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ETX USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 1 February 2000

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


Subject:	 How 'bout an 8-inch newt for $4?
Sent:	Tuesday, February 1, 2000 11:34:21
From:	hopewell@ctg.net (Meade Daffron)
Hi there. Great page as usual. Just wanted to relate the reason for what
may be my final post on your site.

When I received my February Sky & Telescope issue last month, I noticed
that Meade had reduced the price of their 8-inch Starfinder Equatorial
newtonian reflector from $749 to $599. I contacted my local Nature
Company Store to confirm, and sure enough, they were selling them for
the same price. On top of that, as with the Meade ETX and ETX-90/EC
swaps they did a year ago when the /EC came out, they also offered FULL
PURCHASE PRICE TRADE-IN on my /EC toward an 8-inch Starfinder.

Bottom line? I could trade in my ETX-90/EC for a Starfinder for FOUR
BUCKS (plus shipping). Now THAT'S the most cost-effective ETX upgrade
I've seen yet!!!

I came home and thought about this for a while. Sure, I'd lose the ETX's
wonderful portability. (Not that the ETX was all THAT portable, when
you've got to carry the tripod or a table and chair out to the backyard
too.) The trade-off? A hefty, 75-pound scope, but a ROCK SOLID mount.
Sure, I'd lose GOTO capability. But then again, I've had my ETX-90/EC
for a year and I never purchased the Autostar. Why? (1) Scared to, after
all I've read, and (2) most of what you can see with 3.5 inches of
aperture you can find without Autostar (at least for me, having been
into astronomy since I was a kid).

Well, I made my decision. Two weeks to the day after visiting my Nature
Company and saying a final farewell to my little ETX, my big honkin'
Starfinder arrived in FOUR BOXES. (Granted, two were small but HEAVY --
20 lbs. worth of counterweights!) I assembled it over the weekend,
tweaked the collimation, and I'm ready to observe -- IF the snow and ice
will melt so I can take the doggone thing outside!!!

Just thought some of my fellow Weasner site visitors may want to know
about this in case they've outgrown their ETXs and would rather spend
time observing than: (1) dickering around with mounts of plastic, (2)
"use 'em and break 'em" dec locks, (3) secondary baffles with a
wanderlust, and (4) necks that ache.

(OK, I'll trade that last one for a slight backache and better views.
Fair is fair!)

See ya!

Meade (Hey, it's a family name!!!)
Ex-ETXer, now wider-eyed in Virginia for not a whole lotta cash

Subject:	 Thank you ! 
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2000 21:38:58
From:	pberfx04@sisna.com (SiSna)
A Tele shop in Denver (Cosco) steered me in your site's direction when I
asked them about the ETX 90 EC and then asked if there was any info on
the Web (other than Meade's site).

I've never owned a tele or even done much of anything at all with
astonomy- but always had an interest..........and the ETX 90 has grabbed
my attention in a big way.....so.......

Your site is GREAT--- Very, very helpful - For example- I saw the Meade
883 tripod in a store and thought it looked quite mediocre. My
experience with 35mm photography triggered thoughts of a Bogen
3036...and a good Bogen head......would that combo work? Bogen products
are magnificent ........................

VOILA! .....the review by Pete@piedmont confirmed exactly what I had
hoped---the ETX can be mounted and used quite productively with the
ETX.....so my shopping list is becoming refined and I probably saved
money and some headaches by not purchasing a Meade tripod.

Anyway, keep up the good work- I'm still rather new to the web/internet
and finding a useful, educational site like yours is a true pleasure.

Good tidings.....

Phil Sudberry 
Cheyenne WY           

Subject:	 Not tremendous?
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2000 07:11:25
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
Hi Mike - I know, lots of mail from me today - must be the weather.  I
was glad and surprised the site has remained as it is - perhaps it was
your Y2K bug, but I thought you were changing the site over after the
new year.  Personally, I prefer the cozy way it is.  I checked the
editorials but didn't see anything, and I wondered if I missed a post
someplace?

Thanks for info on my favorite saga next to star wars and ace ventura,
Gary
Mike here: Still working details of the site evolution. Nothing to announce yet. Things got a little behind when I caught the flu.

Subject:	 ETX Power Plug
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2000 06:52:39
From:	mdevine@nuera.com (Devine, Matt)
Read a number of reports about power cords (to the telescope) not
"fitting" correctly.  Some users reported that they must be pushed in
hard to make connection, or they were hard to pull out.  One user stated
that his was intermittent, (loose?) and would disconnect if not careful.
I have found there is indeed a problem with this plug.  The actual
diameter of this plug (on the AC adapter) seems to vary a lot.  I had to
take my scope back to the dealer to find an AC adapter that fit.  Mine
was very hard to insert and make a connection.  We went through three
adapters before we found one that fit correctly.  The dealer was aware
of this problem.  Bottom line for readers, don't force the plug, get one
that fits.  In some cases it may be easier to get a plug from a
radio/electronics store, cut the old one off, and install the new.  Keep
in mind polarity, warranty issues, and your ability to do this kind of
work.

BTW, had sent in the Autostar for the random slew fix.  Got back a new
Autostar.  Guess they are replacing the ones having problems rather than
repairing.  The new Autostar was shipped with 1.3c software.  Think I'll
keep this version, as 2.0g seems to have some issues.  1.3c seems to
have been a very good release in general.
Matt.

Subject:	 Doskocil Case
Sent:	Monday, January 31, 2000 06:50:41
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I saw Neil from England was interested in the Doskocil case "across the
pond" - this is (I believe) a photographic case, and also possibly a gun
case, so perhaps those types of stores may stock the item - he may also
wish to do some sort of a web search - hope this was helpful!
Gary

Subject:	 Photographing M42
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2000 21:16:21
From:	dpersyk@worldnet.att.net (Dennis Persyk)
I was about to try to photograph M42,the Orion Nebula, so I consulted
your site. It is the ultimate source for ETX work.  In the Deep Sky,
Astrophotography Section, you show M42 with both 230 mm telephoto and
prime focus. M42 has an angular extent of 85 x 60 minutes (1.4 x 1.0
degrees) and a 200 mm lens has a FOV of 7 x 10 degrees. Prime focus on
my ETX yields about 1 degree (roughly two moon diameters, using short
Meade camera adapter for no vignetting). My question is, how come you
show somewhat comparable FOVs for both the prime focus shot and the 230
mm piggy back shot when the FOVs differ by a factor of 7 or so. I was
assuming that I could not image the whole M42 at prime focus but you
seem to be able to have done it. What am I missing? Please help me out.

Thanks.

Dennis Persyk 
Mike here: Don't assume that all shots are at the same image scale. Depending upon the source, some may be enlarged or reduced. They may also be cropped to less than full 35mm film or digital frame.

Subject:	 Tripods
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2000 20:02:09
From:	osvaldop@caribe.net (Osvaldo Perez)
I really like your WebPages. I bought a Etx 90mm and I am completely new
in this. I would like to get a tripod, but I really do not know what is
the best choices or convenient (wedge and tripod or only tripod) for my
ETX 90 mm and the Autostart. Please help me.

Thanks,

Osvaldo Perez
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Tripods page. Also search the site for "tripod"; you'll get lots of hits.

Subject:	 BULLS EYE
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2000 10:37:15
From:	CLAY@LYNCHBURG.NET (Clay Johnston)
Sorry I did not explain the problem with my ETX-90EC very well! You can
see a black bull's eye in the flip mirror. With the 26mm eye piece
installed you now see a white bull's eye in the center of the view. The
object being viewed is in sharp focus.The bull' eye interferes with the
view.

Clay Johnston
Mike here: On the underside of the ETX OTA (optical tube assembly) there are two photographic tripod mounting holes. Light can enter the system through these. Is this what you are seeing? Trying placing your finger over them and see if the white bull's eye goes away.

Subject:	 Resolution Experiment
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2000 09:30:27
From:	dpersyk@worldnet.att.net (Dennis Persyk)
Thank you for creating a fantastic, information-rich site!  I have
purchased an ETX-90EC and am becoming helplessly addicted to
astrophotography as a result of visiting your site.

The image below* was taken at 84.0 feet with a 26 mm Ploessl using
eyepiece-projection with a Canon A1 mounted to the ETX-90EC..  Exposure
was 1/45 second and film was Fuji ASA 1600.  The CAD-generated
resolution chart has filled circles and lines; three machinistís rules
are also used. The yellow cast is due to the 500W quartz-halogen
illumination.

The limitation to resolution in the original image is film grain.  I
estimate that grain-limited resolution is between 0.040 inch and 0.060
inch object size at 86 feet.  This translates by the above table to
between 8 and 12 arcseconds.  This, in turn, corresponds to crater
features on the moon of between 15 and 22 km.

Attached is a photo illustrating my first attempt at measuring the
resolution of my system.  Using Fuji ASA 1600, Canon A1, Ploessl 26 mm
and eyepiece projection, I conclude that I am film-grain limited (at
1/45 second exposures) to between 8 and 12 arcseconds.

Best regards,

Dennis Persyk  -- retired physicist/budding astronomer
Resolution test

Subject:	 Link update
Sent:	Sunday, January 30, 2000 03:47:10
From:	philau@csi.com (Philippe Laurent)
Just to let you know that I have updated my website of astrophotos
(mainly with ETX photos, and now some comparisons with LX-50 taken with
the same technique).

URL is :

ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/philau/astro/home.html

Cheers

Philippe

Subject:	 Leaking Battery
Sent:	Saturday, January 29, 2000 19:50:34
From:	atestani@ibm.net (Al Testani)
The bubbling noise and "leaking battery" is most likely due to one or
more of the batteries being installed backwards.  The effect is that
current flows the wrong way through the reversed battery and the battery
overheats and bubbles out to it's death.  (I know... I did this twice
and made a mess in the telescope).  I suggest making sure that the mess
the leaking battery made is thoroughly cleaned up or corrosion of the
battery contacts or other metal parts will result.

__________________

Al Testani
atestani@ibm.net
__________________

Subject:	 new computer
Sent:	Saturday, January 29, 2000 19:22:19
From:	dboulet1@home.com (David Boulet)
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.7 [en]C-AtHome0405  (Win98; U)
congratulations on the new G4, I'm envious.  It seems brave mentioning
this with the way your Web site has changed over the last few months
with people always looking to debate the merits of different products.
Thanks for all your efforts with the Web site.  It's really useful and
informative for people like myself with more interest then experience
and telescopes.  Thanks again, David Boulet

Subject:	 battery leaks
Sent:	Saturday, January 29, 2000 01:20:45
From:	OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz)
Geoff of UK wrote:

"Subject:	 Leaking Battery
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2000 14:17:36
From:	rja95@rja95.screaming.net (Sheila Y Adamson)
Just purchased an ETX90EC & Autostar, put in batteries and for a while
all was well, then a few hours later whilst switched off I heard a
bubbling noise coming from the base, when I removed the battery cover
one of the batteries had leaked and just like the report from Charles
Gutilla on the 23rd January, the batteries concerned were Rayovac, is
there a connection here?, or has anyone had problems with other
batteries?.  Thanks for your brilliant website-best on the net! From
Geoff A.   - Yorkshire, England"

Wow, this is kind of bizarre. I never mentioned it before, but now that
at least a couple of others have, I too had a battery blow out in my ETX
several months ago, while I was in New Mexico. I was using fresh
Alkaline Energizers, batteries I have come to rely on over the years, as
others have leaked or failed on me, and these never have.

I heard a noise one night that could only have been described as very
flatulence like (sorry, I just can't describe it any better!)...a short
blurt, and I thought it was just the motors' typical pulsing or
something like that. A little while later the power failed, and I went
to change the batteries. There was some kind of sticky fluid in the
battery box and on the base, and in the dark, I just thought it was some
grease or lube that squirted out from the gears or something, and
realized that the noise I heard must have had something to do with it.
But the next day I saw that two of the removed batteries had exploded,
and realized that the fluid was from them.

I completely cleaned everything out eventually...it was a bit of a mess
actually, and didn't think much else of it other than perhaps that I had
managed to get some of a rare bad batch of Energizer batteries. Now that
at least a couple of other people have reported the same thing, with
assorted brands, I am wondering if there IS any kind of problem that
occurs when 8 batteries are placed in series, and used in the ETX, for
some strange reason, or under specific, repeatable conditions.

I'd ask for comments here, but I honestly do not think there is any kind
of explanation that could be forthcoming to unravel this particular
mystery, though it is weird that it has happened to more than one
person.

Subject:	 Weather/Astronomy in one web site
Sent:	Friday, January 28, 2000 12:01:16
From:	allend@Exchange.Microsoft.com (Allen Denver)
First, let me say what a totally awesome site you have in the Might ETX
Website.  Before my ETX-90EC arrived for x-mas I took the time to read
all the manuals on Meade's site and then started searching the web for
more info.  Your site was instrumental in helping me be able to use my
scope without frustration.  The tips and reviews on the site are
valuable information.  Alignment procedures are most helpful.

I live in the Seattle area, so clear skies are at a premium.  Last night
was the first time to use my new Meade Deluxe Field Tripod and it went
off without a hitch.  Up til now I'd been leaning over my low deck bench
observing Jupiter and Saturn.  Awesome, but I really wanted to see some
deep sky objects.  Last night I went to see a play and kept looking up
on the way there.  Clear skies!  Arrived home at Midnight and my wife
said "Go ahead", so I put the scope out a while to cool while I took out
the trash.  Back out all was setup quickly.  This was my first 'serious'
night of observing and first with the tripod.  The alignment (alt-az)
when perfect.  All the stars I went to were in the FOV or close and I
had a blast from Midnight - 1am. Bagged my first Messier (M42 - Orion
Nebula).  It was amazing!  I tried another deep sky object, but it
didn't end up in the field of view.  I went back to Orion and it was
gone too!  I looked up and the fog had started to roll in.

Anyway, I wanted to pass along a website I ran across that combines
weather and astronomy.  Weather Underground: http://www.wunderground.com

Once the city is selected it is just one click to a sky chart.

Keep up the good work, but don't forget that this is just a hobby, so
have fun!

Thanks,
Allen

Subject:	 Suggested additional lenses
Sent:	Friday, January 28, 2000 09:44:09
From:	mmmbwilliams@email.msn.com (mmmbwilliams)
Love this site!  My husband gave me an ETX90EC for x-mas and we have
been enjoying it very much.  We have the barlow lens, but were wondering
which lens you would suggest for better viewing of Jupiter (I want to
see the bands and the red spot) and would like to see a wider angle when
viewing the moon or nebulas or which lens you think would be the next
best investment?  Thanks for any suggestions.
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some suggestions.

Subject:	 Re: question...! just bought new ETX
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2000 21:12:58
From:	snoodle@cpl.net (Robert Van den Heuvel)
etx@me.com wrote:

> I have no experience with the Edmund Astroscan.  It is a cool looking
> telescope and can do its intended job.  But I think you'll get more use
> out of the ETX.

Yeah, me too. Thanks. I plan to add a wide field adaptor and a 52mm Paul
Rini eyepiece, giving me an exit pupil of 6.2 and 14x magnification at
90mm - nearly identical to the working power of the Astroscan, with much
better quality optics, at only a third more cost!! Then when I want to
kick ass on the planets, all I have to do is pop in the barlow and drop
in a good Nagler, and wheeeee!!!

Overall, an excellent choice. Now I just have to save up $300 for the
eyepieces!!!

Thanks and take care,

Robert Van den Heuvel

Subject:	 Doskocil cases
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2000 16:04:52
From:	ando@lineone.net (Neil)
First of all - Excellent site! very informative. I've learnt quite a bit
by looking at your site. I noticed in the cases section the report for
the Doskocil tight seal case, I was wondering if you or any of your
visitors know where I could buy one from here in England, I had a look
at a site in the U.S. but the postage was more than the case!

I've just seen Saturn for the first time - awesome - now I want to get
out and about (it's too light polluted where I live) hence the case.

Hope you (or someone) can help.

Thanks

Neil

Subject:	 Leaking Battery
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2000 14:17:36
From:	rja95@rja95.screaming.net (Sheila Y Adamson)
Just purchased an ETX90EC & Autostar, put in batteries and for a while
all was well, then a few hours later whilst switched off I heard a
bubbling noise coming from the base, when I removed the battery cover
one of the batteries had leaked and just like the report from Charles
Gutilla on the 23rd January, the batteries concerned were Rayovac, is
there a connection here?, or has anyone had problems with other
batteries?.  Thanks for your brilliant website-best on the net!
From Geoff A.   - Yorkshire, England

Subject:	 Eyepieces
Sent:	Thursday, January 27, 2000 10:13:12
From:	JBachetti@ABILITECH.ORG (John Bachetti)
My name is John Bachetti.  I just bought an etx astroscope from a
friend.  I bought the barlow lens, and other than that I have no other
accessories.  I was wondering if you could give me a little insight to
which eyepieces i should buy.  My main viewing intersts are the Moon and
Saturn & its rings.  I want to be able to view the moon in the best
possible detail, and want to be able to see the rings of saturn as well
as I can.  Do you know what the best eyepices and methods for viewing
these objects might be?  I am new to astronomy and am having a hard time
finding straight facts.

Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

John Bachetti

p.s.  I really like your web site and will be visiting it often.
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some recommendations on eyepieces. Also, check the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 ETX90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2000 20:23:06
From:	lg714@fast.net (larry)
I have purchased the ETX90EC Last year and really enjoy it. It is a
great scope and is my first one, My question is should I spend the money
on the astrophotography accessories.  In other words I would like to
take nice shots of the planets and Orion Nebula but dont really know the
capablity of the ETX90EC. I wonder if I should enjoy this one for
another year and save up to buy like the MeadLX200 for photography.  If
I do save and bye the LX200 can I use my existing Scope for a spotter or
will I have to sell it. If you can just let me know your Opinon on the
matter. Hey great site and keep up the good work!!!

Thanks

Larry
Mike here: Check the various Astrophotography Galleries on my site to see what the ETX can do. And yes, the ETX-90 can be mounted on an LX200; in fact there has been a lot of discussion on the MAPUG mailing list over the years about that.

Subject:	 M-series
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2000 19:55:36
From:	bob@shutan.com
An ETX labeled as an "M" model is supplied with CHEAPO MA eyepiece
instead of premium Super Plossl.

Mostly sold in so-called "stores" such as Sams Club.

Shame on Meade for not telling you the truth.

Buy from Astronomy retailers only!!!

Bob Shutan
bob@shutan.com

Subject:	 Bulls Eye 
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2000 19:41:21
From:	CLAY@LYNCHBURG.NET (Clay Johnston)
I just purchased an ETX-90EC and this is my first telescope. When I
first used it I noticed a bulls eye in the view. This looked like an
off-white donut that interferes with the view. It is not in the focus as
I was very careful in the adjustment. I notice it when viewing
terrestrial and astronomical objects. Thanks for any help you can be for
me as I do not know anyone w/ an ETX and I purchased it 350 miles away
on a business trip.

Clay Johnston
Mike here: Sorry for the obvious question but can you observe objects through the ETX using the supplied 26mm eyepiece and are they in focus?

Subject:	 LX50/LX200
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2000 14:35:29
From:	EIRIKANDDIXIE@webtv.net (Eirik Petersen)
The site you have is fantastic.

I have the ETX90 RA. I purchased it from the local Nature Sourse. No
problems to report. The one "complaint" is the 9MM MA eyepeice. The
quality of the series4000 just isn't there! With the cold temps here,
0-10 below, the conditions are perfect for all sorts of viewing.

Now the question, I think I'm ready for the plunge!!

The same store has a 10"LX50 with field tripod, and super wedge in
stock. At $2,600. I was hoping to find a support group as yours for the
LX series. Do you know of a support group, and do you have any info for
the unit?

Should I order the LX200? Or should I take the LX50 and upgrade later?
Again, a support page would be great.

Eirik
Mike here: Try MAPUG.com. This is the Meade Advanced Products User Group. It was originally established to support user of the high-end Meade products (like the LX200) but they support everyone now. You can also use the sci.astro.amateur and alt.telescopes.meade newsgroups. Some good support there. If you are like me (and lots of others) you want an LX200. But that may be overdoing it for many users who would be as happy with some other model LX for less money.

Subject:	 MicroStar II+ Dual Axis Drive Corrector
Sent:	Wednesday, January 26, 2000 13:13:43
From:	friend4u2@usa.net (Antonio Alberto Vidal)
I sure hope you don't get tired of all my questions, but you're the only
one that's nice enough to answer them!  I have a few questions about
Astrophotography...  I have done some reading and I have a question
about the MicroStar II+ Dual Axis Drive Corrector, for astrophotography
do i have to buy it if I already have the Autostar?  Does the Autostar
do the same job as the MicroStar II+ Dual Axis Drive Corrector?  If it
does'nt do the same job can I install the MicroStar II and still be able
to run the Autostar without having any problems?  The reason for this is
because I read that you have to open the ETX and change a few things. 
This is another question regarding something else...   I just bought a
Vivitar 70-210mm Zoom F/3.5 its maibe 5-6 inches long, mike how long do
you think I could use the camera Olympus OM-1 piggyback on my ETX-125
before tracking becomes a chalenge? 5,10,15,30min,...?  is the ETX-125
strong enough to operate good with a lense that long?  are there weights
that i could buy to balance the ETX?     I guess what I'm trying to ask
is with my lense how can I keep the shutter open before the picture
begins to get ruined piggyback?

Mike I know I ask alot of questions but I beleive there are people
visiting Your Great Site that have similar questions and You are kind
enough to answer them!

Once again thanks for Your help and Great Job with the Outstanding Web
Site!
Mike here: Always glad to help. First off, the Microstar is not designed for any ETX but the original ETX (now called the ETX-90RA or ETX Astro Model M). It is not required for the EC models as they have dual axis control standard (even without the Autostar). Consumer telescope drives (and even some high-end telescopes) usually will not accurately track ON THEIR OWN. That is why serious astrophotographers use off-axis guiders (where a portion of the light is diverted to a guiding eyepiece while the rest goes to the camera). This allows the user to manually correct for tracking errors. There are also autoguiders but I don't recall any working with the EC line. Bottom line: any Prime Focus and eyepiece projection astrophotography of most objects (except the Moon, Sun, brighter planets) will require longer exposures than you'll be able to track without adding more equipment. And of course, counterbalancing will be an issue. The piggyback mounts from Scopetronix and JMI include a counterweight but you need a weight at the other end of the tube for prime focus photography.

Subject:	 canadian starpartys
Sent:	Tuesday, January 25, 2000 19:36:57
From:	Subcon@ionsys.com (Dave Robitaille)
Hello!

These are the dates of the canadian starpartys.

The first one is STARFEST 2000 in Ontario, Canada during the weekend of
24,25,26,27 august 2000. STARFEST was consider one of the seventh best
starparty in north america by sky & telescopes.

The second less important but has grandiose is H.S.P. Huronia starparty!
During the weekend of 17,18,19,20 of august 2000. For more information
please contact Sub Con Telescopes at 905-954-1650.

                          Dave Robitaille
                          SUB CON TELESCOPES

Subject:	Re: Hello Mike
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2000 21:54:07
From:	Mal47@aol.com
You are the best!  Thanks for the info, and for your continued support
of ETX users around the world.  I visit your website often, and I have
learned more there than from all other sources combined.

Thanks again,

Malcolm

Subject:	Re: Emergency Server Maintenance  :-(
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2000 17:26:22
From:	DonJamBur@aol.com
Mike:  Apologies?  You've got to be kidding me.  You deserve acolades
for the timeliness, utility and downright website do-goodedness.  I
would join with many to invest more than a pitance for the maintenance
of this great resource.  For free, it's downright shameless.  Thanks for
all you do.  No apologies required.  :-))
Don

Subject:	Terrestrial photography
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2000 15:17:38
From:	Mal47@aol.com
Thanks for the ETX site!  I have a question (doesn't everyone).  What do
you recommend I buy in order to take TERRESTRIAL pictures with my ETX90
spotting scope?  Is it best to just go buy any 35mm camera, along with a
T-Ring and a Meade 64 T-Adapter?  And will any other T-Adapter work (my
camera shop has a Celestron T-Adapter that fits, but they don't have a
Meade #64 T-Adapter).

Lastly, is this method of photography better than trying to somehow take
"Eyepiece Photos"?

Thanks for your help and advice, if you have time to reply.

--Malcolm (Mal47@aol.com)
Mike here: Doing terrestrial photography with the spotting scope you'll need some adapter to attach a 35mm with removable lens at the Prime Focus. This will give you a 12500m telephoto lens for your camera. That's pretty good for terrestrial use. You can get higher magnification by using an eyepiece and an eyepiece projection adapter but that may be overdoing it for terrestrial work (unless you want to see what kind of worm that bird has in its beak). I'm not familiar with the Celestron adapter but if it mounts to the Prime Focus port it should work (assuming you can still focus the image at the camera's focal plane).

Subject:	 ETX-125EC STORES IN FLORIDA
Sent:	Monday, January 24, 2000 13:25:35
From:	MENAGE@atlantis.co.ac (Menage's on Ascension)
I stumbled upon you extremely helpful website during my search for an
ETX-125EC.  Sitting here on Ascension Island in the middle of the South
Atlantic I am having great difficulty locating a store in Florida (my
freight outlet is through Patrick AFB, near Cocoa Beach, FL, 32925).  I
am guessing that Florida is not your part of the US but do you have any
idea of a supplier in that area, please? The Meade 'dealer referral'
page lists many stores in Florida but telephoning is not a good option
from here.  Fax is better but no fax numbers seem available.  The two
stores giving an e-mail address come up with server delivery problems. 
So far, I'm stuck.  Any steers gratefully received!

Yours sincerely,

Colin Menage       e-mail:   MENAGE@atlantis.co.ac
Mr C

Subject:	 question...! just bought new ETX
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2000 22:47:07
From:	snoodle@cpl.net (Robert Van den Heuvel)
I just bought an ETX on layaway, and I'd like to ask your opinion about
its suitability for my purposes.

I'm an amateur astronomer who has owned a 10" dob, a 4" dob, a 5" comet
catcher dob, and a couple pairs of binocs and what-not, but I've given
up all of these due to either poor optics or lack of portability & poor
quality construction. Yesterday I came across a Meade ETX RA new in box
for $460 and put it on layaway.

I hope I got a good deal. More importantly, I hope I will use this
scope, and make it at last my first "permanent keeper scope." The 10"
dob came close, but in the end it couldn't do much more than under-100x
nebular views for the most part; planets were fuzzy and the helical
focuser drove me mad. And it was heavy... setting up for a quick moon
and planets session was not always so quick.

Now I'd like something easy to use at a moments notice for a short
observing session here in the Los Angeles (Northridge) smog, but capable
enough to really show me some neat stuff when I encounter that
occasional dark sky trip. My main concern is that the ETX is optically
good enough to perform "like a bigger scope" in some ways. I just hate
the idea that a 90mm is "too small to see most galaxies and clusters"
according to some astronomer friends of mine.... but the reviews here
and elsewhere on the net seem to suggest otherwise, that the ETX makes
up for its aperature limitation by high contrast images. The reviews are
astounding...!

Anyway, you can comment if you wish and/or have the time. Thanks!

Robert Van den Heuvel
Mike here: I think you'll decide that the ETX-90 is a keeper. The price seems about the norm for a NEW RA model. You may decide to add a Microstar II+ later to get dual axis electronic control. But if you don't want/need GOTO capabilities then the RA model makes a great telescope. As to the views, certainly you won't get the same magnification as with larger aperture scopes but the views of bright objects are excellent. Faint nebulae and galaxies will appear as faint fuzzy blobs but brighter nebulae, double stars, the planets, the Moon, the Sun (with proper protection) will all present nice views with the ETX-90RA. And you can view them at a moment's notice meaning you will use the ETX.

Added later:

Cool! That's what I wanted to hear. As to the comparison between the
usability of the ETX and the Edmund Astroscan, do you have a brief blurb
to say on that? I do plan to get a widefield adaptor and some Rini 52mm
eyepieces, so at least I will be able to partly "do the RFT thing" with
the ETX, so to speak.
Mike here: I have no experience with the Edmund Astroscan. It is a cool looking telescope and can do its intended job. But I think you'll get more use out of the ETX.

Subject:	 re:  Eclipse times listed where? 
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2000 16:48:58
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
To:	crubes@flash.net
Hi..

I saw your question,
> why are the eclipse times/dates listed incorrectly/differently than
> what i have seen elsewhere?
and Mike's reply, on his site.

And, although you didn't provide -any- background information about the
timings you're asking about, I did notice that Meade's READMEs about (at
least) one of the patches (in last weekend's  2.0e-->f-->g marathon)
involved Lunar Eclipse timings.

Let's see: 2.0e said: "Corrected date information on some events", 2.0f 
said: (working from memory here) "Corrected Lunar Eclipse timings" and
2.0g (the current version) says: "Local time shown on event
predictions."

So i'm going to rashly arm-wave that that might have been what you're
referring to. And, if so, it's sort-of self-answering... they've been
corrected (or as least, they're different).

have fun (believe the books, not the Autostar... it's young and needs
careful assistance.)
--dick
cc: Mike

Subject:	Mike, I have a question
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2000 13:29:53
From:	S7thAlias@aol.com
Hi Mike!  Cool site....I'm a relative newcomer to the wonderful world of
amateur astronomy, and thusly, I am VERY amateur.  I was hoping you
could help me out.

My question is this:  I am currently bidding on an ETX90 that is
advertised as new, never out of the box.  It appears to be a model RA,
but the photo of the box in the ad shows thescope as being a Model M. 
I've looked around for any info on the "Model M", but havn't been able
to find any.  I even called Meade tech support, and the guy told me that
he thought that the Model M was the newest version of the RA.  I'm not
so sure.  Can you help me out?  Any info you can pass along would be
GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks a bunch,
Raffi
Mike here: I believe that in some markets, the original ETX, now known as the "ETX-90RA", is labeled as an "ETX Astro Model M".

Subject:	 EZ Finder
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2000 13:24:23
From:	teb1013@hotmail.com (Thomas Brown)
I installed the little Orion EZ Finder, I'm sure that there are those
who will think this is sacrilige, but I used the included tape to stick,
it directly to the OTA in front of the sun warning and to the left
leaving just enough room to use a screwdriver to adjust the thing.  The
first night out I used it to get the alignment for the Astrostar,
amazing how easy it is when you can direct the scope rapidly to the area
you want, using the little red spot on the sky itself rather than the
ETX's miserable finderscope! The second night that I tried the EZ Finder
was the eclipse, and with my Astrostar refusing to work in the cold, I
used the EZ finder for the entire session, using the standard controller
instead.  By using the EZ finder to get into the general area, then
following up with the scope's finder, then the 26mm eyepiece, I was able
to get to various sights rapidly, other than the moon, I took a look at
Jupiter, Saturn, M41,  the Orion Nebula and a couple of other sights,
too cold to do more... The ease of finding things was truly marvelous,
making the Astrostar a helpful accessory, but no longer an absolute
necessity, as it was using the finder alone.

Tom Brown

Subject:	 
Sent:	Sunday, January 23, 2000 06:48:35
From:	crubes@flash.net (Christa)
quick question...love the site!!! you're a madman!
why are the eclipse times/dates listed incorrectly/differently than what
i have seen elsewhere?
are they only estimates?
thank you for your time!
brian balanoff
indianapolis, in
man is it cold here!!!
Mike here: Eclipse times listed where?

Subject:	 ETX AC adapter specs
Sent:	Friday, January 21, 2000 11:33:36
From:	waltwarren@workmail.com (Walter Warren)
I was hopeful to find some specs on your site for the AC and car
adapters for the ETX scopes but couldn't.  Do you know anything about
the volrage or milliamp ratings?

Walter Warren
-----------------------------------
Warren & Goodin, Inc.
Architects - Engineers
Mike here: Did you check the Tech Tips page? Did you try a search for "power"? Either will get you some of the info you seek.

Subject:	Polaris Meade Telescope w/autostar
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2000 19:59:26
From:	Toli23334@aol.com
Just bought this telescope and not sure on how to put it together and
focus. And information on where someone could help me would be
appreciated. Thank you
Mike here: You should have received manuals. You can also check the Meade web site () for product manuals. You might want to post a message on the "alt.telescopes.meade" newsgroup.

Subject:	 Meade Tripod Modification
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2000 15:04:00
From:	ourbabe2usa@netscape.net (Larry Reidnour)
Since I have no ETX-125 and Autostar as it is in the hands of Meade Tech
getting fixed, I still have the tripod to play with!  I was reading Matt
Curtis's comments regarding the tripod modification that solved the
slipping problem which I have also after about 15 uses (just like he
said) and his fix is simple and excellent.  However, being lazy like I
am, I simply took 3 quarters, unsrewed the clamps so that I could simply
"drop" a quarter into each bracket inbetween the screw clamp stem and
the tripod leg.  Since there is a bottom to the black clamp, the screw
clamp stem hits the top third of the quarter nicely.  Solved the problem
in 30 seconds and cost me 75 cents! (If I really need the money, I will
rob the tripod and find something else to drop in there until I get
enough motivation to do it right as detailed by Matt!)

Subject:	 "Afocal" Astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, January 20, 2000 11:37:03
From:	Roy_Abitbol@nas.adp.com
I'm hoping to get some reasonably good digital photographs of the full
lunar eclipse tonight with my ETX 125EC using a Sony Mavica FD-88
digital camera.  I don't have a digital camera mount (although I have
reviewed the mount available from Scopetronix), and I was hoping to get
some tips on the right combination of camera orientation, zoom,
eyepiece/barlow combination, hand-holding technique, etc., to get some
decent pics. The camera has macro focusing capabiliity and a 10x optical
zoom (16x digital zoom).  I have 26mm and 9.5mm eyepieces with the 126
2x barlow.  I also have a Televue Panoptic wide-angle eyepiece available
on loan from my brother...I thought that might make it easier.  Any tips
would be appreciated!
Mike here: I'm getting clouded out tonight so I hope you get some good shots. First off, focus the camera for infinity. Focus the eyepiece for your eye. Place the camera lens as close as possible to the eyepiece and view the image on the camera LCD (if the camera has one). Zoom the camera lens if needed to get a reasonable image on the LCD. If you are trying for a full lunar disk you'll want to use the lowest magnification eyepiece you have (or perhaps a wide angle one). Hold the camera as steady as possible over the eyepiece and trip the shutter. Delete any photos that are blurred. Have fun.

Added later:


Mike here: I don't have any wide angle eyepieces so no direct recommendations.  Do check the Accessories - Eyepieces page and the Buyer/New User Tips page for eyepiece recommendations from others.

Subject:	 Three confusing terms
Sent:	Wednesday, January 19, 2000 21:12:46
From:	dbjarnas@toronto.cbc.ca
Whats the difference between these terms:
--Alta/Az
--Dec/RA
--Polar Aligned

Thanks
Dan
Mike here: These are usually fully explained, with diagrams, in telescope manuals or basic books on Astronomy. To understand the terms you have to know a little bit about the geometry of the sky. The celestial coordinate system is a spherical coordinate system similar to the earth's latitude and longitude system. Running around the center of the celestial coordination system is the "equator" (just like on the earth). This divides the north and south halves of the sky. Positions above the equator are measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds of North declination and angles below in degrees, minutes, and seconds of South declination. Positions in the other direction are measured by hours, minutes, and seconds of Right Ascension (1 hour equals 15 degrees across the sky at the celestial equator). Object positions are typically noted by their Right Ascension (RA) and Declination (DEC). Alt/Az (or Altazimuth) and Polar (or equatorial) are two types of telescope mounting. Alt/Az is the easiest; the telescope base is horizontal (parallel to the ground). Unfortunately, unless you have a computer controlled telescope (like an ETX-90EC with an Autostar), this type of mount does not easily track the sky rotation. Hence, the need for Polar mounting, where the axis of the telescope's "vertical" rotation is parallel to the earth's rotational axis. In this mode, the telescope only has to move in one axis to compensate for the sky movement.

Added later:

thanks for your patient explanation ... I guess what confuses me is that
I have an ETX and there are always references to polar or alt/az ....
and it tracks stars etc with any reference to other motors being needed.

then i read about the lx10 ... with magellan #1 ... which i thought was
also good for tracking ... only theres this mention of a dec motor for
tracking. so maybe, i thought, it cant track without this motor. and yet
the etx tracks ... and with no mention of this gizmo.

sorry to have bothered you with a point about a different scope ... but
in my mind it seemed connected to undertsanding my etx.

Subject:	 linking to your site
Sent:	Wednesday, January 19, 2000 19:51:00
From:	killshot@yesic.com (Jim Kilpatrick)
My name is Luke Kilpatrick and i run a web site for sub con telescopes.
I really like your page. May i include in our site link pages? check out
the site at www.subcontelescopes.com.

thanks

Luke Kilpatrick

Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Wednesday, January 19, 2000 17:40:59
From:	AntnVd@aol.com
I have been comming to this site for one year now, wow! it's still the
Best I have been in!  Great Job!     I have a problem Mike I just bought
a Olympus om-1 but I don't really know all it's functions can You help
me or let me know were I might find a instruction manual for it?  But if
You dont then here are a few things I would like to know, 
R?,FP?,X?,what's the ASA for?what's 1000,500,250,125,60,30,15,8,4,2,1 is
it 1/1000,1/500, and there's on&off is that for flash?    well Mike I
know You are Great at answering questions on ETX, so that's Ok if You
could only answer a few, but maibe someone might be able to help me onse
it's posted up!  Thank You Mike!
Mike here: Well, I can answer some of your camera questions: FP?,X? -- that is for electronic flash (FP) and flashbulb flash (X). what's the ASA for? -- ASA (also known as ISO DIN) is the film speed (read from the film can or box). what's 1000,500,250,125,60,30,15,8,4,2,1 -- those are the shutter speeds; 1/1000 second down to 1/4, 1/2, and 1 second.

Subject:	 WOBBLES!
Sent:	Wednesday, January 19, 2000 14:04:36
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
I'm sure this answer is somewhere on your website (as are they all), but
here goes:

My ETX 90RA is a'wobblin'!

I've noticed this when I pick it up. The top mounting moves if I grasp
the whole shebang from the front. And the star drive seems to be slowing
down. The lock is not holding.

I expect that this is linked to teflon bearing fatique. What do you
think? Any words of advice before I tear this apart?

Despite this problem, I've been having some excellent views of Jupiter,
Saturn, and Luna from North Yorkshire. Unusual--there's no clouds! No
red spot, but lots of bands. Some bands on Saturn. And I've been leaving
my scope in the garage, which helps.

Wellllll, it seems like your site is generating some controversy, as
well as serving the needs of several thousands of people around the
world. Isn't that what the web is all about? I teach HTML, and do some
work on the Net, and I often use your site as a prime example of how to
build, and, more importantly, MAINTAIN, a web site. Kudos to you.

Thanks.

Bob
-- 
Bob Ostergaard 
ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk
"A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
or what's a Heaven for?"
Mike here: It does sound like the teflon pads are going. Meade will send you replacements or you can search the site for "teflon" and get lots of tips.

Subject:	 Cleaning the ETX-90EC Secondary Mirror?
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2000 10:47:45
From:	bgeddes@msn.com (Brad Geddes)
First let me thank you for such a wonderful site!

I need a little authoritative advice on cleaning the secondary mirror.
Let me explain my peril...

I purchased the ETX-90EC for X-Mas as an inexpensive tool to acquaint me
with our solar system. What a great scope this is for the beginner!  I
installed the Meade auto-focuser and everything was going great until...

Using the AutoStar controller, I accidentally "focused-in" too much and
the focus gear head came off the bolt/spring, falling to the bottom of
the gear box. Although the gear was fastened to the bolt (via set
screw), I heard no warning signs that I was at the end of the thread
(??). At any rate, the focus bolt/spring then dropped into the OTA after
I tilted the scope down to take a look. Bummer!  Through the course of
getting the focus bolt/spring back in place I accidentally got some of
that axle grease smeared on the secondary mirror during the process (I
know, I've already punished myself enough). I am not really sure if it
was scratched but it sure is smeared.

Q1) Is there anyway I can clean the secondary mirror without having to
send the scope back to Meade?

Thanks again,

Brad Geddes
bgeddes@msn.com
Mike here: Egads. Check the cleaning tips on the Buyer/New User Tips page. But don't apply ANY pressure to the surface of the mirror as you can EASILY scratch it. Since it is grease you would normally use a solvent of some kind but I would recommend AGAINST that. So you are stuck with soap and distilled water. Could be a challenge. And then you'll have to worry about changing its position, necessitating a trip to Meade. Perhaps returning to Meade is the best first choice...

Added later:

Yeah, if it wasn't the grease, I would have no problem. In fact, the
image with all the secondary mirror grease is not all that bad. However,
I do notice a blur and I really don't know if was accidentally
scratched.

I think I will limp through the lunar eclipse tomorrow and then send it
off to Meade the next day.

Just out of curiosity, what did you mean about changing the position?
Were you referring to the secondary mirror position with respect to the
primary lens? Would that not be relative anyway? In other words, "in
focus" is a relative state with respect to the distance between the
secondary mirror and the primary mirror (length of light wave folding).
Mike here: When I worried that you might change the position, I was referring to actually moving it out of alignment.

Subject:	 Re: [Re:  Photography Counterbalance for the ETX90-EC ]
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2000 10:09:04
From:	donphippsusa@netscape.net (Donald Phipps)
Thanks for the information.  Maybe I have hit on a project/product that
might be of interest to other ETX users. When the OTA & camera are
balanced with a counterbalance, the motor does not appear to have any
more strain or load than the OTA with nothing attached.

Thanks again for your information.

Regards, 

Don Phipps
donphippsusa@netscape.net

Subject:	 QuickFinder rings
Sent:	Tuesday, January 18, 2000 07:19:22
From:	jh@cx729900-a.sking1.ri.home.com (Joe Hartley)
Yes, Rigel changed the reticle to more closely match the Telrad's
circles.  This was done because many astronomy programs (like SkyMap
Pro) and star charts (like SkyAtlas 2000.0) have templates for drawing
Telrad circles on their charts.  The new QuickFinder reticle's circles
are the same size (.5 and 2 degrees, I think) as the 2 inner circles on
a Telrad.

Personally, I liked the older style better - the rings were the same
size but done differently than just plain circles.  If this is a major
source of dissatisfaction, I think that Rigel will swap your QF for one
with the older reticle, but to me it's a very minor point that in no way
diminishes its usefulness.
-- 
======================================================================
       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
And:
From:	atestani@ibm.net (Al Testani)
I used the QF last night (even though I could see my shadow from the
bright moon!) and it work great.  I like the circles.  It may be my eyes
and not wearing my glasses but the circles were a bit of a double image.
And:
From:	jh@cx729900-a.sking1.ri.home.com (Joe Hartley)
This could be a problem with the QF.  Definitely try it with your
glasses on (the rings can be set bright enough to be seen in a
moderately bright room).  If they're still blurry, contact Rigel. The
rings should be nice and sharp.

-- 
======================================================================
       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
And from Rigel Systems:
From:	rigelsys@home.com (rigelsys@home)
Yes, it's correct.  I find the dashed reticle too busy and distracting. 
Most star chart software is already set up for telrad circles.  I've had
more request for telrad like circles than for the dashed reticle.  So
I've gone with the flow.  But for those who prefer it, we still do the
dashed reticle on special order.

Subject:	 RE: Expansion of Site
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2000 17:12:59
From:	ka8wtk@raex.com (Bill Ramsey)
There is no doubt in my mind that your site is one of the best around.
The information on the site is organized and easy to find. Contributions
from real users and your work help to make this a resource for all
telescope users no mater what size scope they have. Newcomers seem
welcome and hopefully get their questions answered. All this said, it
would be my hope that the site would stay basically all Meade in
composition including ETX, DS and other "small" Meade telescopes.

Other scopes and other brands have their "dedicated" web pages. Many of
these folks visit your page as I visit their pages. There is always
something to be learned by checking out several different sites and
seeing other ways to do something. What makes your page most valuable to
me is it's focus.

Remember when fast food places just had hamburgers? You could get what
you wanted quickly. The menus at these places have enlarged in recent
times. They have lost their focus and service is not as good as it once
was. I would not want to see something like that happen to the great
service you perform for us. (Hey, I know, not a great analogy, but it is
what I could come up with after being on the road for a week on
business.)

What you do with this page is a lot of work and expense. I sure would
not fault you for adding advertising. Getting yourself some help is also
not a bad idea. You have to decide what is too much. Maybe I'm just
selfish......I like your page just the way it is!
            Thanks,
                            Bill

Subject:	What A Deal!
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2000 14:32:17
From:	LesSechler@aol.com
I do not know if this is of interest to you but last night I went to my
local Costco (Price Club) and they had ETX-90ra scopes for $399 each! 
They had about 10 in stock.

No accys just the scopes.

Meade sure is putting the screws to their dealers on this one.

            L. Sechler

Subject:	 ETX-125 Postings and Updates 1-17-2000
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2000 14:27:09
From:	rlonn@home.com (Robert Lonn)
I was wondering if you could share with all your readers your routine
for posting new messages such as
1: How often do you try and update the board?
2: Any special days you are more likely to update the board
3: What time of the day or night PST, are you more likely to upgrade the
Web Page?

Thanks for sharing this with us. I am sure a lot of us are always
linking to the page both day and night looking for the latest and
greatest! I am now awaiting to hear all the reports on Mead's new
software release 2.0 ! Should be another fun few weeks of emails. Mine
is already loaded in the Autostar, but it is raining in San Diego, so
the scope stays inside. Time to check out the sunspots and the 20 meter
Ham Radio bands. Thanks

Robert  WA6PHN
Mike here: I did that some months ago but I'll repeat it. There is no "routine" but I try to get updates online every 2, 3, or 4 days. Some times (due to travel or illness) updates can be delayed. On work nights, any updates will usually occur in the evening, California time. You can subscribe to the notification service at the bottom of the menu. Unfortunately, that service seems to have been rather intermittent.

Subject:	 ETX-90 vs EC
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2000 10:22:23
From:	asquithb@PaceIndustries.com (Brian Asquith)
I've seen an ETX-90, second hand. Will I be at a disadvantage by buying
this compared to the EC?

Cheers
Brian
Mike here: Depends on how you want to use it. The optics are the same in both models. The older one can not use (nor be upgraded to use) the Autostar GOTO computer system.

Subject:	 Photography Counterbalance for the ETX90-EC 
Sent:	Monday, January 17, 2000 11:52:34
From:	donphippsusa@netscape.net (Donald Phipps)
I have taken a few pictures with the ETX 90 ec and my Canon EOS camera.
The pictures have come out well, but one problem has been persistent,
the need for counter weights to counter the weight of the camera, and
maintain a good balance for the scope.

In experimenting with this, I mounted a 1/8" x 3/4" x 12" piece of metal
to the underside of the scope using the two screw holes. I then attached
a small weight to the end of the flat metal bar.  I was able to adjust
it "in and out" to match the weight of the camera. The result was a
balanced load on the bearings and a stable motion of the OT assembly. I
did not detect any excess slippage when raising or lowering the OT
assembly.

Here is the question,  do you know of a source where a person can
acquire a manufactured counter balance system for the ETX?  Does Meade
make such an attachment?

May you find your skies clear and dark and the stars bright for viewing.

Regards,

Don Phipps
don.phipps@Juno.com
Mike here: JMI and Scopetronix include a counterweight with their ETX piggyback camera mounts. It is just a weight the attaches to the ETX. I haven't heard of a separate counterweight system being available although it is a good idea.

Subject:	Upgrade
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2000 16:14:15
From:	DLC4851@aol.com
I am contemplating purchasing a catadioptic , probably a Meade.  I have
read the reviews and user feedback on the ETX90 and 125.  My question
is:  to go a step above the 125 qualitywise and featurewise, would it be
the LX10 in the 8" ?   If not, then what ?

Thanks for a prompt answer and I enjoy your site.
Mike here: Certainly the LX line is a major step above the ETX line. The LX line is for the serious amateur astronomer.

Added later:

Thanks for the prompt reply.  I had been reading the Meade catalog and
saw the LX10 and the 203SC/300 in 8".  Also saw where the LX10 was $1049
compared to $899 for the ETX125, so I figured the difference in money
was relatively minor if the quality and upgrade features were there. 
You do lose portability. but I will take the larger aperture . Are the
upgrades worth $150 ?
Mike here: It is not an upgrade. It is a totally different system.

Added later:

Not to keep taking all of your time, but I am close to making a decision
and I guess I do not know the specs enough.  I am comparing this way:

For $150 above the cost of an ETX 125 I can get the LX 10 with an 8"
aperture compared to a 5".  Both are catadioptic, one Maksutov and the
other SC.  One more portable than the other.  The ETX has standard both
RA & DEC motors, while the LX has the RA only.  But by the very nature
of the 8" gathering more light [assuming the optics are comparable
quality] for that money, isn't the LX the way to go ?

I would like to hear your opinion since you are more well versed in this
field.  It would definitely carry weight on my decision.

Thanks again.

Mike here: If I were purchasing for myself, I'd go with the 8". But then I already have a portable scope (the ETX-90RA). You might want to try moving an LX 8" in your local dealer's showroom just to verify that you can handle the weight and that you WANT to handle the weight.


Subject:	 Thank You and thanks Meade!
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2000 14:19:05
From:	gerd.waloszek@dinx.de (Gerd Waloszek)
first I want to thank You for Your very informative and useful web site!

It helped me very much in making my decision to buy an ETX90/EC. Well,
at that time many people reported that they had returned their EXT twice
or even more before it worked fine. That made me a little bit unsure
when considering buying the ETX in the US, because then the new EXT
90/EC was not available here in Germany.

So, still unsure I went to Pittsburgh to take part in a conference in
May 1999. Before flying back I decided "last minute" to buy the EXT in
the discovery channel store at the airport. The cash point computer
saved me from buying an old ETX, that I already held in my hands (I
worried a little bit about the included table tripod, because I did not
expect that - I knew the new one has none - but that did not make me
suspicuous...). Also luckily they found a new one in the back of the
store...

At the German customs I had to pay quite a lot of money, because I did
not want to smuggle it in.

Then there was the sad day, where my new ETX had the same mishap as
Yours - the Right Tube Adapter (RTA) was broken, and the OTA looked
downwards (I just wanted to show it to a local dealer..). Luckily, I
found Your description on Your web site on how to disassemble and
exchange the RTA (I also used the ETX/EC TUNE UP page by Jordan
Blessing)!

Actually there was nothing to exchange, because I did not have a new
RTA... My wife, who is perfect in glueing things together, did this with

the RTA, and I put it in again. Worked quite well and never broke!
However, I did not want to stay with the glued RTA forever. Therefore I
remembered Your story and that You sent Your broken RTA to Meade for
replacement.

It took me until December, before I finally did that! I knew that
according to Meade's warranty regulations I would not be successful, and
I am not as known to Meade as You are. Well, I wrote a letter with my
story and included a photo that I had taken from the broken RTA to prove
my case. I did not want to remove the glued RTA and send it to Meade,
because I was unsure, whether Meade would answer anyway, and if, how
long this would take. No star gazing in the meantime!

To my great pleasure, I received a small package in the beginning of
January, containting a replacement RTA that I exchanged for the glued
one. As it has been cloudy the last days, I could not check the success
of the repair up to now.

Well, Meade states on their "About" page about their Customer Service:

We go the second mile with our customers to reach an amicable conclusion
to any question or problem?and we have found likewise that the
overwhelming majority of customers also want to be reasonable with us.
We offer an excellent product warranty, a warranty that gives our
customers strong formal protection of their investment in any of our
products. But when a customer calls with a complaint?whether or not his
Meade product is still under warranty?we ask ourselves a simple
question: What is the fair thing to do? If the product has not been
abused or mishandled, we routinely repair or replace a defective
component, beyond stated warranty terms, if we feel that the problem
should not reasonably have occurred. The Meade Customer Service staff's
sole mission is to keep Meade customers satisfied with the product they
have purchased?and with the company they have purchased it from.

I can only agree to that from my experience! I wanted to send them a
"Thank You" by email but could not find any email address on their web
site. Do You know an email adress, or do I have to send my "Thanks" via
ordinary mail?

Bye, and thank You again, Gerd Waloszek

PS: Included two photos taken during the total eclipse (but not from
it)... Excuse me, that I send more than ONE photo!

--------------
Gerd Waloszek
Untere Mhlstrae 21a
D-69242 Mhlhausen
Germany
ETX ETX

Subject:	 Numerical Photo Info
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2000 14:05:56
From:	pierrehe@wanadoo.fr (Henri PIERRE)
First, congratulations for your fantastic web site ! Wonderful ! I'm
interesting on photography using a standart numeric-camera (Fuji LX700).
I saw in your web site you did it. Would you please explain me what kind
of setting is nedeed ? Eyepieces, adapter...Maybe a diagram ? 
Thank for your help
Mike here: Astrophotography is a trial-and-error thing. So experiment. As to equipment needed, see the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page and the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	 M42
Sent:	Sunday, January 16, 2000 00:21:53
From:	lthuedk@pe.net (Stephen Pitt)
Two weeks ago, I off-axis-guided my ETX for 62 minutes, hoping to get a
saturated M42 image using the new Fuji Provia 100F.  While this film has
a very fine grain, it is quite slow.  Weather permitting, I am going to
try Kodak's Portra 400 VC and hopefully the results will elucidate a
more delicate and complete nebular structure.  Certainly, two additional
stops of film speed can't hurt, as long as its emulsion sensitivity
remains high throughout exposure.

I added a 3-volt battery pack and single pole switch to my crude but
effective RA box and, if I'm well aligned, momentary voltage boosts to
3V help in recentering guide stars-especially when the temperature is
below freezing.  Still without electronic declination adjustment, I
continue to make tracking adjustments the old-fashioned way: with frozen
fingers!

Thanks for your gracious postings and to your untiring dedication to our
common interest.

Stephen Pitt

Subject:	 Polar Alignment
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2000 19:32:23
From:	chris@megabits.net (Chris Wiley)
Hello,  I feel like an idiot asking this, but for some reason I cant
figure out the polar alignment process.   I have my ETX 90/EC mounted on
a Bogen tripod with the 3030 head.  ( That I bought after reading about
it on your sit,  Great little set up)  I live in Titusville Fl.  the
Lat. here is 28.something.   Every time that I think that I have it
Aligned correctly I look at a sky chart Software program (that could be
the prob.) I do not have a book of sky charts yet.   anyway,  I center
on a planet or something that I know that I can see in the shy with the
naked eye.  when it tells me the RA And Dec.  I set the numbers on the
scope to match and there no where close to where I saw that object in
the sky.   I'm lost!!!!!!!    Any help that you could offer would be
great.

Thank you for your time and for such a great website full of good info.
Chris
Mike here: You didn't say if you are using an Autostar or not so I assume not. Tilt your tripod head 62 degrees from vertical (90-28), point ETX optical tube assembly (OTA) parallel to the forks so that the DECclination scale reads 90. Now pick up the scope/tripod setup and rotate it until the ETX is pointed at the North Star (Polaris). If you can't see Polaris, either use a good map to locate TRUE NORTH or a compass (adjusted for your magnetic variation). Once you have the proper alignment, you will be polar aligned. Now turn on the ETX RA drive. The next thing to remember is that the RA scale MOVES. Manually slew the telescope (don't move the tripod) to place a bright known star or planet in the eyepiece. Slide the RA scale until it reads the RA position (from your software) using the pointer on the base. The DEC scale should already read the objects declination but check it. Now you can use the RA and DEC scales to (approximately) locate additional objects. Don't slide the RA scale again during this session (unless it gets out of adjustment) or your turn off the ETX RA drive. For more tips, see the "Polar Aligning Techniques" on the Buyer/New User Tips page on my site.

Added later:

Thank you for your help.   It will came in very handy!!

Subject:	etx 90 question
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2000 17:32:05
From:	Robbzzz@aol.com
Hi again... I am having trouble focusing on some objects.  I want an
auto focuser, do they make one for the etx 90?  I see hand held focuser,
but I want one that focuses automatically with out me having to adjust? 
If they make one please help me find the link to it.. Thanks alot...
also i was wondering, with all the filters avalable, which ones and
colors do you recommend.  I dont know if they are a waste of money?    
thanks           rob
Mike here: Haven't heard of an autofocuser for the ETX. As to filters, see the Accessories - Filters page. One thing to keep in mind is that darker filters can't be used with the ETX due to the lower light gathering power of the small aperture.

Subject:	 reducer of ETX-90EC sold?
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2000 14:55:59
From:	ykida@yk.rim.or.jp (yoshi.)
Hi Weasner-san.
I am ETX user in Japan.

Please teach when knowing.asks.
Where is "reducer" of ETX-90EC sold?
---------------------------------------
Yoshikatsu Kida
http://www.yk.rim.or.jp/~ykida/etx/
Mike here: If you mean the "Wide Field Adapter" from Shutan (or Apogee), which acts like a focal reducer, you can order from Shutan Camera and Video or other mail order companies.

Added later:

Thank you. 
We will express our gratitude. 
I wonder whether Mr. weasner-san will pay attention though the story of
reducer is not seen in the homepage.

Mike here: It is on the Accessories - Showcase Products page on my site.


Subject:	 Misc
Sent:	Saturday, January 15, 2000 12:05:16
From:	atestani@ibm.net (Al Testani)
I have multiple things to ask/mention:

1) In most of the tips given to people to get the Autostart aligned and
properly goto'ing and tracking, there is little said about "calibrating"
the motors (this is *not* training the drives).  I had been having a lot
of trouble and doing this whenever the power source changed seemed to
fix the problems for me (actually I now do it every time prior to
aligning as it only takes a few seconds).  The menu entry for this is in
Setup -> Telescope -> Calibrate Motors.  It has to be done before
aligning the scope, of course.

2) I recently purchased a Rigel QuickFinder.  I made the attached
pictures for an email I sent to my son.  I wish I had a picture before I
bought the thing since there is no place locally to see it but went
ahead and mail-ordered it anyway.  I have yet to use it but it seems
like it is going to be a very useful and simple to use accessory.  In
any event,  I've included the pictures here in case you want to make
them available for your readers.

3) I still cannot figure out how to reverse the Autostar slew direction
using the menu items that appear to be for this purpose but do not work
even if one does a chant over the unit before trying.  Have you heard of
anyone who has made this work?

4) I, and others, (in your archives) have complained that the ETX has a
vibration in the image at higher magnifications that correlates to the
cyclic sound of the drive motors. I called Meade and the tech support
person said he never heard a complaint like that before.  He did suggest
not cranking the Az lock lever too hard.  I also did the velcro trick
from the Scopetronics Tune-up page.  The vibration is reduced but it is
still there. Any insight?

5) I had been looking around for a reasonable sky map program.  I tried
the SkyMap 6 demo and was very impressed with the work that the author
did on this program.  The latest version: SkyMap Pro 6 has observation
logging and query functions as well as a lot of excellent planning
functions. It does a ton of other stuff as well as track or slew the ETX
(supports the LX200 command set).  I use the same cable that is used for
updating the firmware in the Autostar so I have my laptop connected to
the Autostar and I can see the crosshair on the PC screen of where I am
in the sky. I can use either the Autostar or the PC to Go To an object. 
I was happy to pay the $99 for the program, if only to recognize the
significant effort applied in developing this tool (not to mention that
there are no apparent bugs or crashes).

__________________

Al Testani
atestani@ibm.net
__________________
QuikFinder

QuikFinder

Mike here: The QF reticle appears different than the one on mine (see the Accessories - Finderscopes page). You didn't say whether you have a -90 or -125. Some early -125 models have a vibration from the motors; Meade has fixed this.

Added later:

The reticle is what the QF has but I had to touch it up since the
circles were blurry in my digital photo. I placed the circles on the
image as best I could in position, size, and color using Corel
PhotoPaint. It is very close to what it really looks like. Rigel must
have changed it from what the photo's in the accessories section show
(as you can tell I totally missed that write-up during my investigation
and purchase process).

I have a -90.  I'm going to test more relative to the vibration since I
made the changes.  The weather has been terrible and I only got to try
it out briefly.

Have you thought about setting up a newsgroup from your website?  This
would save you lots of time getting the messages, posting them, and then
posting the replies.  I have no clue if it would be more or less work,
however. Just a suggestion.
Mike here: If you have a vibration with your -90, check the mount stability. As to a newsgroup, there is a very popular ETX Mailing List available (see the Buyer/New User Tips page for more on discussion groups).

Subj: 	General Ramblings
Date: 	Saturday, January 15, 2000 07:15:31
From: 	jimjam@oh.freii.net
I just received my 1st order from Shutan.  I ordered a right angle
finder and the flexifocus.  I ordered them on Wednesday and they arrived
Friday.  Great turn around time!  I do have to say though that whoever I
talked to at Shutan was not the friendliest sort.  I placed my order
online and their site indicated that I would be contacted (by email?)
because their site doesn't calculate shipping.  Well when I hadn't heard
anything by Thursday afternoon,  I gave them a call just to check on the
order.  The guy told me my order shipped Wednesday,  but was kind of
rude and just hung up without even saying good-bye. Bottom line, I got
what I ordered quickly so no complaints there Shutan,  but at least have
some common courtesy when I call to check on my order.  Maybe a "thank
you" or at the very least good-bye! Anyway, going to be installing the
stuff tonight. I'm having cold sweats at the thought of the
focuser...I've heard some horror stories...all resulting in scopes going
off to Meade land...any tips out there? Don't say "read the
instructions" either! There are none! How's that for irony?. I will post
my impressions once everything's installed and in use.

As always Mike,  thanks for the great site. I for one hope you keep this
an ETX only site,  but I'm sure the site will remain great no matter
what you do.

Regards,
Tim Stedman
Mike here: I don't have a Flexifocus so can't say for certain but do be careful when removing the focus knob from the shaft. It is possible for the shaft to fall inside the OTA without the knob on.

Subj: 	Meade Field tripod failure
Date: 	Friday, January 14, 2000 18:38:29
From: 	ryanr@one.net
I bought a Meade Field tripod today for my recently purchaed ETX90-EC.
When I got the tripod home, I mounted the ETX to it and started to align
the finderscope with the ETX.

The tripod failed (broke) where the "braces" in the middle attach to the
legs. The little screws weren't tightened enough and popped out of one
leg.

I took the tripod back and it was exchanged without any hassle. I just
wanted to let people know to check this before they use the Meade
tripod. Although I haven't seen any info about this, I can't believe I'm
the first.

Thanks for a great site. It was the main reason I bought the ETX instead
of a 4.5 Newtonian.

-Bob
Mike here: There have been reports of leg slippage when the clamps fail to hold the weight (mostly with the larger ETX-125EC).

Subj: 	etx enq
Date: 	Friday, January 14, 2000 14:56:38
From: 	alhst@yahoo.co.uk
Thank you for reply to my etx motor ticking over prob! not wishing to
bother you,just thank you for taking the trouble to reply,you have just
got to be very busy!

PS. read on one of your pages,someone using an etx my pride & joy
choice! as a finderscope on a large scope oh well,someones probably
using his large scope as a finder scope on a larger one again, ha!!
                 cheers mike
                 take care   Alon swuk

Subj: 	Interfacing PC23c CCD camera
Date: 	Friday, January 14, 2000 11:47:23
From: 	Nagy@mail.utexas.edu
Greetings-
Many of us watching the lists have bought the PC23c CCD camera from
Supercircuits. The question which is next is obviously "How do you
interface it to the ETX?" Where does one get a "C" to "T" adapter...or
are there other methods to mount the camera?

Bob Nagy

Subj: 	CONFUSED
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 19:47:22
From: 	doublej@pa.net
For the past couple of months I have been debating on purchasing either
a MEADE ETX90EC... or an ORION 6" REFLECTOR NEWTONIAN... I'm leaning
towards the Meade, but I need some advice. The Meade has a 3.5 reflector
as opposed to 6". The rub I have with ORION is that its 39lbs. I think I
have done a lot of reading comparing these two. But I still would like
your opinion.  Since this is my one and only purchase, can I assume the
Meade is as good or hopefully better  as the ORION?...I realize that
your a believer of the MEADE...can you make me one?
                                    thank you  
                                    Jim Scarfo
                                    doublej@pa.net
Mike here: You have to base your decision on YOUR needs. If portability is a need then go with the ETX. If aperture is a need go with the Orion. Orion seems to be a good company; I recently purchased a set of binoculars from them when my 30+ year-old ones didn't cut it anymore.

Added later:

sorry to bother you again... I'm really want to view galaxies,
nebulas...since I know almost next to nothing...can you give me some
more advice... by purchasing the ETX will I lose any of that
capability??.....and I do want portability....thanks for your time
Mike here: First off, don't expect to see the same views as you've seen in pictures. Most galaxies and nebulae will look faint and fuzzy in most amateur sized telescopes. The larger the telescope aperture the fainter objects you'll be able to see. So if deep sky work is your preference, go for the largest scope you can avoid. Of course, larger scopes are not as portable as smaller ones. So you will have to decide what is the largest scope you can easily transport.

Subj: 	Questions: best eyepieces and how do I take astro photos through the eye piece
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 18:42:07
From: 	shield1@prodigy.net
I recently purchased a Meade ETX 90 Astro.  I hear alot about eyepieces
and varying opinions on the quality of each.  Is there a brand of eye
pieces that most everyone agrees is of good quality and performance. 
Also what do I need to do to take photos through the eye piece.  I have
a canon AE1 and Ricoh 35 mm camera.

Thanks,

David R. Shiel
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page for some eyepiece suggestions. Also, the Accessories - Eyepieces page. And search for "eyepiece"; you'll get lots of info. As to astrophotography, look over the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page and the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subj: 	Arrival of EC
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 14:24:43
From: 	scott.patten@eds.com
G'day Mike,
My new 90 EC just arrived in OZ this week. I will have to take out
shares in Eveready to power it. I was thinking of running the unit with
the NiMH batteries. I heard that they have a better recharge life then
the standard recharging of the alkalines batteries and they can handle
having more current drained from them so thay may last a bit longer.. .
Any thoughts.

Best thing so far is that it didn't incur any import or customs duty(Not
to say it won't, perhaps I was just lucky). The vendors in Australia
have boosted the prices up a bit to accomodate this additional cost(One
vendor quote to me over the phone $1200A for the ETX 90 RA., and get
this $2500A for the ETX 90EC - when they were just coming out so the
price may be more realistic now..) I told him the price was fantastic
and then hung up with a smile.  . So if any aussies want to purchase
this way they will need buddies in the USA to mail it on to them as the
US vendors won't mail scopes direct to Australia. So much for open and
free trade everybody keeps talking about. I dealt with a couple of
vendors for various bits and pieces as they had different shipping and
handleing rates as well as costs etc. Very impressed with them. I won't
give them a free plug but they are the main ones....

Anyway look after yourself

Scott Patten
mailto:scott.patten@ieee.org

Subj: 	Meade ETX 90 EC and electric focuser info.
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 14:08:06
From: 	CCat151265
First off, thanks you and whoever else is involved in putting this site
together as it is very helpful.  I have a question regarding the
electric focuser (Meade #1244).  I was wondering how well the focuser
works and If there were any user comments on it's operation, I have
heard about problems with using it through the autostar.  Mainly if it
provided vibration free operation and if there was any problems with
clearance during slewing.

Any information greatly appreciated.
Mike here: While I have no direct experience with the Meade electronic focuser, I do have one from JMI. You can read my report on the Showcase Products page. A minor clearance problem is discussed there as well. You can search the site for "electronic focuser" to see other user comments.

Subj: 	meade at CES, respone to editorial
Date: 	Thursday, January 13, 2000 12:52:52
From: 	isochronos@yahoo.com
FYI, I talked to the Meade rep at the Consumer Electronics Show last
week.  He was showing a budget star program.  He said it was a low end
version of ???, some popular astronomy package but it would control the
ETX and update the Autostar.  It comes packaged with the Autostar cable
for about $40.  I think that is the current price for the cable by
itself. It should be available soon in scope dealer stores.

I am going to shoot the lunar eclipse next week with the ETX 125.  What
is the effective "photographic" focal ration when a camera is mounted
with both camera mount tubes.

In response to your editorial on Dec 22 99: subscriptions never work.  I
don't mind advertising, especially if it is relevant to the site. 
Almost every site has a banner add.  How bout a link to Amazon so you
get credit for all the books I order. As far as expanding the content to
other small scopes, I have no interest in anything outside the ETX 125
so a "ETX only" switch on the home page would be helpful.
Mike here: The ETX-125EC is f/15. You'll be using it like a 1900mm f/15 telephoto lens.

Subj: 	finding your (approximate) Magnetic Declination
Date: 	Wednesday, January 12, 2000 21:33:43
From: 	rseymour@wolfenet.com
Frequently Mike's site has messages and replies involving pointing at
"true" north versus "magnetic" north.

There's a NOAA (US gov't weather and ocean survey) site which will
calculate the approximate declination for any (reasonable) site in the
world.

the URL is:

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/seg/gmag/fldsnth1.pl

Go there, enter your location, click Submit.
(i did it for my location: 47.6 degrees North, 122.3 degrees West of
Greenwich)
You'll see a page like this:

====quote======

  Model: IGRF2000
  Latitude: 47.70 deg
  Longitude: -122.30 deg
  Elevation: 0.00 km
  Date of Interest: 1/12/2000


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

       D               I                     H             X
Y        Z        F
     (deg)            (deg)            (nt)           (nt)     (nt)
(nt)     (nt)
   18d 48.3m    69d 36.2m     19251    18224     6206    51772    55236

     dD         dI        dH          dX        dY         dZ         dF

   (min/yr)  (min/yr)   (nT/yr)     (nT/yr)   (nT/yr)    (nT/yr)
(nT/yr)
    -7.2       -1.6      -0.2        12.9     -38.4      -73.0
-68.5

=====end quote=====

That first entry (D) is the Declination.  Each of the headings is a
click-for-info link. A positive number (as above) means that the compass
will point to the right (east) of true north.

(the dD entry is how much it changes per year).

The values are -approximate-, but probably good enough for GoTo Alt/Az
telescope alignment. (my house is actually about 19 degrees 40 minutes,
based upon an aircraft navigation chart).

Meade's web site (http://www.meade.com/manuals/etx90ec/apb.html#1) has
the Latitude for many (all?) of the cities in the Autostar's database,
but they don't have the Longitudes.

Have fun...
--dick

Credit where it's due: the URL for the site came from the mapug.com
website, featured on Mike's Links page..

Subj: 	eyeglasses and eyepieces
Date: 	Wednesday, January 12, 2000 21:08:54
From: 	rseymour@wolfenet.com
lremigio@commsearch.com wrote:
> I wear glasses and they are annoying when doing stargazing and I'm
> wondering if the Stereo Binocular Viewer pieces ( advertised in a few
> magazines) are really good for astronomy purposes. Price for me don't
> matter but I'm not taking the risk of surgery since I heard many bad
> comments and the procedure is not yet full 100% safe. I would like to
> know if stereo viewers really work.

I haven't used stereo eyepieces on a small telescope, but i -do- wear
eyeglasses.

A stereo eyepiece splits the available light in half to feed both eyes.
Given the ETX's high-f-number (thus dim) i wouldn't try them on it....
but you've now got an LX-50. For your LX-50 they'd probably give
handsome impressions when viewing the moon, at least. And "losing" half
the light would only turn the LX-50 into about a 6 inch equivalent
aperture.

But I have to ask: why wear your glasses when stargazing?

I'm "20/800", lenses approaching 8 diopters, with astigmatism.   I've
got my viewfinder and 'scope focussed for me without my glasses, and the
ETX/EC's GoTo really lowers the number of times i have to put my glasses
back on. (this is one of the reasons i don't use red-dot/Telrad-like
viewfinders).  My wife's eyesight is similar enough to mine that focus
adjustments between us are barely perceptible.

The one change i'd contemplate would be an astigmatic-corrected
eyepiece.  A corrector lens could be fitted in the Filter thread, and a
finger-findable bump on the outer tube would help place it in the right
orientation.

The Feb 2000 Sky and Telescope has an article on building one's own
eyepieces, and attempting a correction in one of those might be
feasible, too.  Challenge your local optician!

good luck
--dick

Subj: 	do-it-yourself T-adapter
Date: 	Wednesday, January 12, 2000 20:52:32
From: 	rseymour@wolfenet.com
A few suggestions about building your own T-adapter.

First, a warning: i -bought- mine.

However, may i suggest that you take the telescope (if feasible) to a
used-camera store (if possible).  If you cannot take the telescope, at
least take the cover from the T-adapter's hole.

I read (somewhere) that the ETX uses a "35 mm" thread.  I have also
heard from other people that they have found the ETX thread slightly
undersized when they tried fitting random items to it.

The used camera store i visited (Seattle folks: more or less 1321 NE
44th Street) had many many T-adapters ... some were adjustable length,
some were multi-piece tubes, all had differing mounting fittings where
you would attach the telescope.  I had -not- brought my telescope, it
was an impulse visit.

(i apologize for the following English measurements... i can't find a
metric ruler (nor my calipers) at the moment... an inch is 25.4 cm, and
i'll be using decimal inches)

The Official Meade T-adapter consists of two tubes.  The short one is
1.15 inches from where it butts against the telescope to its outer
mounting shoulder, and a t-thread section protrudes another 0.2 inches
beyond that.  There is a second, longer tube about 1.94 inches long
whcih can be screwed onto the above t-thread, and it also has a (final)
0.2-inch-long protruding t-thread.  You are then expected to purchase a
t-thread-to-your-favorite-camera adapter from the camera store.

The two tubes screwed together make a total tube length of 3.1 inches,
from where the short tube would fit pressed against the face of the
telescope's rear fitting.  The "nut" which hold the t-adapter to the
telescope covers the telescope-end of the tube assembly.

The exact length of the t-adapter is probably -not- important, since you
can compensate with the telescope's focus adjustment.  Many people have
complained that it is -not- at the same focussing point as the eyepiece
(somewhere there's a note about using a piece of sink drain pipe as an
extender for the eyepiece to "correct" that).

good luck
--dick

Subj: 	ETX 90/EC site
Date: 	Wednesday, January 12, 2000 15:07:10
From: 	jreiter@inreach.com
I have set up a "another" ETX 90/EC home page.  I would appreciate if
you would list me on your site.  You are doing a GREAT JOB, thank you
for the time and effort you have put into your site. You realize you are
creating a community.

home.inreach.com/jreiter/etx90ec.htm

jreiter@inreach.com

Subj: 	Various nonsense
Date: 	Wednesday, January 12, 2000 06:55:29
From: 	gbgesq@earthlink.net
Hi Mike, and Welcome Back!  Sorry to hear you picked up the Y2K bug i've
heard so much about - and in the last year of the 20th century to boot! 
I saw the blurb where you mentioned your wife - did you two get hitched
while the site was not updated?  Personal life above that of your
readers?  Shame!

Incidentally, I followed the tip from a poster (sorry, don't remember
who) and bought the tool box liners from the Sears hardware department -
it cost $15, and (although still in the unopened bag) it appears to be a
black flexible foam that does indeed look ideal to make into a dew
shield for the 90 or 125.  I have had some problems with Clear Night
Products - if that's not resolved, I'll go public (not a mere idle
threat!).  The funny thing about the sears drawer liners is that if it
cost $15 for one sheet of the stuff, i wouldn't have blinked ($15 for a
dew shield - good deal!) but it comes in a pack of 5 - so then i was
thinking it was a waste, they shouldn't charge so much if i just want
one, etc. - funny how the (unbalanced) mind works.

Anyway, welcome back - the long hiatus was almost too much - every day
when i come into my dreary office i check the site (i even checked a few
times while you were away for nostalgia) - good to see the "site
updated" date change, and those blue "new" icons make my morning!
Gary
Mike here: Actually, we got married last Summer. MacWorld Expo and getting married in the same week would have been too confusing.

Subj: 	ETX RA Bearings.
Date: 	Wednesday, January 12, 2000 01:02:07
From: 	RRossell@aol.com
I've been "lurking" at this great site for a couple of years now and
learned a lot, thanks very much to you and the contributors who make
this work.

Here's the skinny; I just purchased an ETX90 "Classic" from
Learningsmith at the local mall as they were going out of business (got
some good deals, $300 for the scope, $26 for the focuser, $60 for a hard
case.) After checking out the scope I found the RA motion to be
"sticky". Also, in certain orientations things drift across the FOV as
if the motor drive was not on and then correct with "jump" or "lurch" to
start the whole thing over.

A closer look revealed that one of the Teflon bearings ( little
self-adhesive pads ) was missing (there are supposed to be three), so, I
called Meade to get a replacement. They cheerfully agreed to mail me a
set of bearings (plus one "just in case") right away. I'm expecting
these any day now.

My question is this; would there be any advantage in having more than
three of these bearings? With four on the way I could have six total. It
seems like having a few more points of support might be usefull given
the somewhat wobble prone base. I guess there may be an issue of extra
"drag" caused by more bearings, but, I don't really know. If any of you
have some experience with this or just an idea to contribute I would
love to hear it.

Thanks, 
Rodney - North Palm Beach, FL 
rrossell@aol.com

BTW; Buying the floor model scope from under the clear plastic cube
without a box or even a manual would have scared me to death without the
knowledge I've gained from this most useful (and fun) site. Thanks Again
Mike !
Mike here: Do a search for "teflon"; I don't recall any mention of using more but there are lots of comments.

Subj: 	Weasner's Mighty ETX Site
Date: 	Tuesday, January 11, 2000 16:07:19
From: 	twilliam@ole.net
Hi Mike!  Welcome back, and sorry to hear you've been under the weather.
Hope your feeling better soon.

In regards to Weasner's Mighty ETX Site: Even though I don't speak up
too often, I visit your site at least once a day.  It's been a valuable
source of information to me.  I started off about a year and a half ago
with a ETX-90RA, upgraded a few months later to the ETX-90EC, and then
upgraded again to the ETX-125EC.  I just wanted to let you know, that I
too would prefer to see your site remain the "Weasner's Mighty ETX Site"
if it were up to me.  I enjoy the smaller family of Meade products now
covered here, and the related accessories from the various different
vendors.  I worry that the expansion to the "Weasner's Tremendous Small
Telescope Site", including ALL small telescopes, will degrade the common
bond that has been present in the contributors here, and end up with
mostly arguments and flames of "this v that".  The support of others,
that are using the same equipment that I have is what brings me back.  I
think you've done a great job on your reviews, and have had several
times when I have bitten my tongue, rather than send you even more
email, to show my support, when I know you've been swamped with
complaints by others.  I am one of the silent _majority_ that are happy
with the 125.  Just my two cents.

Keep up the good work,

Tom Williams
Mike here: I am getting close to some decisions regarding scope and funding. No pre-announcements though! Have to work through some details once I get caught up on many other things.

Subj: 	No Hurry for Your Opinion
Date: 	Tuesday, January 11, 2000 13:26:58
From: 	lking@divorceresolutions.com
When you get a chance, could you offer me your final opinion on what
tripod/plate/adapter (WHATEVER) makes the most sense?  (not probably
want to spend more than $300 or so, with Meade costing $200)  Even a one
sentence blurb would be great as I know you have a million folks bending
your ear. By the way, as I wrote on my Meade mail-in card, your website
is probably 90% of the reason I bought an ETX rather than the options.
Thanks!
Larry
________________________________________
Lawrence F. King, J.D.
Divorce Resolutions(tm), A Center for Mediation
"Visions for a Cooperative Divorce(tm)"
8704 Yates Drive, Suite 220
Westminster, CO  80031-3682
303-657-9599 (voice) | 303-650-6488 (fax)
www.divorceresolutions.com
E-mail:  lking@divorceresolutions.com
Mike here: Don't know that I have a FINAL opinion. What satisfies YOUR needs is the best solution for you. Lots of good inputs on the Accessories - Tripods page.

Subj: 	Expecting you back!!!
Date: 	Tuesday, January 11, 2000 00:32:59
From: 	lremigio@commsearch.com
I'm Lionel ( the guy who ask you for some advise and sent the e-mail
with the capital letters...did you remember?)

Well......as you must know...I keep my ETX-90 and I has been enjoying it
for many days. All December I put the scope in use...later I upgraded
for a LX-50 with the Magellan and after few days hunting...I decided to
return the LX-50 to the same store ( very nice guys at Wolf Camera and
Video in the Dad eland store, Miami) and after talking with the manager
he agreed to take back the LX-50 and ordering me the LX-200 that I would
be receiving Wednesday January 12 or Thursday January 13.

I need to say here that I have ordered some merchandise from Scopetronix
http://www.scopetronix.com and the business is great when you deal with
Jordan Blessing. He knows how to help when asking questions and I will
recommend Scopetronix to any one in this group.

They are located in Cape Coral Fla, no too far from me and I can get the
stuff usually in one day.

Well.....we are expecting you back. What more I need to say? I
forget..being in the hobby for less that a month I already observed
Jupiter, Saturn, Orion Nebula, Mars, Pleiades and The Moon ( this one
too easy right?) and some other starts. All this with the ETX-90!!!!!

ETX-90 is a great scope and for beguinners..I must say is great.

Thanks

Hope you enjoy your vacations.

Lionel


                          Lionel Remigio
                              President
               Communications Research Group, Inc
             16410 SW 109 Avenue, Miami Fl 33157 USA
                     http://www.commsearch.com
                     http://www.international-tv.com
                     http://www.miamielectronica.com

                  Tel: 305-252-3492   Fax 305-254-5682
                   TOLL FREE 1-877-COM-GROUP
                    LLAME GRATIS 1-877-266-4768
Mike here: Unfortunately, I caught the flu while at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. I was down for three days. Jordan is one of the great guys we have in our community.

Subj: 	ETX Hi lat tripod
Date: 	Monday, January 10, 2000 03:00:56
From: 	rmccarthy@cit.ie
I love the site and it is full of great info. I was wondering if you
could help me. I just bought a second hand ETX with the table top tripod
and wondered if you could tell me how long is the high lat leg so I can
machine mine to the shorter lenght.
Many thanks
Ralph McCarthy 
Ireland
    	   	     \\||//
 	  	     (o o)
------------------ooO-(_)-Ooo--------------------------
Ralph McCarthy			Tel: 00 353 21 326684
Cork Institute of Technology,	Fax: 00 353 21 345191
Rossa Avenue,			Email: rmccarthy@cit.ie
Cork,
Ireland.			http://www.cit.ie/
-------------------------------------------------------

Subj: 	etx object report for 1999
Date: 	Sunday, January 9, 2000 18:37:42
From: 	emosser@gte.net
Happy new years to you and all.  I finished up the century with a couple
hours outside with the ETX 90 and have used the past few days and nights
of cloudy skys to compile my catalog of objects viewed in 1999.

In addition to the moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn,  I viewed 54
Messier objects, 42 NCG (non Messier) objects, 40 double or multiple
stars,  and 14 miscellaneous objects (usually open clusters not
cataloged by Messier or NCG).

This was done without computer or go-to capabilities, simply by using
Star Charts and star hopping to the locations.  As the year progressed,
I fell into a routine of searching for deep sky objects in the dark of
the moon.  Even tho the ETX is not thought of as a deep sky scope, it is
capable of providing great views of many deep objects.

The final night of the century brought me in contact with the following
objects:
1.  Jupiter
2.  Saturn
3.  M43 (NGC1039) - resolved 39 stars, including four sets of doubles.
4.  gamma Andromeda (2.2 and 5.1 mag,  63 degrees position, 9.8 arc sec
sep)
5.  38 Persius (couldn't resolve)
back outside at 11pm and wrapped things up:
6.  NCG 1647 in Taurus - 28 stars in 30 arc min area.
7.  NCG 1746 in Taurus - halfway between Aldebaron and Alnath, I
resolved 17 stars in 40 arc min area.
8.  NGC 1817 in Taurus - the last observation of the century for me.

Great scope, great year, great website, great hobby.

Best of luck in 2000.

Ed Mosser - emosser@gte.net
Mike here: Sorry to hear you won't be using your ETX in this final year of the 20th Century. ;-)

Subj: 	ETX
Date: 	Sunday, January 9, 2000 01:23:29
From: 	zaphod@csrlink.net
Hi, I hate to bother you. But, your page proves that you know a great
deal about the ETX and well frankly, I need a little help. I was viewing
Saturn when knocked my telescope over. The only damage I did was break
two teeth off of one of the horizonal drive gears. I thought I would ask
if you have any suggestions. Any information you can give will be
helpfull.

Thanks,
Aaron
Mike here: Egads. That sounds like pretty serious damage. If you want to use the drive, you'll have to replace the gears. Best bet is to contact Meade unless you are mechanically inclined and can the proper gear.

Subj: 	No Subject
Date: 	Thursday, January 6, 2000 18:42:44
From: 	scott.patten@eds.com
G'day Mike,
I hope you are well. 
Oz is much the same but we are finally getting some rain here in
Melbourne which we surely need, not enough but enough to green up the
place.

I just had a look at your site and checked out the Editorial Page. In my
opinion you should do as you wish. If you need to recover cost or reduce
them then do so. If companies want to pay for advertising then let them.
From our chats and reading the site regularly I know and feel that you
won't let yourself be ripped or intimidated by vendors "wanting special
words for them etc" payola I think they call it.

Already many of the companies have good representation through all the
comments being given. Payment by Advertising is a way of improving your
site as well. You may be able to do bigger and betting things and reduce
your efforts at the same time. Many people appreciate the efforts, time
and respect you give them. Also of advertisers that have ETX related
stuff and perhaps other relevant astronomical products will be good to
have visible. Most people come to your site to see the comments etc.
just because you have an advertisement doesn't mean you have to click on
it.

Whether you have ads or not will not deter me from visiting the only
site that is catering for ETX  scope owners

Look after yourself mate and have a good last year of the 20th century

Scott Patten

mailto:scott.patten@eds.com

Subj: 	traveling scope
Date: 	Thursday, January 6, 2000 17:11:20
From: 	coleman@watervalley.net
Thanks for your site. Definitely THE place for answers.

I travel frequently; so, my question is would the ETX-90EC be practical
to pack into a "rollin-cart" and fly with (I rarely check luggage) -
either it fits in the computer bag and rolling-cart or it doesn't go. I
am willing to pack less clothes, but wondering how fragile are these
scopes?

If travelling with scope is a bad idea, it sounds like the 125 would be
the best buy presently.

ALL advice appreciated.

thanks,

Tom Coleman
coleman@watervalley.net
Mike here: The ETX-90 is perfect for traveling. Check my report on the Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, check the Just for Fun page for my Australia trip (with the ETX) report.

Added later:

I think I'll order the 90-EC as soon as they are back in stock. The
cheapest deal Ive seen is through Damark as a buyer's club member 10%
off on 600.00 (not including the autostar controller) adds-up.

I have one of these golfball size color video cameras that I can unscrew
the micro lens from - taped to the lens element of a telephoto video
camera, I get a very good image: I am wondering if others have done this
with the ETX scopes. These cameras are available for about $50.00 now,
and are very low lux rated. If you know of an adapter for these pinhole
like cameras (with a micro-thread lens mount - dime sized) - could you
let me know?
Mike here: Search the site for "QuickCam" and "CCD"; you will get lots of hits on both.

Subj: 	Thanks for the ETX site
Date: 	Wednesday, January 5, 2000 16:43:45
From: 	rdelucchi@hotmail.com
My wife and I recently bought a place on the Big Island of Hawaii, and
are planning a trip to the observatories on Mauna Kea 7/00. In prep for
that, I'm reading a history of the Mauna Kea installations, and decided
to buy a telescope; haven't been involved with astronomy since freshman
year of college, many moons (sorry) ago.

After a day of websurfing, Meade ETX-90EC with #497 Autostar looks like
what I want. Someday, might want to add a Pictor 216XT CCD
Autoguider/Imager and 616 Color Filter System.

I won't ask any newbie questions until after I scour your excellent site
thoroughly, but wanted to drop you an email immediately upon discovering
it to say thanks; it's URLs like yours that make the web wonderful.

Randy Delucchi, MSN Hotmail * http://www.CAUCE.org
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1433577.html
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/1999/09-22spam.htm
http://www.business2.com/articles/1999/04/pdf/debate.pdf
Mike here: I'll be in Hawaii in July 00. We'll be attending a science fiction convention in Honolulu. My wife is arranging a tour of Mauna Kea observatory for some of the fans attending the convention.

Subj: 	Prices on the ETX-90EC
Date: 	Tuesday, January 4, 2000 16:50:03
From: 	MikeG1355@aol.com
Anyone know who is currently offering the best deal on an ETX-90EC?  I
found one for $549 but can't seem to find it again.  Also, prices on
field tripod, eyepieces and other accessories.  After looking at other
options, this looks like the telescope for me to start my
astronomological journey.
Mike here: Other than store-wide sales, discounting on the ETX telescopes is rare. Too popular.

Subj: 	The Great meade scam
Date: 	Tuesday, January 4, 2000 08:30:17
From: 	Bischoff@Garden.Net
I have been an ameateur astronomer for 55years. I have built many
telescopes up to 16 inch.Made all mounting on lathe work and was a
winner on optics and mechanical at stellafane in 1965. My personal
telescope a 12 and a half inch newtonian {the winner} has been in an
observatory for the past 35 years. Trees have reduced my sky over the
years. I travel with my R V  and I purchased an ETX 90 from meade. I
wanted something that I could take outside to parts of the sky so I
could observe the planets. I wanted something to travel with and an ETX
seemed to fit the bill. With my experience I am surprised at myself for
being so taken in.Altho I knew that meade quality was something to be
desired, I am apalled at a company that would advertise that the scope
could see 12,000 objects.As any observer can tell you,most of these
objects are beyond the magnitude that a 3 inch could reach.Also my hand
held controls are subject to cold weather. When the autostar did work it
was very pleasing. Even with the downloading it did not perform any
better.Altho the optics were surpurb. I should know ,I used to judge
telescopes ay stellafane.I do not believe that Meade is advancing the
interest in amateur astronomy by marketing such an instrument.

        Gene Bischoff
         2 Blue heron Lane
         Newton N J 0786
         bischoff@garden.net

Subj: 	ETX90+cookbook CCD camera
Date: 	Tuesday, January 4, 2000 03:43:34
From: 	N.J.Noordhoek@tue.nl
First of all: lots of compliments for your ETX site. It "made" me buy an
ETX. I have a question on the physical dimensions of the ETX camera,
more specifically on the T-adapter.

By sheer luck I got a "cookbook CCD camera" including Peltier cooler for
free. Knowing the specs of this camera, I can't wait to mount it to my
ETX: www.wvi.com/~rberry/cookbook.htm
 ("the Cookbook camera shows
15th magnitude stars in 1.5 seconds"). This is the problem: I do not
have a T-adapter to mount the camera and I would like to make one my
self (I have all the necessary tools here at the university workshop),
but I do not know the exact dimensions of the T-adapter (thread,
diameter, length etc.). I can not really guess, because these dimensions
are likely to be in inches rather than in the millimeters that are the
standard here. Could you provide me with these dimensions?

hoping to provide lots of interesting deep sky images soon,

kind regards,

Niels Noordhoek

N.J. Noordhoek
Eindhoven University of Technology
Postbus 513   
5600 MB Eindhoven
The Netherlands
cyclotron building, room 2.10
telephone: *31 40 2474030
email: n.j.noordhoek@tue.nl
Mike here: I doubt that I could give you a completely accurate measurement to a sufficient significance. Plus the time it would take to actually make this adapter would well exceed its cost (a few dollars). Just a thought.

Subj: 	GoodBye?
Date: 	Monday, January 3, 2000 20:59:53
From: 	jahorsley@uswest.net
Well after 2 1/2 years of using your site as a bible, and having your
experienced advice to guide me through my trials and tribulations of ETX
land... ;-) It is now time for me to say goodbye. My 8" LX200 has
finally arrived from Meade and I have (with a sad heart) sold my little
ETX.

Thank you Mike for having the guts and patients to put up with all that
you do! My hats off to you, and if I could, I'd like to give you a well
deserved pat on the back. Good luck in future endeavors and just
remember when all else fails just tell them to READ @#&%**! THE
MANUAL!!!!! :-D :-D :-D :-D

Clear Skies -n- Keep Lookin UP.... John

PS I'll stop by now and then just to see how it's going. C'ya

Subj: 	Your site
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 23:27:44
From: 	tony@encoreelectronics.com
I received a Meade 4501 4.5" reflector for xmas and it reminded me how
much I liked astronomy as a child. However, the motor would take off on
me and I decided to return it. I'm now shopping for a better 'scope and
I'm going over your site in detail. Thanks for having such a great
amount of user feedback.

I've been considering the ETX125, but I'm also looking at Meade's other
lines. I need to talk to Celestron too.

Regards,

Tony Karavidas

Subj: 	Re: ETX Tripod
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 19:51:51
From: 	relgert@datanet.ab.ca
While I no longer own an ETX125 as Meade couldn't get their heads out of
their butts long enough to send me one that worked, I did make some mods
to my tripod(before I returned it for a refund) that made a world of
difference.  I added 1lb of weight to the bottom of the tripod leg that
slides. I did this by sandwiching a large bolt (1lb.) between some
styrofoam pieces and then jammed the whole thing into the bottom of the
legs (after removing the leg bottom thing).This added 3lb's overall and
moved the centre of gravity down.  The next thing I did was to make a
metal triangle (16 guage mild steel) peice similar to the plywood one
described previously in this section. I made it with 14" sides with a 1"
lip turned up on all three sides.  Then I threaded 1/4 by 20 bolts in at
the corners for attaching to the tripods existing leg spanners. 
Threading the bolt thru the "tray" made them captive. I passed the bolts
thru the existing 1/4 " holes on the tripod leg spanners and finished
with some wingnuts.  These two additions made a world of difference and
now you will be able to focus much easier.  I also added a flexifocus by
scopetronix (best company to deal with) and some vibration suppression
pads made out of rubber furniture leg bottoms ($2)bought at my local
hardware store. The whole system was solid as a rock. After a good bump,
all vibrations dampened out in under a second.  With the flexifocus, I
could push the scope well over 200x and focus with the greatest of ease.
These additions, even if you have to have the metal tray made, will cost
you less than $25 (not including the flexifocus) and it turns a
piece-0-crap tripod into a very sturdy and portable tripod (no thanks to
the geniuses at Meade) Try it, I guarantee it will lower the "focusing
frustration" scale to a minimum.

Mike: just to let you know that I purchased a used Ultima 8" and am very
pleased with it.  It doesn't have the portability that the ETX had but
the images are superior and the mount is incredibly stable.  With the
left over money, I can buy some digital setting circles (yahoo!)

Subj: 	New User ETX experience
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 16:14:24
From: 	teb1013@hotmail.com
First of all, thanks to Mike, this site is a marvelous benefit to those
of us who have taken the ETX "plunge" so to speak.  Full of useful
information and yet a friendly approach. Too bad that Meade doesn't give
more guidance to buyers of the ETX, but it's probably better that an
independant site like this one ends up being the definitive source.

Dave Colton's post of 12/30/99 is as good a post as I've read about the
benefits and failures of the ETX, especially the problems due to dim
eyepiece viewing. Sure wish I'd known a little more about the limited
light grasp of the ETX before I bought the scope, however.

My experience with astronomy was several years of using a Meade 291 60mm
EQ refractor, talk about limited light grasp!   I'd long wanted a bigger
scope and found myself torn between a 6" Newtonian and a smaller
catadioptric.  Ultimately, after searching and reading everything I
could, I made the decision in about 20 minutes when I saw the ETX 90EC
field tripod and Autostar all on sale at Natural Wonders for 20% off [in
response to the Learningsmith closeout sale, which was 30% off, but had
sold out before I learned of it].  With the field tripod already $175
rather than 199, I found the saving overpowering.

My initial experience was much like many have reported, frustration with
the inconvenient finder, annoyance with the "home position" set up of
the Autostar and diffiuculty in focusing in certain orientations of the
scope.  Slowly, after using up far too many batteries, I got the hang of
the alignment, and recently got a good alignment which actually got all
of the objects I wanted into the field with each move. Unfortunately I
haven't had a truly good night of "seeing" either it has been cloudy,
foggy, or the moon has been too full to evaluate most objects.  I got
some pleasing views of Jupiter and Saturn along with the Orion Nebula
[with triangulum] however, and am hoping for much better as soon as
seeing improves.  The moon was too full for best viewing except right
along the terminator.  I found the moon filter I'd gotten to actually
make the image too dark except with the 27mm eyepiece.

So far I haven't had the opportunity to evaulate the Meade 126 barlow or
the 9.5 mm Meade Plossl which I picked up for the scope and the dim
views through the 9.5 so far indicates that Dave may be right and I may
be asking too much of the eyepiece.  But, as with all things
astronomical, I plan to give this time.  I plan to go through "Turn Left
at Orion" bit by bit and try to get the most out of each object.  
Dickinson's book "Nighwatch" has great easy to use star maps which are a
good companion to "Turn Left" and the Autostar itself.

What do other viewers find the practical limitation of the '90' is in
magnification [i.e. eyepiece mm?].  I get the feeling that the 27mm
supplied with the scope with and without the barlow may get the most
use.

Does anyone have experience with large focus knobs or focus extensions,
or is an electric focuser the only answer [pretty expensive, I'd rather
spend the $ on an eyepiece].  Also, sounds dumb, but I note a number of
people on this board say that their scopes are out of collimation.  What
is the easiest way of telling if this is the case, needless to say our
friends at Meade don't even acknowledge the possiblity in the
instructions or web site.  I've already ordered the Orion EZ finder,
hope it'll make the alignment procedure easier, and allow improved "non
autostar" use as well.

Once again, Mike thanks for the great site.  Now that I'm part of the
ETX family,  I am looking forward to seeing how others are doing, both
the heights and limitations of the experience.

Tom Brown (teb1013@hotmail.com)
Mike here: Most of your questions are answered (someplace) on the site, usually on the Feedback pages. Doing a "search" can turn up all kinds of pages with answers. ETX users use all kinds of eyepieces. Certainly, for faint objects you have to use less magnification but that is true no matter what telescope you use. Scopetronix sells a focus extension that several users have reported on. JMI and Meade also sell electronic focusers. See the Astronomy Links page for their web sites. The simple test for collimation is to view a bright star in an eyepiece. Turn the focus in and out and watch the rings. They should appear circular and symmetrical. For a better test, use the Christmas Tree Ornament test (described on the Tech Tips page).

Subj: 	Re: Kudos
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 13:29:55
From: 	Jackal9208@aol.com
  Thanks for all your hard work Mike
   It is truly a valueable resourse for information we cant do with out
   Clear Skies 
   Pat

Subj: 	Re: How do Meade's various GOTO gizmo's differ?
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 12:34:36
From: 	jh@brainiac.com
The Magellan II is a DSC (digital setting circle) unit.  It will read
out the coordinates you're currently pointing to, but does not allow you
to choose an object and automatically GOTO it.  That's what the LX-200
model does; its mount is completely computerized

The big difference between the Autostar and the LX200 is the accuracy of
the tracking and pointing, and the number of items in its database.
That's a bit simplified, as the LX200 has other features as well.

======================================================================
       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subj: 	Kudos
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 12:25:12
From: 	jh@brainiac.com
Great work on the website!  The new layout is fast and easy to navigate.
Huzzah!

======================================================================
       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Mike here: Thanks. Still have some more tweaking to do but that will have to wait until later in January.

Subj: 	Stereo binocular viewers help.
Date: 	Sunday, January 2, 2000 00:57:57
From: 	lremigio@commsearch.com
Happy New Year 2000 and thanks again for the amazing site you have. Here
I'm back again after mi first postings in middle December in  reference
to the ETX 90 vs the 125. I follow your advise and keep the 90 and after
a few days...I went for the LX-50 with the Magellan II and now I own two
scopes!!!!!! The astronomy bug bite me!!!

I post some parts of this message to me MAPUG list but for your
expertise in this matter I'm sending the question to you for advise.

I wear glasses and they are annoying when doing stargazing and I'm
wondering if the Stereo Binocular Viewer pieces ( advertised in a few
magazines) are really good for astronomy purposes. Price for me don't
matter but I'm not taking the risk of surgery since I heard many bad
comments and the procedure is not yet full 100% safe. I would like to
know if stereo viewers really work.

Back to the "stereo viewer"...one is made in Germany OEM'ed for
Celestron $519 retail price advertised in Shutan catalog and site) and
the other one is advertised by University Optics in Michigan for $595.00
( page 79 Sky and Telescope, February 2000 issue). The one carried in
University Optics have 45 degrees angle and both screws direct to SCT's.
I know to use this you need dual eye pieces but this is not a big deal
if I can see better....

Can somebody help me or giving me any opinion in reference to this
device? If the piece works would give a very nice dimensional image
binocular type but don't know if this affects in any way the  scope
optics or focus or eye pieces.

Looks like this is selling like hot bread because nobody have this units
in stock.

Thanks for all your help nd advise before and congratulations for your
amazing site.....a BIG learning tool and with tons of information not
only for ETX but the LX-50 also....

Astronomy is simply amazing!!!!

Hapy New Year for you and all the visitors to this site.

                          Lionel Remigio
                              President
               Communications Research Group, Inc
             16410 SW 109 Avenue, Miami Fl 33157 USA
                     http://www.commsearch.com
                     http://www.international-tv.com
                     http://www.miamielectronica.com

                  Tel: 305-252-3492   Fax 305-254-5682
                   TOLL FREE 1-877-COM-GROUP
Mike here: I have no experience with binocular viewers on telescopes. But I have heard that they are very nice to use. Whether they would eliminate the problem you experience with glasses, only you will be able to say once you actually use them.

Subj: 	filter
Date: 	Saturday, January 1, 2000 18:54:15
From: 	SMalin1@aol.com
Just wondering if you have heard of anyone putting on a solar prominance
filter on an ETX/EC. Lumicon sells one at a fairly reasonable price. But
I do not think they make it for the ETX. Perhaps you have information
about this.
Thanks from Selwyn Malin
Mike here: Sorry, I haven't heard of anyone doing it. Usually, the cost of those filters are way more than the cost of the ETX.

Added later:

A friend recently bought one from Lumicon for $600.00 which is very
cheap compared to the Day Star version which costs over $2000.00. He
uses it on a Celestron C8 and is quite pleased with it. He told me
Prominences can been seen very clearly. So I thought if it were
available for the ETX it might be a worthwhile accessory to have. I
emailed Lumicon about this and am waiting to hear from them. I'll keep
you posted when I hear from them.
Thanks much and have a great New Year

Sent:	Sat, Jan 1, 2000 18:11
From:	Kym Thalassoudis (info@skymaps.com)
Subj:	A Link to Skymaps.com
G'day Mike.

Could you please place a link to http://Skymaps.com from your Mighty ETX
site. This is a new Web site which was launched on 1 January 2000.
Please take a look and download the first issue of "The Evening Sky Map"
which is available for both northern and southern hemispheres.

"The Evening Sky Map" (Acrobat PDF format) contains a ready-to-use
all-sky map showing constellations, bright planets, and a variety of
deep-sky objects, double and variable stars. Brief descriptions are
provided for most celestial objects which are listed as either naked
eye, binocular or telescopic. I'm sure visitors to your Web site will
find the sky map quite useful.

Clear skies & best wishes for the new year.

Kym T.
---
Kym Thalassoudis
http://Skymaps.com
Free sky maps each month for you to explore, learn & enjoy the night sky.

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