Last updated: 31 January 2004
Subject: ETX convert Date: 1/31/04, 18:27 From: Kaustav Bhattacharya (email@example.com) I stumbled across your ETX web site through pure chance. The wonders of google.com! I am on the verge of purchasing my very first ETX. I plan on getting the ETX105. I am from England and as with all things here, especially astronomy equipment, things are more expensive compared to the USA. Right now, Meade are doing a special offer on the ETX 105 for £699 (approx $1258 US Dollars). This includes the steel tripod, the autostar system, one super plossl eye piece and a couple of other bits and pieces. How does that price compare to US prices for this telescope? I am going to be in New York City in a few weeks and might hold out purchasing this scope in the UK and might just go buy it in the USA and bring it back with me which is more than doable given the scopes relatively light weight which I'm sure I can sneak in to my carry on luggage. If you know of any decent and trusted US dealers, especially in the NYC (Manhatten) region, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could send me some URL's or simply give your own personal opionion on things. It's always good to hear from an expert on these things :-) Regards, Kaustav BhattacharyaMike here: Current price (at OPT) for the ETX-105AT/UHTC is $870 (USD). I can't speak about any New York dealers. For URLs for dealers, see the Astronomy Links page; there is a dealer section there. As to carrying it on, remember that the shipping boxes (telescope and tripod) will probably not qualify as carry-on.
Subject: Lunar Tracking in Polar Mode Date: 1/31/04, 15:47 From: Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was wondering if it makes any difference to switch from sidereal to lunar tracking when observing the Moon in polar mode? Thanks, PaulMike here: Yes, if viewing the Moon over a long observing session or when using very high magnifications. But I never switch.
Maybe I will engage Lunar tracking for when I want to try high magnification photography of lunar features then. Paul
Subject: ETX info Date: 1/31/04, 13:33 From: "A.J. VanDorn" (email@example.com) Hello...wondering if you could help me. Im looking at buying an ETX-90, but I see they have an ETX-90EC and an ETX-90AT - I cant seem to find a difference between the two. By chance, do you know the difference? I have contacted Meade to find out but have not received a response back. Any help would be grateful .... THANKSMike here: See the Announcements - Meade page.
Subject: Strange ETX-90 Behavior Date: 1/31/04, 11:04 From: R&JS (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am copying Clay Sherrod on this message -- I submitted this question earlier and I'd like to try the suggestion Clay made then. Here's the problem. Once or twice a week, my ETX-90, while tracking an object, will drop dramatically in altitude. It continues to track in azimuth and altitude, it just drops far down below the object being tracked. When this happens, I set it on a fast slew rate -- 8 or 9 -- and hold the UP arrow until the object appears in the finderscope -- whatever it was tracking is always centered in azimuth -- I center for altitude, SYNCH, and return to tracking. Today was an example. At 0545 I turned on the scope from where I had left it in PARK SCOPE, did a GOTO Jupiter, and started tracking Jupiter -- I centered Jupiter and did SYNCH. When I went out for my morning run at 0630, it was tracking just about perfectly -- Jupiter was still almost centered in the 15mm eyepiece. When I returned from running at 0715, the scope was pointed as far down as it could go -- the tube was resting on the base, pointing at the ground. It was still pointed at Jupiter's azimuth -- it was just pointed at a spot on the ground below Jupiter. I pushed 9 for slew rate and held the UP arrow and it slewed up to Jupiter, which became centered in the crosshairs on the finder as the scope moved up. I checked for center in the eyepiece -- it was centered, I did not have to use the RIGHT or LEFT buttons to center it, just UP and DOWN -- did SYNCH -- and it tracked without a flaw until 0830, when the sun wiped out Jupiter. I did RESET, CALIBRATE, TRAIN 10 days ago -- and re-entered the alt and az ratios from Clay's tune-up. This happens enough to be mildly annoying -- I can live with it but it bugs me when it happens!! If I observe seven nights a week, it will happen two nights out of seven. It seems to happen only once a session -- when it happens, I leave the scope running for a couple of hours even if I am not observing, just to see if it will do it again -- it does not. When I asked about this earlier, Clay suggested there may be a piece of debris in the tracking mechanism. Where would I look for this and what am I looking for? I am not afraid to dig into the scope -- I am quite handy with small tools and small assemblies. Thanks. ---- Joe SchlatterMike here: Possible causes: low battery power (due to low outside air temperatures?), intermittent connection (someplace), or a dirty encoder. The first is easy to check; try it indoors or use new batteries (or AC power). The second is more difficult but removing and reinserting the Autostar cable (or even reversing it) might help. The last one might be easy to fix; unlock the altitude axis and move the OTA up and down full range by hand several times. This can loosen up the grease and may remove the dirt. Lets try these first before going deeper.
And from Dr. Clay:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (email@example.com) This is not at all an issue with training nor settings; you are really wasting effort going through training and resetting the scope. Your clutch and clamping assembly are slipping (and pretty badly from the sounds of this....) in Altitude (declination). I suggest that you get inside carefully using the guidelines I have posted on Mike's site under the Performance Enhancement Guides, Parts I and II....this should eliminate the problem. Best of luck in this. This is not an electronic problem....it clearly is a mechanical failure that can easily be remedied on the next cloudy weekend! Best of luck and keep us posted on progress. Dr. Clay -------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Book Date: 1/31/04, 07:41 From: shirley m feickert (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mike I read your BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT that your BOOK has been updated. I called Banes & Noble, They said they had no knowledge of the January 4 2004 Can you tell me when or where it can be found ? Also we got that problem solved, the printing of "AUTOSTAR and your computer" ( all 34 pages) Thanks again JimMike here: Glad you solved the printing problem. The book hasn't been updated, it just got its third printing run. I know that OPT has it in stock.
Subject: Marco from Spain Date: 1/31/04, 02:43 From: Marco Garcia (email@example.com) My name is Marco. Im from Spain, and I wrote you some months ago asking for the best system for astrophotography with my ETX-125. (you were on holidays and it was not the best moment). Above all, thanks again for your web site and your book. A great help for all of us! I write you because I have a trouble. I make a beginner mistake with I bought the telescope (as we said in spanish, I began the house by the roof. The scope is the last thing that an amateur astronomer must buy. But it was for me the first one, because I find a new ETX 125 EC for 690 euros (more or less, the same in dollars). My ETX 125 came with a very normal 26 mm eyepiece, with the base made of rubber (not the steel part that have the Super Plossl Serie 4000). When I bought a Meade Barlow lens, I saw that the eyepiece danced in the Barlow. The barlows thumbscrew was too short to fix the eyepiece and look through it. Well, and If I change the screws (the thumbscrew that fix the eyepiece to the eyepiece holder is much longer). I put the eyepiece holder thumbscrew in the barlow lens. No problem. But I put the barlow thumbscrew in the hole of the eyepiece holder. It seems that goes OK... The screw broke itself. I tried to take out it, but it was impossible. I made a hole with a drill in the eyepiece holder (I promise you that its made of a very strong material), and with a cut normal screw, I have survived since that day. But the screw has made much bigger the hole, and now it doesnt fix the eyepiece if I put a filter in it. So, I need a new eyepiece holder. I will call to Meades dealer in Spain on monday, but I dont expect so much, because they only sell to the shops, not to the people. And in the shop you bought the scope?, perhaps youre thinking. Although its the best company of commercial centres in Spain, I dont want to know anymore of them about the scope. I put in charge a 9.7 mm eyepiece. Oh, its a very rare eyepiece. It will arrives in two months, they said. It happened on may, 2003. Few months ago, I called Scopetronix. The eyepiece cames in one week. Im still waiting the call of the commercial centre. I dont know if Meade sells these kind of pieces. Looking in Internet, I have similar pieces. One of them is the Apogee 125 ETX Adapter, of Optcorp. It seems that perhaps its not appropiate. But its the best thing I have seen. What can I do? I know that its a very strange problem. Its not serious, because the scope works fine. If I use the eyepiece without filters (they fit perfectly in the eyepiece holder), no problem. But the problem arrives with the filters. If you wish to help me, please write me to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your attention and best regards from Spain. Marco Gª Vidart.Mike here: If I understand your problem correctly, you have damaged the eyepiece holder on the top of the ETX tube. This is not a part that Meade would provide for a repair. Alternatively you can use an eyepiece holder on the rear port. There are two choices: Meade 45-Degree Erecting Prism (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page) and a Visual Back (see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page).
Subject: Protecting the interior of the scope Date: 1/30/04, 21:14 From: Ken Martin (CLEARSKY03@msn.com) I've seen references (perhaps here on your site), about putting a small pouch of silica disectant (spelling??) in a film canister with some holes punched in the canister and leaving it inserted in the eyepiece holder, to draw any possible moisture out of the OTA after observing, and while the scope is in storage. Any thoughts on this practice? Thanks, KenMike here: I don't do this but many products will ship with those small packages that reduce moisture accumulation. But I won't put them INSIDE the tube. Air drying is the best way.
I was not suggesting putting it INSIDE the tube, but as I heard others suggest, putting it in a film canister with holes punched in it, and inserting the film canister in the eyepiece holder. I'd be concerned about dust or other debris getting inside the tube if not protected in some way. Thanks, KenMike here: Sorry, I didn't mean "loose" inside the OTA but I was concerned about it leaving the filmcan through those holes...
I don't want to sound like this is a debate ... I was thinking of very small "air" holes punched in the bottom of the film canister, a small pouch of that crystal stuff put in the film canister with the lid on the canister attached, and then inserted into the eyepiece holder. Since one of my scopes is an LX90, I store it with an empty film canister in the diagonal, so I don't have to remove the diagonal and put the cap on it when not in use.Mike here: Nope, not debating. My concern is that over time "crystal dust" will fall out of the holes into the OTA. I can't see any way to prevent that. I also use filmcans as "plugs" and I always worry about plastic "scrappings" getting inside the tube. Maybe I'm just paranoid!
Excellent thoughts and valid concerns. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Ken Martin
Subject: ETX Date: 1/30/04, 13:35 From: shirley m feickert (email@example.com) these sub cold Iowa nights are very clear. Would these temp hurt the ETX 125 ? Jim the freezing IowanMike here: See the "ETX and the weather" message further down this page.
Subject: ETX 105 DC CHARGER Date: 1/30/04, 06:47 From: Larry (firstname.lastname@example.org) Recenly got my ETX 105. I ordered it with a DC charger. Was in Pep Boys Auto the other day and saw a Coleman Powermate Jumpstarter. Dual DC outlets. It also came with battery charger cables and an air compressor.All for $50. Then went to Home Depot and bought a 16" Builders Tool Bag for $20. I think this is a great solution for portable power , low cost too. Now if only I can figure out all the manuals . LOL. Larry Schlaefer , Jupiter Fla
Subject: Meade #1240 Electric Focuser Date: 1/30/04, 03:47 From: "Hutchings, Mike" (email@example.com) Through your excellent pages I am seeking some help. I am looking for the Meade #1240 focuser to help make focussing easier when imaging. I have failed get anyone in the UK to get me one and all US outlets who have them in stock quote the restrictive practice of Meade that stops them from exporting Meade products even though they want to sell me one. I would appreciate help from anyone on this issue particularly a supplier who is prepared to deliver. Regards, Mike 52° 25"N 0° 31"E replies to: firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: All I can do is post your inquiry on the next ETX Site update.
Subject: noisy drive motors Date: 1/29/04, 21:31 From: drew (email@example.com) the drive motors on my etx 90 ec make loud whirring squeaking noises when tracking. are they always this noisy or is something wrong. i did buy it second hand but never set it up to track at that time. any help would be great thanks drewMike here: It could be that the lubrication is shot or just needs to be redistributed. Lets go for the latter first. Unlock both axes and move the OTA by hand, hardstop to hardstop, back and forth several times. Let me know.
thanks for the quick reply i did as you said,set it up,still makes din, BUT with some strategic pressing of the dec buttons up and down,mostly down,i can get it to run virtually silent thanks again drew
Subject: Viewing in SubFreezing Tems Date: 1/29/04, 16:30 From: eric (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just the other night, I took my scope (ETX 90 EC) out to enjoy an absolutely fabulous night. I arrived with the temperature being just below freezing. After 3 hours, my scope just stopped temp was then about 27 degrees. I also noticed that the focus ring on my finder scope was nearly impossible to turn. Now, I suspect the cold stiffened the grease in the scope. How do you keep this from happening? Thanks, Eric SmithMike here: Low temps are not too friendly to the lubrication nor battery life. There are dew heaters you can add-on to help keep dew off and may also work to keep the overall telescope temperature more acceptable.
Subject: Re: Question about optics of ETX-125 with UHTC Date: 1/29/04, 13:12 From: Apollo7157@aol.com Upon using Dr. Clay's technique, the coatings on the front lens of my etx 125 remained "smeared." (http://www.fallendragon.net/scopepics/scopepic.jpg) I contacted meade today and they kindly issued me an RGA. I will probably be shipping the scope out tomorow and I can hope to have it back in roughly a month. Its not really a big deal though, we have been having so much snow lately it will probably be virtually impossible for me to use the scope for at least another two months anyway. Thank you very much for your suggestions and help, and I will most likely be coming back to your wonderful website for all my etx needs ; ) - Jacob Berv
Subject: Home made case Date: 1/29/04, 12:50 From: Mikel Stoer (email@example.com) I've taken on the challange of building a case for my ETX-125. Is ther any reason you know of why I shouldn't use foam from a mattress top cushon (new) cut down for the protecting foam. I know this isnt exactaly about telescopes but I thought you might have heard somthing. Mike in DallasMike here: Other than sleeping on it, I have no familiarity with this foam. But as long as it doesn't "outgas" or shed you should be OK.
Subject: ETX and Solar Observing Date: 1/29/04, 10:48 From: Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just wanted to let you know that all is well with my ETX 90EC now. It is slewing properly and I have been practicing polar aligning with Polaris and also slewing to the alignment stars! It is a lot more fun than using my old ETX 90RA! Oh, and I took some pics of Jupiter, Saturn, Orion Nebula, and the moon too and I really like how well this new scope tracks compared to the 90RA! I have included a pic I got of the Great Red Spot the other night (you can include it on your Guest Gallery if you want).Mike here: The heat damage referred to usually is from trying to project the unfiltered sun's image on a piece of white cardboard (or paper) held above the eyepiece (eyepiece projection). This unfiltered sun is the problem. If you use a quality solar filter over the aperture (and cover or protect the finderscope) you will be OK. HOWEVER, I won't leave it outside in the Sun the whole day unless it is protected from the exterior heat.
Now to my question. I have been reading in your book about the dangers of exposing your scope to high levels of heat. And it occurred to me that solar observing (I have the proper filter) would subject the scope to quite a bit of heat (especially in the summer months!) and might not be too good for it? I have used the 90RA for solar observing last year but now I am a bit worried about using my new 90EC for the same purpose. Any thoughts about using the ETX for solar observing? Thanks, Paul
Thanks Mike! The scope is working like a charm now! It is too bad Meade can't make a more positive mechanism for the clutch because it is pretty easy to over or under tighten it. I do have the JMB Identiview Class A Solar Filter so I should be ok then. Thanks for helping set my mind at ease. And I made one of those cardboard shields like you have so that helps protect the finderscope from the sun. and I have a feeling that about 30 mins to an hour in the sun should be about all I would need. Paul
Subject: Re: etx-90 Date: 1/29/04, 00:20 From: Saber Properties Limited (email@example.com) thanks, found it on underside of OTA ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mike Weasner" (firstname.lastname@example.org) > Welcome back! UHTC should appear on either a label on the OTA (possibly > on the bottom side) or on the shipping box.
Subject: My New ETX 90...need help Date: 1/28/04, 23:05 From: Intelli (Genericnt@cox.net) I am having trouble doing the easy align with my telescope... It's actually a used scope I bought on ebay. I realize you don't know what your getting but I took my chances. here's my question...since It looks to me, to be the problem... When I set the scope in HOME position 0 degrees is supposed to level the Optical tube right?? well when I line up 0 degrees at the bottom arrow the scope is pointing down at the ground below the horizon... when I level the tube approximatly with my eyes it shows to me about 15 degrees off. what's wrong? and how can I fix it? the same goes for 90 degrees ...supposed to be straight up?? it's not. I sure hope this is a simple problem. Nic
Mike here: Simple fix; see the FAQ page.
Subject: etx-90 Date: 1/28/04, 13:00 From: Saber Properties Limited (email@example.com) Long time no speak. I used to contact you quite regularly about 18 months ago, when I had an etx125, I since deserted and bought a beautiful Televue 76 apo, but alas although it gave great images, it was too expensive to drive properly, so I've sold it and bought a new etx90, so that I have the driven scope in a compact form. I live in London UK and had my cousin buy it for me from focus camera in New York for roughly half the UK price because of the $ rate at the moment. My question is, the offer was for a UHTC scope, how would I tell on the box or the literature or the actual scope that it is actually the UHTC version. I've not been out with the scope yet, so I'm looking forward and will let you know how it goes. Warm regards, SamMike here: Welcome back! UHTC should appear on either a label on the OTA (possibly on the bottom side) or on the shipping box.
Subject: ETX or Refractor.. Date: 1/28/04, 12:31 From: joe carvalko (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, just checking out your site. I had a couple of questions...hopefully you could answer..... I currently use a LX200 scope. I'm in the market for a refractor....never had one. The question is...your opinion.... If given the choice, would you buy a regular achromatic refractor (6 in for $700) or just get the ETX125 meade series scope off ebay for the same price, or opt for a smaller aperature APO (80mm or 102mm) achromatic. At this time, I'm not buying the scope for photography (although that may happen...mostly for me porting around back and forth to my kids place). I ask only opinion...I'm on the fence and since I've never had a refractor, I'm wondering. thanks, joeMike here: Since you have an LX200 you should consider whether a low end or high end refractor will meet your visual expectations. Low end are typically short focal length and have some (to a lot) chromatic aberration. High end have higher quality optics and longer focal lengths (and cost more). You need to decide just how you plan to use the telescope and then make the decision based upon that and capabilities of the telescope system.
Subject: ETX-125 EC Date: 1/28/04, 12:29 From: MSN/mjrdoc (email@example.com) I have a two year old ETX-125EC. At that time, I was an active user of your forum, and an avid user of the telescope. I own your book on the "Mighty ETX" (First Version), Starry Night software, as well as just about every accessory and lens for the ETX then offered. Over the past year I have not had the opportunity to use my ETX, and so I now that I have set up the telescope to use again, I am considering myself a novice. I would like to ask a few elementary questions, if you would bear with me. First of all, my telescope is an ETX-125EC. I now see on Meade's web page the ETX-125AT. What is the difference between them? I also see a new optic coating system (UHTC) which I understand cannot be retrofitted but must be ordered at the time of purchase. I am certainly not going to purchase a new unit, but so that I am up to date, what are the advantages of this, or to put it another way, the disadvantages of not having it? I am re-reading my manuals, your book, and am trying to get back up to speed. I hope you do not mind if I post a question or two to you while I am doing so. Thank you. Best Regards, Dr. Miles J. RosenthalMike here: See the Announcements-->Meade page for info on the EC vs AT models. UHTC increases light reaching your eye by about 20%. See further down the Meade page for a test report on UHTC.
Subject: etx 105 uhtc Date: 1/27/04, 19:49 From: Jeff Mayovsky (Mousky@foxinternet.com) I have an etx 105 with uhtc. I really like the portabiltiy and the images are sharp. I find that when viewing Saturn and Jupiter, that there is so much reflecttion that the colors don't seem to come through. My experience with colored filters is that they make the image blue, yellow, red, whatever. How can I effectively get the contrast. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks JeffMike here: If you are talking about reducing the glare you can use Neutral Density filters, a Polarizing Filter, or a Moon Filter (which is a Neutral Density one). See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for more info on some of these. You could even make a mask to "stop down" the aperture to reduce the brightness reaching your eye.
Subject: Question Date: 1/27/04, 03:55 From: David Harvey (firstname.lastname@example.org) First, you have a great site and it has been very helpful for me so far (a newbie to astronomy). I have a question and I can't seem to find an answer anywhere and thought you might be the place to go. I'm looking at the purchase of a new (used 4 times) ETX-125EC with quite a few accessories. It looks like a good deal. My question though is this...the box says it is an EC, when I go to Meades main website page they also have the unit listed as an EC. Clicking on the product page for the 125EC, takes me to the page for the 3 scopes, but from here on, Meade refers to the scopes as AT's, not EC's. What is the difference in the EC and AT? Is the EC an outdated model and one to be avoided? This has confused me and I sure hope you can help me and I definitely want to be sure of getting the latest model. Thanks a lot! Regards, David Harvey Youngsville, NC Website: http://home.earthlink.net/~three3drMike here: See the Announcements - Meade page for info on the EC vs AT models.
Subject: ETX Autostar - Any Plans for GPS? Date: 1/26/04, 05:05 From: Michael Masters (email@example.com) As a new ETX-125 owner, I am very very impressed by Autostar after having to do everything manually with my old Celestron. However it could be even better . Does anyone know if Meade have any plans to incorporate GPS? It would then be possible of course to travel anywhere without having to do the location part of the setup. Similarly being accurate with the time setting is not always easy, so a built in chronometer would be great. Finally how about improving the point North startup positioning. I try to do this with a compass, not easy in the dark and I am not clear on how accurate you need to be with this. It should be possible for Autostar to locate North itself with a built in compass. I am a relative novice so perhaps these ideas have already been incorporated into the top range beasts. I guess there may be an issue with power. Regards...Mick Masters (UK)Mike here: The LX200GPS series has GPS incorporated. But as yet Meade has not announced any plans for a GPS-enabled Autostar #497. However, see the article "GPS for Autostar #495/497" on the Autostar Information page on my ETX Site.
Subject: Re: Replacement ETX125 random slewing Date: 1/26/04, 02:14 From: Allan Macdonald (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just a quick update, I rang the suppliers and they want me to return the scope. I told them I was a little apprehensive of receiving a 3rd faulty scope ( although I am sure the next one will be fine,) so I have arranged to exchange it for an LXD55 8"SC when they get them in stock. Apparently, they have new mounts fitted and delivery is delayed a bit over here, awaiting the new stock from Meade. Again, you are to blame for this, after seeing your LXD55 site, I just had to have one!! Thanks again for your help Mike. Kindest Regards Allan
Subject: Meade Customer Support Date: 1/25/04, 20:33 From: Robert Welsh (email@example.com) Dr. Mister Weasner I am writing in order to bring forth an issue that I see as a new telescope buyer. No where do I see an honest report on Meade customer service. I will explain. I purchased an ETX 125 from Discovery, the scope is great and I have no complaints. But the ability of dealers to obtain the accessories is most disturbing, nor do I see Meade addressing the issue. I have searched many dealers on the web, called them and get the same response, it will be a few weeks maybe!!! I can not e-mail Meade to get information, they put an 800 number that I have to call. I believe Meade products are great but where is there integrity? and truth in advertising? If you have any insight to this I would greatly appreciate it. I am trying to buy many items approximately $1000 dollars worth of accessories. And I want them now I have cash. Thank You Robert WelshMike here: Well, there is a supply and demand problem. For many products (whether from Meade or other companies), demand exceeds availability at times. I know it seems like Meade is a large company but in reality it is rather small when compared to many other companies you likely deal with. Yes, they don't provide email support but they are not alone in that respect. I'm sure this isn't the answer you were looking for but then I'm not certain exactly what you want from me.
Just Curious as if you had any insight. I understand supply and demand. I am a Production specialist, make factories go faster, recently in the Silicon wafer arena. Thank you very much. Your sight is awesome. Rob
Subject: DC Power Question... Date: 1/25/04, 14:51 From: Royyount@aol.com I am sure the answer is in here somewhere, but I thought you could answer it faster than I could find it. I want to make a DC Car adapter for my ETX-90. Is there any trick. What is the output voltage and is polarity an issue here? Being DC I would think that it would. If there is anyone with schematics on making one, I sure would like one. I figure, if I can make it, 1. it is money saved, and 2. I can make is as long as I like. I already made a Flex focus from the info on your site. I changed it a little and used 2 part epoxy for the knob and spacer mounting to the cable. There is a nice knob at Home Depot for about $0.40. I used a larger knob than the OEM knob. I am hoping this will help with the fine tuning/focus. I then drilled the spacer an installed 1 set screw. I will send pictures ASAP. Thanks for all the hep and I look forward to your reply. Roy Yount Waddy, KentuckyMike here: See the "Power" section on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
I am looking at the Power section now, but I am not finding anything about a Car adaptor.Mike here: Nothing specific to a car adapter; just hopefully useful info.
Will 12VoltsDC be fine for the input power for the ETX-90? What is the rated power and what will happen if the polarity is reversed? I would hate to fry it. Thanks RoyMike here: 12VDC will work. 1.5A. And yes, you can fry it with reversed polarity. Check some of the power articles for more info.
Subject: UHTC Coatings Date: 1/25/04, 13:14 From: Kenley Gard (firstname.lastname@example.org) Great Site!, but you already know thatJ. I was wondering is it possible to get UHTC on a scope after the fact. Does Meade provide any service to do so. Ive found nice deal on a none UHTC scope and Im wondering if this upgrade is possible. KenMike here: No such service available.
Subject: Replacement ETX125 random slewing Date: 1/25/04, 06:22 From: Allan Macdonald (email@example.com) I emailed you towards the end of last year about a problem I was having with my 125. It was jumping when tracking. I sent it for repair, and it was replaced with a new one. Now the weather hasnt been so good in the UK lately, and all I did with the new scope was to check the optics and train the drives. Everything seemed fine. So, a couple of days ago, we had nice clear skies, and M42 was beconing. I set the scope outside, placed it in Home position( alt-az) and went through the easy align procedure, but I`m afraid thats as far as I got. I start Easy align, it finds the first star, spot on in the eyepiece. Press enter and it slews off to find the second star ( It was Rigel, then Pollux) Finds the second star, and I press Enter. It tells me the alignement is successful, then a few seconds later, the motor starts and the OTA moves up or down a few degrees. It repeats this a few times, then I get a Motor Failure message displayed. This has happened about 15 out of 15 attempts. I have used 2 different power supplies, same result. Indoors, outdoors, again, the same. This is not just a one off, this is everytime I try to use the scope. Autostar was version 30e when I got it, and I have upgraded to 31e, hoping this would sort it,but, its still the same. I also get a clonk from the motor sometimes when it starts slewing, so, I am guessing something is seriously wrong with this scope. What I need to know is, is this a common fixable problem? I read that other people seem to suffer from random slewing, but mine is a set pattern that is repeatable every single time. I am afraid I am losing confidence in these scopes. 2 out of 2, faulty, and I am really worrying if I get another replacement, what problems will I have with it. So, before I ring the suppliers, do you have any ideas why this scope is misbehaving? Or is it just poor quality control, or, as I suspect, is it just me? My new car has been back at the garage more times than I have had it parked in mine!! Regards Allan MacdonaldMike here: Since you have the older ETX-125, is everything OK when you use the Standard Handcontroller? If so, try reversing the ETX-Autostar cable. Also, check the telescope model and do a CALIBRATE then TRAIN DRIVES (again). What you are experiencing is not the random slew problem nor does it sound like the low power problem.
As far as I know, I have the latest ETX 125.( delivered Dec2003) It came only with the Autostar controller. It has the new fork arrangement and UHTC coatings sticker attached. I just tried as you suggested, calibrated, then trained the drives.( tried a RESET earlier, too ) First star aligned ok, tried for the second, and that aligned ok. Pressed ENTER and got the Align Successful message. ( didnt get that far last time, it started moving UP then, just as the scope was doing its final slow slewing to the second star). So I waited a minute with the autostar screen waiting for me to select an object then the motor started moving the tube down, 4 or 5 degrees at a time, every half second or so. After about 40 degrees, it stopped and I got the Motor Unit Fault displayed again. Does this sound terminal? I also noticed, when I was training the drive, it was jumping as it slewed sideways, and the flip mirror under the eyepiece doesnt seem very positive. You seem to have to fiddle with it to get it in line properly, it doesnt have a nice sharp "click" as it lines up. I darent look any further, something else might go wrong!! I appreciate your time to answer my e mail, and your views on this. I will have to ring the supplier again tomorrow, I am pretty convinced now that there is something wrong. By the way, if I dont try and align the scope, it sits there fine and doesnt move about at all ( yet!) But of course, I cant use the GoTo features.Mike here: One other thought: loosen the lubrication. Do this by unlocking both axes and moving the telescope by hand back and forth, hardstop to hardstop, in both azimuth and elevation.
I`ve done this quite a few times now, and its still doing the same thing when I try the alignment procedure. I am fearing the worst here! Allan
Subject: Buyer Scams Date: 1/24/04, 18:29 From: "Kieran J. O'Hagan" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was reading your alerts, and I noticed the stories about the foreigner scams willing to send money, etc for telescope. Anyone who gets these should forward the original email, along with the message source, to the Federal Trade Commission.. email@example.com They have been successful in stopping a number of these scams. Clear skies! Kieran O'Hagan Senior Court Officer NYS Courts
Subject: Question about optics of ETX-125 with UHTC Date: 1/24/04, 13:06 From: Apollo7157@aol.com I was wondering if you had any idea what happened to my scope...or what that is...as i am a beginer and am still learning alot about my etx 125 with UHTC. also the products in the other picture were recomended to me by my local camera shop to use when cleaning the optics. I wanted ask some professionals how I should go about using them if they are suitable. thanks alot! -jake berv
Mike here: EGADS! Go immediately to the "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page and give Dr. Clay's solution and technique a try. If that doesn't remove the smearing, you may have ruined the coating. Another option, maybe even preferable if you just purchased the telescope from the same dealer, is to return the telescope to them and ask why they sold you a "cleaning product" that doesn't follow the directions in the ETX manual. Let me know.
I havent gotten a chance to pick up the parts to make dr. clay's solution but i am fearing the worst anyway... my etx is still under warentee so im hoping i can get it fixed for free if need be... what do you think i should do if dr. clays method does not work?Mike here: If you don't get satisfaction from the dealer who sold you telescope and the "cleaning" components for that telescope, you could contact Meade and tell them what the dealer did for you. Where it goes from there is difficult to say.
And a clarification:
Ohh! wait I dont think you understand what happened. I saw the smear and then went to the camera shop, where they recomended those products that i sent you a picture of.. i have not used them on the scope yet -jakeMike here: Oh yeah, that DOES make a difference. DON'T use those products; use Dr. Clay's along with his technique. But lets worry about this one step at a time. Let me know what happens.
Subject: "parking" and "airing" an ETX Date: 1/24/04, 04:08 From: Kelleher (firstname.lastname@example.org) I'm still getting to know my ETX-105 and coming up with more questions I hope you can help with: In the GENERAL FEEDBACK section, on 29th November 2001 you said: "Mike here: Couple of points. Keeping the axis locks locked for LONG periods of time is probably not a good idea, especially if there is stress, such as on the Altitude lock with the OTA in a raised position. However, if you Park the scope using the Autostar Park command you HAVE to keep the locks engaged." I have also been wondering about the possible negative effect of tightening the axis locks outside in the cold and then later bringing them indoors to the warm where components expand - presumably creating stress. Because of all of the above I have started leaving the scope between viewing sessions with the horizontal lock off. However, would you also recommend leaving the scope with the vertical lock off and the OTA resting on the bottom hard-stop (i.e. OTA pointing down at 30 degrees)? Also, where I live it is very damp and dew is often heavy. I have sometimes noticed it form on the silver part of the eyepiece that fits into the scope. Once the scope is back indoors and after the moisture has had plenty of time to evaporate off the outside should I remove the eyepiece to allow the inside of the scope to "air" or just leave it all closed up? Thanks for your ongoing help...Mike here: I leave the OTA "drooping" with the lock unlocked. And yes, you should let the interior "air out" as well.
Subject: ETX ?? Date: 1/24/04, 02:43 From: shirley m feickert (email@example.com) Under your main page, go to "under helpful info.) the autostar update, We have a problem getting "Autostar and your computer" We used IBM and a Mac computers the IBM froze up and the Mac will only print the fisrt page then 2-34 print out the same as first page. We tried POWER POINT PRESENTATION and we're not getting anywhere. Is this by Bob Pasken ? Is there any way to, have these printed out for me ? JimMike here: Yes, these are from Bob Paskin. It prints fine on my Mac. If you have Mac OS X, have you tried saving as a PDF? Does the first page replicate that way? If it is OK, what happens when you print the PDF?
i have mac os.x. when i tried saving it as a pdf it does a download manager then there is an icon on my wallpaper (screen) which i click onto. it just gives me a virus check screen and then it goes through a virus check and that is it. is there something i am doing wrong. shirleyMike here: Did you unZIP it to get the PowerPoint file?
yes i did and that is what i got.Mike here: Did you download from a Mac or a PC? It shouldn't matter but I suspect that you may have gotten a corrupted download. When I download it, it comes over OK (as the ZIP file). There is the alternative of the web page version.
Subject: motor failure Date: 1/23/04, 19:48 From: eric (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tonight I was out with my ETX 90 EC. I had just charged the batteries last night. It was about 30 degrees, and I had been out for about three hours. All of a sudden, the slewing stopped, and the autostar handset read motor failure. I pressed MODE, and the unit performed some brief tests and then began to re-initialize. Whats going on here? Thanks, Eric SmithMike here: Low temps affect battery performance and the gear lubrication. Either can cause this.
Subject: Max's JPL Solar System Ambassador Bio Date: 1/23/04, 19:32 From: MaxIPTer@aol.com Folks, This is to inform you know that I was selected and am greatful for your support, or as proof that I was selected and capable of faithfully accomplishing the programs we have discussed. Please see the hyperlink: http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/profiles/Max_Corneau.htm Max
Subject: ETX and the weather Date: 1/23/04, 09:52 From: Kathy Koerber (email@example.com) I was hoping to do some stargazing with my ETX-90 soon, but it's been really really cold here in SE PA at night. Temperatures have been consistently below 20 and get into the single digits sometimes (F). Will such low temperatures harm my telescope permanently at all? Thanks, KathyMike here: Low temps will affect battery performance and lubrication. These could ultimately result in "motor failure" being disabled on the Autostar or other strange things happening. Sustained low temps can cause plastic to become brittle. But under normal use the ETX won't be damaged. Just use common sense. Since the telescope doesn't have the advantage of wearing the same amount of clothes as you do when observing in such conditions, have some sympathy for it. Also, let any moisture evaporate by leaving the ETX uncovered after bringing it back indoors.
Thanks, I will be sure to have the fire burning and some hot chocolate on the stove when I bring it back in!
Subject: Confusion About Models Of ETX Date: 1/23/04, 08:33 From: Raymond (firstname.lastname@example.org) How can I tell if my ETX 90 has the standard or the UHTC coating. Regards Raymond (Singapore)Mike here: Check the shipping box. Check for a label on the bottom of the tube. Judging the color of the coating is not conclusive.
Subject: Tracking Date: 1/23/04, 08:32 From: Omdurman2@aol.com Is there a way to get the ETX to track an object which has been found manually rather than through the Goto procedure? Thanks TFortuneMike here: If you set up the ETX in Polar Mode (and set the mounting mode in the Autostar to Polar) you can just turn on Astronomical from the Setup->Targets menu. But since even doing a "fake alignment" (where you just assume the alignment stars are centered) only takes a couple of minutes, why not do an alignment (in either Polar or Alt/Az).
Thanks. In other words if I do say an easy alignment in alt/az the scope will automatically track whatever i manually point it too? Thanks TFortuneMike here: Yes, as long as you use the Autostar slewing keys to manually move to the object.
Subject: Re: Who's RIght? Date: 1/22/04, 22:03 From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (email@example.com) To: Greg Nolan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks to both! Note that I have posted an automatic converter that will change the coordinates given in my Constellation Guides AND those found throughout the wonderfully helpful Burnham's Celestial Handbooks; this is found under the TOOLS section of the Arkansas Sky Observatory (www.arksky.org) website. You are welcome to visit there for other data as well, but this will be a very useful item for you to have in the constellation guides....Enjoy! Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory 10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt. email@example.com MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
Thanks to both of you. The two of you have provided resources that is making the ETX experience both fun and easy for a newbie like me.
Subject: Focus Date: 1/22/04, 20:57 From: CAMDRA11@aol.com If you can help with this it would be greatly appreciated!! I can not get to a fine focus with my ETX 90 I do not know if it needs a cleaning or????????? I know you can not colamenate//spelling them?? If looks like its just about to come into focus then it goes back of of focus, its getting me nuts! What are you thoughts, Fixes for this nasty problem??? Thanks anyway in advance, Peter CamilloniMike here: Yes, the telescope COULD be out of collimation. BUT there are several other possibilities as well. You didn't say if the problem was with all your eyepieces (assuming you have more than the included 26mm); but try another eyepiece. You didn't say what objects you are using and seeing this problem on. Are you letting the telescope reach "thermal equilibrium" (temp inside the tube the same as the outside air temperature)? That can create distortion in the views. You didn't say where in the you were looking. Objects near the horizon will suffer more atmospheric turbulence than objects near the zenith. Also, don't forget that seeing conditions (clouds, even if you can't see them, temperature differentials in the column of air you are looking through, and more) will affect the views. But back on the collimation, you can do a "star test" IF you know the telescope has reached thermal equilibrium, you have a good eyepiece (one that is in collimation itself), and the local seeing conditions are pretty good. If you look at a bright star through the eyepiece and then change the focus slowing in and out on either side of in-focus, you will see some (hopefully) concentric rings. If they are close to concentric the optics are OK.
Thanak you for the reply......Outstanding! Yes it is the scope I have tried multiple EP's, at night as well as daytime I just cant reach focus!!! I can't send it back to Meade its second hand and it worked well when I got it, I lent it out to a fried who told me "I can't get anything to focus i told him to try and focus with the EP moving it up/down ect. So I got it back from him and thats wher I am stuck at. Will try one of the focus tips on your page (Excellent Site) and hope I do not make things worst. Thanks for the reply, Take Care, Peter Camilloni
Subject: Who's RIght? Date: 1/22/04, 19:52 From: Greg Nolan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Me again with my silly questions. I made a #505 cable and am enjoying inputting my own user objects and locations. I have been using Dr. Sherrod's constellaton information for objects that I want to create in my user objects. He is very helpful with information about what I can expect to see and gives coordinates for inputting gotos. I am noticing that the coordinates he gives are different from the coordinates that autostar provides. For example, he lists Messier 102 as RA 15:05, DEC +55:57 but the autostar has it listed as RA 14:03.2, DEC +54:21. Which one should I believe?? Thanks as always from a question submitting lunatic :) ===== Thank You, Gregory J. NolanMike here: I believe Dr Clay's coordinates are Epoch 1950 and the Autostar is probably using Epoch 2000.
Subject: Motor Unit Failure Date: 1/22/04, 19:09 From: Omdurman2@aol.com Had my ETX 105 out for a spin on this cold night . Power was from an AC to DC converter (purchased from Meade) plugged into a wall socket. Everything was going well with reasonably accurate go to's. After a successful goto to Algol the scope suddenly began slewing to the right and upward for about 10-15 seconds before stopping. The autostar message then read "motor unit failure" or something to that effect. It was getting late so I didn't bother to try setting the autostar back up. Any ideas why this should happen? Thanks. TFortuneMike here: A power glitch can cause this. A loose cable, a dirty encoder, or even "stiff" grease (from the low temperature) can also cause it. If you continue to see it I would suggest loosening the grease by unlocking both axes and moving the ETX from hardstop to hardstop, in both directions by hand. Do this several times.
Subject: Star Diagonal for the ETX???? Date: 1/22/04, 11:39 From: david lee hawkins (email@example.com) Everything going good for you? I hoping to attend the the Star party at The ASO, if my funds allow it. I have a question regarding the ETX125 and Meade's #929 or earlier model star diagonals. Will they thread onto the rear cell of an ETX125 to allow the use of 2" eyepieces? Thanks David And as always, Thankyou for the Great ETX Site!!!Mike here: They won't thread directly. You would need a SCT adapter. BUT you would probably not like the vignetting that would likely occur from using a 2" eyepiece.
Subject: Past help Date: 1/21/04, 12:23 From: Lee Leader (Leenjudi@olympus.net) A few months ago a wrote you regarding a broken tube support mount for my ETX 90 and problems I was having with Meade in trying to secure a replacement part. I finally gave up and submitted to thier blackmail and shipped my scope to them along with $75.00 for the repair. I now have my scope back. I tried to write to them twice and even put a letten in with the scope explainging how I felt about having to pay $75.00 to get a peice that I could install myself and that they (per a few dealers I spoke with) were replacing for free when they discovered they had a manufacturing defect. I never recieved any reply back! I did get a kick out of having to re-install the electronic focuser that was on the scope when I sent it to them - they needlessly removed it! I thank you for answering my e-mail I sent you - Meade ought to follow your example. Needless to say I will remeber this experience when I look into purchasing a larger scope - even a note back explaining there policy would have been nice - but I know that has nothing to do with you. You run a great site - many many thanks from a novice star gazer. Sincerely, Lee LeaderMike here: Each manufacturer, whether telescopes, computers, cameras, software, etc, has their own policies on what is user-replaceable and what's not. And that policy may change over time.
Subject: ETX-125EC or LXD55 SN-6 Date: 1/20/04, 12:40 From: Nicolaos Vernicos (firstname.lastname@example.org) I need your expertise, I am about to buy one of those 2 telescopes (ETX-125EC or LXD55 SN-6), which one would you recommend for a person which main interest is to look at the sky at night for Astronomical purposes (no day observation, landscape observation or bird watching) and who would like to be able to observe some interesting features of the planets i.e. Saturns rings and/or Encke division, Jupiter satellite and/or Great red spot etc... Thanks, Dimitri Vernicos (Greece Athens)Mike here: Nearly any (reasonably good) telescope will show Saturn's Rings; larger ones will show divisions. Jupiter's Great Red Spot (more a faint orange spot right now) can be seen with 60mm telescopes and up. So which of those two you should get depends upon with you want a GEM mount (the LXD55) or something that works in Alt/Az (the ETX). Most new users find Alt/Az easier to work with. Then you have the optical design differences of those two telescopes. Schmidt-Newtonian telescopes will work better on Deep Sky Objects whereas the Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes do better at planetary work. Either can be used for any objects though. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Keep in mind that the best telescope for you is the one that gets used.
Subject: etx connector Date: 1/20/04, 07:38 From: stanley barton (email@example.com) Do you know what type connector plugs into the ETX 125 12 volt power supply? I'm trying to put together a power source and I really don't want to carry the whole unit to radio shack. Thanks for your help. S. BartonMike here: Check the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: What to buy? Date: 1/20/04, 06:58 From: dl (firstname.lastname@example.org) I know this is a hard question to answer blindly, but what should I buy. I bought a Meade DS2130 from Wal-Mart and was not too thrilled with it so I took it back. Now Im looking at the ETX-125, LXD-55 8SC, or LX90 8. I want to get the most bang for the buck, I have 3 small kids and I want them to get some good use out of it and I think I want something that I could do some photography with in the future. I pretty sure I want a goto scope and I want to take advantage of the Meade eyepiece deal too. Would you buy any scope off eBay? Any advice would be great. Thanks, DaveMike here: Personally I wouldn't buy anything from eBay. Too many scams there. As to what telescope you should buy, you need to consider your budget vs what you plan to do with it vs your expectations of the views through it vs setup. Remember that the best telescope is the one that gets used and not stuck in the closet. So ease of setup and portability may be factors to you (or not). The 8"SC is a nice scope (I have the LXD55-8"SC (which you can read about on my LXD55 Site (www.weasner.com/lxd). The focal length difference between the 8"SC and the ETX-125 isn't that much different although the aperture (5" vs 8") obviously is. So under normal circumstances the recommendation would be to go with the largest aperture you can afford AND will use.
Thanks for the quick reply. What mount would you recommend? I guess my question stems from the LXD55 8SC vs. the LX90 8SC. It seems all the GOTO scopes can track well enough for photography, I think. I've checked out your site and found it very useful. I think we would use any scope quite a bit, I just don't want to buy one and now and wish I got a better one later. I want buy a scope that will last for years to come and we can grow into, ie. Photography down the road. Would you also recommend getting the UHTC coating? Where from your experience is the best place to buy. I think my choices are: ETX-125 for approx. $1100 LXD55 8SC for $1370 LX90 8SC for $1600 Again what makes the two 8in scopes so different? And is the LX90 worth $500 more than the ETX? I guess price is an object but I would like to make the best pick the first time. Thanks again, DaveMike here: The LX90 and the LXD55-8"SC have the same 8"SC telescope; only the mounts and electronics are different. The LX90 is a higher end telescope than the LXD55 or ETX. People who have them seem to love them. And yes, I do recommend the UHTC option. However, to do long duration astrophotography with the LX90 you will need either a wedge to mount the fork arms in Polar (equatorial) mode or get a "field derotator". Otherwise you will get field rotation in your images when tracking in Altitude and Azimuth.
Can the ETX-125 be used in polar mode out of the box? It sounds like the LXD55 is the one to get since it has the same autostar 497 as the LX90, I guess the LX90 cost more because of the mount. But the LXD55 is ready for photography right out of the box. Since you have a LXD55, how is it to move around? I guess the ETX is a piece of cake to move but the performance of the LXD55 is worth the extra $200 bucks. I have 3 small kids and I plan to set up the Autostar suite with the LPI so they can see on a computer or small TV. From your experience how well does the GOTO work with the equatorial mount? Is the LXD55 your main scope now? Do you recommend buying from one of the Meade dealers from their website? Thanks for your time, DaveMike here: The ETX-125AT comes with a tripod that can be used in Polar or Alt/Az. It also comes with the #497 Autostar. I like my LXD55-8"SC but my most used telescope remains the ETX-90RA. I have no problem moving the LXD55 outside (I leave the OTA attached to the mount) but moving and setting up my ETX-90RA is a trivial operation. As to dealers, purchasing from a local dealer is preferable but if you don't have a local dealer, there are many excellent mail order ones including OPT, Shutan, and Scopetronix (I've dealt with these; note: I have a relationship with OPT as described on my telescope sites).
Wow, I would have guessed that once you went to the LXD55 you would not use the smaller scope. I guess I can't go wrong with any of the choices I picked. I would bet that 80% of my viewing would be in my driveway, so maybe the ETX-125 would be best, and since it comes able to do either alignment and I guess it can do some descent photography it may be the best choice for now. I looked at the ETX site as well and you seem to like the 125 as well. One last question, I think, is the UHTC coating still worth it on smaller scopes? Thanks, DaveMike here: Yep, you can do some pretty amazing astrophotography with the ETX-125; lots of examples on the ETX Site. And yes, UHTC still recommended. See the Announcements - Meade page for a test report by Dr. Clay Sherrod.
Subject: Breathtaking Date: 1/20/04, 05:41 From: kate / Tom (email@example.com) Take a look at http://www.esa.int/export/externals/images/esa-MediaReleaseHRSC_FINAL.jpg (this is a photo NOT a painting! It was taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express orbiter on January 14th. It shows a portion of a 1700 km long and 65 km wide swath which was taken in south-north direction across the Grand Canyon of Mars (Valles Marineris) from two perspectives. It is the first image of this size that shows the surface of Mars in high resolution (12 meters per pixel), in color. The idiot press is calling it the Mars Grand Canyon, but this sucker is colossal! The Valles Marineris is a system of canyons located just south of the Martian equator. The system is about 4000 km long, and, if on earth, would extend all the way across the United States. The central individual troughs, generally 50 to 100 km wide, merge into a depression as much as 600 km wide. In places the canyon floor reaches a depth of 10 km, 6 to 7 times deeper than the Grand Canyon.Mike here: Yep, awesome! Reminds of views I've seen through my Mighty ETX.... ;)
Subject: re: Autostar Setup For ETX 70 Date: 1/19/04, 23:04 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Locations east of Greenwich England use positive time zone offsets (the number is the number of hours to -add- to GMT). Use your -standard- (winter) time offset.. and use the "Daylight Savings" question to make the shift in summer (so it's NO in winter, and YES in summer) have fun --dick
Subject: Polar Alignment... Date: 1/19/04, 16:36 From: Elizabeth Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org) What is the best way to set your scope in a polar alignment? I have a Meade ETX 125 with the field tripod. Can you please describe in detail, step by step so I can get this right? I am interested in Astrophotography and want this to be as easy as possible. Please respond to my email address: N2bikes@comcast.netMike here: See the Polar Alignment articles on the "Observational Guides/References" page. If you are using the Autostar, you should also see the Polar Alignment articles on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Can't read Japanese? Date: 1/19/04, 15:37 From: Ian King (Ian.King@Zen.Co.Uk) I read an interesting posting under the BUYER/NEW USER TIPS that took me to Yoshi's ETX site which is in Japanese. No problem, I simply drop the URL http://etx.galaxies.jp/modules/movie/ into AltaVista's Babelfish translator at http://babelfish.altavista.com and bingo. A bit pigeony but does the job. I have great fun with my friends sending each other emails in all sorts of languages! Regards Ian (Of course, you need to be a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan to understand the significance of the Babelfish !!).
Subject: ETX-90AT Date: 1/19/04, 10:52 From: Ken Banner (email@example.com) I really am very grateful for your website. I am a beginner in the telescope world and your site is making it much more enjoyable. I received my ETX-90 for christmas and I have only been able to view celestial objects manually thus far. I found your TECH-Notes on how to make the ETX a truly "Go To" instrument. I was wondering if I need to go through the three step procedure to beef up my scope, or if Meade has already done this. (I only ask because of the date of the report being 2001.) I also tried to perform the Home Position Alignment (in alt/az mode), and every star it tried to slew to was below the horizon. Have you experienced this and if so how do I fix it. Thanks again, W. Kenneth Banner, Ph.DMike here: Not everyone will need nor want to do those performance enhancements. I suspect the problem you are having is one of proper setup (either in the settings in the Autostar) or in the HOME position. Check that you have the right date (especially the year), time (check AM/PM unless using 24 hour time), Daylight Savings (which is now OFF for most locations), and your site location (pick a nearby city). As to the HOME position, see the various alignment tip articles on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: Mighty ETX star party Date: 1/19/04, 01:22 From: Tommy Lim KW (firstname.lastname@example.org) Actually I like the concept of Mighty ETX star party. I wish I can organize a star party like yours. I have ordered a Mighty ETX 125 recently. It will arrive on mid of Febuary with some of the accessories. * I just saw all the previous star party photos, I really like your mighty ETX logo cap that you always wear. Can I request it one from you for free? Or as a souvenirs. Maybe it is for Malaysian ETX team... It just a small request. Thanks a lot. Regards, Tommy LKWMike here: Thanks. The cap was a special thing. Not being offered.
Subject: Tripod LED lights Date: 1/19/04, 00:39 From: D Petrus (email@example.com) Somewhere on your site I saw and/or read something about tripods LED lights. The kind that warns people that they're about to trip over your tripod and knock over your telescope, especially useful for star parties. Love your site, keep up the great work!! Dave from Edwards AFBMike here: Orion and maybe others sell them. Or you can probably get something similar at HOME Depot. Also see the article "Tripod Leg Lights" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thanks Mike. I guess my mind went numb trying to find that article from Dr. Sherrod. Dave "Lovin' my ETX!! Now, one day I hope the wife understands."
Subject: Power connector Date: 1/18/04, 15:04 From: Paul Tadros (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just bought an ETX 90, and so far, I am quite happy with it. I must say that your site was very influential in my decision to purchase this scope. Thanks so much!! I would like to hook up a nice big 12 volt battery I have into the DC jack on the side, however I don't know the correct diameters (inside/outside) of the connector. I don't want to spend $30 for Meade's power wire. Can you help me out? Thanks, Paul TadrosMike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page for power info.
Subject: ETX 90 Hair-Cracks ? Date: 1/18/04, 14:23 From: Torsten Pichler (email@example.com) beeing a new owner of an etx90, i found your site and daily check back to see whats new. Examining my etx a little bit deeper, i found 4 hair-cracks. each of them staring at the screws that hold the tube in the 2 plastic pieces that fit in the fork, running about a 10mm to the edge. i send the scope to mead germany and was told, that this is normal und has no effect to the scope. i don´t know what i have to thing about this statement ? are there any ohter scopers that hav/had the same problems ? greetings from germany and again, many thanxs for your teriffic site. TorstenMike here: I update it normally every 2, 3, or 4 days. You can subscribe to Site Update Notifications as indicated on the ETX Site Home Page. As to the "cracks", such "cosmetic" flaws have been reported before. Apparently they are just surface tension lines.
Subject: ETX 125AT Date: 1/18/04, 13:23 From: yagi (firstname.lastname@example.org) Faboulous site, most rewarding. I am in Ireland and am thinking seriously of buying the ETX125AT. will I encounter any problems with the different Voltages (240) over here. I would love too buy it from the USA. can you give me any advice on dealers etc. Hope to hear from you soon. Best regards, Billy. Limerick. S.Ireland.Mike here: The ETX works on DC (batteries or an AC Adapter). So your local power voltage won't matter as long as you have a proper AC Adapter. See the Telescope Tech Tips page for more info on power.
Subject: Computer outdoor protection Date: 1/18/04, 07:53 From: Marty2215@aol.com Is there a way to protect your computer when used out doors with your telescope from the elements. There are many nights of high dew. I don't want to ruin it but keep it safe any suggestions please. Marty B Westlake, OhioMike here: Heat lamps (at a distance) like you see in outdoor restaurants. HOWEVER, that would create turbulence in your viewing if the telescope is in the heated area or viewing through the heated air. So, a better solution would be to have a cover for the computer.
Subject: Declination setting not at zero?? Date: 1/17/04, 07:58 From: Sid (email@example.com) Greetings! I have an ETX-90EC and am waiting patiently for my recently ordered #497 autostar controller so I've been reading up on aligning the scope. It sounds like the way to go is the Alt/Az alignment but I've already ran into a problem that I'm not sure about. I've leveled the base and set the declination to zero but the scope is at a 5 degree angle. This has me a little confused because I thought the scope should be at a zero degree angle also. If I level the scope itself then my declination reads around -5 degrees. Does this mean my declination circle is glued in the wrong position? Update: just tried taking the scope to 90 but it stops dead at 85. I guess this means the worse. Any ideas? Thanks!Mike here: See the FAQ page on my ETX Site.
Got it. I was worried it was glued. Thanks for setting me straight! And sorry about not seeing that already in the FAQ. Thanks!
Subject: good 6x30 finder!? Date: 1/17/04, 07:02 From: Jay Moynihan (firstname.lastname@example.org) Got a new 6x30 finder from http://tuthillscopes.com/ . it is made for the etx and comes with a replacement bracket. Three straight weeks of clouds,have not tried it yet. But look/feel much better. They are selling out the finders/bracket, $65. Phone number on site may be wrong, they are moving offices. Jay Moynihan P. O. Box 253 Ashland, WI 54806 U.S.A. (715) 682-9047 email@example.com www.jayware.com
Subject: RE: Excessive "play" in ETX-125EC RA/Azimuth Date: 1/16/04, 15:12 From: Ian King (Ian.King@Zen.Co.Uk) Thanks for the reply. BC&F have taken the telescope in for repair - they suspect there is a problem with the drive mountings internally. It was previously working flawlessly for a couple of months so I'm satisfied that the drives were properly trained and all. It's fairly new and under warranty and they were very good in arranging collection. I hope to get it back next week duly repaired. I'll let you know how I get on. Thanks and regards Ian
Subject: Autostar Setup For ETX 70 Date: 1/16/04, 11:42 From: kevmarmc (firstname.lastname@example.org) This may sound a stupid question but I live in Germany and when setting up the ETX 70 I'm not sure what time zone to select. Also can anyone suggest a web site to get earth co-ordinates on so that I can look up the longitude and latitude of Moenchengladbach, Germany. Thanks KevinMike here: See the Astronomy Links page; there are sites listed there.
Subject: RE: More questions Date: 1/16/04, 04:13 From: "Nolan, Gregory J." (email@example.com) Thank you once again for answering my questions. I am still a little confused about the lat/lon. For example, If I am in Chattanooga, TN, 35 degrees 20 minutes is equivalent to a decimal value of 35.33. A can choose Chatt as my closest city and then edit the location lat/lon but which do I enter? 35.20 or 35.33?Mike here: Decimal is decimal. Everything else is not decimal. I've never seen the divider in DD:MM:SS coordinates expressed as a period.
Subject: How do I - - - Date: 1/15/04, 22:57 From: Russell E Pollack (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com How do I post a reply to a message on the board? I noticed a bunch of messages regarding image-shift with the ETX125 and I have just experienced the problem and sent the scope off to Meade for repair, and got it back. I'd like to help these folks but I don't know how to post something to the discussion. thanks Uncle RussMike here: Please read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Home Page; your message was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject. As to sending items for posting, as noted on the ETX Home Page, "ETX and DS user comments, technical tips, accessory reviews, or links to other ETX and DS web sites are greatly appreciated. Please send them to Mike Weasner." The address is in the link on my name.
Subject: ETX-125EC Polar Alignment Date: 1/15/04, 20:34 From: Ricktenan@wmconnect.com You have a great site! I had given up on backyard astronomy until the ETX line came along. I had a 6" f-10 Newtonian with GE mount and clock. I hadn't had it out in 15 years and sold it 5 years ago. I kept reading ETX info on the web and purchased an ETX-70EC at Wal-Mart (my wife made it a birthday gift) 3 years ago. Upon moving from Minnesota to Ohio (the seeing here STINKS) my little ETX was swiped from the barn! We don't have to lock up in southern Minnesota. Everyone left their keys in unlocked cars, too. A year ago Christmas I received an ETX-125EC as a Christmas gift. Nice upgrade, don't you think? 70mm refractor to 5" Mak! I have used it in AA and polar alignment with great results. The question is that you indicate the manual shows the wrong way to do polar alignment (mounting) with the telescope. I have found nowhere on your site that shows a picture of a properly polar-mounted ETX of any size. Since my scope aligns and tracks well in my polar mount, could there be more than one alignment (mounting) technique that works? I have the new deluxe field tripod with the round legs. Thanks for the site! Rick Tenan Tallmadge, OhioMike here: Check the article "Part 5 - Polar Alignment Position" on the Performance Enhancement section of the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Thanks. Compared to most sites I visit, yours is extensive. Rick
Subject: f1cameras.com Date: 1/15/04, 14:30 From: Luigi Papagno (firstname.lastname@example.org) We have a website that may be of interest to ETX fans in the UK. We regularly sell Meade UK's own ex demo scopes at attractive prices. Here is a link to our special offers page. www.f1cameras.com/acatalog/Telescopes.html We are official Meade agents and only sell officially imported scopes so the full UK guarantee applies. If You feel that it would be appropriate to bring this to the attention of your readers please let them know! Kind regards Luigi Papagno www.f1cameras.com
Subject: More questions Date: 1/15/04, 11:24 From: "Nolan, Gregory J." (email@example.com) I have more questions. There may be answers to these on your site, but I was unable to find them. 1.) I see people getting good quality images by using a webcam and stacking the frames. I am impressed with the quality but really have no desire to lug around a laptop (not to mention I don't own one or want to). The nikon coolpix 4500 will record 40 seconds of video at 15 fps (I think the 995's will record video as well). While I realize this will limit me to 600 frames and a resolution of 360 x 240, is there any reason that I could not use this process? 2.) I intend to create my own list of user objects on my scope. Is there a way to backup the user data (locations and objects) just in case I have to reset the scope? I don't want to have to recreate the inforamtion twice. 3.) (Easy one) When I set the exact lat and lon for my location. Is it looking for minutes or decimal? Thank you, Gregory J. NolanMike here: Image source won't matter as long as it is in a format (or can be converted to a format) that the software can use. You can use the Autostar Update application 3.61 to save a copy of your Autostar libraries locally. The best method to enter a Lat/Long is to edit an existing location nearby. That way you don't have to remember the format and time offset. Just follow the example of the existing city you are editing.
Subject: What Is It? Date: 1/14/04, 11:29 From: "Nolan, Gregory J." (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am out of town this week and, unfortunately, without my scope. I have noticed an amazingly bright object in the west southwest sky as soon as the sun goes down that sets at approximately 8:30 pm (EST). Can you tell me what it is? Thank you, Gregory J. NolanMike here: The planet Venus.
Subject: ngc objects Date: 1/14/04, 11:10 From: Cox SMTP west (email@example.com) I don't know if you will find this of any use but I compiled a list of NGC objects of 10.5 magnitude and brighter. Put them in order of there constellations. I also made a list of the double stars that are in the autostar if you want that list e-mail me back and I will send it to you. BrianMike here: As to the Double Stars list, a list is already available on the Autostar Information page. Is yours different?
What I did was put the stars in there constellations and in alphabetical order. Which is how the list is on the autostar. Autostar Double Stars by Constellation
Subject: ETX Counterweight needs Date: 1/13/04, 17:35 From: David Guibert (PlutoVIP1@cfl.rr.com) I have a problem, one that I hope you can either answer or find the answer to. I have two telescopes a Meade SN-10 and a ETX-105. Needless to say the ETX gets the lion's share of use. I just got a Denkmeier Binoviewer with all the extra's for my Schmidt-Newtonian. But it will also work with the ETX. One problem is the binoviewer is heavy. Add either Meade or especially the new Orion EC-2 series lenses and we're talking lots dead weight. Same thing with attaching an SLR to the back of the scope. The poor little motors just can't get the steam up to do what they need to do. Does anyone make a counterweight that places the counterweight up front or made to attach to the two screw holes underneath? I'd prefer to have a nice looking well made product, not a old lead weight from some old diving belt like I've seen some people use (make). Also I don't know about you but drilling the tube scares me to no end. Rails are pretty much out because of that. I did see somewhere on the net a product or home made job that used the screw holes underneath with a forward facing rod and a sliding counterweight on it. Looked pretty cool. I can't find it again (of course) anywhere on the Web, also at the time I didn't need it. Hope I didn't box you into a corner with my statement above but I've spent days looking on the Internet without any luck. Even Russ Lederman from Denkmeier Optics was intreged with the idea of producing specialty counterweights, but he said, their plate was pretty full with the binoviewer and the new lenses they are coming out with. I really like the look of the ETX and making something that looks nasty and woefully homemade doesn't sit well with me. Any ideas you can come up with will be truely appreciated. David Guibert Melbourne, FLMike here: There are two choices that I know of. You can buy the Scopetronix Piggyback Camera Adapter which doubles as a counterweight system. I don't know if it will be sufficient to offset your equipment. OR you could make one; there are several articles on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page.
Subject: Re: Can't focus anything in the sky Date: 1/13/04, 14:55 From: Bruce Duysen (firstname.lastname@example.org) FYI: I had to return the ETX and get another one, which works fine. The distributor told me that it is the second unit with this problem he's seen within the last year. Meade has not yet explained to him how a gross focussing was able to get out of the factory. Bruce Duysen
Subject: Using the ETX Guide Date: 1/13/04, 12:24 From: Softrockcooper@aol.com Mike Tried to order your book through Swotbooks in the UK. They are telling me that the book is out of print, do you know if this is true and if so whether or not it is going to get a rerun? Thanks ChrisMike here: No, it is not out of print. In fact, it is now in its third printing. OPT in Southern California has some (at least they did when I was there in November). Amazon UK may have it.
Thanks I will try Amazon Chris
Subject: Saturn comparison in ETX -70, -90 and -125 Date: 1/13/04, 06:00 From: Peter Roelofs (email@example.com) first of all let me say, i'm still learning and enjoying your site every day!! Now my question, or more a request. I own an ETX-70, which I really like, but lately i've been thinking about going a little bigger, hopefully a -105, but the ETX-90 is great too. I mainly want to buy a bigger scope, because i am a little (and i mean little) disappointed in the planetary views with my ETX-70. Now i know it is more a wide-field telescope, but my interests lately have shifted to the planets, espacially with Saturn being this close and "big". I would like to ask you if you could make some comparison photo's of Saturn with your -70,-90 and -125, like you did with Mars, which I think were very helpful. Hoping this will help me decide what scope to go for. If you could do that, that would be great, and i think not only for me, but for other potential scope-buyers aswell. Looking forward to your reply and hopefully some nice photo's. Kind regards, P. Roelofs HollandMike here: Don't know how soon I will get to that. But for comparison purposes, when I took the Mars photos, Mars had a diameter of about 20". Saturn's planet (not the Rings) has a diameter of about 20" now. So the Saturn would appear very similar in size to the Mars photos.
Thanks a lot Mike, for your quick answers. It's really helpful and i'm now going to call my dealer to see if we can work things out. I'll let you know and send you a report of my new scope's first light. Kind regards, Peter
Subject: Buying a telescope Date: 1/12/04, 19:03 From: Sue Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) As a neophyte celestial observer (other than celestial navigation with a periscopic sextant years ago in the US Navy) I am in the market for a telescope. I would like one that is portable, compact with terrestrial as well as celestial capabilities. In your opinion would the Meade ETX90AT (with UHTC) be a good instrument to start with? It appears to fill the bill, but seems many people (according to your website) are having problems with initial alignment and the Autostar drive unit. Is the image upright or inverted in this type telescope? If the image is upright what is the advantage of buying the optional 45 degree angle erecting prism? Cheers, BrownieMike here: Learning to use the Autostar does take some time but people do master it. It isn't that hard. The ETX-90 is a fine instrument, as long as it meets your expectations. As with most astronomical telescopes, the image is reversed; in the case of the ETX-90 (and -105 and -125) the image is upright but reversed left-to-right. See the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for info on the Erecting Prism.
Thanks for your rapid response. Your website has been very helpful. I will buy your book in the near future. I am considering the ETX90AT (with UHTC) or the Celestron Nextstar 4. Email inputs from users are quite varied as to their likes/dislikes between the two telescopes. Seems the most negative comments are about the ETX90 with its ("cheap"-their words) metal reinforced support yoke and the nylon gears in its Autostar system. If you have experience with both telescopes which do you think is superior, and why? Would probably purchase from Oceanside Photo & Telescope as most of the dealers here in the Northwest (Idaho), are sold out from the Christmas rush. Cheers, BrownieMike here: The only direct comparison I did was the original ETX-125 vs the original NexStar 5. My comments are linked from the top of the current ETX-125 feedback page.
Subject: Excessive "play" in ETX-125EC RA/Azimuth Date: 1/12/04, 16:57 From: Ian King (Ian.King@Zen.Co.Uk) Great site! I recently went auto and bought an ETX-125EC and have been visiting your site for tips ever since - I've even bought your book! Alas, I'm having a few problems with this scope and am considering sending it back but before I do (with the obvious loss/time/postage costs) I was wondering if you could pass me your expert opinion. I've cruised through your tune-up guides and general annoyance pages but can't seem to pinpoint this particular problem: When the RA/Azimuth clamp is fully locked I get about 5mm play east/west - I can turn the scope by hand without moving the base. This also causes the drive motor to play "catch-up" each time I move left/right with the Autostar. I believe the technical term for this is "slop"?? Should this be doing this? Is there a simple adjustment I can make without invalidating any warranty? Keep up the good work and clear skies! Thanks and regards IanMike here: Have you tried repositioning the azimuth lock lever to allow more movement? Lock the axis, loosen the setscrew on the lever, move the lever to allow more movement towards the locking side, retighten the setscrew. That may be all that's needed. Let me know.
Subject: ETX 125 Date: 1/12/04, 12:56 From: Ashley Eagles (email@example.com) I look to you for advice as im new to astronomy and have just purchased an ETX 125 with autostar! Brilliant scope and am really pleased with it. However I have heard a great deal of talk about the use of a focal reducer that may enable me to see more deep sky objects. Is this true and if so is there anything you can recommend? From what I have read, I believe that f15 is not essentially the best ratio to have although; I have had some good shots of the Great Orion Nebula from my back garden in the UK, I am however having a little difficulty locating anything else, I only have the standard 26mm eye piece at the moment but am not sure whether this makes a great deal of difference. Secondly just wanted to congratulate you on the book - brilliant, just purchased that so no doubt you'll be getting some royalties! On a serious note it has been very helpful! Look forward to hearing from you Regards Ashley EaglesMike here: A focal reducer (or wide field eyepiece or even a wide field eyepiece) can help when viewing some deep sky objects. See the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products and the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces pages for more on these. However, keep in mind that these don't really capture more light; they just compress the area of the existing light, making some objects "appear" brighter.
Subject: Re: EXT 125 and Orion Color EP Camera Date: 1/12/04, 09:00 From: "Dr. W. Sumner Davis" (firstname.lastname@example.org) I have tried the scope software. It is easier to use the hand held unit. I just want the best imaging camera I can get without spending a fortune.Mike here: Digital Cameras will always be easier to use than imagers for many objects. But imagers and software will always give the best results once you master the techniques involved.
Subject: Jupiterseeing Date: 1/12/04, 04:18 From: Martin Lewicki (email@example.com) My Jupiterseeing page is up now on http://astronomy.trilobytes.com.au/martin-lewicki/martin.htm You might like to add it to your links page. Cheers Martin Lewicki
Subject: EXT 125 and Orion Color EP Camera Date: 1/11/04, 17:31 From: "Dr. W. Sumner Davis" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Orion now has a color "Eyepiece" ccd for about $120.00 that they claim will work as well as their $80.00 Black and white. Has anyone had the opportunity to test one out? I have a Galileo B&W on my etx 125, but would love to go color. Thanks Bill _______________________ Dr. W. Sumner Davis, Author www.wsdavis.orgMike here: See the "Orion Imagers" on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. But for only a slightly higher price you can get the Meade Autostar Suite, which includes the Lunar Planetary Imager and some nice software.
Subject: Broken gears in ETX series Date: 1/11/04, 11:07 From: Bob Morris (email@example.com) There have been reports of broken gears in the ETX-90/105/125 series. Can any of these be directly related to cold weather operation? Was there failure during actual operation at reduced temperatures, and if so, at what temperatures? Bob Morris
Subject: ETX Home Position Date: 1/11/04, 08:02 From: Charles Jagow (firstname.lastname@example.org) I am a new owner of an ETX-125. I have been reading much of the information on setting up the initial Alignment Home Position and I am a little confused about the Home-Position when using the Autostar 497 controller. The following assumes that the optical tube has been leveled. I have observed used three different means to set up a Home-Position for the scope: 1. If I start with the scope turned fully ccw to the stops and then turn it cw until the vertical lock is centered over the control panel and then turn it ccw 180 degrees until the Dec setting circle is above the control panel. In this Home-Position the scope has less than 180 degrees turning radius in the ccw direction and over 360 degrees in the cw direction. 2. If I start with the scope turned fully cw to the stops and then turn it ccw until the vertical lock is centered over the control panel and then turn it ccw 180 degrees until the Dec setting circle is above the control panel. In this Home-Position the scope has less than 180 degrees turning radius in the cw direction and over 360 degrees in the ccw direction. 3. My ETC-125 will rotate a total of 43H 02M (using the graduated scale on the body of the base) from stop to stop. If I start with the scope turned all the way to one of the stops and then turn the scope towards the other stop exactly 21H 07M, it will have equal amounts of travel in either direction. Does the Autostar 497 compensate know that there will be a hard stop in less than 180 degrees in one direction if the Home-Position is set by means of either the first two methods described above? My guess is no, it does not know. So I have been using it after setting the Home-Position as in the third method described above. Which one is correct for use with the Autostar 497 controller? Thanks. Have a Nice Day K Chuck...Mike here: You are making it harder than it is. The control panel should be on the West side of the mount. Rotate CCW to the first hard stop and then back CW to North, which is movement of about 120 degrees. The DEC (Altitude) scale will end up over the control panel. The Autostar assumes you have put the ETX into the proper HOME position and then uses that as its known starting point. And yes, there is slightly less than two full rotations hardstop-to-hardstop.
Thank you for your reply. I will set it up that way from now on.
Subject: Moving scope from cold outdoors to warm indoors Date: 1/10/04, 20:17 From: Andrew McKelvy (email@example.com) I read that story about the guy that damaged his eyepieces with hot air from a hair dryer and I got to wondering....... Would moving a telescope out of the cold and into a warm house cause any damage to the mirrors or lenses? Or is that even possible? The telescope sat outside in the cold 30 degree air for a few hours while i went to town so I could use it when I got home. Now that I am done using it, I want to bring it inside so that the moisture in the air doesnt freeze on the scope but I'm also concerned about the sudden temperature change and the potential effects it could have. What do you think would be the best thing to do in this situation? I was going to leave it out, but that might not be best. Anyway, thanks Mike.Mike here: I doubt that you will cause any damage. The problem with a hair dryer is the RAPID temperature change. Warming up normally to room temp should be OK. However, do watch for condensation; keep the covers off until any moisture evaporates.
Subject: Novice: advice on which Meade scope please Date: 1/10/04, 03:53 From: Martin Day (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello, discovered your site from 'Warehouse Express' and is great. Would very much appreciate some advice on which telescope I should get. I live in England, on the south coast 16 miles north of Eastbourne, in a town called Heathfield. There is not alot of light pollution, but I do have access to a farm 2 miles away which has 360 degree view of the sky and is dark. I wish to use my digital camera to take exact pictures of what I see. The camera is a Fuji S602 Pro with cable release and Fuji lens adapter ring. I also have a Olympus C700UZ, again with adapter ring. So any telescope able to handle one of these cameras will be good. I have my eye on a Meade ETX 105 or 90. Which one would you recommend? (if any) Would like to see deep sky star clusters (if you know what I mean) and planets (Mars, Saturn etc...) Only know that I don't want to spend more than £1000. Also what is now standard equipment for these Meade scopes? Warehouse Express have these on special offer with Autostar 497 and 884 field tripod? Basically I would like to buy as a whole kit in one go so to me these scopes seem ideal, but your advice would be great.. Many thanks Martin ps, have pictures of Moon taken with just my digital camera, would you like to see them, if so how do I send them?Mike here: If you don't need the extra portability of the ETX-90, go for the -105. The standard equipment for the ETX-90AT and ETX-105AT is the 26mm eyepiece, the #497 Autostar, and the #884 tripod. You should seriously consider getting the UHTC option. You will probably want to get some extra eyepieces and/or a Barlow Lens. If the Meade $99 Eyepiece Deal is available to you (check the Meade site) then I would highly recommend that. Would love to see the photos; see the Email Etiquette page on the ETX Site for info on sending image files.
Thanks for the advice, in my own mind I decided on the 105 :-) Can it definatly take the cameras I described though do you know? And is it 'portable'?Mike here: update. The ETX-105 is less portable than the ETX-90 but not by much. Likely won't fit into a backpat unlike the ETX-90. Cameras should work OK. See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for more on the Fuji and Olympus cameras.
Subject: orion and andromeda Date: 1/9/04, 16:49 From: matthew green (email@example.com) I was wondering if you knew why objects in my ETX-70 like the andromeda galaxy and orion nebula appear in black and white and not in color. Thanks, MatthewMike here: Simple answer: the design of your eyes does not allow it. But don't feel bad; all humans have this problem. It is called "night vision" where sensitivity to light is increased but at the expense of color.
Subject: Probably the 65535th "thanks" email Date: 1/9/04, 16:34 From: Peter Huppertz (firstname.lastname@example.org) Mainly because of your website, we decided to take the plunge, and select the ETX125EC UHTC as our upgrade path. "We" is "my wife and I". Astronomy (like many other unlikely and expensive hobbies) is an interest we share. In fact, my wife's interest in astronomy is higher than mine. Up to today, we had a 114/900 Newton (the standard beginner scope?), but as of now, we have the above ETX at our disposal. With the #884 tripod and the Autostar controller thrown in. Our main reason for considering this little device is that my beloved is only 5"1 high, and weighs in at a mere 118 stone. Her chances of carrying, say, an LX200 out and back in without falling over are quite remote, but the ETX is very manageable. Since I've already picked her up off the driveway with the Newton once (which both she and the Newton survived), I shudder to consider the consequences of having to pick her up after she's dropped an LX. With that in view, the ETX seems like a smarter choice - less expensive, and more portable. From a manageability point of view, I would recommend the ETX's for the svelte among us. In the end, the best scope is the one you can get to your viewing location without being afraid to drop it. Plus, I am already considering what to do to our camper van to turn it into a mobile observatory ;-) As I said, your web site has been instrumental - it provided me with the feeling that whatever problem I'd run into, there would be a solution available. As I expected, the Meade manuals were suitably disorganised, and the "local dealer" provided the wrong answers to the right questions. On top of that, my technical knowledge of astronomical telescopes can best be described as "useless, bordering on dangerous". Yet, with the help of your site, I was able to set up the ETX in 2 hours flat. Plus, I was able to discover that yes, the Autostar controller CAN be used in polar mode, whereas our dealer (who would be supposed to KNOW about these things!) told me that it could only be used in Alt-Azimuth mode. One thing I may miss is the "starhopping experience" - the satisfaction that comes from manually locating a deep-sky object. I will never forget how my wife woke me at 2 am when she had successfully located her first deep-sky object in the Newtonian and she urged - no, forced, me (not at gunpoint, but close) to get out of bed and dress up warmly and bloody well look at it. The Autostar unit seems to make locating objects so much easier that I can imagine that it takes some of the excitement of actually finding objects out of the equation. I guess that we are yet to discover the excitements which will replace this. I know that it would've taken us a fair number of years of new discoveries to exhaust the capabilities of the Newtonian - I guess that we both just couldn't wait any longer ;-) And then of course there is this particular thing that is BOUND to happen when one acquires a new scope - as soon as it comes in, the skies get overcast - probably for the next two weeks to come. Grrr. Thanks a lot, Janny and peterMike here: You can star hop once you have done the initial alignment. You could even bypass that if you mount in Polar Mode and just turn on astronomical tracking.
Subject: Re: Home Position for the ETX 105 Date: 1/9/04, 07:13 From: Omdurman2@aol.com Meade Instruments Corporation - Autostar Computer Controller Instruction Manual Thanks for your reply. If you would, go to above link which is from Meade's online Autostar instruction manual. There is no mention of rotating to a hard stop. Any comments? Do you have a written reference to the method you suggest - which method is better? and which method should I use? Thanks TFortuneMike here: The manual wording is incorrect; the photo is correct. My previous comment was also correct.
Now I'm completely confused - what is the proper way to put the scope in home position step by step? TFortuneMike here: I think you keep misunderstanding the steps I sent earlier. So perhaps the article "Autostar Altitude/Azimuth HOME Position" on the Autostar Information page will help.
Subject: I need some help Date: 1/9/04, 05:00 From: Yenal Ogmen (email@example.com) My name is Yenal Ogmen from Cyprus. I am planning to built a small observatory for my ETX (and later for my bigger scopes also) in my garden. So I surfed on internet for tips and comments about how to built and which materials should be used for observatory. But I am not satisfied right now. I have a few questions, if you answer me i will be so glad. To help you answer my questions I want to say a few words: Cyprus is very hot in summer. 40-50 degrees of celsius under sunlight. And winter time is not so cold. Never snowing. I am planning to built a dome style observatory with cylindrical base. 1) Is it good to built cylindrical part of the building (walls) with blocks? 2) What sort of floor is suitable for me as I will not use Pier but tripod. I dont want the telescope to move (shake) while walking around. 3) What material is suitable for dome? Plastic? Wood covered with metal? or only metal? Thank you for your consideration? Yenal Ogmen Clear skiesMike here: I have no experience on making observatories. But you might want to check out the SkyShed Observatories (link on the Astronomy Links page; watch out though, there are two "SkyShed" links).
Subject: ETX through the paces Date: 1/8/04, 19:29 From: Ken Polischuk (firstname.lastname@example.org) Wanted to say that your sight has been invaluable to me as I have spent the last several months investigating which scope to purchase. I recently purchased a used ETX 90EC and wanted to ask if you had any guidelines for testing the scope to see what condition it is in. It appears to be in excellent condition, however, is there any way to verify that the motor drives are working up to speed? I have noticed a small amount of play in the Declination lock and fear that I may have to disassemble the unit as guidelined in the Tech tips. Thanks for the help. Ken PolischukMike here: Don't have any specific published article on that but check the collimation, check the condition of the optics, if you have an Autostar do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. Then see if you have any significant problems.
Thanks for your quick response. One other thing I have noticed, just using scope to look at moon here in Boston. Drives move pretty well, using standard electronic controller. Waiting until I have time to set up Autostar #497. Scope stops, small amount of backlash? Then scope makes sound that continues for period of time. Is this possibly the drive still trying to engage. It has not happened all the time but not sure if I should be concerned. Possible that align drivers and calibrate with autostar will remedy this? I had planned on resetting entire unit to start with a clean plate. TIAMike here: If you mean the sound of the drive running, that is normal since the azimuth (or Right Ascension) drive is running to compensate for the Earth's rotation.
Subject: Home Position for the ETX 105 Date: 1/8/04, 09:45 From: Omdurman2@aol.com I have seen the home position for the 105 described in two ways: 1. turn the scope counterclockwise until a hard stop is reached, etc. vs. 2. turn the scope counterclockwise until the alt tightening knob is positioned directly above the control panel etc. Which is it? Thanks TFortuneMike here: With ETX models that have hardstops (all but the -60 and -70 models currently), you rotate CCW to the hardstop and then back to North (a rotation of about 120 degrees). The DEC scale (not the lock knob) will be over the Control Panel).
Subject: Problems with Autostar "out of te box" Date: 1/7/04, 17:14 From: "Fernandez De Lara, Ulises" (email@example.com) My kids got an ETX-90 telescope for Christmas. I went ahead and perform the set up routine and everything went fine up to the Autostar installation. At first, it turned on and everything light up just fine. Then I went and did the tripod set up and turned off the back panel (obviously the Autostar too was turned off too). When I was done, the telescope turned on but not the Autostar. I noticed a weak red backlight light but no screen information. I checked the batteries, the coil cord, the on/off switch and it does not work. I called Meade and they offer some advise but it basically the same steps I had taken. Then they offered me to send the damaged unit to get a new one but my frustration is that this happened in a brand new model right out of the box. Does this happens frequently? My second question is: I purchase this ETX with standard coating instead of ultra coating. Am I missing too much for such a short price difference? Thanks, Ulises Fernández de LaraMike here: By any chance did you try to increase the display brightness and/or contrast? As to UHTC, yes, it is worth it.
Subject: From Stardust spacecraft and comet Wild 2 Date: 1/7/04, 16:56 From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Absolutely unbelievable..... http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/images/w2_flyby1.gif Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: scared of wrong upgrade. Date: 1/7/04, 02:21 From: Trinity (email@example.com) First let me thank you for your site as a whole. I've been coming to your etx web site for a year and am subscribed to your newsletter and have found it invaluable. Your lxd55 site has be a great place to learn information on a viable upgrade too. Last year I purchased an etx-70 and quickly realized that it was not up to par with what I wanted and left alot to be desired in the learning/teaching department. (I'm just learning all this) I've always had a fascination with astronomy and until last year found reason upon reason to not get started, after reading your site heavily one nite I finally decided it was time. as money at the time pushed me to the absolute low-end I figured the 70 would at least hold me steady till this year, but when I finally got Saturn somewhat focused (2 months of trying and my seeing conditions according to my friend are prime) what I saw was disappointing. So now I'm trying to get something that can teach me things that I never thought I'd ever see. (seeing the horsehead live one time in my life fairly clearly would make me a happy man!) I've been searching and reading everything on "how to buy a scope", and "what makes scopes work" unfortunately most of these contradict each other or will actually not mention something another article says is integral. What I'm wanting is probably unattainable but if I can make my '72 chevy nova run low 10 seconds in the quarter mile, by god I should be able to get real close to what I want on this. I would like to look at "our" planets with some good detail (from what I understand this needs a scope with a high focal ratio. I'm guessing upwards of 8 to 10) and still be able to see deep space objects (m31, m43, ect, ect) clearly.(from my understanding deep space requires a low focal ratio around the 4 to 6 range) I guess I just want the planets big enough to see the detail and still be able to view say the Andromeda Galaxy with some certain clarity. I was trying to stay in the $1000 to $1600 range and hopefully get it from discovery as they have a store 6 miles from my house in town. This is what I came up with and was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction? option #1: planets scope: shopping.discovery.com/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10000&storeId=10000&langId=-1&productId=12148& categoryId=25897&interCategoryId=&parent_category_rn=1109&partnumber=639252&sortBy=BestsellerstPage=1 deep space scope: shopping.discovery.com/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10000&storeId=10000&langId=-1&productId=22151& categoryId=25898&interCategoryId=22517&parent_category_rn=1109&partnumber=656637&sortBy=BestsellerstPage=1 Option #2 planet/deep space scope: shopping.discovery.com/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10000&storeId=10000&langId=-1&productId=31153& categoryId=25898&interCategoryId=22517&parent_category_rn=1109&partnumber=B656645&sortBy=BestsellerstPage=2 Option #3 planet/deepspace scope: shopping.discovery.com/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10000&storeId=10000&langId=-1&productId=25247& categoryId=25896&interCategoryId=22517&parent_category_rn=1109&partnumber=662965&sortBy=BestsellerstPage=1 Thank you for taking the time to read this, and any help you can give. Joe reply: firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Do you have me confused with someone else. I don't publish a "newsletter" that you indicated you are subscribed too.
By newsletter I mean the email indicating that updates have been made to the etx website ;) Thank you for your insight! I was leaning towards the LX 90 with the UHTC, but was worried about the views of both planets and deep space objects. Thank you for clearing up those worries. I did search for the SC8' LXD55 model, however all the prices I got were $1500 so I figure the lx90 worksout as the same price after adding in the shipping for the LXD55. again, Thank you very much for your help, Joe Kolley
Subject: Clubs and Events? Date: 1/5/04, 14:42 From: Greg Fraker (email@example.com) Thanks for the response back. And thanks for the suggestion on the filter. I've enjoyed your website so far. Do you know where I can find a listing of astronomy clubs / star parties? I am in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Thanks! Greg FrakerMike here: Meade has a listing of clubs on their Site. I also show some on the Astronomy Links page. Events are at the Sky&Telescope web site.
Subject: Many Thanks Date: 1/6/04, 21:26 From: Michael Fuller (firstname.lastname@example.org) Many thanks for maintaining a great site. Heres my story. I bought my Might ETX90 2 years ago, hoping to rekindle my childhood hobby. That darn scope just couldnt seem to track squat. I re-aligned, re-calibrated, etc etc. Nothing seemed to work. I couldnt even keep the moon in the FOV for more than 10 seconds with Autostar. Okay, well Im a busy guy who travels for a living. So, I pulled the scope out only a few times over 2 years and just manually tracked (basically figured Id wasted money on that autostar). This Xmas, the wife bought me a compact Meade 60AZ-T to take on my travels. Now that rekindled the spirit! What a great little scope! For its size and cost, I was elated. It fits in my suitecase too! So, now I pulled out the ETX with new energy determined to get it operational. No Joy! So I started to scour the web surely others were having problems. I stumbled across your site downloaded every page of comments, advice, reviews. Read it all, re-read it, and started to give my scope an overhaul. The information I found here saved my investment. I came home from the office late today (8pm) and the sky was clear. Grabbed my scope (which I had parked from the night before), pointed it kinda toward North, said goto Moon, centered the moon by moving the tripod(remember it was parked from last night so why re-align the long way) and said goto just about everything in the sky bam.bambam it was all there and it was tracking darn near perfect. Thanks again Mike Fuller
Subject: Your telescope set-up Date: 1/6/04, 17:31 From: Jack Fox (email@example.com) Can you tell me what the components are on the back of the ETX on your home page photo? Are they a visual back and an erecting prism? Which models are they? Does this combination affect the electric focuser? This set up seems to solve the finder scope interference with the eyepiece. Thank you. Jack FoxMike here: I have the Visual Back and Wide Field Adapter from Shutan. See the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. There should be no problem with the Meade focuser but I haven't actually put them on my ETX-125 since I got the focuser.
Subject: 3-D Star Maps book Date: 1/6/04, 01:00 From: KurtKurttt@aol.com My name is Kurt Foge and I would like to have my e-book's web site added. Sincerely, Kurt Foge CONTACT NAME: Angela Adair-Hoy CONTACT EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org CONTACT FAX: 207-262-5544 COMPANY: Booklocker.com ADDRESS: PO BOX 2399 Bangor, ME 04401 TITLE OF THE BOOK PAGE: 3-D Star Maps of Nearby Stars, the Pleiades, Orion, and the Local Group: How to Make Stellariums, a Scale Model of the Solar System, and a Brief Explanation About Interstellar Travel CATEGORY: e-book / astronomy URL TO THE BOOK PAGE: www.booklocker.com/books/1282.html 10 WORD DESCRIPTION ABOUT THE BOOK: How to make 3-D star map displays. 20 WORD DESCRIPTION ABOUT THE BOOK: How to make museum quality 3-D displays of stars near our Sun plus a synopsis on interstellar travel. 50 WORD DESCRIPTION ABOUT THE BOOK: How to make museum quality 3-D displays of stars near our Sun, the Pleiades, Orion, and the local group of galaxies. The book also contains a synopsis on interstellar travel that is not shown in astronomy books. Great reference material for amateur astronomers, sci-fi writers, science fair projects, and UFO enthusiasts. KEYWORDS ABOUT THE BOOK (20 WORDS): 3-D star maps, nearby stars, stellariums, Pleiades, Orion, space travel, astronomy, science project, astrometry, science fiction reference, astronomy displays, space exploration, local group
Subject: Right Ascension Drive Problem Date: 1/5/04, 20:10 From: Manuel De Sales (Manuel.DeSales@WaterCorporation.com.au) I'm hoping you might be able to help me. I tried contacting Meade direct but notice they don't have an e-mail address on their website for customer enquiries, and the system they do have is not meant for customers outside of North America. Being in Australia, that counts me out. I have had Meade ETX-125EC for about two years, and it has now developed a problem with the Right Ascension motor drive. The telescope has begun to make an uncontrolled slew to the left whenever I use the electronic controller to slew either to the right or left. This unwanted slewing varies from approximately a 25degree turn to almost (on occasions) a 45degree turn. I haven't been able to discern if there is any pattern to the amount it will slew by. It will commence to slew to the left almost immediately after I have made a change in its Right Ascension. The problem doesn't occur when the controller is used to change the telescope's altitude. I don't have an Autostar in use. At first I thought that it was preventing me from making any adjustments to the right as I might be trying to exceed its rotational limit. However, a check with the Right Ascension lock released showed that this isn't the case, and the problem was occurring with at least 180degrees of rotation still available. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Manuel de SalesMike here: Couple of thoughts: Replace the batteries (assuming you are using batteries). Unlock the axis and move the telescope in azimuth from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth, several times. This may help clean off the encoders.
Thanks for the (amazingly) quick reply. I'll give it a try.And an update:
A follow on from my previous e-mail. Followed your advice, and it worked - the drive is back to normal. Thanks for the assistance. Meade should be paying you for running your website. It provides more useful information than their's does. Once again, thanks for the excellent (and very prompt) advice. Manuel de Sales
Subject: Re: Finder scope when blind in right eye Date: 1/5/04, 16:58 From: "Craig M. Bobchin" (ETX_Astro_Boy@sbcglobal.net) To: email@example.com, I have another possible solution. It may not be the best, but it is workable. Being left eye dominant, I run into the same issue that you do. I simply turned the tube of my finder scope about 40 degrees to the left so the eyepeice of the finder points to the side. I have found that this works fine. I did have to get used to the difference in motion when I use the autostar, as well as taking a step to the side to use it, but it is free and it does work. Hope that helps. CraigAnd another idea:
Thankyou for the idea. I was wandering though, if by tilting the finder scope you run into problems with it hitting the fork when say using the Go To and the scope slews to near its vertical stop? Regards Ian BakerAnd:
I have not yet run into any problems with the finder hitting the fork. The OTA stops at 90 degrees, and the finder scope is short enough that it won't hit the fork at that point.
Thanks Craig I will try that once my 105 comes back from being repaired. After about 5hrs use it was slewing and went clunk resulting in about 7deg free vertical movement with the motors engaged. They have informed me that a nut on the worm drive that normally has lock-tight (a type of glue) on the thread to stop the nut from unscrewing was only on the nut causing the nut to come loose.
Subject: Re: ETX 125EC New User Problem Date: 1/5/04, 12:52 From: Pete and Maggie Kasper (firstname.lastname@example.org) Just wanted you to know that I finally got Meade Customer Service today. Apparently my focus knob was slipping and that's why I couldn't focus on anything. They are sending me a new one and the manual gratis. Hopefully that will fix my problem. I want to thank you both for your quick response to my problem. You do have a great site, especially for a novice like me. Next question. It looks like I have a version 1.1 Autostar. Can that be upgraded to the latest version just by downloading from the internet? Do I need the special cable or can any computer cable work? Thanks again,And:
From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) > Next question. It looks like I have a version 1.1 Autostar. > Can that be upgraded to the latest version just by downloading > from the internet? Yes, but with a starting version so old, you will have to invoke the "Safe Load" procedure to convince the Updater to work with it. (that merely involves pressing Enter and Scroll Down when powering up the scope) > Do I need the special cable or can any computer cable work? "Any"? Cables with a DB9 on one end, and rj22 on the other are fairly rare... You can -make- the "505 type" cable at home (see: http://www.weasner.com/etx/autostar/as_cable505.html for how to wire it), or you can buy one on eBay for cheaper than Meade's price, and/or one comes "free" with the AutostarSuite kit. ($150). have fun --dick
Subject: Re: Happy New Year for the ETX header and friends. Date: 1/5/04, 07:17 From: SkyChih@aol.com i stay tuned with your site, happy new year again, the spirit rover is on mars after the bouncing checklist ok. Enrique.
Subject: Re: ETX-90 Electronic board Date: 1/4/04, 13:09 From: JL COAM (firstname.lastname@example.org) I did it. For more than a month and a half, I was exchanging emails with a Meade employee from Export Sales Dept. Finally she sent me to Otero, Meade authorized dealer in Spain. I'm still waiting from beginning of September for Otero to solve this problem. I call them from time to time but I suspect they are not even ordered the board. I see no interest. Should I forget the whole thing, sell the OTA and buy another ETX?. Thanks. Regards, Jose LMike here: If you want to keep the ETX-90EC you will likely have to have Meade repair it. As I noted, they (like many other companies) will probably not respond to a user request for such parts. They do provide some user-replaceable parts (like the Right Tube Adapter) but I doubt they will supply a circuit board.
Subject: ETX-90 Electronic board Date: 1/3/04, 11:41 From: JL COAM (email@example.com) My ETX-90EC is ruined, well, at least to track in Right Ascension. I plugged an adaptor and some components of the RA electronic board were fried. Bad news. Since August I'm trying to find a spare, either a new board or the whole base. I've been looking through USA Meade, this web, my local distributor, Astromart, Ebay, astroforums, etc. No solution. It seemed to be a problem due to reverse polarity connection of the adapter. A simple diode would have prevent that. I'm really dissapointed with Meade policy, which does not support spare parts to solve this problem. Any help?. Thanks!. Happy New Year. Jose L. ChinchillaMike here: Supplying spare parts to the end-user are a manufacturer's decision. Have you ever tried to get a replacement component for a computer or a digital camera? If you fry a circuit board you are likely out of luck. I would suggest contacting Meade or let your local dealer handle the repair.
Subject: New Telescope Purchaser here.... Date: 1/3/04, 09:30 From: JM Marconi (firstname.lastname@example.org) I was wondering what the difference is between the eXT-105AT and ETX-105EC. From what I have gathered so far, the AT is the '03-'04 model and the EC was in '02. Is that the only difference? Also--what is your position re: UHTC coating? Thanks much! Best Regards, Jon-MichaelMike here: See the Announcements - Meade page on my ETX Site for info on the EC vs AT change. While you are there, scroll down the page for info on UHTC (which I highly recommend).
Thanks so much! I've located a Meade EXT-105AT UHTC at Bel Air Camera near my house and I'm going to pick it up shortly! I can't wait to use it and am certain that I will be using your announcement page.Mike here: Congrats! Read the manual (three times), play with the telescope system indoors until you know how to use it (easier than trying to learn it in the dark with the pressures of wanting to see something!), go slowly, and have fun! Feel free to visit my ETX Site when looking for answers to any questions you may have.
Subject: Happy New Year for the ETX header and friends. Date: 1/2/04, 23:37 From: SkyChih@aol.com Last week i have getting some sense about arqueoastronomy (arqueo 'ancestral') and capacity as UHTC of meade to get more light. this preliminary document (1.8MB) is something about cosmogony as article for our mexican astronomy association SAJ-SAM, and to our free lives and relativity fo amateurs; but today is in spanish. I hope you have some friend or computer translator to understand my spanish while i get my own translation to english. I hope this 2004 i send to your web site more shots with the ETX and wide field. There are a very interesting site in frederic.brame.free.fr about how with a Microchip PIC programming and stepper motors, amateurs can do 'GOTO' as learning and self-experience. Also there are another K3CCDTOOLS that have a very nice freeware software to do long exposure ccd imaging. With those support and UHTC Meade-Kodak KAF-0402E tool for fotography, thats more better than last year. in sfn Space Flight Center News, are showing the ultraviolet shot from GALEX of andromeda m-31, is very nice for look and thinking. I wish more better times for you and your family into the New Year, Happy New Year: 2004.
Subject: Many questions Date: 1/2/04, 23:34 From: Greg Yeomans (email@example.com) I have four rookie questions, which I would very much appreciate some advice on. I can't glean the answers from the Meade web site or the manual I have: a) For most uses, it seems the alt/az home position is adequate when using the autostar. Assuming I have it set up right, I understand there can be some variability in how accurate the GoTo centres an object. I guess I am supposed to slew the object to dead centre if it is not already there (naturally I'd have to recognize the object for what it is). Does this mess up subsequent GoTo's, or does the machine continually monitor its position, whether computer driven or manually moved (using the hand set)? I guess related questions would be: if in easy set up it does not centre Rigel, Pollux, or whatever, do I slew it to dead centre before confirming its location by pressing "enter"; if I GoTo an object, then decide to go on a joyride with the manual controls to a different object I spot, can I then GoTo a different programmed location, or must I first re-do the set up from home position? b) In establishing home position, I am supposed to point the scope to true north. No problem if Polaris is visible (although the tube will be pointed well below the star), but I could imagine some good viewing conditions when that particular star is obscured. I noticed in one of your tips a home made wedge to ascertain true north based on magnetic north. Is that a good standbye under the conditions I mentioned, and can you suggest where I could look up the appropriate correction for true north for my (or any) latitude (mine is a shade above 49 degrees)? c) I attached a t-mount and adaptor ring for my Nikon. It all seems to work (a quick check through a window at night in the snow - not much of a test), but the weight causes me some concern about overloading the motors, and the vertical lock definitely needs to be cranked to keep it from spinning out of location and potentially causing damage if the scope should rotate too much and the camera crashes into the base. The camera is a manual/autofocus SLR and quite light as they go, but do you think these are serious issues, and is there a standard technique to address them (eg. a simple counterweight)? d) In your experience, can the ETX 90 handle a 6 mm eyepiece, or is that too much magnification? Most of the books suggest it might be a tad over the practical limit, yet I keep seeing testimonials about going way over 200 power. I don't want to buy an eyepiece that is useless for my equipment (I have a 26 mm super plossl, an 18 mm WA plossl, and a 9.6 mm super plossl)? I don't intend on pestering you with more question - you must get many. After I get these basics straight, I'll shut up and go into the field. Thanks for any help you can provide. GregMike here: a) As long as you use the Autostar to slew the telescope, it keeps track of its position. You can "refine" its accuracy by doing a SYNC; which updates the current RA/DEC to be that for the object centered in the eyepiece. This update improves GOTO accuracy for that portion of the sky. The accuracy of the initial alignment will affect the accuracy of subsequent GOTOs, so yes, center the alignment stars when asked to. b) Use True North. See the Astronomy Links page for sites that let you determine your local Magnetic Veriation. c) Yes, extra weight can be a problem. See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for info on making counterweights. d) Under really good seeing conditions when viewing bright objects (like the Moon or brighter planets) you can exceed the theoretical maximum magnification. Never hurts to try.
Subject: Polar vs Alt/Az alignment Date: 1/2/04, 21:03 From: Andrew McKelvy (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hey I was wondering what the advantages of polar alignment and Alt/Az alignment are. I normally use Alt/Az alignment and have never tried the polar set up with my ETX-90, what are the differences in each configuration? Thanks! great site, by the way.Mike here: Alt/Az has three BIG advantages: stability, all the sky is accessible, and it is easiest. Polar has two BIG advantages: no field rotation (but not important for visual work) and only one drive runs to track objects (resulting in less or reduced image vibrations).
Subject: Website Connection Date: 1/2/04, 19:06 From: Jody McCollough (email@example.com) Just in the last few days I have managed to (finally) post my new website and establish my domain name. (www.sirius-astro.com). I hope you dont mind but I put a link to your ETX site on my main page. I own an ETX125 and got tons of helpful hints from your site and I wanted to make sure that if anyone was roaming around and managed by luck to find my little site, they would be able to find your wonderful resource. I want other to be able to benefit from your efforts as much as I have. My site is still very much in the early stages and will, over the next few months, grow a lot. It isnt a commercial site and I wont be making any money off it. It is purely for my pleasure and for the pleasure of the little group I belong to. I hope you can take a few minutes to look at my pages and offer me your experienced view. Any suggestions you might have will be very welcome :o) If you do not want a link to your site on there, just say the word and it will be gone right away. I assumed it would be ok with you but if not, no problemo! :o) Clear Skies! Jody McCollough Aurora, Colorado firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: request resource for data on orbists Date: 1/2/04, 16:00 From: "Rua, Jose (DHS)" (JRUA@miamidade.gov) Thank you again for your site and Happy New Year! Can you point me to a resource that indicates the day to day orbital positions of planet satellites. Thanks. Jose.Mike here: I don't have one but you can probably find one if you search the Web. Let me know what you find and I'll add its link.
Subject: Re: The rings of Saturn Date: 1/2/04, 08:32 From: Chuck Sowers (email@example.com) I star tested the scope and all is well. I do let the scope cool down for a few hours. I think my problem is with turbulent air because last night the air was calm and Saturn was just beautiful! I could see two divisions in the rings and belts on the surface. I think my eyes just need to learn to SEE better also. The averted vision technique is really improving my seeing. Thanks and Happy New Year! ChuckMike here: Yes, the atmosphere can definitely create havoc in the views. And learning to "see" is also important.
Subject: Question Date: 1/1/04, 14:17 From: Glorilin307@aol.com Hi. I just purchased a Meade 8" LX90 for my son for Christmas. I have now found your website. To what extent are the comments/advice/opinions/suggestions that deal with the Meade ETX scopes applicable to the LX90. You have a wealth of information on your site, but since I have no experience whatsoever with telescopes I am not sure what info is applicable to my son's scope. Sorry to bother you, but your opinion is valued. Regards. Vernon FAirchild in Cape Coral, FloridaMike here: Information on the Autostar Feedback, Autostar Suite Feedback, and Autostar Information pages are applicable when they discuss the #497 Autostar. Most of the astrophotography information will be applicable. Only a few of the Telescope Tech Tips would be applicable to the LX90. Many of the items that get posted on the General Feedback, Announcements, Buyer/New User Tips, Observational Guides/References, and Accessory Reviews pages are applicable to almost any telescope.
Subject: re: ETX 125 Help Date: 1/1/04, 12:31 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com I do notice an ambiguity in your son-in-law's instructions: He does not appear to distinguish between the Declination CLAMP (which he never explicitly mentions) and the knob which holds the Declination SCALE in place. You loosen the Clamp to let the barrel move up and down easily. When setting up before powering up, you want the Declination SCALE to be over the power panel (after locating the hard stop). However, as you noted, if you only have 360 degrees of free base rotation from stop-to-stop, something's amiss hardware-wise. It should be able to spin a bit more than a full turn and a half (the normal hardware stops are with the scope pointing in the southwest (after spinning counter-clockwise) and 1.5+ turns later (clockwise), with the scope pointing vaguely southeast. good luck --dick
You can open the base of the telescope and -look- for obstructions. Sometimes they are very obvious. Remove the batteries. The screws which hold the base plate on are hidden behind the rubber feet... just peel them off and unscrew the plate. Carefully remove the plate... the wires to the battery compartment are short and fragile. There are many photos on Mike's site under the Tech Tips page under the topics centering on: "tune up" good luck --dick
Subject: re: Eyepiece Deal Date: 1/1/04, 12:24 From: Richard Seymour (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: MrEllingson2180@aol.com > how long will it last? Mike Fowler of OPT posted on another group that the deal is expiring in Feb 2004. (but i forget the -date- in Feb) good luck --dick
Thank you guys, we sent away for the pieces shortly after your first reply and hopefully will receive them soon.
Subject: re: ETX 125EC New User Problem Date: 1/1/04, 12:21 From: Richard Seymour (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org > ...cruise ships, etc. thru my sliding glass doors. OPEN THE SILLY DOORS!!! The glass used for house windows and doors is -extremely- poor optically (when viewed through a telescope). The distinction between sea and sky is also a problem if there's -any- haze (and it'll affect the cruise ships, too). You can try extending your focus range by simply pulling the eyepiece out of the telescope's holder and holding it away from the scope a bit (it's hard to keep it in the light path, but this is only for quick-check testing). Also: without an eyepiece in place, simply LOOK down into the eyepiece holder... you should see the front mirror "obstruction" centered in the hole. If it's off to one side, your telescope is in need of collimation (not simple with an ETX125 for a first-timer). Also look at the flip-mirror for contamination or finger prints.. but do NOT try to clean it without reading Dr. Clay's instructions in the Tech Tips section of Mike's site. (those are "front surface" mirrors... the reflective coating is on top of the glass, and -extremely- fragile. If you are near a good telescope shop or astronomy club, take it there for assistance. good luck --dick
Subject: An "Oh my God" moment...... Date: 1/1/04, 06:31 From: email@example.com As reported, my wife and I set up the telescope, 'trained the drives' and prepared for a our first look at Saturn. Ok, so the AutoStar still is not working as advertised - me thinks, user error and we will deal with that through trial and error. But, we did follow Meade's directions on finding Saturn to the left of Orion and, 'OH MY GOD'. Seeing the incredibly recognizable shape gave us both goosebumps (ok, so it was as small as you thought) but, for our first sighting it ranks up there with the births of my three sons and meeting my wife's eyes for the first time. Thanks for your help...no doubt I will be back to request assistance in the future. Are there members of the ETX family in Massachusetts? Happy hunting, Larry Simpson Lakeville MAMike here: That first look at Saturn is one of life's memorable events. I still remember mine from 1962 when I saw it through my new Edmund 3" reflector (as shown on the "Ancient History" page; http://www.weasner.com/etx/fun/ancient.html). As to the alignments, read through the various articles on alignment tips on the Autostar Information page; perhaps something will "click".
Subject: A New Year....ASO in 2003 Date: 1/1/04, 03:57 From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hello to all.... The year 2003 was a remarkably successful year of observation and transition for ASO. As most are aware, this past year saw the development and changes of ASO Petit Jean Mountain (Harvard/MPC H41) as well as ASO Cascade Mountain (Harvard/MPC H44). We are now entering our 33rd year and are very proud to still be going strong..... A complete review of this wonderful year 2003 has been written and posted under CURRENT NEWS at the ASO website http://www.arksky.org/ which demonstrates our dedication to both outreach and education and astronomical research in a variety of fields. I wanted to share this review with you, since in my opinion each of YOU have helped make this successful year richer in the rewards of discovery and outreach. Hoping that your 2004 offers the darkest of skies, the brightest of comets, and a universe filled with astronomical discoveries that can only be matched by your imaginations... Dr. Clay -------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: RE: Error on your website, Mike. Date: 1/1/04, 03:35 From: Marcin (email@example.com) In the posting on time format [Dec 03 Feedback] Ron Cook wrote: "Only one sequence that is right." To that I say: WRONG! I'll even venture to say: every sentence starting with the words "only one" and ending with the words "is right" is wrong; in most cases its author simply has a bit of a problem with the greatest of human virtues - tolerance... Is the dd-mm-yyyy notation illogical? Undoubtedly. So what? Many, if not most of human measurement systems are illogical: is it logical to divide the day to 12 hours instead of 10? The reasons for it are purely historical, not logical. Our whole calendar system is a curious blend of Roman and Arabic (plus a few others) elements that really defies logic. Let me not even start on the intricacies of the imperial measurement system so beloved by my Anglo-Saxon friends, good luck trying to find any logic there! Date notation is a part of a human communication system. As such, it hasn't the slightest importance whether the notation is "logical" or not (again, good luck trying to find logic in human languages...) - only whether it transmits the desired message without errors. If Mike is using a notation that is correctly understood by his readers then who cares how "logical" is it? By the way, my favourite notation is dd-mmm-yyyy (i.e. with LETTERS instead of numbers to represent the month), because it eliminates the possibility of mistaking the day for the month or vice versa, and yet is easily translated by computers (e.g. by MS Excel) to a numerical format and so can be correctly sorted. HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! Marcin Bruczkowski firstname.lastname@example.org Warsaw, Poland 01-Jan-2004
Subject: Finder scope when blind in right eye Date: 12/31/03, 16:15 From: Ian Baker (email@example.com) Firstly, I would like to add to everyone else my appreciation to you on such a fantastic site. I am blind in my right eye so if I am using an eyepiece higher then the finder scope on my ETX 105 (for eg any eyepiece with a Barlow) I have to remove the eyepiece and replace it with a smaller one each time I go to use the finder scope. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I may be able to overcome this? Also just a note to everyone dont forget us Aussies down here in the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE when making references. Regards Ian BakerMike here: Couple of thoughts: Replace the stock finderscope with a different one that mounts higher (or raise the existing finderscope bracket). Get a "Visual Back" to use eyepieces at the rear port (see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page).
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