This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Portable Power Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 14:47:15 From: email@example.com (Rich Cobb) Hi Mike, I really appreciate all the work youÕve put in to the site. It was a big factor in my decision to purchase an ETX-125. I want to share a tip about a great find I just picked up. ItÕs called a Portable Power Station, sold at Radio Shack (# 61-2801), that is capable of providing many different voltages including the 12v that the scope needs. The unit contains a very hefty battery and comes with itÕs own charger brick. The unit supplies 10 amps, so it has the oomph to go all night, even with accessories. IÕve attached a couple of photos so you can see it. I simply hang the unit from the tripod on the strap that comes with it. As an added bonus the extra weight helps keep the tripod anchored firmly. (Not that the Meade 887 tripod needs more weight!) The only thing youÕll need to add is the cigarette lighter cable to the scope. I made one from some stuff I had, but you can get a cord a Radio Shack as well. ThereÕs a handy storage cubby in the back that holds the cords when theyÕre not connected to anything. The recharging brick wonÕt fit inside though, so you have to keep that somewhere else. The area in red on the front of the box is actually covered by a small sliding door that comes up from the bottom covering both 12v sockets. The lights on the left side just to the right of the master power switch indicate when the battery is getting low and also show the charging status. I am a neophyte in the astronomy department, but this box is the right thing at the right price. If you need portable power, I recommend taking a look. HereÕs the best part: TheyÕre only $39.99. Thanks again for the Mighty ETX site. Clear skies and keep up the great work! Rich Cobb
Subject: Great bargains at Meade Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 14:15:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Anyone with aperture fever can pick up quite a bargain on the wonderful LX 200 12" scope....marked DOWN from $3,995 to $2,995. That's right! A $1,000 drop in price AND the complete set of Super Plossl 4000 series is still FREE with the order....that is a $1,700 savings on the 12" Schmidt. They are overstocked right now on the 12" and attempting to circumvent some of the huge demand and backlog on the LX 200 10" scope. Really muscular and fit people are the true winners on this deal. Not as portable as the ETX, but a really hard deal to pass up! Clay Sherrod
Subject: LX-90 Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 13:51:04 From: DHOWARD@express-scripts.com (Howard, Dan (STL)) Great site!! I've spent the last two days at work reading everything you've done (luckily my boss has a Nexstar 8!) and I'm wondering if you're aware of any LX-90 sites. I know a lot of the information is similar, but there are a few differences. Thanks again for a cool site. Dan HowardMike here: I'm not tracking LX90 stuff too closely (yet). There is one LX90 mention on the Astronomy Links page (for the Meade LX90 Discussion Group).
Subject: SF telescope store Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 12:11:40 From: email@example.com (C. B. Dane) To: firstname.lastname@example.org There is an excellent telescope and accessory supply in Livermore, CA, about 30-40 miles east of San Francisco. You may have heard of Lumicon from their full page ads in Sky and Telescope. They seem to be well known for their filters (UHC, nebula, OIII, etc.) and astrophotography supplies. Very helpful staff, good selection, open till 7p.m. on weekdays. I highly recommend. I hope that this is helpful, bd -- C. Brent Dane email@example.com Brent's R/C Electronics Page http://www.cliftech.com/
Subject: ETX 90/MA FOR $225 @ telescopes.net Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 10:10:13 From: Dice00@aol.com Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your site and I just purchased my first ETX. The ETX 90/MA is on special for $225 at www.telescopes.net - Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes. This is the best deal I could find anywhere for a new unit! And they do not inflate shipping, it is only $10. Pass it on to others! Stephan Getz
Subject: Re: Warning for Electric Focuser Installations Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 7:51:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Nuwan When attaining home position as you quoted, merely get the fork arm over the control panel as close as you can....just center by eye and that is close enough. Your two-star alignment will take care of the rest if there is a mistake or error in this. You are okay on the focuser; you would know it, as the rod would slip down inside the tube. That is the problem I am trying to warn against. As long as the rod is not turned clockwise all the way (still threaded into the back cell) you are fine! Thanks for writing. Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Nuwan Thanks for the alert. I have already fixed the meade focusor but do not whether I have caused any damage you mention. After that I have used it several times without a problem. How do I know whether I have cause a damage to the scope. Is it visible ? What are the symptoms that indicate a problem ? Also if you have time I have another question for you since I followed your allignment instructions. When taking the scope to the home position first we have to "unclamp the azimuth and rotate the telescope COUNTERCLOCKWISE all the way to the hard stop, and back CLOCKWISE until its fork arm with declination circle is OVER the control panel". But the fork arm is wider thatn control panel. And even a few degrees can make a huge difference. So do we have to kind of center control panel or align one corner ? . I am totaly new to this field so these questions may sound stupid. But I am trying to get this GO TO work. I got it find the moon following the procedure( moon came very close to the center in the finder scope). But it may not count that much since it is a huge object compared to other faint/tiny objects. I might send my scope to for your supercharge service. But before that I want to do some more experimenting with this go to function. Thanks in advance for your time answering my questions, - NuwanMike here: I try to get the center of the DEC (altitude) axis knob protrusion on the fork arm directly above the jack for the AC Adapter. Since I always use the adapter the plug provides a convenient target.
Subject: a question Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 12:11:47 From: email@example.com (Bern Megrey) I have an ETX90EC and want to control it using a laptop and PC-based astronomy software such as SkyMap or DeepSky2000. The question is can somebody tell me how to build a cable to connect the computer's serial port to the AUX jack on the scope. Replies most appreciated. Regards Bern MegreyMike here: You have to have an Autostar #497 and communicate from the computer to the Autostar to control the ETX EC models. So you need (or build) the #505 cable. See the Autostar Information page for info on building this cable.
Subject: ETX-90EC Focus Shaft Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 6:39:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Lien) Before I begin, please allow me that thank both of you; Mike for hosting such a fantastic site and Clay for sharing his vast knowledge and experience with us novice astronomers. Your recent warning about the electric focuser could not have been better timed. I have had my ETX for about a year and a half and have used the Meade electric focuser from the beginning. My recent problems are that the focus shaft seems to be increasingly harder to move for the focus motor. In fact, I actually experienced some slippage of the brass gear on the shaft. I carefully followed your instructions and the focus seems to be working again. However, the motors still seemed to be greatly strained, especially when I am "focusing in" using the up-arrow. I am concerned that the brass gears may strip. Is it possible that the shaft needs a little lubrication on the threads? I sincerely doubt that I bent the shaft sometime during the past year and a half. Any suggestions? Christopher LienAnd:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) The resistence that you are feeling in the focus rod is common and should not cause worry. They simply operate that way. I would make sure that the large brass focus gear is very snug and does not slip but be sure and do not overtighten for fear of stripping out the little set screw. I would NOT recommend putting any lubricant in the rear cell of the scope; most of that should be done from the inside. If it gets very bad, you can try to take of the electric focuser keeping the gear on, rotate clockwise until you feel the end resistance (careful!) and then apply a small amount of lithium grease at the very front (at the opening in the rear cell) and then turning counterclockwise pretty far....do that over and over to distribute the grease. Glad you found the article! It is very important, indeed! Clay Sherrod
Subject: Re: Optical Specks Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2001 19:10:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Rodolfo Those "specks" you describe have caused you a great deal of consternation for nothing! They are merely internal reflections within the tube (likely light from daylight observing shining off of some of the grease on the main baffled tube left behind from the primary mirror cell as it "slides" in and out of focus....this reflected light in turn is then reflected once again off the flat black....yes it reflects, too!....walls of the inside of the tube and onto the primary mirror. You will often see these in photographs of celestial objects (Venus and the moon) that are taken in daylight. Your optics are fine....this is something to be expected when observing in very bright conditions. Nice to hear from you....keep in touch with all of us at the ETX site! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Rodolfo Glad to say hello to you again. Hope you can help me with this one. Yesterday I was doing some daylight observing with my ETX 125 and noticed two "optical translucid specks" (one near the center and the other one at two o'clock) while viewing at powers greater than 200X. Increasing the power makes them more evident. To a fellow like me, such views aren't very pleasant. I first thought about a dirty eyepiece, but after rotating it the "translucid spots" were in the same position; changed to other eyepieces and barlow combinations and the same thing. I then looked at the corrector lens and removed some dust in it by gently "buffing" with a cotton. The corrector looked very clean, with no flaws or defects at all (at least visually), but after using a flashlight, I noticed a zone in the primary mirror with some scratches. Do you know the nature of this "translucid spots"? By the way, I let the scope more than two hours at shadow for temperature equilibrium, since it was a very hot day at 38 C). Thanks in advance! Rodolfo
Subject: $20.00 AUTOSTAR Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2001 18:17:46 From: email@example.com (Dan Schmitz) Stumbled across a great opportunity to aquire that autostar or pick up a spare just in case. K-B Toys has bought out E-Toys and is dumping their stock of Meade accesories. #497 Autostars for $20.00, Deluxe Tripod for $60.00. This only affects the K-B Outlet stores. My store in Arlington TX had about 20 autostars an a handfull of tripods. Now when I hose up my Autostar with the latest code download I'll have a spare.
Subject: astrophotography Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2001 13:11:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jon Louch) I just purchased my first telescope, a ETX90 astroscope. I am interested in doing photography of Saturn and Jupiter. Do you know of any software that could give me suggestions on exposure times. I am going to try 35mm and digital photography. Thanks, Jon LouchMike here: There is an "Exposure Time Spreadsheet" Microsoft Excel file available through the link to the "Guest Contributions Archive 1997" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. I also suggest reading "Getting Started in Astrophotography" on the Observational Guides/References page. Plus there is some useful info on the "Gallery - Basics" page under My Astrophotography Gallery.
Subject: great Venus occultation shots, Mike! Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2001 2:47:25 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Just now have had a chance to sit down and load up the great "movie" of the recent occultation of Venus in daylight! Super job and great description. I was most impressed with the consistency of frames throughout the sequence and the great continuity it exhibited. Some of the best I have seen. Clay Sherrod
Subject: Motor failure error in ETX and Meade support.. Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2001 15:14:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anestis Anestis) Congratulations for your work. I'm from Athens, Greece and I own an ETX-125EC scope since April. Although I really enjoyed the optical quality the electromechanical performance was rather poor. A month later I bought the Autostar. Everything was ok eccept the fact the in the Alt-Az mode I had a "Motor Failure Error". I decided to sent my scope to Meads's support in Germany, as I was still under warranty, informing them about the error. This is the message I sent to them: Although often resets, calibration and training where done, the scope used with an Autostar, full batteries and without any extra weight generates a "Motor Failure Error", usually after 30 minutes of tracking. After that the error comes up very often and a new reseting, calibration and training is required making observing rather difficult. The error does not seem to appear in Polar mode. Also the scope has been tested with two other Autostar handbox sets and with two different versions of Autostar software (2.0 and 2.2), however the same behavior appears. It seems quite sure that the problem generates from the DEC/Altitude drive system and the "slop" and looseness in that axis. It is even possible to send a command for upwards moving and have the optical tube "fall" down for one degree before reversing to the upwards direction. Probably this generates failure readouts in the Autostar, so it seems that some fixing needs to be done on that axis.. When the scope was returned after one month the report of Meade support was that no error was found after six hours of testing. But the scope still had the same problem. Could they have tested it using an external power source, that I don't own? I started thinking that the problem may have to do with battery power... I think that they really consider quality of service as not important at all and I will now have even to pay for the shipping costs!!! Anyway what you think is the cause of this persistent error which doesn't allow me to use the scope in Alt-Az mode? But worst of all, the scope has been returned in a worst condition than it was send. First of all it was returned with the Declination lock tight in the lock position!! People in Meade service seem to be in a harry packaging and returning the scopes back after tests which do not recreate user reported errors... Meade's QA process at it's best!! But worst of all it was returned with the well known shifting problem in the focus system. Helding the In and Out buttons of my Meade electric focuser everything moves out from the field of view even with the 26mm eyepiece! It really now has no meaning centering the finderscope!! Each time you focus you have to move the scope continiously!!! But what worries me is the fact that I didn't had at all this problem before sending the scope for repair. Everything was working fine. I had a perfectly aligned finderscope and whatever eyepiece I was using and whatever effort was making to focus everything was there.. in the center. Now it's all gone.... Also I had concentic rings for out of focus star images which now appear offset. And even the focused images appear to have coma in the same direction. No more dot like star images. Again a difference between before and after... What can I do to fix this new problem and what would you consider as appropriate action against the people in Meade service? Should I send it back again to Meade service? Whome should I contact? Thanks for your help and your effort maintaining this site. Sincerely, Anestis Anestis Athens, GreeceMike here: Sorry you've had a problem, both with the telescope and the repair. Off the top of my head I don't know why the problem would appear in Alt/Az and not in Polar mode. Of course, in Alt/Az two drives are running essentially simultaneously to move the scope in Right Ascension whereas only one drive is running in Polar mode. So, perhaps the batteries were the problem. As to the image shifting, did you send it back with the two foam inserts inplace between the base and rear of the ETX? Did it come back with the inserts inplace? Regardless, you should either talk to your dealer or Meade and get the image shifting repaired. It sounds like some optical misalignment occurred during shipping.
Subject: Meade ETX with T-adapter and basic camera adapter Sent: Friday, July 27, 2001 15:41:39 From: email@example.com (D T) I have recently got into astronomy and I have a Meade ETX 90-EC. I am particularly interested in astrophotography. I am a pretty good amateur photographer and I am now attempting astrophotography ( a totally different animal). I was reading your chapter in "Astronomy With Small Telescopes" and I came accross something that I think may interest you (you may already know this). You discuss using the Basic Camera Adapter with the 26mm and 9.7mm eyepieces. You talk about how the Basic Camera Adapter is too short to accomdate the 26mm eyepiece. What I found works, if you want to use the 26mm eyepiece for eyepiece projection photography is attaching the longer half of the T-Adapter to the Basic Camera Adapter and voila, you now have a longer Basic Camera Adapter, capable of handling the larger (longer) eyepieces. You can even use it with the 2x or 3X Barlow lens attached to the eyepiece holder and the Basic Cameral Adapter/T-Adapter attached to the Barlow lens. This setup including the camera body is kind of heavy, esp. with the Barlow lens and requires the horizontal and vertical locks to be cinched as tight as possible without breaking them. FYI, I have a Canon EOS Elan II camera, and I understand that Canon just came out with the same version of this camera in digital format. This will allow one to use the T-mount, T-Adapter and Basic Camera Adapter with this new digital camera for eyepiece projection photography. The only problem is that right now this camera is $3000.00. The people at the local camera shop expect it to be less than $2000.00 by Christmas. Let me know what you think. Dan Tonto P.S. Great Website
Subject: Question on my 1st telescope etx 125 from Nick T. Sent: Friday, July 27, 2001 14:56:19 From: ClaytonjandL@aol.com I just bought my 1st real telescope the etx 125, and Im just now getting familiar with it and astronomy. My questions are as follows. I find it hard to focus due to vibration while turning the focus knob what should I do or what can I do to fix this. I understand Meade has an electronic focuser does that work for this problem, and is it easy to install. ( I have the #883 Deluxe Tripod ) My next question is about eyepieces I have 3 a sp 26mm, sp9.7mm, and a #126 2x Barlow lens. Right now with the 26mm I look at Mars and its fairly crisp and bright and I see some orangey-red color but no real detail. With the 9.7mm the planet is larger and brighter but fuzzy with less color ( the larger the planet is the harder to focus for detail due to the above mention problem ). All said Im enjoying my etx 125 very much Im seeing things Ive never seen before,I am 36 and feel I should have started studing a long time ago. Yours Truly Nick T. Concord, California USAMike here: Right now Mars is experiencing a planet-wide dust storm. So no details will be visible unfortunately. Earlier this Summer before the storm got so widespread, Mars was very nice. As to vibrations from focusing, yes, this can be an annoyance. The Meade electronic focuser helps a lot. Also a flexible cable attached to the focus shaft helps; Scopetronix sells a nice one (see the review on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page) or you can make your own (see focus mods on the Telescope Tech Tips page). Also, many users simply use an "alligator-style" clothes pin and clip it to the focus knob. This can make focusing smoother and more precise.
Subject: 40 mm and filter for Autostar 125 Sent: Friday, July 27, 2001 9:45:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alain BODIVIT) Congratulation for your web site your are a world wide reference for Autostar. I had previosly problems with Autostar. No problem occured since I have upgraded the software release. Thank you Now I d like to improve my scope with an 40 mm eyepiece for deep sky does the difference require this investment ? I would like to add an OIII filter what do you think about. I'm French and I will spend my Hollidays in California on September is there a possibility to meet californians user of ETX ? I'm expecting to spend a night in death valley for observation is it a good site ? Good sky email@example.comMike here: Glad to hear the new Autostar version solved any problems you were having. As to a 40mm eyepiece, I use mine a lot and enjoy the views. As to the OIII filter, there's a review of one on the Accessories - Filters page. If you'll be in California 14-15 September, maybe you can make it to the Mighty ETX Star Party!
Thank you for your reply , infortunatly I'll leave San Fransisco on 12 September an will not be able to participate to the mighty ETX party I have read articles about filter on your web site . I would like to seize the opportunity of my sojourn in California to buy a portfolio of eyepieces and filter I think they would be cheaper. Is there additional taxes to add on the prices displayed on your site in California? do you know a retailer in LA or San Francisco to recommand ? Is there something to visit for amator of astronomy (Wilson mont or Palomar observatory exepted).Mike here: Sorry you'll miss the Star Party. There is an 8+% sales tax on purchases in California. I don't know of any dealers in the SF Bay area but you might check Meade and Celestron's site for their dealers. Lick Observatory is near San Jose, which is southeast of San Francisco. I don't know if they have public tours.
Subject: Right Angle View Finders Require Additional Caution Sent: Friday, July 27, 2001 9:33:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Philippe HAAKE) Just to prevent this problem.... Just put an old kodak film's box on it.... Make one or two small holes in... just to make easier to remove it.... That's it!!!! Greetings from Switzerland.... Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND Phil ICQ 3128404 http://astroclub.net/sag/index.html http://astroclub.net/sag/ephemeride/index.html http://community.webshots.com/user/beruberu1 email@example.com
Subject: dust covers for ETX's Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 23:04:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com It's possible a piece of Saran Wrap (or similar) stretched over the front lens wouldn't disturb the image enough to be noticed in a brightly-lit environment. It's certainly cheap to try. Other spots to cover, however, include the front of the tripod-screw-holder box on the underside of the scope.. and the second (unused) tripod screw hole. Both of those are light-leaks during Solar observing, so they'd let dust in, too... and dust -inside- the scope is MUCH more of a problem than dust on the outside. --dick
Mike here: Don't forget to sign up for the "Mighty ETX Star Party" in September. Visit the "Mighty ETX Star Party" page to learn more about it.
Subject: Newly purchased instrument Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 18:08:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jean-Yves Beninger) I thought you would be interested to know Meade's answer to the situation I have described earlier : Quote Reply from: Meade Instruments Corporation 6001 Oak Canyon, Irvine, Ca. 92618-5200 (949) 451-1450 Fax (949) 451-1560 www.meade.com First, I am concerned over what prompted this customer to open his telescope in the first place. As you know, this effectively voids his warranty. To address his specific concerns, this telescope was new as expected. The foam tape on the declination motor gearbox is for vibration reduction and is factory installed. As for the cracked polar bulkhead, that is a very unusual type of damage, not one we have experienced in the past. I will have to assume that it is a defect in the casting. Because of that, we will repair the unit under warranty. However, it is important to advise the customer that opening the telescope to perform modifications voids his factory warranty. We can set up an RGA for the repair, but will need a copy of the customers proof of purchase in order to do so. Regards, Export Administrator Unquote Best regards to all, Jean-YvesMike here: It is worth reiterating the opening the telescope or the base (except for the battery compartment) will likely invalidate any warranty.
Subject: Help! Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 12:26:10 From: email@example.com (starkat) I have a big problem that has plagued me for weeks. I have an ETX-90EC that recently developed an inability to focus correctly. When I tested it out in bright daylight, I get a double image horizontally, blurred image where I assume perfect focus would be, and if I keep adjusting it, I get a double image vertically. I was referred to you by a friend who said that you could point me in the right direction. I'm pretty comfortable with my telescope and would have no problem taking it apart (I've never done it yet), which should be a good thing since I'm currently broke and my warranty has expired anyways. If you can help me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks a lot, Justin RossettiMike here: Have you tried a different eyepiece? If the problem occurs with more than one eyepiece, take a look at the secondary mirror which is mounted on the inside of the corrector lens on the end of the ETX tube. Does it appear centered? If not, call Meade for a repair. If it seems OK then move the flip mirror to use the rear port. Remove the port cover and hold an eyepiece up to it, moving it in and out until you reach a focus. Does the same double image appear? If not, then the problem is with the flip mirror. Call Meade. If neither of these, you will probably want to call Meade anyway. Most optical problems can not be easily corrected without a proper optical bench.
Subject: finder mount Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2001 7:24:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tony Frisina) Hi.. do you know if the finder scope mount on the etx90 can be removed ? I have been using the daisy red dot with good results and would like to mount it in place of the standard scope.I currently mount it with sticky tape and rubber bands. Any help is appreciatedMike here: Got a hacksaw? But seriously, I've not tried to remove it and don't know whether there is something on the inside of the Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) that needs to be removed.
Subject: Re: ETX 125 Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 17:41:03 From: email@example.com To: Stephen The image shifting that you are seeing is perceived and not actually "real" in the respect that the image is indeed moving. I believe that what you may have is what I call "axial lateral astigmatism" whereby the out-of-focus star images (donut) appears slightly offset, when in reality the collimation is perfect when the image is in perfect focus. I have seen this in many Meade and Questar Maksutovs at which the collimation was done perfectly with the image in sharp focus, rather than out-of-focus. Such an astigmatism will result in what appears to be an actual image shift optically as you have described. I have a standard test for that, but rest assured it may not be a problem. When the air is very steady, tune in a bright (2nd mag., not any brighter) star and put it into sharp focus when the star is nearly overhead. Look at it with relatively high magnification (at least 200x)and examine the two faint Airy rings surrounding the tiny disk of the star image. Both rings should be perfectly concentric and NOT touching nor approaching one-another at any point around their perimeters. If they are not, then your collimation is perfect, even if the out-of-focus image appears offset. Curiously in both the Meade and Questar scopes nearly all offsets of the donut when out-of-focus is at about the 5:00 position, just as you describe!! Coincidence? No, it is offset toward the right-handed user oriented position of the focus knobs in these scopes! This has come to my attention now about seven times during the last three months, so I am copying Mike Weasner on this. It well can be one of those idiosyncrasies that worry ETX (and Questar) users out there that really is NOT a problem at all! thanks again and give that scope a good steady-night workout! Clay Sherrod Stephen wrote: > A few quick questions for you- I recently upgraded to a 125 from a 90. > My 125 is great, however, it may be a little out of collimation. The > obstruction shadow appears to be a little low and to the right, around > the 5 oclock position, though the seeing here in maine has been bad > lately. It it is slightly out a little, how degraded will images be? > Also, when ever the scope movesup and down, the image shifts a little to > little to right, making me think that the torque being only on one ar is > slightly moving the OTA to the left when going up and right when vice > versa. Have you ever heard or seen of this? Thanks for any advice you > can give me- > > Cheers, > Stephen
Subject: ETX magnification Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 15:40:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (tonie koop) First of all i want to say that you're site is fantastic and contains a lot of info for all the ETX users worldwide.Personally i'm not a ETX owner but i'm planning to buy a ETX-90 or ETX-125 in the near future.So i would like to ask a few questions and hope you can answer them. 1 Is the ETX-125 portable enough for mountain trips. 2 is there a focal reducer for these scopes 3 Is there a cool down time nessesary for the ETX 125 or 90 if the temparature change is about 3 to about 5 degrees celsius,or in other words can they be used as a quick look telescopes at daytime on a mountain trip 4 is in you,re opinion these set of eyepieces good for either of the ETX Meade 4000 Super Wide 13.8 Meade 4000 Super Plossl 9.7 Meade 4000 Super Plossl 40 #126 2x Barlow Lens 5 can the #140 2x Apochromatic Barlow Lens be used with the ETX 6 what is the minimum magnification for the ETX 90 and 125 with too low magnifications a dark spot appears in the center of the eyepiece as far as i know. I wish you all the best in the future tonie from BulgariaMike here: I wouldn't want to carry the ETX-125EC hiking. But if you are traveling by vehicle, it could be done. There is a focal reducer (see the "Shutan Wide-Field Adapter" on the Accessories - Showcase page). The greater the temperature differential, the greater the cool down time for best performance. However, both models can be used for quick looks with no cool down time; I do it all the time. Those eyepieces should all be OK. Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page for more choices. Either Barlow will work although the #126 is the recommended one. There is a minimum magnification but I've not tried to determine it. When I have used the Scopetronix 40mm with the focal reducer on the ETX-90 I get a hint of the central spot. But by itself, 40mm is OK.
Subject: Where is the Positive Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 14:58:09 From: Esandman@home.com (Esandman) I cant seam to find anything out there that tells me if the in side or outside of the plug that fits in my ETX 70AT is + Positive. I have the older black tube model that requires 12 volts and I have a gel cell 12 volt battery that I want to use so I'm going to have to make a cord but I'm not plugging it in till I know the polarity is right.. Please help MattMike here: I used to tell people to search the Site for "polarity" but the question was asked so often that I put it on the Site FAQ. Check there.
Subject: Clear objective lens filteror cap? Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 13:05:28 From: email@example.com (T. Bowman) I just purchased an ETX-90 spotting scope to use at the target range. It's a very nice scope, I've been playing with it both at home and the office. My concern is about dust/debris collecting on the objective lens. The rifle range is a dry, dusty environment. Is there a clear filter or lens cap I can use to protect the lens? One retailer suggested a dew protector to extend the tube farther away from the lens. This sounds like a good idea but I'd be more comforable with a glass lenscap or somesuch that could be removed and cleaned, and just plain removed when using the scope in a less harsh environment. Any ideas? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. T. Bowman MNMike here: I don't recall seeing any such full-aperture item, similar to a UV or Haze filter that can be put on a camera lens to protect the lens. Not a bad idea though, especially when the ETX is used as a spotting scope. Certainly a dew shield like device will narrow the cone of possible impacts but won't eliminate it entirely. But then you come to the cost of an optically flat piece of glass that you could place in front of the objective. That would be fairly expensive I would think. So, in a risk versus cost analysis, the dew shield would probably be OK for all except extremely dusty environments.
Subject: Star Parties Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 0:09:27 From: KingLear3@aol.com FYI, Just some notes on other parties. My wife and I just got back from the 20th annual Table Mt. Star Party in the state of Washington. This party was our very first major one. Friday noon, there was over 750 people at the party, with another 600 anticipated. People were very friendly, but the night time weather was varied from cloudy, occasional rain, to clear and cold. Overall we had a good time, but the event seemed a bit disorganized, only one commercial vendor and a couple of craftsmen showed up. The topics of discussion were not very interesting, too advanced or too informal. No advanced schedule of activities was provided. The activities were written on a chalk board the day the party began. Because of the weather and our long drive back to Calif., we ended up leaving early. For more info, their web site is www.tmspa.com The 14th Oregon Star Party will be held on August 16-19. Their announcement and schedule of events indicates that they are very well organized. They even plan to truck in showers for the campers ($5). Their web site is: www.oregonstarparty.org My wife and I are checking our schedule to see if we can fit your party into our schedule. Your web site is great, but being with other EXT 125 users will accelerate our ability to learn. We are especially interested in discussions concerning begining and advanced observation techniques, choosing filters and lens, and modifications to the scope or tripod. I know that a lot to ask. Thanks for all of your hard work. Leary Wong Kinglear3@aol.comMike here: I'm sure parts of our Star Party will be somewhat disorganized. This is the first one. Fortunately, my wife and I have extensive convention experience (attendance and assisting) so we know the problems that can occur and we'll try to avoid as many of those that we can. But even so, there will be things done on a small scale that will be improved as the Mighty ETX Star Party grows in popularity.
Subject: Right Angle View Finders Require Additional Caution Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 21:26:47 From: jgeretz@FPSNow.com (Joseph Geretz) First of all, thanks for your excellent site. I hope this is the correct venue for submitting this tip. I'd like to warn newcomers to the field (as I am myself) to the special danger presented by right-angle view finders. Previously, I have been using a straight view finder. It was relatively easy to take precautions while adjusting it during the day, since as long as the scope was kept at a relatively low angle of declination (I think that's the correct term?) there would be no danger of spotting the Sun through it while the Sun is high in the sky. Recently I installed a new right angle view finder. As I bent down in front of the view finder to perform an adjustment, I was extremely alarmed to find myself looking at the Sun, the wrong way through the view finder. (Shot myself in the face, so to speak.) I quickly glanced away, but as we all know even a quick glance can be harmful. Fortunately, after a thorough examination, my opthalmologist assures me that no harm was done. However, clearly this incident could have had a harmful effect. Although this precaution is probably second nature to those who are proficient with this equipment, I feel that this would be a valuable advisory to relative newcomers. Please pass this along to your readers if you feel that this advice is relevant. Thanks again for all your efforts. Sincerely, Joseph Geretz (jgeretz@FPSNow.com)
Subject: Re: ETX-90/EC Question Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 16:05:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Kevin Every ETX sounds differently! That is because pretty much each one is different inside due to a lot of changing and "experimenting" by Meade. If your scope is hitting the GO TO's like you describe I would be proud of the noise it makes! (in Arkansas we say "..if it ain't broke don't fix it!") Really, there is nothing that can eliminate the noise of the ETX slews nor tracking; it is a combined sound from resonance of the many little nylon gears and the small motor itself within the hollow base and fork arm that creates a sometimes annoying drone. I must say, however, that there are multitudes of ETX users out there that would gladly trade their poorly performing GO TO's for the noise and accuracy of your scope! Regarding the tube assembly polishing...by FAR, what you want to use is some TURTLE WAX soft car wax (the green kind) that is made for BLUE cars. Only use the soft liquid kind that is made for "new car finishes." It not only shines it up like a million bucks, but also shuns fingerprints and stains. Do not get this wax on the black portions of the tube or mounting however! Good luck and enjoy that noisy scope! Clay Sherrod Kevin wrote: > Hi Clay, Just a quick question regarding the operation of the ETX gear mechanisms. I know a few people who own ETX-90/EC's and I can easily tell that when the scopes are slewing, some emit a VERY quiet and pleasant "whirring" sound, while others (like mine) sound more like a can opener, even when using the same power source as the quiet one. My experiences with the accuracy of the GoTo's and tracking have been excellent, due to high-power training on Polaris, but hey, that darn noise still bothers me. What is likely the cause of it? Is there anything I can do (or something that you do as part of the Supercharge service) that will eliminate or at least reduce the noise problem? Also, what is the best stuff I can use to shine up the OTA (I know Armor-All is good for the black plastic casing)? Thanks, KevinMike here: Well, you could get one of the portable observatories, like the one I review on the Showcase Products page. It can reduce the sound level that the neighbors will hear! Don't get any wax on the optics either!
Subject: re: LX-90 or ETX-?? Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001 21:31:39 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org I have an ETX90, (the 3.25" scope), and the LX-90 is the 8" Meade GoTo. I recommend you visit and read postings on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lx90/messages for user-to-user traffic specifically related to the LX90. I haven't used one, I have the ETX90. I have used C-8's in the past. In my opinion, if you're used to an 8" scope, and that's the imaging you're after, the ETX90 and ETX125 will feel frustratingly under-powered. I was impressed by how much perceptibly more image power the el-cheapo Meade 4504 (114mm Newtonian) delivered compared to my ETX90. But for my purposes, the ETX90 would still be my choice if i were buying it again (with the same agonizing between it and the ETX125... portability or aperture?). From all reports the LX-90 can be very, very, good optically. The GoTo suffers some mild idiosyncracies, but can also deliver stunningly good results once you're comfortable with it. (and you'd face the same issues with any of the Autostar scopes... the LX90 -does- seem to -really- deliver fantastic performance once tuned.). enjoy choosing.. -dick
Subject: Viewing Mars Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001 17:23:08 From: email@example.com (CPI Pakuranga) Received my ETX90EC the other day and have been fortunate to have had some clear nights for my debut into amatuer astronomy. Haven't yet received the Autostar which is on its way along with a couple of other eyepieces. Will post some comments when I'm fully operational. Mars is brilliant in the sky at the moment, directly overhead and quite large with the standard 26mm and 2 x barlow. However, its just a bright white ball. What should I be looking at doing and/or purchasing to start seeing some colour/definition if that's possible. Regards David Hrstich NZMike here: See the "Observing Planets - Mars" on the Observational Guides/References page. Also, see the Accessories - Filters page.
Subject: ETX-125EC & Supercharge service Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001 8:07:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Thompson) The postings from people who have used Clay Sherrod's Supercharge service are starting to sound a lot alike. And here's one more. Yes, the ETX-125 that he returned to me is optically perfect & centers the desired object every time - but you already know that. Everyone who uses his service gets this result. The only thing different about my experience with Dr. Sherrod is that my scope wasn't just sloppy or inaccurate, it was particularly screwed-up, mechanically & optically. It was a disaster and no help was available from Meade. Clay Sherrod analyzed the scope, discussed the problems with Meade, and arranged for the proper repairs. He made the problems his own and stuck with it until the scope was repaired by Meade and those repairs verified by him. After finishing the job he drove the scope to Little Rock to make sure that it was returned to me in a minimal amount of time. He put a lot of work into cleaning-up after Meade. Even for a novice like myself, the mechanical problems were easy to understand and it was obvious that the scope needed work. What's a little unsettling is that with the first two ETXs I was content with the focal clarity that I was seeing - I didn't know any better. This scope is perfect and I now know what I was missing. I wonder how many other ETX owners think that they have good scopes when they don't? I've sent a letter to Meade describing my experiences with their products - a copy follows. Meade Instruments Corporation 6001 Oak Canyon Irvine, CA 92618 Dear Sirs, Last year I decided to learn more about the sky above by doing some reading, purchasing a telescope, and enjoying the hobby of amateur astronomy. From articles in astronomy magazines and internet sources, I reached the conclusion that Meade was probably the best manufacturer and the ETX-125EC the best scope for my circumstances and abilities. I purchased the scope & several accessories 12/18/00 from The Store of Knowledge in Lawrenceville, NJ. That was a good thing, since that scope had several problems, the most annoying of which was excessive azimuth gear lash. The seller has a "return for any reason" policy so in late December I exchanged the first scope for a new one. The second scope seemed at first to be perfect, but after a few weeks of operation it developed a progressively worse "image shift," though the focus seemed to be perfect. After several conversations with your customer support reps, one suggested that I cycle the focus full-in and full-out to "better distribute the grease." Doing so caused a complete failure of the focus mechanism and the scope was returned to you under return authorization RGAMS5422. Almost four weeks after mailing the scope to you it was returned to me. No more "image shift," but the focus was no longer perfect. Bright objects no longer came to a sharp point. With a bright object out-of-focus, the resulting "donut" was no longer concentric. Several more conversation with your customer support people were unsatisfactory, in that they seemed more interested in telling me that I couldn't be seeing what I said I was seeing, such a problem could never have gotten past Meade's QA process, or that UPS must have damaged the scope in shipping. The only real source of information and support for the ETX-125 is at Mike Weasner's website. From that site I learned about Dr. Clay Sherrod's ETX tune-up service. Having little confidence in my own ability to judge the proper operation of the scope OR in the ability of your organization to deliver a properly-operating scope, I decided to send the scope to Dr. Sherrod, and did so on 6/1/01. He quickly diagnosed the problem with the optics, discussed the problem knowledgeably with your customer support, and sent the OTA to you on 6/7/01. The repaired & "Supercharged" scope returned to me via Dr. Sherrod on 7/19/01. How does it work? Simply perfect. The focus is incredible. I didn't think that there was a problem with the focus in the first two scopes, but that was only because I didn't know any better. This is noticeably better. Almost no "image shift." The mechanics of the scope are also perfect. After three nights of viewing, each selected object was centered, or very close to centered every time. No slop in the drives and perfect alignments. All it took was a lot of time, aggravation, and over $300 in additional expenses for shipping and the work done by Dr. Sherrod. Let's review my experience with Meade products: In almost eight months of ownership, the product has been unavailable well over two months for troubleshooting, shipping, and repair. Meade customer support is difficult to reach, condescending, uncooperative, and shipping costs make it expensive to use. I've spent a lot of money with UPS that might have been better spent on more Meade products. Like many others, I was willing to spend serious money to have Dr. Sherrod improve your product to meet my expectations. No matter how much I am grateful for the good work that he does, it would have been better to have paid a little more for the scope and received a little better quality control from the manufacturer. Considering Meade's position in the marketplace, you must have lot of happy ETX owners out there. When the scope is working properly I can see why. From internet postings, however, it is also apparent that my experiences are not unique. The popularly of Dr. Sherrod's Supercharge service should indicate the depth of the problem. Please consider: 1. Improving the attitude of the people that answer your phones. Some owners really do have problems and really do need help. 2. Some form of authorized service center on the East coast. The cost of shipping is bad enough - the downtime is terrible. This was supposed to be fun. 3. Just a little more quality control. The novice astronomers at whom you aimed this product are the least able to handle the frustration of a poorly-performing product. Sincerely, Robert E. Thompson
Subject: ScopeTronix "Digi-T" Digital Camera Attachment System Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001 4:58:48 From: email@example.com (David Birmingham) After reading all of the digital camera adapter reviews on the Might ETX Site and referencing other resources of products I was wondering if anyone has sent in a review of the ScopeTronix "Digi-T" Digital Camera Attachment System? It doesn't seem to be as pricey as others and more than some, but what I'm interested in is will counter weights be a necessity for a 14 oz. camera set up as their picture show? Dave P.S. The light has gone on and now the sponge is sucking up information!Mike here: I hope to have a review up in a couple of weeks.
Subject: Sherrod Supercharge Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 13:24:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (nkdanger2) My ETX125 received the Dr. Clay Sherrod Supercharge in the first week of this past June. I would like to thank Dr. Sherrod for the fabulous telescope he returned to me. On Saturday night July 14, at my favorite viewing site one hour west of St Louis, my Supercharged ETX125 presented myself and a few friends with viewing beyond our imaginations. My friends were astounded by the views my ETX presented. We did *Best Of _* tours, we looked at user selected objects and then let the telescope tell us what we were viewing. For example, the GOTO trips to the Butterfly cluster and the Wild Duck cluster ended with the spectacular clusters perfectly centered in the eyepiece. My friends exclaiming at how the objects presented in the ep resembled their 'given' names. In short, it was the best evening's viewing I have experienced in my short time (10 weeks) in this hobby, and I believe I just may have *hooked* a few more people. Thank you, once again, Dr. Sherrod for your GREAT work! I look forward to many more wonderful evenings spent looking up with my Supercharged ETX125. Thank you, Mike for the GREAT site and info! john
Subject: What to do Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 8:29:11 From: email@example.com My just bought me an ETX 70 and i am lost on what to do to get this piece of equipment operational. Do you have any notes to help the beginner get started? Charles GainorMike here: For starters, read the manual once, twice, three times. Then play with the telescope inside during the daytime until you get comfortable with using the controls, how to set it up in the HOME position, what all the menu items in the Autostar do, how to change eyepieces and focus, etc. Then go back a re-read the manual to see if you've missed anything. Once you have this experience, THEN take it outside on a clear night and begin to learn how to use it in the dark. This process is true with essentially every telescope (with adjustments for the actual equipment).
Subject: Outstanding Video!! Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 1:30:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lance Taylor) We were clouded out up here for the Venus occultation in Edmonton on Tuesday. The video you have on your site is outstanding!!! Who shot it (yourself)? I'd like to arrange to get permission to show this at our next RASC meeting. Please advise, and keep up the great work! http://www.weasner.com/etx/planets.html Thanks. Lance Taylor Edmonton, AB Canada http://www.members.home.net/lancetayMike here: Thanks. I did it using the equipment noted on the item. Feel free to show it; just direct people to the ETX Site for more info and photos.
Thanks Mike, I guess I missed the note about you doing it. Faboo job man! I appreciate you allowing us to show the vid as we never got to see the event up here. About par for anything of astronomical importance. 8^) Lance
Subject: Thanks to R. Seymour Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 22:14:52 From: email@example.com (hpwallner) A few days ago I got my webpage up and running -thanks Mike for adding the link. After a short time I got an e-mail from R. Seymour telling me that I`ve made a few mistakes - coding problems with Netscape - and that I gave a misleading instruction on Autostar cable construction. He pointed out that this could cause damage to the telescope and the Autostar controller. I really want to thank him here for his help. Thinking about problems that less experienced Autostar users could have with misleading instructions is outstanding. I think this is, what makes M. Weasner`s site so special. Thanks to both of you: Peter Wallner (Austria)
Subject: ETX Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 12:00:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Stroh) I could not figure out what size scope you own (in the picture) I am considering the 8" Mead GOTO just for recreational viewing and to try to get the grandchildren interested. Do you think I will be able to show them anything they (and my wife) would claim they actually "saw" something??????? Dave StrohMike here: The image on the ETX Site home page shows a "Mighty ETX". A little Photoshop editing to get that message across. If you've done your homework you've discovered there is no ETX model that large. Get the 8" IF you will actually use it. But keep in mind that it is a large and cumbersome to move around and set up. Many times people buy a large scope and after the first few uses it ends up in the closet. Sometimes having a smaller telesope is better since it will actually get used more. Look through the Buyer/New User Tips page, the User Observations page, and the "Observational Guides/References" page for some info on what can been seen with the Mighty ETX.
Thanks for the reply. I used to have an 8" Celestron, but got frustrated with setting circles. I am 6' 2", and only have to go 10 foot from garage for setup, so I am leaning toward Meade 8" GOTO rather than Celestron for the "Park" feature unless you think the optics on the ETX 5" are better than the 8"Mike here: I've not yet experienced the LX90 8" so can't comment on it.
Subject: Dr Clay's "Supercharge" service Sent: Friday, July 20, 2001 13:21:38 From: email@example.com (Richard Schreiber) I received my ETX90EC back from Clay Sherrod three weeks ago, completely reworked with his "supercharge" service. Until now we've had many, many nights of cloudy evenings here in the Phoenix area, so only had the opportunity to really test the scope the past couple of nights. The scope was relatively new, having been completely replaced under warantee by Meade in March. However, it was plagued with a number of the problems user talk about: rubber-banding, creep after beep, you name it. I spent more time trying to lock onto an object for viewing than actually viewing. That has - thankfully - all changed after his "supercharge". I'll give some examples from last night's viewing. By the way, we always have the scope in AltAz, and now use the 541 power supply, rather than batteries, whenever possible. After the 2-star easy alignment, I left the scope on Antares while waiting for the sky to darken. After alignment I had inserted the 9.7 ep w/ 2x barlow (=258x). Upon returning 20 minutes later it was still close to centered in the fov. I then did a GOTO eps Lyrae - and it ended up in the fov (remember we are still at 258x!). Never would have happended in the past. I spent 2 1/2 hours observing last night, all GOTO's were accurate, tracking was very good, drifted off target only a couple of times. To be certain, there is some software and hardware "quirkiness" with the ETX90 that will still be around, but their impact on viewing will be an exception rather than the rule. I can't speak highly enough of Clay's service. By arranging a schedule in advance, I sent the scope by UPS from Phoneix on a Monday morning and received it back Thursday of the following week. On this occasion, UPS lived up to their advertised delivery times, and coupled with Clay's own efficiency meant incredible turn-around. He was very communicative throughout concerning his discoveries as he disassembled and tested the scope. It was returned with a very complete description of its characteristics (optical and mechanical) as well as maintenance performed. In addition to the normal list of mechanical and software improvements, he discovered a DEC clutch block that was in peril and replaced it. I am confident now we will have use of the scope for a long while and not have to worry about premature failures. As an aside, I recently purchased the Meade 24.5mm SWA eyepiece. Wasn't sure when I first started using it that I had gained substantially over the normal 26. But after a couple of evenings I now appreciate the wider view and the apparent crispness and contrast. I truly think it was a worthwhile addition. The Lagoon nebula last night was much more vivid with this ep, and the eye comfort (I don't view with glasses) is very good. If you barlow it, though, be prepared for some additional weight that can impact the balance of the ota. My appreciation is extended to you as well, Mike, for we wouldn't have known about Clay Sherrod's "supercharge" service except through your excellent and indispensible ETX Website. As most of us observe the general degredation of customer service these days, Clay in contrast epitomizes the way it ought to be done. Dick Schreiber Buckeye, Arizona
Subject: Sun Filters Sent: Friday, July 20, 2001 7:49:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Peterson) I have a ETX-90EC and I find it to be a great scope. I'm interesed in viewing the sun. Can you recommend specific types of filters that I can use, and where I can purchase them. Your assistance will be appreciated. David PetersonMike here: There are some Solar Filters reviewed on the Accessories - Filters page on my ETX Site.
Subject: secondary finder holder Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 21:44:29 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) remember the two-pieces of plastic pipe finder holder? here's a 19kb photo of the beast in use, with hi-tech rubber bands (pardon: elastomeric circumferential mounting accoutrements) strapping it to the ETX90's barrel. --dick
Mike here: Reminds me of how I mount the Rigel QuikFinder!
Subject: ETX site Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 15:02:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Dagenais) First let me say your site is fantastic. I bought an ETX 90 about 3 months ago and have been enjoying it immensely. Now with some of the information on your page, I'll be able to get the most out of it. I actually found your site while looking for a picture of the recent Venus/Lunar occultation. A couple of our club members (my Dad being one of them) actually viewed the event live. I wanted the rest of my astronomy club who didn't get a chance to see it first hand, to have a chance to see it, so I sent them the main picture from your site. Since then (a few hours ago) I've been getting steady email from club members asking where the picture came from. I've given them your name as the person who took the picture and directed them to your site to view the QuickTime movie of the event. Thanks very much. Dan Dagenais
Subject: The ETX-125 and the Telrad Viewfinder Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 11:37:15 From: email@example.com (Blais Klucznik) As I personally do not like the Orion Red Dot Finder because of the cheapness of manufacture and the extremely poor decision to use a meager Lithium battery to power the LED I was wondering if anyone has mounted a Telrad on their -125s and what their opinion of it is. Thanks Blais Klucznik firstname.lastname@example.orgAnd:
From: email@example.com (Ells Dutton) I use a Scopetronix red dot finder that is very similar to the Orion unit and it works great. I attach it to the scope with double sided tape and it does the job it was meant to. All that is required of it is allow you to get an object into the finder fov but I often can get it into the 26 mm fov (ETX-125). Also, if you have done a successful goto, it is handy to show you just where in the sky you are. EllsAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Blais Klucznik) I bought two of the Telrads, one for my Dobs 12-1/2 and one for the ETX125. They both arrived yesterday. I mounted the first one on the ETX, just placed it on the OTA but didn't stick it down. When I tried to align the Telrad to the image in the scope I found the image (red bullseye, too far to the right and could not move it sufficiently to the left. I'll either take it apart to see if I can fix it or send it back. I mounted the second one on the ETX and it aligned perfectly so I secured it with the 3M tape that came with one side already secured to the base of the finder. I used it tonight to attack Linear A2 and found the Telrad to be a real charm. Nice tool to aid in finding objects in the sky assuming the objects have sufficient magnitude to see with the naked (with eyeglasses) eyeball. The Orion is no match for this tool, at least in my opinion. Blais Klucznik email@example.com
Subject: Problems with Electric Focuser and Hand controler in Polar Mode Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 9:44:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saul Grijalva V.) Hi, I have an ETX-90EC with electric Focuser and I cant use the electric focuser with the standar hand controler in Polar Mode, there is no response with the in and out focus buttons. In Alt/Az mode there is no problem. Any idea what is happening? Thank You. Saul Grijalva email@example.com
Subject: planetary photo Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2001 15:33:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (daniel white) I've enjoyed your site for several years. Keep up the good work. I'll make this short. A buddy of mine was talking on a payphone in New Mexico and looked down. All of the sudden he saw Jupiter. The picture(s) enclosed are of what he found. It's a rock about 2" in diameter. Nothing unusual about it except it's uncanny resemblance to Jupiter. It's even got the Great Red Spot. It did have a funny little smudge on the back that looked like a S/L 9 impact but when a washed the rock.... it went away. I thought you and the many visitors to your site might enjoy this. No unusual photographic setup here. Not even a telescope. Hope you like it Dan White
Subject: SAC-IV Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2001 11:20:51 From: email@example.com (Dennis Carrier) I was interested to see that you were using the SAC-IV with an iBook. May I ask what software comes with the SAC-IV so that you can gather and process your images on a Mac. I was told the integration software was only for the PC. Let me know what your Mac procedure is with the SAC-IV. Thanks, DennisMike here: The integration software from Sonfest is PC-only. However, Sonfest includes a couple of capture applications that save as QuickTime movie files. From there you would have to use Photoshop for manual integration or something like Photoshop or GraphicConverter for still image manipulation.
Subject: re: Polar ALignment Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2001 22:55:41 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: ClayLJ@NORTHAMERICA.Stortek.com Larry Clay asked about GoTo'ing Polaris and adjusting the mount to center it, hoping that that would be an accurate Polar Alignment. er... that's almost -exactly- what the Autostar does when you perform a Polar One-Star alignment (since it uses Polaris -and- a second star, obviously Meade can't count). But that's their method: (a) do a manual Polar Home setup as best you can. (b) start Polar Align One-Star. (c) it'll slew to (where it thinks) Polaris (is). (d) it'll TELL you to adjust the TRIPOD (not the slew keys) to center Polaris, then push [enter] (e) when you do push [enter], it'll then slew to an alignment star. (f) center and press [enter]... fini. (pardon my french) I use it frequently. I also frequently follow it with a two-star alignment just to see how well it did. have fun --dick
Subject: Many questions Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2001 13:13:41 From: Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines) what is the best nebula to see through the etx 90 ec telescope...what is the best double star....best star cluster....is it possible to see the polar ice caps on mars with the etx 90 when taking a picture of the moon how fast is the shutter speed...how fast is the shutter speen for taking a picture like mars...how fast is the shutter speed for something like a star cluster why r nebulas so faint and dim and colorless...in pictures they r like colorful and bright if i was to u a stronger eye piece would that do anything? how come when i look at mars it isnt dark red...if i use a stronger eye piece will look red or have any detail, same with jupiter, and saturnGMike here: So many questions. The short answer is to look over the ETX web site. You will find info on what can be seen with the ETX-90, what exposures to use (there's a spreadsheet for that), and more. What isn't answered here are answered on many of the astronomy web sites that are linked from the "Astronomy Links" page on the ETX site. I could answer each of your questions but you'll get more out of things if you do some specific research on your own first.
Subject: camera weight Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 23:35:45 From: email@example.com (gonzosc1) I was at the scopetronics site and saw their digital camera mount that connects the camera to the eyepiece. I thought it looked liked a good idea. So before I buy it I wanted to go look at some camera's. My question is about the weight of the digital camera. all the models with threaded lens are very heavy. after comparing them to regular 35mm cameras I see that they are 2, if not 3 times the weight of a 35mm. will this extra weight hinder the drives performance, or damage the drives or clutches? there would be even more weight if I used a good size eyepiece. your input would be great. thanks for the site. RobertMike here: I've yet to hear of any damage from extra weight although slippage can occur making centering of objects difficult. A good counterweight system can help. I've hung 35mm cameras and digital cameras on both the ETX-125EC and ETX-90RA without too much problem. It was only when I mounted an ETX-90 on an ETX-90 that problems (slippage) occurred.
Subject: Kochab Clock? Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 14:10:16 From: Marv.Sumner@ONIZUKA.AF.MIL (Sumner Marv C Contr CWNO) I have apparently missed seeing something good... Where is this Kochab Clock article on polar alignment that I read glowing reports about in Mike's pages? I have been putting a paper together on "The basics of polar alignment", a guide for beginners - but concentrating on precision. I have been planning to pass it by you for a sanity check before giving it to Mike for publication. Your Kochab paper might overshadow my humble work and I'd hold off on the effort. Marv SumnerMike here: See "Precise Portable Polar Alignment (Kochab's Clock)" on the Observational Guides/References page.
Subject: SUPERCHARGED ETX Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 12:09:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (gombe) I just thought I would drop you a note to let you know that everything that Dr. P. Clay Sherrod says he can do for your ETX is true. I sent in my 125 on a Friday and received the scope back the following Friday. It looked better than new and preformed flawlessly. I recommend Dr. Sherrod with out hesitation. Earl Gomberg
Subject: Polar alignment Sent: Monday, July 16, 2001 10:38:15 From: ClayLJ@NORTHAMERICA.Stortek.com (Clay, Larry J) I just read, with great interest, the reference guide "PRECISE PORTABLE POLAR ALIGNMENT" by Clay Sherrod. It seems to me that after completing the mechanical alignment to Polaris (Step 9) all that would be required at this point would be to GOTO Polaris then using only the wedge and tripod adjustments, re-align to Polaris. Lock down all adjustments and your there. Please show me the error of my ways. Thanks, Larry ClayMike here: If I understand your idea correctly, you want to skip the fact that Polaris is about a degree from the North Celestial Pole. That is what is done in Step 10. For many alignments you can certainly skip that degree (no pun intended) of accuracy.
No, I am saying that once you are level and set to within 55' of NCP by virtue of the fact that you have aligned to Polaris, that the telescope thinks that it is pointed at NCP because it hasn't been told anything different. Now if you do a GOTO Polaris, the telescope will offset 55' in the direction that it believes Polaris to be in. Now all you need to do is loosen the wedge and tripod clamps and physically align the telescope back to Polaris where it thinks it is pointing at this time. Viola, you are aligned with NCP exactly 55' in the correct direction from Polaris. Larry ClayMike here: We'll wait for the author to return home and comment.
Subject: 3000 pages! Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 14:51:39 From: DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland) Did I read right? Someone actually downloaded 3000 pages from the archives of your site. Maybe it's time to consider writing a book about the ETX scopes. There is absolutely no doubt as to how popular it would be. Sky Publishing might consider your work. Just a thought. Don
Subject: Why Maksutov-cassegrain ? Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 11:02:38 From: email@example.com (Neilb) I am a confused newbie astronomer. For Christmas my wife purchased a Meade ETX 70/AT. I am a little disappointed but I realize that I am not using it to its potential. After reading your site which is very valuable I purchased a Barlow and some planetary filters to help in the viewing. Still this isn't the kind of images I was expecting. so I would like to purchase a larger Aperture and was wondering why besides being a bit bulky what are the disadvantages of a Meade 8" Dobsian compared to a larger say ETX 125. The price of these seem very low compared to the ETX family. Thanks, NeilMike here: "Folded optics" is the main difference in the telescope. That results in the compact size of the ETX "Maks". There is some difference in contrast between the two optical designs. Of course, there is also the included drives with the ETX; Dobsonians usually don't have these (although they can be added at a cost). Same for the GOTO controller. There is some difference in contrast between the two optical designs. Aperture has its purpose. And maybe your expectations/purpose require aperture. But there are other considerations as well. To use a Dob without a GOTO system you will HAVE to learn the sky and you'll need good star charts to locate many objects. It comes down to what you want to do and whether you are committed to doing what is necessary to get the most use out of your purchase.
Subject: Meade ETX 90EC/125EC Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2001 17:17:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Grahame Dowling) To: email@example.com Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 10:05 AM G'day mate I read your letter on Mike Weasner's Mighty ETX site and have been going through the same thing as you. 90 or 125. Hard call when like you I have to make the correct decision first time. Get the 90 and then wish I'd gone for the 125. I live in the central tablelands of NSW Australia on a cattle property and was wanting a scope for terrestrial use as well as astro. I also saw Sight and Sounds ETX125 package for $1175. I contacted Clay Sherrod in Arkansas [He does the ETX supercharging which you've probably seen on Weasner's site] and Clay suggested the 125. He was and is extremely helpful. What I ended up doing is going to Telescope Warehouse in Nevada and getting a used 125EC + tripod + autostar + hardcase for $850. I also got a barlow ,40mm eyepiece, electric focuser,camera adaptors.and 45degree prism for terrestrial use,computer line and software. Total all up was $1160. I've then arranged to send all directly to Clay Sherrod to have him perform his supercharge overhaul and the end result to me I feel will result in a better than new ETX125EC at an extremely attractive price. Clay's charge for his service is $165 but for the end result its worth every cent. Just thought I'd send this to you as another line of thought in the purchasing process. Whatever you decide best wishes for happy stargazing Regards Grahame Dowling "Varykino" Mudgee NSW Australia.
Subject: Red dot finderscopes Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2001 16:13:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Birmingham) I thought you being an avid EXT user you might have a suggestion, or run across information on the laser type pointing finder scopes. I read some articles, and being relatively new in amateur astronomy, I thought it might be of help in learning the night sky and relating to my Messier and Caldwell cards. I don't think I would like something like the Rigel Systems Quickfinder because of the height, perhaps something more like an OTA hugging finder. There is a wealth of information on the Mighty EXT site, and I learn more and more each time I stop by and do some reading. Keep up the excellent work! DaveMike here: There are several reviews of these on the Accessories - Finderscopes page. You can also search for "red dot"; I think you'll find some other references.
Subject: Re: The Light Came On! Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 12:48:17 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: David GREAT!! I told you with patience it all falls into place. Let me know how it does! Kochab's Clock is by far the easiest and most accurate scheme for good polar alignment that I have ever used. Hope it works as well for you. I have MANY LX users aligning via Kochab's Clock and doing extraordinary UNGUIDED CCD imaging very successfully! My big observatory scope has been realigned using this method and never has tracked better! But the BEST use of it is in portable telescopes for quick, yet very accurate, polar alignment. Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: David Dr. Sherrod, I was out on the deck re-reading the Clay's Kochab Clock article and following each and every step. Guess what, I managed to get everything in Polar Alignment! Or course it's all theoretical being daylight, but I do have an idea of where Polaris is in my night sky. I believe my original problem was that being used to the 70AT (no hard stops) I had that problem with setting the 125EC in it's proper home position. I don't think it will be dark enough at 9:00 p.m. to follow the set-up that closely, but knowing the position Polaris and Kochab in relation to Ursa Major, it shouldn't be to hard to get an imaginary line in the sky. It was like a flood light went on when I read the declination setting at the end of the process and found it sitting right on 42.5! I'm definitely going to give it a try tonight! Dave
Subject: very important ETX question Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 11:37:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary) I just got a T-mount and a camera adapter for my ETX 90 EC and when i look down the tube i see a big circle with a little circle in it. I believe that is the correcting lens and the secondary mirror. Anyways, when i put the camera on and take off the back of the camera where the film goes, take a picture and look inside when the shudder opens, all i see is that same circle in a circle. will the film just be 24 pictures af little circles in circles or will the pics actually come out like i saw them through the camera when i was taking pictures? please help. thank you. -Gary KezeleMike here: If the camera is not a Single Lens Reflex model, you can hold a thin piece of paper or waxpaper over the opening where the film would sit. With the telescope pointed at a bright object (day time scene, streetlamp, but NOT the Sun) you can see what the film "sees" projected on the paper. You can check the focus too. You can't really tell what the camera is seeing by just looking through the optics unless it is a SLR camera. [FYI - my reply to Gary was rejected with a "(reason: 550 <email@example.com>... User unknown)" error.]s
Subject: Re: some questions Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 4:29:31 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) To: Yenal I am glad that you are enjoying my constellation articles...Scorpius and Sagittarius are two of my favorites as well! Following are your questions: 1) In these days I am observing Scorpius and its wonders. Beside this i am reading your guide of Scorpius. During my observations Open Clusters M6 and M7 are perfectly fits into 26mm eyepiece. But Globular Cluster M4 and M80 can only be seen as smoked little object which i cannot observe it by direct eye looking but looking away from it. In your guide you said that we can observe it with periheral stars etc. I own 26mm and 6.4 mm eyepieces. Do i need any other accessory to observe Globular Cluster more perfectly? > those are both very difficult, and you need very, very dark skies and observe them only when they are highest in the sky....the 6.4mm is too much magnification; I suggest either the 26mm + a barlow OR about a 12mm eyepiece for looking at the peripheral stars! 2) In magazines or in any other sources, it often says the size of the object is let say 3". What is the meaning of this? I am confused because the objects can be seen in different sizes in different magnifications! > 3" indicates a size of "3 arc seconds." As a reference, Jupiter's disk when you observe it is 44" roughly, or just under one MINUTE arc ('). The moon, by comparison is a big 30' (minutes) arc. The sky is divided in degrees of angular measurement. There are: 60 seconds (") in one MINUTE (') of arc; there are then 60 minutes of arc in one HOUR of measurement. So a " arc is a very tiny measurement indeed! 3) In your guides you give R.A and DEC of objects. But i again confused with this because since Earth is rotating, the R.A and DEC of an object is continously changing. So that coordinates are for a constant local time or what? > you are correct in that the sky appears to constantly move; however, the DEC coordinates are fixed for your telescope and will not change through the course of your night...."25 degrees" will always be that. However, the RA does change like a clock face, with a new HOUR of Right Ascension passing over the meridian overhead (a line from true north to true south passing directly overhead) roughly every hour of time. therefore, the need to reset the RA setting circle if you use them, and the need for Autostar to calculate the passage of time with each subsequent GO TO! thanks for the questions.....they are indeed, good ones! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Yenal >Dear Mr. Sherrod, >First of all i would like to thank for your excellent >guides. They are really helpful. I am a new amateur >astronomer owning ETX125. I have two questions: >1) In these days I am observing Scorpius and its >wonders. Beside this i am reading your guide of >Scorpius. During my observations Open Clusters M6 and >M7 are perfectly fits into 26mm eyepiece. But Globular >Cluster M4 and M80 can only be seen as smoked little >object which i cannot observe it by direct eye looking >but looking away from it. In your guide you said that >we can observe it with periheral stars etc. I own 26mm >and 6.4 mm eyepieces. Do i need any other accessory to >observe Globular Cluster more perfectly? > >2) In magazines or in any other sources, it often says >the size of the object is let say 3". What is the >meaning of this? I am confused because the objects can >be seen in different sizes in different >magnifications! > >3) In your guides you give R.A and DEC of objects. But >i again confused with this because since Earth is >rotating, the R.A and DEC of an object is continously >changing. So that coordinates are for a constant local >time or what? >Sorry for this really amateur questions but i will be >so glad if you answer. >Thanks >Yenal
Subject: Question about questions. Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2001 21:05:47 From: email@example.com (Brad and Lisa) Can you tell me where on your site I would ask a question. I am having a problem with my ETX 90 and I am wondering if your site allows me to ask a question in a forum. Thanks Brad Bolender Seattle,WAMike here: There is no online forum in the sense you mean. You send me a question. I answer as well as I can and post my response along with the message. That way everyone gets to benefit and/or comment. Sort of a moderated "forum". There are also some ETX-specific mailing lists and forums elsewhere, and some non-ETX-specific newsgroups. See the "Discussion Groups and Mailing Lists" on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject: flex cable Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2001 19:06:49 From: UALATP@COMPUSERVE.COM (Rich) I just installed the flex focus cable...and I had a thought. Does it interfere with the auto star when and if it positions the scope up to 80-90 degrees? Do u still fly? thx, RichMike here: If you just installed it you can check this yourself by unlocking the Altitude (DEC) axis and swinging the scope upwards and hence the rear down towards the base. On my ETX-125EC the cable does touch the base at high altitudes but it flexes just fine. And yep, I still fly. I'm just not the pilot any more and the jets carry more than one person. :)
Yep, you're right...plenty of room. Don't know why I didn't think to check it that way??? Guess too many other things on my mind. Have you observed any deep space objects with our scope? i.e., Andromeda, nebulae e.t.c.????Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the User Observations page on my ETX Site for some Deep Sky Object reports.
Subject: A Short Interval Off-line Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2001 4:15:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Hello to all! Just a reminder to my many valued correspondents (and proof editors out there who I greatly appreciate by the way!) that I will be off to give two astro presentations from July 15 through July 27 and will be TOTALLY OFFLINE during that time. Feel free to e-mail as I "might" have a chance to check messages but likely will NOT be able to respond during that period due to the required travel and prep time for my seminars. I will be returning in full force, with (rest assured) fresh nitpicking, some possibly good ideas (maybe some ones that really stink as well), lots of "advice" that you can either take or toss, my routine constellation GO TO TOURS, and of course the Supercharge tune-up service. No doubt my hands will cramp from withdrawal during my days away, so I ask my proof readers out there to please be ready when I return! Thanks and may your skies be dark and deep! P. Clay Sherrod
Subject: etx Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2001 4:07:36 From: email@example.com (Daniel Danrich) Could you tell me if there is anyone that modifies the ETX mechanics from plastic to metal and so on? Dan
Subject: newbie to the etx90 Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2001 17:06:01 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I just bought one , I look at mars last night, not what I expected from a scope that is talk up so much about, but then again I am a newbie too. Mars was a white ball, no detail at all, I try a yellow filter to bring in some detail, pretty , but no detail, I look at it 48X and then 96X , then at 240X, yawn... I have order some new lens with some more power, I was using my zoom, for the 240, and barlow, but when you zoomed the light just got weaker, I wanted a scope for deep space, not just to look at the moon. I going to try my new lens when they come in, I have about 1200 invested. Like I said, not what I expected from 1200 investment. FrankMike here: There are many factors which affect observations through any telescope. And there are many expectations that buyers have that don't match the performance capabilities of the telescope they purchase, or sometimes ANY telescope. See the reports on the User Observations page as well as the Observational Guides/References pages on the ETX Site. When I'm contacted about making recommendations for purchasing a telescope, I always stress the need to determine HOW the buyer wants to use the telescope and WHAT the expectations are. Buying a small aperture telescope for serious deep sky or planetary work will result in those expectations not being met. Buying a very large telescope can result in the telescope ending up in the closet because its size makes it cumbersome to setup and use. Requirements, expectations, money (up front and ongoing for accessories), time, willingness to learn, and patience are all factors which must be considered. The ETX-90 is a great telescope that can deliver wonderful views of many objects. But don't expect to see the same images as you see in the ads.
Subject: Digital Camera Astrophotography Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2001 16:39:39 From: email@example.com (Gilson Gomes Vieira) Congratulations for your nice site. My name is Gilson Gomes Vieira and I work at the Museu de Astronomia e Cincias Afins - MAST/MCT (loosely translating: Astronomy and Related Sciences Museum of Rio de Janeiro - Brazil) an Institute of the Brazilian Government.Visitors of our Museum are high-school students and common people interested in improving his scientific alphabetism. Our work is not adressed to amateur astronomers or specialists in the area. Searching for a digital camera to attach to our Mead LX50 8" telescope I arrived to your site that was very helpful to me. Nevertheless some questions remained and I would be grateful if you could give me some pieces of information: - I am interested in purchasing a Nikon Coolpix 950 Digital Camera. What is your opinion or, even, your suggestion? - give afocal photography good results? - may I photograph through the camera lens directly from de objective of the telescope, without the eyepiece? If yes, what results may I expect? - are T-adapters easy to deal with when you change to visual observation from camera observation (remember our visitors have no skill in astronomical observation)?; - are there any kind of adapter that could be screwed to the camera and to the telescope by means of some kind of rings, in order to exempt the t-adapter apparatus? I would be grateful if you condescend in help me. Yours Sincerely GilsonMike here: I have no experience with the Coolpix 950 (although I'm seriously contemplating getting the Coolpix 995). But nearly all digital cameras can be used with a telescope in afocal photography mode and provide good to amazing results (as evidenced by many of the astrophotographs on my ETX site). There are some mounts/adapters shown on the Accessories - Astrophotography page. Also, Scopetronix (www.scopetronix.com) has a T-adapter that works with some digital cameras. However, unless the camera has a removable lens, you can not take photographs through the telescope unless you use an eyepiece (the 'afocal' mode). Switching between a mounted camera and your eye can be a pain and difficult depending upon the mounting method.
Subject: "GO TO" TELESCOPES USING MEADE PARTS Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 14:49:46 From: EdHiker@mediaone.net (Ed Johnson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Paul, you are the only person that I have found to post any information about Meade DS motor internal structure. http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/ds_mount.html I just bought an Autostar #497 and intend to automate one of my dozen telescopes. The motors bug me, why should I have to buy and cannibalize a complete Meade scope system to do this? (the motor kit costs almost as much a DS-60EC) Your post was over a year ago, and perhaps you have seen or heard something regarding "reverse engineering" the Meade motors. I assume from your post that they are common DC motors having a timing disk a bit up the gear train with digital interface circuits. Any help or thoughts on my project would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Ed http://people.we.mediaone.net/edhiker/index.html (2 of my scopes on: http://members.aol.com/eddieastro/edpics2.html )
Subject: Sherrod supercharge testimonial Sent: Monday, July 9, 2001 12:30:38 From: email@example.com (Walter Warren) I have just received back my ETX-90EC after having taken advantage of Clay Sherrod's ETX Supercharge service. The testimonials on the Mighty ETX website couldn't be more accurate to my experience. I contacted Mr. Sherrod on a Sunday by email and by the following Thursday it was on his workbench. With my prior approval, he went beyond the standard service on my scope due to a broken internal part, for which there was a little extra charge for a replacement part. Despite a communication hiccup that at first made it appear my telescope was being returned to some mysterious person neither of us knew, it arrived home safely. In my case, because of good luck with his schedule and my proximity to his location, I was without my telescope for only 8 days. Enclosed were instructions on proper clamping, a checklist of items inspected, a description of everything found wrong and how it was fixed, and a nice certificate. I feel no hesitation in recommending Mr. Sherrod's services to anyone else wanting to make sure their ETX is operating the best it can. Walter Warren
Subject: true story... Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2001 17:54:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) Jim Griggs, who honchos the 4504 Egroup, visited my house over the last two days (we stayed up 'til 4am slewing about)... and i wore my Mighty ETX t-shirt this morning.... and he asked: "What kind of LX-200 is that? 16 inch? 24?" I pointed at the eyepiece and said, well, using his arm as a relative measure, this must be a 2-foot eyepiece holder... groggily... --dickMike here: Ah, the Mighty ETX!
Subject: Uncle Rod's Used SCT Buyer's Guide Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2001 11:18:10 From: RMOLLISE@aol.com Version 3.0 of my Used SCT Buyer's Guide is now available online. This is a fairly significant update, as it adds a section on the C5. As always, if anything's wrong or has been left out, please let me know so I can fix it. The next addition will be the Meade 2044/2045/2045D. I'm still looking for input from owners, so if you own or have owned one of these scopes, please share your pictures and experiences! To download v3.0, just go to http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index.html and select it from the menu of choices you'll find. This is now a fairly large .pdf file, so please be patient if you've got a slow connection... Peace, Rod Mollise, Author of _Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope_ http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index.html
Subject: Mounting the wedge in the polar position-CONFUSION. Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2001 09:33:03 From: email@example.com (Cecily & Bud) I am sorry to bother you but I am thoroughly confused. I am completely new to the hobby although I have been interested in astronomy seemingly all my 58 years. I have just completed a pier as per the posting by Mr. Clay Sherrod and it turned out great. However, I did not have access to equipment to build my own wedge so I purchased the Meade 8" wedge and adapter plate for the ETX125EC. I am ready to install the wedge but am unsure as to how to do it. In all the literature you are told to set the primary leg pointing north but in all the photos on your site the wegde seems to be set up pointing south so that when the 125 is mounted on the wedge it appears to be pointing south when set for polar alignment. What am I missing???????? When setting up in the altaz position there is no problem pointing to North but I am thoroughly confused when it comes to the wedge. Its probably due to inexperience but I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me. What a great site you have. Since I don't have a computer at the cottage I went and printed off all the information on your site to carry with me.(in excess of 3000 pages). It sure makes a great library. I realize that you are I very busy person but I didn't know where else to turn for help. Many thanks in advance for your patience and advice. Sincerely yours and wishing you many clear skies, Wes Trimble Toronto, Canada.Mike here: Wow! 3000 pages! The purpose of the wedge is to tilt the "azimuth" rotational axis of the telescope to be parallel to the Earth's rotational axis. In the case of the ETX models, this will place the fork arms pointing at the North (or South) Celestial Pole, or near Polaris in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Feedback for March 2001 (in the Feedback Archives) my reply to the message "ETX125EC" has a photo showing a tilt to be parallel to the Earth's axis.
Thank you for your help. It is much appreciated. Yes OVER 3000 pages. I have printed off every page in your archives. It sure makes fascinating reading although my wife says I could have purchased a couple of good eyepieces for what it has cost me for printer cartridges and binders but what e reference library it makes. Thanks again. Wes
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2001 02:04:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stuart Fotheringhame) I am currently a user of a early ETX 90 and was wondering if it is possible to upgrade this unit to Dual axis drive correction , and possibly to use meades asrostar controller , I saw a review of a Microstar 2 upgrade for the original ETX and wondered whether this is still available or a further upgrade has been developed . I would very much appreciate you comments . Regards Stuart Fotheringham EnglandMike here: See the FAQ for upgrade info. Don't know about the Microstar; suggest you contact Scopetronix directly.
Subject: My blue tube is SuperCharged!! Sent: Saturday, July 7, 2001 20:38:31 From: email@example.com (Marvin C. Sumner) My 125 came back from Dr. Sherrod's Scope Hospital in good shape! Clay had found lots wrong with it & fixed it all - great! A more detailed report will be forthcoming once I can get out from under this Silicone Valley Smog. Now, I have two questions for Clay or whomever else can help: Item one - - I see that Clay put a new small triangular index marker on my scope base just under the still movable hour-angle band. Is that a reference point just for his testing? Or is it something I can find useful? It isn't mentioned in the notes he sent with the 'scope. Item two - - On attaching the 'scope to the plywood shelf of my home-made tripod, I put 1/4-20 bolts through the shelf into the holes in the base of the 'scope. I use inch & a quarter bolts to assure that they fully use the 'scope threads but won't bottom out & do damage. I have been using fender washers above the plywood to balance how much of the load is on the outside perimeter of the 'scope base and how much is pulling on the inner structure of the system. Is there a preference as to where the mounting stresses should distributed? I have read much about the systems having instability in one axis or the other depending on which way it is all leaning. Marv SumnerAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Great the scope is ready to go! The little white triangle on the RA circle is in case you ever want to use the setting circle to locate celestial objects in polar mode via celestial coordinates of right ascension and declination (the other circle); also the indicator can give you a TEST reference for checking the tracking dependability of the RA (azimuth) axis must as the hand on a clock face, merely by going off and leaving the scope tracking in daylight at a specified interval and noting the exact same motion of the indicator relative to the circle. Regarding attaching the scope base; be sure to have the base as flat onto the plywood as possible...you want as much surface to surface contact between the scope and the mounting plate as possible....that is why I remove the little nuisance rubber feet (and for eliminating vibrations as well)!. Thus, take out the Fender washers from between the scope's flat base and whatever the base is mounted to for maximum stability and balance. Good skies and dark nights! Clay Sherrod
Subject: Meade telescopes Sent: Friday, July 6, 2001 09:07:17 From: SouthFloridaYachts@email.msn.com (Florida Yacht Sales) What a great site for information!! Really appreciate all the work you go to for your website. I was looking for info on Meade EXT. I am a beginner and would like to purchase a 90EC or 125 EC. Because I don't have a lot of experience and because this is an investment, I don't want to buy the 90 and be sorry. I am sure you are very busy but I wondered if you had an opinion about this. The best price I have found for the 125 came for the boards on your site: Sight and Sound Shop has the 125 for $1,175 including: tripod, hard case, Auto Star. If I don't hear back from you, I really appreciate your site. Please respond to me at email@example.comMike here: I don't have any personal experience with Sight and Sound but they have received good reviews from buyers. One thing to consider when choosing between the -90 and -125 is the size of the telescope. A scope that YOU find inconvenient to pick up and take outside is one that ends up not being used. So, be certain you can and will want to handle the extra size and weight.
Subject: re: My ETX controller died on me... Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2001 11:14:14 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com I had *exactly* the same symptoms you describe with my ETX90. The cause? The Az clamping nut had abraded through the wires which pass thru the shaft to the Dec motor. If you wish, you can check it out by gently removing the base (remove the batteries, remove the rubber feet, unscrew the screws. *carefully* remove the baseplate (thin wires, easily broken)). Look and feel for damage (mine were -microscopic- cuts) where the wire bundle passes thru the shaft in the middle of the base. The fix? Return to Meade. Call their tech support line, and they'll arrange an RMA.. The scope and atusotar have a year warranty, and they will fix it. (in my case, it destroyed the Dec motor's communications, and the Autostar... AND the hand controller (which i also plugged in... before opening the base).) I think etxtu.htm has photos which reveal this area. (specific photo attached to this message) good luck --dick
Subject: Supercharging Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2001 09:55:41 From: JPit@Prodigy.net (Jeff) I just received my ETX-90 back from Dr. Clay and am extremely happy with the supercharge he performed. The amount of work he does on each scope and the minute detail that goes into this procedure is incredible. The GoTo feature works perfectly and the motor drives sound great and work flawlessly. I was also impressed with little things like painting the arrows white and the cleaning of the entire scope. If you want your Meade ETX to perform up to its capabilities, get your scope to the Dr. right away! Jeff Pitman
Subject: ETX-90 as a spotting scope Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2001 6:19:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (adept99) This is probably a bit off the wall for you and your site, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting any real answers anywhere else, so here goes. I shoot long range bench rest targets with a high power rifle. Distances involved are from 250 yds up to 1000 yds. I need to be able to see a 1/4" hole in a piece of paper at those distances. I called Meade and inquired, and got a rather murky answer that said with the std. 26mm eyepiece a 2' target would occupy something like 25% of the field of view at 400 yds. By changing eyepieces, I should get a similar result out to 1000 yds. I believe they indicated a 9.?? mm and a 4.?? mm eyepiece. The tech also mentioned a Barlow style eyepiece. Problem was that he had no idea if it would actually resolve to the detail I needed to see. Have you, or any of your web contributors, ever played with this type of application? Any idea if this will work? Thanks, Paul email@example.comMike here: The ETX-90 has a resolving power of 1.3 arc secs. Figure out the size (in arc secs) of the hole at any distance you need and if it is larger than 1.3 arc secs you will be able to see the hole "as a hole". How large a view of the hole you want will dictate the magnification (eyepiece) to use. The supplied 26mm eyepiece provides 48X, meaning that the target will appear 48 times closer than it is really is. So, that target at 1000 yards will look like it is at 20 yards. If you use the 9.7mm eyepiece, the magnification is 128X and that 1000 yard target will look like it is at about 8 yards.
Subject: Light pollution. The gods are laughing at me Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2001 20:28:35 From: Wilbur_Q@msn.com (William J. Cullen) Sometimes you just gotta say... Here I am, north of Boston, we have a blackout because there was a fire in some substation. Pitch black outside for miles around. It is overcast. ARRGGHHHHH!!!!!! I feel better now. Regards, BCMike here: I know the feeling. They won't schedule the California blackouts for clear nights either!
Jeez Mike, Ya scared the heck outta me! I just fired a missive off to the local news media because they're explanation was lame and shebang! I get you! That's cool. My ETX70-at went bonkers last night. Probably low batteries. I was taking pictures of the Moon with my old and trusted Yashica when I decided it was time for Mars. The scope required a few slews during the Moon shots. I selected Mars as a GOTO and... A warning. The camera is not supposed to be attached above 45 degrees. That goes for the T adapter as well. Found out the hard way. No damage, I caught it in time. For some reason, the ETX thought Mars was way off to my right and under me. Weird. It does get your attention. So unless you are in complete control, remove all attachments from the camera port. BC
Subject: Information Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 19:41:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Emsy Robinson) I live in Dallas Texas. Is there a Mars watch going on now in my area? I thought Mars was really visible during the month of June and July. Any info on this? I recently purchased an EXT 125. I am anxious to use it. Regards, EmsyMike here: Mars is that bright orange object in the south after dark. See the "Observing Planets - Mars" guide on the Observational Guides/References page on my ETX Site.
Subject: comet linear chart Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 16:25:33 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) There is a wonderful binocular/telescope/naked eye tracking chart of Comet Linear that can be downloaded and printed on the "SpaceWeather" web site. http://www.spaceweather.com/comets/2000a2/finder_jun30.gif Since the comet's last good period will be the next 2-3 weeks this chart should be helpful for all observers with binoculars and above. Expect Comet Linear to remain fairly bright until late July as it climbs higher northwestward each morning; right now it is very near the Great Square of Pegasus and because of interfering moonlight I could see no tail in 10 x 50's, the ETX 125, nor the LX 90, but the comet itself is very impressive at low power.....it is elongated E-W and about the same size and brightness as the Andromeda Galaxy, not too far away! Remember the moon will be moving closer the the comet's position each successive night even though after the 4th, its light will begin to wane a bit each morning. Good observing! P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory
Subject: City Lights for Free... Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 12:45:42 From: RMOLLISE@aol.com Due to Overwhelming demand (Welllll....maybe ONE or TWO requests), I've placed my urban observing guidebook, _From City Lights to Deep Space_, on the web for free download. Just go to http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index.html and click on "From City Lights to Deep Space" in the menu of choices you'll find. This is an Acrobat (.pdf) file, so you'll need the free Acrobat reader to view it. It's also fairly large at 77 pages (3.5 Mb or thereabouts), so please be patient if you have a dial-up connection. Peace, Rod Mollise Moderator, sct-user, the mailing list for CAT fanciers! http://members.aol.com/RMOLLISE/index4.html or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sct-user
Subject: Collimation Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 11:15:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (rod crowte) Many thanks for your very rapid reply to my previous question regarding polarity. Having seen a picture on your site (somewhere) of an out of focus star or spot of light together with the accompanying description of the donut effect and the surrounding dark concentric circles indicating that the collimation is spot on - I am somewhat concerned that on trying that with my scope I get a series of vertical bands and no concentric circles at all. Any thoughts on that, or am I worrying unnecessarily ? Focusing seems to be ok though I couldn`t say it was pin sharp with the only lens I have yet - the 26mm it arrived with and a x2 Barlow.The heat haze here is causing problems at the moment and doesn`t help of course. Regards, Rod CrowteMike here: If you are seeing vertical bands you likely need to let the telescope reach thermal equilibrium. This can take 45 minutes to a couple of hours. Then do the star test.
Subject: Compare ETX-125 Spotting ETX-125 Tele Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 10:28:48 From: email@example.com (Jesse Sherman) If I were to buy the ETX-125 Spotting Scope Would I beable to see the same thing as with the ETX-125 ec Telescope? For example If knew where to look would I beable to see Cloud-belt patterns on Jupiter? Thank you for the help, JesseMike here: The spotting scope model is the same telescope minus the base with fork arms and motorized drive. So yes, you'll be able to see the same thing with either scope. HOWEVER, you'll likely want to put the spotting scope model on an equatorial tripod so that you can easily track the object being viewed as the Earth rotates.
Subject: My ETX controller died on me... Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 5:45:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Elias Rafael-ARE088) I am a (somewhat) frustrated ETX owner. I bought my ETX three months ago and purchased an AutoStar controller. The optics are superb... the electronics are far from being acceptable, though. After downloading the most recent 2.2 version and undergoing all the terrestrial and astronomical calibrations (several times), I am still not able to use the GOTO function successfully. The targets are between 20 to 40 degrees off. Moreover, last weekend while performing a terrestrial calibration (again), I tightened the Az lever and (poof) the AutoStar lost power. The LED on the side of the scope was ON, but the AutoStar was OFF. I replaced the AutoStar with the manual controller and nothing happened. The scope died on me, although the LED was on. Have you ever heard of a failure like this? Anyone reported a similar failure? It appears that while adjusting the Az lever caused a short circuit because the scope smelled burnt. Any insights on this issue is greatly appreciated. m Ralph Elias * relias@Motorola.comMike here: Have you checked the batteries? Perhaps the power level was too low. As to the alignments being off, have you rechecked all the settings, including location and Daylight Savings? If the electronics are dead, it should still be under warranty. Contact the dealer.
Subject: Re: star directory Sent: Monday, July 2, 2001 3:46:18 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: Marcus It really is a two-step process: 1) click on the image with your RIGHT mouse key; 2) the flyout will allow you to SAVE the image to a file on your PC; 3) select a name and save it into your main user directory; 4) now go back and open that file to view and "grab" the image to re-size to fit an 8-1/2" x 11" format (slightly smaller for printing); 5) NOW SAVE AGAIN! It is now the right size for printing!! Good luck! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Marcus >Dr. Sherrod, >Can you please tell me how I can get your maps to print on a single 8 x 11 >piece of paper? For some reason the maps are getting cut off. > >Thanks, >Marcus
Subject: ETX-90EC FOR PHOTOS Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2001 21:31:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (sil1166) I first want to tell you how much I appreciate your website. i am an investigator and i am going to be doing a lot of surveillance i don't need photo quality shots i do need to see faces and actions clearly from great distances can i use my camera adapted to the etx-90ec for this purpose eagerly waiting for your reply magickpi investigationsMike here: With the proper adapters you can connect a 35mm SLR to the ETX-90 and use it like a 1250mm telephoto lens. It makes an excellent long range telephoto. See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for more on camera adapters.
Subject: solar eclipse expedition Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2001 9:14:04 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: GERALD_WECHSELBERGER@at.ibm.com Gerald - fantastic photos, one of the finest "partial" shots I have ever seen! Without a doubt, this photo shows more extremely fine detail in the sunspot and surrounding penumbral areas than I have ever seen through a conventional scope used for another (eclipse, for example) purpose. Very nice job. It almost looks 3-D! That photo would make an excellent poster. Also enjoyed seeing your ratehr serious-looking setup at the site! You were, as we say in Arkansas, "ready for bear." Thanks for sharing this with us! Clay Sherrod
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