Orion. I printed several copies of him and scaled them
such that 5 degrees = 1 foot. I then transcribed the drawing onto the
wall in my bedroom. I tried my best to keep the angles and distances
accurate. Right now I am using paper reinforcing stickers to mark the
locations of my stars and DSOs. I plan on scaling the size of them based
on magnitude.

Find attached a photograph of my wall.

Joe Rodricks, 18, MA
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Joe....great to hear from you again and thanks for the
picture...what a great project!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43

Subject:	RA axis jumps the wrong way when manually slewing on nw model EXT-125
Sent:	Sunday, December 15, 2002 17:34:36
From: (Alan McDonald)
Thanks for all the help in the past, Mike!  I looked all around your
site for this one, figuring that somebody must have experienced this
one, but had no luck.  I was hoping that you could post this to see if
anybody else has this minor annoyance, and if they found a fix for it:

While using my scope the other night, I noticed that I was having
difficulty getting objects centered, which I attributed to a previously
rushed training session, and setting DEC and RA percentages without
really testing them.  So I decided to set my percentages to "01",
re-train the drives on Polaris, and then find better percentages for my
scope.  During the process of trying to find the best percentages (still
on Polaris with the tracking still off), I noticed that the RA drive
does something peculiar - when changing direction, it initially
continues in the original direction (goes the wrong way!) for about two
or three arc minutes of motion, and then reverses and starts going in
the right direction after that.  No amount of changes to the percentages
eliminated this, and re-training again did nothing as well.  It occurs
either when tracking stars or used in terrestrial mode.  This strange
action was the key to my difficulties centering objects, as I kept
reversing directions when the scope went the wrong way before - so I was
jumping all over the place.

Out of curiosity, I went back to the standard hand controller, and it
does the same thing (although it is happens very quickly because it
moves SO fast as it overcompensates for backlash, as though its
"percentage" was set at over 99%, so it is easy to miss).  So I doubt
the autostar is to blame (FYI, it is running the 2.6Ec version of
software).  It must be in the electronics within the scope itself.  This
does not happen at in the DEC axis with either controller.

Ultimately, I can live with this condition, now that I know that it
exists.  It does not seem to affect tracking or goto capability, since
the scope never seems to loose encoder counts (I've gone to Polaris,
reversed direction a couple of dozen times, and then a second goto lands
the star in the same place in the eyepiece).  But is sure is annoying .
. . yet another wacky ETX quirk with which to contend.

Also, some data for consideration on the drive slop in this new
construction scope (bearings and aluminum support arms): when setting
the DEC percentage so that I get movement within one second of changing
direction, yet still no jumping on any speed, I found that the optimal
value is about 50% (pretty high, base on postings from others).  I still
do not know what to do in RA, as the "wrong way blues" is a little
confusing.  Right now I have it at 40%, which moves it the wrong way
quickly and then reverses the gears and takes up most of the backlash,
but the scope still is not quite back to where it started.  Any higher
than 40% and it gets kind of jumpy on some of the speeds.  At least I
can work with this - although it is still confusing to the brain when
slewing very slowly, like at 2x sidereal.

Has anybody out there experienced this?  If so, any luck curing it?

Subject:	2" eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, December 15, 2002 11:04:04
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
what is the difference between a 1.25" and a 2" eyepiece?
can i use a 2" with my 125ETX just as simply as a 1.25"?

Mike here: But seriously, 2" eyepieces typically provide wider field of view but they are normally much heavier than 1.25" eyepieces. You would need a 1.25" to 2" eyepiece adapter.
Subject:	School Astronomy Club - The Home Astronomical Observatory Project
Sent:	Sunday, December 15, 2002 3:21:04
From: (mjcripps)
I wrote to you last January about my intention to start a school
astronomy club based around ETX telescopes at a high school in Norfolk,
UK. Well, we re up and running and now have a website at   At the moment the articles are by me and
include astrophotography using an ETX 105 and 70.  We were very
fortunate to receive financial support from the 'Royal Commission for
the Exhibition of 1851'. The members are becoming proficient at using
their telescopes (5 ETX 90s, 2 ETX 70s, a Celestron 80GT and an 8
Newtonian Dob) binoculars, Nikon 995 and SLRs.  They will start using
webcams and laptops over the New Year.   I expect them to begin posting
their own pages in the near future.

Your site has been invaluable to us in setting up the club and project. 
We have posted a link to your site on ours and would be very happy for
you tell people about us.  If any educators around the world would like
any advice from our experiences (or could give some!)they should feel
free to contact me at my e-mail address.

Many thanks for your inspiration,


Mike Cripps

Subject:	Scopetronix thread on solar filter question
Sent:	Saturday, December 14, 2002 19:35:35
From: (Mike Ashton)
Have you heard anything about the new thread on solar filter scopetronix
is selling? It's 65 bucks (not sure if that is expensive or not) ...
Sounds like that would be alot of fun. Not knowing enough about looking
at the sun, I hope it has some detailed instructions. Would something
like this last a long time? I'd assume since it is a thread on filter it
would be pretty darn safe...Of course I work from 7am -4:30pm so I'd
have to look on weekends. Thanks for your help!

Mike here: The screw-on type provides extra security in that it keeps the solar filter from falling off in the wind or if the telescope is pointed downwards. Beyond that, it is pretty much the same as any solar filter (see the Accessory Reviews - Filters page). It will last as long as you with care (assuming you take care of you too!). You just need to protect the surface from scratches and minor ones of those can be overcome.
Subject:	meade 16" starfinder
Sent:	Friday, December 13, 2002 21:13:15
First of all I would like to say I use your site as a standard when
choosing new accessories.  My dad and I are uning Meade (Wal-mart
reflecting telescope) 4.5 telescope.  We live about 3 hours for Fort
Davis Texas.  We are condisering a 16" meade dob.  I see alot of
observers using ETX telescopes.  I went to a starparty @ McDonalds
observarory and was hooked when i looked through a 12.5" Discovery
trusss.  We would like to stay under the $1,500.00 mark.  Would you
recommend a ETX or sticking with our choice of the Meade 16" Starfinder.
 We have a 8' trailer we are thinking about rigging up to transport the
telescope.  I realize it is a big scope but we are both hooked.

When we observe the Andromida Galixy all we see is a fuzzy blob.  Can we
expect to see some detail?  What about color in nebula?

Any suggestions or links you could provide would be greatly appreciated?

As dark as the skys are here you would thing there would be a booming
telescope industry.

Mike here: Really large apertures will let you see more details and colors in some objects. I looked at M42 in Orion through a 20" Dob and was really impressed with the colors and details. (And then there was the 3.5m telescope at Kitt Peak...) Certainly way more than can be seen with less aperture. As to M31 in Andromeda, typically when you look at it through a telescope you are viewing just the nucleus of the galaxy. The whole galaxy is so large that its extent is best viewed through binoculars! You might search the internet for "dobsonian"; I would expect you'll find some good sites.
Subject:	ETX-105 R.A.scale
Sent:	Friday, December 13, 2002 13:20:38
From: (karengary)
Hi Mike from the Channel Island Jersey (49.2N  2.1W). Thanks to your
wonderful site I am now the proud owner of a 105. This may seem a silly
question,but the Right Ascension scale is too big for the slot it's
meant to sit in! Is this normal? and would it be O.K. to cut and glue
the scale back in the right place.

Thanks for the great site

Gary Aubert
Mike here: That is strange. You may never use the RA setting circle if you have the Autostar. So, unless you need it, just remove it (I've removed the one on my ETX-125EC). If you do need it you can reglue the ends; just be certain the overlap is correct so that the full 24 hours appears. Don't glue the tape to the telescope; it is supposed to be free to move.
Subject:	Super Plossel eye relief?
Sent:	Friday, December 13, 2002 11:14:09
From: (Anders Nilsen)
I am new to your site and new to the ETX, and very pleased indeed that
so much information are provided free to anyone. Cheers to you for all
the work you must be doing editing the whole lot.

I have just bought an ETX-90EC and in fact have not even recieved it
yet, so maybe you might say it's a bit too soon to ask questions when
not having even used the scope yet. Well, this is most certain true but
as the special anniversary offer from Meade on the Super Plssel 4000 set
of eyepieces runs out by december 31, unfortunately I'm in a bit of a
hurry as christmas days are coming fast.

My concern is with the eye relief of these eye pieces, as I am wearing
glasses. I have visited the Meade web site but been unable to find any
precise information there on this issue at all. I hope that either you
or someone reading my post will be able to direct me to where I can find
these spec's, if they exists at all. From surfin' around the Mighty ETX
site it seems that the eye relief of the Super Plssels is not especially
impressive with the shorter focal lengths so maybe Meade hesitates to
publish the spec's?


Anders Nilsen
Mike here: Saw this on the LXD55 group:
Astronomics --> Accessories > Eyepieces & Barlows > Meade > Series 4000
and then select more details for each eyepiece.


Thank you for your reply to my post about the eye relief of the Meade
super plssels. I looked at the link to the Astronomics website and got
all the info that I needed. I will reconsider bying the Super plssel set
and maybe go for a good zoom eyepiece instead, as those seem to
generally have an eye relief about 20 mm.

I hope as I get more experienced I will be able to make some
contributions to your site.

Thank you very much.

Anders Nilsen

Subject:	Please HELP me find a scope!
Sent:	Friday, December 13, 2002 11:06:00
From: (Tony Lobianco)
I'm a big fan and loved your book, and was hoping you could lend me some
advice. I'm looking for a telescope to view deep-space objects as well
as the local planets. I understand the quality is really not there with
anything under 8".

I'm not sure what kind or type of scope to purchase. On eBay I see 8"
scopes like this one:

selling for around $200 and then Meade LX 8" goes over $1500 and I would
love the computer controls option...

Please advise. Is there anything in the $700 range of good enough

Mike here: Large Dobsonian telescopes can provide nice views. But they typically lack a GOTO system (although one can be added at extra cost). Smaller telescopes like the ETX-105EC and ETX-125EC will also provide nice views. But if you are looking for a larger telescope at lower prices with a GOTO capability you might want to consider the Meade LXD55 line. The Schmidt-Newtonians have large apertures but short focal lengths. I now have the LXD55 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain which has an 8" aperture and a 2000mm focal length and includes the Autostar #497. But it is not as portable the ETX line. So, besides cost, you need to decide about portability and how much DSO viewing you want to do.
Subject:	case
Sent:	Friday, December 13, 2002 4:12:09
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
i just read your review of Shutan's deluxe soft sided case.
you said also:
"Yes, you can find lower priced and generally functional softsided cases"
would you please reccommend one, i can't seem to find one.

Mike here: There are many ideas on the Cases page.
Subject:	More on zoom eyepiece
Sent:	Friday, December 13, 2002 4:07:06
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
can a zoom lens be used with a barlow lens?
Mike here: Yes, as long as focus can be reached. But you probably won't need to use it, unless you want to try to exceed the telescope's max magnification.


what do you mean?  "as long as focus can be reached"?
wouldn't i still need/want to use the 2x barlow for the lower power
magnification of the zoom eyepiece?

thanks for all the help
Mike here: Lets see, if the zoom is say 8-24x, why add more glass (which absorbs light and decreases image quality) to double the 16-24x to get 8-12, since those focal lengths are already available. If you want double the short end, you may find you have come close or exceeded the max magnification for the telescope. As to focusing, not all combinations of telescope, barlow lens, and eyepiece will work.
Subject:	Meade email
Sent:	Thursday, December 12, 2002 15:33:32
From: (H Kong)
I like to ask a favour.
I recently bought the ETX 90EC from the US through a relative who then
brought it over to me in Australia on a visit. Prior to leaving he also
wrote to Meade for the $99 Eyepiece offer for delivery to a US address
ofcourse. It's now more than a month and the eyepieces have not yet
arrived. I wanted to get in touch with Meade to inquire about the status
of my order by email, not wishing to ring IDD from Australia. However,
Meade's website does not give any email contact addresses. Would or any
of your correspondents have an appropriate email address for Meade's
Customer Service? Or don't they believe in or entertain email

Thanks again for a great web site... my constant source of reference and
H Kong
Mike here: Unfortunately, Meade does not have a customer support email address. As to the eyepiece deal, there have been reports that it can take a month or two, depending upon how their stock is at the time your order comes in. I got lucky and got it in a week after my request. Since the eyepieces depend upon non-Meade suppliers, they are somewhat at they mercy of things out of their control. I would suggest having your relative check whether the check or credit card order has cleared.
Subject:	ETX 125EC Flip Mirror Defect
Sent:	Thursday, December 12, 2002 13:51:56
From: (Graham Evans)
To: Paul,

I saw your question on the Mike's mighty ETX site.

A couple of contact points -

The company who import Meade scopes into the UK are Broadhurst Clarkson
and Fuller Ltd: Telephone 01892 616131, Email,
website You could ask them about warranty issues.

I recently bought my ETX-105 from Darkstar - - 01686 420346 - they are a family outfit
(authorised Meade dealers) and the owner talked about some of the
repairs he had had to do on Meade scopes. He does not only do this for
people local to him, but also with items being shipped in by various
carriers, so I'm sure he could advise on that aspect too. If you had to
get it done under your own steam that would be a possible place to

Hope that helps.

Good luck,
From: (Paul Coxhill)
That was just the information I was hoping for - what a tremendous site
Mike runs!!! Thank you very much, Graham. I will use your contacts as
soon as I have exhausted what will probably be a futile attempt at
asking Meade in the U.S. for assistance. I faxed them a couple of days
ago, (they don't appear to have an e-mail address) but as yet, no reply.
The break I suffered is so frustrating on what is otherwise an excellent
telescope, but anyone with an ounce of sense would not use a thin piece
of plastic to act as a bearing for the flip mirror adjustment rod. Have
a look at yours when the mirror is down and you will see what I mean and
take great care when adjusting the flip mirror position - I don't expect
the repair / replacement to be cheap!!
Thanks again, Graham.
Paul Coxhill

Subject:	cold batteries
Sent:	Thursday, December 12, 2002 8:34:37
From: (Jindra Ekl)
My name is Henry Ekl and I really enjoy your site ! I got ETX90 and
there is always something to learn with that scope. I got one little
proble, and thats why I am writing you.  If i am outside and it's really
cold( -10C), my battery freezes, what I do with this ?
Mike here: Batteries don't like really cold temperatures. You could get (or make) an AC Adapter.
Subject:	Mount question
Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 13:10:20
From: (Joe Rodricks)
I think for Christmas, I'm going to ask my parents for a new mount for
my ETX90 EC.  I'll miss the goto, but I'd rather have long-exposure
photography-quality tracking than a computer to tell me where things
are. Plus, it's easy enough to take the OTA off the computer fork
mounts. What do you think off mounting it on an equatorial mount? I know
it'll look kind of silly, but it'll allow me to upgrade to a different
OTA someday. I was looking at Orion's SkyView Pro, with the dual-morot
drive. I like the unit because u do not lose the manual fine-tuning
control with the units installed. Can you recommend a suitable mount ? I
think in the future I will upgrade to a larger OTA, maybe keep my etx as
a guidescope. Have u heard anything about this mount? It retails for
$300 plus another $120 for the electronic drive. I searched the internet
for revies but came up empty. Thanks for the help.

Joe Rodricks, 18
Mike here: Any GEM mount would work as long as you can attach the ETX OTA. If you plan to switch to a larger telescope later then be certain the mount can handle the larger scope. As to the Orion mounts, I've seen good comments about them elsewhere. Of course, the alternative it just polar mounting your ETX on its tripod (using a wedge perhaps or just tilting the head for your latitude).
Subject:	hi...
Sent:	Wednesday, December 11, 2002 4:59:22
From: (Jaques)
Jaques, Brazilian..  :)
I would like to know to ocular UWA8.8 it would be one good purchase for
my ETX125 adapted in camera 35mm?

thanks...         (sorry the english :))

Jaques Yoshiharu Y. 
ICQ#: 64100007
      Current ICQ status:     
+  More ways to contact me 
Mike here: That would make a nice eyepiece.
Subject:	ETX UHTC & Glasses
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 19:55:26
From: (T.H. Kong)
Thanks for the incredible web site. I have been contemplating the hobby
for a long time and site like yours in particular have finally convinced

I, like Bill Farmakidis (posting of 1 Dec 2002), is also from the
colonies - Downunder!! I've just taken delivery of the ETX90EC, in a
convoluted route through relatives living in the US. Haven't had a
chance to try it out yet ... I want to read as much as I can before
tinkering with it!

I have 2 (initial) questions:

1.	My scope (from Cameraland, NY) is supposed to come with UHTC; how
do I know it has UHTC? There's no labels or markings to indicate that! I
don't know whether I've been ripped off.
2.	I wear eye glasses. Should I be better off or not to wear glasses
when viewing through the scope? Can you direct me to any tips/sites on
the subject?

Thanking you in advance.

Mike here: On my LXD55 8"SC there is a UHTC label on the underside of the telescope tube. Also, the UHTC coating looks blue-ish whereas the standard coating on my ETX-125EC is more purple-ish, although the difference is somewhat subtle. Whether you need to wear your glasses or not will depend upon why you need them. For distance vision you probably want them as you will likely focus the eyepiece to infinity. However, if they are a minor correction you could likely use the telescope without them. If they are reading glasses, try using the telescope without them.
Subject:	Eyepiece simulator
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 16:21:06
From: (Ken Martin)
If you haven't already seen this check out:

Ken Martin

Subject:	Zoom eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 12:14:37
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
i was looking into purchasing a Zoom lens (8mm - 24mm),
is this something that a beginner should stay away from?

thanks for all the help
Mike here: Zoom eyepieces can be nice. See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
Subject:	ETX 125EC Flip Mirror Defect
Sent:	Tuesday, December 10, 2002 10:35:18
From: (Paul Coxhill)
Brilliant site - it's a pity my first contact isn't to provide examples
of photographs or tips for something. Hopefully I will be able to when
my telescope is repaired.

I've had an ETX 125EC for three months and due to the poor skies in
England, only had opportunity to use it three time prior to tonight.

The incredible excitement that I initially had has now turned to
absolute despair because of what is an obvious design fault / poor
material choice resulting in a failure. My flip mirror no longer flips
due to the breaking of the plastic collar through which the flip mirror
control bar passes (visible when removing the end dust cap). I was
wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem and how they
rectified it.

As I bought the telescope while I was in America, I doubt that I will
have any kind of warranty now that I am back in England. Any suggestions
gratefully received.


Paul Coxhill
Mike here: Sorry to hear this. I don't recall any breakage reports on that report. Most likely it will require Meade to repair it and ensure proper collimation. However, if you don't want to pursue that you could add a star diagonal at the rear port. You would need the SCT adapter though (mentioned on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page).
Subject:	ETX-105EC with UHTC
Sent:	Monday, December 9, 2002 11:39:14
From: (A Aldabra)
I am considering buying an ETX-105EC, and I have come across a carefully
used one which is reasonably priced. The owner claims it is a UHTC
coated model, pointing to the "ultra high resolution.." caption on the
old cardboard box. Do you know if there is any way of confirming his
claim? Are there any markings, serial numbers or part numbers that can
be verified by Meade?

Thanking you in advance- Aldabra
Mike here: On my LXD55 8"SC there is a UHTC label on the underside of the telescope tube. Also, the UHTC coating looks blue-ish whereas the standard coating on my ETX-125EC is more purple-ish, although the difference is somewhat subtle.
Subject:	Image shift problem
Sent:	Monday, December 9, 2002 2:40:25
From: (Nils Schwarz)
Thank you for a highly informative site. I received my second hand
ETX125EC on 29 November, and with the help of your site was able to
figure out how to set it up and use it in time for the eclipse on 4
December. I live in Botswana, Africa, and we had a fantastic view of it

From the various submissions that appear on your site, I figured out
that I had bought an ETX which suffers from the common "image shift"
problem when focusing. Even with a 26mm eyepiece there is very
pronounced movement when focusing. Using a 9.7mm to look at Saturn made
it impossible to focus properly as the shift moved it right out of the
FOV. If I look into the OTA from the front while turning the focus,
there is a noticeable movement of the mirror.

I have been unable to track down a definitive cause for this, or even
better the fix, on your website. The advice generally given is to send
the scope back to Meade. Living where I do, that is not an option, so I
have to sort things out myself. Do you know if anyone has figured out
the cure for this problem? I have tried the advice of turning the focus
fully in and out to distribute the grease evenly, but it made no

I am quite prepared to disassemble the thing myself, but I need a bit of
advice on what to look for and what I have to avoid  fiddling with. Any
advice would be greatly appreciated

With thanks

Nils Schwarz
Sua Pan (What is light pollution?? Never heard of it.)
Republic of Botswana
Mike here: Check the "ETX-90 Image Shift fix" article on the Telescope Tech Tips page. If that isn't the cure you need then check the collimation (article on the Telescope Tech Tips page). If the optics are seriously out of alignment then you have two choices: return to Meade or try to collimate the ETX yourself. The latter is not something you should try unless you are willing to run the risk of making things worse. If you do want to try collimating, there are articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page that will help. This will be a time-consuming task, prone to frustration, and as I mentioned, can lead to worse problems.
Subject:	collimation
Sent:	Sunday, December 8, 2002 17:43:56
From: (Lola Hixon)
Could you please tell me what the Chritmas Tree Test is . My 90ec seems
to be losing it's image quality. I'm getting a lot of  light around
Jupiter when viewing, instead of the clear crisp image I used to view.

Any suggestions ?
 Thank You......
Mike here: The "Christmas Ornament" test uses a silvered ball ornament to reflect a strong light (including the Sun) as a point source. You can also use a star (see the "Collimation Test" article on the Telescope Tech Tips page). Also, could you be getting stray light into the OTA via the tripod mounting holes on the underside of the OTA (for use as a spotting scope)?
Subject:	etx
Sent:	Saturday, December 7, 2002 5:11:32
From: (Russell)
I would not have seen what I have seen if I had not seen what I saw here
at your site.

That is, thank you.
  -Russell M.
(who recently purchased an ETX125)

Subject:	ETX70AT vs ETX90EC
Sent:	Friday, December 6, 2002 18:41:51
From: (Kim Aylward)
First, your website is amazing and I appreciate it greatly in my search
to buy a good telescope at a reasonble price for "amateurs with
potential".  I am looking to get a scope that will not limit me but will
not be "too much".  I have scoured your page but one thing I didn't see
much if anything of is the comparison between the 70AT and the 90EC.  I
realize the 90EC has a larger jump from the 70AT in price but I am
wondering if it is a justified difference.  One of my biggest concerns
with the 70AT is the fact that you cannot use an AC adaptor or car
adaptor and I don't want to rely on disposable batteries.  What is your
opinion on the differences in the current offerings of these two models?
Is the large cost difference justified for an amateur or not?

Sidenote: In my research it seems that Meade used to provide an AC
adaptor capabitlity in its 70AT because I have some MEADE documentation
that states this... maybe an older version??

Thanks so much!

Kim Aylward
Blacksburg, Virginia
Mike here: Regarding the ETX-70AT vs ETX-90, see my comments on the Helpful Information: Buyer/New User Tips page. You might also want to look at the User Observations page. There is an AC adapter for the ETX-70AT. It is Meade part #546 ($20). There are alternatives discussed on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Re: a question for you
Sent:	Friday, December 6, 2002 0:34:41
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
i want to purchase a carrying case .
i was considering either a Deluxe Hard Case for ETX-125EC  made by Meade
or the Deluxe Soft Case for Meade ETX made by Shutan.
they are about the same price.
i already checked out the accessory reviews and i was wondering which
you thought was a better Case.

thanks for all the help
Mike here: Depends upon your need. Do you need a hard or soft sided case? Keep in mind that the hard sided cases are typically larger than a soft sided case for the same telescope. I'll be posting a review of the Shutan Deluxe Soft Cases soon.


the problem is i do not know what i need.
why would i need a hard or soft case?

Mike here: If you travel with the telescope you probably want to protect it somehow. There are many alternative cases (see the Accessory Reviews - Cases page).


if i want to take the scope in my car and drive outside the city, or
take it on a airplane as carry-on how much protection does it need?
does the soft case provide no protection at all?

thanks for the patience
Mike here: I normally use my softcase when travelling. As long as you can carry it on an airliner, a softcase works fine. But if you have to check it you'll want a VERY GOOD hardcase. Bottom line: if the telescope is always under your control and you exercise care, a softcase is adequate.
Subject:	Re: another question for you
Sent:	Friday, December 6, 2002 0:06:35
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
i am not interested in terrestial observing;
so why would i want to own a low powered eyepiece like 32mm or 40mm,
Mike here: Wide field views, like of the Milky Way star fields or large open star clusters. But long focal length eyepieces are certainly not a requirement unless they satisfy a need that you have.
Subject:	Color Filters?
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 10:17:20
From: (Ken Martin)
Here is another excellent article on the use of color filters, as well
as other specialty filters.

Ken Martin

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 10:07:04
From: (dale)
I have a Meade ETX-125.  I took it camping and unfortunately the jarring
around in the camper,  broke one of the finder scopes alignment screws. 
Any idea on where to purchase any of these?   I tried Meade and they
werent much help
Dale in Phoenix
Mike here: I'm surprised Meade wouldn't send you a replacement screw. If you have an older computer SCSI, serial, or parallel cable you might try one of the small screws on the connector. It might work. Alternatively, just take one of the screws to your local hardware store and match it there.
Subject:	The new Meade #140 x2 Barlow w/ ETX-125EC
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 8:53:27
From: (Or Dubnov)
I have recently purchased the new 3-element #140 bralow from Meade, with
my ETX-125. When trying to use it I noticed it does not go 'all the way'
in where the EP should go, but about half-way. This has a feeling of not
being 'air-tight' or if I can say so, 'light-tight'..

First, I wanted to ask if this is normal for the barlow to not slide
entirely into the EP housing, or have I bought an accesory that does not
fit my scope. Second, when using the barlow I sometimes get some 'ghost'
blurs, especially when looking at bright objects, i.e. the moon at 90%.
I haven't noticed this happening with my other EP's (40mm, SWA18mm).
could this have anything to do with the barlow not sliding all the way
in? or could it be the larger than usual magnification Im getting?
Should I have gone for one of the other barlows, like the shorty?

Thanx again for being the professional address when questions like these

Best Regards,
Or Dubnov
Mike here: Long Barlow Lens and eyepieces will not slide fully in. This may or may not matter. If there is a problem it will be an inability to reach focus. For the ETX line (and some other telescopes) a "shorty" Barlow Lens is the type that is recommended. The "ghost blurs" sound like an internal reflection. Probably not caused by the longer tube.
Subject:	Re: Super newbie
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 7:40:20
From: (Alan P. Zabarsky)

You were correct.  [about MODE selecting to focus]

I've had my 125 for over a year but have never really used it  now we
have moved to Scottsdale  the skys seem a bit darker than Chicago and I
want to use it!


Subject:	Jupiter through my ETX 70
Sent:	Thursday, December 5, 2002 1:45:12
From: (Newey, Ian D.)
I wonder if you are able to give me some info on Jupiter. I have
searched the web but can't find the info there.

Last night was nice and clear and Jupiter was shining brightly in the
east, so I got the trusty ETX out. I don't think I could ever get bored
looking at the planets. I could clearly see the four moons. Three of
them were at about ten o'clock to the planet and one was at about 4
o'clock. My question is, is there any way I can tell which is which. Are
they always in the same order?

Many thanks

Ian Newey UK

p.s. even my wife got excited about seeing Jupiter so clearly.
Mike here: Check the Astronomy Links page. There are two Jupiter moon calculators listed, one that runs in a web browser (Java applet) and one as a standalong PC program. Some astronomy software for the Mac, Windows, and Palm systems also have Jupiter moon calculators. Sky & Telescope magazine also has a chart each month of the moons showing their changing positions.


Brilliant Mike
Thanks very much.

Subject:	ETX 90 EC vs ETX 125 EC
Sent:	Wednesday, December 4, 2002 16:36:37
From: (David C. Goldberg)
Being a tinkered I have over the past few years been into and around my
ETX 90.  Now its time to settle down to some serious observing and stop
tinkering.  During my travels through the innards of my old 90 I felt
some levels of disappointment at the quality of the parts that go into
the ETX 90.  I love the form factor and want to move up to the 125 but,
did the beef up the gears, are the forks metal covered in plastic or
just plastic. Bottom line, how do you feel about the 125 today?

David C. Goldberg
Mike here: The ETX-105EC and ETX-125 are good scopes. The fork arms contain more metal than the ETX-125EC had originally.
Subject:	Super newbie
Sent:	Wednesday, December 4, 2002 13:10:45
From: (Alan P. Zabarsky)
Could you please tell me how I focus via the Autostar when I have the
electric focusing unit plugged into the aux jack of my ETX.  I forgot!!

Al Zabarsky
Mike here: I don't have one but I recall reading that you have to press the MODE key for 2 seconds.
Subject:	Color Filters?
Sent:	Tuesday, December 3, 2002 19:20:54
From: (Extreme Clicks)
I purchased the Meade color filters to use with my ETX-70AT. The problem
is I don't have a clue as to what color filter to use for what? I got
the basic set, I think it includes red, yellow, blue, green. I have
tried a couple of them and they did not seem to add any value to the
view at all.

For example, when viewing the Orion nebula would it be clearer if I used
a green filter since it is mostly green in color? How about the moon,
would a certain color filter add detail to the view?

Mike here: Orion Telescopes and Binoculars has an excellent article on filters at:,22,29
Subject:	Difference between ETX and LX Lines
Sent:	Monday, December 2, 2002 12:36:25
From: (Jim Stuck)
I'm just a beginner with an interest in viewing initially the moon and
planets in our solar system.  What is the primary difference between
Meade ETX and LX product lines?  I'm looking for a solid telescope that
won't baffle me as a beginner but will last as I become more
experienced. Currently considering the ETX-125EC due to its larger
f-stop and brightness. Overkill?  Any reservations about buying used? 
Mike here: The ETX series is more low-end than the LX series but the ETX series is still a very capable telescope, as evidenced by what you see and read on my ETX Site. The ETX-125EC is a good choice if you don't need a lot of portability.
Subject:	re: ETX Telescopes
Sent:	Monday, December 2, 2002 3:34:28
From: (Ian Docherty)
What can I say, the wealth of information on the site is amazing, as are
the photographs, which is the reason for me writing to you.

I understand that you dont work for Meade, however from going through
the site you seem to be the Meade master by all accounts and I would
really appreciate some advice.

So here is my question, I am wanting to get into the hobby of
astrophotography and astronomy in general and I decided that I would
like either the ETX 90 or ETX 105, my dilemma is that I can get a new
ETX 90 with a Astroguide handset as a dealer promotion for about 100
pounds less than the ETX 105, should I go for the gadget option with the
90 or would my money be better spent on the optics of the 105. I have
been unable to get a reasonable opinion from anyone at the moment,
hopefully you could give me a bit of guidance. i am assuming that with
either I should get reasonable images of saturn which is my main
interest at the moment along with lunar photography but out of interest
will either of them be able to show me galaxies or nebulae ?

Thanks in advance for your help and congratulations on the site.


P.S. Why do so many people have so many negative comments on what
appears to be a good product ?
Mike here: Either telescope will be able to do some types of astrophotography, as you've seen from the Site. However, since you are into planetary photography you would be better served by the ETX-105EC as it will allow slightly higher magnifications. If you don't need the extra portability of the -90, go for the -105. As to negative experiences, people tend to write when they have problems, not when everything is working perfectly. Hence, there are more problem reports.


Thanks for replying so soon and thanks for the advice. Now all I have to
do is go shopping!

No doubt I will be posting things to site soon and hopefully they will
be astro photos and not negative comments on the 105 !!

Keep up the excellent work


P.S. Am I right in thinking that that the 105 has a slightly better
mount and tracking system with the ball bearings and not completely
nylon tracks, sorry for asking another newby question
Mike here: The ETX-105EC does have a slightly improved mount.
Sent:	Sunday, December 1, 2002 20:15:34
From: (B F)
Thanks again for the site and the book.  Would you please post the
following message in the hope that someone from Meade may respond.

"Would anyone from Meade please tell me when the anniversary eyepieces
are going to arrive in Australia?  The dealer here told me that Meade
were unable to even give a ball-park indication as to when or how (I
find this hard to believe).  Surely Meade would be able to give the
distributor in Australia some indication."

Bill Farmakidis
Mike here: Don't expect Meade to respond on the Site. Perhaps someone in Australia has an answer about them. I got mine (in the states in less than a week).


For your information, the way the deal works outside the USA is that the
consumer gets the eyepieces from the dealer rather than directly from
Meade. The problem is that the dealers are supposedly still waiting for
the stock.

Alas, such are the hardships of life in the colonies...

Bill Farmakidis

Subject:	Congratulations!
Sent:	Sunday, December 1, 2002 01:22:29
From: (David Birmingham)
Hello Mike,

I've been a little delinquent in visiting your site, but I rectified
that tonight.

I saw your post about being the recipient of an LXD55 from OPT so I had
send my congratulations along!

Clear, Dark Skies!


Subject:	Contest
Sent:	Saturday, November 30, 2002 23:14:46
From: (Rick Kindelberger)
Just a short note to let you know that I too wanted to participate in
your photo contest of the moon but I guess the entire west coast was
socked in that weekend.  We had total cloud cover that weekend in the
Bay Area.  Anxiously waiting for the next contest!
Mike here: Well, the whole West Coast (of the USA) wasn't socked in. I got a photo on 15 Nov from home near LA and then had clear skies at OPT in Oceanside on Saturday.

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