Last updated: 31 July 2002
Subject: Star Party Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 14:36:51 From: email@example.com (Craig Colbert) Your site has been my savior many times over...thanks! I'm the President of the Copper Mountain Observatory and Observers Club. We are a new club located in The Southern California high desert town of Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree is located on Hwy 62, 27 miles north of Palm Springs. I've got a couple of things for you to post to the proper area. Our website address in astro links section: www.coppermountainobservatory.org I 'm not sure where you would post this but, we are having our first public starparty on August 10th and I would like to extend an invite to you and your readers to join us. There is room for camping at the site as well as plenty of room for telescopes. For driving directions and info on times and what to bring email firstname.lastname@example.org For more club info visit www.coppermountainobservatory.org Clear Skies, Craig Colbert President email@example.com
Subject: Sidereal Time Sent: Monday, July 29, 2002 11:26:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bruce) Regarding this Question from the last General update. 7/27/02 Here is an online converter http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/sidereal.html Put this into the Bookmarks section if you have one. Saludos de Bruce N7XGR
Subject: Great Work by you folks Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2002 19:01:04 From: email@example.com (Blais Klucznik) I just went to your site and read the two interesting articles on the NEO, one by R. Seymour and one by Clay Sherrod. Both Clay's ARKSKY and the reference site suggested by Dick have an amazing amount of data and info on them. My goodness, I'll have to re-lubricate both my abacus and my slide-rule again. Thanks to all three of you folks for the work you do. Blais Klucznik
Subject: Parks barlow lens on ETX Sent: Friday, July 26, 2002 21:14:08 From: BtwdFritz@aol.com I just bought a Parks 3-element 2x barlow for my new ETX-105. When I insert it into the eyepiece holder, the bottom of it hits the flange inside the holder, causing about 1/4" the barlow's chrome to show above the holder. Does this matter? Is the barlow too long, or maybe too wide? (I notice it doesn't fit in the holes of the tripod spreader, like my Meade eyepiece does. I't's ever so solightly too big around.) Did I buy the wrong one, or are all barlows standard sized and manufactured to universal specifications? Do I need a Meade barlow? I've only been able to look at the full moon since I got the scope. On top of the incredibly bright glare of the moon itself, the seeing hasn't been great (very wavy) and fine focusing has been difficult to achieve, so I don't know if the lack of image sharpness I'm experiencing is due in part to the barlow or not. I heard Parks makes some of the best eyepieces and accessories, so that's what I bought. Please get back to me on these questions so I can either rest easy with my purchase while waiting for better observing opportunities, or exchange it for something more suitably matched to my scope! Thanks, FritzMike here: Some Barlow Lens (and eyepieces) are too long to seat fully in the ETX eyepiece hole. This may or may not be a problem. As long as you can focus the image you are OK even if there is some silver tube visible. There are three standard sizes: 0.965, 1-1/4, and 2 inch. The ETX line uses 1-1/4 inch. However, occasionally there are manufacturing "flaws" that cause "out of roundness" of the tube (or holes) or protrusions that can interfere with the insertion. Poor seeing can definitely affect image quality.
Subject: A brief [unnerving] update on 2002 NT7 Sent: Friday, July 26, 2002 18:43:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) If your GO TOs on the computerized scope are not hitting just right, or if the power source to your scope or CCD keeps fluctuating, perhaps a reality check will put it all into perspective. If you have not been keeping up with the approaching Near Earth Object 2002 NT7, then you might want to refresh (or humble) yourself a bit. Sky and Telescope just today issued their weekly bulletin concerning this (and others) object and it is discussed a bit at: http://www.arksky.org or go to the main page (www.arksky.org) and click onto Current News. Dr. Clay ---------------------------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: re: Sidereal Time Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 22:30:10 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org You wrote: > I have a question about Local Sidereal Time > The LST here in Houston, Texas is 7:00 LST > The local solar clock on the wall is 1:00 PM > QUESTION: What is my LST in local solar time ? > ( I knew the simple conversion once...but forgot ! ) I believe you are confusing "Local Sidereal Time" with both "Greenwich Mean Time" (GMT) and "Coordinated Universal Time" (UTC). Let's call your wall clock "Civil Time"... which may be "standard" or "daylight savings". But it's what the daily civilian operations follow (lunch, work, school). And it's pretty close to local solar time (as you'd see on a sundial). The "easy" equation thingy is "GMT"...the civilian time (but always without Daylight Savings) at Greenwich England, which is also UTC. If you are in the Central Time Zone, GMT is 6 hours ahead of your standard time... which provides the 1pm, 7pm arrangement you were mentioning. So UTC=GMT=(your standard time) + 6 hours. and Your Civil Standard Time = GMT - 6 hours. Sidereal Time is -completely- different, and -not- easily calculated (well, you could armwave it... it's actually fairly close to your standard time (not daylight) plus 4 minutes for every day since March 21st, -less 12 hours-, to reach approximate sidereal time. (you can improve the accuracy by adding the fractional part of today's "4 minutes"... so at 6pm add 3 minutes (0.75 day * 4 min) . (i just arrived at that without looking it up...it could be horribly wrong, but i think it's moderately accurate)(there's also an adjustment for where you are relative to your time zone's "middle") Sidereal time is actually almost a geographic measurement, and defines the Right Ascension coordinate of whatever star is passing -straight- overhead right -now-. They speak of it in "units of time" (hours/minutes/seconds) but only because objects measured by it (star locations relative to each other) -move- across the sky as time passes. But a "clock time" it's not... it is really a measurement of location (in the sky). (they could have said "stellar longitude", and measured it in degrees, and you'd have never thought that it related to your wall clock). Offhand, i don't have a good web-reference in mind to offer you (i have a lot of books on the subject, but the best are the hardest to locate).(and i -think- about this subject a lot). A spinning-disk star chart (a "planisphere") is perhaps the -best- Sidereal Time reference i can think of. have fun --dick
Subject: newbeee Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 18:52:06 From: email@example.com (Travelin Matt) How or were can I find the correct long & lat for my location?Mike here: There are several links on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject: Your Views Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 10:42:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (kenbara) What a great, newbie friendly, site you produce. I have a question which I fully understand will result in your personal opinion. I am trying to decide on a telescope purchase to be used equally for field and sky viewing. Obviously, portability, applicability and price are prime. My final choices are: * The English, Cape Instrument, Evolution (caditriopic) with a 120mm aperture (3.5 lbs & approx 16" long) and may be held like a bazooka (or with a tripod) but is pricey at approx $800. * The Televue Ranger, also a bit pricey at around $600. * The Meade ETX (model undetermined) at about half $ of the above two scopes. Which scope is best at dual use for the $? In your opinion, which of the above is a prime candidate for my application? I am completely a novice at this but want to enjoy the earth (birding/maritime) and sky as much as I reasonably can. I do like the idea of small portability (folded light?) vs always faced with where to find a place for a 4 ft scope and the carry of it. Thanks in advance, Mike. KenMike here: I'm not familiar with the Cape Instrument telescope but Televue Rangers are excellent telescopes. However, for the price, you may find the ETX-90EC (with or without the optional Autostar) will give you what you are looking for in a telescope.
Subject: my new etx-125 Sent: Monday, July 22, 2002 17:22:09 From: email@example.com (Eddy Lush) Just got my new scope after your recommendations, trouble is everything looks like a polo (dark bit in the middle) what's going on all stars look the same .... like polo's, I did have a problem with the focus rod it feels like there is no tension in it sometimes but as you turn it anti clockwise it comes out and gets more tension is it broke? Thanks for the great site hope you can help. Cheers EddyMike here: As you move from one end of the focus range to the other, do objects go in and out of focus? Try looking at a building or some object on a street. In the middle of the range you should get the object in focus.
Thanks for the speedy reply, yes Mike they do when the rod is turned fully anti clockwise 22mm of the shaft is exposed, when I turn it fully clockwise it goes loose eventually! When I look at stars they look like they do with they eye or polo like. Cheers EddyMike here: Well, you may be experiencing one problem and one misconception. The focus shaft should NOT become loose. You should probably exchange the telescope at the dealer. The misconception is that images of stars will not magnify due to their extreme distance, making them "point sources of light". Planets and the Moon will show details.
Right tough one there imported it from the states to here in the uk, perhaps I need to wait till my autostar arrives to check the planets out cant wait, Saturn is just coming into the frame but I cant see it till the autostar arrives! (don't know which one it is ...... bad isn't it!) So a distant star will appear thought the scope a it does with the naked eye or turn into a grey polo image? Thanks EddyMike here: The Moon is nearly full and rises in the East before sunset right now. It will make an excellent target; you won't need the Autostar. And yes, stars should appear as pinpoints of light when in proper focus.
Subject: Sidereal Time Sent: Monday, July 22, 2002 15:04:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (EDMOND BARTNETT) I hope this question is "Childs Play " for you ! I have a question about Local Sidereal Time The LST here in Houston, Texas is 7:00 LST The local solar clock on the wall is 1:00 PM QUESTION: What is my LST in local solar time ? ( I knew the simple conversion once...but forgot ! ) Thank You .... Ted Bartnett ( Houston/ Texas )Mike here: Try this web site: http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/sidereal.html
Subject: Colombian Amateur ETX user Sent: Monday, July 22, 2002 13:36:23 From: email@example.com (Gustavo Garcia) I bought an second hand etx ra. Is normal than when I'm focusing an objet, the image moves from right to left ?. If I use high power eye pieces is more evident. You recommend to use Ultra wide angle eye pieces ? Thank you for your time Gustavo Adolfo GarciaMike here: This image shifting is normal with Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes. It should not be excessive however but will be more noticeable at higher magnifications. I don't have any UWA eyepieces but see the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces for some user comments.
Subject: Re: Using the ETX125 with a camera attached via a 64-T adapter Sent: Monday, July 22, 2002 13:22:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Karen Huguet) Thanks so much Mike for the tip [further down the page]; I've gone to the link and found what I was looking for. Your web site is a a mine of information; really interesting. Francis Huguet.
Subject: SAC7b/Windows XP compatibility Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2002 20:52:45 From: email@example.com (Shannon West-Wilke) I searched the Internet, this evening looking for anyone who uses the SAC7b camera and who runs the driver on Windows XP... specifically anyone (else) who has had problems loading the SAC7b PC Driver into the XP system, and how they overcame their problems. If you have any insight or suggestions, I would sincerely appreciate your help. Sincerely, Don West-Wilke
Subject: RE:Dewcap Problem Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2002 18:31:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Greg Samples) In regards to the Dewcap Problem for email@example.com I use a Saran Quick Covers on my ETX-125 dew shield. You can get them in a variety pack with three different sizes. I have been using them for about three months now without any problems. I do believe at some point the elastic will go but they come with three for each size. Regards, Greg
Subject: Rocking The ETX to Keep it from Rocking Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2002 16:40:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (L.C.) So. Instead of disassembling and degreasing the ETX, why couldn't one: 1) Vow to use it in only azimuth/altitude mode; and 2) Duct tape a rock to the front end of it The idea occurred to me when, in a fit of pique, I picked up a rock to beat the offending forks to a pulp. -Larry CurcioMike here: Well, that's one solution. Others may do what I do: treat it with respect and get years of service from it.
OK, I exaggerated. Was actually contemplating merely weighting the front end - an idea that wouldn't help in RA/DEC mode.Mike here: Adding weights can help or hurt, depending upon a lot of factors. But as long as you don't exceed what the locks can handle, you should be OK.
Subject: Switching an ETX Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2002 14:31:21 From: email@example.com (Asad Qayyum) I recently purchased an ETX-70AT and my enthusiasm has somewhat been dampened by the quality of images I have seen of the planets...particularly Saturn as a small ball with a ring on it (no features visible). I will be moving back home and will not have any access to a telescope in case I wanted to upgrade. Now the question I hope you can help me with is that given that my main goal is Astrophotography and simple viewing of the planets and perhaps some nebulae......do you think it would be a wise decision to switch the scope for an ETX90? This of course is keeping the future in view since I won't be able to switch at a later stage for another 5 or even 10 years. So do you think that the image quality difference is sufficient enough to justify me switching to the ETX90? Your help would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot Sincerely, Asad QMike here: Whether or not the ETX-90 or ETX-105 or ETX-125 or an 8" or 10" Dobsonian or (...) will meet your expectations depends upon those expectations. Certainly the larger the telescope's aperture and the longer its focal length, the larger and more detailed the views will be. Since you mentioned your main goal is astrophotography, you have to then consider what telescope is best suited to meet that purpose for you (a LX200 perhaps...). Yes, the ETX telescopes can do some types of astrophotography as evidenced by the images on my ETX Site. But is that sufficient for you? You have to decide upon your requirements and expectations (and budget) and then pick a telescope to match.
Thank you very much for your prompt reply to my query regarding switching my ETX-70 for an ETX-90. The reason I write to you is that I want your personal opinion on which scope is the best for my purpose. Astrophotography is not really my main objective however I would like to delve into that field as well once I have somewhat mastered simple observation skills. My main goal is to view the planets (and at a later stage perhaps take pictures of them). My budget while originally restricted to 400 can be stretched to about 550. For that price I can get an ETX-90EC or Celestron Nexstar 4 or Celestron Nexstar 114GT. I do have theoretical knowledge of astronomy since I minored in that at College. However, I am a pure beginner when it comes to observational aspect of the field. Therefore, ease of use would also be a big thing look for while buying (switching) the telescope. Could you now give me your opinion of whether I should consider changing the telescope assuming I have the funding to and if so, then which one would you recommend I go for out of the three listed above. The reason I ask this question again is that do you really think that it would make a marked difference in image quality if I were to move from the ETX-70 to ETX-90. Please do note that I in now way expect images like the ones I have seen in the books. Just want something that will give me a clear view of the planets and allow me to take discernable photographs every now and then. Again, thank you very much for your help so far and I await your response to the above questions eagerly.Mike here: Certainly the ETX-90 will provide better views of planets, and with some practice (and luck) allow you to get some good photos as well. The main difference will be the longer focal length, allowing for more magnification with a given eyepiece focal length. And the (slightly larger aperture) means you can achieve a (slightly) higher theoretical usable maximum magnification. I have both the ETX-90RA and the ETX-70AT and planetary views are more satisfying with the -90.
I just wanted to send this email to thank you for your prompt replied to my emails and for all the great advice you have given. Thank you very much sir and many congratulations on creating one of the (if not THE) best astronomy resources I have seen on the web. Sincerely, Asad QAnd a change in topic:
Alas, the dealers have refused my request to exchange my one week old ETX-70 for an ETX-90. Needless to say I am extremely bummed about it but I resolve to carry out my interest in the field to the very limits of the ETX-70. Sir, could you please kindly advise me on a digital camera which might be appropriate for astrophotography with the ETX-70. Again, my main aim is to photograph the moon and the planets and some nebulae every now and then. The main focus though being the planets. I do have a webcam but after going through your page am still unsure as to how exactly I can use that with the telescope. I feel that a digital camera would be simpler to use and more practical. Your advise would be greatly appreciated on this matter.Mike here: Some dealers will exchange and some won't. As to digital cameras, there are many excellent digital cameras. For astrophotography the best ones will have a threaded lens to accept filters or other lens (for attaching an eyepiece), a long exposure duration (several seconds) capability, a shutter release cable available or self-timer that allows the full range of exposures), a zoom lens or macro mode (to reduce vignetting), a built-in noise reduction mode, user selectable ISO rating, and be lightweight. I like my Nikon Coolpix 995. Others like their cameras. See the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page for several pages on different cameras.
Thank you very much for your reply to my query. Do you suppose that an ordinary digital camera would be sufficient provided it has manual and automatic exposure options? My budget is quite limited (200) and thus I can't go for the big cameras like Coolpix.Mike here: Sure. See the photos I took with my original digital camera, the Casio QV-10. It was a good but basic camera in 1996. Just focus the eyepiece to your eye, focus the camera lens to infinity, and hold the camera lens over the eyepiece. See the image on the LCD and shoot. You can get pictures of the Moon, Sun (with the proper filter), and the brighter planets.
My apologies for bothering you time and again with my questions but I am hoping that this should wrap it up for now. As I mentioned I am interested in buying a digital camera to use with my ETX-70AT. My budget is a tad restricted so I will be hunting for bargains but could you please be so kind as to tell me of what specific features the camera should have for it to perform the task of afocal astrophotography with my scope? Your reply would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot Sincerely, Asad QMike here: For astrophotography the best ones will have a threaded lens to accept filters or other lens (for attaching an eyepiece), a long exposure duration (several seconds) capability, a shutter release cable available or self-timer that allows the full range of exposures), a zoom lens or macro mode (to reduce vignetting), a built-in noise reduction mode, user selectable ISO rating, and be lightweight.
Subject: Wide Field Eyepieces Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2002 10:33:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (N O V A) In your opinion, which are the best wide field eyepieces to use with the ETX90?Mike here: Since I don't have any real WF eyepieces myself (other than when using the Shutan Wide Field Adapter discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page) I don't have any opinion.
Subject: small bump Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 22:09:30 From: email@example.com (Bruce Smith) I have had my etx 90ec for about 2 years now and it has been great but just the other day i took the front lense off to have a look inside and to my amazment i found a bump or blob on the small reflecting mirror on the front lense. It looks like it was there when they added the coating and it layed right over the top of the offending marterial. would this affect the optics? I could be used to it now since it's been there since new. Thanks BruceMike here: Intentionally removing the front lens is a major bad idea unless you have a good reason for doing so. As to the "flaw", if you haven't noticed it before it probably isn't affecting the views (assuming it is small). A bigger affect could come from the telescope now being uncollimated if you don't get the lens back into its original position. If you are concerned about either problem, contact Meade.
Subject: re: ETX external power jack problem Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 21:44:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com I have to wonder if you're using the proper power plug. (or a weird one) In the past i've heard of oversized Meade plugs... they'd be a -very- hard push to get in the socket, or they wouldn't go at all. So your plug may likewise be a bit "over size", or (dare i say it?) even the wrong size. The correct plug is 5.5mm outside diameter (2.5mm inside). If you're using a RadioShack Adaptaplug , that's their size "N" (as in Nancy). good luck with the tootpicks... --dickAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Shinn) Got a note from Dick (Richard Seymour) saying that it was probably an over-sized plug. He said that even some of the Meade supplies have had oversized plugs. So I measured mine and it came out to something like 6.25 mm when it should be 5.5 mm. Lovely! It wasn't hard to push in, except maybe the very last part of the travel ... felt like it may have caught on something. I haven't called Meade yet, but I can bet what their answer is going to be: "ship it back to us". It looks like the panel that holds all the jacks and the switch can't be removed without first taking out the elevation motor assembly, and possibly more, which is a bit ugly. I'm now considering soldering a jumper across the jack's "open circuit" contacts and hoping I remember to remove one of the internal batteries before using an external power supply. The wire from the internal batteries to an external plug is a safer way to go, but would look wierd, at best! And I'd still need to get a 5.5mm plug! (or two?) Gonna sleep on it a bit....And an update:
From: email@example.com (Tom Shinn) Here's a small update. I went to my neighborhood Radio Shack in search of an adapta-plug the right size to fit my power supply. UNFORTUNATELY, my supply is an older one, where the adapta-plugs are totally different from the current two-pin types. No joy there. After looking at putting a new-style adapta-plug socket on my power supply's wire AND buying the adapta-plug and still not having a fix for battery operation, I decided to just get the package of two 5.5 x 2.5mm plugs (274-1537). Cost the same as one adapta-plug! I cut the old plug off the power supply's wire and soldered on one of the new ones, then I attached a small hunk of speaker wire to JUST THE OUTSIDE of the other plug and the other end to the negative battery terminal. The reason for the outside only is so there's no chance of short-circuiting the plug, which is connected directly to the batteries (center is cut off or insulated). The always-open circuit on the telescope's power jack only affects the outside contact so that's all that was needed. Works great! I may still call Meade, but as I said before, I know what they'll say.And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) > Works great! Where there's life, there's electrons 9or something like that) > I may still call Meade, but as I said before, I know what they'll say. They may be willing to send along a replacement power panel. If i recall, only the battery leads are soldered.. all else are connectors. have fun (with the external negative lead) --dick
Subject: Heater Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 20:58:20 From: email@example.com (Rodney Crislip) I bought your book and it says there is information about a dew heater on your web site but I can't find it.Can you help me?Mike here: Search the Site for "heater"; you'll find two references.
Subject: 883 Deluxe Tripod Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 16:50:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (William Scott) I have recently purchased the 883 Deluxe Tripod through ebay, unfortunetly it didnt have any instructions with it. I can get to grips with some of its settings but not all. I peruse your sight often looking for tips on using my ETX 105 and i must say i have learnt a lot as im a newbie. Anyway back to my "Q" is there any where i can download a copy of the user guide for my tripod as i think thats where my problem is, when in polar setup i cant get a good alignment therefore im having to use it in Alt/Az mode, which is okay but i would like to progress to the next stage. I have copied everything that has been written on setting up the telescope from home position to having bubble levels placed eveywhere to ensure all is level. I am in the military so i understand the concept of true and false north. I would like to add i think you have a excellent sight and thankyou to everyone who places ideas,tips ect as they are invaluable to people like me,keap it up. Best Regards ScottieMike here: Check the FAQ page for manuals.
Thanks for the quick response, At last i have the 2 page setup that i have longed for. Many Many Thanks again, clear skies to all Scottie
Subject: Using the ETX125 with a camera attached via a 64-T adapter Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 14:09:13 From: email@example.com (Karen Huguet) I've an ETX125 and bought a 64-T adapter to connect my camera (a Canon Ftb) to the telescope. I installed the camera with its adapter to the telescope which immediately pointed at the sky because of the weight of the camera; I thought that the vertical lock needed to be tighten further but did not either want to force the mechanism. Then I decided to run with the Autostar but the the motors appeared to have difficulty to move the telescope with the attached camera. I'm a beginner and actually don't know if it's the way to do things, but do I need to hang a counterweight at the opposite side in order to balance the all mounting ? Or will really my scope support the additional weight and imbalance ? Thank you for any advice you could give to me. Francis.Mike here: Heavy cameras will definitely require a counterweight to keep things in balance. See the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page for some ideas.
Subject: Dewcap Problem Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 13:54:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (N O V A) Hey. I just got the official Meade Dewshield for the ETX90. I know you're supposed to take the dewshield off to reinstall the dustcap. But instead, I just want to find a dustcap that fits on the front of the dewshield perfectly. Do you have any particular suggestions?Mike here: There are dewcaps that slide over the tube when not extended (see the Accessory Reviews Miscellaneous and the Telescope Tech Tips pages) but I don't recall hearing of one that fits over the Meade dewshield. However, it should be easy to make one from thick paper or cardboard.
Subject: Mike a question? Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 10:06:44 From: RSABO1@neo.rr.com (Richard Sabo) I just purchased a ETX-125. I really like it and is all that a hoped. I would like to know if you could tell me the pin out for the external power supply. I have a 12v supply and I really don't want to spend the money on it bur rather another eye piece. So, if you could let me know I would appreciate it very much! Thanks Rich SaboMike here: See the FAQ page for pinout info; also the Telescope Tech Tips page for more on Power Supplies.
Subject: Question Concerning Rigel Illuminator Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 8:02:07 From: email@example.com (N O V A) I've read your review about the Rigel Illuminator, and it seems to be superior to any standard Illuminators. But my main concern when I first saw this was the size of it. The standard illuminators are smaller and doesn't look too much out of place on the small ETX90EC. But with the Rigel Illuminator, I fear it will look too awkward. I'm having trouble trying to find a pic with the Rigel Illuminator actually in use on the ETX90. Could you please clear me up on this? Thanks!Mike here: The eyepiece is a standard 1.25-inch one so the barrel only stands out a little ways. It doesn't look that out of place on the ETX-90 (especially in the dark!). Since there are several adjustments you can make with its knobs, the size is just right.
Subject: Collimation or Baffle misaligned? Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 7:44:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael F. Vasseur) I have just noticed on my ETX-125 that the results of a recent star test show that the shadow of the secondary is just off-centre towards the left. I have heard that it could be either the collimation or the secondary baffle. How can I tell between them? Cheers! Michael F. Vasseur Ottawa Valley Astronomy and Observers GroupMike here: They can be related but if the secondary mirror has slipped like shown in this photo:
Subject: ETX external power jack problem Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 21:41:33 From: email@example.com (Tom Shinn) I can't see that anybody else has had this problem (leave it to me to be unique!). I was experimenting with some Palm hand-held software on my ETX 90EC (indoor "obsserving") so had the scope connected to an AC adapter I've had for some time ...Radio Shack 273-1652B, not that it matters. When I went to use the scope tonight, I find that the internal batteries no longer function. Seems the plug from the Radio Shack supply pushed the contact in the jack up to the point where it no longer makes contact for the battery circuit! I can reach into the hole carefully with a NON-CONDUCTIVE probe and get behind the flat contact, pull it out a bit and get the scope to work, but obviously, that's no FIX. Question is, how does one get to the jack panel out of the telescope base? It LOOKS like that connector might be totally enclosed to the point where I might not be to re-spring the contact anyway, but I couldn't see how to get at it! Meanwhile, I'm going to rig an outboard power plug to the internal batteries that I can loop around to the jack and run the scope from internal batteries via the external power jack.And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (P. Clay Sherrod) This is correct in that the power plug connector cannot be accessed; it is very likely that the problem is temperature related and will "fix itself" over time when the season changes. In the meantime, I would NOT attempt to get in an internally fix the plug. The best tool for unsticking the small contact is a round toothpick. Doc Clay Dr. P. Clay Sherrod email@example.com Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.orgAnd:
Thanks to both of you! I don't think the problem is temperature related: the scope hasn't been subjected to anything resembling extreme temps and the contact isn't really "stuck". I can get behind it with a toothpick and bring the contacts together (powering the scope from the internal batteries) but it won't stay that way, which is why I suspect that the contact was over-flexed. Knowing that I was correct about not being able access the connector prevents me from taking a potentially dangerous or damaging action. I will contact Meande tech support, for whatever good that might do me, but since I really don't want to send the scope in, I'll probably stick with my original plan and run a wire & plug off the internal battery pack to a plug that I can put into the jack. Inelegant, but effective. Tom
Subject: LED Illuminator Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 9:55:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (N O V A) I own a Meade MA12mm Astrometric Illuminated Reticle Eyepiece. Recently, for no reason at all, the illuminator went dead. At first I thought it was the batteries, so I got brand new batteries to replace them. The illuminator still didn't work. So I tried calling Meade about this, but you have to go through a whole lot of junk just to get a replacement. And by the time the replacement arrives, I'll probably be too busy to use it for another year. So after calling Meade I tried emailing several well known retailers to see if they carried any replacements. And that didn't turn out well either. So I'm asking you if there is any other way to buy a replacement illuminator without having to go through a whole lot of stuff like you would have to do with Meade? This would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.From a contact at Rigel Systems:
From: email@example.com (rigelsys@cox) You have to destroy the illuminator (it is press fit together) to get to the LED. Or Buy a new one from Rigel Systems with easy access to change the LED bye LeonMike here: I review the Rigel Systems PulsGuide Guiding Eyepiece Illuminator on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
Subject: Pier plans and ideas Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2002 12:57:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Grusin) Hello, I haven't written before because all my ETX questions were answered by your site =). Thanks you for such an outstanding resource! My latest ETX project is going to be building a pier for my 125. My small condominium porch makes it difficult to maneuver around tripod legs in the dark, and I am hoping that a heavy (sand filled PVC?) pier might dampen some of the vibrations as well (I can sometimes "see" my neighbor's stereo at high mag). After searching your site and finding some good pier ideas and links, my suggestion is that maybe you have enough info to build a separate pier page (in your free time, of course ;) Thanks again and dark skies, -Mike Grusin Boulder, CO.Mike here: Pier topics always welcome! Thanks. If you do build one, details and photos appreciated; I'll add to the Mounts section of the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Car power Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2002 4:35:13 From: email@example.com (marc.delaney) To get power from my car to my ETX, do I need the expensive lead from Meade or can I use any lead which plugs into the lighter socket of the car with a plug that fits the ETX power input at the other end? If so, what precautions --- such as polarity, etc --- must I bear in mind? Also, will plugging in a power lead automatically cut the batteries in the ETX out of the circuit? Many thanks, MarcMike here: There are several Power Supply articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page. See those for info on power requirements and polarity. And yes, the internal batteries are cut out when connecting the external power plug.
Subject: an LX90 site. Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2002 3:03:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Colin Dawson) I've been interested in astronomy for most of my life and finally decided to take the plung and get a scope this year. I'm facinated by the science, and think it's wonderful that the professionals actually encourage us ameteurs. It's seems to be the only science subject where that's the case. I knew absolutly nothing about telescopes when I decided to buy one, and did a search on the net. Your site came up near the top of the list, and most deservedly too. It gave me a good insight into scopes and also told me enough to know that a Meade scope was the way to go. In the end I went for an LX90, the so called big brother of the ETX range (that's how I like to think of it anyway) Most of the content of your site is still relevant to the LX90, thank you for such a great resource. I've noticed that the number of LX90 sites seems a little thin on teh ground and was wondering it you'd be kind enough to post a link to my new site. Although it's LX90 specific, there's info there that most people would find useful. Including when I finish writing it a program that will allow Psion 5 owners to download the date, time and their location directly into the Autostar. Hook that to my GPS, and hey presto you've practically got and LX90 GPS! or for that matter an ETX125/90/60 GPS. Cool hey? There's also an Astro piccy that I've taken using my Cosina C1s SLR Manual camera. Thank you once again for such a info packed site. Col. www.cjdawson.com email@example.com
Subject: Web site Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 19:41:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (GREGG CHAPMAN) Very nice web site. Wish you would provide Right Ascension and Declination more often in discussions. Best Regards - Gregg J. ChapmanMike here: In what context would you like to see more discussion of RA and DEC?
Subject: I'll be back..... Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 17:12:37 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Hello all - just about to shut down the office and hit the road, top down into the night for points east. I will have my laptop with me so will be keeping up with everything but will have limited time to respond to as much as I would like. Those of you who write directly to me, please remember to not include attachments or these will be lost! In the meantime, the weather is getting better nationwide for the next three weeks and the moon will be out of the sky pretty much for most of the coming week, so I hope all of you get to give the scopes a workout. Sounds like many issues and problems have been solved or solutions discovered, so I will look forward to my nighttime reading of positive postings! Clear skies and bright comets..... Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: From Bogota Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 11:10:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dario Rodas) I live in Bogota (74W 4N) and I am looking for a ETX90RA tripod that works in this latitude. I read the whole tripod review section trying not to annoying you with an email, but I could not find a suitable article. Would you help me find that info? I am a newcomer in the ETX passion and consider your page as the ETX oracle. Thank you in advance for your assistance. José Darío Rodas Bienvenidos a mi páginaMike here: Check out Scopetronix; they have some tripods/wedges that go to 0 degrees latitude.
Thank you for your prompt reply and your kindness. Have a good day. Regards, jose dario.
Subject: ETX 90 Batteries Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2002 4:43:27 From: email@example.com Is it possible to use rechargeable batteries in the ETX 90? My digital camera uses NI-MH 1700's, I heard a rumor that they were too powerful for the scope. Regards Marc GeorgeMike here: I don't know about the NI-MH 1700 but rechargeable batteries can be used in the ETX but they may get too low rather fast. See the article "Rechargeable Batteries" on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: Astrophotography with Nikon 995 Sent: Friday, July 12, 2002 13:06:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (stu travelbee) I found your web site when searching for information on the Nikon 995 in astrophotography. I purchased a 995 three weeks ago, but have not been able to get the raw images I hoped for. I have emailed several astro-imagers to find out what settings they use for lunar and solar imaging. Last week we purchased a Coronado SolarMax 40 to use on our TV85. I use the remote shutter release on the 995, but can't seem to get crisp images with the default settings. I joined Yahoo digital-astro discussion group to see if any of the group members could help. Most are using Olympus cameras. If you could help me with the manual settings on the Nikon 995 it would be greatly appreciated. I noticed on your web site you have a distinguished career in flying. One of my hobbies over the years has been at air shows to take rides in vintage airplanes. At the Auburn Cord Duesinburg festival I was able to ride in the Stinson tri-motor that comes to the Auburn airport occasionally. Tom Kelly, who has Fort Wayne Air Service, gave my wife and me a ride in his P-51 in '85. That was the best ride we have ever had to date! Thank you for and information you could forward on the astro-imaging subject. Stu Travelbee Fort Wayne, IndianaMike here: Check the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page. There is info on the Coolpix there. Also, check the various astrophotography galleries on my ETX Site; there are examples (some with info) there. Yep, flying used to be a major part of my life! But I'm jealous of you: a tri-motor AND a P-51. Wow! I did get 1.5 hours in the backseat of a German Air Force F-104 and 1.5hrs in a USAF F-15 backseat. The rest of my time was in the A-7D, T-38A and T-38B, Cessna 150 and 172, and a Piper Cherokee. A few hours in a T-28 and a Citabria.
Subject: Determining Limiting Magnitude Sent: Friday, July 12, 2002 11:06:53 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Hello to all - A nifty note.... Thanks to amateur astronomer David Snay we were "urged" into completing a project that actually began back in 1974....determining the limiting magnitudes of various aperture telescopes by simply using the stars themselves....to include a SUMMER guide/test. Since 1974 we have used and promoted a guide for autumn and winter skies which is excellent for determining stellar magnitude thresholds down to the mid-15's, via the Pleiades star field. This has always been easy for veteran as well as "newcomers" since the star field of the bright star "Electra" has been used....easy to identify in the asterism of the "Seven Sisters." For the summertime skies, Brian Sherrod has finally compiled the mate to this long-time winter test....this one using the constellation of LYRA, dominant in the late spring and summertime skies, and high overhead for mid-northern latitudes. You can find this new - and very useful - tool at the Arkansas Sky Observatory website by going to the homepage: www.arksky.org and looking for the "New Website Additions...." at the top of the page and click on the topic. Marked by its bright star, Vega, the observer need only to find the bright stars SULAFAT and Sheliak to its southeast....it is between these two conspicuous stars that the famous "Ring Nebula", Messier 57 is located! Brian has used Sulafat's field of stars to provide a limiting VISUAL magnitude test to magnitude 15.3 for telescopes in the 10 to 16-inch range. As with the WINTER Limiting Magnitude Guide - on the Arkansas Sky site at: http://www.arksky.org/limmag.htm this test is very objective as the observer fills out an essentially blank chart using only the brightest stars as guideposts. For complete information on this test, please see the new posting. By the way, this "test" makes and excellent club or school project for users of many different sizes and types of telescopes....you will be amazed at the differences in limiting magnitudes - not only with aperture, but also with the type and style of telescope used as well! Good luck, enjoy, and THANK YOU, Dave Snay! Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod firstname.lastname@example.org Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: Re: ETX Info Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 21:17:43 From: NGC704@aol.com Thank you for the reply! It finally occurred to me that it probably came off the same way my old C-8 did, and so I already accomplished removing the tube from the fork. I have a second question now, if I may impose upon your patience. Where might you recommend I obtain a "visual back" for the ETX 90? My idea is to plug a 45-degree diagonal into the rear of the scope to provide correctly oriented images (since I wish to use the ETX as a birding scope). I guess I'm asking your recommendation for a good ETX parts-and-accessories supplier... Thanks again for all your help! I have a healthy respect for people who publish such useful web sites as yours. Cheers, Kurt Maurer League City, Texas http://members.aol.com/NGC704/NGs.htmlMike here: See the "Shutan Visual Back" on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. Shutan and Scopetronix are good suppliers of accessories. There are probably many others as well.
Subject: Lego Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 19:14:46 From: email@example.com (Raffaello Zucco) Hey Michael, great job on the web page, very interesting. I was hoping if you could give me more details on the focuser-lego for the meade ETX. I have an old etx 60 and I'm trying to install it on my roof. I can control it from my laptop with the 506 cable and see what's going on with a webcam adaptation... all is missing is an efficient and cheap way to focus, something that your lego could very well provide... Thank you and keep the great job on the tech tips. 's RaffaMike here: You should write to the author of the article.
Subject: Dr. Clay Does it Again Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 16:46:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Savitsky) I had the chance to buy an ETX-105 complete with everything you'd ever need. However the scope needed some repairs done to the support arm. It was such a bargain I decided to buy it and send the scope straight to Dr. Clay for some repairs and a "Supercharge". Dr. Clay was sooooo easy to work with. He kept me abreast of all that was involved. The scope was returned to me in better than new shape. It works flawlessly!! Anybody who has any doubts about the "before" and "after" performance should put their fears aside and send their scope to Dr. Clay. Joe Savitsky
Subject: Trip Schedule & e-mail Doc Clay Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 15:37:41 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) "Re: my upcoming central and SE U.S.A. astronomy forum scheduled trips for the next three weeks:" Hello to all - Well, you'll be sort-of getting rid of this old coot for a bit as promised; my trip will take me off this Saturday (seven states, 14 talks in 18 days!) and I wanted to remind everyone that I will be checking e-mails while away but on a very limited basis....still will help [....and hinder, some say!] while away, so I will be in touch. I look forward to seeing several of you in the next couple of weeks and appreciate your many offers and willingness to stop by and have coffee as I pass through! Please continue to correspond for our on-going projects as normal, but please do NOT send any e-mail with attachments to my personal address to those who have been corresponding on a regular basis; my little laptop will protest and likely just shut down altogether if you do. Regarding Supercharged scopes, those who had scopes scheduled will have your scopes right on time! The last precision machine ships tomorrow and all other scopes that were scheduled to be completed are either on their way via AIR shipment right now, or already received by a happy client! Those which are scheduled to be shipped to me for my return after August 1, please remember to do so the week prior to your appointed time. For NEW Supercharges, note that I AM accepting scopes for slots in August and September at this time, so you can schedule while I am away; I will confirm with you the times of your choice. The ASO website will be aptly and properly maintained daily by Brian (who keeps the megabytes greased anyway.....) so please check for the latest news there! I will be posting news articles regarding upcoming sky events while on my trip. Correspondents on research, observational and educational programs that we are working on, please continue to e-mail me privately as to your progress! So...I will miss all of you on a regular basis, but will still be keeping tabs and helping/hindering when possible! I hope that the next two weeks prior to full moon brings dry and clear skies and much improvement in observing skills, techniques and discovery for all of you. Doc Clay (sure to be tired, hoarse, and brain running on empty, but still smiling upon return....) ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: ETX Info Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 9:53:11 From: NGC704@aol.com I have been perusing your website looking for information regarding the conversion of an ETX-90 from a fork mount to a simple spotting scope. It looks like all I need to do is remove the tube assembly from the fork and drive base, but I can't figure out how to do it. Any advice would be appreciated. Cheers, Kurt Maurer League City, Texas http://members.aol.com/NGC704/NGs.htmlMike here: See Step #1 of the Right Tube Adapter replacement on this page (near the bottom): http://www.weasner.com/etx/90ec_comments.html
Subject: ***Meade ETX-90EC*** Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2002 17:42:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dennis J. Barela) Here are excerpts from an email sent to Meade instruments and the online retailer "One-Call" in regards to my experience with the ETX-90EC: In April of 2002 I had ordered a Meade ETX-90EC and an Autostar 497 Controller. A few days later I had a nightmare experience with Federal Express delivering the scope. They claimed that my house does not exist when it has been here for over eight years in a series of track homes listed in most popular map books about 45 miles from the Meade plant. Two days and missed work later (the unit was sent with orders not to leave the scope without a signature and second attempt deliveries do not receive priority according to the driver), I finally received the telescope but the AutoStar was on backorder. (Understandable) I invested in Meade's best #884 deluxe field tripod, a set of filters, a dew shield, a Barlow lens among other things; about a $1000 investment altogether. Because of my curiosity of astronomy I was instantly "hooked" by the idea of seeing celestial sites from my own equipment. I was sorely wrong. It took two months before the AutoStar controller arrived. I took many trips to the mountains, desert and local hills spending hours trying to get it to work with no luck. I consulted with family members and friends who are into astronomy and still could not get it to work after countless hours invested in the attempts. Finally, I decided to call Meade and after about an hour on hold I talked with a customer service rep that advised me to send the AutoStar back to them. I then payed another $3.50 in shipping to send it back and was once again without the use of the telescope as I had originally intended to use it. Still, I gave Meade and their products the benefit of the doubt and tried to wait patiently for its return. You see, I have been more excited about astronomy and the use of this telescope than any hobby for the last 20 years! Today (3 months later) the new AutoStar finally arrived and I waited once again for dark so that I could use the new unit. Again, I followed Meade's directions exactly. Now, I had a whole new set of problems; the telescope would move about 5 every three seconds and would not respond to controls nor would it allow to train the motors or align the AutoStar. The scope's motor sounds were completely different than with the previous controller yet with a completely new set of problems. Again, because of my sincere desire to use the telescope I tried repeatedly to get it to work. It would not. When I started to put it away to write this email even the cord that goes into the controller would not come out of it's port and I did not force it since this may break the unit and Meade would the try to claim that it was abused. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am with this entire experience. A strong desire to pursue a hobby in amateur astronomy has been stifled by these unfortunate series of events. Dennis J. BarelaMike here: Sorry you've had problems. However, I do have to wonder about the Autostar "supply" issue since as far as I know there is no supply issue. I could be wrong but no one has mentioned this before. As to the problems, it is unfortunate you didn't find the ETX Site sooner; perhaps your difficulties could have been avoided (except for FedEx...).
Subject: Polaris Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2002 15:37:20 From: email@example.com (Fred & Rose Lieberman) I finally saw Polaris' partner. The evening sky was so steady by 11:00 pm a week ago and that made the difference. It made its appearance around 80x. It took me almost 2 years to pick it up. The following night was equally steady and I pushed the 90mm to 500x on Polaris. Both disc and ring were perfectly round. It made feel good. Fred
Subject: autoguider on the ETX Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2002 12:14:03 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bruce Dickson) I a questions on the 125 page about autoguiding - I have a Starlight HX516 and AstroArt 2.4. When time permits (_not soon_), I'll have a go at connecting it up to autoguide my ETX 105. If that works, it will probably work on all the ETX models. Alternatively, I'd like to hear comment from anyone else who's tried this. FWIW, the Starlight MX series can do a simultaneous track and image - this might be quite a good idea on a baby telescope like the ETX. clear skies Bruce
Subject: Gift - ETX90EC or DS2114 ATS? Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2002 10:53:45 From: email@example.com (Nina Handen) Hi! I am getting ready to purchase a telescope for my husband for his birthday. I have done some on-line research, and looked up reviews on the two mentioned above. I found more way more reviews on the 90EC, and all seem pretty favorable. I only found one on the S2114, which was also positive. Do you give opinions? If so, for a beginner, would it be better to go with the DS2114 ATS or the ETX 90EC? We currently have a cheap little Sears telescope, and LOVE to use it. Thanks! Nina HandenMike here: I have no experience with the DS telescopes. But there are those who love them. Besides the optical quality of the ETX-90EC, it is very portable, meaning easy to move and setup on a moment's notice.
Hey, Mike! Sorry - I think I emailed this all wrong. Didn't mean to bother you personally. Well, leave it to me to be "last minute wife" - I did go buy the 90EC. I think I made a good choice - but that is, AFTER I looked at YOUR site. Very informative. And get this - my husband opened it up (LOVED IT, by the by...), and the dust cover would not come off. Sound familiar??? I had just read the email from the man who had the same problem, and WALA - we got it off with the rubbermaid lid remover!!! Too funny..... Thanks for responding to this email dork....Mike here: Glad everyone is happy! And no problems with the email; that is the way I work the ETX Site.
Subject: re: Play in etx heads Sent: Tuesday, July 9, 2002 0:48:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com My ETX90ec had over 3 degrees of Alt slop, but less than a degree of Az slop. And it worked quite well... i did a little tuning (degreasing of the dec clutch) and the Alt slop dropped to about a degree. I consistently get 10-arcminute GoTo accuracy. There is a procedure called "training the drives" under Setup > Telescope > Train and it's covered in the Autostar manual (there's a better Autostar manual on-line at MEade's site: http://www.meade.com/manuals/autostar/index.html Since you -have- the Autostar, may i suggest that you plop the telescope flat on a table and use it in Alt/Az mode? At least you can then have it -show- you Polaris for later Polar setups. The Autostar allows full sidereal tracking and GoTo operation in the much easier to use Alt/Az configuration... only photo work -really- demands Polar mounting. have fun... they're good little scopes.. --dick
Subject: RE: In reference to the negative OPINION on Meade in Sent: Monday, July 8, 2002 22:49:40 From: Howard_Visser@lgs.ca I was reading through the opinions section of your website and came across the recent negative comments about Meade the ETX series of scopes and the problems that many have experienced in using these scopes. I think for the price, you get a scope that has lot's of potential if you are willing to put a little effort into it or send it to Dr. Clay for a supercharge. Now of course many would suggest that this is what they've paid and didn't receive but when you look at it more closely there is a big leap in quality and price once you move into larger scopes. I just don't think you can expect the same of the ETX as you would of a LX-200 but maybe this says it all. "Is it fair to expect the quality and workmanship of Mercedes Benz when all you paid for was a Chrysler?" So having said all that my story is simple. I found your web site a few months back and researched all I could on the ETX and in the end taking into consideration all the issues noted I went ahead and purchased an ETX-90EC about a month back. Why? It still is a good scope for the price, has lots of neat features, and it's very portable. My expectations have been meet and with a little effort it will be a good scope for me. While I haven't had a lot of opportunity to use the scope recently I did manage to sneak a quick picture (see attached) of the Moon a little after 1:00 am on June 21st through our kitchen window (yes I did say kitchen window) with my Nikon Coolpix 775 and ETX-90. For a quick setup, through a double pane glass window and holding my camera up to the eyepiece this picture turned out really well and you just have to like instantaneous results that comes with digital astrophotography! Thanks for the great site! The information was very helpful in my decision making process and I'm certain valuable to all who frequent your site. Cheers! Howard
Subject: dust cover jammed Sent: Monday, July 8, 2002 18:15:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Len Thalrose) I just received my ETX-90EC today and when finished unpacking unit I tried to remove the dust cap from scope and it seems to be frozen. The instructions say turn in counter clockwise direction but all that happens is the front end lens assy starts to unscrew. When UPS delivered the scope the temp was over 100 deg. outside, for I live in Arizona. I thought maybe the dust cap expanded from the heat, so I let the scope cool down to ambient temp. Still no luck. Is there any coating on the dust cap threads that could have fused from the heat? Or did some over zealous factory worker over torque the cap. Thank you for this great site. Len ThalroseMike here: This can easily happen. Just hold the lens portion inplace while turning the cover. Using a sheet of rubber (like used for opening jars) can help loosen a sticking cover.
Thanks a lot Mike. The sheet of rubber did the trick. Now I can continue to read the rest of my manual on how to use my new ETX-90EC. Again thank you very much. Len.
Subject: Play in etx heads Sent: Monday, July 8, 2002 11:33:50 From: email@example.com My Name is Chuck Mishler and I live in Mitchell, NE and have just purchased a used ETX-90EC from a person I know well. I have been reading your book and find it very informative and interesting. This is my first telescope with controls and I am still learning to use it. My question is with the play in the telescope head. With both axis locked , I can gently move the RA axis about 1.5 divisions on the RA scale and about 1 degree on the Dec. axis. Is this anywhere to normal play in the telescope head? The guy I bought it from works with me and I trust what he tells me. There has been only about 12 hours on the scope when I got it. As far as I know he has taken good care of it and colimation is good and the images are crisp and clear throughout the field. I have it polar mounted on the ETX Field tripod, and am having some trouble with the Autostar pointing to the object I select. I know I must practice alignment much more to get better at it and am having some trouble knowing whether the star I have in the field is really Polaris since the view finder is not usable in the polar home position. Even with the 26mm eyepeice, there a lot of stars visable and I can get confused as to which one is really Polaris. I have done successful alignments according to Auto Star but is pretty far off when pointing to an object I select. I just wonder if I should try another motor calibration or whether the play in the heads might have a bearing on the problem or whether this is normal play. Thank you very much for your time and consideration. Happy viewing! Chuck. Charles J.Mishler, Jr.Mike here: The ETX axis locks are friction locks. So, just like with your car brakes that allow your car to be (forcefully) moved with the brakes engaged, so you can also move the ETX tube by hand with the locks engaged (but you shouldn't do that). So, yes, some play is normal. You can tighten up the play using some tips on the Telescope Tech Tips page but most telescopes don't need it. As to identifying stars, see the "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" article on the Observational Guides/References page.
Subject: My homepage Sent: Monday, July 8, 2002 10:00:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mikael R) I would like to have my Astronomy page added to you're 'Astronomy Links' section. My page contains pictures taken by me, and some info about my setup (almost 100% computer controlled). I update it now and then.. usually once a month or so. Link: w1.835.telia.com/~u83504542/index.html quick link: go.to/mikaelr The later one is just much easier to remember, but it contains one banner pop-up. Thanks for keeping the page so updated! Best Regards Mikael Rzewuski
Subject: Hard stops Sent: Saturday, July 6, 2002 11:10:44 From: email@example.com (Theodore H. Mann) I can't figure out how to submit a question to your discussion list, so I hope you don't mind my contacting you directly. I recently purchased an ETX125, but have run into a problem. I can't seem to get the scope to turn horizontally more than about 30 degrees. It hits hardstops in both directions. Am I doing something wrong? Any suggestions? Many thanks. Ted Dr. Theodore "Ted" H. Mann firstname.lastname@example.org http://home.earthlink.net/~theomannMike here: The top of each Feedback page has the instructions on submitting questions, comments, etc. It sounds like there is an obstruction. Return it to the dealer for an exchange (assuming it is still under warranty).
Subject: Supercharge for the ETX125EC Sent: Friday, July 5, 2002 11:02:56 From: email@example.com (Hank Blackwood) I have sent you emails many times from different email addresses - hey who has just one - there aren't that many etx125 users named Hank I bet!! I wanted to drop you a line (from yet another email address) on my experience with my "new" ETX125 back from Clay Sherrod. After receiving it was a good two weeks before I had a fair night and another week before I had a good (not great) viewing night, both of which were plagued with traveling clouds. Before I sent the scope to Clay, here were my problems (understand that even though my scope was only a few months old, I had used it as much as seven nights a week and sometimes as long as 7 hours at one time): 1. The scope would seem to loose accuracy over several "GOTO's" - start out with all objects located in the center of the eyepiece and then after many (20+) GOTO's the object would not be in the FOV. 2. No response (especially in the DEC axis) for several seconds when pressing the slew keys. 3. frequent motor drive failures 4. rebounding in the DEC axis (scope moves upwards for a brief moment when slewing down) 5. dirty front lens (the combination of pollen and dew that would not clean with water and lens paper - completely my fault) After the scope was Supercharged: 1. I did 32 GOTO's with a high power eyepiece (13.8mm) - the first 20 were exactly in the middle and the rest were in the FOV. 2. Response was instant at any speed 3. I had one motor drive failure - but I am convinced that it was because I obstructed the movement of the OTA during a slew (completely by accident, I had an eyepiece case laying under the OTA - what a dope I am!) 4. rebounding - which I think is an Autostar issue - is almost gone - it is hardly noticeable. 5. lens is nice and clean as were all of the eyepieces I sent with scope. The scope sounds different - a little quieter and no changes in pitch (the pitch used to go up and down while slewing, even using an external power supply). It is much steadier: it does not shake near as bad when focusing, and when it is disturbed - the oscillations dampen faster!! The views of the sun have no stray light now - not sure what he did - but that is fixed now!! I assumed that was a problem with most scopes - a friend has a Celestron and a Starmax and they both have a little stray light when using outdoors during the day. The attention to detail is evident: The scope is clean, the alignment marks are painted (you can really see them in the dark now), The autostar's guided tours are much more useful now for a 5" scope, the autostar cable had a sloppy termination on one end - now that's fixed. I am sure when I can "marathon" my scope I will have more good things to say. Besides the actual work to the scope, the experience with Clay was also very positive. He defined professionalism in my opinion. There was no time I was concerned sending my scope to a stranger. I especially appreciated the email updates during the Supercharging process. My scope was back several days ahead of schedule also - I wish he worked on cars!!! Please pass along my comments to the web site - it was well worth the $195 I paid. Clear skies... Hank Blackwood Dalton, GAAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Wonderful! And thanks for the fantastic comments. It truly was a "reborn" scope! Glad it is operating well for you.....keep posting, no matter WHAT address you send in from! Clay
Subject: ETX90 Sent: Thursday, July 4, 2002 22:39:58 From: email@example.com (Dennis Carrier) I own 10 LX200 but I am looking for something smaller that I can carry with me on vactions. I have been looking at the ETX90 because it is very portable. After reading much literature, I cannot determine if you need the Autostar controller for tracking. It seems to imply that in the literature on the Meade site. All I need to do is be able to align in alt-az and track. Im sure you know the answer. Thanks. DennisMike here: The Autostar is optional on the ETX-90EC. The ETX-90EC (and -105 and -125) will track using the standard handcontroller when equatorially mounted. However, to track when mounted Alt/Az you will need the Autostar.
Subject: ETX-125EC Sent: Tuesday, July 2, 2002 7:57:26 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Vincent Kee) I am thinking of buying a 2nd hand ETX-125EC all the way from Singapore, and as you know, because of the distance, it would be best for me to get it "right the first time". Hence, I would like to ask for your opinion on what should I look out for or if there is anything I should ask the previous owner before I buy the scope. Also, can this scope be collimated? My greatest fear is a scope that cannot be collimated. If it can be done, would it be difficult to do so ? Thanks for your time Cheers VincentMike here: As with any used telescope purchase, it is always best know the seller or at least have a chance to actually use the telescope prior to the purchase. Since the ETX-125 can not be easily collimated by the user and can suffer other damages that would require factory repair, you need to way the cost of the purchase plus repairs with the cost of a new telescope.
Subject: wedge Sent: Monday, July 1, 2002 14:21:55 From: email@example.com (Gary crisp) I am after a wedge to fit on to my pier and thought u might be the right person to ask I was wondering about the micro wedge and could this be fitted to a pier? Thanks Gary http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gary.crisp/Construction.htm
Subject: re: starrynight backyard Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2002 21:55:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com You asked: > if there was a web site that could convert the hipparcos or the > tycho or the bayer numbers into the NGC numbers. > I can't seem to find anything. That's because (on the whole) they're not the same things! Hipparcos and Tycho (H+T) measure the positions and distances to individual -stars-, whereas the NGC (and IC) system numbers faint, fuzzy and frequently distant objects. Such as Galaxies. Some of the H+T stars may lie -in- some NGC-numbered cluster, (i would guess that some lie within the Orion Nebula), but there is not a one-for-one correspondence between the H+T numbers and NGC objects. And (again guessing), i would doubt that -any- Bayer numbers correspond to an NGC object (or let's say "fewer than five in the northern hemisphere") have fun --dick (<-- stepping far outside his realm of expertise)And:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) Brian "email@example.com" wrote: > You hit right on the head. I asked a few other web sites and the data > bases they refereed me to were very extensive and did not correspond > to the same things. I think I will buy software that gives NGC > numbers. Does the meade software correspond to what the ETX 125 might > be able to see or is it for all of there telescopes? Or what software > would you recommend that compliments the ETX 125 the best. Thanks Answering the last first, i haven't played with enough versions of the various "planetarium" programs to give an exhaustive answer, and each has some strong point which may overrule the features of the others, for yuor -particular- purposes. Read through Mike's Astronomy Software pages: http://www.weasner.com/etx/feedback/current/sw.html and the lower right zone of his "Links" page: http://www.weasner.com/etx/links.html for reviews and such. Leading contenders are "Cartes du Ciel" (free!), StarryNight Pro (can't backyard take additional libraries?), TheSky, DeepSky2002, Voyager, RedShift. Most, if not all, provide time- or feature-limited trial versions for trying out. The Autostar's NGC catalog is fairly extensive (is it complete? i forget)... and extends to objects far beyond the ETX125's grasp. (far beyond the 12" LX200's grasp, too, except maybe during hour-long photo runs) The Autostar's BROWSE feature lets you set a minimum brightness it should tell you about, so you can scan the NGC catalog that way. It will only suggest objects that are above the horizon. A companion program or book with the NGC catalog would provide additional background information ... i'd certainly start with Cartes du Ciel as a basis.. http://www.stargazing.net/astropc It, like starry night, has the ability to put photographs into the screen views, and the catalogs it accepts: http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/doc/ecatinfo.html (visit that page... really) include the NGC and literally millions of other objects.... have fun --dick
Subject: UHTC Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2002 20:39:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (neil minihane) Great site! I finally got my new ETX 125 w/UHTC yesterday! I have a question maybe you or any of my fellow readers can help me with. The only markings on the entire scope and packaging that indicate the special UHTC coatings are a little sticker on the OTA saying UHTC and a handwritten magic marker UTHC on the outer packing box. The lens rings have no special markings, all it says is Multi Coated Optics on the front lens area where the focal length is also listed. I just wanted to make sure that I got the special coating after all the waiting and additional expense. A little sticker alone on the underside of the OTA does very little to convince me. Thanks for all you info over the years and all your hard work...NeilMike here: I suspect you are OK with the sticker on the OTA.
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