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ETX USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 29 February 2000

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


Subject:	 camera adapler
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 20:15:52
From:	prospectdive@earthlink.net (Michael Rogers)
I thought you guys might like to check out this Adapter for mounting
mavica cameras to telescopes & microscopes.  Maybe you can get a loaner
to evaluate and test.

www.stillwtr.com/leadapter/

Mike Rogers
Des Plaines, Illinois

--- Michael Rogers
--- prospectdive@earthlink.net
--- EarthLink: It's your Internet.

Subject:	advice
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 18:46:37
From:	BelikeJon@aol.com
my name is John and i am about to purchase a telescope for taking
pictures i was either going to buy a meade 390 or a EXT  the 390 is
going for 499.oo  and the ETX is going for 799.00 with the tripod do you
have any advice on with road i should take.
Mike here: I have no familiarity with the 390. Look over this site for the types of photos you can take with the ETX. One thing you'll have to decide is WHAT type of photography you plan to do, WHERE you plan to do it, and your EXPECTATIONS are.

Subject:	 m42 observing report
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 14:37:34
From:	rvdh@ecs.csun.edu (Robert Van Den Huevel)
I got to see M42 from semi-dark suburb skies (Simi Valley) last night.
What astonished me this time was that even at 48x in a 3.6" scope, with
nasty streetlights interfering to boot, I could see definite irregular
cloudy shapes, both the subtle persistent bluish white nebula and the
eclipsing jet-black dark matter clouds to one side. The little
triangular "notch" at one end was clearly visible. However, at 48x the
image was already beginning to get almost unacceptably dark for me, a
former user of a pair of 6" and 10" reflectors.

What I would like to point out is that the accurate focus mechanism of
the ETX plus its optical contrast seem to make it capable of discerning
subtle structures. Keeping the power down helps too; I don't personally
think the ETX is useful for deep sky over about 80x.

Some day I hope I get to try it out side by side next to a 6" dob for
comparison.

There it is! Keep up the great work!

-- Robert Van den Heuvel

Subject:	 Dew Shield - Clear Night Products
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 11:29:20
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
Been a while since I've been to the site or written anything.  I see
things have changed, new columns, geez, feels like I've been in a time
capsule...Anyway, Barry from Clear Night seems to have "reawakened" - he
sent me a sincere handwritten apology about the customer service
?Customer Dis-service?" and sent me a refund!  Well, I can be
bribed...as I mentioned last time around (I think), the product is very
nice - provided the new batch doesn't have the gluing problems, this can
be a real winner.  One suggestion:  On mine, I attached my lightfinder
to the dewshield so it wouldn't be in the way, and also i'd have the
option to kind of rotate it around the scope, move it outwards, etc. -
when the glue had problems, it threw off my alignment, and i think
mounting it on the dewshield will leave it open to alignment problems
with weather change (in case the shield shrinks or expands slightly with
moisture or temperature) - I would recommend attaching a light site on
the scope itself - the black plastic near the eyepiece seems as good as
any other spot - hope this was informative!

Happy seeing,
Gary

p.s. when is there going to be a section for the forthcoming NexStar 8?
:)
Mike here: Regarding the NexStar8, when you get a chance to catch up, see the EDITORIAL page.

Subject:	 Re: ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 06:36:52
From:	dhawan_harish@yahoo.com (Harish Dhawan)
Thanks a million for your tip. It was really instructive and made me
almost convinced that I need a Meade ETX. But I need some more help,
hence this letter.

Let me introduce myself. I am an amateur birdwatcher, photographer
(mainly mountains and animals) and stargazer from India (delhi). I teach
in Delhi University. Given the way the dollar exchange rate is, its
impossible for me to buy enough equipment for everything, seperately.
But after I read about the Meade, it seemed to be something with which I
could do all three. So my first question:

Can one do terrestrial photography with the Meade? There is some about
it on your site, but not enough. A few other sites I saw had round
photographs.

The second:

Apart from the standard eyepiece, what else should I buy. Here I am
talking about the basic minimum. Maybe one wide angle for terrestrial
photographs and one high-mag for deep sky. Please do guide me.

The third question:

Is there any reliable second hand market in the Meade, say of earlier
incarnations of the ETX?

Thanks in anticipation
Harish Dhawan
Mike here: Search the site for "bird"; you'll find some references to using the ETX for terrestrial use including photography. You will definitely want an image erecting 45-degree adapter for terrestrial use. They mount at the rear port of the ETX. And a Barlow Lens (usually 2X is fine). That will get you started. As to sources for used ETX scopes, check Shutan Camera & Video (link on the Astronomy Links page) as well as eBay.

Subject:	 Tripods, etc
Sent:	Tuesday, February 29, 2000 05:30:03
From:	wilstay@fl.freei.net (Claude Wilson-Stayton)
I want to add my endorsement to Jock Elliot's of the T & T Binocular
"crutch" tripod.  I purchased the wooden version ( $72 with shipping and
handling.)  My ETX mounts solidly to the tripods oversized 7'' head. 
It's practically vibration free, steadying in less than half a second
after adjustment.  As Jock points out, it doesn't allow polar aligning.
If your backyard observing, like mine, requires numerous moves to see
different parts of the sky, constant polar aligning isn't practical
anyway. Anyone looking for a rock solid, inexpensive platform would do
well to check out T & T's tripods.

Along the same lines of inexpensive backyard observing, I offer this
tip.  I purchased a $4 canvas carpenters apron from Home Depot to carry
eyepieces, etc.  It's five pockets (three small, two large) easily
accomodate my red filtered mini maglite, barlow, two extra eyepieces and
the lens cap.  There's ample room in the two larger pockets for a couple
of filters to fit in with the eyepieces. The small center pocket even
accomodates my glasses while observing.  Since an average observing
session involves about three or four moves to get aroud the trees, it's
very handy to have everything go with me as well as being at my
fingertips when I need anything.

Thanks for a VERY helpful site.

Claude Wilson-Stayton

Subject:	 Prices of ETX accessories downunder
Sent:	Monday, February 28, 2000 19:09:38
From:	paul.luckas@au.pwcglobal.com
Just thought I'd share this with you all ...

If you ever doubt the value for money that the ETX represents in the US,
just spare a thought for us in Australia. I just priced the electronic
focusser at $597.00 Australian from our national Meade distributor.
That's well over $300 US. Even with import duty etc., we are really
being screwed downunder. At last check I think the ETX itself was about
$1500 Australian (Somewhere around $800 US). That should make your
decision to buy it even easier :-)))))

Subject:	 Thanks
Sent:	Monday, February 28, 2000 17:20:02
From:	davebrockway@earthlink.net (Dave & Kathy Brockway)
Just wanted to tell you thanks for your ETX site. It has made the use of
the telescope much more enjoyable.

No need to respond.

Thanks

Dave
Olathe, KS

Subject:	 scopetronix e-zoom post
Sent:	Monday, February 28, 2000 11:57:58
From:	rvdh@ecs.csun.edu (Robert Van Den Huevel)
I mentioned in my previous posts/feedback that the ScopeTronix EconoZoom
eyepiece had a bit of darkness/fuzziness below 10mm and had some color
distortions at the edge of the field. I talked to ScopeTronix

owner Jordan Blessing and he had this to say via e-mail:

"The two effects you mention on the EconoZoom only apply to the ETX due
to its limited aperture and long focal length. The same effect is
actually more obvious when using a Televue/Meade/Vixen Zoom. The images
are actually darker as well with these much more expensive eyepieces
since the light must  travel through 7 glass elements versus 3 for the
EconoZoom. I was using 3 of them in N5's last night at a public
observing event at the local Children's Science Center and they were
sharp as a tack right to the end (since in the N5 the magnification is
lower at the same eyepiece focal length). You can try to blame high
power problems on the eyepiece, but in fact you have just reached the
limit of your seeing conditions. You can spend well over $100 more for a
zoom but it will just make you more disappointed ; )"

I think this should be noted. Thanks!

-- Robert Van den Heuvel

Subject:	 ETX125 & Opinions
Sent:	Monday, February 28, 2000 07:50:10
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
Congratulations on obtaining your EXT125.  I look forward to more
reviews on the 125 vs. 90.  I'm still on the fence as whether to upgrade
from the 90RA.

I have an opinion on your suggestion of splitting messages containing
opinions onto a separate area.  I regularly read the User feedback
pages. Almost all messages contain an opinion of some sort.  Perhaps
messages containing ALL opinion could be moved to the new page.  When
you created the editorial page I expected to see more user contributions
there. Perhaps you could open that area and perhaps give yourself an
author's page?

Thanks,
Ron McCafferty
Mike here: My intention for the OPINION page was to try to have the Feedback pages become more tips and Q&A oriented. Certainly, user opinions get blended into their comments so it is difficult to separate. I'm hoping that users will accept the responsibility and help us all get information into the proper areas. As to the ETX-125EC, maybe I should have gone into Radio Astronomy. The weather hasn't cooperated since I got it!

Subject:	Your ETX site
Sent:	Sunday, February 27, 2000 22:32:23
From:	MrSchmoo@aol.com
I just wanted to write a short note of appreciation for such a great
site.  I am an avid ETX-125EC user and I have benefited greatly just
from the few items I read on your site.

Many thanks and I will be back often.

Best regards,

Mark Klesman

Subject:	 ETX Astro Telescope, Model M
Sent:	Sunday, February 27, 2000 17:09:08
From:	gary@relevant.to (gary)
I am brand new to the ETX family and I have a quick question for you if
you have the time.  I purchased the ETX Astro Telescope, Model M at a
rock bottom price from a JC Penny Outlet.  I also got the autostar
controller, only to find that it was incompatible with my model.  Do you
know if my model is upgradable to accept the controller?  Any help would
be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.
Gary Sorge
gary@relevant.to
Mike here: The ETX Model M is the original model. The current model is the ETX-90EC, which supports the Autostar. There is no upgrade from the original model. Too much was changed in the base unit.

Subject:	 Links
Sent:	Sunday, February 27, 2000 01:00:56
From:	astro.world@virgin.net (astronomy world)
Great site and extremely useful here in the UK,  I wonder if you would
place our Company site onto your links page as we have yours on our web
site. our URL is www.astronomy-world.co.uk.

Well you have very good and useful site.  Congratulations and all best
wishes

Brian Rivers

Astronomy World UK Ltd

Subject:	 Re: Need help with ETX RA
Sent:	Saturday, February 26, 2000 23:27:11
From:	lyonsden@value.net (James Lyon)
Yes, but how do I get at them?

Mike Weasner wrote:
> Visit my ETX web site and do a search for "teflon".  One possible of
> your problem is that the teflon pads have slipped.
Mike here: From Meade. Or you can make your own (apparently).

Subject:	 Max. Image circle ETX 90 and ETX 125
Sent:	Saturday, February 26, 2000 20:08:40
From:	andy@hurleynet.com (Andy Hurley)
Great website ! I am looking to do some medium format eclipse
photography. So I was wondering what the maximum image cirlce is for the
90mm and 125mm ETX's. I have not seen such info published anywhere. I
would be using the scopes at prime focus. Any help along these lines
would be appreciated.

Thanks,
dan

Subject:	 Purchasing a camera for my ETX?
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2000 13:23:20
From:	shiz@bellsouth.net (Shawn Rakestraw)
You quite an impressive sight and I can only imagine how much you must
know about the ETX.  I'll get straight to the point....I am wanting to
purchase a camera for my ETX90EC.  I have heard that an Olympus OM1 is a
good one to start off with, but I also have seen many photos with the
Nikon F.  After looking around on Ebay for some good prices, I am very
confused by all of the different Nikon models.  Any help at all would be
appreciated greatly and if you do have some advice I will send you some
pics one day soon when I get my camera.  Thanx.

Shawn
shiz@bellsouth.net
Mike here: I hope you mean that my site is impressive... As to cameras, I'll post your message on the next site update. Some things to consider: 1) you'll want a camera with a removable lens (so that you can attach a T-Mount Ring between the camera body and the proper accessory on your telescope), 2) you'll want a camera with a "B" (or Bulb) setting so that you can keep the shutter open, 3) ideally, you'll want a camera that can have the mirror locked up (to avoid mirror-movement-induced vibrations), and 4) you'll ideally want a camera that has interchangeable viewscreens (to allow better focusing). One final thing to keep in mind: the ETX is not an ideal telescope for astrophotography. It can been done (as seen on my ETX site) but it can be challenging.

Subject:	 observing report!
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2000 10:55:30
From:	rvdh@ecs.csun.edu (Robert Van Den Huevel)
FYI - ETX observing report:  M42 was incredible last night at 31x, at
that power being indistinguishable from the view I used to get in my
Odyessy Compact, and the beehive cluster wasn't bad either, it barely
fit in a 40mm eyepiece and the stars were razor-sharp. The moon was just
downright incredible, especially at 48x still filling the FOV in a 26mm
plossl, (I can't imagine the view thru a 15mm SuperWide!!) and great
even at 160x thru the $65 Scopetronix EconoZoom eyepiece (3 elements -
22.4 down to 7.4mm) I bought last month, although there's something not
quite right with the color on this piece compared to a single good
plossl, I detect some orange and blue flaring at the edges of objects,
although the focus is good and clear and the eye relief is better than
most eyepieces I've used, overall.

The ETX definitely is the hands-down, best overall useful telescope of
those that I have had in my collection (the others being: Odyessy 10",
Celestron C4.5, Comet Catcher 5.5" Schmidt-Newtonian, 60mm refractor),
but its complexity is a little bit of an annoyance in casual observing -
you cannot just plop one down and observe every time; it may take some
care and some forethought - it's a delicate instrument, not really
suited to dirt, moisture, and uneven observing surfaces such as car
hoods and overturned trash bins, for lack of a good tripod (which I
steadfastly refuse to buy, since by doing so the advantage of an ETX in
portability becomes negligible). And the field of view is very narrow.
But I'm definitely no beginner, so I don't mind the narrow field (which
is no worse than my F4.5 Odyessy was, by the way).  I admire the optical
quality the most, the slow-mo controls are a nice plus if not a
downright necessity that I've overlooked for many years in my quest for
budget satisfaction, and the future capabilities are great to have. Plus
at least 50% of my observing is terrestrial and besides being sharp as a
tack at lower powers, the image is already right side up, although not
correct left to right, but that's a very minor problem in my book. Why
did I wait so long?

Clear skies!

-- Robert Van den Heuvel

Subject:	 Tripod for ETX90-EC
Sent:	Thursday, February 24, 2000 09:04:12
From:	dcriner@ieee.org (Doug Criner)
Here is a posting I put on listbot, and I rec'd several favarable
responses. Feel free to add it to your ETX site.

**************

I've finally achieved a tripod for my ETX90-EC that I deem satisfactory
in all respects - it's rock solid and versatile.

The basic tripod is a Bogen 3233 photographic 'pod. (Bogen is the U.S.
brandname for the Italian firm, Manfrotto.) It is very steady - I
originally purchased it several years ago as a photo 'pod. The 'pod has
a bubble level to help with alignment. It has one feature which is good
for photography but unnecessary for a 'scope: a crank-operated height
adjustment. (For a 'scope, it's more stable to leave the height cranked
all the way down, and just adjust the legs for proper viewing height.)

The next component is an offset plate to get the 'scope's center of
gravity over the center of the 'pod. This is desirable if the scope is
aligned in the polar mode, which is my standard approach, but
unnecessary otherwise.

Next is the tripod head, a Bogen 3047. This is a three-way head: pan
plus two axis of tilt. The main tilt control can be used for a quick
polar alignment. The second tilt control is nice for photography but
unnecessary for a 'scope.

With the 'pod, you need a Bogen 3048 quick-release plate. This
quick-release plate comes with a 3/8-inch camera mounting screw, which
is necessary to fit the ScopeTronix heavy-duty photo 'pod adapter
(discussed below). (The standard Bogen quick-release plate that normally
comes with the 'pod has a 1/4-inch mounting screw, which fits 99% of the
cameras here in the U.S. and probably elsewhere.) For me, it's nice to
have both quick-release plates - one that is used for photography and
one for the ETX. (The 3/8-inch version is available from B&H Photo in
New York City.)

Finally, and the most important, is the heavy-duty ETX photo tripod
adapter available from ScopeTronix. It is a very rugged piece of
circular steel plate that covers the entire bottom of the ETX. An
alternative adapter, at least for the ETX-90EC, is a U- or W-shaped
bracket available from ScopeTronix and a number of other sources, such
as Shutan; it is too flimsy.

There are a couple of little gripes about the ScopeTronix heavy-duty
adapter. First, the two thumb screws for mounting the adapter to the
ETX-90EC are too long. One of them bottomed out on the threads of my
'scope before tightening. That problem is easily fixed by adding a
couple of spacer washers on that screw.

Secondly, the thumb screws can interfere with mounting the quick-release
plate onto the Bogen head. This can be solved by playing around with the
relative orientations of the quick-release plate and the adapter. It
seems best to attach the quick release plate to the tripod's head first,
and then attach the 'scope. Ideally, the thumbscrew heads should be just
a hair smaller in diameter.

*****************
Doug Criner, 8 Tartan Lakes Dr, Westmont, IL 60559-6157
Voice 630-986-9424, FAX 630-986-0585, Mobile 312-524-7000
email: dcriner@ieee.org
*****************

Subject:	 the ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2000 22:18:53
From:	coh2@home.com (Charles P. O'Hanlon)
Whats the deal withe the ETX telescopes. All I read about them is that
people are constantly sending them back or returning them for "fixing".
I was interested in purchasing one, but after reading your site and
others like it I think I'll stay away from it. Why would someone
purchase a product with such a bad track record.

Chuck O'Hanlon
Mike here: If you look for the negative comments you'll see them. I don't think people are "constantly" sending them back. While I haven't taken a count, I think you'll find many more positive comments about the ETX, especially, the ETX-90EC. But you have to be happy with your decision so buy what makes you comfortable.

Subject:	 quicky note on GoTos...
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2000 22:35:20
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
The newest Sky & Telescope (April 2000) has fascinating articles on
motorizing Dobsonians... and the details highly pertain to how our dear
lil' ETXs do/could/should operate.

The authors all have web sites, and Mel Bartel's

zebu.uoregon.edu/~mbartels/altaz/altaz.html

has lots of links to other folks and reference sites.

--dick

Subject:	 G-3
Sent:	Wednesday, February 23, 2000 12:04:34
From:	dwkmdmph@yahoo.com (joe green)
Would you be so kind to consider adding the G-3 variation to your
website....in many ways similar...in some ways different (.965 exit,
helical focus etc).

Your site is invaluable for us 90mm mak folks....but adding an enlarging
section on G-3 would draw much more attention from the G-3
crowd.....Thanks......

Dennis............  dwkmdmph@yahoo.com
Mike here: Late last year I was considering expanding the site but as I noted in the recent Editorial I have decided to not expand behind the Meade ETX and DS telescopes. My reasons are explained in the Editorial.

Subject:	 ETX 125 ?s: Collimation and tripods
Sent:	Tuesday, February 22, 2000 11:33:43
From:	drmoose@uswest.net (moose)
I am now to astronomy and telescopes, so please forgive my ignorance. I
recently got an ETX90, and decided to return it for a 125 (before seeing
this site). I am now second guessing my decision, but that is another
story. (I may still go back and cancel the order, and get my 90 back).
But anyway: 1) how can I tell if my scope's collimation is out of whack?
Are stars visually "lopsided" or something. What is a quick test? and 2)
I bought a tripod with the purchase (ETX field tripod) but am thinking
of returning it and getting a different tripod, so that I can use it
with my med. format camera, Can any tripod be used with the ETX?
Obviously, the mount is different, but is there an adaptor? Thanks.
Mike here: Search the site for "tree" (as in Christmas Tree Ornament test). Also see, the Tech Tips page for a Collimation Test you can easily perform. As to tripods, you'll want a sturdy one. And yes, an adapter is required. Depending upon the tripod, Shutan and Scopetronix sell adapters.

Subject:	ETX Eyepiece Problem
Sent:	Sunday, February 20, 2000 19:54:45
From:	GREENH@aol.com
I acquired an ETX-90 at Christmas. Being an astronomy-telescope novice,
I've had problems (especially with Meade's manuals), but once I learned
to find Polaris things became better. I bought the Barlow eyepiece to go
with the standard 26 mm shortly after getting the scope. Early this week
I ordered a 9.7mm Meade eyepiece in order to get more magnification. On
arrival, much to my surprise its O.D. is too large to fit either the
scope or into the Barlow. This seems like a pretty mundane quality
control problem which should not happen with interchangeable parts. I've
not seen a similar problem in a month of browsing your site.

While trying to install the 9.7mm, I think I noticed some looseness in
the scope base in the joint just above the attachment to the tripod
(this must be the joint for azimuth rotation. With the elevation locked,
small up or down force on the scope barrel caused a discernible, but
very small elevation change in the scope. The motors were off, and I
have not seen the problem when tracking the planets. I was so disgusted
at my inability to use the 9.7mm that I didn't spend any time pursuing
this further.

Would appreciate your comment on either or both problems.
Mike here: You mentioned that the 9.7mm eyepiece was too large. Is it a 2" diameter EP instead of 1.25"? If a 1.25", could there be an obstruction that is preventing it from being inserted? A burr, for example. As to the play you mentioned, there might be some but should not affect anything. By the way, you didn't say which model ETX-90 you acquired: an ETX-90RA (the original ETX) or the ETX-90EC.

Added later:

Thanks for the response. My scope is the ETX90-EC. The 9.7mm eyepiece is
a series 4000 1 1/4", and there are no burrs on either the eyepiece or
the ID of the scope or Barlow (into which the 9.7mm won't fit). I
suspect heavy chrome on the 9.7mm. It will take a micrometer to really
pin it down.
Mike here: Suggest you return it. Take your Barlow along to confirm the replacement will fit. If you can, you might also try the old eyepiece in a new Barlow just to see what happens.

And:

It is being returned. Eagle Optical in Wisconsin (I'm in Arizona) said
that they had gotten a few eyepieces back for oversize O.D., but no
9.7mm.

Subject:	 Hello
Sent:	Sunday, February 20, 2000 16:46:13
From:	bdspess@ij.net (Bernie and Debbie Spess)
Simple question, 
Is there a product that can attach to the telescope for a direct picture
feed to a computer ??
We are new to this hobby.

Thanks
Bernie
Mike here: There are CCD imagers. Also, some users attach QuickCams or other small computer video cameras to their telescopes. Search my ETX site for "CCD" and "QuickCam" for more details.

Subject:	 Tripod dreams
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2000 22:46:54
From:	wybnorml@pacbell.net (Mike Sweeney)
After reading your page.. always a treat :)  I had to aadd some
comments.  I found a *old* Camera Jr. movie camera tripod in the local
used camera store for 100 bucks. This is a metal.. real metal and wood
legged tripod. VERY sturdy and heavy ( ugh!) but it rotates on all 3
axis with easy cam locks and friction wheels. My ETX mounted right on it
and it has worked like a dream. A whole lot cheaper then the so-called
tripod from Mead.   Just some thoughts.. if you want, I can always some
digital snaps to show it off. I see the same tripod on eBay for 60-130
depending exactly on which model it it is. Mine has a nice handle and a
90 degree gearset to screw on the camera ( telescope) and they seem to
be a bit more rare.

Thanks again for the effort on the web site.

Mike Sweeney

--
"Great spirits always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds"
A.Einstein

Subject:	 corrector protector
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2000 21:39:40
From:	rvdh@ecs.csun.edu (Robert Van den Heuvel)
Do you know of any filter or other type of thing I can screw onto the
front of the ETX so that the optical tube is shielded from grit and
sand, etc. but the unit can still be used for observing in the normal
way?

Thanks

Robert
Mike here: You're talking about doing the same thing with your ETX as you (and many of us) do with our 35mm cameras. We put a UV or Haze filter over the lens to protect it. I expect that a large optically flat piece of glass would cost plenty. I've not seen any mentioned.

Subject:	Mount For Red Dot Sight
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2000 15:04:36
From:	RAN375@aol.com
If you live in Pa. like I do you have a lot of time to think, because of
never ending clouds in winter. I was sitting here looking at my ETX90 EC
and I thought to myself I will never use the finderscope that comes
standard with the scope, so I took it off. I use a Crossman Red Dot.
When I removed the finder bracket I thought if I cut the circle in half
maybe I could somehow mount the Red Dot on it. So I whacked it in half
and held the Red Dot to it and it was not compatible. Then I thought if
I could create a flat surface then maybe I could mount the Red Dot. So I
came up with the idea of a Dowel Rod cut in half too. So I grabbed the
mangled mount and went to the hardware and found that a 1 1/4" dowel rod
fit perfectly. So I came back home cut the dowel rod 2" long and then
ripped it in half to create a flat surface. Then I placed it in the
mount and put a couple of screws through the mount into the dowel to
hold it in place. Then I thought it would be nice to have a Dovetail to
mount the Red Dot to so I could remove it when I packed my scope up for
transport. So I started digging through some of my storage bins and came
up with an old Bow Sight (bow sights have multiple pins that adjust up
and down on a Dovetail) and the Red Dot's mount fit. So I tore the sight
apart and cut the dovetail down to 2" and screwed it to the flat surface
of the Dowel Rod. Now I have a removable Red Dot Sight and did not have
to mess up my new TeleWrap Dew Shield.

You should be able to get everything you need at a hardware except the
Bow Sight parts. You may be able to get these at a Bow Shop (a lot of
them have junk drawers with misc. parts in them) I used to own a Bow
Shop, you should be able to find one that fits for a couple of dollars.
Also you might try a Gunsmith or Gun Shop.

Clear & Dark Skies
Randy

Subject:	 Question
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2000 14:42:48
From:	rmarchionna@voyager.net (Ray Marchionna)
First of all, your site is fantastic, it was the main reason that I
bought the ETX-90. I have only one problem, when I attach my Ricoh 35mm
SLR to the prime focus port, the triggering of the shutter makes the
entire assembly jump enough to cause all of my pictures to blur. So far,
all I have tried to photograph is the Moon. Even when I set the cameras
built in timer, to eliminate the possibility of my shaking the assembly
by touching the shutter release, I still have the problem. Fortunately,
I don't seem to have many of the problems that your readers report, just
this one complaint. Do you think counterweights would help ? By the way,
I have experimented will several film speeds, all the way up to ISO
1000. I took the advice of a couple of your readers, and built the
triangular tripod tray, and the leg clamp upgrade for the Meade field
tripod, excellent ideas ! Thanks to you and your other readers.

Keep up the good work.

Ray 
Mike here: The vibration you are experiencing is common with many telescopes/mounts. Search the site for "hat trick" for a solution.

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC Barlow Question
Sent:	Saturday, February 19, 2000 08:45:47
From:	rshooer@pgh.net (Robert J. Shooer)
I recently purchased the Series 4000 #140 Barlow for my ETX, but all of
the literature that I have read references the #126 Barlow.  Is the #140
compatible with  my equipment, or did I make a mistake?  I currently
have the 26mm Super Plossl and the 9.7mm Super Plossl (4000 series).
Thanks.
Bob
Mike here: I did a search on the site for "#140" and the answer appeared in the first Feedback page listed (Feb 1999):
  "From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
   The barlow debate goes on.  Both the #140 and the #126 work in the ETX
   with no observable differences.  I had both of them.  I traded in the
   taller one towards another eyepiece.  Nothing wrong with it
   optically....it just looked out of scale with the ETX and had a bit more
   'play' when an eyepiece was installed.  The #126 also works just as well
   in my 6" reflector telescope."
I realize the search mechanism is not perfect but sometimes it works well.

Subject:	 Re: great site
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2000 18:28:00
From:	jerrya@cyberhighway.net (r r)
Yeah the 2120B has the aperture, but its not computer driven. I have had
scopes for 20 years now (a couple 4.5inch newtons), and now the 2120B,
and ETX w Autostar. In 1 nite with the ETX in rural North Georgia me and
my wife observed more Deep Sky objects than I had managed to find with
charts in 20 years. Granted I am not to good with charts, but even my
wife got into calling up "M31", hitting enter, and there it was. The ETX
gets much more use, than the 100Lb 10" Meade2120B.

Again great site, I have a friend who is about to buy a scope and I
emailed him your sites URL.
 
Thanks again

Subject:	 hand-carry for an ETX90/EC
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2000 08:01:35
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
The ETX90/EC in its original Meade cardboard box meets Airline
hand-carry regs (9 x 14 x 22).  That's how mine made it home from the
East coast. And there's even room for a few socks and t-shirts.
(padding, right?)

(and having it in the photograph-covered box convinced the security
folks that i didn't have to cut through the tape it'd sealed it with.)

--dick

Subject:	 Hello, Quick "?"
Sent:	Friday, February 18, 2000 06:24:53
From:	derekleath@colorassociates.com (Derek Leath)
I have not had much of a chance to use my ETX 90EC lately. But did get
to use it a couple of night ago. And really love it so far. I also have
a 10" Meade 2120 SCT.

My "?" is I would like to put my ETX90 EC on one of my Bogan tripods,
but I'm really not sure which adapter plate to get. The Easy Mount or
the Scopetronix Tripod Adapter.

Thanks for your Help.
Derek
Mike here: See the reviews on the Accessories - Tripods page for some ideas.

Subject:	 Image Intensifier Eyepiece
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2000 22:19:47
From:	snoodle@cpl.net (Robert Van den Heuvel)
Hi Mike, your readers certainly will be interested in this, although it
is not directly ETX related. I have a home-built Gen II image
intensifier eyepiece which I use to view faint objects. The idea was to
increase the light gathering of my small scopes. The ETX is a perfect
candidate for something like this, especially because it can track
objects.

The image intensifier, which I paid a measley $150 for, has the amazing
capacity to show what looks like a tiny TV image of a deep sky object at
the brightness you'd expect to see it with the naked eye in averted
vision! Except that with the intensifier, you don't have to wait for
your eyes to dark-adapt! I've put this unit on a 10" dob trained on M42
in dark skies and seen (a friend verified this) a CIRCULAR CLOUD around
the entire region, shaped like an apple seen from the side, however
quite faint and grainy. I've also used it on a Televue Genesis with
favorable, similar results, although dim. I will try to post a review
and digital photos of everything once I get it back from a friend, who
has borrowed it for research purposes.

An astronomer in Northern California bought 10 of these for a group of
co-workers and posted an ad on Astromart to sell off his surplus. He was
kind enough to save one of the better units for me. I had my machine
shop at the University bore me a holder, put a 1.25" barrel on one side
and a lens cell for a 10x photo loupe on the other, so I can magnify the
tiny image comfortably. In between both is a widened barrel holding the
intensifier, with a hole for a 3V cable going to a hastily stuck-on
plastic holder that holds 2 AA batteries, which power the unit, and a
simple on-off switch. There are several night vision sites on the web
that will sell these types of intensifiers for about $250 each. Search
for "optical image intensifier" at www.altavista.com, and you should be
able to find something. There is a guy at RTMC who sells much nicer
units for $2000 each, but these are Gen III units with much higher
resolution...

FWIW, enjoy this post! :-) Anybody who has questions is free to email
me!!

Robert Van den Heuvel

Subject:	 Re: got my ETX!
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2000 21:12:58
From:	snoodle@cpl.net (Robert Van den Heuvel)
etx@me.com wrote:
> As to the vertical (DEC) lock, are you sure you are getting it tight
> enough?  Do not overtighten or you damage it.

Duh on me. Whoops, it wasn't locked at all - the Dec slo-mo control only
moves the scope when the lock is engaged. I called the store and they
set me straight.

Robert

Subject:	ETX90 Tips and Suggestions
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2000 21:06:15
From:	Speclgrl@aol.com
Me again, thought I'd write in and send a few suggestions instead of
questions this time. Now that I've had the ETX 90 for a month now, I've
made a few improvements I'd like to share with your fans and followers.

I bought the [#1244] auto focuser on Ebay [$60.00+] and am generally
quite pleased with it. Focusing just can't get any easier, the stock
knob is just plain ridiculous. I was thinking about buying the
Scopetronics cable but after reading a few comments about the shake, I
decided not too. Originally, I plugged the auto focuser cable into the
base of the scope and used the Autostar controller to operate it but it
takes too long to reach the focus screen through the keys and I also
found that it ate up the AA's fast. So I bought a 9 volt battery and use
the control box that came with the auto focuser. Sure it still eats
through the 9 volt quickly but it is much easier to replace than 8AA"s
when mounted to the [#883] Field Tripod. The only thing that worries me
about the auto focuser is, when slewed to high latitudes the housing of
the auto focuser box touches the fork mount slightly. The other thing
that worries me is when I focus in on land objects, I'm not sure which
way to focus and pray that the focus rod doesn't come undone. I don't
think there is a stop and I really don't want to find out.

For anyone who uses the [#883] Field tripod or equivalent, the first
thing you want to do is buy some Velcro tape and attach three 1" squares
of this wonder-tape to the side of the tripod base where the legs attach
[fuzzy side]. Use the [prickly side] and attach them to the back of your
Autostar, Auto Focuser or Standard controller. I can now read starcharts
faster and not have to worry where the controller is. I also added some
rubber feet to the tripod legs to minimize "shake" using large artist
erasers and  drilling out 5/16" holes, 1/2" deep.

Another cool tip is to add another "bubble level" [available at Home
Depot] to the top of another tripod leg to verify that the tripod is
level. This one has "cross-hairs" instead of the bubble so aligning it
to the "t" is simpler, faster and more accurate. We all know how much
accuracy is, when setting up the scope at the beginning. I've found that
spending an extra few minutes on setup, saves hours of slewing and
centering.

When setting the Tube to horizontal, it's very difficult [even with the
Autostar red-light] to see 0o, so I took some white paint and touched up
the indicator on the fork arm, now finding 0o is a snap. I also once
almost dropped the metal tube cover onto the outside lens when I was
storing the scope but now I locate the white dot of paint on the lens
cover and align it with the white dot of paint I marked on the tube so
it will never happen again. I saw a recent email on your site from a UK
follower and am looking for a margarine lid instead of the metal optical
tube metal lid.

Well, thats it for now, I'm waiting for some more accessories that I
bought using your "links" page [Apogee, Astronomics], I can't wait to
test the 7-24mm zoom, the 40mm Plossol, or the [#932] Erecting Prism.
I'll report back soon :)

Thanks Again for the wonderful Site!

Roberta Diamond
speclgrl@aol.com
Boca Raton FL

Ps: For anyone wanting state of the art star maps for your exact area
"goto" ... http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/cities.html ... this site has
been a godsend :)

Subject:	 Are these Jupiter/Saturn Images Real ???
Sent:	Thursday, February 17, 2000 10:27:34
From:	rizaljp@hotmail.com (Jose Rizal)
These Jupiter or Saturn images are so detailed from all similar images
in your archive that I wonder whether they really were taken with an
ETX90?

For example, take the image at: 
http://www.weasner.com/etx/guests/images/berry-jupiter02.jpg

It is so close to a series of images from Sky & Telescope late last year
or at least not taken with a scope of 4" aperture.  for Jupiter its
impressive: both SS and NN temperate zone belts are clearly visible,
that it rivals an image taken by Jack Newton's massive Schmidt Camera
[enclosed.]

If these images are REAL, then your contributor has a technique that we
could all benefit from learning about and spectacularly demonstrates ETX
capabilities.  If not, I'm not so sure it should remain posted.

Best,

JP
Mike here: First off, I assume that contributions are from honorable people. Second, his technique is briefly described (combining some 100 individual images). Certainly such manipulation can do wonders. Just consider the image of the Shuttle-Mir in orbit that was done with a 12" LX200 (www.meade.com/gallery/09a.html).

Added later:

I just answered my own skepticism, they are real.  I found Jim's web
site; his technique produces ETX images as good or better than others
with better equipment and similar technique.

emmgraphics.com/pilot/astro/astroindex.html

While I'm seen summed images and use the technique for frame grabbing,
Jim's results are outstanding.

As for the MIR, its a great picture. Has anyone tried to tried to locate
it with an ETX?  Its hard enough to track the fast moving Iridium
sattelites.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, February 16, 2000 11:39:04
From:	me262ace@aa.net (Joseph Perez)
I just purchased the ETX scope , from your personal experience, which
additional eyepices would you recommend for my ETX-90, I currently have
a Televue 9.7mm, & Televue 40mm, which I bought years back. Do you
recommend the Barlow #126 from Meade? any suggestions would be greatly
appreciated.
Best Regards: Joe
Mike here: Those are good eyepieces to have. Adding the Barlow will double your available magnifications so it can be a nice to have item. Also, check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some eyepiece recommendations as well as the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 Re: got my ETX!
Sent:	Wednesday, February 16, 2000 08:16:50
From:	snoodle@cpl.net (Robert Van den Heuvel)
I just got a break in the clouds and saw Jupiter! Roundest, clearest
image I have ever seen, better than my 10" dob was! At 200x, tho, it was
fuzzy, but I think that was because I was trying to shoot thru holes in
intermittent cloud cover.

The main limitation on the ETX90 is the aperature. I like brightness in
my images. I would have got the 5" version but the cost is
extraordinary. You'll have to do a side-by-side comparison for us on the
site and let us know how much better it does on certain objects. As for
the portability, the ETX90 is so small, it's like a toy! It's almost as
portable as a large camera. And with a lightsight, easiest thing to use.
Oh, I just got my Rini eyepieces. The 35mm is unbelievably nice. If it
were not for the slight loss in color (not sharpness), I'd make it my #1
main eyepiece. Oddly, the 52mm shows the same area of sky, only at lower
power and a narrower field. I will be posting a full review in your web
page if allowed.

Sorry for the verbiage. I'm excited. Oh, one more thing. The vertical
slow-mo control doesn't work very well, it slips a lot especially when
the scope is horizontal. Is this normal or did I get a "broken" scope
and what is my recourse? Call Meade... right?

Thanks,

Robert
Mike here: There is a (sort of) side-by-side comparison between the -90 and -125 in my ETX-125EC and NexStar5 reports (linked from the ETX-125EC Feedback page). As to the vertical (DEC) lock, are you sure you are getting it tight enough? Do not overtighten or you damage it.

Subject:	ETX 90 EC
Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2000 19:13:51
From:	Ronald08@aol.com
Hi, I was wondering if it is possible to see any galaxies with a
standard 26 mm eyepiece???  Also, my uncle just baught me the Meade
Epoch 2000 sk-CD, and I was wondering if that would work on the ETX 90
EC???  Thank you!

-Aaron
Mike here: You can see a galaxy with 7x50 binoculars (in the Northern Hemisphere); M31 in Andromeda. And in the Southern Hemisphere you can see the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (actually neighboring galaxies). So, yes, you can see galaxies in the ETX with the 26mm eyepiece. But don't expect to see the same image as you see in photographs. All you will see with the eye is a fuzzy blob. As to the Epoch software, I believe it can be used with the ETX and Autostar. On Meade's web site they show the "Meade SkyChart Astro Software" as an accessory for the ETX EC models.

Subject:	 Meade Barlow won't fit
Sent:	Tuesday, February 15, 2000 10:01:30
From:	gsquire@kraft.com
My Meade #126 Barlow won't slide into either the ETX90EC or 125EC.  The
26mm fits great in both and into he Barlow, but not the Barlow into the
scope!  I can twist it into the 90, but not the 125. Any ideas?

G. Squire

squ123@aol.com
Mike here: I have the #126 Barlow and it goes in fine. If the #16 Barlow is for standard 1.25" eyepiece holes, it should work. Is there a burr or protrusion on it someplace that keeps it from going in?

Subject:	Dealer Inquiry
Sent:	Monday, February 14, 2000 14:56:20
From:	DLC4851@aol.com
Do you have an opinion or experience with Eagle Optics in Wisconsin ?  I
am contemplating purchasing a Meade telescope from them because of price
and I wonder about their service, attitude,  returns etc.  I have read
their website, but that is their side.  I would like to hear someone's
version who has purchased from them.

Thanks.

Subject:	 Case, astrophotography
Sent:	Monday, February 14, 2000 11:47:36
From:	Eric_Gregoire@ne.3com.com
Bargain Alert!!! I was at BJ's ( a wholesale club here in New England,
like Sam's Club...) and found an aluminum "tool" case (that's pronounced
"Accessory Case" to us...) with die cut foam inside (almost identical to
the large one offered by Orion) in the tool section for $30 ($20 less
than Orion and it has a strap, some dividers and a tool palette, if you
ever need it as an actual tool case) Just thought they'd like to know.

Also... I was going to start doing a little Astrophotography with my ETX
and remembered your comments to someone about counterweights. Do they
make them for the ETX? Also thinking of grabbing the Shutan piggyback
mount for some wide angle work (and maybe their wide angle adapter for
viewing...I know you spoke highly of it)

Clear Skies.

Eric

Subject:	 got my ETX!
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2000 19:26:33
From:	snoodle@cpl.net (Robert Van den Heuvel)
I emailed you last week asking about the usability of the ETX versus an
AstroScan. I just got my ETX, and it is incredibly good on terrestrial
spotting, and not so darn bad on the moon. I mean it is Fujinon-crisp! I
think I almost died of shock when I saw the image... The size is unreal,
like a big coke can, the hardware is hokey (it squeaks and jitters), but
overall it's a blast to have it handy, and I have blown a whole day just
looking thru it and marvelling at all kinds of things, ranging from long
distance microscopy to the moon, when I can see it thru all this rain we
are having here in southern california now. You don't have the wide
field adaptor, do you? I'm currently dealing with the limited field of
view of low power eyepieces... I like my viewing to start at 20x.  I
have a $60 Scopetronix Zoom that isn't reviewed on your site! It goes
from 22mm to 7.4 rather nicely!

I've found that the little scope isn't really capable of bright
terrestrial images past about 110x, but for my needs that's good enough;
it must be atmospheric limitations that I'm seeing  over about 80x or
so. You may laugh at that statement, but I do crazy things... I think I
am going to start doing serious telephotography now that I can. Boy am I
grateful I did not get an Astroscan. This thing has so much more
precision, expandable future... and resale value, should I ever upgrade.

Thanks for your recommendations.

Sincerely,

Robert Van den Heuvel

P.S. -- I now have, thanks to the reviews on your site and elsewhere,

ETX-90 RA
2 Paul Rini eyepieces (52mm and a new 35mm 55-degree design, both in the
mail)
40mm Spectiva plossl
18mm Bertele
Scopetronix EconoZoom 22-7.4mm adjustable focal length
Scopetronix lightsight (total kick ass blast over the built-in finder)

I am selling the 26mm plossl. It's eye relief is too short for a 26mm
eyepiece, in my opinion... I wear glasses. The finderscope that came
with the ETX is also up for sale, or maybe I should give it away or use
it as a monocular in the car.
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Showcase Products for my comments on a Wide Field Adapter.

Subject:	 Meade ETX Field Tripod
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2000 18:47:42
From:	sl570@is9.nyu.edu (Steve Lee)
I've been reading the information on your site for a long time, and am
extremely impressed with what you have done with it. I'm a newbie, and
have a few questions about Meade's Deluxe field tripod which I don't
think have been covered. How snug should the mounting slots be when
holding the mounting bolts? On my tripod, the  two slots are different
sizes (a manufacturing error?): one is small and the bolt has to be
pretty much forced into it, and the other is very loose. From what I
have been able to tell, the bolt in the loose slot is causing a LOT of
vibrations because it seems to constantly jiggle back and forth.

Also, please forgive my ignorance, but what is the "latitude lock lever"
supposed to do? It is not really described in the instructions, and it
does not seem to lock anything.

Thanks for your time and for the site!
                                Steve  
Mike here: The knobs should not be overtightened or you can damage the threads. So, what is tight enough? Enough so that the telescope can not move in the vertical away from the tripod head. Check for a metal burr in the slot that seems snug. The latitude lock provides extra security to keep the tripod head from moving when a telescope is mounted equatorially (polar). The weight of the telescope adds extra stress so having two ways to secure the head is a good idea.

Subject:	 AvantGo channels for the Palm Pilot
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2000 09:49:22
From:	philacker@fea.net (Phil Acker)
Hi Mike, hope things are well. I just read the new software review's and
noticed they were for the Palm Pilot. I just purchase a Handspring (Palm
Pilot Clone) and am pulling down web pages when I sync. it to my
computer. This is very handy as I can pre choose what web pages I like
to read, then I can read them later in the day by just recalling them on
my Palm Pilot (Handspring Visor). Maybe you would consider letting some
of your review/ feedback pages, getting released to this site so use on
the go Astronomers can read away from out Mac's (or PC's). Just a
thought.

avantgo.com/frontdoor/index.html
avantgo.com/builder/

http://www.handspring.com/
Mike here: It appears that any user can add a channel. Since I don't use my Palm online, I don't really want to setup an account there. If you would like to add my ETX site (or selected pages), that's OK with me.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Sunday, February 13, 2000 02:01:21
From:	s.grosvenor@cableinet.co.uk (Steve Grosvenor)
Thankyou for an interesting and informative site. I have had my ETX90 EC
for about three weeks now and had some good results with it. In this
time I have built my own custom hardwood tripod, installed the latest
software in my Autostar, and controlled the telescope with the demo
version of Skychart II, using information gleaned from your web pages.
My only gripe is the inflated cost of consumer goods here in the UK
including telescopes and accessories. Magazine comparisons show a direct
dollars for pounds pricing structure eg. :-

USA                                         UK(equivalent @ 1=$0.6)

ETX90EC $595                                $915
Series 3000 s/Plossls $50                   $90
Autostar $149                               $248

US retailers "are not able" to export Meade goods but I worked it out
that I could have flown to New York and bought a telescope for the same
price I paid here!(including the air fare). Even allowing for Import tax
@4% and our value added tax @17.5% and shipping costs I think you will
agree that we are getting a poor deal.
Keep up the good work,
Steve Grosvenor 
Dudley,
West Midlands
UK

Subject:	 Scope from Meade
Sent:	Saturday, February 12, 2000 19:18:29
From:	dsiegel@netpath.net (dsiegel)
For all the hard work you put into the site, you deserve a scope! Keep
up the good work-Drew

Subject:	 Doskocil Cases in Airports
Sent:	Saturday, February 12, 2000 11:10:35
From:	rmasse@mmcable.com (robert.masse)
Just so that you all know...the Metal shield over the entrance to the
x-ray machine has been incorporated on all flights for all airlines at
Denver International Airport...just so that you know.

I originally had the 90 and the Doskocil case...but upgraded to the 125
with the Pelican case with wheels.  Great case but not considered a
carry on unfortunately.

happy trails

rob

Subject:	 ETX user feedback
Sent:	Friday, February 11, 2000 22:58:27
From:	Bish@systec.com (Peter Bishop)
I have recently seen various posts on ETX web pages regarding a bad
batch of #1244 focuser units, I was prepared for problems when I decided
to buy one. I was also quite curious about the vast number of #1244
units available on eBay. Considering the "vertical" market for ETX
accessories, I was a bit wary of the situation. Nevertherless I
purchased a unit via eBay ($65 instead of the best discount price of
$100) and can only say that I was less than surprised when in fact the
gear had a 5/16" hole and the shaft was 3/8". Brute force and ignorance
will only get you so far in this world, and it was soon apparent that
the telephone was a better resouce than the hammer.

Meade claimed ignorance of the fact that this was a common problem, but
immediately offered to send a replacement. This should arrive soon, and
I will just have to live with the frustration for a few days.

So, if any of you are considering an eBay purchase of the #1244 focuser,
be prepared to receive one of the bad batch (there's no such thing as a
bargain). It will all be OK in the end, but be prepared to contact Meade
to get the replacement part and live with the additional postal delay.
This is obviously a Meade problem which they seem to be addressing with
a healthy attitude (albeit with feigned ignorance of the situation).

Another comment about eBay... watch out for "auction fever". I've been
watching the #1244 prices, and have seen units sell for $91. This is
ridiculous when Shultan are selling new units for $100. Where's the
threshold for taking a risk on an auction? Everyone's will be different,
but saving just nine bucks (under ten percent) on the new dealer price
is questionable.

Maybe Meade should have saturated the community with clear statements
regarding the problem with the focuser and not left all of us potential
victims of people trying to unload defective Meade products. In
fairness, I must repeat that Meade have addressed the issue in a
satisfactory manner, albeit on an individual basis.

Rant over.
Cheers
Peter

Subject:	Re: JMI Megapod
Sent:	Friday, February 11, 2000 11:51:52
From:	Stantastic@aol.com
klasher@ralston.com wrote:
<>

Not speaking for or against the Megapod (I have Meade's Deluxe Field
Tripod -- which also has a bubble level), but leveling the tripod and
leveling the OTA are two different procedures. When setting up for
equatorial alignment, leveling the tripod (at least the "head" of the
tripod) should result in the base of the scope being level (that would
require using the tripod's bubble level). Leveling the OTA should be the
next procedure. Having the base of the ETX and/or the OTA out of level
by a small margin should be acceptable and hopefully will be compensated
for by the Autostar's "smarts." But I wouldn't go so far as to say that
the bubble level is "not that useful." The more level you are to start
with in both the base and the OTA, the more likely you are to have a
successful GOTO when using the Autostar.

Stan Glaser
stantastic@aol.com

Subject:	 ETX-90EC and Astrophotography - Motor Drag
Sent:	Friday, February 11, 2000 08:49:07
From:	smavica@cais.com (Mavica, Steve J. LT BUMED)
I have been experimenting with photography using my ETX-90EC using both
eyepiece projection and prime focus. To date, I am not having much luck.
 I wear glasses so focusing has become a big challenge.  I tried to take
a few snapshots of the lunar eclipse last month and every shot was out
of focus. Another problem I have encountered is tracking. This is the
main reason for the email. When I mount my Minolta to the ETX for both
prime focus and eyepiece projection, the tracking seems to be
dramatically affected. Both RA and DEC motors seem to drag because of
the added weight of the camera.  Has anyone else had this experience or
is the motor in my telescope going bad? Anyone know if there are any
fixes to the problem?

Thanks for any help,
Steven Mavica
Mike here: The ETX is not a good telescope for astrophotography. HOWEVER, you can see many excellent examples of the shots that can be done on this site. But lots of experimentation and some luck will be required. The extra weight of a camera will unbalance the system (as it will on most telescopes). So you need to add a counterweight to rebalance the system. But that is only part of the problem. As you noted, focusing on objects, even bright ones can be a challenge. Some cameras have alternate viewscreens that work better for astrophotography. And then you come to vibration and tracking errors. Shutter and focal plane mirror movement can induce vibrations, ruining any image. You have to use the "hat trick" method of covering the ETX objective (without touching it), opening the shutter, uncovering the objective, making your exposure, recovering the objective, and finally releasing the shutter. The drive, even when perfectly polar aligned, is not accurate enough for high magnification astrophotography at long durations. Check through all the examples on this site and you'll see what is possible.

Subject:	 Driving to Irvine
Sent:	Friday, February 11, 2000 05:52:10
From:	afink@kaiserep.com (Fink,Al)
Mike, your a better man than me. I work in Irvine, and to drive down to
here on the 5 or the 405 in the rain with our typical CA drivers who
don't drive in the rain....and when you actually didn't have to praise
to you. I come in about 0400 and sneak out by 1400 I don't like the
traffic period. by the way great site been checking in most everyday for
the last 6 months or so...also don't concern yourself about others
thoughts about the 125 great deal for all of us.
   Proud owner of a 90EC   Alfred Fink

Subject:	Adapters
Sent:	Thursday, February 10, 2000 15:01:49
From:	Ronald08@aol.com
For the ETX 90 EC, is it possible to magnify the power even with the
adapter for taking photographs?  If so, what is the name of the adapter?
Mike here: You're talking using Eyepiece Projection. See the comments on the "Meade Basic Camera Adapter" on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. Also, see the comments on the "Shutan Mini-Tele Extender" on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.

Subject:	 (No Subject)
Sent:	Wednesday, February 9, 2000 13:07:26
From:	cgutilla@loveamac.com (Charles Gutilla)
One last update. I called the Discovery Channel Store locally and they
agreed to let me exchange my ETX-90 with the faulty alt drive for a
brand new one... even though my brother purchased it in NC and I live in
TX. He e-mailed me a copy of the receipt. What a bonus. Saved me weeks
without the scope and shipping charges.

Subject:	 Meade EP Barrel
Sent:	Wednesday, February 9, 2000 01:45:33
From:	Sukun.Tanticharoenkiat@shell.co.th (Tanticharoenkiat, Sukun S SHLTHAI-HMA/3)
Do you know whether the Meade EP barrel is a bit smaller than standard
EP? I have the Meade series 4000  moon filter and it fits well with
Meade series 4000 EP.  However, when I try to thread the filter into the
Celestron EP, the filter just slips into the EP barrel.  It seems that
the filter is a bit smaller for the Celetron EP barrel.  I am purchasing
the Lumicon LPR filter and the celestron discussion group confirm that
the Lumicon will thread into Celstron EP.  If so, then it should be too
big to thread into the Meade series 4000 EP? Can you give any ideas
about this?
Thanks for your kind response.
Best regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand
Mike here: Filters are supposed to be standard size to fit eyepieces. I hadn't heard of any problems with any manufacturer's eyepieces.

Subject:	 Place to buy eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 23:34:57
From:	tongsay@tongsay.com (TongSay Vongpaseuth)
Hi!  I found your site while surfing on the net one day.  Great site by
the way.  I am new to astronomy and I recently purchased EXT-90EC from
Amazon.com.  I was wondering if you know a good site where I can
purchase 2x Barlow and some eyepieces?  Does it matter what brand of
eyepiece I use? Does it have to be a "Meade"?

Thanks,

TongSay
Mike here: You can use any brand eyepiece but remember that the higher the quality the better the view. Check the dealers section on the Astronomy Links page for several excellent dealers who sell accessories.

Subject:	 NexStar-8
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 21:30:45
From:	bob@shutan.com
You and your readers may be interested to know that we are taking names
for a waiting list on Celestron's just-announced NexStar-8 telescope!
Same features as the NexStar-5 but includes field tripod... all for
about $1900.00

bob.

Subject:	 doskocil case for etx
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 20:59:52
From:	beckwith@massmed.org (Bruce Beckwith)
I have used your site for almost two years now, since before I got my
ETX-90.  It is really a great, useful site, keep up the good work.

I took my ETX to the winter star party last week.  Based on the reviews
on your site, I purchased the Doskocil Extra-large pistol case.  I got
it from wholesale hunter for $70 (www.wholesalehunter.com).

The reason I was writing is that I flew American Airlines and they have
institued a new policy for carry-on baggage in some airports.  They have
put a metal shield over the entrance to the X-ray machine in the
security area and will only allow carry-ons that fit through the
opening.  I was very relieved that the Doskocil case fit through
(although I had to take off the padlock in order to get it in). Security
didn't even make me open the case and it fit easily in the overhead bin
on both flights.

Cheers,

Bruce Beckwith
Mike here: United is doing the same thing.

Subject:	 Moomins UK etx forum
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 13:01:17
The list owner of:

"Moomins UK etx forum"

has invited you to join their mailing list at ListBot.

The list owner has included the following welcome message:
===========================================================
Dear Mike and everyone,

I have just started a new ETX discussion forum for users in the United
Kingdom. It's for anyone who lives in or is about to visit the UK to
swap ideas, questions, advice, anything - even good observing sites (we
ain't got any deserts here in Blighty!). It's called moomins UK etx
forum and can be found at:

http://www.listbot.com

Is it possible for you to include it on your links page to help get the
ball rolling? - Sorry to be so cheeky but I feel like I'm having a party
and no one's gonna turn up!!

Thanks again for your help (this is'nt the first time you've helped me
out!). Wish me luck!!!!

Moomin
===========================================================

Visit this list's home page at: Moomins_UKetx_users.listbot.com

Subject:	ETX vs B&L 4000
Sent:	Tuesday, February 8, 2000 11:41:23
From:	BDoons@aol.com
I am interested in getting a telescope like the ETX 90 . I hear so many
good things about it. I recently saw on E bay a B&L 4000 that the owner
says outperforms the ETX90. in that the controls are smother and it is
made of metal. He also ststes that its' optical qualities are better. I
would like your opinion. Thank You .
Best Regards
Ben

Subject:	 Software
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2000 22:45:09
From:	rlonn@home.com (Robert Lonn)
Thanks Mike for this new section. Been a reader for about 3 months. I
have made several comments over that time frame all designed to share
information and knowledge! Now on to the software question. Not much
good to say about a Black and White Palm Pilot. In my humble opinion,
old technology. Anyone have some good recommendations for some
astronomical programs for Microsoft Windows CE? I have a Casio E-100,
COLOR PDA. BTW my ETX-125 is great! No complaints on my end! I drive it
with "THE SKY" software on a Dell laptop. "The SKY" is a great program
and well worth the price. It is now compatible with the
ETX-125/Autostar.
Mike here: WinCE seems to have fallen out of favor. Palm and Handspring riding high. Rumors of new color Palms coming this Spring.

Added later:

Mike I do agree that the Palm Pilot has captured 70 to 80% of the
market. But every time a salesman comes to see me at work with a palm
pilot, I show them my Casio, in color. I show them JPEG images, MPEG
movies, MP3 Digital music, and lots of other stuff. I use a picture of
my ETX-125 as wall paper. I give PALM a lot of credit for starting all
of this. The units are very thin and light weight. The Casio is bigger,
but then the COLOR is worth it for me. I would love to interface the
E-100 with the Autostar. With 48 Meg of Compact Flash Memory I could
store a lot of color deep space pictures for recall. I am sure it is
only a matter of time. I sent an email to the folks who are making that
astronomy software you have reviewed. The do not support windows CE. I
gave both of them this web page to watch. I guessed this new section
would generate a lot of feedback!!! They can get a new perspective from
the astronomy group as to what the end user would like to see. They
asked me what is an Autostar, I smiled. I said check out your web page
for everything they ever wanted to know and was afraid to ask. I said
some of the comments are very comical to say the least...
Mike here: We'll see what happens. As to credit, I give credit to the Newton MessagePad for starting the PDA revolution. The potential for the Newton was so high; just the technology wasn't quite ready when John Sculley (Apple) shipped it.

Subject:	ETX90-EC
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2000 20:20:04
From:	PadSquad23@aol.com
First of all great job with web-site.  I just bought the ETX90 in
January and have been checking in on your web-site from time to time.  I
am a beginner to astronomy and telescopes so my knowledge of them is
thus far limited although I am learning more everyday.  My question to
you is; I just got the Meade Super Plossl 9.7.  When used with the 2x
barlow for the most part it works well on distant objects that are not
too bright.  When it is a very bright object such as Jupiter there is a
hazy look and I can't focus too well.  Is this normal or what?  I'm not
sure so it's frustrating right now.

Thank you,

Scott in San Diego
Mike here: With the 2X Barlow + 9.7mm eyepiece you are really pushing the magnification. On bright objects (Jupiter, Saturn) you might see some fuzziness. On the Moon, the view may appear sharper. However on faint objects, you probably can't detect the fuzziness but it is still there.

Subject:	Question about eyepieces :
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2000 19:50:15
From:	Speclgrl@aol.com
I wrote you earlier regarding the ETX90 with the batteries in reversed,
do you remember that email. I traded the "backward" ETX in at Nature Co.
and received brand new one.

I am truly amazed with the telescope and w/autostar but I am more
impressed with your website, you and your fans have provided me with a
wealth of info regarding this scope.

The reason I am writing you this evening is I have a few simple
questions I'm hoping you can answer regarding additional eyepieces.

Along with the standard 26mm I would like to add a 9.7mm. At Nature Co.
the 9.7mm eyepiece is $83.00 but I saw a 7.4mm - 22mm zoom eyepiece on
EBAY for $50.00. Can you explain the f/1 and the 52o FOV compared to the
MEADE SP 9.7mm.

Do you think the 7.4 - 22mm zoom is a wiser investment than the 9.7mm
for starters. I already have a GTO barlow that I found on EBAY for
$22.00 and an auto focuser for $60.00

Hey what can I say I love EBAY!

For a closer inspection on the zoom eyepiece "go to"

cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251796405

Thanks :)

Roberta Diamond
speclgrl@aol.com

ps. Sorry to hear you missed the Eclipse it was wonderful from S.
Florida :)
pss: Thanks to all your fans who sent in Lunar pics. Great Job :)
Mike here: I don't have a zoom eyepiece so can't comment directly. Some people like them and find them more versatile than having multiple eyepieces. Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some zoom eyepieces to get an idea of what to expect. You can also search the site for "zoom".

Subject:	 eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2000 13:53:57
From:	neilbymouth@tinyworld.co.uk (neilbymouth)
Thanks for your help on the "strange noises" eminating from my new etx -
everything is ok now! I now want some tips on a first choice for an
eyepiece suitable for planetary work. I have already got a 2x barlow and
I've already viewed Jupiter and Saturn which both looked stunning (I've
never seen them before!), but which eyepieces would bring out more
detail. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
                    Cheers,
                                Maxine - U.K
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessories - Eyepieces page. Also, you can search for "eyepiece"; you'll get lots of hits.

Subject:	 EZFinder
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2000 11:59:07
From:	justin@j-m-f.demon.co.uk (Justin Forder)
I mounted my EZFinder on the ETX90 aluminum tube on the
right hand side, reversing the mounting rails (the ones that grip the
dovetail on the baseplate) so that the heads of the mounting screws are
on the left. I stuck the baseplate to the tube with the double-sided
foam pad. When polar aligning it is *just* possible to glimpse the red
dot in the top of the finder, past the base of the ETX.

Thanks again.

   Justin

-- 
Justin Forder

Subject:	 Binoculars
Sent:	Monday, February 7, 2000 09:28:25
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
I received a pair of Orion 9X63 binoculars for Christmas that have
enhanced my ETX use considerably.  Instead of using the ETX finderscope
for finding new sky objects I first use the binoculars.  The experienced
Astronomers are no doubt saying "no kidding" that's why we recommend a
pair of binoculars as everyone's first telescope.

Anyway for those new users that send in email asking for tips on what
accessories to buy I also recommend a good pair of binoculars and a good
sky map.

Ron McCafferty
Mike here: I agree that good binoculars and a sky chart help tremendously. I recently purchase an Orion 7x50 Vista Binocular. My 30+ year old ones finally didn't cut it anymore. I got the Vista for its low weight. Very nice.

Subject:	 Food for thought :)
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2000 21:29:24
From:	master_yoda@mindspring.com
From:	master_yoda@mindspring.com (Briar Richard)
This is a great forum you have here, my friend.  This site's the best
thing to happen to amateur astronomy since the ETX.  Just
wondering...ever thought of opening a chat room??  I think it would
greatly enhance your site.  I've been to hundreads of astromomy sites
and none had a "real time" chat room.  You could invite experts to chat
for scheduled times--a la AOL and all the sports sites--and our
community could enjoy a more personal experience. So...what do ya
think????

Again...thanks for the great site.

Peace,
Briar Richard

Subject:	 Dick Seymour Posting
Sent:	Saturday, February 5, 2000 09:39:10
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty Jr)
Bravo!  Well said.

Ron McCafferty

Subject:	 Thoughts on Zoom Eyepieces?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2000 19:41:14
From:	lewisken@home.com (Kenneth Lewis)
I have really enjoyed reading your web site and wanted to ask your
opinion on the 8-24mm zoom eyepieces. I just bought a new etx-125 last
week from Natural Wonders and have been pleased with its performance and
wanted to buy some addition eyepieces.  I was wondering if you have had
any experience with the zoom eyepieces and if one manufacturer offers
better quality over another.  One mail order shop told me that they are
all made by one manufacturer and then stamped with the different brand
names.  The $200 price for the zoom seems like a good deal if it can
replace 4 or 5 other eyepieces without compromising quality.
Thanks, Ken
Mike here: I don't have any zoom eyepieces. But there are comments on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. You'll also find some references if you search the site for "zoom".

Subject:	 EC w/out Pan Head?
Sent:	Wednesday, February 2, 2000 09:43:46
From:	saranac.tv@worldnet.att.net (Jeff Rothfus)
Taking advantage of the 90/EC's ability to operate in alt/az mode, does
it make any sense to purchase a tripod (Bogen/Manfotto, etc.) *without*
a pan head?

Saving a few bucks appeals to my darker side, but might there also be a
performance benefit to not using a pan head ... in that the center of
gravity is then kept closer to the apex of the tripod legs?


Cheers,
jeff

____________________________________________
Jeff Rothfus
Saranac television

Subject:	 oh, my...  (or: here's a guest editorial)
Sent:	Tuesday, February 1, 2000 23:24:23
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
In Mike's Feb 2000 ETX125/ec area,  relgert@datanet.ab.ca (Rob\Karen
Elgert) [well, Rob] reasonably vents his sheer frustration with his
experiences with his quartet of 125's and Meade.  I can respect and
agree with many of his decisions and opinions.

I thought i'd chime in (drat... i've gotta drop that idiom) with my take
on my ETX and Autostar.

Yes, I'm a 54 year old computer geek... and have been doing casual
amateur astronomy since the mid 1950's.

My Autostar and ETX90/EC perform very well... and for that I feel very
fortunate.

Part of why they perform well is due to those 40-odd years of experience
with a variety of telescopes.  I knew what to expect of that size
telescope.  Even so, I spent two hours picking the brain and experience
of the shop's repair personnel before buying.  That made Mike's site a
valuable adjunct, but not an unpleasant surprise.

I purchased the ETX for its portability, and realized the compromise I
was making in terms of aperture, light-grasp, expected magnification.

I have been very, very pleasantly surprised by the sheer ease of use and
overall utility of the Autostar/ETX combination.  It does what it's
designed to do pretty well.  And, since it -is- easily downloadable, I
expect it to be able to do more in the future.  Either through Meade's
inventiveness or my own.

That said, I would probably -not- buy a ETX125/ec.  But that's for my
own reasons.  If  I -had- to have a 5 inch scope, I'd choose either the
Nexstar5 or a C-5+.   But at the same price, with casual portability
already lost, I'd go for an 8 inch.  I'd probably  skip the GoTo, it can
always be added. In fact, a simple C-8 what I was expecting to buy when
I walked into Rivers Camera in Dover NH. They had a fine selection which
included a  used C-5, a number of C-8's, and what became my used
ETX90/EC. As I was poking thru the stock another customer was unhappily
exchanging an ETX90/ec because "the planets were jumpy".   Knowing what
I now know, I'm still not sure if he was experiencing true bad-equipment
failure, or just problems with either setup or the Autostar's version. 
(To avoid damaging anyone from curiosity: i paid $100 off list... anyone
who bought at J.C.Penny's 30% off sale did far, far better).

The ETX (and DS) line are, in a word, inexpensive.  By decision and,
thereby, design.  In some cases that word becomes "cheap".  It's yet
another case of you get what you pay for... and frequently just a
"little" more outlay may get you a much better item.  The ETX90/EC
doesn't have a near-competitor.  The ETX125/EC does.

There are many components of the ETX90 and ETX125 which suffer from
Meade's attempt to both meet a price-point and make a profit.  The "slot
car" motors and plastic gears are among the examples.  These are
engineering solutions forced by marketing decisions.  And if I want to
buy a scope at that price range, I have to accept what current
manufacturing can deliver there.

Compare the ETXs to the Nexstar: "professional" gearhead motors, more
steel, adjustable mirrors.  But without manual clutches, so you cannot
move the scope without power.  I'm frequently unlocking my clamps to
manually slew the scope for a variety of reasons... from just pointing
it out the window to watch a ship sail by, to panning and tracking some
random object overhead.  I'd -love- better geartrains... but they'd kick
the price up to where (for -my- reasons) I would have passed on the
scope.

I -do- have an issue with the runs-on-your-PC Autostar Updater.  As Stan
agrees, the user interface is horrid.  It's one of those programs for
which the phrase "user hostile" was coined.  It's probably also some
Meade programmer's beloved baby and defended as such.  It masks behind a
non-intuitive interface what is at heart a simple task: move a file to
the Handset.  It tries to simplify the task to such an extent that it
makes some operations impossible, some through oversight. (just try to
delete a tour... shy of completely scrubbing and reloading the
Autostar).  It'll improve (please?). It does have some helpful features:
it can fetch Ephemeris and Tour data from a variety of sources.  What it
does to them after fetching can't be described where children might
read... But I didn't pay $650 for Autostar Updater.  It's a free
"bennie", and I'm thankful for any effort in that direction. Nexstar's
don't offer that option. (well, for those of us capable of
reading/burning Eproms...)

But the code -in- the Autostar I have nothing but praise for.  Sure,
it's got bugs... but, overall, they're tiny!  And believe me, I stress
mine!  And pick, pick, pick at any nits I find. And transmit what I find
to Meade.

Again, choices have been made forced by price points... but the hardware
and software design of the Autostar is very, very clean and flexible.
Sure, they could've done more or better.. at a price.  But they've
created a flexible foundation for a family of products and
functionality.  Price drove component selection... hence its problems
with cold weather.  I wonder how the Nexstar is doing in that respect.

When the ETX90 and the Autostar are together, they dance a beautiful
dance... They (and the Nexstar) are, to me, a wonderful example of what
"embedded computers" can do for classic instruments.  Giving the scope
(mild, sometimes obstinant) "intelligence" greatly adds to its
functionality for me (and i've got many shelf-feet of well-worn star
charts and atlases, thank you).

Having the GoTo is like having a patient, knowledgable friend... I
frequently use the scope as merely an indicator of where to point
binoculars.  In-city star gazing doesn't have many visible reference
stars, and Seattle's frequent 50% cloud cover means having a scope
pointing at an object so it's visible when the hole in the clouds drifts
past greatly increases the number of interesting objects I can catch in
an evening.

I, crazy person I am, actually enjoy the "obstinance" mentioned above.
It reminds  me to engage my -own- brain to keep track of what's going on
(or off).  It keeps the observing session from becoming a mindless
look-whirr-look-whirr-look session.  One of us has to keep on our toes,
just which one at which time isn't always guaranteed.

Amateurs have had GoTo (or at least "point me there!") on telescopes for
almost two decades... but for driven GoTo it's been at an incremental
cost of about 500 to a thousand dollars. (Compare last year's price
between a C-8 and Celestar 8 computerized).  And those were usually with
Polar mounts, and less flexibility.  If we compare the ETX90/RA (what?
$400?) and the ETX90/EC with Autostar ($750), the $380 is still
visible... choose a #495 Autostar and it becomes $330.  Likewise compare
a C-5 with a Nexstar... You're seeing the leading edge of a new wave of
reasonably-priced astronomical instruments.

I also -do- play with my Autostar as a computer-toy or crossword
(crossbyte?) puzzle.  But that's frosting on my cake.. If it just did
what it did as a telescope out-of-the-box I'd be pretty happy.  The
ability to update for improvment makes me happier.

There are folks who are trying to use the 3 inch ETX for serious
astrophotography.  The Voice of Reasoned Wisdom (not mine!) says "You're
Nuts!".   More power to you!  That same voice frequently speaks to me
when I take "regular" photographs (wanna see my flashlight-illuminated
hand-held time exposure of a fossilized rhinocerous skeleton in an
African lava tube?  It took a bit of convincing to get the
vocally-doubting onlookers to wave those flashlights....), and i'll
probably take a few shots through the ETX, but mainly I'll rely on
Hubble and Keck for beautiful astrophotography.  But that's -my-
trade-off of time, effort and what I'm looking for in this hobby, not
theirs.

So, I'm happy with my 'scope.  I haven't seriously threatened to throw
it off my deck. But it's a personal choice, with recognized trade-offs.
Your milage will differ.  Mike's differs.  Stan's differs, Rob's
differs.

There are other factors: many more people with no astronomy background
are able to afford this class (and higher) of instruments.  I've got
Email harking back 6 years from people who bought LX-200 class equipment
as their first telescope, and who were very, very unhappy that they
weren't getting Hubble-like views from their eyepieces.  For first
scopes from Meade I'd probably recommend the DS line.  Or any classic 4
1/4" or 6" reflector.  Play with a reasonable aperture and poke around
the sky.  I'm of two minds on the "don't buy a GoTo as your first
scope... you'll never learn the sky!' issue.  I -still- haven't learned
the sky.  But i've seen a -lot- of it.  Having the ETX point out
constellations is -great-.  Having it patiently take me on a tour
through an unfamiliar one, or to the lesser-watched stars of familiar
ones, is getting me reacquainted with the less stunning areas of the
sky.  I just have to remember to take my eye off the eyepiece and -look-
at where the scope is pointing. I -use- my viewfinder as an additional
telescope. And binoculars.  (each -piece- of my observing equipment is
very portable... i didn't say the entire -collection- was).

I do live in (mild) dread of the day the Dec lock breaks.  I also have
the optimism that a phone call to Meade (whom i haven't called yet on
any subject) will send a new part. Or that I can fix it myself, as
another poster described.  I live in more dread of having the secondary
mirror and/or baffle tube detatch.

I wish you all well... those of you happily skywatching through your
ETXs, through your Nexstars, Dobsonians, Prontos, Questars, Celestrons,
hand-ground, store-bought, whatever.  They're all potentially finicky
instruments in a demanding environment.  Not everyone will make a good
choice their first, second or 15th time.  Your needs and demands will
shift as you learn more about them.  Even $36 Tasco plastic-lensed
"disasters" can serve well, if their limitations are recognized and
accounted for.  It's all part of the fun (also known as "learning
experience") of the hobby.

Clear skies ...
-dick (long-winded, too)


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