Last updated: 31 July 2003
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:	Motor problems...
Sent:	Wednesday, July 30, 2003 14:21:51
From: (Roy Faiman)
You've helped me in the past very much, and now I need your help again.

My Autostar 497 gives me a strange message after working for about 10
min. The message goes something like this: "Motor failure, Batteries low
or obstacle obstructing the telescope. Motor will test it self and will
need realigning...". At home, where I mostly use my scope, the motor is
connected to the electricity mains through a CONDOR AC 12V Adaptor I got
from my Meade dealer, so actually there are no batteries involved. In
addition to that, the scope touches nothing in it's movement except the
air around it.

What do you think? might the doc. have something to recommend as

Thanks again,
Roy Faiman ( )
Mike here: Usually the simplest cause of this (other than power problems) is failure to do the intial rotation to the hard stop (assuming your ETX model has them) when setting up in the Home Position. If that's not the culprit, then you might need to redistribute the grease. The simplest way to do this is to unlock the axis and move the telescope tube by hand from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth several times. Repeat for the other axis. You should also check that the cable connectors are fully seated. Let me know.
Subject:	Star Party 03
Sent:	Wednesday, July 30, 2003 11:05:20
From: (Don Hess)
Any news on the Star party you can release yet? We're chompin' at the bit!

Don Hess
Mike here: Me too. But nothing final to announce quite yet. Soon, I hope.
Subject:	etx mirror tube question
Sent:	Wednesday, July 30, 2003 11:00:45
HI...the grease on the primary mirror tube has thinned and is causing
mirror shift.Do you have any idea as to what kind of grease I should
apply to the tube?(I know it has to be pretty thick,but other than that
I have'nt got a clue) 

Thank You.
And from our resident hardware expert:
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
There are two kinds of grease you can use and either is excellent...

1) Gray Lithium grease available at Home Depot or Lowes....apply
liberally, but not too such excess that it will gather when the baffle
slider moves and pile up...thus possibly getting onto the primary

2) Mobile red synthetic avionics grease used on airplane rudders and
other hydraulics...the best stuff going but a bit hard to get and
pricey.  This stuff will never break down from use or heat, weather,

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean
Harvard/MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard/MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard/MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)

Subject:	ASO Adds New Observatory
Sent:	Wednesday, July 30, 2003 09:57:35
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
Just a quick note to say that the new Cascade Mountain ASO is now in
full swing and has earned the Harvard/MPC ObsCode designation H44; Brian
will be concentrating mostly on cataclysmic variables, asteroids and
NEO's as well as planetary imaging with a robotic 0.40m Newtonian from
the hills of North Central Arkansas.

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean
Harvard/MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain)
Harvard/MPC H43 (Conway)
Harvard/MPC H44 (Cascade Mountain)

Subject:	hard cases vs soft cases
Sent:	Tuesday, July 29, 2003 14:17:00
From: (thecaseplace)
Looking over your website today, I was drawn to the comments from your
readers concerning soft cases, and hard telescope cases.

I would like to throw in my comments based on over 11 years in the case

Soft cases and hard cases both have their advantages and disadvantages. 
The soft cases are generallly lighter in weight, and often less
expensive than the hard side cases, but they do not do as good a job of
protecting optics as the hard cases.

We recommend that a customer buy the best case that fits their budget
and stick with a manufacturer that offers a good warranty and has been
around for some time.

In our opinion, there are two good cases for consideration. One is the
Doskocil Seal Tight case which you have reviewed in the past, and many
of your readers have purchased from us.

The other is the Pelican products brand which is among the toughest
cases made.  It is a couple of steps above the Doskocil in its
construction and toughness, and yes, is more expensive, generally
running in the $100 to $300 range depending on the size.  Pelican offers
a much larger selection of sizes, and colors than Doskocil does.

We sell Pelican cases to the military, law enforcement, offshore
industry, and professional photographers.

It is a proven fact that a quality hard side case will protect optics
better than a soft case.

Gerald Bonner
The Case Place, Inc.

Subject:	best way to view Mars
Sent:	Tuesday, July 29, 2003 12:58:58
From: (The Rousses)
Hello! I would like your advice on the best way to view Mars with the
ETX 125-EC.  Here is the problem I am having:  I tried viewing with the
6.4mm & 12.4mm lenses, & again with the 26mm & a barlow.  I
can locate Mars easily, but whenever I am trying to bring the planet
into focus, the image shifts out of the viewfinder.  I can only glimpse
a very brief moment of the image in focus before it slips away out of
view.  I know that with the more powerful lenses, my field is much
narrower & the planet will move out of view quickly, but I would
very much like to use this telescope to its full potential.  Using a
polar alignment to automatically track is out of the question because I
live in extreme SE Louisiana at LAT 29.4, putting the telescope at an
awkwardly steep angle. Please, some advice on the best combination of
magnification & techniques to view the Red Planet! 

Thanks!Richelle RousseLive long and prosper.Peace and long life.
Mike here: The best solution is to get an Autostar and mount the ETX in Alt/Az. The Autostar will provide tracking in Alt/Az mode.
Subject:	D.O.A. ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, July 29, 2003 11:25:26
From: (Mikel Stoer)
I have ane ETX-60 and then got an ETX-90. Both have been great but like
so many I want more... I just purchased an ETX-125 from an on line
dealer and it arrived DOA. I've tried two sets of batteries and made
sure they were not installed backwards etc.  nothing,  no led, to
autostar, no motor movement.  Before I start a big deal about this is
there somthing I'm overlooking.  Not sure what it would be I'm just
asking.  Both of my other scopes were used when I purchased them. This
one is new so I'm not sure if I missed somthing or not.

Thanks in advance.

Mike here: If you have put in the proper batteries in the proper orientation and the LED doesn't come on, then your best course of action is to contact the dealer. It is possible that something was damaged in shipment.
Subject:	Redressing the Balance in Meades favour...
Sent:	Monday, July 28, 2003 15:29:29
From: (Vampire Le Stat)
Just writing to let you know that everything is working normally.

Except my wife is jealous of my 'scope.

And thinks I'm having an affair.

Ho Hum.

Clear Skies,


Sent:	Monday, July 28, 2003 07:11:56
From: (Jim Goddard)
After visiting your website I got up enough nerve to tackle a problem
that I have had since my telescope was new. I have had a problem with
the scope not returning to home or anywhere near it. If I went from
Polaris to Vega to Regula for instance and then returned to Polaris the
scope would be off drastically. Upon entry into the forks I found that
one of the declination stops had broken off and all three worm drive
mounting screw posts were broken. I repaired the problem by installing
flat head machine screws from the outside and securing with nuts on the
inside. I had to make spacers to make up for the posts which were
completely destroyed. After putting it all back together, I tried the
alignment and return to Polaris and it worked perfectly. I have tried
going to several points and then return to Polaris and it is dead on
every time.  Thanks a million for a very good site.

Jim Goddard

Subject:	ETX just have to say
Sent:	Sunday, July 27, 2003 16:20:36
1) Your other / just for fun contribution is great!
Love it. Good picture with the hat!

2) no pictures today (bad weather) but as I know this is one other email
you have to read. I have to say that you have a really good site and I
admire your patience for replying al the emails!


Job Geheniau
The Netherlands

Subject:	A Critical Choice?
Sent:	Saturday, July 26, 2003 02:52:16
From: (Jean Perfettini)
Dr J Perfettini
Buying a telescope was a dream since childhood which I am about to
realise soon.

To further introduce myself, I have to say that I am therefore
completely new to practical amateur astronomy. My ambitions are to
acquire let's say a lifetime telescope, which will be rewarding,
versatile, and portable. I also hope to interest my daughters into the
clever observing of the wonders of nature. I am therefore not a total
addict, as astronomy will not be my only hobby. I live in an English
suburb, with a hillside garden, under the apalling English weather, and
a rather high degreee of light pollution (marked orange glare on cloudy
days). I plan to store the telescope in an upstair room of my 3-storey

I hesitate between buying (from a reputable English dealer):
  a.. A Meade ETX 125 - Autostar with UHTC
  b.. A Meade SCT LX200 8"
But, the more I read, the more I wonder: we seem to have reached a

  1..  ETX
I certainly would like to venture into astrophoto, preferably digital
(Casio QV 4000 and webcam); your book is very right in saying that
attraction to telescope purchasing is caused by the display of fantastic
images from books, websites, NASA, etc. while the reality might
be...different - disappointing? Is the ETX appropriate for such type of
astrophotography? (though there are sites who seem to obtain very good
deep sky pictures)

Your website is a bit frightening: it gathers the problems with the ETX:
Is it too fragile? Is it a fantastic optic with poor mechanics? Is it
technology of the past,  already discounted in shops?

    2.    LX200

Beautiful; the fantastic help of GPS tracking will no doubt increase the
slope of the newcomers learning curve like myself. EXPENSIVE = ETX x3.
Is it a waste of time and money (approx 4200 US$ in England) for my
ambitions and resources in my environment (while nearby dark hills are
available). But, if it is the future, shall I be rewarded as I improve,
or will I ever use it like a computer: 20% of its capacities?

I tend to reject the argument of some dealers that there are beginners
and advanced telescopes: it is like computers; one gets very quickly
accustomed to speed (a small Atari becomes quickly awful). I think that
in this domain one should always try buy to buy big... Hopping along the
scale from small refractors to Newtonians and SCTs is ridiculously
expensive. The smaller money put in the ETX could also help for all
sorts of useful accessories: - equatorial mount, Barlows, eyepieces
(Scopetronix or Meade?), sturdy tripod, filters, while all that on top
of an LX200 will reach a tremendous bill.

I already have a fair amount of expensive accessories: planetarium
software, camera, big computer, webcam, Olympus OM2, Iris software for
digital imaging treatment...

If you forgive me for using so much of your time, your opinion will be

Yours sincerely,
J Perf
Mike here: Your choice will really depend upon HOW you want to use it and WHAT your expectations are. Certainly the LX200 series is a high-end telescope system, allowing for great views and astrophotography but at higher cost and less portability. If portability and money are not issues, go for it. On the other hand, the ETX series can do some pretty good astrophotography, as evidenced by many examples on ETX Site. No matter which telescope you use, astrophotography can take a lot of patience and experimentation and work. While the viewing will be slightly less pleasing with the smaller telescope, keep in mind that the best telescope for you is when that you WILL use. As to problem reports, as I've always said, people tend to write when they have problems or questions not when everything is working normally. So, it only appears that the problems are numerous when in fact the actual percentage of those users who have difficulties is probably quite small.


With many thanks,
I am so grateful for your answer
Jean Perfettini.

Subject:	 ETX90C Motor fault Detected
Sent:	Friday, July 25, 2003 17:25:06
From: (Cook, Mike)
I wonder if you could help me, my ETX90EC has developed a fault which i
have not yet found a cure, when i slew the scope left or right after
about 15deg of travel the slew stops and i receive a Motor fault
detected message. I have changed the batteries and tried  a different
power source but the same thing happens. This fault only happens when
slewing left or right the  fault occurs if i use the Autostar or the
normal hand Paddle, any suggestions would be appreciated.

Regards Mike
Mike here: Since you say the problem occurs with BOTH the Autostar and the standard handcontroller, it is possible there is something wrong with either the control panel jack, the panel itself, the circuit board, or the drive mechanism. But just to check, do a RESET, CALIBRATE, and TRAIN DRIVES on the Autostar and see if the problem goes away. What happens if you move the OTA by hand with the azimuth axis unlocked? Is there an increase in movement resistance at any point? If so, try moving the OTA from hardstop to hardstop, back and forth several times.
Subject:	Star party
Sent:	Friday, July 25, 2003 16:00:35
From: (earl gomberg)
Will you be out at Palm Canyon in Borago Springs the weekend of Sept
26th when the Riverside Tele Club will be having their annual nightfall

Mike here: Unfortunately, no.
Subject:	LXD55
Sent:	Thursday, July 24, 2003 18:08:40
I want to purchase the LXD55 w/uhtc, depending on your recommendation.

My concern is the GEM, what is your opinion of its manufacture,
durability and sensitivity?

Have you found any issues sense you last wrote your 12/08/02 article?

Also, customer service is very important. In your opinion, what can I
expect from Meade?

Thank you,
Mike here: My LXD55 Site ( has my current experiences and observations through 3 July 2003. I like it. As to customer service, some users have excellent experiences and some have negative ones. Hard to say why different people have different reactions.
Subject:	RE: ETX Motor Drive Failures
Sent:	Wednesday, July 23, 2003 09:57:57
From: (Dave Elvig)
Thanks,  I know the position was right.  I've reset, calibrated and
trained both axes now.  I'll see how the next session goes.

Subject:	ETX 105/125 vs Celestron 8
Sent:	Tuesday, July 22, 2003 15:50:34
From: (Lorin J Spaulding)
Hi! Love your site, have been a regular visitor for over two years.

I have a Celestron 8, and am thinking of getting an ETX 105 or 125 to
replace it. I know I'll lose some magnification, but I'm so impressed
with the clarity of the image in the ETX (vs. the lack of same in the
8...) that it might be a good trade-off. Sharpness vs. size, results in
better detail. Not to mention the increased portability.

I'm very interested in your opinion, please - how's my reasoning?

Best regards,

Lorin Spaulding
Novato, CA
Lorin J Spaulding
Mike here: I certainly like the views through the ETX telescopes. If you want more portability than the 8", the ETX would be something to consider. Yes, you'll lose some light gathering power and magnification but the best telescope is the one that is used.


Thanks for the reply! The best scope is, indeed, the one that is used!



Subject:	Meade/Orion Electronic eyepieces
Sent:	Tuesday, July 22, 2003 11:41:16
From: (Tim)
I trolled around your site looking for a review of either the Meade or
Orion electronic eyepieces.  Am I blind, or is there no reviews?  I am
considering getting one of these and would like feedback from someone
who has used one.  Preferably for frame grabbing, and digital picture
Thanks for the help and the great site!!
Mike here: Search the Site for "electronic eyepiece" and you'll get lots of hits. There are even photographs taken using the Meade one on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page.


Thanks Mike!

Subject:	ETX support appreciation
Sent:	Tuesday, July 22, 2003 10:21:00
From: (Langenhuysen/Doornbos)
I would like to thank you for the effort you have put in putting your
support pages together. Support that I was not able to find on the site let alone the Meade dealer here in the Netherlands.

Two and a half year ago I was sitting in a plane to LA and was reading
about the great performance of the Meade telescopes so I decided to buy
one while I was in LA. unfortunately I had no time to vist the shop so
my business associate ordered it for me and had it air shipped to

At that time I was very busy with my company and only after a year I
found the time to investigate the instrument. It turned out that there
was quite an amount of free movement in the mechanics of the tube so it
was absolutely unstable. I heard from Meade that this was normal.
Anyway, I stored it in a safe place for the time that I would have more
time to investigate the problem myself.

Recently I sold my business and am now in the fortunate position to be
an early retiree so I picked up the scope again to see what could be
done with it.

After doing all the things that were described in the manuals of the ETX
and Autostar I spent some of the nice evenings we have nowadays (yes it
definately gets warmer over here too) to see what was achievable. Being
not so satisfied with what I experienced I decided to google the net and
found your terrific site.

I realize how much work you have put into it so that is why I send you
this 'thank you'.

I will study your information and trust to be able to let you know that
with that information we cured the diseases of the ETX-90.

Keep up the good effort and hopefully we will be able to meet some day
somehow somewhere.

Best regards

Robert Langenhuysen
3712 AX   Huis ter heide

Subject:	Question on Mars photos
Sent:	Tuesday, July 22, 2003 10:11:34
From: (Mike PearlmanMike)
Thanks for posting the Mars photos from different telescopes and
magnifications.  I read they were not processed/modified, but the
question is - is the same level of color in the photos what you see in
the eyepiece?  Or does the digital camera "see" more of the orange/red
color than the eye? My own brief views of Mars in an ETX-90 were seen as
much more white/gray, very little of that color in your photos.  I could
see a whiter region toward the bottom that I assumed was the ice cap. At
the time, it was low to the horizon with some possible haze...and a
nearby light to cause more issues. Would that be the cause?

Also, my ETX focuser knob has a very tight (hard to turn) section in
it's travel, right near where you normally want to fine tune focusing.  
It turns freely farther in and farther out, but you have to turn hard
during this portion.  I'm hoping it will loosen up with use.  Meade says
this is rare, and I would have to send it in, do you have any ideas?


Mike Pearlman
Largo, FL
Mike here: Mars is very bright right now. Hence to the eye it can appear white-ish. A neutral density filter (Moon filter) or a polarizing filter can help reduce the glare and let some of the color come through. Yes, that white area was the South Polar Ice Cap. I don't recall any problem reports like this on the focuser. I would suggest working it back and forth where it tightens up. Perhaps one of the focuser extender cables might help with the turning.
Subject:	Aligning Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, July 22, 2003 03:58:20
From: (Aneysi Fernandez)
I am new to this whole telescope deal. I just received my ETX-125EC and
as I read the manual, it tells me that I need to align it to a polar
alignment. The only thing I have been able to see is the moon. It looks
absolutely beautiful, but I wish I were able to view planets and other
celestrial wonders. In your website, I see amazing pictures of planets
such as Mercury.....How can I get those images? Does it have to do with
alignment? Also, how does the focuser work? Isn't the focuser supposed
to be macanical and not manually? And one last question (sorry if I'm
annoying you with all these questions)....but what does it mean when
people say something like 422 x ? What do those mean?
Mike here: You do need to align the telescope to be parallel to the Earth's rotation axis so that the telescope drives can compensate for the Earth's rotation. That way, objects will stay put in the eyepiece. Plus you get the benefit of having automatic GOTOs using the Autostar. See the Autostar Information page for more on aligning. Yes, you can take photographs through the ETX; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for lots of info. The focuser is mechanical; you turn the focus knob. You can add an electrical focuser, which turns the same focus shaft. "422X" is the "power" or magnification. When you look at the Moon with your eye, that is "1X". So "422X" would be 422 times larger, which is the same as making the Moon look 422 times closer.
Subject:	August Edition of Astronomy Magazine
Sent:	Tuesday, July 22, 2003 02:55:35
From: (bob greef)
The August edition of Astronomy magazine contains a fine Mars
observation feature that includes a link to download a Mars surface
feature simulator called Mars Previewer 2.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DOWNLOAD VIA THIS LINK. This version is infected with
a virus.

A safer (certified by Sky and Telescope) version is downloadable from
S&T's own site under

Hoping this reaches you all in time.


Mike here: I've only used the S&T one at:
Subject:	HELP!!!!!
Sent:	Monday, July 21, 2003 13:44:48
From: (Catherine)
Hi I'm Catherine and I am having some difficulties with the #883 Deluxe
Field Tripod. It has come to my attention you might have this particular
tripod model. Some fellow friends of mine DON'T have the very important
manual that comes with it and there is no useful info on the web. I also
went to the Meade website and they don't even have a way to get a hold
of the manual. I was wondering if you might have this scarce booklet and
if so could I buy it from you or maybe you could tell me what to do????
I have a $1200 telescope with no way to look at a moving object in the
sky, if you can only imagine my frustration!!!!!  Please please please
help me!!!!Thank you ,Catherine
Mike here: Check the FAQ page on the ETX Site; many manuals are noted there.
(By the way, have you noticed the EMAIL SUBJECTS notice on the ETX Site home page? Your email was almost deleted as SPAM.)
Subject:	Dr. Sherrod's book
Sent:	Monday, July 21, 2003 11:22:37
From: (lora)
Dr. Sherrod's New Book

Dear Mike and Readers;

Latest update on a bad copy of Dr. Sherrod's "A complete manual of
amateur astronomy".

My first copy had duplicate pages. I contacted Mr. John Grafton of Dover
Publications and he sent out a new copy of the book (Very helpful
information- by the way). As instructed, I sent the old "bad" copy back
to Dover. This week end, they sent back a form giving me credit back to
my Mastercard. I e-mailed Mr. Grafton saying that I expect to pay for
the "good" copy of the book. Mr. Grafton e-mailed back that there was NO

Mr. Grafton and Dover publications just became number 1 on my book
buying list.

Thank you, Mr. Grafton for exceptional service.
Chuck Lind

Subject:	ETX 125 lense cap replacement
Sent:	Sunday, July 20, 2003 16:20:28
I droped my metal lense cap for my ETX-125 last night, I have made
corrections to the damaged tread, its looks ok now. I worry about using
this cap and causing damage to my metal ring on my scope. Can this lense
cap be replaced, and if so who would have the part number, and would you
know the price and the part number for it. Whats your Ideas on the use
of the old cap, would you replace it.

Mike here: Contact Meade. They can send you a replacement.
Subject:	Tracking vibrations ETX 90 EC
Sent:	Sunday, July 20, 2003 06:33:03
From: (Robert Fellwock)
While out observing Mars on 7/20/03, 01:15 in Polar mode at 258X, I
noticed that when I would synch the RA with the Auostar 497, when the
motor stops, the image suddenly became sharper. This leads me to believe
that vibrations from the motor(s) are affecting the quality of the

Is the ETX 90 capable of holding a sharp image while tracking? Would a
tune-up help?

Would appreciate your comments.

Thank you,

Mike here: Yes, you can have a steady image. There are many factors that can effect stability: the tripod, the surface the tripod is on, the tightness of the axis lock(s), the lubrication, the magnification used, and more. Simple solutions include adding weight to the tripod, putting the tripod on a soft surface (some users buy or make "vibration suppression pads; I use a small carpet which also protects dropped eyepieces) and redistributing the lubrication by moving the telescope manually several times from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth. Only if all other "fixes" fail would I conclude that a tune-up would help. Then you could try the "performance enhancement" techniques on the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	Star Hopping
Sent:	Sunday, July 20, 2003 04:50:17
From: (L.Brooks)
I have an ETX90EC with Autostar.  My question is this:  Is it necessary
to do all of my viewing using the electric drives?  Can I just unlock
the horiz & vert movements and then gently turn the base and elevate the
tube by hand?  Is this harmful to the motors and mechanisms?  I often
just want to "star hop" and "scan" various portions of the sky and don't
want to use power (unless it is necessary).  Any suggestions or comments
greatly appreciated.

Mike here: You can just "point and look" with the ETX. You won't get the benefits of automatic GOTOs nor tracking in Alt/Az but there is no harm to the components by doing this.


Thank you for your (rapid) response.  I appreciate it.
I love my new ETX.  I really like your site.
Thanks again.


Subject:	ETX Motor Drive Failures
Sent:	Saturday, July 19, 2003 10:18:57
From: (Dave Elvig)
Like others on your site, I've had recurrent motor drive failures...
very annoying.  The scope is 6 months old.

Sending back to Meade may be an option... but I leave for a family
vacation to Yellowstone in a couple of weeks, and would rather take the
scope with me during Mars' close approach.

The error message shows up on batteries or wall current.

I was doing some early attempts at astrophotography, with a CoolPix 990
hung on the eyepiece during some of the failures... but several failures
happened during simple tracking of an object.

[These were my first real direct views of Mars, by the way. I clearly
saw the polar ice cap.  Nice!]

It was a humid night last night.  Much dew on the Meade dew shield...
none on the corrector plate.

Any advice for how to correct the drive failures myself?

Any experience getting Meade to fix them if I chose to ship it in?

Mike here: Be certain you are starting from proper HOME position (it is easy to forget to do the rotation to the hard stop). If that's not it, have you tried a RESET? If that doesn't work, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES. And yes, Meade can service the telescope but you won't have it for a few weeks.
Subject:	Scheduled absence....
Sent:	Friday, July 18, 2003 01:46:55
From: (P. Clay Sherrod)
A quick note to all colleagues and friends.....I will be traveling
beginning Friday afternoon, July 18 through Sunday July 27; although I
will be receiving e-mail and attempting to keep up with urgent
communications and monitoring all the current exciting events with Mars,
comets, minor planets and more, I will not be able to receive any LARGE
attachments while gone, and some responses may take several days.

I wish all the best seeing and success in your astronomical

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt.
MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway
MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain

Subject:	Dawes Limit for the ETX 105
Sent:	Thursday, July 17, 2003 20:10:10
From: (christopher shaw)
Wonderful website you have!

My ETX 105 focal length is 1470 mm. Using any eyepieces 7mm or shorter
will apparently exceed Dawes limit for the scope which is around 200X
and provides no additional benefit in 'seeing'. So if I buy any
eyepieces 7mm or shorter, it's a waste of money for me - is this
correct?? I was contemplating buying the Meade 6.7mm Ultra Wide

Best regards,

Mike here: You can exceed the limit with any telescope. How good the view will be depends upon a lot of factors including seeing, thermal equilibrium, collimation, object size and brightness, etc. I've exceeded the limit with great success at times on my ETX-90 and LXD55-8"SC.


Thanks for the info.

You mentioned 'exceeded', but by how much? I'm talking about the ETX
scope here.

Mike here: I've done 258X on the ETX-90 (max = 180X) and 625X on the LXD-8"SC (max = 400X).
Subject:	Help! I need purchase advice on an ETX90
Sent:	Thursday, July 17, 2003 09:22:25
From: (Joe Dugick)
I stumbled across your site while researching the ETX90.  It will be my
first scope since I was a kid.  I've pretty much decided on this one
after researching Meade, Celestron and Orion scopes of all types.  One
dealer is selling them for significantly less than the others.

I hesitate to buy something without a warranty.  Have you had or heard
of anyone who has had experience with this particular vendor?

One of the other sites says that the ETX90 is built in California.  Is
this true?  Most of the other scopes I've looked at are from China.

Any help or advice you can give me will be appreciated.

Joe Dugick
Mike here: I am not familiar with that vendor. A quick look didn't find them on Meade's dealer list pages. And yes, the ETX-90 is (or at least was when I visited them as reported in my 1999 report on the Just for Fun page) made in the USA. Components may be made elsewhere and some dealers may have products made elsewhere.
Subject:	Mars Pictures
Sent:	Thursday, July 17, 2003 07:25:36
From: (Luis Balanzino)
Very useful your pictures of Mars with differents scopes and
magnifications....I was amazed at how small looks Mars with the ETX-90
even at 100x, so I hope to have good visibility to the south from my
latitude and use higher power (200x-250x).

Kind regards,


Subject:	EXT 105 DC power
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 23:57:21
I have a ETX 105 and I was told that you would know the pin out for the
DC power connector so I can use it on a ligher DC plug on a ext battery
system that I have. Is center ring Positive and how amps does it draw so
I can fuse it right.

I just joined AVAC in Palmdale, CA and was told your man!

Thanks, Robert H Lynch Jr

Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page. Lots of power supply articles there.
Subject:	I need your advice in choosing a MCT or a SCT telescope, thanks.
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 23:01:08
From: (Michael & Sabina)
Have been using your excellent site as a great source of info and
advice. I was interested in getting a MCT and was wanderring how they
comparred optically to a SCT of similar size. I live in Hong Kong so
dont have that many people over here to ask advice of.

Any input is appreciated. I currently have an LX90 and was wanderring
how a MCT of similar size would compare.

Mike here: You likely would not see any difference. Typically, MCTs have high contrast but how much depends upon a lot of factors. The 8"SC used in the LX90 and other models is an excellent telescope.
Subject:	Random Slews
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 17:15:44
From: (Michael Knapp)
I've posted a few times in the past about random slews of the scope
during observational sessions. In all of the slewing cases I was using
the Meade ac adapter to power the scope. After my last post (a few
months ago) someone mentioned that the problem could be the ac adapter
not supplying a "steady" power source. Apparently the Autostar is quite
sensitive to power fluctuations. So, as a test, this past weekend I ran
my 90EC on battery power alone. I used it for about 2 hours both Friday
and Saturday and not once did I have the slewing problem. It seems the
culprit is the ac adapter. As a result, I will be making myself a good
and steady power source. Also, we (father-in-law and I) recently
purchased 3 "daisy" sights (zero magnification sights with red dots
similar to the Telrad sights) to mount on our 2 scopes (90EC and 10"
Dob) and binoculars for easy sighting of objects. Let me tell absolutely wonderfully. We often would spend LOTS of time
trying to find what the other was looking at. With the "daisy" sights
mounted, finding objects now takes seconds. Simply put the red dot over
the same piece of sky and are there. Definitely worth the $10
each. Also, it is amazing what you can still see under country skies
even under a full moon. Andromeda....M13...M92...even M32. Don't not go
out just because of the moon. Clear skies are sometimes hard to come by
and should not be wasted. We even looked at the moon..imagine that!

Clear skies.

Mike Knapp
Mike here: Thanks for the update and report. Yes, flakey AC power can cause problems.
Subject:	Misreable ETX90EC and Meade customer support...
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 12:07:25
From: (Michael Teige)
Well here's the last update on my trial with Meade
over the never-worked ETX90ec and the 883 tripod with
3 failed legs:

Meade has pretty much told me to buzz off.
I was only able to get the name of 1 manager (John
Piper) and I left him 2 contact numbers so we could
discuss the issues.
I said that I would not be home from X time to X time
and to call my cell if there was no answer.
He took the cowards way out and called me at home
figuring I would not be there.
His voicemail said simply that I could pay for repairs
and as far as the tripod is concerned I am free to
purchase the new and improved extra crispy 884!
Gee lots of help there.
I left about 6 other voicemails in which I said that I
didn't like his options and would like to discuss the
matter further.
No return call.
I called Meade again and asked for a different manager
and was told there were none availalbe and I got sent
back to Piper's voicemail box.
So I give up.
They do not want to hear my story and do not care that
I have had no enjoyment from their product in the 2
years I owned it.
Way to go Meade!
Think I could sell it on Ebay for 2 cents?
Now where did I leave that Orion catalog?

Mike here: Sorry you've experienced problems. There are those who reported bad experiences and those who've reported exceptionally good experiences. Since I've not been a party to both sides of either I can't comment on why there are differences.


I assume whenever you are dealing with human beings
you get the good and the bad.
Customer service can be a dicey proposition sometimes
and I suppose if I tried again pretending I never
spoke to them before my results may vary.
Perhaps in a few weeks once I have cooled off I may
try again.

Take care,

Subject:	Re- Etx in Canada
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 08:15:13
From: (Hersey, David)
this for the fellow who is considering bringing his etx to montreal this
winter. last december i had an etx 125 out in -18F (-28C) weather for
about 40 minutes until it would not continue on. o.k. let's just say it
was a tie.

i was happy to come back inside. 

the seeing on this particular night did make it quite worthwhile.
the observer has to take a deep breath and hold it while at the eyepiece
otherwise fogging results.

all the best

David Hersey
peterborough ontario canada

Subject:	ETX Travel
Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 06:27:07
I plan on flying down to Florida next month, and I want to bring the
scope and the eyepieces. I have the Meade ETX125 case for the scope, and
I'm wondering if the airline will allow that case as carry-on luggage,
and will allow the eyepiece case as a "briefcase." I've already resigned
myself to sending the tripod with my regular baggage.

What has been your experience?

Kieran O'Hagan
Mike here: I have only traveled with my ETX-90RA and it was in a backpack. The tripod was in checked luggage. Keep in mind the dimensions of carry-on (US) 22x14x9 inches. If the ETX case exceeds that you might have a problem. But if that's OK, the eyepiece case could be considered a "briefcase" although the definition of that varies from airline to airline. Also, keep in mind that you might have to check the telescope. If you get to the airport late and are the last one on the flight, there might be no overhead space for the case. So, try to be early enough to be first in line for your boarding. By the way, expect to have to show the TSA agents the telescope and perhaps the eyepieces.
Subject:	Re: Fw: Re:  ETX 90 RA setting circle
Sent:	Tuesday, July 15, 2003 04:16:27
From: (Gordon Kincla)
Pencil eraser got the circle moving but only in one direction.However in
this direction it moves for a while before seizing on the top of the
groove.Moving it down in the groove using a finger nail gets it moving
again but once again only in one direction. No chance of the glue having
melted as in Iceland temperatures never get high enough.

                                                        Gordon Kincla
Mike here: Well, you could loosen it by breaking the ends apart and reglueing. Or you could disassemble the base and see what's catching.
Subject:	cleaning lens pen
Sent:	Tuesday, July 15, 2003 02:43:59
From: (denis martinez)
I use len pen mini pro to clean sometimes my optics.

But what do you recommend to clean the pen itself ? I suppose that is a
bad idea to put it under water :)

There is no mention on the packing, so anyone as experience on it ?


- Denis.
Mike here: I've never "cleaned" the pen. Don't know that there is anyway to do that or any need to.
Subject:	Announcing the AstronomyOutreach Information Exchange!
Sent:	Monday, July 14, 2003 17:17:06
Dear Outreach Enthusiasts,

Join the AstronomyOutreach Information Exchange for your chance to win a
Meade 8.8mm UWA Eyepiece, a $250 value! Membership is free. To sign up
go to: or
click the link at:

The AO Information Exchange is sponsored by The AstronomyOutreach
network (, and is for outreach enthusiasts and
other interested parties in the education and outreach activities in
astronomy and space exploration.

The drawing will be held on the day of the Mars Opposition, August 27th

Wishing everyone good luck and clear skies,

Scott W. Roberts, Editor and Moderator

Go to for more information on people, news,
and events coming to a planet near you!

Wishing everyone clear skies,
Scott W. Roberts, Editor
The AstronomyOutreach network is an award winning web site devoted to
the people, events, and organizations involved in outreach to the public
in astronomy and space exploration.

Subject:	884 Tripod Holes
Sent:	Monday, July 14, 2003 07:15:58
From: (Don Sutherland)
If the eyepiece holes on the 884 tripod are too tight, it is probably
due to excess paint. The holes can be opened up quickly and easily using
an X-acto knife or any other sharp straight blade. Just run the blade
around the circumference of each hole. Make sure to get rid of the paint
chips before testing the hole with an eyepiece.


Don Sutherland 

Subject:	Using the ETX-125 in Canada 
Sent:	Sunday, July 13, 2003 20:39:19
From: (Carlos Pires)
I am a Canadian living in Chicago. I intend to bring my ETX to Montreal
in Christmas, and spend the two weeks there if the weather permits doing
some stars watching. The question I have is wether this is a good idea
at all, because it is so cold out there. In Celsius the temperature
sometimes is around -20 or -30. Do you think I should not submit the ETX
, motors and lenses to such cold temperatures? I could not find any
articles about people using the ETX in such conditions. Your advice in
this matter is appreciated.

Thank You,    
Carlos Pires
Mike here: There are many Canadian ETX users. Yes, really low temps can cause some problems but that shouldn't stop you. Your biggest hassle will be keeping the Autostar warm; it really doesn't like temps in the 30s and below.


Thank you for your quick response!.

Subject:	Replacement R.A. setting circle
Sent:	Sunday, July 13, 2003 13:32:25
From: (Phil Price)
I wonder if anyone can help. I'm looking for a spare RA setting circle
for my ETX-125. I accidently snapped it off whilst mounting it on the
tripod. Although I've never used it, for cosmetic reasons it doesn't
look right without one. I've tried my main suppliers in the UK and they
cannot source one. If anyone has one or knows were I can get one, please
get in touch.

Thanks, Phil
Mike here: Contact Meade. They will probably send you one.
Subject:	astronomy website
Sent:	Sunday, July 13, 2003 12:53:04
From: (william weatherford)
Doing a great job as usual.

I stumbled across an interesting website you may want to check out and
share with others.  Have a nice day.

Bill Weatherford aka krugagc

Subject:	Baffle tube of Etx shined like a mirror
Sent:	Sunday, July 13, 2003 02:47:53
From: (Evert D Carter III)
I recently sent my ETX90 for servicing at Mead.  I had problems with the
baffle tube having to much reflection.  I asked them to realign the
optics and give it a good cleaning.  I asked them to replace the baffle
tube.  The telescope is five years old.  The telescope returned from
Mead with another corrector that had a higher grade of reflection
coating.  It smelled heavy with chemicals.  The baffle had been replace
and mounted permanently into the spindle. The telescope was completely
unusable because of the baffle shinning like a mirror.  I talked to Tim
at Captains Nautical in Seattle and he said the problem is there is a
lack of professionalism at Mead so that the baffle got lubricating
chemicals in it.  First Tim told me to soak it with lighter fluid which
did not work which was even harder to do since the baffle could not be
removed. Finally Tim said use flocking paper. So I lined it with
flocking paper. To get into the main tube Tim told me to mark the base
with tape and match it with tape on the tube just when breaking the seal
on the connection.  I got the flock paper in the tube used airplane
cement to keep the tube from turning since it would not stay in place.
That flocking was hard to apply because of the threads.  What do you
think of this?  I have bad eyesight except in the eyepiece and its hard
to tell if the flocking was installed correctly.
Skip Carter
Kent Washington
Mike here: I don't think I would have used airplane glue, which might "out-gas" and coat the optical surfaces. But as to lining the baffle, I don't recall anyone having to do that before. What symptoms did you see that caused you to believe it was a problem with the baffle?


Mike that has never happen to me either.  I have been an amateur
astronomer since 1967 and  have owned many telescopes.  In my experience
this never happened.  Smeary reflections all over in the baffle tube and
a horrible extreme new car smell from the telescope.
Mike here: Perhaps the tech grabbed a bad tube in the factory. Call Meade and ask.


The baffle is permanently attached to the spindle.  It can not be
removed like my original instrument.
And an update:
I called Mead and they are sending my complaint to the manager.  The
technical support has no idea how the telescope goes together.  He says
the company will remove the flocking paper if its sent back.  Skip
Carter Kent Wash

Subject:	flexible focusing aparatus'
Sent:	Saturday, July 12, 2003 19:37:10
From: (thebostons)
A Meade ETX105 EC is my first telescope. I can't articulate how proud of
it I am. It's a beautiful instrument that even I, the most ignorant
amateur on earth, can operate satisfactorily (for the most part).
However, there is one major flaw in the scope.  And let me say first
that I've read all the research material in your Q's ansd A's.

All ETXer's frequently find themselves with their scopes pointed so the
focusing knob is totally inaccessible.

Meade has "compensated" for THEIR "defect" with an electronic focusing
system. (Unfortunately, it is a MEADE defect that Meade profits from
handsomely). The problem is that it is far too expensive for the average
ETX owner. And, in my opinion, it is a design flaw Meade should correct
without profiting from. Some kind of focusing system should be offered
by Meade without profit. After all, it is THEIR design flaw.

Several variations of a "flexible" focusing apparatus have been designed
and offered by entrepreneurs. However, they come with the warning that
the "bend tension" (my words), applied to the focusing rod may wreak
havoc on the internal focusing mechanism.

What is the truth about the "after market" focusing systems? Can the
flexible devices be used without damage to the internal focusing system?
 Or, does one have to "pay the price" for the manufacturers electronic
focuser to avoid damage to the scope and get the fine focusing desired?

We would like to hear the real truth about this problem and how to get
around it without damaging our telescope, (and our wallets).

Thank you,

Mike here: I have used the Scopetronix FlexiFocus (which you can read about on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page) on my ETX-125. There are also some homemade ones on the Telescope Tech Tips page. Using these do not damage the focusing mechanism; they just making turning the shaft easier to do. One caution though if you need to remove the focus knob: always have the telescope pointed upwards when removing the focus knob to avoid the focusing shaft from slipping inside the telescope tube.
Subject:	Toucam Pro Mod
Sent:	Saturday, July 12, 2003 11:32:08
From: (Tim Swope)
I recently purchased a Toucam Pro and I am wanting to have it modified. 
I have no experience in soldering. I am willing to cover expenses and
reimburse someone for their time if they are willing.

Tim Swope

Subject:	Question about equatorial mount
Sent:	Saturday, July 12, 2003 10:47:28
From: (jose moctezuma)
I just got my new ETX 90 EC  provided with 884 tripoid. The problem
that I have is that the equatorial base end level will reach only as low
as 25 degrees, I live near Mxico city and my latitude is about 19
degrees, What can I do?

Thanx Before hand
Jos Moctezuma
Mike here: Other than shortening a tripod leg(s) and possibility decreasing stability, not much you can do with that tripod. But the Autostar will allow tracking in Alt/Az so unless you need polar mode, use Alt/Az.
Subject:	ETX-90 EC or DS-2114ATS ?
Sent:	Saturday, July 12, 2003 10:20:30
From: (Sotiris Petropoulos)
I am 17 years old and I come from Greece.I am interested in buying a
telescope that can observe the 8 planets and deep space with a fairly
good level of detail.The problem is that I know few things about
telescopes.I have learnt the very basics from your site and other sites
and I have fount information about several telescopes for beginners like
me.I visited the Meade dealer of Greece and he suggested that I buy the
ETX-90 EC,which has a 3,5 inches aperture.It's price is 850 euros.I was
going to buy it (because I saw in your site that lots of people have
loved it)  but I saw that the DS-2114ATS costs 550 euros and has a 4,5
inches aperture.This means that the DS is much cheaper,although it can
make better observations.Why?The dealer replied that the ETX has a
better contrast.What does this mean?If the ETX really has a better
contrast,will it be able to make more detailed observations than the
DS,in spite of their aperture?

Having in mind that I would like to buy the one with the better
observation capabilities,could you please tell me which of them I should
buy?I would be very grateful if you replied to my questions.

Thanks for your time.
                             Sotiris Petropoulos
Mike here: First off, don't expect to see details on ALL of the other 8 planets unless you plan to get something larger better than the Hubble Space Telescope. With most small telescopes you can see cloud bands on Jupiter, Saturn's Ring, phases of Venus, and an ice cap and dark markings on Mars. For the others except Pluto you may or may not be able to make out a disk. Pluto is too faint for small telescopes. The ETX-90 is a fine instrument but you have to pay for its compact size. The DS models are also nice but have a shorter focal length than the ETX-90, and therefore less magnification with the same eyepiece. So, as with all decisions, it comes down to how you want to use the telescope and what your expectations are. Objects will appear brighter in the DS model you mentioned but you'll get more magnification from the ETX-90 and more portability (if that's important to you). BUT keep in mind that there is a maximum usable magnification for every telescope; see the FAQ page for this.
Subject:	PHOTOS
Sent:	Saturday, July 12, 2003 03:53:22
This week I bought the StarGPS for my ETX90. It' great! Must have tool
for those who use their ETX on different places.

By the way when do you place pictures on the guests astrophotography
gallery and when in astrophotograhy under helpfull information? Because
I see in both galleries for example pictures taken with a toucam.

Greetings Job Geheniau
The Netherlands
Mike here: Sometimes photos go in the Guest Gallery and sometimes in the Helpful Information - Astrophotography. Just depends on where it seems to fit best. If I think that showcasing the camera is important, it goes in the latter. But that's not always true.
Subject:	Moon observation
Sent:	Saturday, July 12, 2003 01:18:08
From: (karengary)
While observing the moon last night (11th july) with my ETX-105, I was
amazed to see what appeared to be small, round, black objects crossing
the face of the moon from left to right in the 26mm eyepiece.

These objects appeared to be moving in a perfectly straight line with a
uniform speed.With the moon centered in the eyepiece, I was still able
to see them go past the moon until I lost sight at the very edge of the

Five passed by singularly,but two passed by at the same moment.All the
objects had the same uniform speed and apparent diameter (approx 1/2 the
diameter of crater Kepler).

When the first one passed, I thought it must have been a bird (I've
heard about people watching birds at or near full moon crossing the
face) but these objects seemed perfectly round to me.

I wonder if either you or any of your avid readers could enlighten me as
to what I was actually seeing.The time of this was between 23:16 and
23:22 on the 11th July.All times are GMT +1hr.

P.S. I'm currently using my fourth replacement 105,the one I have at the
moment has a cracked base(yet still works fine) and the one before that
was grinding terribly in R.A..Hoping to get replacement number 5 soon.

Many thanks

Mike here: You could check for satellites that were visible at that time. I think you either saw some satellites or more likely some space debris. Or maybe flying saucers, since you said they were round! (I've heard a new "V" TV movie is planned. Maybe they were filming in orbit...)
Subject:	re: Please recommend telescope stores in Connecticut
Sent:	Friday, July 11, 2003 21:32:06
From: (Richard Seymour)
Berlin Connecticut (CT as a post abbreviation) is 20 miles (30km)
south of Hartford CT, which is the state's capitol city.

There is a dealer 
Wholesale Optics, in Danbury CT, which is about 60 road miles (100km)
west of Berlin, near the New York state border. 
Their website is:
They are a Meade dealer.

In West Hartford CT, (10 miles, 16 km) a web-search finds:
Zacher's   on 15 South Main Street
phone: +1-860-232-3849
They appear to be primarily a Camera store, but some camera stores
have excellent telescope departments.

16 miles from Berlin is Hamden CT, which has 
Fat Robin Wild Bird And Nature Shop
3000 Whitney Avenue  +1-203-248-7068

I have never visited any of these dealers (i live on the other side
of the USA).

good luck
Mike here: How'd you know about those? Check the dealer listing on Meade's site?


The Danbury dealer came from Meade's dealer list in the back of Sky&Telescope.
(then i looked at a road map to get the distance)
(i didn't think to look at their web site... i do that for international dealers)

The rest came from the Business section of
a telephone directory website.

I put "telescope" in the "description" field,
and tried Berlin, Hartford and New Haven as cities.
I didn't bother to list the "chain" (Ritz) camera stores.

I used to live in West Hartford (40 years ago)

have fun

Subject:	ETX piggyback
Sent:	Friday, July 11, 2003 11:40:58
From: (divenuts)
I bought a Orion 90mm short tube refractor and was hoping you would have
an idea how to piggyback it on my ETX-125. Any idea on what I would
need? I have a counterweight setup, so I think I'm OK in that
department. I also have the heavyweight tripod(#887?) and wedge.
However, I don't know what parts I need to mate the two scopes. It seems
you and a few other ETXer's have loaded down their scopes with equipment
on occasion

Any help and/or ideas would be appreciated,
Chuck Callaghan
Clearwater/Dunedin Fl
Mike here: If the refractor OTA has a photographic tripod mounting hole you could use one of the piggyback camera adapters. Alternatively you could modify one of the homemade piggyback adapters shown on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. Lastly, if you really want to get fancy you could get a Losmandy mount ($$$). BUT you may need to be concerned about axis lock slippage if the mount/refractor weighs too much.
Subject:	ETX 90 RA setting circle
Sent:	Friday, July 11, 2003 10:45:50
From: (Helga Andr?sd?ttir)
The RA setting circle on my ETX 90 appears to have stuck. Any
suggestions on how I can free it up.

Thank You

Gordon Kincla
Mike here: The easiest way is to try using a pencil eraser to move it. If that doesn't work, could the glue (holding the two ends together) have leaked out due to extreme heat? Is it still fairly straight in the groove?
Subject:	ETX-90 corrector moved(Dew Sheild)
Sent:	Friday, July 11, 2003 02:01:55
Hello and thank you for the wonderful site.

Quick question:  While removing my threaded dew shield the corrector
came half- way off before I had notice what had happened.

I screwed it back on but now doing a star test the collimation seems to
be off.

It was right(collimation) before this happened.

I did see this same question posted not to long ago and it seems to be
easy to do..

What is the best way to correct this?  Turn the corrector until the
collimation is correct?? or tighten the corrector and then collimate.  I
do not think I can get the corrector back into the exact location. I
will mark this(corrector) so next time I know where to tighten to and I
have now marked all my scopes.

I had to remove the dew shield by turning the outside rim on one side,
and will never use this threaded dew shield again and just stick with
the velcro shields.

Mars really looks bad now, before this the detail of the polar cap
looked great.

I am a newbie and hope I have explained this so that you understand the
words that are coming out of my mouth, hi hi.

Thanks again, 

Mark  KC8GLQ
Clear Skies are coming.

Columbus, OH
Mike here: Are you sure it is collimation that is disturbing the views of Mars. Mars is pretty low in the sky and so subject to a lot of atmospheric turbulence. But if you've done a "star test" and know the collimation is off, yes, try correcting by rotating the corrector lens. Actually, with it fully screwed down the collimation should be correct, assuming it was correct before it was moved. If you can not correct the collimation I would suggest contacting Meade unless you want to try it yourself (a timing consuming process that could make things even worse).


Hi Mike, thank you for the quick reply.

The atmosphere looked great at the time observing(0400).  The
collimation is off, rings moved closer to around 7/8 o'clock area.

I will see if I can move the corrector to the correct position.

I just need a night without rain and clouds.

I will not try the collimation myself if needed.  I work on a lot of
things in the computer field and in ham radio but I just don't feel I am
able to accomplish the collimation on a Mak

Thank you very much for your time and great advice on the mighty ETX.

73 Mark KC8GLQs
Columbus, OH
Clear Skies

And an another experience with this:

Subject:	RE: RE: ETX-90/EC. Front lens Dust Cap
Sent:	Friday, July 11, 2003 08:41:29
From: (Chris)
I finally managed to use my telescope last night. I just used it
manually and looked at the moon.WOW !.

I only have the 26mm eyepiece and a 2X Barlow but the moon was massive
and in perfect clarity. I was really surprised at how fast the moon
moves.I only had 20 mins before the moon sunk behind a neighbour's
house. I will have to find somewhere better to observe the sky from.

I managed to point the scope at a star (god knows which one it was) when
I looked at it was already out of focus with concentric rings around it,
as per the "star test", using the focus I managed to get it absolutely
crystal clear. (So it does not need collimating)

All the Best, and thank you for your help.


Subject:	Please recommend telescope stores in Connecticut
Sent:	Thursday, July 10, 2003 23:37:17
From: (Marcin Bruczkowski)
Could anyone recommend good telescope dealers in Connecticut?  I will be
staying in Berlin, Connecticut for 2 weeks, from 18th August.  I would
like to buy a couple of accessories and check out some telescopes that
so far I could only read about in S&T and on these pages - in my native
Poland astronomy as a hobby is dead, there is no such thing as a
dedicated astronomy shop in the whole country and the last star party
took place sometime in the 60's...

Many thanks in advance,

Marcin Bruczkowski
Warsaw, Poland

Subject:	ETX DC power supply
Sent:	Thursday, July 10, 2003 13:15:48
From: (marcus windrich)
I wanted to know if you, or anyone else that frequents your website has
had any experience with the Celestron Power Tank. It looks like quite a
good deal for the money, and the cable needed to run a Meade telescope,
already comes with the telescope. I didn't notice anything on your
website about it, but I'm looking for opinion.

Thanks a bunch!


Subject:	Query
Sent:	Wednesday, July 9, 2003 05:38:19
From: (Bob Morris)
I bought an ETX90 EC and was fortunate in being able to compare it to a
friend's. I have an almost perfect diffraction image.

Also, mine has a deep violet coating on the lens while his does not.
Comparing the two on the moon, side by side, mine was brighter.

I asked the dealer (Ottawa) if there was a possibility of having gotten
the extra coatings for no charge.

He said that they might have produced a few extra with the coating and
shipped them out without the label.

How do I know for sure?

Bob Morris
Mike here: How old is your friend's? If there is no label on the box or on the OTA, then it probably isn't UHTC.


My friends is actually only a few month's old.

Mine was the floor model -- selected because the diffraction image on an
artificial star is near perfect, as it is in the field.

So mine, perhaps a year old, has a deep violet coating whereas my
friend's has almost no visible coating.

As I said, a side be side view of the crescent moon showed mine to be
brighter -- same eyepiece.

BTW your site is great!

Meade talks about using PARK if your telescope is permanently mounted.

I use PARK to return to the home position before taking down the scope
so I don't have to go through the "twist thing" to find home the next
time I use the scope.

Query: the holes on the plate on the deluxe tripod are marginal for the
eyepieces. Some of my eypieces barely fit. Any easy way of enlarging
them? They should have been 1/32" larger!


Bob Morris
Mike here: Other than "filing", I don't know any easy way to enlarge the holes.
Subject:	RE: ETX90EC Vertcal lock problem
Sent:	Monday, July 7, 2003 08:00:42
From: (Paul Atkins)
Just to update you regarding the problem with the Dec lock on my ETX90.
the unit was sent back to the UK importers and they are replacing with a
new unit, so all's well that ends well.


Paul G Atkins
Sent:	Tuesday, July 8, 2003 17:33:26
I received, today, a new ETX90EC scope from BCF (UK Importers of Meade)


Paul G Atkins

Subject:	ETX 90 vs ETX 125
Sent:	Sunday, July 6, 2003 20:16:39
From: (H R Thomas)
I have an ETX 90 but plan on moving up to an ETX 125 provided there is a
significant improvement in what I will see in regard to planetary detail
and deep space.  Can anyone help with some comparisons please?


Hedley Thomas
Mike here: You can read my ETX-125 comments linked from the top of the current "ETX-125" feedback page. Also, see the User Observations page.


Thanks Mike.



Subject:	I Need Help in Buying A Telescoop!!
Sent:	Sunday, July 6, 2003 13:37:33
I am interested in buying a telescope for viewing stars and planets.  We
live in Iowa countryside and our largest photo store, Porter's don't
carry telescopes anymore.

I am an art teacher and consider possible photography with the
telescope. I think I have it narrowed to a Meade.  I have been lookiing
at the ETX70 and 90, now the 125 with autostar.  There are sooo many
things I don't know about telescopes, that I have found your site and
started to read.  THanks

BUT, what would you suggest for a good all purpose family telescope??  I
have looked at ebay prices, then wonder if I should just go new at
Meade's site.  I really think I should have the hard case but what other
extras do you suggest??  We camp and would like to take with us with

I really don't know what other questions I should ask, but I sure
appreciate your help.  Really don't know who to trust for the right
information, all sellers on ebay think theirs are the best.

thanks  Bette Michel
Mike here: You need to decide HOW you will use the telescope and WHAT your expectations are for the views. You mentioned camping. Is portability is prime factor? If so, the ETX-90 or ETX-105 might be best for you. If seeing details and doing long duration astrophotography are your goals, you'll need something larger with a better mount. I would suggest purchasing from a reputable online dealer; many are listed on the Astronomy Links page. You might look at getting the $99 eyepiece deal; I don't know how much longer it will run.


Thanks so much, I do believe ease of use and portability is important. 
I think you have confirmed my feeling about the 90 and 105.  thanks
again, Bette

Subject:	your advice please
Sent:	Friday, July 4, 2003 19:53:16
I'm a teen from the Philippines. I bought an etx 90ec when i visited the
United States last May.  I'm having difficulty using the telescope with
the autostar because whenever I turn the autostar on, it keeps on
slewing. This prevents me from being able to align my telescope with the
autostar. I called up meade and they told me that it had something to do
with the power. I planned on getting the ac adapter but in the
Philippines we use 220v not 110v. I saw the different external power
supplies on your website and I'm wondering which is the most effective,
I'm also afraid of destroying my telescope.

I also saw the AstroMac "link" on your website. I tried to look for it
on topica before joining it but I couldn't find it. I'm also a big fan
of macintosh.

Thank you for your time!

Mike here: I have yet to purchase any external power source for my telescopes so can't answer your question beyond what is shown in the table. As to AstroMac, the mailing list is alive and well; I get email from it frequently.

Reminder to everyone: Please read the SPAM announcement currently on the ETX Home Page. The subject used on this email looks a lot like SPAM and will eventually be blocked. A better subject would have been "220v power supply".


ok, im gonna take a look! ;)

but....dont you want etx-125, instead of etx-90?
Mike here: I have that one also.
Subject:	Re: Strange Motor Sounds
Sent:	Friday, July 4, 2003 05:34:13
I changed the dst setting, and the scope hasn't been out in about a
month. i'll give the "workout" a try first.


Subject:	Re: hi! etx-90....
Sent:	Friday, July 4, 2003 04:33:00
From: (walid feghali)
how does Uranus/Nep look like?
What would you have baught, the 8 inch DOB, or ETX-90EC?
how does Horseheadnebula look like?
and the last question, do you see the GRS in jupiter, and the cloud
bands, with the ETX-90?

Mike here: Uranus and Neptune will appear as small faint blue-ish dots. The Horsehead Nebula is invisible to the eye except with very large telescopes from very dark skies. Yes, you can see the GRS and cloud bands on Jupiter. For my purposes, I purchased the ETX-90 in 1996. Only you can decide which is the right telescope for you.


ok, do you like the sight of the great nebula in orion?
i think the ETX-90 is the right for me!
Mike here: You bet!



ok, do you like the sight of....hmm....JUPITER? SATURN? VENUS? SOME
Mike here: You can read my comments about the ETX-90 on the Buyer/New User Tips page ("ETX - My First Impressions" and "Additional Impressions") as well as my experiences with the ETX-90EC (linked from the top of the "ETX-90" Feedback page).

And more:

ok, im gonna take a look! ;)

but....dont you want etx-125, instead of etx-90?
Mike here: I have that one also.

And still more:

you do! yeah..thats right!

ok, witch one do you like the most?

do you spend alot of time with your etx-90/125?
Mike here: Again it depends. For ease of movement and setup, the ETX-90RA (no Autostar). For when I want aperture and/or focal length, the ETX-125. For when I really want aperture, the LXD55-8"SC.
Subject:	Strange Motor Sounds
Sent:	Thursday, July 3, 2003 19:38:44
I had my etx-125 out tonight (first real clear night in NY in a while),
and for some strange reason, the scope is not even coming close to where
the alignment stars are. Also, i know this sounds weird, but the motors
do not sound right...should I do a calibrate first and see what happens,
or should i just go right to retraining the drives? thanks!

clear skies

Kieran O'hagan
Mike here: How long is "awhile"? Did you change the DST setting? Also, it is possible the gear lubrication needs to be loosened up; just unlock both axes and move the telescope by hand several times hardstop to hardstop, back and forth.
Subject:	Eyepiece Kits
Sent:	Thursday, July 3, 2003 13:27:09
From: (Mikel Stoer)
The Meade eyepiece offer is a great deal for anyone buying a new scope.
The rest of us are also looking for a way to expand our eyepiece sets.
In that line I've run across a deal and I would like your openion of
these eyepieces if any.

At sight and sound ( ) the have the

Celestron Eyepiece kit for $125.00.

This includes

Five Superior Grade Plssl Eyepieces -- 1.25", 2x Barlow Lens,Moon
Filter, Aluminum Carrying Case, and Six Colored Eyepiece (Planetary)
Filters - 1.25"

Do you (or any of your readers) know anything about this kit?? Is it
worth the price etc. Or how do these eyepieces compare to others.

As an alternative to not having access to the Meade eyepiece deal it
looks attractive ...but... as I'm a relitive newbie at this whole
astronomy thing I would like another openion before I waste some money.


Mike (in Dallas)
Mike here: I have no experience with these Celestron products but I would suspect they are comparable to the Meade ones.
Subject:	hi! etx-90....
Sent:	Thursday, July 3, 2003 09:13:53
From: (walid feghali)
im wondering, do you think i should by an ETX-90EC, with autostar, or an
8 inch DOB?

PS. I like your site!
Mike here: What telescope you should get depends upon how you plan to use it, what your expectations are for views through it, and your bank account. If you want a highly portable telescope that provides excellent views of some planets, the Moon, and many objects in the sky, then the ETX-90 can make a good choice. If you want to see more details and fainter objects, then you likely want a larger aperture telescope. As to what the ETX-90 (and other models) can do, read through the User Observations page.


ok, ive made my choise! im picking....*DRUMS*...ETX-90!!!!

i saw that the etx-90 was an exellent choise for me, i like the pics,
and i LOVE the Autostar!

but, do you se better in the scope than in the pics on your site?

Mike here: Congrats! Astrophotography is not a good indicator of what you can see with your eye. Some objects and photographs will be MUCH better and some a LOT worse.



ok, but, lets say Saturn, i live the planet, but do i see as much in the
telescope, like one of the good pics, you have in the guest astropics? i
LOVE globular clusters and nebulas, do you see pretty good those things
in the ETx-90?

BYE! and thanks for answering all my questions! =)
Mike here: With good seeing conditions you will be able to see the planet, the Rings, and even the Cassini Division. Brighter globulars will look nice but small and faint. Most nebulae will appear as "faint fuzzy blobs".
Subject:	Cost of running the ETX webpage
Sent:	Wednesday, July 2, 2003 10:57:49
About how much does it cost to run the ETX website?  Is the membership
page a complete list of all the contributors?  As a potential
contributor I would like to know those two peices of info.

As a nosey person, I was wondering what you do when you're not running
the webpage.  I have been to your site several times and got some very
helpful information.  Before today, I had never taken enough time to
explore the site and I hadn't realized that it was not part of a

I think that you have put together an exceptionally helpful site.  I
really appreciate it.

Chris Chambers

ETX 90RA owner
(and NPR listener and contributor) 
Mike here: Glad you like the Site. Thanks. There are obviously costs of running any good website: hosting costs, software costs, communication costs, plus products I might not otherwise purchase. The "Membership" listings are fairly complete except for those who have requested not to be listed. As to what I do other times, see my Home Page ( And no, my sites are not my business.
Subject:	Mars moon
Sent:	Tuesday, July 1, 2003 16:12:28
Is it possible to get a (long exposure modified cam?) picture of the
Mars moon Phobos with an ETX90? If so, how?

Job Geheniau
The Netherlands
Mike here: Not likely. See the current issue of Sky and Telescope for an excellent article on the Moons of Mars.
Subject:	Parker's solution seems to have dissolved?
Sent:	Tuesday, July 1, 2003 13:05:42
From: (W Sturges)
the odds-on favorite for anti-fog solution is the classic Parker's
solution... so far as I am aware.  Have you heard anything about them? 
When I try to make an order on his web site, it "bounces" saying that
the address is no good.  when I call them, I get an answering service...
saying that A customer service representative will call be right back
... but no one calls -- since early Monday Morning.  Makes me wonder if
they have gone out of business?  Do you know?

Do you know of a substitute?  When I used to go Scuba diving I would
just spit liberally into my face mask but somehow I am reluctant to use
this method for the new ETX.

thanks very much

hope the convention was a profitable trip.
are you a computer driver by profession?
Mike here: Dewshields or dew heaters are the best approach. Yes, the conference was great. I drive computers for fun and work. But I personally stopped writing software a number of years ago; now I just manage software developers.

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