ETX USER FEEDBACK - DECEMBER 1998
If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Personal (and subjective) observations with an ETX Sent: Thursday, December 31, 1998 18:46:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Black) Here's a newbie's initial "take" on what can be seen with a modest Kat: all observations with a Meade ETX with Meade SP 26mm, UW 14mm, UW 8.8mm, or UW 6.7 eyepiece: 1. Moon: Incredibly sharp definition of features, particularly along the limbs and the terminator. The crater Alphonsus, with its prominent central peak, was particularly striking in the shallow sunlight of Christmas night, as was the mountain range to the notheast. Other features to the east which were in more overhead lighting, while slightly less defined, were enhanced by the use of a polarizing filter, and yielded satisfactory results. (All with a Meade UW 8.8mm occular; 142X) 2. Jupiter: A noticeably visible disk (quite brilliant!) with one major cloud band discernable.Three of the four Gallilean satelites were plainly visible ( I believe Callisto was behind Jupiter at the time ), usuing the supplied 26mm SP eyepiece ( 48X ). With the UW 14mm eyepiece ( 89X ), there were three to four cloud bands visible (as seeing condition changed) with the planetary disk still quite bright, and all three moons prominent in the field of view. Maybe it was imagination taking over, but there may have been enough light for some color to register slightly at this viewing. The UW 6.7mm ( 186X )yielded a larger disc with vastly deteriorated definition, only one or two fuzzy cloud bands were defined. 3. Saturn. Holy smokes, what is there left to say about THIS view. All there is to be said about this planet has already been said, many times, and far better than I could ever possibly express. Yet... This exquisite sight is eminantly visible with the ETX and its supplied eyepice, so bright and with so much basic definition that I had trouble tearing myself away from it! Under the best seeing of the night, the planetary disc was prominent (oblation and all) and the rings were perfecly executed, although only as a single entity. Titan was a bright point of light. With the 14mm lens, Saturn truly shone! The Cassini division in the rings was seeable most of the time (it wavered in and out with atmospheric turbulence) and two prominent cloud bands were seen. The 6.7 mm piece yielded, again, a larger image with a concomitant loss of definiton 4.M42 (The Great Nebula in Orion): Here is where this little scope really strutted its stuff. With the supplied SP, the nebula was a bright, fuzzy area of light, fairly narrow in apparant diameter, with a bright center. A shift to the 14mm eyepiece yielded a well defined glowing nebula with three stars of the Trapezium easily seen as moderately bright points. A breathtaking view! The 8.8 mm piece dimmed the nebula to a fair degree, but four stars in the central cluster were now defined (although the fourth, the dimmest, reqired using slightly averted vision to be made out). Now, here's my question to you seasoned ETX'ers... Have you had any luck with deep-sky objects? For example, is the Ring Nebula in Lyra a viable object? I would be interested in seeing some of you posts here in the newsgroup. Thanks in advace, and Clear skies, Steve Black Latham, NY, USAMike here: The Ring Nebula in Lyra is a worthy object to see. Faint but you will see a distinct smoke ring with the 26mm eyepiece.
Subject: ETX Sent: Thursday, December 31, 1998 14:39:43 From: Jolley.Mike@worldnet.att.net (Mike Jolley) I received the new etx tripod for Christmas. I like it except for the legs. They would be more rigid if they had two clamps each. Even tubular legs would be better. Has any one asked about the 7" Meade scope of the same design as the ETX? Thamks, Mike
Subject: Meade's Instruction manuals for all scopes now online Sent: Thursday, December 31, 1998 7:23:13 From: email@example.com (Gozum at Wills Eye) 126.96.36.199/manuals/index.html Hi Mike, they're all well laid out!
Subject: Viewing the Moon/Planets Sent: Thursday, December 31, 1998 0:27:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim) First of all, let me say that I am very much a novice when it comes to telescopes. I got an ETX for Christmas and I am very pleased with the optics, but I have to admit that I am disappointed by what I can actually see with the telescope. I guess I have been spoiled by hubble photographs and long exposures with cameras. I have been able to see Saturn and Jupiter and while I was very moved by seeing them for the first time I must admit I was disappointed by what I could actually see. The only thing that I am satisfied with, as far as size and detail, is looking at the moon. Can you recommend a less expensive telescope or high powered binoculars that can give me a similar view of the moon and perhaps be able to see the planets as well. As far as deep sky objects, I most certainly know that I won't be satisfied until I get a much larger aperture telescope. I don't want to spend a huge amount of money right away, and I can already tell that I will want to have several "specialized" telescopes that excel at different aspects. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the great web site.Mike here: Expectations vs budget vs usability are things you'll have to consider when deciding upon a telescope. Having a super large telescope will give you better views but at the expense of money (usually) and the ease of set-up. If the larger scope sits in the closet (or basement) because it is inconvenient to take it outside and use it, then the money and power is wasted. But if money is no object, buy some land in a dark location, build (or buy) an observatory building, buy (or build) the biggest scope available with all the accessories you think you need, and have fun. I'd like to do this but haven't won the lottery yet! So I still use the ETX and enjoy what I can see and what I can do with it. As a demonstration of what can be done, I have posted some new astrophotos.
Subject: EYEPIECES Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 1998 18:37:14 From: email@example.com (Mark Charland) How can I order my eyepieces from Meade? I'd like to buy them online somewhere if possible from Meade, but I checked out their web page and I didn't see an option like that. Or can I get them elsewhere online? Any help is greatly appreciated. Happy New Year! Mark CharlandMike here: Meade doesn't sell direct. Several dealers are listed on the Astronomy Links page. Further down this Feedback page there are some dealer recommendations from users.
Subject: Lowepro Vidcam 6 Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 1998 19:32:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (GU) I saw Thaxton Beesley's post regarding the "Deluxe Soft Case for Meade ETX". I also had percieved its true identity as a LowePro video bag called a "Vidcam 6". Since Thaxton brought the cat out of the bag, I thought your readers might also like to know that this case is available from Camera World for $49.99 and there is free shipping if you order over the Internet. Camera World also sells the Meade ETX tripod for $129.99, and shipping is free. No, I don't work for Camera World - just know a bargain when I see it. I did order from them and received my package in perfect condition in three business days. Gene
Subject: Meade 9.7mm SP eyepiece defect Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 1998 18:58:48 From: email@example.com (Brian Nakata) I agree with Jeffrey Nutkowitz in his dissertation on the 9.7mm defect. I noticed it in mine a long time ago, but only when viewing the planets. I always had to keep the image out of the center and thought that it was caused by the central obstruction of the scope. After reading about so many other people who have observed this and how _some_ of the eyepieces did NOT have the defect, I took Jeffrey's advice and returned to the place where I bought it, the Nature Company, who looked at it through their ETX and verfied the defect. Luckily, the first brand new replacement that they pulled out of the drawer was good in that it did not show the defect. I'd like to echo Jeffrey's sentiments that no one should accept this as normal and should exchange the eyepiece ASAP. I'd further recommend that everyone who owns one of these to verify that theirs is good by looking at a planet of their choice. Looking at terrestrial or star images does not make the defect readily visible. Verify _at the store_ (unless you mail ordered it, of course) that the replacement is good before accepting it unless you like driving back and forth to the store! The defect manifested itself in my eyepiece as two concentric circles exactly in the center of the field. The space in between these circles was brighter than the space inside the "inside circle" of the pair. When a planetary image falls into this defect, it is completely distorted. Note that you cannot tell if the eyepiece is defective just by looking through it - there is no readily apparent defect visible on the glass surfaces. Brian Nakata
Subject: Bogen tripods Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 1998 18:38:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Kamon) Great site. I've been on board with you for about a year now and purchased my ETX back in April. Am in the process of deciding on a tripod. I had hoped to actually see & touch the Meade tripod at our local Nature/Discovery Channel store, but they're on back order. I was also hoping to use the 20% Master Card discount. Although they didn't have the Meade tripod they did have the Manfretto(Bogen) Model 3170 for $190($152 with the discount). It seemed pretty sturdy but I wanted to check pricing first. I came home and searched the WEB for some sites and found one that appears to have a great price ($114) on this model. The site is http://www.advancedvideosystems.com/ I called them up and they said their normal price for this tripod is $140, but they were running a special through 12/31/98. Just checked them again and it looks like it's their January special also. I haven't ordered one yet so I can't vouch for them. The price looks too good to be true, and I always get nervous when I see that. I'm considering jumping up to the next model which, they claim is sturdier and also has more height (since I'm 6'5"). Their price is $150. By the way if you visit this site, they have only the retail pricing for Bogen tripods. You actually have to call them to get their pricing (The 3170 pricing is listed on their "Specials" page. If anyone's had experience with Advanced Video Systems, I'd like to know. Thanks again for maintaining this great site. Bill Kamon
Subject: 9.7mm eye piece Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 1998 17:58:44 From: email@example.com it's tom again. just thought i would tell you about the eye piece, that i could see the reflection of the center of the main lens in. for some reason sometimes dirt gets stuck in the coatings of the optics. on mine it looked like i could see the small mirror on the front lens in the eyepiece. this is not so. so my advice is to hold the eyepiece up to the light and check for these small dirt particles in the middle of the eye piece. i hope this is helpful to everybody out there. //////the dragon//////
Subject: zenith Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 1998 10:32:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I bought an ETX some months ago; it seems very hard to search a star at the zenith, because it's very difficult or impossible to look at in the searcher. Do you have a cheap solution? I'd like to know how to clean it safely. It's an amazing telescope for planetary observation. Thanks. I live in France and I'd like to receive emails from ETX users. email@example.com
Subject: Oceanside Photo and Telescope Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 1998 9:33:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Hartley) Just wanted to mention that I had an excellent mail-order experience in obtaining the #126 Barlow lens from Oceanside Photo and Telescope (http://www.optcorp.com) in Oceanside, CA. I'd tried a number of local shops and mail order places mentioned on the site, and Oceanside was the first that had the lens in stock. The staff was courteous and thorough. Delivery was very fast; I ordered it on 12/22 and it arrived on 12/29. Price was reasonable; the lens was $50 and shipping was $7.50 for UPS ground. I'd be happy to do business with these folks again. I was very happy with the service on this relatively small order. ======================================================================== Joe Hartley - email@example.com - brainiac services, inc PO Box 5069 : Greene, RI : 02827 - vox 401.539.9050 : fax 401.539.2070 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappaMike here: I visited their store some months back and found the staff friendly and knowledgeable.
Subject: ETX carrying case Sent: Monday, December 28, 1998 23:29:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org A suggestion for those shopping for an ETX carrying case: try using an Army ammunition box. I picked it up at an Army surplus store for only $20 and it works great. I just had to line it with thick foam bought at a fabric store so the ETX fits snugly inside. Since the case is solid steel, the ETX is completely safe inside--I take it on camping trips and put it at the bottom of the trunk, then pile everything on top. Even better, the box doubles as a chair at the campsite. The box would be impractical for plane trips, of course, but for car trips it's magnificient. Also, I completely disagree with the negative ETX review (at www.scopereviews.com) which prefers a 4.5 Newtonian. I took my ETX to Joshua Tree and had a night of magnificient viewing, while my 4.5 Newtonian-bearing friend toiled in frustration, finally joining me at the picnic table with the ETX. It was cold out, and he quickly tired of moving that awkward scope scope back and forth--with the ETX, we just wrapped a blanket around ourselves and took turns at the eyepiece, sweeping it all over the sky, without ever standing up! (Try that with the Newtonian). We also carried it while hiking to watch rock climbers and coyotes across the ridge. For me, this telescope does everything I want it to.
Subject: meade ETX Sent: Monday, December 28, 1998 19:32:03 From: email@example.com (Eileen Muus) I've been looking though your site on the ETX. I'm looking at one to take photos with, of wild life I have a Minolta 530 SI the current lens doesn't get me as close as I would like. Can you tell me the difference between the ETX Astros Telescope and the ETX Spotting Scope they both seem to be the same except the Astros has a motor. And will the spotting scope work for pictures of wild life? Hopefully same day I can learn more about the stars and plants too, maybe take pictures of them. Thank You EileenMike here: The spotting scope version doesn't include the fork mount and drive. Just the telescope tube. I believe it includes the 45 erecting prism however. The telescope itself is the same in both astro and spotting scope versions. To see some terrestrial scope applications, search the site for "bird" as there are some ETX users who use the ETX for bird photography.
Subject: intro. Sent: Monday, December 28, 1998 18:19:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carol Locascio) I feel fortunate to have found your ETX page. I received a Celestron something-or-other as a Christmas gift a few days ago. I had wanted a decent and portable telescope for beginning star gazing. The day after Christmas I returned the Celestron and got an ETX. My situation is this: I am a beginner. Rather that go trial and error, I like to get some basic instruction in the use of my new scope. Any suggestions?Mike here: Besides the ETX manual, check out the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX site.
Subject: Amateur! Sent: Monday, December 28, 1998 11:15:46 From: email@example.com (Paul and Ann Gardner) Thanks for the info page. Quick question though, my only experience is with a cheep tasco. I would like to get involved w/o much expense. Are there used telescopes available anywhere? Are they reliable? Would appreciate your insight. Thank you from the corn belt. CoryMike here: Check out Astromart.
Subject: Astronomy books Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 21:49:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (William Chiang) My name is tim paulus. I'm a huge fan of your totally awesome meade etx web page. I just got one too, $600 bills is practically a bargain for all of the things that I'm gonna do to it. I was wondering if you could tell me a good book to read to learn about stargazing. Ideally i want to be able to look at the stars and navigate my way around. Also i'd like to learn to find planets, constellations, etc w/ my Meade. If you could respond to me at email@example.com, I'd appreciate it. Thanks buddy! timMike here: Glad you like the site and your ETX. Check Wayne Hale's web site for some book reviews. I know there are other sites with astro book reviews but which ones they are escapes me right now. There are also excellent software packages for charting the sky. Some are free, some are shareware, and some are commercial products. They are available for both Mac OS and Windows. Also, Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines have info on what's visible in the sky on their web sites. Links to the above are on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject: Corrector Lens Blemishes Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 21:23:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Dumas) I have had an ETX for a few months and have used it quite often. So far, everything has been excellent. Within the last week though, I have noticed what look like blemishes on the corrector lens...they were not there before. The lens has not been touched by human hands, though I do leave the scope to sit (after a viewing session) with the lens cover off at times to allow condensation to evaporate. What should I do? Do I use photographic cleaner and see if they really are defects in the coatings? Do I send it back to Meade without a "cleaning"? How much will blemishes affect the image quality? Any advice here would be helpful. Thanks.Mike here: I wouldn't worry about cleaning the surface yet. If you are not seeing any degradation in image quality, don't run the risk of damage. But if you are concerned and feel you must clean the lens, search the site for "clean"; you'll find lots of suggestions.
Subject: etx Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 21:19:29 From: email@example.com tom here. just got my etx for christmas and i have to say i think it's great. just one question. when i look through the eye piece using the <9.7mm> i can see the reflection of the small mirror in the center of the lens. is this normal? o.k. back to the etx. the last couple nights were very clear so i went out to give the etx a try. my first target was the moon. the views were sweet. my next target was jupiter also sweet. and then saturn. i have to say that i am very impressed with the etx. i've been using the 26mm, 9.7mm, and a barlow. every image i have checked out has been great. just thought i should tell you about this. thanks for the great site./////////////// <<<<<the dragon>>>>>Mike here: You shouldn't see the mirror directly when the eyepiece is focused on a distant object. I wonder if you have one of the recently reported defective 9.7mm eyepieces. See further down this Feedback page for more details.
Subject: New ETX!!!!! Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 21:13:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (kodiak) I couldn't stand it.....had the fever bad. I went to a local Service Merchandise Store today and found an ETX. Wrangled the store manager down to $535.00. I think it's a great deal. What a beautiful instrument! I have visited your web site. Very, very nice. Thanks again for everything. I am really exited. You won't be hearing from me unless I've got a question (the web site should take care of any that might arise) or I've got something to add. Just wanted to say thanks again. Shalom, gw
Subject: buying on the internet Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 20:29:40 From: email@example.com (bowen) hi-great site. I'm looking to buy an etx and have been exploring astromart. Is this a good place to buy a telescope? It seems well attended and I would like to get a scope with some accys. Also, have upgrades been made to the etx that would make buying an older model unwise? FrankMike here: Astromart has received both positive and negative comments from buyers. Shutan Camera & Video and Pocono Mt Optics have generally received positive comments. But since few dealers discount the ETX (except for JCPenney and Service Merchandise when on sale), you might want to check your local dealers. Check Meade's web site for a dealer near you. But failing that, Shutan, Pocono, and probably Astromart are good choices. Links to these sites are on the Astronomy Links page. As to mods to the ETX, none that I'm aware of.
Subject: ETX Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 12:01:48 From: Giggshome@aol.com Please advise me if you can. Last month I got an ETX after conversing by e-mail with you and other people. The sharpness and clarity are great but I have difficulty with the focusing knob. As soon as I touch it, and before even turning it, the object which I am trying to bring into focus moves. It's as though the slightest touch is causing vibrations? Is this a result of something which I am doing, or have done,wrong, or should I contact Meade? This occurs whether I am using the short table-top tripod legs or the full floor-size tripod. Please let me know what you think. Thanks a lot. Alan Schaffer ( a very frustrated beginner) e-mail firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: First off be certain you have locked the RA and DEC. That will ensure the scope isn't moving on an axis. It is easy to introduce vibrations while focusing. That's why I got the JMI MotoFocus. You can read about it on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.
Subject: ETX Eyepieces Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 7:30:29 From: email@example.com (Dick Walters) Looking for a high power, wide exit pupil eyepiece for my new ETX. A Vixen 10mm LV was recommended over Meade Ultra Wide. Any opinions? Thanks, Dick WaltersMike here: There are several eyepieces covered on the Accessories - Eyepieces page.
Subject: ETX site Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 7:18:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard P. Muller) I've wanted an ETX since it came out, and I've had your web site on my list of bookmarks for a couple years. I just got one for Christmas, so I can finally fully appreciate your site. Thanks for taking the time to put such a great site together. Rick
Subject: RE: ETX with Canon EOS100 Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 7:16:37 From: email@example.com (Andrew Jackson) Thanks for posting my previous email. I had a reply from Peter Rathmann, who was quite right to say that the pictures would be fine. So if any one else has this problem with the viewfinder they should not worry. I did find that the photographs were a bit were a bit soft, this maybe due to the shutter speed being too slow (though it should have been fast enough) it was a sunny day. The photographs I took were during the day of terrestrial views. I was a little disappointed with the results. Am I expecting too much from my telescope or is there something else I should be doing? Once again thank you for your help. Have a happy New Year. Andrew JacksonMike here: It may be that your photos are just slightly out-of-focus. It is a challenge to get a precise focus on the camera viewscreen.
Subject: sp 6.4m/m? Sent: Sunday, December 27, 1998 0:59:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (hb) Nice web site, i was wondering if you have ever tried the sp6.3m/m eyepiece or the uwa 4.7m/m (266x), I just bought a etx asto and was going to update to higher magnifications, thanks.....looking forward to your input. Bill email@example.com -- "Mind Over Matter"
Subject: Re: Mede ETX Sent: Saturday, December 26, 1998 17:11:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (kodiak) Thanks for the prompt reply. I had one in my hands tonight but the store manager wouldn't let the display model go. Shucks! Your endorsement is all that I needed. I'll check your site. Happy New Year! George
Subject: ETX site Sent: Friday, December 25, 1998 17:52:31 From: email@example.com (Tommy Mills) Found your site listed on Yahoo. Just got an ETX for Xmas and wouldn't you know it is raining here in Pascagoula, Miss. You have an excellant web sit and I have enjoyed reading about the ETX as I cannot use it yet. Glenn Mills firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Friday, December 25, 1998 11:10:00 From: email@example.com (kodiak) My wife and daughter bought me a Meade refractor telescope (60mm) for Christmas. I told them that I was thinking of returning it and getting an ETX. I have read some good reviews and I like to get your opinion. I have never owned a telescope before and I would like to know what you think of the ETX, especially as a first telescope. One thing that interested me about the ETX was the terrestrial and photographic applications as well as it's compact size. Also, could you please direct me as to what I should expect to pay, what accessories are advisable and where to get the best price. Thank you and Merry Christmas, George WilsonMike here: Check out this web site, especially the Buyer/New User Tips page. The ETX is an excellent first telescope.
Subject: Meade ETX tripod, viewing and camera Sent: Friday, December 25, 1998 4:24:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Terry and Tracey) Excellent page mate. Great info. I have a couple of questions and comments. I've just saved some pages for later reading offline, so I apologise if the answer is going to crop up there. Is the focal lenght path to the straight through and angle viewers the same? If I had a camera in one and an eyepiece in the other, can I flip between them without refocusing? I noticed some comments about placing a compass on a tripod. The manufacturers probably don't want to do this, as compasses are calibrated for 5 zones of latitude. So a compass bought in England is not accurate here in Australia. I was geographically embarrassed by that one. What is the high latitude viewing limit? I have been to Antarctica and want to go again. This scope would be ideal, but our bases are higher than the Antarctic circle. Just looking at hte scope it seems to suffer from a lack of space. You cannot point below a certain declination depending upon your latitude. Am I right on this? Thanks again for a lot of great info. I live in rural Australia, in the Snowy Mountains, with great dark skies. Terry Foxcroft Khancoban AustraliaMike here: The ETX focal length is the same regardless of the port used. However, putting a "prime focus" image on the camera focal plane will probably be at a different focus position than when using at eyepiece on the other port. But experiment with different combinations of eyepieces and insertion depths in the eyepiece holder. You might get lucky depending upon the camera. Good point about compasses. But then it really doesn't matter once you calibrate the tripod position for a single location. At that location, the compass and true north (or south) difference won't change. There is a high latitude ETX extension leg available from Meade (and dealers). But it only gets you to 66 degrees; the normal leg gets you to 48 degrees. There is a latitude adjustment chart on the Guest Contributions - 1998 page (link on the TechTips page). Of course, tripods can get you to higher latitudes.
Subject: Black Line in camera Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 22:58:18 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) "From: email@example.com (Andrew Jackson) I recently bought an ETX with some accessories. In particular I wanted to take some photographs with my Canon EOS, so I bought the appropriateadapters. When I look through my camera viewfinder (orientated for landscape not portrait) I see a black line at the top of the screen. When you rotate the camera the black line rotates with the viewfinder image and remains in the same respective position. This looks like the image from the telescope is not centred on the EOS correctly. I was wondering if you had come across this before or if you have any comments or suggestions for a fix?Andrew Jackson" It is very possible that this is little more than the common 'mirror cutoff' experienced by many 35mm cameras when using LONG telephoto lenses (600mm to 1000mm or longer) in combination with a typically undersized reflex mirror. I suggest taking some terrestrial test photos, preferable slides, and see if the entire frame is exposed or if there is a cut off line in the exposed test image as well. In all likelihood, you will see an entirely, correctly exposed frame. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: Focus Knob replacement Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 22:52:47 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) Scopetronix, www.scopetronix.com, the same place that makes the Microstar Guider, is now marketing a larger replacement knob specifically made for the focus shaft on the ETX. Costs around $13.00 Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: 9.7mm eyepiece defect Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 22:48:48 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) I also purchased one of the 9.7mm 4000 Super Plossl eyepieces and experienced the same problem. At the time I purchased my ETX (only a month or so ago)and the 9.7mm, my eyepiece collection then consisted of the 26mm and 9.7mm Meades, 18mm, 12.7, and 7mm Criterion (remember that company?!?)A.R. (Achromatic Ramsdens, or Kellners), and a 40mm Kellner, the source of which I have long since forgotten. NONE of the eyepieces except the 9.7mm showed any bizarre optical defects such as the one described, in or out of the scope, which in my case could best be described as the focus aid in the center of a 35mm camera focus screen. It definitely interfered with planetary and lunar observing on the one or two occasions I got to use it. I took it back to the place I bought it, and the salesperson made the exact same comment. It could be seen like that when in the telescope, and as some other weird but noticeable effect when just aimed by itself at a light source. I examined another 9.7mm eyepiece, in and out of the scope on display, and it did not exhibit the defect, so I exchanged mine for it. Unfortunately, I have not had any opportunity to actually observe with it since. I feel pretty confident that this is not a design error in the eyepiece, but probably an assembly error, perhaps with one of the lens capsules/elements being occasionally or repeatedly installed backwards or something, and I am fairly confident that the unit I got in exchange will function properly. If not, it will go back directly to Meade this time, after they send a new one (which appears to be their policy- you send the defect back after the replacement arrives. If it was an actual design flaw, and not a quality control/assembly problem, then EVERY one of them would exhibit this problem. As it seems that the 9.7mm is a VERY popular second eyepiece for the ETX, with many being sold, and if every one was defective, it would get far more widespread mentions than just the few posts I have seen (three or four, here and there). If you have a 9.7mm eyepeice that has this defect, do NOT accept it as normal. Get a replacement, and check it, from where you purchased it, or from Meade. It is not acceptable for ANY eyepiece, even a cheap one, to perform that way. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: Thank You! Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 5:56:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (William A. Ford) Love your page, keep up the good work. WmAF
Subject: New ETX Owner Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 1998 21:50:57 From: email@example.com (Linda Curtis) I am just so thrilled to find you. Linda
Subject: Couple of ETX Questions PLs..... Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 1998 18:12:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Boucher) Hi Mike....great site BTW. I am just purchasing my ETX after great deliberation and wondered if you have any experience with either the Meade and/or the JMI tripods.... yup, saw your reader's comments but I would like to know which is the better of the two before I plunk down a couple hundred bucks. Also, do the Meade Ultra Wide Angle Plossels work with the ETX as well? Hey, thanks alot. ScottMike here: I've commented on the JMI vs Meade tripods on this Feedback page as well as on the Accessories - Tripods page. Please check them out. The Series 4000 6.7mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece is reviewed on the Accessories - Eyepieces page.
Subject: telescopes Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 1998 12:26:40 From: MFutia1@aol.com I was browsing for telescope information when I came across you site. I have just purchased (today) the Meade ETX for my 7-yr old and I in the hope that we could cultivate a hobby together (I am an absolute novice). While browsing today, I came across one review that indicated I may have made a mistake in selecting the ETX. Do you have an opinion on the use of the ETX for someone like myself and/or how about the Meade Model 4500. If you decide to respond, I thank you in advance! Mike Futia McKinney, TXMike here: I think you will be pleased with the ETX. Yes, there are some compromises in its design but overall it does its job admirably (as evidenced by the mostly pro comments by users). If you take the time to read various sections of this web site you'll find a lot of valuable information on the ETX. In particular, as a new user you should check out the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject: Meade has Taken the ETX Manual Off line Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 1998 7:05:08 From: email@example.com (GozumPC at Home) Meade has Taken the ETX Manual Off line, there's another copy from someone's local site, but he's scanned each page into a GIF! its huge and not very clear copy; better than nothing though .... if you want the URL, let me know [mighty Weasner's site seems to have everything!] -- warm regards, ============================================================= Marv GozumMike here: Egads. I wonder why? It appears they removed all the other manuals as well.
Found it Mike. his.etri.re.kr/~cwyoon/Astro/myscope.html Maybe you should mirror it on your site so it doesn't disappear too!
Subject: meade etx Sent: Tuesday, December 22, 1998 14:13:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (lisa viera&jerry; colangelo) found you site and have a ?. Pls respond to email@example.com if it before xmas. Purchased an etx for my wife as a xmas gift. Was curious if you could use a digital camera to take photos. We have a sony mavica. Talked to a few shops and they said it would not work, need a regular camera. It seems you have used a digital and was curious if you could give any info as to how and parts needed. Going to the caribbean in early Jan and just want to be prepared if she wants to take photos. Any help would be great! thanks! jerry May I also ask, I have a super possial eye part too. Dies she need a barlow too to use with it?Mike here: As you've seen on this ETX web site, astrophotography of some objects using a digital camera is possible. But the objects have to be bright since you can't control the exposure too much. My most successful digital camera shots have been taken by just hand-holding the camera lens over the eyepiece. Just focus the eyepiece for your eye and then move the camera lens over the eyepiece and image the object on the camera LCD (assuming it has one). Lots of experimentation and practice may be necessary. As to a Barlow Lens, it can be an excellent addition but depending upon the size of the eyepieces you already have it may be overkill. Since you already have the 26mm eyepiece that comes with the ETX, adding a 2X Barlow to that gives you the equivalent magnification of a 13mm eyepiece. If you other eyepiece is close to 13mm, you won't gain a "fourth" magnification by doubling it to 6.5mm. Just something to consider.
Subject: Meade ETX Recommendation Sent: Monday, December 21, 1998 19:50:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve) Would like someone to finally make a recommendation on how I might spend $150 for my Meade ETX scope. With all of the expertise out there surely someone has some ideas. Requirements: 1) Want to view Jupiter and be able to see at least some of the moons in a wide angle at about 250 power 2) Want to be able to get a close up on the Andromeda Galaxie Do I buy one Barlow and one eyepiece or what. Need help. Thanks.Mike here: Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page. Some ideas there.
Subject: ETX Hanger Bolt Mod Sent: Monday, December 21, 1998 10:28:52 From: email@example.com (Ernest A. Baldini) Thanks for your site! I have scoured every Lowe's, Home Depot, Scotty's, Ace, and specialty fastener companies in our Space Coast, Florida area and no one stocks 8-32, 1 1/2 in. hanger bolts. So I went on line and for three bucks, I'm getting a box of 100! If anybody gets desperate, like me, for the hanger bolt and can't find 'em, send me 32 and I'll ship em one. Ernest Baldini, 245 Country Club Dr., Melbourne, FL, 32940-7626, 407-757-3094.
Subject: want to meet ETX owners living near Equator (latitude <12) Sent: Monday, December 21, 1998 7:05:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fernando Sotomayor) My public apologies to Eilleen Chun for a nasty comment I made, based on ignorance, about a message she sent to the site. I would like to meet ETX owners living close the equatorial line, latitude below 12; in order to hear their experiencies using the ETX, including specific problems, solutions and accesories. I still do not have the ETX but I already decided to buy one. Thanks again and Happy Holydays Fernando Sotomayor
Subject: Meade Astro ETX Sent: Monday, December 21, 1998 5:26:26 From: email@example.com (Nacincik, Michael) I am considering my first telescope purchase and steps into the world of amateur astronomy. Right now the ETX is high on my list of possible 1st telescopes based on what comes with the scope, accessories available and price. I've been doing my telescope research recently and your page has been a great help providing information about the ETX from people who are actual users/owners of the ETX vs what Meade thinks about it. I believe that what I'd like to be able to do is view planets and look at deep space objects. Based on the astrophotography pages of yourself and your guests: Are the only planets viewable with the ETX Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn? Is that common for most telescopes in the 3.5 to 4 inch size? Also are the astrophotography images shown on your page what you see in the eye piece or is the color and resolution of saturn, jupiter and the M42 Nebula in Orion due to the exposure time of the film? Finally everything that I've read about telescopes has mentioned the size of the aperture as the most important feature for gathering light and thus seeing objects. Is the ETX 90mm/3.5 inch aperture small for a telescope? Being a true neophyte here I don't want to come off as ignorant but it seems it isn't much larger than a set of 50 mm binos? Would you recommend the ETX for a 1st time buyer? Yesterday I went to the University of Maryland observatory open house. They have it twice a month. A short 30 minute general class by one of the professors then some viewing time on one of their 4 scopes. (I know you must be thinking an observatory inside the DC beltway??? I guess in the 60s the observatory was in the country now the city lights encircle it.) Their largest is a 20 inch reflector (built in the early 60s) with a ccd that outputs to a tv screen for capture as an electronic file. Unfortunately it was cloudy last night so no observing was possible, but hopefully I can make again when it isn't cloudy. Your page is excellent keep up the good work and keep the good information the ETX available to all! Michael Nacincik voice (202) 273-5735 fax (202) 273-6702 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.va.gov/pubaff/vetday98/vetsday.htmMike here: As noted on the site, Mercury and Uranus are easily visible (at the proper time). This is typical of most telescopes in the 3.5 to 4 inch size. The eye and film/CCD usually see different colors and saturations of colors. With the ETX, bright objects will appear better than on film. There are smaller telescopes than the ETX. There are larger ones too. Aperture is important, depending upon what you want to do with the telescope. Absolutely the ETX makes a great beginner's scope.
Subject: Image shift Sent: Monday, December 21, 1998 5:07:40 From: email@example.com (Larry Janowicz) I've noticed two recent posts to your site about images shifting when ETX users change focus directions. This "image shift" can occur with any telescope that achieves focus by moving the main mirror. The mirror moves forward and backward along a central tube when the focus knob is turned. Since the focus knob moves the mirror from only one side the mirror may wiggle on the tube.This wiggle is what causes the image to shift from side to side when the focus direction is changed. The better the machining of the instrument the less chance for the wiggle. If it is not too objectionable to a user I would not return it to Meade unless there are other problems evident. I have even seen this problem occur to a small extent on a few Questars. Larry Janowicz MetroHealth Medical Center (216) 778-4053 firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Largest Object Sent: Sunday, December 20, 1998 7:22:30 From: email@example.com (Earth Link) First I would like to say what a great site you have. I hope you are not tired of hearing that yet. We are very new at this new hobby we have started about a nth ago. My first question is what are the Messier objects that can be enjoyed with the ETX? What is the highest magnitude it can view well? Our second question is about moving up to a larger scope. Currently the ETX is our first and only scope. We want to see deep space objects and take photos. We defiantly want a computerized scope that can "Go To" an object. Or at least some type of digital help. I was looking at the LX200 and the 16" Mead Starfinder Equtoral with the Magellan II. I have read the LX type scope is the best "All around" scope but it better be incredible for the price. Can the 16" Starfinder Equtoral see more than the 12" LX200? Or basically what is the pros and cons of the two besides the price. Would the LX200 12" be worth the price compared to the 16" Mead Starfinder Equtoral? We are going to try to wait a year before buying one of the two to see if the new hobby sticks. But I must say so far I am somewhat disappointed with what deep space objects I can find or see so far. But I don't even know if I have found Andromeda yet?! What I have found looks nothing like the pictures. What I have found is just mist. I thought it would at least be oval mist. What I have found in looking for Andromeda looks more like M33. Orion is great though. Is the RA and Dec on the ETX very accurate? Any suggestions to making finding stuff easier? I have found some great Messier links: seds.lpl.arizona.edu/messier/data.html crux.astr.ua.edu/gallery2.html Unfortunately I already sent for the Mead soft case for our ETX before I ready your reviews. I think it's a rip-off r $50! Also it looks like it offers almost no protection. I also picked up a $17 BB gun wit a red dot. A lot better that the finder scope the ETX comes with. But the red dot is a little too bright even on the low setting. And the lens is slightly tinted. Absolutely great on planets and other very bright objects. It's the Crossman Copper head. Well this turned out to be a lot longer than I planed. If you get a chance to answer my questions I appreciate you taking the time. Thank you, Eric EganMike here: Glad you like the site. If money is no object, go for the largest scope. Of course, you'll want a very dark site with excellent seeing and no obstructions to permanently mount it. On the other hand, if money, site location, and movability are concerns, I'd go for something like the 8 or 10" LX200. As to viewing deep sky objects, very very few will look like long duration photographs. Most human eyes are just not equipped to store photons like film and CCD imagers. So, while a larger aperture telescope will help you will probably still be disappointed if you expect to visually see the same details and apparent brightness. But I would recommend get some astronomical charting software or books. They can help. Several commercial, shareware, and freeware software products are listed on the Astronomy Links page. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for some comments on what to look at with the ETX. The normal max magnification for most telescopes is 60x per inch of aperture. But many users generally exceed that with the ETX.
Subject: Feedback on Meade ETX and Meade 9.7 mm Super Plossl Sent: Saturday, December 19, 1998 21:02:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Wrobel) Great Site, I check it every week. Especially the user feedback. The Meade ETX is my first scope since I owned a 60 mm Jason Refractor as a boy (many moons ago). I have used the Meade ETX with both the Standard 26 mm and 9.7 Series 4000 Meade Super Plossl. I too have observed a central blurry distortion with my 9.7 mm Plossl. It moves around visually opposite of where I have my eye centered relative to the central axis of the optics. I have gone to the extent of gentlly cleaning the optical surfaces to no avial. The central distortion is still present. Visually with my eyes the distortion appears to be about the same size as the image of the secondary mirror (visable while looking at the moon), I also have difficulty with the small eye relief of the 9.7 mm Super Plossl. To be fair and accurate, I suffer from nearsightedness that is more than what is typical. I do use contacts while observing. I have no problems at all observing with the 26 mm eyepiece. Don't get me wrong, I can still utilize the 9.7 mm eyepiece for planetary work, but I do not find it comfortable to use. If I had it to do over again, I would have opted to go with either a 6.7 mm or 8.8 mm Series 4000 Ultra Wide Angle Plossl. As a matter of fact, I would be interested in seeing some user feedback or reviews from anyone who has used the Meade Ultra Wide Angle Plossl with the Meade ETX. Thanks for the Website & Clear Skys to Everyone.
Subject: Photography Sent: Saturday, December 19, 1998 13:10:04 From: email@example.com (Harold L. Williams) I have some questions about doing eyepiece projection photography with the ETX. I'd like some suggestions about reducing vibration at high powers beyond what I've already tried. I've tried hanging weights from the tripod. I've also bought a shutter release that uses air to depress the button on the camera. Any other suggestions? I also would like some suggestions about a good eyepiece to do high power photography of the moon and sun. I have a 9mm Lanthanum that I like a great deal for observing but it won't fit inside the adapter. So, for photography, I need to find a skinnier eyepiece. Since I will only be using it for photography, eye relief won't need to be considered. Thanks, Harold WilliamsMike here: Getting rid of the vibrations will be difficult. About the only thing that is going to work is the hat-trick method where you cover the ETX objective, open the shutter, flip the cover away for the duration of the exposure and then back over the objective, and then release the shutter to close it. Most of the vibration will come from the camera mirror movement (if using an SLR) but some will come from the movement of the shutter itself. Of course, if you get an extremely sturdy mount for the ETX you can probably avoid the vibrations. As to eyepieces, the higher the magnification the more difficult the shot. Part of the challenge. Good luck!
Subject: ETX Focusing Sent: Saturday, December 19, 1998 12:13:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Harold L. Williams) I'd like to put a larger knob on the focusing shaft to make adjustments easier. Can anyone tell me the size of the shaft? Also, are there any suggestions about where I may obtain the ideal knob?Mike here: I haven't measured the shaft but several users have suggested just attaching a clothes pin (the clamping type) to the knob. Seems to work great for them. As to knobs, try your local Radio Shack.
Subject: ETX with Canon EOS100 Sent: Saturday, December 19, 1998 1:37:23 From: email@example.com (Andrew Jackson) I recently bought an ETX with some accessories. In particular I wanted to take some photographs with my Canon EOS, so I bought the appropriate adapters. When I look through my camera viewfinder (orientated for landscape not portrait) I see a black line at the top of the screen. When you rotate the camera the black line rotates with the viewfinder image and remains in the same respective position. This looks like the image from the telescope is not centred on the EOS correctly. I was wondering if you had come across this before or if you have any comments or suggestions for a fix? Andrew Jackson
Subject: 45 Deg erecting prism Sent: Friday, December 18, 1998 9:55:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (scott.claerhout) I've owned my ETX for about a month now, and am finding all the little problems that people have spoke of...I just bought a -Meade- 45 deg erecting prism and noticed that when looking at stars I get a defraction of some sort that creates a line of light straight accross the bright stars, the line extends across the whole field of view from both sides... It looks cool but I dont thinks its supposed to be there... The normal 90 deg eyepiece does not have this effect... Terrestrial objects look normal through the erecting prism.. Is this a normal effect of the prism? Scott C.Mike here: I haven't seen this with my Meade 45-degree erecting prism. It sounds like there might be a slight flaw in yours.
Subject: Central distortion in Meade 9.7 mm eyepiece? Sent: Friday, December 18, 1998 6:18:11 From: LeeK@NMRIPO.NMRI.NNMC.NAVY.MIL (Lee, Kelvin) Enjoying your site as always! After a month of owning an ETX I am completely hooked. Which means late night out in freezing weather (maybe there should be a League of Sleep Deprived Hypothermics). Anyhow, I just bought a Meade 4000 SP 9.7 mm eyepiece and I've noticed right in the center of the field there is an area of severe distortion (complete blurring) about the diameter of Saturn. I've not seen this with the 26 mm eyepiece +/- 2X Barlow. Do you know if this is due to the central obstruction in the scope (ie this is normal?) or do I have a defective eyepiece? v/r Kelvin LeeMike here: It sounds like either there is a problem with the eyepiece optically or there is some dirt or something smeared on one of the optical surfaces. Try to exchange it.
Subject: PERFECT PARTY SCOPE! Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 23:30:25 From: email@example.com (Michael Foulks) I found the ETX at the Learning Smith for 20% off and couldn't resist the temptation to buy. Less than 2 weeks later I hosted our annual holiday bash complete with backyard ETX viewing for those who were interested. It was a huge hit. I must admit some fear at the thought of smashed party animals teetering around the scope, but the reactions of the people was well worth the risk. In fact, one attendee is a principle on Star Trek DS9! This (nameless) person had never even looked at Saturn or Jupiter through a telescope before! That would explain the awestruck reaction which reminded me of my little nephew. Astronomy is so fun when we share the views with others! I just spent $53 bucks on the Barlow 2X and quickly aimed at Saturn. Was it my imagination, or do we lose some sharpness with the doubler? It was getting stormy, so I don't know how to attribute the slight blur. Any thoughts? Happy Holidays, Michael FoulksMike here: I totally agree. During a party last year I showed people the sun (using a proper solar filter) and then several planets and moon that night. Many people had never looked through a telescope and were blown away! Great fun!!! As to the decrease in image quality, some small decrease is inevitable since you are introducing extra optical surfaces and pushing the limits of the ETX.
Subject: Focus Question Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 20:58:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Guy Duke) Some comments please. Im new to astronomy, and have an ETX for about 2 weeks now. I have seen some comments about having the image "move" while trying to focus at higher powers, which my scope does do. Should there be any movement of the object with focusing? If not, should I seek out Meade and send the scope in for possible repairs, or is there anything I could do? Thanks Guy Duke email@example.comMike here: I haven't seen this problem and if not severe I personally would not worry about it. If you are seeing an overall degradation in image quality then you could worry.
Subject: ETX Telescope question Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 20:08:20 From: Slayeret@aol.com Hi, I recently purchased an ETX & I had a question regarding the best eyepieces -- I'm mostly interested in viewing the planets, particularly Saturn & Jupiter. With my old telescope I could barely even see them, they were so faint and small, now that I've purchased this telescope, I'm looking for the best ETX-compatible eyepiece for viewing planets, while it's also useful for viewing other objects such as the moon and the Orion Nebula -- basically, I'm looking for the highest magnification that would work on almost anything, I've read that some eyepieces can go higher than 300X, but I'm not sure if that's best for viewing the planets, or if it's best for viewing deep-space objects -- if you could give me a few recommendations, I'd be so grateful. Thanks for your time :) -ColleenMike here: I don't have any specific suggestions beyond what is covered on the Buyer/New User Tips and Accessories - Eyepieces pages.
Subject: camera world Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 17:00:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ivan Harris) On the subject of Camera World, I have purchased several items there in the past but they have been scratched off my list. My complaint is that all they want to do is sell you something new and after the sale you are on your own. As an example, I had a problem with the camcorder I purchased there but it was out of warranty. There solution is to give me the name of a repair company; they don't do any service warranty or otherwise. I have had several other problems "after the sale" so I am buying elsewhere now. Weather is lousy here so I have given up on the sky for the time being. Maybe next year. Clear skies. Ivan Harris
Subject: Polar Alignment and Magnetic Variation Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 12:25:02 From: Michael_P._Lingenfelter@oa.eop.gov I don't have a clear bead on Polaris for doing Polar Alignment. So, I decided to use a compass. But then I read all the comments on Magnetic Deviation. So, in trying to find out the deviation for my area, I ran across a couple of sites on the Internet that provide info on variation and charts that show the variation for the entire world. (Pretty much) These may be of use to other ETXers. www.geolab.nrcan.gc.ca/geomag/e_magdec.html All about Magnetic Variation geomag.usgs.gov/usimages.html#US_image_D US Chart showing variations pangea.stanford.edu/~mac/igrf.html World Chart, in color I've had my ETX for a week and I was finally able to do some observing last evening. Wow! Even with the 26mm eyepiece I could see two dark bands on Jupiter, along with at least two moons. M42 was bright, but I was wishing I had a 2X Barlow - which I ordered today. Given the suckiness of the finder scope, I didn't go searching for much else. Sure hope it's clear tonight so I can get polar aligned and use the setting circles. Michael Lingenfelter
Subject: Update my e-mail pse Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 11:42:41 From: email@example.com (Corrado Pido) sorry but my EMail was changed the new are: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com thanks
Subject: Various Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 11:17:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ron McCafferty) I too would like to rave about the Cambridge Star Atlas. It has made finding objects much easier. I got mine from Amazon.com. It was $5 cheaper than Orion and I had it in 3 days. I also have a mirror moon map and a laminated Messier card from SkyPub that are handy. I have the 26mm, a 9.7mm lens, and a Barlow. By far my favorite is the Barlow and the 26mm. I have a Paul Rini 16mm lens but it doesn't fit in my Barlow so I asked Santa for a Meade 16mm lens. I'm looking forward to that. Ron McCafferty
Subject: Your Web Site Sent: Thursday, December 17, 1998 9:48:24 From: Warren_Pugh@css.mot.com (Pugh Warren-CFIN25) I bought my ETX 3 weeks ago, and so far have enjoyed it immensely. I find the tips and hints on your page very helpful for the brand new Novice that I am. Keep up the good work! Warren Buffalo Grove, Illinois email@example.com
Subject: Re: Question Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 1998 10:47:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pastor Al Horta) Al: Be careful about the ETX -- did you read my review? http://www.scopereviews.com I think any 4.5" Newtonian is a better buy than the ETX, and will be more useful in the long run. The ETX has good optics but you'll never get to appreciate them due to the scope's awkward, frustrating, and inconvenient design. Also, it is not as portable as you think. The thing is made of plastic, which means they had to increase the size of everything to make the mount rigid enough. If you still want one, and have a Learningsmith near you, they have 20% off all telescopes, including the ETX. Just don't say you weren't warned. -Ed ---------- Mike, Thanks for your time and imput in helping me make the right decision. The above e-mail I received from someone who has a webpage and experience with telescope. This is what they say. Is there any merit to this?Mike here: The larger aperture of a 4.5" inch scope certainly provides more light gathering power. But if that power sits in the living room instead of actually being used because it is cumbersome to take the scope outside and set up at a moment's notice, then that power is wasted. As I've said before on the web site, size and portability have to be traded off against each other. Go for what matches your needs and use.
Subject: Re: Your ETX Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 1998 7:57:12 From: email@example.com (Marv Gozum) Your personal experience is most treasured; as a dedicated pioneering ETX user what you continue to use daily speaks for its value. To your sites' greatness!! Your's is the best! I read all items on your site down to archives from Dec 1997; it took a week! To thank you I will submit reviews of PalmPilot astronomy software for your approval [its also reviewed in the January 1999 Sky&Telescope;]. If you have the time, some last questions [BTW: your site convinced me to get an ETX] that weren't on your site: Meade ETX case: After two years, are you concerned about the padding-protection it provided? In retrospect would you have gotten a foam-lined hardcase instead? Is a hardcase as easy to travel with as the tiny Meade ETX case? JMI Wedge+tripod versus Meade Tripod: Which is more stable? If had to choose only one to use, which would it be?Mike here: The hard cases provide greater protection than the soft cases but at the cost of size and space. Soft cases can fit into smaller locations (like under the airline seat) than most hard cases. My initial impression is that both tripods are stable with the edge going to the JMI tripod. But I'm still working with the Meade tripod.
After 2 years, then, your ETX has been fine with the Meade ETX case, yes?Mike here: As noted on the "Traveling with the ETX" on the Buyer/New User Tips page, I flew to Indiana and the Meade case performed well. Other times it has worked just fine.
Subject: Super Plossl 9.7mm Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 19:06:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich Baines) I've read your review of this eyepiece, and am thinking of getting one. I spoke to someone at Shutan and he suggested a 20mm + Barlow combination due to the "poor eye relief" of the 9.7 (which you also mentioned). I could do that, and get magnification similar to the base 9.7, but that's it. So, I have 2 questions: 1. Is the 9.7 really that hard to work with? I don't wear glasses (use contacts, though). 2. Can I realistically expect to get much use of the 9.7 + Barlow combination to get 258X? That's really what I'm looking for. RichMike here: The 20mm + 2x Barlow isn't that much different than using a 2x Barlow with the supplied 26mm. So maybe you should just get the Barlow first and try that. But obviously you won't get the same level of magnification with a 20 or 26mm plus 2x Barlow as you would with the 9.7mm plus 2x Barlow. With the ETX, pushing it to 256x with the 9.7+Barlow combination is only to be done on bright objects in good seeing. And the low eye relief of the 9.7mm can make observing more challenging.
Subject: Question Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 12:35:58 From: email@example.com (Pastor Al Horta) I am considering purchasing a Meade ETX 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Astro Telescope and Spotting Scope. Can you tell me whether I am making a good choice or is there something better for the price. Also what extra eyepieces do you recommend as extra pieces? I appreciate your site and your time. Thanks, ALMike here: I'm biased but the ETX makes an excellent scope for the price. Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for lots of useful info.
Subject: Your ETX Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 6:24:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (GozumPC at Home) Superb and Wonderful Site! With all those reviews what do you personally use as accessories: Bag? Tripod? Camera? Eyepieces? -- warm regards, marv ============================================================= Marvin E. Gozum, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine Email : email@example.com WWW Page: http://oac1.oac.tju.edu/~gozum/gozum.shtmlMike here: I have the Meade Softcase and used it for two years. But I am now trying out the Shutan Camera & Video Deluxe Softcase and Backpack. Both are reviewed on the Accessories - Cases page. I have the JMI Wedge and Tripod combination. But thanks to Meade and Shutan I'm now working with the Meade Field Tripod. Both are reviewed on the Accessories - Tripods page. I have an old Pentax Spotmatic for piggyback and eyepiece projection astrophotography. I used to use a Casio QV-10 digital camera (now for sale). I'm still trying to get good shots with my new Ricoh RDC-500. Comments on the Astrophotography - Basics page. The 26mm and 9.7mm along with a 2X Barlow. All from Meade and all reviewed on the Accessories - Eyepieces page.
Subject: Astro mount :) Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 20:29:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wm. G. Thilgen Jr.) Hey Mikey, (and anyone else who likes to jury rig or tinker around inside of their MIGHTY ETX ASTRO) I did something no one to my knowledge has done before with the MIGHTY ETX. After reading all of the problems with the fork mount and the different ways of overcoming them, I have decided to stave off the expensive alternatives, and just took the darn scope off the fork mount. I have decided to place the MIGHTY ETX scope on a Sky View Deluxe EQ Mount and aluminum tripod by Orion. It works really swell now! (No offense, Mr. Meade) Does anyone that you know want or need an extra MIGHTY ETX fork mount and motor? I would be willing to let it go real cheap (plus shipping of course). Seeya later, Clear skies, Wm. G. Thilgen Jr.
Subject: I'm looking for info on a Meade Mod. 2045 Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 13:35:14 From: email@example.com (Leroy McIntyre) I have been considering the purchase of a better telescope, and the Meade ETX seems to be a good choice from what I have read on the Net. However, I have run into a good buy(maybe) in a Meade Mod. 2045 Schmidt-Cassegrain scope. I can't find any info on it at the Meade website, and am wondering if this was a forerunner to the ETX? Any info or reference you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Leroy McIntyreMike here: Some time back someone reported that the Model 2045 was a forerunner to the ETX. See the July 1998 Feedback archive page for more details.
Subject: Need advice FAST! Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 13:18:28 From: FM68@aol.com Our 11 year old son has become interested in astronomy and has been reading about telescopes to purchase. Our initial decision had been on an Orion 6" Dob, which we've ordered with filters, Barlow etc. However, the ETX caught his eye in the camera store. Mom knows nothing about accessories for this product and their website is not as user friendly for ordering compatibles as Orions'. What would you advise we add for a novice astronomer (from where?) for around another $500. as many other family members are depending on these accessories to be gifts from them? Help ;-) !!!Mike here: Astronomy books and software, an eyepiece or two, a Barlow Lens, a case, and a tripod all make great add-on presents. Visit Meade's web page or call them for a dealer near you. For mail order, as I've noted on the Feedback page recently, Shutan Camera & Video and Pocono Mountain Optics have been highly recommended by users. Web sites on the Links page. You can also check out the Buyer/New User Tips page for some more info on what to purchase.
Thanks for your prompt response. Have a local camera store w/ the etx in stock, but not many accessories. We'll check w/ Shutan tomorrow for the extras! The website was most informative. We printed info for future reference. The site was extremely helpful and well organized. Thanks again : )
Subject: I have to sell my ETX Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 12:27:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Buzz) Unfortunately, I have to sell my ETX for reasons beyond my control. It has been used approximately 10 times and includes a 2x Barlow along with 9, 12, 16, 26 and 45 eyepieces. If anyone is interested, it can be found at: cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item;=49351045 Thank you, Buzz Burgess
Subject: Used ETXAstros Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 9:47:09 From: email@example.com (Mark Isaacs) There is a great site for used astronomy equipment that your readers could check out. They often have used ETX's (and many other scopes). The site is http://www.astromart.com. Also, you should mention Astronomics as a good mail order dealer. I purchased an ETX about three weeks ago and they had over 85 in stock. http://www.astronomics.com. Thanks, Mark Isaacs
Subject: Discovery Channel/Nature Center Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 8:32:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Pletke) I recently purchased an ETX at the Discovery Channel Store here in the Chicago area. They also honored the MasterCard 20% discount. I wanted to buy from Shutan but they did not have the scope in stock and wanted list price as well. I am new to astronomy and had been using Celestron binoculars prior to buyin the ETX. The weather here in the midwest has been clear so I thought I'd try out my new scope last night. Wow! Using the supplied the 26mm eyepiece, and the #126 Barlow, I could actually make out the Jupiter's Bands and saw Saturn's rings for the first time. I'm hooked!!! Bill Pletke
Subject: Question about ETX Sent: Monday, December 14, 1998 6:23:28 From: email@example.com (Giorgio Giuntoli) i have found your site but i have some problem to read it today. I have only one question, i want to buy one telescope that is my first telescope, id like very much photo and i want to do some photo and some observation with it. i must decide between Vixen 910 114 telescope and the Meade ETX Astro Telescope, wich did you think is better (i'd like to observe a lot about the moon and Planet and the refractor are very excpensive) This telescope will be the telescope of my life because i didn't think to change it in the future. My best regards, Giorgio E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: ETX Eyepieces - $150 Investment Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 19:45:32 From: email@example.com (Steve) I've owned my ETX for about a year now and have have enjoyed using it with the standard 26mm eyepiece. I have about $150 to spend for one or two eyepieces. My objective is to use the full capability of the scope to view Saturn, Jupiter's moons and, some of the more predominant galaxies. What recommendation could you make for this investment... perhaps one additional eyepiece combined with a Barlow? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.Mike here: Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page. You can also search the site for "eyepiece"; lots of info here.
Subject: etx question Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 14:11:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Me) I'm soon to be getting an etx, but i'm wondering this: I can see the north star from my backyard, but my best observing is to the south. If I align the scope to the north, how can I then see things (like orion) that are off to the south? Does the scope flip over, or am I missing something? JohnMike here: You will be aligning the ETX rotation axis to be parallel to the earth's rotation axis. That won't directly prevent you from observing to the south. However, the lower your latitude, the more horizontal the rotational axis will be, which means that the drive base will prevent you from pointing the scope at low declinations in a southernly direction. On the other hand, if there is something you want to see, don't worry about aligning to the pole or even setting the ETX for your latitude. Yes, you'll have to work more to keep the object in view but you'll be able to view it.
Subject: info about equipment outlets Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 1:37:46 From: email@example.com (Paul Scheifer) In reference to the person who complained about Eileen Chun's perfectly reasonable posting letting us know about a low priced camera store, I say please disregard this complaint and continue to list postings such as hers. You are quite right that these large mail order camera stores have plenty of equipment relevant to astronomy, and letting us know about such outlets is a good service to us. This person who complained should lighten up; he's taking things far too seriously. He checked it out and found it not useful to him. Fine. So it used 45 seconds of his time. Big deal. For my part, I checked it out and immediately bookmarked it for future reference. It is definitely a place I will check out the next time I'm looking for any number of accessories I'll need for my ETX. Thanks Eileen for taking the time to let us know about it! I appreciate it. _________________ Paul Scheifer
Subject: used etx's Sent: Sunday, December 13, 1998 1:27:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Scheifer) To: email@example.com Saw your posting on Mike Weasner's ETX site asking about finding a used ETX. Check out www.astromart.com There are usually 1-3 used etx's being offered for sale. If there aren't any when you first try, go back on a daily basis. You'll see some within a day or two. I'm surprised Mike didn't mentioon this to you. This site is an important resource for etx owners. Plenty of used everything: eyepieces, finders, tripods, star map books, software, you name it. ______________________ Paul ScheiferMike here: Thanks Paul. I haven't been to Astromart's web site in a long time and so it didn't come to mind.
Subject: Daisy Red Dot BB Gun Sight Sent: Saturday, December 12, 1998 16:22:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Dickie) I bought a BB Gun sight at Walmart and installed it on my ETX. It works like a charm and makes it much easier to find stars, etc. but the winter here, in Nova Scotia is pretty cold. The sight is powered by a little watch battery and at 10 degrees F the little diode blinks off after about five minutes out in the cold. After about five minutes back in the house, it comes back on again. This would be really awkward out in the field on a cold night. I partially solved the problem by placing a disposable "hot pad" hand warmer against the battery compartment of the sight which kept the diode on for 10 to 15 minutes (at which time I came in because of the cold). This may not work at colder temperatures or for longer periods. Any ideas?
Subject: ETX site Sent: Saturday, December 12, 1998 2:42:31 From: email@example.com (Martin P. Broad) I don't know how you did this but your site is definitely out of this world. I haven't bought my ETX yet...very soon... but I have been reading reviews on all the accessories and tripods, etc., and checking out your photography... This is a very excellent, if not the best, damn close to it, site. Congratulations on all of your work! If you have a moment to breath, could you tell me what tripod you use and what filters you find the best? A am planning to do a lot of astrophotography. I have tried in the past but have been unsuccessful. I believe that I succeed using the information you have provided. I am sending others to your site Thanks again for a super site.......... MartyMike here: I won't take all the credit. Every ETX user who contributes to this site is just as important as the one who collects and posts all the information (and occasionally even gets to use his ETX!). Currently I have both the JMI Wedge/Tripod combination and the Meade Field Tripod. Both are reviewed on the Accessories - Tripods page. The ETX is still mounted on the Meade Tripod as part of my ongoing evaluation. As to filters, the only ones I have are discussed on the Accessories - Filters page (Light Yellow, Light Blue, and Solar).
Subject: Have you seen one of these Sent: Friday, December 11, 1998 20:59:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Wayne Hale) Came across a clever gadget for the kid who has everything at a Nature Company last night, wonder if you have seen one yet. The kids running the store didn't want to open one up and let me take a closer look at it, to expensive they said. Of course, they had an ETX perched rather precariously on a cardboard box on a table, go figure. check out Night Navigator at www.excaliburelectronics.com/news.html#december . Merry Christmas, Wayne
Subject: bad use of the site Sent: Friday, December 11, 1998 18:48:38 From: email@example.com (Fernando Sotomayor) I just read the email sent Sunday, Dec 6, by Eilleen Chun, in which she recommends a website. I saw that website, and to my surprise it does not have anything to do with the ETX nor even with telescopes in general. What she did is like if I would use your site to recommend a website for buying cars or dogs with good prices. I think she made bad use of your site. Thanks a lot. Fernando SotomayorMike here: I posted her suggestion since it was a camera store and many camera stores have accessories that telescope users and astrophotographers want to use. Sorry if I offended anyone.
Subject: bad finderscope? Sent: Friday, December 11, 1998 17:30:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Erik Keup) I just got my ETX 2 weeks ago and it's GREAT!! I've used your site to buy the Doskocil X-Large case and it's perfect!! Anyway, my problem is that my finderscope WILL focus, but it has double images. The second image is transparent and almost as bright as the first image. The second image will circle the first image as I turn the end of the finderscope (how you normally focus). Anyway, I can't seem to get rid of this second image. The second image disappears if I look into the finderscope at a high angle. There isn't a secondary image in the extreme lower part of the finderscope, but that doesn't help me any. So, is this a BUM finderscope or is there something I have forgotten to check? Erik Keup - email@example.comMike here: I've not seen this problem nor have any idea what might be occurring. Perhaps someone else has some thoughts?
Subject: ETX spotting scope Sent: Friday, December 11, 1998 11:38:41 From: eldorado@UDel.Edu (Stephen Tanis) I am interested in purchasing a Meade ETX spotting scope but have had no luck with mailorder suppliers on the web. They all say they are awaiting shipment and that I should reserve one with my credit card. Do you know of a reliable web merchant that actually has an inventory and will do an honest transaction? Your help would certainly be appreciated. ST ps. I enjoy your websight and astrophotogallery.Mike here: Shutan Camera & Video and Pocono Mountain Optics have received favorable comments as a mail order dealer. Links on the Links page.
Subject: Used ETXAstros Sent: Friday, December 11, 1998 11:11:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I am trying to find a used ETX Astro for my son, who is a sophmore astrophysics major. Are there web sites or other sources for finding them used? Thanks a lot for any help you can provide! Sincerely, Ramsay Selden email@example.comMike here: Starry Messenger used to list used telescopes but they recently closed operations. I'm not aware of any replacement site.
Subject: 20% OFF ETX until Dec 14th. Sent: Friday, December 11, 1998 6:13:41 From: Michael_P._Lingenfelter@oa.eop.gov There is a store here in the Washington, DC area called Learningsmith and until Dec 14th, all Meade scopes are 20% off. I just pickup up my ETX and I'm anxiously watching the cloud cover outside. Total with tax was $502. The case was discounted also, so I got that. I'm sure they'll go fast, so could you post this info on your sight. Thanks Michael Lingenfelter Executive Office of the President Washington, DCMike here: My apologies for my tardiness in getting this posted. Too many Holiday Parties plus Saturday morning I lost my hard disk. So had to spend a lot of time recovering from my backups and the online web files and then recreating the new items. By the way, some Nature Company stores are honoring a 20% discount for telescopes purchases made on a MasterCard.
Subject: Help! Sent: Thursday, December 10, 1998 13:23:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Marc Fridley) First off, thanks for your site. Since I first saw the ETX in the back of a magazine I have wanted one and thanks to your site, I am now as familiar with the etx as if i had owned it for years. I am however not very knowledgeable about star maps, polar alignments or RA, DEC as i should be. Do you know of any source, online or otherwise that could be of advantage to the beginner. I really would like to be able to find some of the beautiful things that you and your readers see. Thanks Marc FridleyMike here: There are several good sources on the web for beginners. Check out the Sky&Telescope and Astronomy Magazine sites. Also the Orion Telescope information page. CD-ROMs and the freeware and shareware astronomy programs are also good. Links to the magazines and some s/w are on the Links page.
Subject: ETX Competition Sent: Thursday, December 10, 1998 13:08:49 From: BVarney123@aol.com I want to buy a good spotting scope for celestial and terrestrial use. I was just about to buy a ETX when I found some other Maks. about the same size and price. One was the new celestron G3 and G5. The other was an Astro Rubinar 100 manufactured in Russia, that I was told can out perform the ETX. I wanted to here from some one who has tryed any of these scopes before I fork out $500 +. Thanks, Bryan email@example.com
Subject: Focuser Question Sent: Thursday, December 10, 1998 11:47:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carlos Cantu Chapa) Reply-to: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm a new ETX astro user, I don't know if this is a mechanical problem or not, when using powers over 100x and have to change the eyepiece and there is need to re-focus the image through the eyepiece moves to the left or right depending of the movement of focus knob. In low power mags. the shift is almost zero. In about 190x the shift is enormous. Have you some advice on this? I will appreciate your help Ps You have a great site Thanks Carlos Cantu Chapa MexicoMike here: As noted on previous Feedbacks, this could be due to a collimation problem. It could also occur if the eyepiece optical axis is not aligned with the ETX optical path.
Subject: more Sent: Thursday, December 10, 1998 11:08:32 From: email@example.com (Hardin, Dr. Bill) At URL www.interoz.com/usr/suiter/kestner.jpg is a set of pictures for star testing your optics. This identifies defective optics as well as perfect optics. From the comments I have seen on your page, several people will be happy to look at these. Bill Hardin
Subject: Thanks Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 1998 19:41:43 From: SAASA@aol.com Thought I would take a minute to thanks you for all your work on etx's. I have enjoyed many of the pictures and articles. I have it bookmarked and plan to visit it often. Thanks again Steve
Subject: viewing from close the equator Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 1998 17:12:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fernando Sotomayor) I think I need more help from you. I live in Lima, Peru whose latitude is just 12. Can I use the ETX only with its legs? If I buy the MEADE tripod for the ETX, is still necessary to buy a wedge? I will appreciate your help. Fernando SotomayorMike here: At your latitude, the ETX drive axis has to be almost horizontal. You can't do that with just the ETX legs OR the Meade tripod. Only the JMI Wedgepod is adjustable to your latitude.
Subject: CCDs Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 1998 14:44:55 From: email@example.com (carl) There was a recent article in either Sky and Telescope or Astronomy on doing the same thing using the CCD from a Connectix b/w golfball sized camera. A film canister was used as the case. It has the advantage of being ready to hook to a PC complete w/ s/w. Just got the new junior geared head from Bogen. It can move by gear or be released in 3 dimensions, each with an angle scale.It's wonderful but doesn't quite fit on theETX. I'm looking to make a u-shaped bracket from a chunk of 3/4" aluminum stock to attach to the ETX a la Meade's tripod. Pete's Camera, about $125. (but you need a tripod with a 3/8" mount.) Also just got the Pelican 1520 hard case from B&H;. The basic case is less than $110 with pluck-out foam. The JMI case does very poorly in comparison and costs more--I have one and have talked about its drawbacks--the locks are worthless and it's made from polyethelene. JMI's main advantage is that the foam is precut and won't shed any foam dust, whereas pluck-out foam might. The divider version may work better but costs a good bit more than the JMI. It would take a power saw to cut through the Pelican. I thought about the 1550--about $120. but it's too big to be considered a carry-on--just beyond the fudge factor on limits. You can padlock the Pelican with two real hardened padlocks (not the 1/8" shank kind). Well the weather has been lousy in NJ--warm and cloudy to raw and rainy so there's no opportunity to check out the new head. ATB, Carl Dashman
Subject: Cameras and the ETX Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 1998 13:37:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Antonio Mier) I have an ETX, i dont know much about astrophotography, and i have a PC 500 camera from EPSON, this is digital, the dealer from MEADE told me i cant use it in the telescope, but i saw one casio in your web, can you help me and tell me where can i buy an adapter for that camera, or who can help me in this? i live in mexico, but i can buy it in USA AntonioMike here: For my digital camera shots I just held the lens over the eyepiece and checked the image on the camera LCD. I tried to make an adapter but it didn't work out. Some users have made adapters for their QuickCam cameras. I've never seen any commercially available adapters for astrophotography with digital cameras although as can be seen on my ETX web site it IS possible.
Subject: Camera for the etx Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 1998 3:08:53 From: email@example.com (Terje Larsen) What camera would you recomend for use with the etx? I tried my Minolta Dynax 500si,but no success.The camera did not do anything (too much electronics). Clear skies Terje Larsen Kr-sund.N Norway. firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Depends on what you want to do. You will probably need a single lens reflex camera with removable lens for 35mm work. If you want to try using a digital camera, you'll need one that has the camera lens as close as possible to the surface of the camera body so that you can get a reasonably sized image on the CCD. Look over the Astrophotography pages; the camera used are shown.
Subject: Go-to Technology Sent: Monday, December 7, 1998 22:40:24 From: email@example.com (Daniel Gore) I'm an ETX user who just convinced a friend to buy an 8" LX200. Aside from a slightly slower moving image, I am most jealous of the go-to technology this offers. As an extreme amature can you lead me to an accessory which might do this for my ETX. I've enjoyed the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, but would like to find more--easily. I'm not so adept with the star-chart, yet. I searched your site, via the Java interface, and had no luck. Can you help me? DanMike here: There are a couple of options. Search the site for "master" for comments on the Astro Master. Search the site for "NGC" for information on the JMI products that do this.
Subject: ETX new user Sent: Monday, December 7, 1998 22:23:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Guy Duke) So much info! First I want to say is that I missed the JC Penny sale but was able to find the ETX at Sams club for $579, which included the 25mm and 9mm eyepieces. Second, I know nothing about using it, but my wife had an old department store one 10 years back or so and loved it. She just could not wait to try it out, so I moved an old clothes dryer out in the middle of our back yard(with many trees blocking most of the sky). Not sure what to do, I pointed it up to the brightest object I could see and found Jupiter and could see 2-4 objects that appeared very close. Next, I pointed to another bright object, and before I could focus it, I knew I had Saturn in our sights. Without having aligned the scope, Saturn was a bit harder to keep in my field of view(moving across the fov and up thrugh the fov). All this on first day with the ETX! It was outstanding! Would love to hear from anyone. Guy email@example.com
Subject: Meade ETX finderscope swap Sent: Sunday, December 6, 1998 14:12:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (charles gates) I got a crazy idea and swapped the factory supplied finderscope for the Meade 6x30 finderscope off of my Meade 8'' dob.It slid right into place,only it is held at the back of the finderscope tube where it is narrower in diameter.The extra eye relief of the 6x30 makes all the difference in the world(although the image is now upside down ).But i can live with it! It looks like it was made for it except for being white in color.Just thought some of your readers might like to know this little ''trick''.By the way your site is great,it made me decide to go for it and get a ETX,which i am very happy with!
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Sunday, December 6, 1998 14:01:16 From: email@example.com (Eilleen Chun) I just had to drop a "hello" off to you. Your web page is very impressive; it is one awesome page. I just bought a Meade ETX and I love it. The info on this page guided me into buying one ( first scope). I cannot thanks enough on the info on your page. There is a website out there that is pretty comparable to B&H; photo, it is called cameraworld.com and they have some pretty good prices. The best thing about it is, outside of the low prices, absolutely free shipping and handling. There is also a 14 day return policy. I hope this info is useful, and might want to add it into your web page. Eileen
Subject: ETX - poor mans tripod Sent: Sunday, December 6, 1998 8:52:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Brian McCool) Hello, my name is Brian McCool. I have always wanted a telescope ever since I was a little kid. My wife bought me an ETX for my 32nd birthday. I really have the star-gazing bug now! I had to make a choice between more eyepieces or a field tripod. I chose a zoom eyepiece. To get around the lack of a suitable tripod, I made some minor modifications to a Black & Decker Workmate 225 work bench. With a pack of playing cards, I can level the surface pretty well. The bench is very stable and folds up really good. You can usually find these between $60 - $80. If you are interested in the modifications that I've made and are in the process of making, just let me know. I'm also looking for a cheap way to take pictures of the things that I see with this telescope. I'm considering taking a digital camera's CCD out of the camera and placing it into an eyepiece. Do you know if anyone has tried this, yet? Do you have any suggestions or ideas? Thanks, Brian McCool.
Subject: movement Sent: Sunday, December 6, 1998 6:25:48 From: email@example.com (Tom Butler) I have a JMI motofocus I have been using for a year with my ETX. The last two nights when I have been out viewing I noticed when I am focusing the image moves in the view(eye piece). Especially if I go past focus and have to reverse the motor direction for focusing. What do you think? Great web site? Tom ButlerMike here: Possibly a minor (or major) collimation problem. Have you checked collimation?
Subject: ETX Sent: Saturday, December 5, 1998 14:17:25 From: DPJB@aol.com I got this scope a month ago and love it! I also have the Meade 9.7 eyepiece and the Meade 126 Barlow. I am trying to figure out what all this collimation business is about. I have searched your sight for info on this and basically gotten more confused. I have tried to look at stars and see this "airy disk" when I go in and out of focus, but I just see a pinpoint of light when its focused and a brighter circle with a dark spot in the middle when its not focused. I haven't ever seen a diffraction circle, which I am assuming would be similar to what you see when looking through a diffraction grating. I would be grateful for any help you could give me on this. At any rate, the moon and all terresrtrial objects I look at have been razor sharp; Jupiter has a couple of bands visible although Saturn's Cassini division has eluded me so far. I guess the thing can't be too far out of adjustment. Thanks for your help and your website.Mike here: From your description I wouldn't worry if I were you. Your scope sounds OK. Stars should appear as pinpoints of light. Saturn's Cassini Division is a challenge but doable with the ETX.
Subject: ETX web site Sent: Saturday, December 5, 1998 10:03:09 From: DGMINK@aol.com Thank you, thank you! I just bought an ETX this Thursday after much agonizing (I don't really have a lot of money, but it was 20% off, and I just couldn't pass it up). Your web site provided much needed information and prepared me for the scope's flaws as well as it's assets. Last night I took it out for the first time, and was simply awed by the sight of Jupiter at 96x. Even though the viewing was not of the best from my back deck (Clouds were moving in from the west), the scope outperformed my expectations. I can't see Polaris from my site (and even if I could, I'd have to hang off my deck about 10' up from a concrete floor to make the sighting), but I found a simple compass alignment was all that was really necessary. I do have some questions, if you don't mind. It's obvious I'm going to need some more powerful eyepieces (on a very limited budget), but what is the difference, really, between a Plossl and a Super Plossl (other than about $30 apiece). Will the less expensive work nearly as well, or is the more expensive really worth it (I'll be doing mostly in-city/suburb viewing, although I may be going to Arizona this summer and taking it with me.) If I buy the cheaper lens will I be wasting my money, or would I notice enough difference to matter? Carrying cases - It's obvious the Meade case is not worth the $50, but I was wondering if perhaps a rugged carry-on bag would work as well as a more expensive camera bag. What do you think? (The scope only weighs 9 lbs. It's much lighter than, say, a bowling ball, or the average weight of a woman's necessaries.) I thought about getting some foam to line it with. Thanks so much, again. I know this scope is going to give me years of pleasure. Kate Halleron Atlanta, GAMike here: Eyepiece quality is both subjective and objective. In the case of the ETX, you can definitely spend more money on quality than you'll be able to see. If you are interested in saving money and don't plan to use the eyepieces will a new, larger scope, then save the money. You may or may not notice any significant difference in eyepiece types with the ETX. However, if you are not satisfied with the view with any new eyepiece, try to return it for a better one. Low prices are not a justification for poor views. And given the ETX high optical quality, you don't want to detract too much from that! Check out the Accessories - Eyepieces page for more information on various eyepieces. And check out the Accessories - Cases page for reviews on cases. Also, search the site for "case"; you'll find lots of suggestions on cases.
Subject: Orion Soft Case Sent: Saturday, December 5, 1998 8:32:53 From: LawmanAG@aol.com Hi, Just purchased an ETX. I was wondering if you have an opinion on the Orion Soft Case for the ETX of any other suggestions. Thanks. Great site!! ALMike here: I don't have the Orion Soft Case so perhaps someone else will comment. In the meantime, check the Accessories - Cases page for lots of case reviews.
Subject: Nice site/ What a wedge is? Sent: Friday, December 4, 1998 16:01:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fernando Sotomayor) I was thinking to buy a telescospe for about 6 months. Since I am interested in planetary and terrestrial viewing I almost decided to buy a 90mm refractor but when asked for opinion a dealer told me without any explanation: "I would buy de Meade ETX". Then I remembered the ads in Astronomy magazine, and serching for more information I found your site. Just by seeing the amount of people which talk about de ETX I decided in a definite way to buy the etx. I think it has a nice portability, and for that same portability it is best telescope. I live in Lima, Peru, South America. When I wanted to buy from U.S. dealers by internet all them told me that Meade does not allow them to ship outside the U.S. Do you know why? Could you tell me please what a wedge is? Can I use a telescope without a wedge? Congratulations for creating and maintining this site. Fernando SotomayorMike here: The ETX is an excellent choice. A wedge is NOT required when using the ETX using the supplied legs. You would use a wedge when mounting the ETX on a tripod or if you want more stability than the legs provide. The wedge tilts the ETX so that its rotation axis is parallel to the Earth's rotation axis, thereby allowing the ETX drive to compensate for the Earth's rotation. But you get the same functionality with the ETX Astro Telescope as shipped by adjusting the latitude leg for your latitude. HOWEVER, users near the equator have a problem: the ETX rotational axis has to be almost horizontal and the supplied legs won't allow that. Hence, something like the JMI Wedgepod (see the Accessories - Tripods page) is required. As to international dealers, I believe Meade has some listed on their web site. Their distribution policy probably has all kinds of legal terms and conditions.
Subject: Re: Meade ETX vs. 4.5" Reflector - 1st (Good) Telescope Sent: Friday, December 4, 1998 15:43:02 From: email@example.com (ArcAxis) I did go to your web site and I guess that's where my interest started to stir about the ETX. I did end up ordering a 4.5" Orion Skyview reflector and am at this point considering purchasing an ETX as well due to its portability and optics. Thanks for your response. Mark Farrell Brookfield, MA ArcAxis@aol.com "You can't just turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again."
Subject: "Binocular" type eyepiece? Sent: Friday, December 4, 1998 12:58:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rich) I am looking into getting an ETX for Xmas. My son, who has some trouble with his eyes, is really interested in looking through the scope (we borrowed one in November to try). I think an eyepiece that allows you to use both eyes to look at the image would be great for him. Do they make a "Binocular" type eyepiece for the ETX? Any other ideas that would help him see the scopes image would be welcome! By the way, great site! thanks, rjmMike here: I have no experience with the binocular style eyepieces but one thought that does come to mind is that eyepieces with "long eye relief", meaning your eye can be further from the eyepiece, might help.
Subject: some superb quickcam astronomy software Sent: Thursday, December 3, 1998 22:53:10 From: email@example.com (Liem Bahneman) I'm not sure if anyone's already mentioned this to you, but I stumbled across some wonderful quickcam software. I know a lot of ETX users are using their quickcam's as cheap CCD, well this software gives them some of the features you find in professional CCDs (emulated in software). Astro QuickCam found at: http://perso.club-internet.fr/uranos/drivereng.htm and http://perso.club-internet.fr/uranos/evoila.htm (sorry, its in french...) some things it has: dark and white frame removal (on the fly) multiple image compositing (on the fly) LX200 guidance turbulence measurement (delta) uses existing quickcam low-level drivers (bw, color, vc) Its pretty good stuff, I've been experimenting with it lately, though I haven't had a chance to test it on any deep-sky objects, I can say it works great on planetary objects. - liem ============================================================================ Liem Bahneman firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Systems Administrator http://www.cobaltgroup.com/~roland The Cobalt Group (206) 269-6363 x300 Seattle, Washington F(206) 269-6350
Subject: Image reversal Sent: Thursday, December 3, 1998 13:03:51 From: email@example.com (Alex Turner) What is the best procedure for dealing with the reversed image of the ETX? It's no problem with moon and planets,but I seem to be lost when I try to find my way using some of the sky maps. Any suggestions? BTW just got the Meade tripod and I think it's great. Alex TurnerMike here: Check out the Meade 45-Degree Erecting Prism (reviewed on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page).
Subject: Meade ETX Manual Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 21:47:29 From: BKerns@intint.com (Brian Kerns) There is a new version of the ETX manual at meade.com at: http://www.meade.com/manuals/etx/index.html Check it out, Brian Kerns
Subject: JMI Information Sent: Wednesday, December 2, 1998 9:35:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jose Luis Machado) I really did appreciate a lot your site! I am from Brazil and purchased recently an ETX, and after learn about its features (most information from your site), I am considering the possibility to buy a lot of stuffs from JMI, but I am not finding the JMIs address or any store(Internet) that sells their products specifically designed for the ETX. Do you have the JMIs address or e-mail, or recommend any site to purchase the JMIs for ETX products? Thanks a lot. Jose Luis Machado E-mail: email@example.com Sao Paulo-BrasilMike here: Currently, JMI does not have a web site nor email. They can be reached at 303-233-5353. But many dealers do sell their products. I believe Shutan Camera & Video and Pocono (links on the Astronomy Links page) see JMI products.
Subject: Great Site! Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 19:29:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nanette) I just wanted to tell you how helpful your site is. My family purchased the ETX as a present for my father's 80th birthday in August. I was left in charge of figuring it out. I have learned more from your site tonight than I have in the past few months. After reading your section on tripods, I feel confident shopping for one. Thanks for all your work. I will be visiting often. NanetteMike here: Glad the site and all the other users have been helpful.
Subject: Thing to look at and an eyepiece review Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 12:57:49 From: email@example.com (Warren Performance Packaging) I've been a long time reader and observer of this site and have benefited tremendously from some of the insight it has provided. I wanted to respond to a couple of messages that I've seen posted. Some people seem to be unhappy with or are expecting too much optical performance from the scope. Frankly, I am amazed with what I can see with this 90 mm scope. Since I purchased the scope in September, I've seen numerous deep-space objects. Here is an abbreviated list: M57 Ring Nebula (very easy to find and see doughnut shape) M27 Dumbbell Nebula (very impressive and easy) M31 Andromeda Galaxy (easy, can even see through finderscope) M31's companion galaxies M51 Galaxy (very faint, needs a good dark night to be sure you aren't looking at a star) M81 M82 M13 Hercules Cluster (very faint, no appreciable detail but fairly easy to find) M92 Double Cluster (Wow, extremely beautiful) M42 (best deep space object except maybe Double Cluster) M45 (way larger than FOV of 26 mm Super Plossl) North American Nebula(have to use your imagination a little) Many, many more NGC XXXX numbered clusters. Several more Messier globular clusters I can't remember the numbers to Jupiter and 4 moons Saturn and 1-2 moons Earth's Moon Again, this is the short list. With a good star atlas, a circle template, and a little determination you can find about anything with a magnitude of 9 or better. Things fainter than a magnitude of 9 are a little tough but you can still find them. Speaking of a good star atlas, I have two. I have the field edition of Sky Atlas 2000.0 which is a great star atlas. However, I have found the Cambridge Star Atlas is a perfect companion to the ETX. Every star in the atlas is visible through the finder. I have found that a 9/16" circle template closely matches the FOV of the stock finderscope. I actually like having the straight through, erect-image view even if the finder is a little tough to use. The Cambridge Star Atlas also lists the size and magnitude of all of the deep-space objects that are shown in the atlas. The other thing I wanted to talk about was my new eyepiece. Yesterday, I received a new Pentax SMC XL 7 mm eyepiece. I can unequivocally say that this is a tremendous eyepiece. At 179X power, the views of Saturn were spectacular. I could make out the Cassini division as seeing permitted. I could also see 1-2 moons. Next, I moved to our moon which was nearly at its' highest point in the sky. The views were so sharp and bright that the scope begged for the Barlow lens. Even at 357X, the views of the moon were incredible. With a moon atlas I could very easily identify craters no more than 20 km in diameter. If I could have identified all of the crates, I am sure that I could resolve to at least 7-8 kilometers, perhaps even better. I was totally blown away by this eyepiece. But even better than the views was the eye relief. With my glasses on, I could easily make out the entire FOV. It's kind of like the description of the Paul Rini 45 mm, you don't so much look through the eyepiece as you look at it. The only disadvantage of this eyepiece is it's enormous size and weight. I have nicknamed it "The Hand Grenade" due to it's size and weight. It is nearly as large as a closed fist and probably weighs 14-16 ounces. You could never use it with a camera to do eyepiece projection photography but hey, just looking through it made me believer. If I could afford to, I would buy the entire Pentax line. Again, I can't stress enough how bright and clear objects are through this eyepiece. It provides superior views to the 9.7 mm Super Plossl that I have, even at the higher magnifications. Scott Anderson
Subject: Worried Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 6:26:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saatchi & Saatchi) I don't know did I have a problem or not, I was worried about one think since I get my ETX. Problem is: When I turn the focus knob counterclockwise after while, at one point I can detect on my fingertip as well as hear scratching (tickling)or something like that, turning the focus knob clockwise I detect at the same point the same tickling. Thanks for great page,Love your web. Best Regards Dino email@example.comMike here: I suspect some minor friction is causing the feeling/noise. It may or may not be a problem. If the image doesn't jerk during focusing I wouldn't think it is a problem. I certainly would not try to fix it yourself.
Subject: Camera Focus! Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 4:55:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Dailey) Focus alignment through the cameras viewfinder is nearly impossible when utilizing projection lenses in a Tele Extender. Would it be possible to align a viewing lens on the vertical mount to the same distance as the cameras film plane to enable focusing through an eyepiece rather than through the camera? Jim DaileyMike here: I don't think this would be easily done. The KwikFocus solution may be the best idea. Search the site for "kwikfocus" for the reference on an archived Feedback page.
Subject: ETX help request Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 4:49:36 From: Sergio.Pissavini@sulzer.com (Sergio Pissavini) I am an italian happy user of ETX but now I need to improve it by better and reliable RA and Dec motion. I am looking to either buy an Orion SkyView EQ mount with RA motor, plus a JMI motofocus or apply the Microstar 1 and JMI motofocus. I have already ETX mounted on a manfrotto tripod and using a italian made wedgepode. what did you recoomed as more reliable solution? Best regards and thanks for the usefull site you have done and maintain. Ciao SergioMike here: I have no direct experience with the Orion mount but I do like the Microstar 1. And when the focuser option becomes available (watch for a review here) that combination will make a fine addition to an already fine instrument. The Orion SkyView EQ is reviewed on the Accessories - Tripod page and the Blessing Microstar on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.
Subject: Visual Back & Tele-Extender! Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 4:43:10 From: email@example.com (Jim Dailey) I recently purchased the Visual Back & Tele-Extender from Shutan, per recommendation of this site. I must say that the Visual Back is GREAT! The ability to use eyepieces on the back of the scope is a must have for anyone. The ability to view from the rear of the scope is great for children, as climbing a ladder to look through the vertical eyepiece always leads to leaning on the scope and sometimes creating the necessity to realign! However, I do not share this opinion with regard to the Tele-Extender. There are no provisions for proper vertical/horizontal orientation of the camera on the Tele-Extender! When I assemble all the pieces, including the camera, I must unscrew one of the elements to align the camera in a proper vertical or horizontal format. This leaves the connection of the elements rather sloppy, with the possibility of movement while making camera adjustments a real problem! I noticed in the accompanying literature from Meade that their offering for Tele-Extendershas a set of locking screws for both camera orientation as well as magnification. Is it possible to use the Shutan Visual Back with Meade's Tele Extender? Jim DaileyMike here: I have no familiarity with a Meade Tele Extender although I have the Meade Basic Camera Adapter. I've not tried this with the Visual Back but it should work. As to horizontal/vertical camera orientation, I've never found that the absolute orientation was a factor. I would align to the obvious aspect I needed for the shot.
Subject: ETX dec slop Sent: Monday, November 30, 1998 22:51:50 From: Mwebbber@aol.com Thanks again for all the great info on your site. It appears that my problem with base wobble wasn't the teflon pads, but with the small sheet metal screw that holds the base to the fork assy. It was loose, so I tightened it a little bit, and now all the RA slop is gone. Now I have another problem, though. Now I notice that there is quite a bit of up and down (dec) play in the scope. Is there a fix for this? Also, I don't like the fact that the only thing keeping my telescope from falling to the ground is a small cheesy sheet metal screw. Do you know of any mods in this area? Ant help would be great. Again, thanks for the great site!Mike here: Check out Jordan Blessing's "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products" page (link on my TechTips page). There is info there on the DEC control arm. Might help.
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