ETX USER FEEDBACK - FEBRUARY 1999
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: My ETX Sent: Sunday, February 28, 1999 15:25:09 From: email@example.com (spook313) Thanks for your page -- I used it for researching my purchase of telephoto equipment and have been assembling parts and pieces ever since -- If you would like to see the results of the experimentation I have enclosed a link to my page. Thanks for the excellent ETX page, Don www.geocities.com/~spook313/moon12.html
Subject: Astrophotography Sent: Sunday, February 28, 1999 10:59:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Panos) I am a ETX user and since you have worked on astrophotography I have some questions to make. 1) When I use a film with higher sensitivity (measured in ASA I think) do I have to reduce the exposure time ? 2) What is the right ASA to use and what are the average exposure times for the Moon, Jupiter, Pleiades and M42 for eyepiece projection photographs ? 3) When I use my camera with the eyepiece projection technique what lens should I use (50mm or 135mm), open or closed diaphragm and focusing to infinity or to nearest ? Thank you very much, Panos Tsikoyiannopoulos
Mike here: "Faster" films usually mean either shorter exposures OR more details will be captured with longer exposures (up to a point). Check out the Exposure Time Spreadsheet on the Guest Contributions Archive 1997 (also linked from the Tech Tips page). Normally you'll use a 50mm for this "afocal" eyepiece projection. However, you can use a longer lens but mounting (or even holding) the camera over the eyepiece can become a problem. Focus to infinity and open the lens as far as possible or perhaps an f/stop down (to improve image clarity). For normal eyepiece projection you remove the camera lens and let the image from the eyepiece fall directly onto the camera's focal plane.
Subject: thanks Sent: Saturday, February 27, 1999 11:23:38 From: email@example.com (rdblen) I got a C90 for Christmas and had no clue. I see now that the etx information is often relevant for spotting scope users and you've gotten me interested in some light astronomical viewing as well.
Subject: New case for 90/EC Sent: Saturday, February 27, 1999 4:28:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Dantin) I just received my new Meade #774 Hard Case for the 90/EC. It is double-wall molded construction with the usual precut foam inserts. It is reasonably strong, but NOT as rugged as the Pelican cases. One MAJOR problem --- the instructions state that you should remove the optional 8x25 right angle finder from its mount before storing the scope in the case! This is to prevent excessive pressure on the finder mount. I find this unacceptable and am trying to decide to either return the case or cancel my order for the finder. Since I have installed a Daisy red-dot, I may cancel the finder. "As you journey through life, choose your destinations well but do not hurry there...you will arrive soon enough"
Subject: ETX-90/EC, wrong tripod setup? Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 20:20:57 From: RParrish@prodigy.com (MR ROBERT A PARRISH) After spending much time saving money and convincing my wife, I bought the new ETX-90EC with the deluxe Meade tripod. Have noticed through a few posts of your site where readers have commented on how the owners manual shows a wrong configuration of how the scope should look on the tripod. As of now, I have the leg of the tripod maked "N" placed between the two holes provided on the base of the scope for the table tripod. This is per the tripod instructions. Do you or your readers now anything on this matter? Robert Parrish
Mike here: I don't have the new model ETX but do have the old model ETX mounted on the Meade tripod. As far as I know there are only two mounting orientations possible. On the old model, with the tripod latitude scale set for 90 degrees, either the N on the tripod will be on the same side of the ETX as the RA controls (correct) or it opposide the RA controls (incorrect).
Subject: Zodiacal Light Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 13:43:22 From: ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman) In response to Knox's post. Ditto everything Jeffrey Nutkowitz said. I would add that it is seen along the plane that the planets are on. So it is in the West after sunset and in the East before sunrise. I have only seen it after sunset at a very dark site. I was told that it is the reflection of sunlight off of the dust that lies along the "Zodiacal" plane. With all the articles in Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines about accretion disks around new stars; perhaps it is what was left after the planets formed in our solar system. (Disclaimer: That is just my own theory from what I've read. I am only an amateur with a Business Degree. If a real card carrying Ph.D. type professional astronomer has a better explanation, I will humbly accept his/her theory, bow at their feet and chant "I'm not worthy".) The first time I saw it, someone had to point it out to me. I hadn't noticed it until I was shown where to look for it. Then it was very obvious. "Well no s**t, look at that!" Clear skies, Reagan Herman
Subject: ETX 90/EC Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 10:42:57 From: Frank.Lahr@t-online.de (Lahr) Sorry, but it's difficult for me to express in english language; my grammar and orthography are not complete correct. - learning by doing - Yesterday, I found your ETX-90/EC USER COMMENTS . Thanks for the outstanding information. I have some questions about the ETX and I hope, you can help me. I originally bought the classic ETX in march 1997 and I had many great nights of observing with it, so when the new EC came out I became interested and contacted my german dealer store where I originally purchased my first one. But the ETX 90 /EC is in 1999 nothing yet available all over germany. Can you personal recommend the new ETX 90/EC ? Can you tell me a way, to swap my classic ETX in small condition? Please contact me at email@example.com Frank
Mike here: Currently, there is no upgrade from the older model. Some US dealers have accepted trade-ins in original condition. Since I don't have the new model, I can't personally comment on it. But some of the ETX-90/EC owners have their comments on the ETX-90/EC page.
Subject: Oversized Focus Knob for the ETX from Scopetronix Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 9:06:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Let me compliment you on your site. Thanks. You and It have be quite helpful in helping me get the most out of my ETX. On to the review After having faxed my order to Scopetronix, for the focus knob and a plug, I received my goods within 4 days USPS. The knob came with a set screw and allen wrench in a small envelope (thanks). Unfortunatly the allen wrench did not fit the ETX focus knob set screw, they did not say either way. So after scrounging around my tools I got the ETX knob set screw loose and off, set the new knob on and tightened it down. NO HASSLES. As it was snowing last night I just focused around the house for awhile and found the knob to be a big improvement. a lot less turning to focus in on something and much less 'play' in the knob compared to the ETX knob. For $12 - recommended. Rob Roday
Subject: Tasco Bantam mount Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 8:15:19 From: email@example.com (Phil G.) Well, I finally decided to upgrade the *poor* finder on the ETX and wound up with the Tasco Bantam. However, I was not happy with the idea of using the flimsy factory finder mount to hold the Bantam. While I was at Wal-Mart looking for the finderscope I spent a little time looking at their scope mounts on the rack. I wound up with a Weaver mount kit (#49515) for 22 cal. rimfire/pellet scopes for ~$10.00 US. This mount is designed for a dovetail, but has a nice, flat bottom. It spaces the finder up enough that it doesn't interfere with the fork. An added benefit is that this mount has an area under it that helps for rough eyeball alignment (like you would use the ramp-sight on a gun). I thought this would be ideal to mount with the hi-temp/hi-strength 3M tape from the Shack. As it turned out, this mount works well and doesn't shift when I put the "Mighty-Mak" in my Doscocil case. Maybe I'll use the original Meade finder on the air-rifle (my best friend's son likes to target-shoot and he kicks our tails on the range!)... I'll be adding a picture of this modification to my website soon. Later! Phil G.
Subject: Homemade CCD Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 7:38:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil G.) I also have a new USB Quickcam, and I've found it works well with a 10' extension cable, for a total of 16'. As I understand it, cameras and scanners can go to 16' and mice/joysticks need to stay at 6' (according to the documentation on the Belkin 10' USB extension cable I bought). I don't plan to disassemble the new one, but I *do* have an older Paralell-port Qcam and I keep thinking about making a telecsope camera out of it! Phil G.
Subject: Re: Homemade CCD Sent: Friday, February 26, 1999 6:39:53 From: email@example.com (Kris Younger) Check out www.usb.org/faq/ans5.html#q32 as you'll see, the answer is 5m, unless you have a hub, which allows you to daisy-chain hubs and cables upto 30m. cheers, Kristofer
Subject: Grrrreat Tripod ! Sent: Thursday, February 25, 1999 22:12:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Andr Mller) First of all: your page is intergalactic great !!! Im now a lucky owner of a Meade ETX (the old version - our german Meade dealer didnt know anything about the new ETX-90/EC ... and I couldnt wait). Your page helped me to decide for the ETX and the right accessories. I was searching for a matching tripod. I went in many shops and found only cheap rubbish until yesterday: Yesterday I bought the (in my opinion) worldbest tripod. It is a Manfrotto #075 with the 410 head. I got both together for 670,- DM - this must be below $300 in the US (I dont really know). Look at the relation: the Meade ETX-Tripod is at 560,- DM in Germany !!! And 100,- DM more for this tripod is uncomparable. It is VERY well manufactured (all metal). The 3D head has fineadjustment screws for each direction (polar alignment is very easy on this way). Fast adjustment is given by knobs which unlock each axis individually. So you can get very fast from terrestrial observation to star observation. You can tilt the head from 0 to 90 degree and this tripod will never tip over (compare the problems of the other guys on your site with tippy tripods). The scales on the head are always in 15 steps. The attachment to the mounting plate of the head is just easy - there are no problems with the two buttons for the RA-drive of the old ETX !! The tripod has a crank to drive out the head and a screw to lock it. The astonishing observation: I focused Sirius in the eyepiece at 48X. After driving out the head of the tripod an locking the screw: Sirius was still in view of my telescope !!! This is a nice feature because if you locate other objects with different RA/DEC the eyepiece often gets higher or lower which is bad for back and neck. But with this moving head you can easily adapt the height of your scope. The tripod has a bubble level for alignment. I will take a snapshot of the ETX on this tripod - but I can say: IT LOOKS REALLY GREAT and IT DOES VERY WELL. Andre Mueller email@example.com
Subject: Re: Zodiacal Light? Sent: Thursday, February 25, 1999 20:19:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Lackmeyer) A few more notes on this subject. It is easiest to see the zodiacal light from a dark sky site. From midnorthern latitudes, it is best seen just after the end of evening twilight in February and March (now), and just before morning twilight in September and October. It will be harder to see the further north you are located, but should be visible throughout the US, southern Canada and southern Europe. You do need to be dark adapted in order to easily see it. Moonlight, streetlights, bright skyglow, etc. will make it difficult to see. If you start looking as it is starting to get dark, you should be sufficiently dark adapted by the end of twilight. A wide open view of the western sky is also helpful. I would say that the hardest thing about finding it is knowing what you are looking at. Look for a large triangle shape in the western sky. It is not faint, but is diffuse and low contrast. I would say it is comparable in brightness to the skyglow of a large city 20 to 40 miles away. From my location in Georgia, I have seen it extending as far as 60 degrees along the ecliptic with a base about 30 degrees wide. The Observer's Handbook has an excellent description of it. I thought it was pretty cool when I first realized what I was seeing. Now I sometimes find it to be a little annoying. I makes it difficult to see low surface brightness dso's in the western sky this time of year.
Subject: (no subject) Sent: Thursday, February 25, 1999 13:10:11 From: ChrisCool2@aol.com I am an ETX owner and I am wondering something: what size eyepiece should I get to be ablet to see the planets? I will be very thankful if you reply.
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Eyepieces and Buyer/New User Tips pages for more info.
Subject: Zodiakallight? Sent: Thursday, February 25, 1999 10:43:10 From: email@example.com (Knox King) I have a small question to you more experienced ETX-users and Skywatchers about the lightphenomena called Zodikallight. Has anybody actually seen it and what tips would you give to look for it? And what about the so called Gegenschein that supposedly can be seen opposite the sun a few hours after sunset? Should I even care go hunting for this and could the ETX aid me in finding these? Sincerely Knox \o |/ / \
And a response:
Subject: RE: Zodiakallight? Sent: Thursday, February 25, 1999 13:03:10 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) The Zodiacal Light is strictly a visual phenomenon. All you need are TRULY DARK skies after sunset or before sunrise (NOT during twilight, but just after or before), and your eyes. Best times to look are during spring or fall, I think as a result of the angle of the thing relative to the horizon at those times. It is very faint and of low contrast relative to the sky background, and requires TRULY dark, clear skies to be seen. It is much larger than anything you could use a telescope or binoculars for, sometimes extending roughly over 45 degrees in length and about 15 to 20 in width, and it is definitely visible to the naked eye under the right conditions. I suggest doing some more research (books, internet, etc, for Zodiacal Light) on the subject yourself, to familiarize yourself with exactly what it is, and what it is that you are looking for. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: Idea Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 17:44:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Lyon) Thanks for your web site. An Idea... (perhaps someone already thought of this...) Press some thin-walled clear tubing (available at any hardware store) on the adjustment knobs for the ETX (3/8 or 1/2 for the Dec. & focuser; and 3/4 for the RA). Helps to find them in the dark and even gives some fine adjustment. Cut them just long enough to clear obstructions at extreme elevation. Heat the tubing with a hair dryer to slip it over the knurling. I extended the RA slow-motion tube 4 or 5 inches so it flexes past the OTA ... a little awkward but works. Give it a try. Tom (University Place Washington) email@example.com
Subject: A memorable night with the ETX! Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 14:30:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Knox King) Last night I was out with the ETX and I more and more realize what a marvellous little scope it really is! For the first time in four days the skies cleared and I just put the telescope in a sports bag and took my bike to get out of town. The view that enveloped after sunset was really something else. Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn was in a beautiful line towards the western horizon. I had over fortyfive minutes of time watching Mercury before it disappeared behind the horizon and Venus and Jupiter was bright as ever, close together. My friend and I took pictures. We could fit all four planets in one frame with the camera! How often does that happen!?:) The air was pretty unstable to start with but got better. The ETX split Rigel beautifully to reveal a small companion below it. Also, for the first time I pointed at Iota Cassiopeia, the triple star, which was breathtaking. The 2" and 8" were pretty to behold! Of course Castor's double showed really nice and is always a treat. I was mostly using the 9.7mm, 129X. You start wondering why you ever would want a heavier telescope:) Now pointing at pretty Saturn we got ourselves a great surprise. I knew that its moon, Titan, always show clearly, but looking intently at it for awhile I saw another moon peaking out from the glare of the planet, right in between Titan and Saturn. This had to be Rhea, about magnitude 9,8! All this time also seeing a third object, about double the distance of Titan, ignoring it as a faint star. (It was also out of line with the other two.) Coming to find out back home through the astronomyprogram it was Japetus, the variable moon of Saturn! We got a feeling of what the guys back in the seventeenth century must have felt when the discovered something new in the heavens!:) Does anybody have a clue if the even fainter moons, Dione and Thetys, can be found through an ETX? And what is the faintest magnitude of star somebody has managed to see through the ETX? Would appreciate an answer if anybody knows.. Well, time flew and the cold started to get its best out of us, so we retreated back home, in awe of what the little $495 telescope did for us, especially with 99% viewing time and 1% hustling and set up time. What could beat that, for a sky observer!? Sincerely Knox King \o |/ / \
Subject: Venus/Jupiter conjunction Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 13:53:51 From: email@example.com (marwine) It's been quite some time since I've had the scope out. Spent a couple of hours on the evening of the 23rd admiring Jupiter, its bands and moons, and Venus. Both fit within the 26mm (looked to be about .5 degrees of separation) and, to my surprise, both fit within the 13.8 wide angle lens. At the start, around 5:30 EST, both planets were winking on and off through a stream of clouds which provided a beautiful sunset, but many nervous moments. Then, the clouds moved slowly north, and the planets sank closer to the horizon, and while it was still twilight they emerged clearly to stay visible until they set. Mercury was also twinkling beautifully above the horizon - an easy naked eye target these evenings. Managed to attract quite a crowd of adults and children over the course of the evening and we spent time with Saturn and the Moon as well. It is so much fun to hear the ohs and ahs. But it was COLD! (I think I'm going to have to invest in a snow-mobile suit if I plan to do any longer-period observing - I figure if they can stay warm rocketing around the countryside after dark all winter long, it ought to be the perfect costume for me at the scope.) This was my first night with the scope mounted on the Meade ETX tripod which I like, but have yet to figure out why they managed to make the scope so difficult to attach to the tripod. I've not managed to get it on and off without turning the air blue. Just knowing where the north star was likely to be (i.e. pointing the N-leg northward) and setting the latitude scale was sufficient for the scope to track quite nicely. It was also my first night to use the Microstar upgrade with an attachment for my JMI focuser - and this little controller has really improved the entire system. I am not at all envious of the new model (at least not yet). Many thanks to Jordan Blessing for his attention to the controls. Thanks for keeping up such a wonderful site! Good seeing, Alan Marwine
Subject: Homemade CCD Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 12:37:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Rainey) I purchased a Quickcam to try and make a homemade CCD. My problem is I bought a USB version and can find no information on how far I can run the cable. I was wondering if you or anyone else on your site had tested this to the limit on either USB or Parallel. Also what solutions are others using (ie. Laptops vs desktopsthat remain inside) Any help would be appreciated.... Doug
Mike here: Check's Apple's web site (www.apple.com) for USB info. I forget the exact URL but they have a page of USB info, including links to other USB info sites.
Subject: Meade Autostars spotted... Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 11:42:11 From: email@example.com (Mitchell Hamm (N8XS)) I picked up my Autostar at The Nature Company in the Kenwood Towne Center in Cincinnati yesterday. They just got them in last week and had a pretty good stock. Price was $149. Thought your loyal ETX followers might like to know. :) -- Mitch
Subject: Setting Circle Accuracy Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 7:02:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jose Rizal) How accurate have the ETX's RA and Dec circles been in your use? Suitable calibrated, are they reasonably accurate [within 5 minutes RA and 1-2 degrees by Dec?
Mike here: 5 minutes in RA is probably overstating it since the band just slides in its slot. DEC should be accurate, assuming the scope is level and 0 degrees is actually 0 degrees. Accurately position within a degree in DEC or a precise minutes of RA can be challenge, at least with the original ETX model.
Subject: RE: ETX 90/EC fingerprint Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 6:53:42 From: email@example.com (Studebaker, Sam) Thanks for the response. I looked through your site, and couldn't find anything about fingerprints in specific under "clean", though I did find other valuable info. Can the oil or acid in the print hurt the coating if I leave it there? Since it doesn't seem to be effecting the optics (and is more or less in the center of the front lens), I'm reluctant to clean it, but I'd almost rather send the thing back than take the chance of cleaning/degrading the coated lens. If you have any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them. Kindest regards, Sam
Mike here: Acids in skin oil can damage coatings over time. Some people even have problems with watchbands. So, it depends upon how acidic the oil is. Probably not worth sending it back to Meade. But if it does bother you, go ahead and try cleaning it off (carefully).
Subject: Venus/Jupiter conjunction Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 1:54:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Hartley) Well, I'm glad I set up early tonight here in RI. I got some beautiful views of the conjunction, but the clouds rolled in by 6:30, washing out the rest of the night. The ETX proved to be great once again. After a mostly cloudy day, I didn't think I'd see it at all, but things cleared for a bit at 4:30 or so. I looked out and saw the two planets like little jewels even before sunset, and knew I had to have a closer look. 10 minutes later, the ETX was all set up and I got an unusual daytime view of the planets. Jupiter's moons were washed out, and the scope needed to cool down a bit, but I saw the banding on Jupiter easily - very strange, to see it against a blue sky! Later, I did see the moons against an indigo backdrop. Just wonderful, and something that I don't think would have made it to a photograph. I would have moved on to other things, but there's a lot of haze tonight. A big halo around the moon pretty much guarantees snow tomorrow! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - email@example.com - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: Tracking Problem Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 21:20:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Tarkanian) I just purchased an ETX and after about 5 hours of viewing the scope stopped automatically tracking. I have to constantly manually adjust the right ascension; the declination seems to be tracking automatically OK. Any previous reports of this problem or any idea what the problem could be? I replaced the batteries although they indicated "good". Otherwise I really like the ETX and am just beginning to get into photography. I just discovered your web site and am learning a lot. Great site. Thanks for your help. Mike Tarkanian Westminster, Ca email@example.com
Mike here: Software Bisque has announced TheSky for Mac OS. See their web site: www.bisque.com/thesky/products/TheSkyMac.htm. Mac users might want to check this out while waiting on Voyager II Version 3.0 from Carina Software.
Subject: Venus/Jupiter conjunction Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 16:36:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Hartley) Well, I'm glad I set up early tonight here in RI. I got some beautiful views of the conjunction, but the clouds rolled in by 6:30, washing out the rest of the night. The ETX proved to be great once again. After a mostly cloudy day, I didn't think I'd see it at all, but things cleared for a bit at 4:30 or so. I looked out and saw the two planets like little jewels even before sunset, and knew I had to have a closer look. 10 minutes later, the ETX was all set up and I got an unusual daytime view of the planets. Jupiter's moons were washed out, and the scope needed to cool down a bit, but I saw the banding on Jupiter easily - very strange, to see it against a blue sky! Later, I did see the moons against an indigo backdrop. Just wonderful, and something that I don't think would have made it to a photograph. I would have moved on to other things, but there's a lot of haze tonight. A big halo around the moon pretty much guarantees snow tomorrow! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - email@example.com - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: etxec Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 16:25:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ivan Harris) I was able to see the new ETX-EC at our local Frys and in my opinion it is way too noisy. The action is also very slow; I guess I am used to just turning the scope to the next object. I think it would drive me nuts. Regarding a couple of comments in the letters, I don't think my ETX is suddenly obsolete nor devalued. I must admit I didn't buy it to make a profit. I like it just as well as before the EC-90 and as far as I am concerned it is worth just as much as before. It might be worth remembering that the scope is the smallest part of the investment. Those eyepieces add up in a hurry to a lot more dollars than the scope. Also, I think Albireo is a good place to check for colors. Clear skies Ivan
Subject: RE: Jupiter/Venus conjunction Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 14:51:16 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) I have them both in the FOV of the 9.7mm eyepiece - BEAUTIFUL!!! Unfortunately, I lack photo capabilities. I hope _someone_ gets this! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: ETX/ETX EC Trade in Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 14:25:10 From: email@example.com (jo$h) I have a Meade ETX and I really want to trade it in for a ETX EC. The only place I know that trades in ETX's for EC's is Shutan Camera but they have currently stopped trading them. Do you know of any other stores that trade in ETX's for ETX EC's? Thanks, Joshua Salazar, IL
Mike here: For ETX telescopes in original condition with original packing materials and documentation, some places may take the old model in trade. You'll have to shop around. Who takes one today may stop tomorrow.
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meade 40 mm eyepiece Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 11:46:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Douglas E. Cann) Well the 32mm eyepiece was perfect for the initial views as Venus and Jupiter were within 24 hours of the conjunction last night. They were both in the same field of view. For the closest event tonight, the weather does not appear to be cooperating. Oh well, at least I got to see them when they were about a degree apart. I may have to wait until 2040 for the next one !!! Cheers.....Doug
Subject: RE: Jupiter/Venus conjunction Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 10:20:45 From: email@example.com (Whalen, Tim (consultant)) Yes, tonight should be no problem having both in your view at the same time. At dusk on the US East Coast they will be a mere 0.2 degrees apart, West Coast 0.3 degrees, and Hawaii they will be 0.4 degrees. Don't miss it, after tonight they will only move further from one another in the sky!! Happy Viewing! (Don't forget to send your pics to Weasner for his ETX Page!!)
Subject: ETX 90/EC fingerprint Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 10:16:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Studebaker, Sam) You're site is excellent!! Thanks for the nice resource! I purchased a new ETX 90/EC over the weekend, and, though I've only used it briefly, I'm very pleased. Anyway, I brought it in from the cold, set it inside to dry off the condensation, and I noticed a small, faint fingerprint in the center of the front outer lens surface that must have been left there at the factory (it disappeared with the condensation, incidentally). Should I bother trying to clean it, or does it matter? It didn't impact the optics, as far as I could tell, but I'm a little worried about what leaving that on the lens (i.e. acids and oils in the fingerprint) might do to the lens coatings. Any suggestions or cleaning methods? I'm reluctant to try to clean the lens. Thanks again for the site, and I appreciate any suggestions you may have. Kindest regards, Sam email@example.com
Mike here: Search the site for "clean" if you think you want to try cleaning it.
Subject: Jupiter/Venus conjunction Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 7:45:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Hartley) I braved the chill (-25F with the wind) last night to get a glimpse of the Jupiter/Venus conjunction. Just beautiful! Both planets fit into the field of view of the 26mm eyepiece (the largest I have right now), though at the edges. They'll be a little closer tonight - it should be spectacular! ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - email@example.com - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Mike here: It was spectacular Tuesday evening!
Subject: tabletop tripod legs Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 22:35:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Thomas) I've just gone out and purchaced the new ETX and I noticed that the tabletop legs aren't included like they were with the old model. I've still got my old ETX and I was wondering if anyone knows if the old legs are the same length as the new optional ones. If they are, is the latitude calibrated the same on the leg? Oviously, they're not mounted in the same place, as the center hole is no longer there on the new ETX. The store I bought mine at didn't have the new leg set in yet and I'm hoping I don't have to shell out money for something I already have. And just to let you know, this is by far the best ETX site on the internet. Thanks for being here, you've made an aready happy owner even happier.
Mike here: See the Guest Contributions 1998 page. There is an item there called "Latitude Adjustment for Alternate ETX Leg Positions".
Subject: ETX Site Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 19:25:06 From: email@example.com Just a very quick note to thank you for providing such an excellent resource. I'm travelling to the U.S in March and hope to bring an ETX/EC back to Australia. Your site has been an invaluable in this. Regards, Paul Luckas Perth, Western Australia
Subject: itty-bitty book light Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 19:09:20 From: LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@eds.com I was rummaging through some old junk the other day and found a handy little device that was sold in OZ called " The Itty-Bitty Book Lamp" It is a plastic fold out lamp that runs on two AA batteries. It is usually slid over the last or a sturdy page in a book so you can read without mains light sources. Good for cars etc or perhaps with a bit of red cellophane over the main lamp housing, it then becomes good for lighting up a small desk , book or work area whilst out on a night of viewing. The globe is a very small screw in type. I haven't trid to run a set of batteries down a yet to try and find out how long it lasts. It is amazing how junk eventually finds another purpose in life..... Regards Scott LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@EDS.COM
Subject: ETX review Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 10:13:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Greg Deiss) I got an e-mail from Stephen Ingraham of Better View Desired. He also edits the "Tools of the Trade" column for Birding magazine. He recently tested the Meade ETX against a new Celestron C90 and a Questar for a report that will be published in April's issue of Birding. His agreement with Birding is that they have first publishing rights to his work, but once the magazine is out he can post the report on his BVD site, which is: http://www.biddeford.com/sing/BVD.html. My understanding is that he intends to post an expanded form of the test. Understand that Stephen is testing birding optics and so likely will not be evaluating the drive, mount, etc. Still, his work is without equal and it should be interesting to see how the little ETX stacks up! Greg Deiss
Subject: Re: barlows Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 9:08:39 From: email@example.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. Cheers...Doug
Subject: Double stars : CASTOR Sent: Sunday, February 21, 1999 20:49:09 From: BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .) I got a chance to look at Castor in the Gemini, trying to see the doubles, but not so successful. I did not go beyond 48X as the weather here is hazy lately (the season is changing from 'winter' to 'summer'). I read Doug's tips in your Buyer/New User Tips Page about splitting the Castor, quoting that the magnification above 119X is fine. Does it mean that to see the doubles in Castor star system with ETX, we need at least 119X? If yes, Why? Another strange thing that I cannot get good explanation for myself is the image inversion (mirror image) of the ETX. I looked at the crescent moon two consecutive nights ago when and the crescent is at the bottom of the moon with naked eyes and with the finder scope. However, looking through the main scope the crescent appeared at the LEFT side of the moon. I think, through the main scope, the crescent should have appeared at the bottom as looked through the finder scope but is the mirror image of it. BUT the crescent is at the LEFT. Can you help me figure out the good explanation? Best regards, Sukun T. Bangkok, Thailand. (13.5 N, 100.5 E)
Mike here: The amount of magnification required to separate double stars depends on the separation of the stars. The closer together they are, the more magnification you'll need. Good star charts (or software) will help you identify the separation amounts. When viewing through the 90-degree (normal) eyepiece position on the ETX, objects appear upright but reversed.
Last night I tried to look at Castor at 128X even it was a bit hazy. I can see the doubles now. However, every star I looked appear fuzzy. I could not get it in focus as a sharp pinpoint at either 96X or 128X, but 48X is 'fine'. It appeared as a rather big point with a small faint circle & light around the point. The brighter one (sirius) had more of the effect. I could not get Rigel splitted as it appeared as a rather big point when focusing at 96X or 128X. I wonder if this was from the hazy sky, but the moon, jupiter, saturn look OK at 128X and even at 256X (with barlow lens). I could not remember if I ever looked at stars with magnification greater than 48X, only realized last night with Castor. Is there anything wrong? Collimation problem? I can probably find out in some clearer night, but just like to know faster from your experience! Now I start to be annoyed by the appearance of the ETX correcting lenses and the eyepieces. they do not look as nice & clean as when they were new. It's very tempting to get them cleaned. I think you should have experienced such feeling before. What's your advice? Should I try to clean it with photographic lenses cleanser or Isopropropyl alcohol? How? By the way, I think I can figure out why Moon image through the main scope was not in the position as it should be... It's just the orientation of my body & eye when looking through the eyepiece. When I turned the other way, i.e. looking through the eyepiece by standing at the left of the main scope, everything is normal as it should be. Sorry for the previous silly question on the moon image!
Mike here: Fainter objects, even stars, can appear fuzzy at higher magnifications. Of course, sky conditions can compound the problem and make them even fuzzier. Same for cleanliness, of lack there of. Search the site for "clean"; lots of tips.
Subject: an eyepiece and filter holder Sent: Sunday, February 21, 1999 20:26:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barry Smith) After making a simple wedge for my ETX, I found I didn't have a convenient place for my eyepieces and filters after they were taken out of the telescope case. I found that LEGOs can be used to make a nice tray for them. The LEGO blocks are about 5/16 inch square so a 4x4 "hole" is just a smidgen bigger than the 1 1/4 inch barrel of an eyepiece. The eyepiece slides in the hole nicely but the rim of the eyepiece doesn't slide in the hole so the base of the eyepiece is supported above the base of hole (nice, since the Meade barlow contains a lens very near its end). My LEGO construction is about 6 1/2 by 4 by 1 1/2 inches high and holds 3 eyepieces, one barlow, and 6 filters (each filter held on its side in a 2x4 slot). As my accessories grow, so will the holder. Barry Smith email@example.com
Subject: ETX90-EC Sent: Sunday, February 21, 1999 13:34:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Ainsworth) Really great page! I've been wanting to get another telescope for many years now, but couldn't decide on what I wanted. After spending some time on your page, I called Astronomics and ordered my new ETX90-EC. Just sitting here anxiously awaiting it's arrival now. Just wish the computer had been in stock, but they are out until April. Well, I'll hopefully get it in time to use up here in the Land of the Midnight Sun before the sun decides to stay up for a while. Thanks again for your assistance and a really great page! Gary Ainsworth Eagle River, AK P.S. Been getting some IE scripting errors when I open the Home page. Normal?
Mike here: Enjoy your new ETX! As to the "IE scripting errors" that you and a couple of others have reported, this is apparently coming from America Online's Hometown ad banner. I have no scripts on any pages except for the Search page. Plus I have not experienced this problem with Internet Explorer 4.5 on the Macintosh.
Subject: ETX-125/EC? Sent: Sunday, February 21, 1999 10:43:29 From: email@example.com (cptnsulu) I've seen several references to the ETX-125/EC on this site. Is this a new Mak/SC that Meade is preparing to release? If so, when? Cost factor? Any details would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Cary
Mike here: These are just wild guesses based upon adding the size to the new model's name. Only Meade knows what the future holds.
Subject: New Accessories for ETX Sent: Saturday, February 20, 1999 23:53:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Tatara) Love the ETX site. I've been thinking about getting one for over a year, and your site has helped me make up my mind (to get one ASAP!). Just a comment about Glenn's post last Wed. regarding a zoom eyepeice. Meade does, in fact, make a zoom eyepiece in their 4000 series. Check out the Meade ad in April Astronomy. The price seems a bit high ($220 ouch!), but I assume it can be found for less than the SRP. Also featured in the ad is a new 8x25mm right-angle finder ($50). It looks like a hybrid between the original ETX finder, a right-angle prism and a 4000 series eyepiece. =----------------------------------=-----------------------------= | | | | Eric Tatara, EI | Office: 214A Perlstein Hall | | Research Assistant (Grad) | Phone: +1.312.567.3522 | | Dept. of Chemical Engineering | | | Illinois Institute of Technology | email@example.com | | 10 West 33rd Street | | | Chicago, IL 60616 | | | | | =----------------------------------=-----------------------------= | | | I believe in the Salad Bar theory of the Universe: | | The Universe is made up of electrons, protons, and croutons. | | | =----------------------------------------------------------------=
Subject: Field tripod Sent: Saturday, February 20, 1999 16:29:51 From: LJG31@worldnet.att.net (LARRY GORELL) Just received my Meade Field Tripod and was able to use it right away. It may not be the perfect tool to do every thing that we may want, but it ain't bad. Vibration is mutted quickly, polar alignment was not overly difficult, only wish that the air was more stable-so much for clear crisp winter nights. Ordered the tripod from OPT on Wensday and was delivered on Friday. Great service! Has anyone heard of Meade preparing to offer some kind of upgrade on the ETX - you would think that they would do something for the users who have supported them all this time. I have also heard that they may be offering sometime in the near future an ETX scope larger than the current 90, any word on that. Keep up the great work you do on this site - this is what the web is all about Larry J. Gorell Carson City, Nevada
Mike here: Nothing confirmed from Meade about any upgrade from original ETX model. Same on a larger ETX although the new model name including the size does seem to indicate the possibility of something larger some day (week, month, year, decade, century, millennium).
Subject: good web site Sent: Saturday, February 20, 1999 9:49:33 From: RParrish@prodigy.com (MR ROBERT A PARRISH) Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy yout ETX web site. It has allowed me the opportunity to self answer many of my question dealing with the purchase of my first "real" scope. The desicion? The new ETX- 90-/EC! Related to this, all the dealers that I have contacted so far are only quoting suggested retail priced. Have you heard of any package deals (w/ tripod and controller) being made? Thanks for your hard work, best of luck! Robert Parrish
Subject: re: ETX blues Sent: Saturday, February 20, 1999 8:18:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (raxx) Thank you for posting my complaint. Yes my E Mail Add. has a mask? But Bob does have my phone number? Imagine if BMW or Sony gave only seven days notice before a new model, at the end of the fiscal year first quarter? That is the "fly in the ointment", the crux of my downer, the thing that has harshed my mellow. In the middle of it all is my ETX, the object of desire. Before I made my purchase I did some looking around. The ETX was a solid investment, with near zero depreciation. SCi.Bid rarely had an ETX up for auction, starting bid $450, final bid $550! I am still in contact with Meade, they love the word Talk. "Give us a call Ross, so we can at least talk about it", oh brother. So, on Monday I will call them again and we will play phone chase until I run out of steam. Never baby! If I can't convince them, Judge Mills Lane can! I can pctutre it now, JML to some nerdy Meade Exec. "You got a lot'a nerve Mr. Seven day's come lately, my ruling is in favor of the plaintiff", then he would throw his Gavel or something like that. Again, for me the issue is finished, no more complaints. I have my ETX and a large portion of the solar system awaits. It's the seven day thing that rubbed be the wrong way? News flash, "Hey 8 days ago you had a state of the art Meade product, that is now second rate in the eyes of new ETX consumers", oh goody. A lot can happen in a week. Sincerely, Ross Campbell
Subject: Electric Focuser for old ETX Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 18:34:04 From: FSBV91F@prodigy.com (MR ANTHONY S SCIARA) Hello, I just received the April 1999 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine and in the back in the Meade Acccessories section, they have a number of brand new ETX accessories. One that caught my eye is a new Electric Focuser for the old ETX as well as the new one. In the picture in the ad, it shows a picture of the old ETX with a type of brace that wraps around the eyepiece holder and has a wire coming out of it leading to a small hand focuser. I have been waiting for something like this for a long time, mainly because I hate trying to focus the ETX by hand, it's an annoying process. So I am trying to find out exactly how this works so that when I order it, it works with my ETX, and requires no special attachment of any kind. So, if you have heard about this or have seen in in S&T Magazine, please e- mail me back if you think this is a worthwhile investment for the ETX. Also, Meade has come out with an 8x25mm Right-Angle viewfinder for the ETX, so that it is significantly easier to use the viewfinder without breaking your neck and falling over. Well, I just think that Meade should include that as standard equipment. Thanks for all of the help your website has provided. Ryan Sciara FSBV91F@Prodigy.com ETX Owner P.S. Do you really think there is a point to adding an LX200 type computer system to the ETX. It may be accurate and easy to operate. But, out of the 12,000 objects, most are faint galaxies and deep space objects that would not look very impressive in the ETX. Anyway, send me your feedback!
Mike here: I haven't received my April issue of S&T yet so can't comment on the new Meade ad. For some users, especially those new to astronomy who want instant gratification, having a GO-TO capability can be more important than taking the time to learn the sky the "old fashioned way". This is neither good nor bad, just a different approach to the same end: seeing as much of the celestial show as possible.
Subject: a)is polar mode necessary in new ETX? b)most elementary tests for the optics Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 18:15:03 From: email@example.com (Fernando Sotomayor) I am wondering why the new ETX has polar mode if now has the altazimut mode for tracking. I think that if the ETX can track in altazimut mode the user can always put the telescope with its base in horizontal position, in this way it would much easier to use the telescope (specially in places close the equator), and we would not need a wedge. Please tell me if I am right or wrong, because I have to decide to buy or not a wedge. I already bought new ETX, but it is Tampa (I am in Lima, Peru) where my twelve years old son is. I want my son (who does not have previous experience and is not fluent in English) to do the most elementary tests to the telescope. Could you tell what are the three or four most obligatory tests to do to the optics of the telescope? I did not buy aditional eyepieces but only the 2x barlow. Thanks very much for your help and your time. I appreciate them very much. Fernando Sotomayor Lima, Peru.
Mike here: Polar mode is important when you don't want the view field to rotate. For example, when doing piggyback astrophotography for several minutes, it would defeat the tracking to have the star images rotate by tracking in Alt-Az. As to tests, I just check for roundness of the images as you move the focus in and out and for general cleanliness. You can get more exotic if you wish but if images are sharp in the 26mm eyepiece, then you are probably OK.
Subject: Re: Re: Meade 40 mm eyepiece Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 16:29:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Douglas E. Cann) Concerning recent comment on FOV with the standard 26mm plossl, I had the 40mm for a short time. I think that I sent some comments recently to you because I exchanged it for the 32mm SP 4000. I found the eye relief on the 40mm to be very uncomfortable ie too much and the sweet spot for your eye was very short therefore, you were either too close or too far away, it didn't take much and I have found that the slightly narrower FOV of the 32mm eyepice is not noticed in return for a more comfortable view. (Obviously, this is a personal thing and someone else may prefer the 40mm eyepiece). On the Pleides and the Beehive the 32mm is very good. It also has a slightly smaller barrel and is not as heavy. Cheers.....Doug
Subject: ETX Upgrade Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 11:31:39 From: email@example.com (Ron McCafferty) Looks like my Teflon pads gave out so I had a chance to talk to Meade Customer Service today. I asked about the Astro to EC upgrade. Maybe this is some new information. The base can't be upgrade do to alignment problems. The base isn't sold separately and if it was the swap would have to be done at the factory. This is more information than I got the last time I asked which was "It can't be done." It seems to me that Meade is thinking about it. Maybe in the end it won't be economically feasible but I'm going to wait and see. Ron
Subject: ETX eyepiece question Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 8:33:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Horejsi) I really like your ETX page, and studied it hard before I purchased my ETX. Thank you for helping all of us out here in cyberland! I do have a question I hope you can help me with. I have recently purchased a collection of eyepieces and in the set is the Meade 4.7mm ultra wide and the Meade Series 4000 barlow lens. I have not had a chance to use them yet. My question is what problems might I expect by using the eyepiece and the barlow with the ETX. I have the Meade short focus barlow already but I imagine the Series 4000 is sharper. Is the extra length a problem? I hope this question makes sense. Thanks, Martin in Pocatello, Idaho
Mike here: The 4.7mm is going to provide you very high magnification, exceeding the normal limit of 60x/inch of aperture. That's not to say that images won't be usable; just expect some "fuzziness" and a dim view. As to the longer Barlow, you are probably OK. I don't have that one but there have been reports that both the #126 and #140 Barlow Lens models work fine with the ETX.
Subject: ETX Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 8:26:13 From: Giggshome@aol.com Perhaps you can help. I purchased the ETX last November and have used it several times since. I'm veery frustrated because the image "jumps" when I turn the focusing knob. I've used both the short tripod legs which come with the telescope and a full length tripod. Is it me, or in your opinion, is there something wrong? I called Meade's customer service department and was told I have to develop a "touch" so this wont happen. But I can tell you that the slightest turn of the knob causes jumpiness and an inability to have a truly good focus. By the way. Were my expectations to great or is it very difficult to truly distinguish the colors in stars? I live in suburban New Jersey with some light pollution; could this be the problem or is it that my expectations are too great for a non-Hubble telescope? The only objects which are really distinguishable are Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon and a very brilliant Venus which is almost blinding. Another question. Should it be necessary to turn the tripod if I want to see objects in the northern sky? I'm unable to using the viewfinder because it is practically down to the base when looking high in the northern sky. Is this common? Last question. When trying to find an object in the view finder with the Dec. lock in the unlocked position, I can only move the tube when turning the Dec-slow motion control clockwise. If I turn it counterclockwise the tube doesn't move at all, so I have to move it manually. Why is this? Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Regards, Alan Schaffer (the spastic wonder) e-mail email@example.com
Mike here: You can get an electric focuser (from Scopetronix or JMI) or you can use a "clothes pin" on the focusing knob. Search the site for "clothes" for more info on this simple solution. The JMI MotoFocus is reviewed on the Showcase Products page and I hope to have a review of the Scopetronix one soon. You can see colors in some stars. Beta Lyra is one excellent example of a double star, each with a distinctly different color. Normally, you should not turn the tripod to observe objects in the northern sky. However, due to the type of mounting used on the ETX (and other scopes) you may to re-orient the tripod for some objects. Of course, you won't be polar aligned then. Just one of the trade-offs. As to the DEC motion, or lack of, you have reached the full run of the rod in that direction. Just back it off many, many turns and you'll be set again.
Subject: Re: Need some advice, Please. Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 8:04:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (P H) I have read the feedback, and being the rookie that I am, I think I will stick to the old style of ETX. If I were to get a newer one, I couldn't be sure it was one of those defective ones that people talk about. I still need to learn the sky, so I really don't need a GOTO device. Anyhow, thanks for the reply. Clear skies! Patty PS - Keep up the good work on the website!! I visit very often!!
Subject: ETX site Sent: Friday, February 19, 1999 3:28:39 From: Tecate93@aol.com Enjoyed your web site, it was informative and fun. I had stopped by the Discovery store and took a gander at the Etx and decided to do some research online. If you have any suggestions on a good place to buy one I am all ears. Once again, kudos. -Aaron H Houston, TX
Mike here: Glad you like the site. The Nature Company, Discovery Stores, Natural Wonders are all good local stores. You can also find them (sometimes discounted) at JCPenneys and Service Merchandise. For "mail order", Shutan Camera and Video, Pocono Mountain Optics, Oceanside Photo and Telescope have all received good comments. I'm sure there are others as well.
Subject: Re: EC/90 power supply specs? Sent: Thursday, February 18, 1999 19:41:51 From: email@example.com (Liem Bahneman) Thanks, that may work for the "classic" ETX, but the EC/90 has a 12v power jack on the base (as well as 8 batteries). My main concern is polarity on the plug.. - liem
Mike here: Go to the Scopetronix site (www.scopetronix.com). They have a new product for power to the ETX-90/EC.
Subject: Re: ETX collimation Sent: Thursday, February 18, 1999 11:38:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Douglas E. Cann) There was a comment in the last updtae about the reflections of the secondary not being concentric with the rest of what's visible down the tube. Just a reminder that optical and mechanical alignment can, and ofter lead to different line up of the various componants. Over the last couple of years I have looked down many ETX optical tubes and most have been slightly 'off' as far as mechanical alignment of the optics was concerned. I have spent some time aligning mine to what I believe is 100% optically and if you stand back a couple of feet and look down the front end of the tube, the secondary mirror, or rather it's second relection, does NOT appear to be exactly concentric. Optically, it is as good as can be acheived. Hope this dispells any fears that some ETX owners may have concerning optical versus mechanical alignment. Cheers.....Doug
Subject: JMI MotoFocus and ETX-90/EC Sent: Thursday, February 18, 1999 6:54:55 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com do you know if the new etx can be used with motofocus?
Subject: Need some advice, Please. Sent: Thursday, February 18, 1999 6:37:02 From: email@example.com (P H) I purchased a scope on Valentines Day, from the JC Penney catalog. I received it on Monday, and to my disappointment, it had already been opened before I received it. Maybe as a return. I know that the new ETX is out, and I was also hoping to receive this one instead. I have a month to have someone check it out for me, since I'm new to SCT's. Also, I received 35% off, which made this one $425 with shipping. The rep from Penney's said they could possibly reorder one, and try to get the ETX-90EC, but it depends on when they received them, and when they will reorder next. Please feel free to e-mail me with suggestions. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks! Patty firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Lots of advice on this Feedback page and on last month's (in the Feedback Archives). Also, check out the ETX-90/EC page on my web site; lots of actual user experiences with the new model.
Subject: Buying recommendation Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 21:46:38 From: email@example.com Not all ETX's are created (packaged) equally. Consumers who purchased an ETX in 1998 at stores such as Sam's Club in order to save a little money did not always get the same ETX as they would have from a telescope dealer. Meade Instruments specially packed ETX's with a lesser-quality MA eyepiece in place of the 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece. Watch out for this. If you want a Meade telescope as it is advertised in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope-- buy it from an authorized telescope dealer. Bob Shutan Shutan Camera & Video Shutan.com
Subject: New ETX Accessories from Meade Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 21:12:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jose Rizal) The April Sky & Telescope has an add for new Meade accessories that can be used in the ETX. This includes Meade's ETX hardcase, a right angle viewfinder etc., I'm interested in the new $120 Reticle Astronomic Eyepiece, allowing one to make measurements of observations [position angle, diameters etc.,] Has anyone used a reticuled eyepiece of any type cheaper than this model on the ETX?
Mike here: There is a review of one reticle eyepiece on the Accessories - Eyepieces page on my web site.
Subject: Vernier scale for the Dec circle of the ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 21:07:23 From: email@example.com (Jose Rizal) Thanks Mike for your reply to "Re: Messier Objects on an ETX" Has anyone tried to make a Vernier scale for Dec setting circle on the ETX? I noticed such a scale on the top-lined LX-200 scopes, allowing setting circles to measure 1/10th of a degree. Perusing the images of the LX200 scopes, it seems the circle, albeit larger, is about the same as the ETX. It would be very useful to measure this on an ETX, currently I estimate it by using the FOV of the 26mmSP eyepiece, which is 1 degree in diameter.
Subject: Wide field Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 20:39:59 From: Tomuphigh@aol.com A quick question. I was trying to observe the beehive cluster and other similar objects and found my 26mm eyepiece to be a bit too powerful. I am wondering if the 40mmSP will give me a wide enough field to see things like this properly. I did not see any in-depth reports on low power eyepieces in you eyepiece section. Any info will be helpful. Thanks T Roller
Mike here: I'm hoping to receive a 40mm eyepiece in the not too distant future. Watch for a review. In the meantime, perhaps someone else has some experience.
Subject: EC/90 power supply specs? Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 20:24:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Liem Bahneman) Does anyone have the Meade ETX powersupply adapter for the EC/90? I don't want to have to keep stuffing _8_ AA's into this thing, so I'm wondering if I can whip up powersupply for it (I've got a ton of 12V adapters lying around, various amperages). Its 12V, but what's the amperage? Pos. or neg. tip? Anyone have a clue? - liem ============================================================================ Liem Bahneman email@example.com Senior Systems Administrator http://www.cobaltgroup.com/~roland The Cobalt Group (206) 269-6363 x300 Seattle, Washington F(206) 269-6350
Mike here: See the "Drive Alternative Power Source" tip on the Tech Tips page.
Subject: Nearly an owner Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 13:57:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (PAUL JAMES) I have been following your site with great interest - well done for providing such a well needed service. I am the ETX owner who got away I'm afraid. As you know in the UK we are going to experience a total solar eclipse this August in Cornwall and I was going to purchase an ETX at this year's Astrofest to renew my longstanding interest in Astronomy - hopefully also to enjoy the eclipse, weather permitting! I must say that the bugs in the ETX-C discussed by your contributors had put me off somewhat. Anyway at the Astrofest I happily wandered round the Meade stand and I have to admit that mirror greed set in and I accordingly purchased an LX10. Now I am wondering whether some enlightened soul has set up a web site for LX10 users in the same vein as your site. I have searched the Net in vain so far and would be interested to know whether you are aware of such a site. Thanks in advance. All the best - PAUL JAMES
Mike here: Glad the site kept you going until you got a telescope! I don't know whether there is an LX10 site. There are some LX200 sites around. I'll post your message; perhaps someone will respond. You might also join the MAPUG mailing list or drop a note on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup. Info on these is available on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject: ETX/EC Eyepieces Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 11:35:18 From: email@example.com (Fischer - Glen Mueller) Great web site. Just picked up the new EC and now looking for some feedback on a Celestron zoom eye piece. Meade doesn't offer any and I'm just wondering if there is any experience out there with them. It seems the same rule of thumb would apply from photographic lenses, more versatility but less sharpness due to the number of elements. Any ideas? Thanks, Glenn
Mike here: The Lanthanum 8-24mm Zoom eyepiece is reviewed on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. As you note, in general the more surfaces (and complications) the less sharp the inages are likely to be. Whether the decrease is noticeable or not depends upon a lot of factors.
Subject: Messier Objects on an ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 6:33:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jose Rizal) How many deep sky Messier or NGC objects have the ETX veterans seen with an ETX? Checking the SEDS site, quite a number of objects are above visual magnitude 11.5, the limit of ETX optics, but I'd like to hear about anyone who'se actually seen most of the 110 ? objects. So far, I've done only 5.
Subject: Aligning In Caracas Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 1999 6:29:43 From: email@example.com (McDonald, William J.) Thanks for the advice to my note last week, I have done as you suggested. In the end a work colleague into surveying gave me the adjustment. I think I got it set up incorrectly last week, this time I have placed the base parallel to the plane of the equator. The strange thing though is that now the scope is almost lying on its side, meaning that I have to get underneath it to be able use it polar aligned. If I look down on it, I can't look very high in the sky before the eye piece clashes with the base. Is this normal or have I completely got the wrong end of the stick? If I am right, does anybody know if the computer controller can track the sky in Alt/Az mode? This may be easier on my neck muscles. Regards, Will McDonald
Mike here: Living near the equator does result in the polar axis being almost horizontal. You should be able to observe near the zenith without any problem however. But as you noted, the base will get in the way sooner rather than later as you move in declination. And according to what I'm reading about the new model, it does track in Alt-Az mode. Just like the LX200 scopes.
Subject: Response Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 1999 20:47:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org In response to comment from Ross Campbell dated 2-15-99; Mr. Ross sent me an e-mail letter regarding the situation with his recently purchased "Classic" ETX. Unfortunately for Mr. Campbell, his disguised return e-mail address would not allow my response to reach him. We've been in business since 1918. Neither myself nor my sales staff would ever tell a customer to "take up kyting" as he put it. Yes we do, and must have a formal return policy and yes he is beyond that time period. My staff will be informed (again) to forward any phone calls regarding recent "Classic" purchases to me. They are handled on a case-by-case basis. Remember (as my fellow dealers can confirm) we had about 7 days advance notice before to 90/EC ads hit the street. Please don't get upset with your dealer-- whoever it might be. As for Mr. Campbell, If you're reading this you can call us/me at 800-621-2248 regarding your purchase. Sincerely, Bob Shutan Shutan Camera & Video Shutan.com
Subject: new etx Sent: Saturday, February 13, 1999 6:24:10 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com i have had the etx for about 3 years now and it took some time to finally get the perfect scope and all the accessories...through saving up and just waiting patiently...i have amassed a great package...but of course i still like getting new toys....i was wondering if it was worth returning my current scope to upgrade to the new one...what makes me think is that as of right now...my current etx works flawlessly...the motor keeps things in the field of view longer than i need...the optics are crisp and sharp...i have no problems with any of the knobs..and basically i know the entire scope....i was wondering if it was worth "risking" this for a new scope that could have problems....but that new damn computer system is so appealing :-) i would like to have any feedback as to what i should do thank you great page dave
about the last email...i used the wrong word i guess....i didnt mean literally "upgrade" my current scope...i meant to exchange it for the new one...i was just wondering if it was worth risking my "perfect" scope to get the new one...write back
Mike here: The "risk" is minor. Of course, anytime you swap a working unit of anything for a new model you run the risk of having problems with the new unit. Applies to cars, computers, stereos, and telescopes. And there is always the possibility that something even better will show up, making you kick yourself for jumping on the what was new at the time model. Afterall, say you got the ETX-90/EC, with all the add-ons, and then Meade released an ETX-125/EC. How would you feel? I'm not saying there is a new model coming (because I don't know that) but if you have a working telescope now that you are comfortable with, why change?
i can see what you are saying...and thank you for the advice....but the new one looks so friggin cool :-) dave
Subject: ETX-90EC Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 1999 0:49:02 From: email@example.com (Art Griggs) I don't expect you to remember but I have e-mailed you a few times before regarding Meade's little gem, the ETX. I just visited the local Nature Company and saw the new ETX 90ec. Nice, impressive, well built and I don't expect them to stay at this price. (The first ETX coming in at at $495 and later jumping to $595.) The added-cost computer ($149) is a bargain. Keep up the good work! - Art -
Subject: ETX blues Sent: Monday, February 15, 1999 18:02:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (raxx) Hey mike, dou you not post anything negative? My complaints about the the the introduction of the ETX/EC are real. In fact I am in contact with Meade regarding the whole issue. The scope I purchased last month has depreciated 50%, bottom line. Smooth move Meade. I spoke with tech support reagding an upgrade. At first they thought it not likely, due to the digital regestration bla, bla, bla. At any rate, they have since changed their mind, and a lot of those problems are no longer problematic, bla, bla, bla. Shutan has told me to take up kyting, based on a strict 10 day return policy? I just love my ETX, it would be great if they would give ETX owners another option rather than trading in an entire scope for a new ETX/EC simply for the improved base? If anything else it's hell on the environment. If ETX owners contact customer service, perhaps you will be able to keep the main part of the scope, and puchase a new base. Ross Campbell
Mike here: I know that last month I stated that I would not be posting "no upgrade" complaint messages beginning this month. I felt that airing them on my ETX site does no good. However, this message contains what appears to be new information. Doing what Ross did by contacting Meade directly is more appropriate than emailing me. If Meade reconsiders their no-upgrade decision, then everyone can thank Ross and those who contacted Meade. I'm trying to confirm this with Meade.
Subject: Old ETX field tripod vs. new Sent: Monday, February 15, 1999 17:20:03 From: email@example.com (Walter Warren) Is there any difference between the old Meade deluxe field tripod and the new #880? I got one of the old ones at the old price, but was surprised that the mounting bolts weren't held captive in the head. I thought maybe that might be the difference. Walter Warren
Subject: Expectation question... Sent: Monday, February 15, 1999 13:14:51 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Adair) I wanted to get your experience with a question. I just bought a pair of Orion UltraView Binoculars 10x50 over the weekend. I checked them out last night under clear skies, and compared them with the ETX. They actually seemed *better* than the ETX! Obviously the magnification wasn't as great, but they sure seemed alot brighter and sharper focus. I checked out the Orion Nebula, and the stars just seemed brighter and sharper than with the ETX. Am I doing something wrong, or do I just need to get more experience with the ETX? Thanks, Jeff
Mike here: Good binoculars will provide a "crisper" view of stars and bright objects. You can approach something like this view with the ETX using a wide field adapter or a low-power wide angle eyepiece.
Subject: Lost LOST Lost! in space Sent: Monday, February 15, 1999 12:08:04 From: email@example.com (Waukesha Police Department) Oh all knowing one, please point me in the right direction, PLEASE! My sister loaned me a Tasco telescope last summer. I was hooked! Looked around and bought an ETX. Have looked at jupiter and saturn and I'm thrilled. But I'm lost. Polar alignment is a mystery to me! Where do I find a book or reference on what the sky looks like where I live (outside of Milwaukee, WI) and where to look for certain stars, clusters and so forth during the entire year. That is, if I can even see them with the ETX. How do I focus the ETX without blurring the image from the movement from my touch. Just stumbled accross your site last week and have been reading. Help me if you can, I'm sure you get tons of e-mail - Thanks for the info on your site!!! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or here email@example.com
Mike here: There are several astronomy sky charting programs available for Mac OS and Windows. Some are free, some are shareware, and some are commercial products. Check the Links page on my ETX site for a few of these. You can also check Astronomy and Sky&Telescope web sites for more info on observing the night sky. As to focusing without the jiggles, you'll either need one of the electric focusers (from JMI or Scopetronix) or use a clothes pin. Search the site for "clothes" and you find a few references to this little tip.
Subject: iridium Sent: Monday, February 15, 1999 11:34:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ivan Harris) I don't know if you are aware of this but there are programs to predict iridium flashes. You might want to get one and look for them. They are pretty impressive. Clear skies Ivan
Mike here: Impressive in a negative sort of way??? I'm of the opinion they are detracting from the natural beauty of the night sky.
Subject: ETX Collimation Sent: Sunday, February 14, 1999 19:18:58 From: D122478080@aol.com Love your site. I recently took advantage of Shutan's upgrade offer and got an ETX90EC. I love the new controller. I have not received the Autostar yet. I have a question pertaining to any ETX regarding collimation and scope performance. Based on procedures found on your site and others (star test, looking at the aperture from a distance equal to the focal length), it appears that my scope is very slightly out of collimation. The shadow from the central obstruction is just a little off center. What affect would this have on the performance of the scope? Is it worth sending the thing back? I have the ETX to view birds and seen the texture on their feathers, used my solar filter and seen sunspots and granulation on the sun, and can separate the trapezium stars in the Orion Nebula. I can't believe that it could look much better. Should I just stop worrying about it? Thanks again for the great site.
Mike here: I wouldn't worry too much that things are out of collimation. They could be; but they also might not be. If you're happy with the views then leave well enough alone. Of course, the collimation would have to considerably off to make any noticeable difference. Just my two-cents.
Subject: ETX for safari photos? Sent: Saturday, February 13, 1999 17:47:31 From: email@example.com (Arthur St Antoine) Found your site while surfing on the Meade ETX, and I'd appreciate your wisdom on a query of my own. I'm in the planning stages for a photo safari to Africa, and am considering the ETX as my "super telephoto" lens; I use a Canon EOS system. I've recently seen the ETX astro model on sale at Learning Smith for $479. Is that a good deal? And, in your experience, would the ETX be a suitable "lens" for my mission--or would I be better off with a true photo optic? Many thanks. Art
Mike here: The ETX can be used as a 1250mm telephoto lens by mounting a camera at the rear port (prime focus). You'll need the T-Adapter and T-ring. You can also do eyepiece projection terrestrial photography by using the Basic Camera Adapter to provide even greater magnification. These items are discussed on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. The optics on the ETX are very high quality. As to whether this solution is better than a regular telephoto lens, you'll have to decide.
Subject: Piggyback Mount Sent: Saturday, February 13, 1999 10:02:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Todd Fields) Thanks for such a wonderfully informative and helpful sight! I was wondering if you could tell me what in addition to the piggyback mount you were using to center up your 230mm telephoto loaded Pentax to your ETX...it looks like you made an additional clamp? Thanks so much! Todd Fields
Mike here: There was nothing extra used to mount the telephoto and camera as shown on the Astrophotography Gallery - Deep Sky page. The JMI Piggy-back Camera Mount mounting ring is the part around the ETX tube. The ring on the telephoto lens has the tripod attach hole and is part of that model telephoto.
Subject: Enjoyed this site Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 17:25:56 From: email@example.com (Paul Rokoff) You have a great site! I just ordered the Meade ETX from JC Penny. I received a 25% off promotion on anything in their catalog. The ETX is in the Spring Summer for $599. With shipping the total came to $484.49. Beats used from E-Bay. I am not sure if it is the classic or new ETX. The picture in the catalog is the classic but I'm not sure which is being shipped. In either case your site helped me decide to buy the ETX or or new it should be fun. Thanks for the info and keep up the good works. Paul -- Wisdom is chasing mankind ... but mankind is quicker.
Subject: finderscope Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 10:32:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mr Juan Michel) I own an ETX ; I'd like to purchase this famous " daisy sight gun " on the web ; do you know the right website? thanks a lot Michel email@example.com
Mike here: I don't recall seeing a web site for these. Most people in the USA are getting them from local department stores.
Subject: re: "flare" Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 10:14:22 From: LeeK@NMRIPO.NMRI.NNMC.NAVY.MIL (Lee, Kelvin) The flare you saw could also have been sunlight flashing off an Iridium satellite - www.skypub.com/sights/satellites/iridium.html. Apparently these are becoming quite common. Clear skies, kl
Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 16:14:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ivan Harris) The new star is almost certainly an iridium flash. I see them fairly regularly when the clouds go away and it looks just like the landing light on a plane. Clear skies. Ivan
Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 16:26:09 From: email@example.com (Tung-Fai LO) Thank you all for your information. The description in the web site of sky & telescope you forwarded to me is exactly what I see. It is really nice to see such phenomena.
Mike here: Good points. I've not seen one yet but they are reportedly VERY bright.
Subject: New ETX and stuff Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 4:39:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Fisher) Well, like many I was surprised by the sudden appearance of the new ETX...the two page ad in Astronomy was a real eye-grabber! I still have my classic ETX and I won't be getting the new ETX, as tempting as it might seem...I'm going for something with a bit more aperture, and a decent worm drive with PEC...I can't afford the LX200 (I don't want or need the GO-TO computer anyway), and from all the research I've done on the LX50, the worm drive is CRAP (with no PEC or smartdrive available, either). So, I'm going to the 'other side' and getting a Celestar 8 Deluxe. Meets all the needs I have and isn't as crippled as the LX50 (you should see the LX50 'support' site at www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/1107/ before considering an LX50...to me it's a very disappointing offering from Meade). Anyway, as ever, your site is informative as heck...keep up the great work. Even with my new scope my ETX will still be by my side...you can't beat the 3-minute (tops!) setup time and the fantastic optics...for planetary viewing it is great (although my prime-focus photography attempts were mediocre). I still need to order some new teflon pads since mine are starting to slide out of the base. :/ Oh and one more thing...I noticed a Celestron in the latest Sky & Tel showing a 'new' model...Celestron is actually selling a 3 1/2" Maksutov on a german mount! I'd love to see a comparison of that with the ETX, at least optically. Could be real competitor to the ETX....
Subject: Polar Alignment when Polaris is out of sight Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 4:31:27 From: email@example.com (McDonald, William J.) I'm new to astronomy and have just bought one of the new ETX telescopes and one of Scopetronix's tripod adapters. I'm looking forward to trying them out over the weekend. I have read a couple of descriptions of how to get the telescope set up to track the stars but I have a problem. I live in Caracas which is at about 8 degrees North, and right behind a bloody great mountain which even obscures the Plough (sorry Big Dipper to you lot). Can anybody let me know how I can polar align the scope when Polaris is out of sight? Any ideas are welcome, Will McDonald
Mike here: You can use Magnetic North and your Local Magnetic Variation (from True North) to determine True North. You can obtain your Local Magnetic Variation from your local airport or library. That amount is added (or subtracted) from Magnetic North and then you point your ETX axis in the calculated position. Alternatively, go to a location where you can see Polaris and do a polar alignment. Fix a magnetic compass on your ETX mount and record the difference in where its needle points and the direction of the ETX axis. Then when you return to your normal observing site just point the ETX mount in the direction that corresponds to the same offset. As long as there are no magnetic anomalies you'll be OK.
Subject: ETX capacities Sent: Thursday, February 11, 1999 20:47:57 From: BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .) Lately, I used ETX to view Mars, trying to 'look' at the Polar ice cap but could not distinguish any whitish ice cap from the red-orange surface. However, I thought Maria was seen on the surface. Is the Mars Polar ice cap visible through the ETX (I powered up to 256 X with 2X barlow & 9.7 mm eyepiece). The reason I ask is because the ETX manual states that the Polar ice cap may be visible but if it's not true, we should make it clear for our group. I also tried to locate some nebulae like M78, NGC 2024, M41, but failed to see these deep sky objects via the ETX. As I can see only the M42, NGC 1977 in the ORION constellation, and most of the deep sky objects in the ETX gallery are M42/NGC 1977, I wonder if the other nebulae can be seen with ETX. By the way, can you recommend the site that have table of celestrial objects (stars, galaxies, nebulae) with coordinates (RA & Dec). Actually, if you could add what deep sky objects are visible through the ETX and what can't be seen, it would be great. Sorry if the answer is already in your archieve. Haven't searched yet. Best regards, Sukun T. Bangkok, Thailand.
Subject: ETX POSTING Sent: Thursday, February 11, 1999 20:19:24 From: Kast9999@aol.com i would like it if you posted this message in the user feedback with the picture I got my etx-90/ec a few days ago. the image quality is excellent, espically with all the light pollution in central connecticut. But i have had problems. When i take pictures with my etx the photos are always blurry and have black dots in the middle, like the circle in the primary lens. I was wondering if you had a solution for this.... and also, when i was looking at the andromeda galaxy and the orion nebula using the autostar (which performs excellent as well!) i couldn't get any color, the nebula was just black and white, is their anything i can do to change this?
Mike here: This image appears to be a reflection of the mirror. You can get this if you don't use an eyepiece. As to color of nebulae, your eye is not sensitive enough in the most wavelengths to detect the same colors you see in long duration astrophotos.
Subject: ETX Secondary Baffle/cheap eyepiece Sent: Thursday, February 11, 1999 20:02:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael ROCHFORT) I read on the newsgroups recently about the secondary baffle on some ETXs detaching from the rear of the corrector during warm weather. As it is summer here in Australia, and it had been warm (but cloudy!), I decided to check up on my own ETX. Guess what? The baffle had indeed become detached, caused a small glue smudge on the interior of the corrector, done a flip inside the tube, and landed glue side down on the primary! I had already had the optics replaced about a year ago, after sending the OTA back to Meade. Meade say they are aware of the problem, and have undertaken to repair the optics free of charge. I would urge all ETX owners who live in or visit warm climes to store the scope in a cool place. BTW - Meade used to sell the ETX direct to Australians for $AUD895, then $995, which was not bad considering the exchange rate. Now, the ETX and smaller "consumer" scopes are handled by a distributor who sells them for $1300! I recently pulled apart a broken pair of Meade Infinity 8x25 compact binoculars which had been dropped. After deciding that it was not worth the effort of having them repaired, I noticed that the eyepieces were approximately 1.25" in diameter. Sure enough, they were a push fit into an empty eyepiece barrel! The resulting eyepiece seems to be equivalent to a 10 or 12mm eyepiece, and the eye-relief is much better than my 9.7 series 4000. My 9.7 seems to demonstrate many of the flaws metioned elsewhere in your feedback pages, but this new eyepiece in my collection out-performs it in a side by side comparison, especially when barlowed! I viewed Saturn and M42 with this combination and my baffle-less ETX last night. While viewing with my damaged ETX (the out of focus image is a doughnut with another off-set ring!), I could not help be astounded at the quality still apparent! It just goes to prove to me again that a dirty scope is best left alone for as long as possible.
Subject: Orion Ultrascopic 10mm Sent: Thursday, February 11, 1999 19:24:18 From: email@example.com (Jeff Adair) I purchased the Orion Ultrascopic 10mm and have done some initial testing. Since I'm new to this, I'm not sure what things are supposed to look like, but it seems the 10mm is very hard to focus. When looking at the Orion Nebula I can only make out 3 of the four stars in the trapezium. I'm wondering if there are "sweet spots" in the ETX magnification. I noticed that Meade sells a 9.7mm for the ETX, so I thought 10mm is perhaps not optimal. Has anybody else had experience with these lenses? Jeff
Subject: "Flare" Sent: Thursday, February 11, 1999 16:55:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tung-Fai LO) I have seen a kind of explosion tonight at south about 30 degrees altitude at about 19h15. I'm at about 75 km north of Paris. A star (a point) getting very bright and expanding to about 8-10 x diameter of venus and then 'distingush' to non observable (by eye, not telescope). The total time from the brightest to non observable was about 5-7 seconds. What can it be? A nova ? Did you observe somthing.
Mike here: Probably a meteor. It is unusual to have a meteor coming "right at you" but it does happen. Consider yourself lucky that you saw it and that it vaporized before it reached you!
Subject: Kudos to Scopetronix Sent: Thursday, February 11, 1999 8:03:52 From: email@example.com (Scott Huber) Just dropping a note to everyone that the Microstar II Dual Axis Controller from Scopetronix is great. It arrived and with the aid of the great installation manual I was up and running, or I should say guiding, in about an hour. Kudos to Scopetronix for a great, well made product, prompt service and an all around good deal. I know have dual axis control without selling and buying the new model (I can live without the computer object locating). If anyone wants to breathe new life into their original ETX, have it "move like the big boys", I strongly suggest going with their product. You cannot go wrong and they are a solid company to do business with. Here's their web address www.scopetronix.com. Take a look at their other products too. It's refreshing to do business with a company that really delivers what they advertise. Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A 4 planet night Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 21:47:57 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) I managed to set up tonight in a place that gave me a decent view of the whole ecliptic. Despite light attacking from all sides (including the light in the neighbor's driveway that I swear is an aircraft landing light), I managed 4 planets tonight. Venus was bright, but featureless; Jupiter was stunning, with banding clearly visible on the planet, and the 4 moons about as wide-spread as I've ever seen them. They pretty much filled the field of view with the 26mm ep and the 126 Barlow. That was worth watching for a while! Higher up was Saturn, with Titan visible as well. Saturn's always a breathtaker. Finally, at about 15 minutes after midnight, Mars had risen far enough for me to get a first look at it through the ETX. I wasn't expecting much, so I wasn't disappointed, but it wasn't much to look at, just a red disk I went up to the 9.7mm, but still couldn't discern the polar ice cap. Oh, well - at least I got all 4 in one night! I also picked up another Messier object tonight, though I can't really sat which it is! It's one of the 3 in Auriga - either M36, M37 or M38. A lovely cluster, it almost could be mistaken for a globular. They were all practically at the zenith, so it was tough to really get a handle on where specifically the scope was pointing. I tried star-hopping to where I thought the other clusters nearby might have been, with no success (though who knows - I may have ended up at a different cluster that where I started!). This process will be greatly enchanced when my MicrostarII+ unit arrives. It was too cold to keep the gloves off for long, and the slow-motion controls aren't exactly convenient on the ETX, so a methodical scan for the other clusters was less than successful. In other news, the local observatory has just gotten the go-ahead to get a Meade 16" LX-200 to replace the broken 12.5" homebrew Newtonian that had been the main scope until last summer. Looks like I'll have a bit of fun helping to install that! ========================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: Doskocil Case for ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 20:16:11 From: email@example.com (Chantelle Beal) I purchased my ETX in late 1997 specifically for photographing the solar eclipse from Aruba last February. My plan at the time was to sell the scope after I returned home and use the funds for some other astronomical goodies. However, I enjoyed my ETX so much that I kept it and now observe with the ETX more often than with my 8-inch SCT. My reason for this post is to point you and your readers to an alternative, and less expensive, source for the Doskocil case which has received such rave reviews on your site. Try Wholesale Hunter at http://www.wholesalehunter.com/ You can order the XL Pistol-Accessory Case for $57.00 plus about $10-12 shipping, depending upon where you live. This is exactly the same case found in camera stores -- just marketed to a different customer in a different box. I even called Doskocil's tech service department to confirm that the foam was the same and not treated in some way for the storage of handguns. They assured me that the case and foam were identical. I think this case is ideal for either model of the ETX. It fit in the overhead compartment on the way to Aruba, and when I decided to check the case and scope with my other baggage on the way home (the scope was insured and I was planning on selling it anyway, remember) both survived the trip just fine. Rick Beal
Subject: etx secondary mirror Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 17:17:21 From: Michael.Gunderson@PSS.Boeing.com (Gunderson, Michael D) While I was dusting off the objective on my telescope I noticed that there were pinholes in secondary mirror. I was wondering if this is one of the draw backs of owning a mak and should I worry about it? I called meade and they said "that the pinholes should not effect the quality of the images." Have you ever checked the secondary for this defect, and have you ever heard from anyone else about this defect?
Mike here: I just looked at mine and could not see anything that looked like pinholes in the mirror's surface. I agree that they probably are not detracting from the image quality. That is, unless they are VERY large.
The way that I checked it was to unscrew the lens cell and hold it up to a bright light and look at the secondary that is when I noticed them, is that how you checked it?
Mike here: Nope. I just aimed a light down the tube and looked at all the mirror surfaces.
Subject: re: new user needing help Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 11:54:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Damien) Thank for all your advises. I have found someone (he's french) who see I was needed some Help on your site: Bruno NAJAC . Do you know him? Bye Bye, and see you later... DAMIEN. ps: I will send you my result when they will be good...
Mike here: He is a contributor to the site. He should be able to help you.
Subject: Declination knob noise Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 11:32:37 From: ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman) I've had my ETX for about 15 months and I'm very pleased with it. But, the last two nights that I've had it out, it has developed an annoying squealing noise when I turn the declination knob. It kind of sounds like maybe a dry metal shaft binding on plastic. It still turns fine and it didn't act like it had reached the end of travel. It just seems like something needs to be lubed. Has anyone else experienced this problem? I also read one of today's posts about finding M36 and M38. I also live in light poluted suburbia complete with porch lights and a nearby high school stadium. And you wouldn't believe the light that The Ball Park at Arlington puts out when the Rangers play even though the stadium is about 9 miles away! I've still found almost 40 Messier objects and several NGC objects so far. (I really need to find a dark sky site) I've tried to find M1 and M78 but, no cigar. I think I'll need more scope and less light polution for those two. I would be interested in hearing which objects others have had luck in finding. I'll post my found list (at lunch of course) if I remember to bring my notebook with me to work. Clear (and dark) skies, Reagan Herman
Mike here: Regarding the DEC noise, I haven't experienced that. You might check Jordan Blessing's ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products site for troubleshooting info.
Subject: ETX Decision Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 10:57:12 From: MarkMM@WILSONHURD.com (Mittlesteadt, Mark M.) I currently have an Orion Short tube 4.5" Reflector. I absolutely love it. I've been an amateur astronomer my whole life, but I've just used my eyes or binoculars. A few months back I bought my 4.5" scope and it has completely changed my life. I am very much a "gadget" person. I'm always looking for the best in hardware. While I love my current scope, I've been seriously looking to purchase a new one. The new ETX looks great and from what I've been reading on your sight it seems to be a great little scope. But I'm torn between buying a Meade 8" LX-10 or their ETX-90/EC. I'm not sure about my decision. By the time I get everything I want with the ETX it'll run me about $1000.00. Whereas the LX-10 would run me about $1300.00. I realize that the LX-10 is heavier and not as portable but I'm pretty strong and the added weight wouldn't bother me but I really like the looks of the ETX and the fact I could take it anywhere, anytime. Aside from aperture and the obvious differences, what differences are their in seeing between the two scopes? Also, what advantages do you see between the ETX and my current scope? 90mm for the ETX seems a little small yet many on your sight seem very happy with the views through that little ETX. Got any advice? Thanks Mark M
Mike here: Obviously the larger the aperture the more light gathering power you'll have, resulting in better images with more magnification. But the down side is the portability. Since you already have a small scope, going for something larger would be the best step up for you. Personally I'd love to have a 10" or 12" LX200 but then I'd have to start a whole new web site! And they cost BIG BUCKS. So I'm sticking with my Mighty ETX.
Thanks for the info. I still love the looks of the ETX. I sort of feel like Richard Dreyfuss in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when he couldn't get Devil's Tower out of his mind and he started carving the shape into his mashed potatoes and then sculpting it in his living room...I just can't stop thinking about it. My current scope really gives me some great views. Being a 4.5" reflector, I was wondering if you know whether or not the ETX gives better views even though it is a 90mm. Having never looked through the ETX I was wondering if the optics are vastly superior to mine would I be able to push the magnification on the ETX further than on my 4.5"? I can use a 10mm eyepiece with a 2X barlow on mine (given a clear night) and get some fantastic and sharp views of Jupiter (at least two major cloud bands) Saturn (Cassini's division) and some spectacular views of M42 among others. At 1000mm focal length, I'm getting 200X magnification. How far can you push the ETX's magnification, all things being equal? I'm still flip flopping on the decision between the LX-10 and the ETX. If I thought I would get really superior viewing with the ETX versus my current scope I would probably get the ETX for it's electronic/computer abilities and sell my current one. Then at some future time I would get the LX-10. I've got time to think about it but I appreciate your input.
Mike here: On bright objects I've done 256x with the ETX. Others have exceeded 300x. I suspect that the optics are probably better in the ETX than in an older 4.5" reflector but again aperture counts for a lot. Objects could appear brighter and not go fuzzy until higher magnifications. But the ETX is still one mighty fine telescope.
Subject: ETX Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 10:13:49 From: email@example.com (Serendipity) I am currently in university and am in want of an ETX telescope and was wondering if you knew of anybody wanting to sell a used ETX telescope. Many Thanks for any attention you give to this matter! Sincerely Missy firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Meade Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 6:36:58 From: Michael.A.Amisano@abnamro.com Does Meade have an e-mail address? I tried looking on their website but it is not posted. Thanks, Michael Amisano
Mike here: Meade prefers to not use email. Regular mail, fax, or phone are the only ways to contact them.
Subject: Just saying hi Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 1999 23:53:31 From: LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@eds.com (SCOTT PATTEN) G'day Mike, I hope you have been well. It certainly looks as if you have been busy.....I see you have added a couple of extra sections to cope with the information on the ETX/EC. Looks like a nice unit. Oh well that is progress. I suppose it will also allow for opportuntiies for an individual to create an upgrade path for all of us standard ETX owners. Anyway I don't mind using manual methods as I have never had anything else. I suppose if you have to go and get a better system most people will also probably get a bigger unit as well. Well Santa has made it. I finally received my QuickCAM and Picture Window software that was mentioned inthe November Sky and Telescope. I will try to get something composed and will send it to you. It saves all the messing around with the clunking mirror of the SLR I own and saves all the "hat" exposure techniques. I also finally received my Doskocil Extra Large case. It is a monster and will try to create a layout plan for possible suggestions to other readers. perhaps they may do the same. It costed about $28US to send out to Australia via surface mail. It may even have been cheaper if I had B&H send it direct by surface. anyway it is here now I can take the ETX out of the meade plastice bag now.... Jupiter and Saturn are rapidly making their way from me when I go out to see them in the early evening. about 9:00-10:00pm before it is really dark enough. Getting some great views of Orion etc. Still having trouble trying to find the South celestial pole through Sigma Octans I think it is....I will keep at it. Anyway thats all from Oz Take it easy. Scott LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@EDS.COM
Subject: Wide-field adapter Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 1999 14:05:39 From: email@example.com (jesper larsen) First of all great site. Your site about the wide-field adapter have not been updated lately, so is the wide-field adapter just "okay " or is it realy great ?. Best Jesper
Mike here: I'm still using the Wide Field Adapter. In fact, it generally stays connecting at the rear (prime focus) port and then I put a higher magnification eyepiece in the normal eyepiece hole. I find it nice for star fields and approximate aiming for piggyback astrophotography.
Subject: Another great ETX night! Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 1999 6:31:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Meade Daffron) Thanks as always for providing us ETXers with this highly useful forum. Good job! This post is applicable, I feel, to both the ETX and the ETX-90/EC lists, since it refers more to the optics than the mount. I took my new /EC out for a backyard observing session last night here in Richmond. I live in the city, only about four miles from downtown, yet after allowing the optics a good twenty minutes to adjust to the 40-degree air, and mounting the scope on a GOOD, SOLID mount (the ETX tripod), I had one of the most rewarding observing sessions I've ever had. (That's counting former experiences with a 6-inch Criterion RV-6 newtonian I had for 10 years and a Celestron 8 I had for about one year.) Unfortunately, trees were already blocking Orion. Oh well. My townhouse building blocks the north and west, so all I really had to look at was an area bounded by Auriga on the west, Cancer/Leo on the east, and Canis Minor on the south. (Hey, this ain't my dark-sky site!) No planets in this area. No moon out. Not much to see, right? Wrong! Using my copy of "Seasonal Star Charts," which I could still read using the light from a neighbor's back porch light, I decided to get creative. Since the urban skies were well light-polluted, I used binoculars to scan Auriga and found two faint, misty patches. A check of the chart revealed I was looking at M36 and M38, both described as "open clusters." After a little star-hopping (no Autostar yet), I found M38. Even in skies where you can hardly see magnitude 4 stars with the naked eye, M38 was pretty impressive in the ETX. Then I moved east a little and found M36. Could barely make it out in the 8x21 finder. (It was almost overhead; this is where the height of the ETX tripod really helps.) Mike, M36 is GORGEOUS in the ETX. It looks more globular than open to me, but no matter what, the ETX resolved some of the central stars even in my horribly light-polluted skies. It was my first-ever look at M36, and I've GOT to get out to my dark-sky site to check this baby out! It's a real jewel! Next I took a look at M44, the Beehive cluster in Cancer. Even though the ETX isn't a wide-field scope and the Beehive is a wide-field object, I could get most of it inside the field using the 26mm Plossl. Something about those stars in the Beehive -- or is it the ETX's optics? Or both? Really small points of light against a jet-black sky. Beautiful. Now one point about the /EC mount. After polar-aligning by guesstimate (can't see Polaris from my patio), the scope stayed on M44 for 20 minutes while I went inside to warm up. The new mount does not jerk like my old one did when the drive was running, and I really looked out for any vibrations after reading a post on your last update. None detected. (Yes, you can feel the mount base vibrating slightly when the drive is on, but somehow those vibrations are dampened by the fork arms. Even with the barlow, I could detect no vibrations.) Summary: I had forgotten how wonderful astronomy can be. The ETX has proven to be a fine telescope for casual observing of both nearby and deep-sky objects. Sure, an 8-inch will outperform it, but I didn't ask -- or pay -- for that aperture. In all honesty, I expected FAR LESS than what I got. This scope rivals my old 6-inch newtonian for views of star clusters and galaxies. Maybe it has to to with the description of Maksutov-Cassegrain optics I read in Astronomics' review of the Questar 3. The difference in light-gathering power between the 90mm ETX and a 6-inch newtonian is made up for by the Maksutov's better handling of atmospheric turbulence and higher-contrast views. We can wax technical all night. I don't care. What I do care about is that this is one helluva scope for its size and price. Can't wait to pack it into the Starcraft pop-up camper and hit the mountains this summer!!! Dark skies (full of clusters and nebulae), Meade Daffron Richmond, VA e-mail: email@example.com
Subject: Teflon Pads Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 1999 5:55:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Harold L. Williams) I am having a problem with my ETX jerking a little bit when I'm using the RA drive. I seem to remember a message here saying this was most likely the teflon pads either being worn or out of adjustment. I couldn't find the message to confirm that. Do you know if this is the most likely cause or could it be something else? I want to make sure before I go taking the base apart. Thanks, Harold Williams
Mike here: Search the site for "teflon". You'll find lots of references. They could be the cause although there could be other reasons as well.
Subject: B&H comes through! Sent: Monday, February 8, 1999 21:33:06 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) I had ordered the Doskocil extra-large case for my ETX back towards the end of December. When it arrived, it did not have the rubber O-ring in the lip and it was missing one of the two layers of customizable foam. I called B&H a number of times on this, and dealt with a Ms. Freedman (my apologies if I misspelled her name!), who was quite helpful in acting as a liason between Doskocil and myself. I'm happy to report that today, the O-ring and a complete set of foam showed up, making my case complete. I think B&H went the extra yard for me here. The case was usable as it was; the O-ring is really necessary only in harsh environments, and I'm not planning to subject the ETX or the case to serious weather! There was a 2" space where the second layer of foam should have been, but even without it, the ETX was securely cradled in the case. I should note that B&H was ready and willing to exchange the case for a new one, but I'd already modified the layer of foam that I had, making an exchange more difficult. The best solution for me (though not necessarily for B&H!) was a separate shipment of the O-ring and the foam. I feel that B&H did an excellent job of customer service for me. ============================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc 12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Subject: Astro vs. EC Sent: Monday, February 8, 1999 16:04:44 From: Justin.Koller@quantum.com (Justin Koller) Natural Wonders has dropped their prices by $120 on the Astro ETX for this week. I'm looking to get an ETX, but is the new EC worth the extra $120? Particularly, does anyone know if they've up'd the torque on the R.A. motor? Or if the new forks significantly stiffer/better? I'd like to use the ETX for astrophotography, so I may someday replace the whole mount, but if the new one is good enough, I may not need to, or post pone that investment for enough time. I realize the $120 might get me some 3rd party extras that would just bring the Astro to par with the EC, but then I might as well get the EC for the GO-TO features with minimal add-ons in the future. Any suggestions or info would be helpful Justin Koller
Subject: ETX Autostar computers Sent: Monday, February 8, 1999 15:36:01 From: email@example.com (Doug Rainey) http://www.spectraastro.com/ has these in stock and ready for shipment. I had looked all day before coming across these guys. To my knowledge they are the only people with any left in stock.... Just thought some of your fans might want to know...
Subject: Thanks a bunch Sent: Monday, February 8, 1999 14:43:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (FPCO) I wanted to buy the ETX-90/EC when it first came out and wished I hadn't bought the ETX and Microstar 1. Since reading your User Feedback I have decided I did the right thing. I feel very fortunate to be able to get so much from your site and hope that other owners of the "old ETX" appreciate what a decent scope they have. I would also like to point out that the Microstar with the electric focuser is a fine addition to this scope and I am extremely happy with it. If anyone out there is thinking of buying a bracket or anything else from Jordan Blessing I can attest to the quality of the equipment he sells based on my purchases. Thanks, Marcus Parenti
Subject: Sent: Monday, February 8, 1999 13:57:51 From: email@example.com (Damien) I'm french, so I don't speak english very well. I'm 17 years old, and it's 1 years since I like astronomy. I have bought an ETX 2 month ago and I want some advises on the photography with the ETX: How can you see a bigger picture when you take a photo ( 48X - 98X), How can you change? I didn't managed to take Jupiter, or Saturn with my camera: sometimes I let it more than 10 minutes, and we can't see anything. WHY? What sort of film should I take?:100,200,400 ASA. Could you give me more advises to take good photo? Thank you. I don't have objectives: just the 48X ( 26mm in france).What can I buy now? a Barlow, or an higher objective? The picture in your site are made with thr ETX? Waiting for your answer...thank you @+ Damien OLIVIER firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: All the astrophotos on this ETX site were made with the ETX. Some using digital cameras, some using astronominal CCDs, and some using film cameras. Unfortunately, as with a lot of astrophotography regardless of the telescope, you have to experiment and learn as you go. Start with the moon. If your camera has an exposure meter, use that for the moon shots. Once you get repeatable results with the moon you can try for Saturn and Jupiter. Exposures will still be short (1-2 seconds, or less, depending upon film speed). But getting good film shots of the planets is a challenge. I never got any that I really liked. As to increasing the size of the image, you can add a 2X Barlow lens or increase the distance to the film. However, the down side of this is that you get a fainter image on the focusing lens and film. Check out all the Astrophoto Gallery pages on the site; note the camera and other info. Lots of good info and examples of what can be done with our "Mighty ETX". Good luck. Anxiously awaiting your results.
I have only managed to take the moon in 2 months. Why does I have differents colors of the moon in this 6 pictures (below)? When I have taken or things that the moon I had obtained other photos. We can't see anything so they don't give me the photo. You say: 1 or 2 seconds for Jupiter or saturn, but with whose film? Me, with a 200 iso and during ten minutes, I hae nothing. How can you have a bigger photo with this system (photo1)? Without using a CCD? How does it cost? Does we have better results? MORE INFO... I don't have a lot of money so What could I buy for having better results in astrophoto? I didn't have any time to visit all your site because my connexion don't really work, it cut in 5 minutes or less... so it's difficult because it is very big. How does it cost a barlow in England or USA (WHERE DO YOU LIVE?) In france it cost about 50 pounds. How much for an higher objective. I take my photo just behind my house, does the light can perturb my photo? I don't understand all the vocabulary on your site, so can your explain me what I ask you with simple words. Thanks. Does the finder is really important, because I see yours... The photo I have taken are "FLOU"(in french):we can't see any details. Why?
Mike here: Your moon photos are actually pretty good. But since you are mounting the camera at Prime Focus you really can't get any extra magnification on the film with the setup you sent me. All you can do is have the image enlarged at the photo lab. I'm sorry about your connection problems to the Web but to answer the questions would take an email as large as a lot of the Astrophotography pages. You might want to check out your local library or schools for some books on astrophotography or perhaps there is an astronomy group near you that you could hook up with. Barlow lens cost about $50 (US Dollars) but be aware that to mount a 35mm camera with an eyepiece will require another adapter and a lot of patience. And you'll really need to do this for photos of the planets. Shooting Jupiter at Prime Focus won't give you a reasonably sized image. The moon's "color" on film can vary due to many factors: length of the exposure, clouds or other obscurations, phase of the moon, type of film, etc. I hope this message doesn't frustrate you too much. Astrophotography with the ETX and a limited budget can be a real challenge. But it can be rewarding once you learn more.
Subject: A night at the observatory Sent: Monday, February 8, 1999 6:36:53 From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley) It was the first Friday night since I'd gotten the ETX that was clear and not frigid (though it was still cold - it _is_ February!), so I packed up the ETX and headed out to the local observatory, which is run by volunteers and open to the public Friday nights. I figured I'd be able to pick up some advice on what to look at and whatnot. I arrived shortly after sunset, and set up easily. They have a few different concrete platforms, some with piers on them, others just flat pads, and one that's a circular latform about 2' high. I set up on this circular platform. Polar alignment for me is a breeze. The head on my tripod is locked at the right tilt for my latitude, so all I need to do is put the ETX on the head (a snap with the Bogen quick-release plate), and align to north. There were quite a few people who showed up that night; as the small observatory filled up, quite a few folks would wander over to my scope, assuming I was part of the observatory staff! I felt a little pressure to give some spectacular views, but the ETX was up to the task. Saturn never fails to please, and because the observatory staff was using a rather low-powered eyepiece (likely for the eye relief), people were commenting that it looked better in the ETX with the 9.7mm in than in the observatory's scope! A side note about the observatory and its scope; the Frosty Drew Observatory is located in a state park here in southern Rhode Island, and got its initial funding from the mother of "Frosty" Drew, an amateur astronomer who lost his life in an untimely accident. Its main scope had been a 12.5" Newtonian, but over the past summer, the glue holding the secondary mirror to its mount melted, and the secondary mirror went crashing into the primary, breaking both. Bolted to the main housing are four other scopes, including a 4" Alvan Clark refractor and an Astrophysics Starfire 7" refractor, currently the 'scope that is used for the weekly observations. I was included in a discussion after the viewing about a replacement 'scope for the observatory. They're leaning toward a Meade 16" LX-200. Since I'm planning to be involved with this effort, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone (off the list, please!) who's been involved in fund-raising efforts for this sort of thing. I ended up with not a lot of new objects to look at, but a fun time anyway. Two other notes: Did anyone happen to see the moon and Mars Saturday night (Feb. 6)? I happened to look out my window about midnight last night, and was struck by how spectacular this pair looked - they were only 3 or 4 degrees apart. Mars looked like a little ruby next to the waning moon. Just beautiful! If the skies hold out tonight, I'll try for my fist view of Mars in the ETX. (Of course, they didn't.) I received Steven Stanford's ETX-Bogen tripod balancer Friday afternoon, and was able to try it out that evening. This is a nicely machined piece of aluminum that puts the center of gravity of the ETX when it's polar-aligned back over the center of the tripod. I can highly recommend this to anyone using a Bogen head. Extra kudos to Mr. Stanford for his "try it first" policy. He sends the piece to you to try, and if you keep it, you send him the payment. His attention to detail is great; he ships the extra bolt and washers with the piece, and shows a great deal of concern about making sure the finish is to the customer's liking. I got to compare the ETX to a couple of scopes at the observatory. One person had a 6" Newtonion, and another brought his 8" 203SC. I got to view Saturn through the 6" and M42 through the 8". I felt I was getting a sharper view of Saturn than the 6" was showing, but was amazed at M42 in the 8". Sometimes, aperture makes a huge difference. It was odd to see these folks come out with their scopes in a truck, spend 20-30 minutes getting set up, and view for only about a half-hour before taking another 20-30 minutes to pack up. Once again, I was thrilled with my choice of the ETX. It's amazingly portable, tracked superbly, and gave beautiful views. And unlike the 6" newtonian, I don't need a ladder to get to the eyepiece! Currently on order: Scopetronix's MicroStar II+! I'll be writing up a review when it arrives. ======================================================================== Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - 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. - FZappa
Subject: Double sided tape Sent: Saturday, February 6, 1999 23:02:33 From: email@example.com (Jean Ancell) I am a new ETX user and enjoy your web site very much. A contributor mentioned difficulty in getting the double sided tape of his ETX when repositioning a view finder. I recently purchased an Orion ezfinder from the Binocular & Telescope Shop in Sydney and was told that hot air (from a hair dryer) will do the job and will allow the tape to be used again. I have not tried this. Regards, Trevor Ancell. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Word of caution: use a LOW setting and avoid directing the hot air at any plastic or glued parts.
Subject: what kind of barlow for etx Sent: Saturday, February 6, 1999 9:34:50 From: email@example.com (Conrad Kussner) Do I want a regular 2x Barlow or a shorty 2x Barlow to work best with my ETX? Conrad Please answer ASAP as I want to buy one from a person on the Astronet?
Mike here: I use the Meade #126 2X Barlow Lens. Others have reported that the #140 also works with the ETX. Given the limited amount of focus travel with the ETX I suspect you'll want a "short" tube Barlow.
Subject: Meade Be Good Sent: Friday, February 5, 1999 21:45:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ray and Jeanie) Just wanted you to know that I appreciate your move to knock-off the "Kick-Meade" crap on your web-site. Like the events in DC, enough is enough. On another note, I had to send my ETX back to Meade in Irvine because of a freak "crack" that showed up near the camera mount. The Meade Customer Service group responded to my concerns quickly and professionally. They not only called me at work (to address a question of mine), they sent a notice of receipt with a repair/return time. Now, I ask all of your readers, have you ever got that kind of service from Ford or GM when your car went ape? Most likely not. My timing with Meade has been great- had a 2 hour window one clear night since I sent it on Jan 28. Took out an old 60mm refractor (now used strictly as a "Lunarscope" for occultations) for some "visuals". Talk about a let down. Weather forecast here in the NW is for more rain and wind for the next 6 days. Hope it will stay that way until I get the ETX back. Ray Gilmore
Subject: ETX-90/EC Software - What will work? Sent: Friday, February 5, 1999 14:12:26 From: email@example.com (Kevin Berg) Can anyone tell me what software will work with the ETX-90/EC other than Epoch 2000? What about Deepsky 99 or SkyMap Pro 5, or others? I'm looking for a good software package that is less than the $179 Meade demands for the Epoch 2000. Thx, Kevin
Subject: Cameras for Mr. Burdette Anderson Sent: Thursday, February 4, 1999 21:50:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (carl) I saw this unfortunate soul and thought I would stick in my two cents. I went nuts trying to get a Minolta Maxxum 3xi to work with my ETX. Then I found out there was no way--the 3xi cannot fire its shutter without a Maxxum AF lens. The adaptor physically fits but doesn't have any electronics so it doesn't work. So I went out and bought a used Maxxum 7000 body which uses all the same lenses as the 3xi and the electronic remote shutter switch--standard cable releases don't work. I was also able to find a program back for it--which records the time of the exposure right on the film. But I ran into the focusing issue as well. There are three adjustments available on the T-adaptor. You just have to find which of the tubes works to focus, but I couldn't use both tubes at full length. I have been successful with this, particularly with solar shots. I got some really nice shots with it of the Feb 1998 solar eclipse. Of course, in NJ, only about 20% of the sun was covered, so there is no spectacular total or annular eclipse shots. There are lots of used 7000's in camera stores all over my area. It's not as advanced as the 3xi, which is already way obsolete. The current 650si has a date back and can have the shutter issue bypass. I think you hold the shutter down, the rewind key, the program button simultaneously while you turn it on while standing on your head under a full moon with a black cat under your arm, but it is doable. I also have gotten the eyepiece image projection apparatus--but you need to pull all the rubber pieces off the 26mmPlossl 4000 before it works. All the best, Carl Dashman
Subject: Looking for advice Sent: Thursday, February 4, 1999 13:44:03 From: email@example.com (Rob and Nikki Bowker) Hi - I found your site re ETX Astros on the web, and I'm really impressed with it. I hope you can help me! I am a South African, but I am currently living in the Slovak Republic in Eastern Europe - you can look that up on the map, 'cause I had to before I moved here! My mother, sister and I are wanting to buy a telescope for my father for his 60th birthday. Thing is, he is equally interested in astronomical AND bird/game watching. So what I would really like to know, is it better to buy the ETX Astro and get the Erecting Prism as an extra for terrestrial viewing, or to buy the ETX Spotting Scope and buy a higher-magnification eye-piece for astronomical viewing? Or are you not familiar with the Spotting Scope? Do you know anyone who uses an ETX Spotting Scope for astronomical viewing? Have you used your Astro scope for surfact viewing? Also, do you know anything about Swarovski Telescopes? They are more expensive, and maybe not so transportable, although they are light (1.4kg) and not too long. I have heard they are the best in the world. I wonder if you know how the quality of viewing compares between a Meade and Swarovsky? If you have the time, I would really value your advice!! Many thanks Nikki Bowker Slovakia
Mike here: In my opinion if you want to do both astronomical viewing and terrestrial viewing, get the Astro model and an erecting prism. There will probably be a lot of used ETX Astro models available now that Meade has introduced the ETX-90/EC (which only comes in the Astro model). You can search the site for "terrestrial" or "bird" for info on this type of viewing with the ETX. I know nothing of the Swarovski Telescopes.
Subject: Sent: Thursday, February 4, 1999 9:28:12 From: LeeK@NMRIPO.NMRI.NNMC.NAVY.MIL (Lee, Kelvin) 1. Just a reminder to everyone of an upcoming celestial sight - the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus on Feb. 23. At sunset on the east coast/USA the two planets should be only 0.2 degrees apart - two planets in the same field of view, should be quite a sight. Buy your astrophotography gear now. 2. Thanks to everyone regarding the ETX finder FOV info. Also, does anyone know what the FOV for the Orion EZ finder and the Daisy BB gun sight are? 3. I have heard back from amateur telescope maker extraordinaire Steve Lee that Maksutov-Cassegrain designs SHOULD HAVE "textbook" star testing diffraction patterns, not atypical ones. 4. On the ETX upgrade theme, anyone know why the Meade 7" Mak-Cass LX200 costs more than the 10" Schmidt-Cass LX200, since the Mak-Cass design is supposedly easier to make? Clear skies, Kelvin Lee
Subject: Cleaning ETX Sent: Thursday, February 4, 1999 2:06:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (RONDEAU, JEAN) I was just browsing tonight and found your site...one of many I personally have owned my Meade for 2 years and am looking forward to reading "all" the sites. On to my question on cleaing the opticals and the eyepieces. Is there any speciallized tools for the job, or something I can buy locally that will accomplish this.. I cannot seem to get all the dust out of the casing or the eyepieces.( It drives me nuts ) Any info to help would be appreciated.. Gary Montreal, Quebec EMAIL: email@example.com
Mike here: Search the site for "clean"; you'll find lots of tips.
Subject: JPEG Files Sent: Thursday, February 4, 1999 1:36:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel) Many thanks for replying to my e-mail asking about jpeg files. I have not had the time to try it yet, but your e-mail looks to have solved my problems. Would you or any of your readers know of an accurate way of focusing on a planet at night using a 35mm camera. I somtimes can use a whole roll of film just to get one or two good shots. Once again thanks for the info.. Regards Daniel Beringer NSW Australia Ustirna@idl.net.au
Mike here: There is a product called "KwikFocus" that makes focusing easier. Basically it is an aperture cover with two or three holes punched out to let two (or three) light paths come to the eyepiece. You have an accurate focus when the multiple images overlap and are clear. Doesn't work on faint objects with the ETX since you are reducing the effective aperture but should work for Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. I haven't tried this but those who have say it works.
Subject: Thanks Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 21:42:11 From: N5ZQE@aol.com I know this sounds so repetitive but thanks for this website I have learned so much about the ETX. I also want to let you know that I mounted a TELRAD on the scope and have gotten bullseye results. Please keep up the good work. Clear Skies JOE
Subject: ETX Photography Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 21:40:05 From: rwlange@PioneerPlanet.infi.net (Roger W. Lange) Poor photos through an ETX can sometimes be traced to the lack of a light tight plug in the eyepiece holder. With the mirror down, external scattered light will enter through any eyepiece and ruin any images by fogging portions of the negative area. Canon EOS cameras must also be set in the proper mode for manual shutter speed control or the camera will select whatever exposure it needs. (and the negative fog through the eyepiece holder applies here too) My EOS 10S works just fine. My CCD video imaging of the moon using a WATEC 902A has been exceptional also. Roger
Subject: CCD Imaging Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 16:59:29 From: Raddogz@earthlink.net (Eileen Chun) Has anyone out there have any luck on CCD imaging with the ETX, more specifically the Starlight MX-5 from Adirondack Video Astronomy (www.astrovid.com). The images are pretty clear. They claim the camera unit is no more than four ounces or so. Any feedback on this would be great! E. Chun
Subject: The Nature Company Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 16:38:14 From: email@example.com (RFC) Update on my last post: After calling two nature company stores and being told that telescopes were non-returnable, I sent an email message to customer service at the Nature Company. Three days later I received a reply from the Founder of the Nature Company informing me that I could return my ETX which was purchased in Sept. 1998 if the following criteria was meet 1. You must present the original sales receipt or proof of purchase. 2. You must have the original packaging materials. 3. You must have a scope which is in like-new condition with no dings, dents, or scratches and all of the parts. A message was sent to the store from the Founder of the Nature Company and today I went back to the store and a new ETX was exchanged. The Nature Company service and support is outstanding. Thus I decided to purchase the ETX deluxe tripod and put an order in for the computer controller.
Subject: Appreciative visitor/buyer's tip Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 13:34:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Blake) I have one of the new ETX's, and have learned a lot from you site. Thanks. A couple of brief notes. With a chunk of 1/2' wood and a 1/4x20 threaded insert from your local Home XXXXXsuperstore, you can build an very solid adapter plate for about a dollar or two. Just cut wood to fit base, drill a hole for the threaded insert in middle, mark and drill holes for 1/4x20 bolts, bolt it up and you are done. I use a Bogen 3031 (solid a a rock) and will dump the tilting head and bolt straight on Alt/Az when I get the computer. Light, tight, and solid. I was much helped by your reviews of cases. I went for the soft case. Heck of a deal at a place called Camera World in Oregon (www.cameraworld.com). About fifty bucks, shipping paid. Here is some text from thier site. Seems to be identical to Shutan bag, as another visitor pointed out. The Vidcam 6 fits full size VHS camcorders up to 17" in length. Color choices: Select one of the color choices listed below before adding to shopping cart: Specifications Front Pockets Hold extra tapes, accessories and instruction books. Floating Panel Lifts up so cords and extra batteries can be tucked away for easy access to the camcorder. Belt Loop Fits your own belt, the optional Belt & Buckle or the optional Lowepro Backpack Harness. Non-Slip Strap Curved to fit your shoulder. Size: 16.5W x 7D x 9.5H in. 42 x 18 x 24 cm Weight: 2 lbs., 0.5 oz. 921 g Colors: Black Materials: 600 D TXP, Closed Cell Polyethylene Foam, 210 D Nylon Lining Thanks again. Richard Blake, Austin Texas
Subject: ETX Hard Case - Which One? Sent: Wednesday, February 3, 1999 0:44:23 From: email@example.com (srf) I am new ETX90/EC w/ AutoStar owner. I have found your website extremely useful. Do you know when Meade's Hard Case for the ETX will be available and what it will be like? Thanks!
Subject: Field of View, standard ETX 26mm SP is 1 degree Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 1999 20:50:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Marv Gozum) A while back a reader calculated the field of View of the 26mm SP on an ETX as 1.08 degrees, here from your archives. I've verified the value using a method recommended in Norton's Star Atlas, 19th Edition. Center an star on the celestial equator, i.e., delta Orionis, on the field of view, adjust RA to move the star to the far corner of the field and time the drift to the other corner. For the 26mm SP eyepiece, this takes ~4 minutes, or 1 degree. With #126 Barlow, it takes 0.5 degrees. This data is close to calculated results. Using the formula below, and with the apparent FOV of the 9.7mm SP being 52 degrees [Meade catalog data] the calculated FOV is 0.40 degrees. With a Barlow, the 9.7mm should yield 0.20 degrees. Of interest, the finderscope gives a FOV of 10 degrees, as a reader published. Whether intentional or coincidental, that's the major grid increment in most star maps. Thus, the much maligned ETX finderscope FOV covers 10 deg Dec x 40 minutes RA, then the 26mmSP covering exactly 10% of that, at 1 degree x 4 minutes. > Subject: Field of view > Sent: Thursday, September 17, 1998 12:29:48 > From: email@example.com (Steve Stadler) > According to a book I read, The true field of view = the apparent > field of view of the eyepeice / magnification. > This would mean that by using the eyepeice that comes with the > ETX Astro (26mm) which gives you a magnification of 48X, you get > a true field of view of 1.08 degrees. The apparent field of view > is 52 degrees for this eyepeice. > > From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hardin, Bill) > More notes for beginners: > > 1) Add a spiel on "star hopping" especially the part where you > measure the FOV of the finder in terms of the stars of a familiar > constellation (which yields a scale for any star map). warm regards, Marv
Subject: terrestrial photography Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 1999 15:46:48 From: email@example.com (Pat Lewis) i am using a pentax k 1000 with my ETX. i used 400 film and got very poor pictures, blured and grainy .i also tried a canon eos and got worse results, after which i learnd from my dealer the eos is not compatible with the ETX for a reason he could not explain. i have taken the motor drive, mounts and all, off my ETX and mounted it on a Bogin 3021 tripod with a 3026 head, i was on my deck shooting across a valley about 4 miles at a large bulding. in both cameras (Pentax & Canon EOS) i used 400 Kodak film. i used T-mounts designed for each camera. i used #64 T-adapter with both parts. ( i didn't realize there were 2 parts to it ) the ETX is the lens. i used no eyepiece, i focused looking through the camera. ( the Pentax was very hard to focus). on the Canon EOS i tried every shutter speed from 10sec. to 1/1500sec. all pictures came out identical, somewhat blurey and dark like very old black and whites. on the Pentax K 1000 i used shutter speed from 1/2sec. to 1/500sec. with better results, pictures are better but still like old black and whites. it's like taking pictures through a long tube, i guiss that would be correct. also it is very hard to focus with the K1000, the little focusing dot in center is not large enough. do you know of a camera that is very compatable with the ETX? do you have any suggestions or advice for me ? thank you for a informative site (Mr) Burdette Anderson
Mike here: It sounds like you are getting some serious vignetting (darkening at the edge of the field). I've mounted my (really old) Pentax Spotmatic at Prime Focus (which is where you are mounting your cameras) and have not experienced terrible vignetting or blurring. Yes, focusing is a challenge. I would guess that the combination of poor focus and vignetting is causing the results you are getting. Beyond the Spotmatic I have no experience with other 35mm cameras and the ETX. However, if you search the site for "camera" you may find several other camera model (or search for specific models) that others have used.
Subject: Great Site Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 1999 12:33:45 From: Raddogz@earthlink.net (Eileen Chun) I just wanted to say again, this is a wonderful web site you have created for us. This is my number one site to visit, since I purchased my ETX. I think that there are some people forget this site was created to share information to the general public, and help spread the word that this is a great telescope. It is up to your readers to either dismiss the opinions of yours or others, but not at the expense of the rest of reader's time. If you decide to not put post certain things up, you have every right to do so because this your site. You have graciously set up a place for us to learn more about the Meade ETX. Sincerely, Loyal Reader
Subject: Right Choice Sent: Tuesday, February 2, 1999 7:19:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MHP & DFP) As a long time & regular vistor to your website I just want to let you know that I think you made the right choice to stop posting those whining e-mails about not being able to upgrade. Instead of praising Meade for offering more scope for the same price and how there will probably be lots of little old used model ETXs on the market at real good prices or even something constructive that we all could benefit from, they would drone on and on about not being able to upgrade. It would be pointless and boring. I'm on my 5th computer and I don't expect this to be my last, and I feel the same way about my ETX. I will probably upgrade my ETX someday, maybe to the new model, but in the meantime I plan to enjoy it. It might be of some consolation to the disgruntled that the views thru their old ETX is exactly what they would see in the new ETX90. Based on some of the postings on your site about problems polar aligning and such, I'm not sure a computerized scope is for everyone anyway. Probably the best feature of the new model is it's alt/azm tracking, if you have ever tried looking at M81/M82 when their above Polaris you know what I mean. My only real complaint with my old ETX is those pesky teflon pads just won't stay put. Meade sent me plenty of extras at no charge and they are easily replaced but it still takes some of the joy out of owning it. Has anyone found a permenant fix yet? If so I've not seen it. Maybe one of the disgruntled can direct their anger at that problem and do us all some good or maybe they could start their own website and post all their complaints there. I would imagine their hit count would be low. In the meantime, keep up the good work and take pride in this website as it is the most useful ETX site on the web. Later, Mark Peterson
Subject: Hi Mike Sent: Monday, February 1, 1999 18:56:00 From: email@example.com (Jordan Blessing) Gee Mike hasn't Meade sent you an ETX-90/EC for evaluation yet? Shame on them! Anyway, there was a discussion in one of the ETX forums about the strength and rigidity of the tripod and camera adapters I sell. People who never saw one first hand, let alone used one said, "it was obviously too weak to support the ETX-90/EC". Hmmm...I kindly ask anyone considering an adapter to take a look at this web page for absolute proof they are more than sturdy enough, (and you get to see Rambo the musclebound ETX). Clear Skies! Adapter proof: home.att.net/~jblessin/strong.htm -- Jordan Blessing ETX & LX50 Owners Come Take a Look: Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products http://www.scopetronix.com
Subject: etx Sent: Monday, February 1, 1999 2:14:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel) I recently purchased an etx on the basis of the information on your web page, and I wasn't disappointed.. this is an excellent scope. I have no regrets what so ever on missing out on the 90/ec. I like the feel of the MANUAL slow motion controls. I think it's easier to use for terrestrial viewing. regards...Daniel Central Coast, NSW, Australia email@example.com P.S keep up the good work. Its much appreciated
Subject: Another ETX user Sent: Sunday, January 31, 1999 21:38:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Philip Gies) I bought an ETX last May. I had been wanting a telescope for years and thanks to the 'Net and your page, I decided on the ETX. All things considered I am very pleased with my purchase. I wanted to thank you for maintaining your excellent site, a place where the information is accurate and relevant. I am now saving to add a couple of eyepieces. We have a summer cottage in Northwestern Ontario Canada (4947/9425W) so summer viewing is excellent - if you don't mind sharing the night with a few hundred mosquitoes. Thanks again for your site. Phil G
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