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ETX USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 30 June 2000

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


Subject:	 Thanks!
Sent:	Friday, June 30, 2000 07:01:35
From:	ycrad@wkhs.com (Youree Center Radiology)
I would like to thank you for the great informative site.  Your site was
the main factor in my decision to purchase the Meade ETX90EC.  All of
the info on your site was invaluable in my research on what scope to buy
and what accessories to buy with it.  Keep up the good work.

Thanks again,
Bryan McCauslin
Shreveport,LA

Subject:	 Site
Sent:	Friday, June 30, 2000 06:55:45
From:	shelton@teleport.com (James Shelton)
Just a quick and simple THANK YOU for your ETX website.  I can't even
begin to explain how valuable it has been to me and I'm sure you have a
lot more to do then read e-mails about it.

I spend a great deal of my time on it and all I can say is WOW.....  and
again THANK YOU!

James

Subject:	 Barlow Question
Sent:	Thursday, June 29, 2000 11:48:41
From:	plasmaknight@hotmail.com (Wei-Chieh Chen)
Sorry for asking so many questions.

Can you use the #140 Apochromatic Barlow Lens (that's supposed to be the
best Barlow that Meade has) be used on the ETX-90/EC? Or can only the
#126 Barlow Lens be used?

If only the #126 can be used for some reason, is it worth getting? (I
read that cheap Barlow lenses are usually of poor quality.)

Thanks for your help again.

                                        WCC
Mike here: The answers you seek can be found by searching the site for "140". The first page that comes up (April 2000 Feedback) has your answer; just do a Browser "find" on #140 on that page. I realize the search mechanism isn't perfect but it can help.

Subject:	 adapter
Sent:	Thursday, June 29, 2000 07:42:52
From:	ralphk@howyouwork.com (Ralph Koschnitzke)
I really appreciate your website, as a new owner of an ETC90EC this has
been a tremendous resource!

Your wrote the following about a camera adapter:

I now have an attachment to mount the Casio digital camera to the Meade
Basic Camera Adapter. I purchased a Tiffen Casio Lens Adapter for my
QV-10 (also works with the QV-10A and QV-100) for about $25. The adapter
is normally used to mount 37mm lens (also from Tiffen). Unfortunately
the threads do not match the Meade Basic Camera Adapter so it was 
necessary to purchase an adapter ring. After visiting two local camera
shops and searching for a few hours

I finally found a ring ($2) that was close to what I needed.

(What was the size of this ring was it a 37 - ? step up adapter?) I have
a 37mm thread on my camera and I'm trying to adapt it. But before I buy
the basic camera adapter...

Do you know the thread size on the camera adapter? that you adpted too
or rather is it the same as the tmount adapter?

Thanks!

Ralph Koschnitzke
Mike here: That experiment didn't work out for me. There wasn't enough thread surface to hold the camera securely. The Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter (see the Accessories - Astrophotography page) works WAY better. More versatile too.

Added later:

Thanks!, Mine just came in the mail today!.

I'm really looking forward to this new hobby.

I'll be making a pledge to your site.

Regards

Ralph Koschnitzke

Subject:	 ETX Spotting Scope
Sent:	Wednesday, June 28, 2000 10:58:15
From:	commtech@pixie.co.za (Paul Meanwell)
Hi, wonder if you can help. I bought the ETX 90 spotting scope. This
comes complete with the erect image prism, and 45 deg. viewer. To
assemble the scope is a simple matter of unscrewing the cap at the back
of the scope, attaching the prism, adding the lens, and off you go. What
confuses me is that there is now a gaping hole where the lens should go
when used at 90 deg. While there is a cap for the back of the tube when
this aperture is not in use, there does not seem to be anything to plug
the hole when used as a spotting scope. I'm concerned that it is going
to get dust, moisture, all sorts of things in there. Shouldn't there be
a protective cap or something?

Regards
Paul.
Mike here: Many people, including me, use a 35mm film can as a plug for the top eyepiece hole. Works pretty well. Caution: don't tighten the screw down since you don't want plastic or metal filings inside the ETX.

Subject:	 bincoular lense
Sent:	Monday, June 26, 2000 00:51:06
From:	lennycal@pacbell.net (Leonard Schaustal)
I was looking in astronomy magazine,  at some of the bincular lenses so
I could use both eyes for viewing, they range in price from $198.00 to
$1000.00 plus. is it worth going to this and is the viewing  better.
what do you recommend?  I'm new to this and  just  got the ETX90ec 3
months ago. I like your web site and have gotten a lot  of information
from it-since I;m a new at this.
Lenny schaustal, lennycal@pacbell.net
Mike here: I did a search of the site for "binocular viewer" with the AND option selected; got a hit on the January 2000 Feedback page. There is an question there about their use. I didn't continue with the search; you can do that as well as I can.

Subject:	NEW LX-90
Sent:	Sunday, June 25, 2000 20:53:59
From:	Jimmy123ho@aol.com
I have owned an ETX for more than 2 years. Yesterday, I saw an ad on the
Astronomics website showing a new LX-90. Do you know anything about it
yet? It is basically a SCT on a improved and enlarged aluminum
computerized ETX mount. Write back if your get anything about it. Thanks. 
                                                                           J.H
Mike here: All I know is what is on Shutan's web site (click for the www.shutan.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=1&Product_Code=ML8F1&Category_Code=telcat6 direct link) and Meade's announcement.

Subject:	 Meade CTX100
Sent:	Sunday, June 25, 2000 06:27:28
From:	donburton_is@juno.com (Don R Burton)
I am looking for a good telescope to start with and I think I can buy a
never used, according to the owner, CTX100 for about 300 bucks, is this
worth the money or should I just save up and buy the etx90 or 125?
Mike here: I'm not familiar with the CTX100.

Subject:	 question...
Sent:	Saturday, June 24, 2000 20:37:21
From:	twister1599@hotmail.com (twister1599)
Just wondering if u knew if the ETX 90 RA telescope is compatible w/
AutoStar #497?  Thanks.
Mike here: The RA model is the original ETX and pre-dates the Autostar. There is no upgrade available to the "EC" model.

Subject:	ETX site
Sent:	Friday, June 23, 2000 13:32:01
From:	Freybears@aol.com
I just came across your site, after looking futilely for a good source
of ETX info.  I am a former 8" LX200 owner (donated it to local
astronomical society), and an amateur for the last 25 years or so.  I
just ordered an ETX because I miss doing astronomy, but not the scope
lugging required with the LX200.

Just wanted to say "great stuff...looking forward to really getting into
the site further."  By the way, have you run into other amateurs who
went from big scope to small, as opposed to the typical small-to-big?

Steve
Mike here: Yes, some users have "come down" to the portability of smaller telescopes. As I've said many times on the site, the best scope is the one that gets used and larger scopes tend to end up in the closet due to the inconvenience factor.

Subject:	 Question
Sent:	Thursday, June 22, 2000 18:14:45
From:	mvgasy@c2i.net (CHRISTIAN  HAUGERUD)
Now i have 2 questions:

Can i use any other type of field tripod to my etx125 , than the very
expensive original one ?

And i know this isent a etx question - but does someone have any info
about , or know a site on the 6" Alter M-603 (or maby the 7"...)? I
realy think i "like" this scope...;-)

Hope somebody can help me!

Chris
Mike here: With the proper mounting plate you can mount the ETX-125EC to any tripod. Just make sure it is stable.

Subject:	 help
Sent:	Wednesday, June 21, 2000 15:00:40
From:	mvgasy@c2i.net (CHRISTIAN  HAUGERUD)
Well , i have now desided to bye a new telescope - but i need a few
gidelines from the experts! This will be my 2. scope ( my first scope
was Meade 114mm reflector - with WERY poor kellner .965 eyepices!!!) I
dont have a lot of money , so ive been looking at Meade Etx-125 ec ,
DS-127 ec and a 8" dobsonian. Now the Etx is my dream scope (with its
small and portable size) , BUT i  know there is a lot of bad talk about
it... The DS-127 is only 0.5 inch bigger then my old scope , but will it
show any more details (Now because i only had the realy bad EP , i never
got to explore my scope fully. At 218.5x - jupiter looked like a
oversisized white star , with 4 dots around it. I dont know if this is
the way its suppose to looke like at that magnitude...?) ? And of course
the 8" dobsonian , its probebly a good scope - but you cant track with
it or use the autostar computer controller on it. Now these scopes are
wery expensive - at least for me! -so i dont want to bye something that
wont extend my "space exploring". So i ges my main question is : do i
bye one of these telescopes or do i save some more money and bye a LX 10
- 8"(but , i dont know how portable this scope is...) ?
I hope someone can help me with some of these questions.

Christian
Mike here: Obviously, the larger the telescope the less portable it will be. And unless you are dedicated, larger telescopes will end up unused since they are not convenient to move outside and set up. On the other hand, small telescopes like the ETX-90EC are easily setup (whether you use the Autostar or not) and so you can use them on a moment's notice. Yes, there are some limitations in small scopes but the portability usually outweighs that for many users. So, decide what you want to do with the telescope and what your expectations are. Then get the best telescope you can afford that will at least meet, if not exceed, your expectations. For many, the ETX-90EC and -125EC scopes are exactly what they want. For others, one of the various DS models works best. And some decide that a large Dobsonian telescope is best for their needs. Others go all out and get the LX200 model. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Subject:	 10" Meade LX200 EMC 
Sent:	Tuesday, June 20, 2000 10:30:02
From:	peter.leare@edwards.boc.com (Leare,Peter)
Hello, Nice ETX site.

I have recently purchased a 10" Meade LX200 EMC and am wondering if you
know of any similar sites to yours for this scope?

Thanks,

Pete 
peter.leare@edwards.boc.com
Mike here: Check the MAPUG.com (Meade Advanced Products User Group) web site. Lots of links there.

Subject:	 883 Deluxe Field Tripod Leg Fix
Sent:	Monday, June 19, 2000 20:43:53
From:	eparkyn@earthlink.net (Edward Parkyn)
A mod kit for the slipping problem can be obtained free from Meade.

ted

Subject:	 eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, June 19, 2000 15:38:12
From:	garyc@voicenet.com (gary)
If you just got the ETX90EC for a first scope what 3 lens would you buy
first and why?

GARY
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page for some thoughts on eyepieces.

Subject:	 selling
Sent:	Monday, June 19, 2000 11:30:15
From:	grizz2@prodigy.net (Craig Schriever)
Unfortunatly I have to part with my ETX-90/EC. I'm selling and am
wondering if anyone is interested?

IT is in wonderful condition no scratches dents or smudges! Optic's and
mechanics are perfect!

Here's what I'm sellin

ETX-90/EC........Autostar controller.........Stock controller......... 
3 Eyepieces........Meade SP26mm.........SP9.7mm.........40mm Scopetronix
Plossl.........3 Meade eyepiece filters......ND96....#82A light
blue........#8 light yellow............Meade #126 Barlow.........Meade
07356 Basic Camera adapter........Meade #64 T-adapter.......Meade #932
Erect Image Roof prism.............Scopetronix
Flexi-Focus...........Scopetronix Dew clip and dew shield.........Meade
Deluxe Field Tripod..........Scopetronix Tripod leg
clamps...........Identi-View Sloar filter ( from scopetronix) I think

thats it!

$1000.00 takes it

Any serious buyers e-mail me at Grizz2@prodigy.net

I have really enjoyed my ETX and am sad to see it go but for now it has
to..............

Subject:	 Meade Q...
Sent:	Monday, June 19, 2000 04:27:43
From:	snorre@statvoks.no (Snorre A. Selmer)
Of all the ETX and Digital Electronic Series (DS?) telescopes, wich one
would you recomend (don't worry about price) for 35mm photography...

What extras would I need (filters, tripod (I have one for my camera, but
I don't think it's sturdy enough), Autostar)? (I'll need a T-mount
of course...)
Mike here: What telescope (ETX, DS, or LX200) and accessories you want really depends upon what kind of astrophotography you want to do and what your expectations are. Small, mass market telescopes are not designed to produce long duration (minutes or hours) exposures of galaxies and nebulae. However, as you can see on my site, the ETX can do quite well on some objects with some patience and luck. So, decide what you want to photograph and what you expect the results to look like. Then get a telescope that will meet those requirements. Bottom line since you said to not worry about the price: get a 12" (or larger) LX200. You'll get GREAT astrophotos!

Added later:

Well, if I don't remember too incorrectly, the LX200 series is too
expencive... I meant that within the ETX and DS series, I can afford all
the scopes (I live in Norway, and prices here are kinda bloated)... The
LX200 series is awesome, but too expencive (I think)... I was planning
on a 2000-2500$ (maybe as high as 3000$) budget...

And now, a couple of questions:

Is the Autostar Computer worth the extra cost?

Are the telescopes (ETX, DS, LX200) sturdy enough to NOT shake when I
take a picture (when the mirror flips)?
Mike here: The LX200 in the larger models is more expensive than an ETX-125EC. However, the LX90 8" looks pretty nice for the price. Shakes are a common problem with most telescope/mounts unless you really have a sturdy mount. The DS/ or ETX/tripod combination will exhibit a vibration when the camera mirror flips so people use the "hat trick" method (search the site for it) for long duration (seconds, minutes) exposures. If you know (or want to learn) your way around the sky you don't need the Autostar's GOTO capability. On the other hand, it is a convenient way to get started.

Subject:	 magazine
Sent:	Sunday, June 18, 2000 12:31:37
From:	garyc@voicenet.com (gary)
Can you tell me a good magazine to subscribe to for a beginer like
myself?
gary
Mike here: "Astronomy" and "Sky and Telescope" are both excellent magazines. I've been a subscriber to S&T since 1960. You should be able to find copies of both are your local newstand or bookdealer. Buy one of each and see which you like. Some people prefer one or the other.

Subject:	 TRIPOD & HOME POSITION
Sent:	Sunday, June 18, 2000 07:56:48
From:	TLINEMAN@webtv.net (THOMAS MAHONY)
The tripod i have is meades #887 advanced field tripod but i did not
like the fixed height legs so i traded them in for the adjustable legs
for the lx200 i finally talked to a tech  at meade who could give me the
correct mounting for the polar home position tried it out last night 
the only problem i had was going back to polaris  the scope centered the
star but the scope was upside down do you have a solution for this
problem ?

THANKS TOM
Mike here: Glad you got the scope into the polar position. What did Meade tell you? If the scope is upside down when viewing Polaris, then the scope is possibly 12 hours in RA out of alignment. Also, remember that Polaris is not exactly at the pole. Try redoing the Autostar alignment.

Added later:

THE ANSWER I GOT FROM MEADE WAS  WITH THE SCOPE FACING NORTH THE WEDGE
ON THE SOUTH AND THE CONTROL PANNEL ON THE WESTSIDE ,THE EYEPIECE ON THE
TOP SET THE TUBE   90 DEGREES TO THE BASE (BASICALLY STRAIGHT UP FROM
THE BASE)THEN ROTATE  THE RA. COUNTERCLOCK WISE TO THE HARD STOP THEN
BACK CLOCK WISE 1/3 A TURN  SO THAT THE DEC. DIAL IS OVER THE CONTROL
PANNEL ON THE WESTSIDE THIS IS THE HOME POSITION FOR POLAR ALIGNMENT  ON
THE WEDGE  THEN YOU WOULD AD JUST THE TRIPOD AND YOUR LATITUDE FOR POLAR
ALIGNMENT NOT THE KEYPAD  WHAT WAS CONFUSING FOR ME WITH THE HOME
POSITION WAS ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND ILLUSTRATIONS SHOWING THE
TELESCOPES SET WITH YOU VIEWING FROM THE NORTH SIDE OF THE WEDGE LOOKING
OVER IT INSTEAD OF BEHIND IT ON THE SOUTH SIDE IT MIGHT LOOK GOOD FOR
PHOTOS BUT IT SCREWED ME UP  EVEN THE PHOTO ON YOUR WEB SITE IS WRONG .

THE PROBLEM I HAD WITH THE EYEPIECE BEING UP SIDE DOWN WHEN I RETURN TO
POLARIS WAS NOT THE ALIGNMENT WITH AUTOSTAR  BUT THE COMPUTER DOES NOT
KNOW ANY BETTER MEADE  SAID JUST LIKE WHEN THE SCOPE WILL ROTATE 350
DEGREES INSTEAD  10 DEGREES TO THE NEXT STAR
Mike here: It turns out (according to reports) that the HOME position is somewhat flexible. So users tend to use what works for them. Glad you have one that works for you.

Subject:	 ccd useage
Sent:	Sunday, June 18, 2000 06:17:58
From:	bgalxie@fwi.com (Joyce & Bill Needham)
Was wondering if you have any feed back o useing a ccd camera on the
125ec. I tried to mount my st7 with the large slr adapter and the scope
would not stay put in dec,nomater how tight i had the dec lock,besides
dont seem to have mutch clearence to pivot the mount anyway. How are
most people mounting there slr cameras on the 125? Ihave the meade 64t
adapture. Does the camera(om1 olympus) hurt the motors or the tracking?
thanks Mike enjoy your site,.will give some feedback with somemore
useage.
Bgalxie
Mike here: You likely will need to attach a counterweight to the other end of the ETX. This is true of many telescopes when you add extra weight to one end. Depending upon which CCD model is used, clearance with the mount could be an issue. Again, this may be true for other telescopes as well. There are others who are using CCDs successfully with the ETX models. You can search the site for "CCD" and you'll find lots of hits.

Subject:	 Question about the Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, June 17, 2000 21:45:45
From:	plasmaknight@hotmail.com (Wei-Chieh Chen)
Hi,

For the Maksutov-Cassegrain Meade ETX-90EC astro telescope (1250mm focal
length), it says that the maximum practical visual power is 325x. Is
that a limit to what I can see? Because if I use a 9.7mm eyepiece (129x
[rounded]), and I use a 5x Powermate, the power would be approximately
644-645. Would I be able to see things at 644 to 645 times their size or
will the limit affect it somehow?

If it is a limit, then I'll have to find exactly the right eyepieces and
Barlow lenses to avoid further complications.

If it isn't a limit, then what are the drawbacks? (Ex. blurred vision,
etcetera) If there are no drawbacks, then I'm probably gonna get a Meade
Series 4000 Super Plossl 6.4mm eyepiece with the Meade Series 4000 2x
Barlow Lens.

Please reply A.S.A.P. Thanks for your time.

A 14 year old Astronomy Enthusiast
Mike here: The theoretical limit is about 50-60x per inch of aperture. So for the ETX-90 with its 3.5 inch aperture you'd get about 210x as a maximum. However, with good optics (like in the ETX) and some eyepieces, you can easily exceed this to something above 300x. The downside is that the object viewed will be very dim unless you are viewing the Moon or a bright planet. It will also start getting fuzzy as you go to the higher magnifications. This is true of any telescope. I suggest you read through the Accessories - Eyepieces page and the eyepiece comments on the Buyer/New User Tips page for some eyepiece suggestions. My apologies for not replying ASAP but I'm on travel.

Subject:	 Solar filter??
Sent:	Saturday, June 17, 2000 20:39:57
From:	jkell@prodigy.net (JK\DK)
Hi I have a question about a solar filter. Do you think that a # 14 arc
welders shield would work it would be easy to make wooden frame for a
good fit over end. There are some models that have a mirror face on them
to reflect some of light. What do you think?   JK
Mike here: Some people will users will use these for solar eclipses. However, for telescopic use I would not recommend them as they may not be of optical quality. They may also still pass some harmful radiation from the Sun. Remember, it is not just the sun's brightness that is a problem for your eyes.

Subject:	 Meade Deluxe Field Tripod
Sent:	Saturday, June 17, 2000 18:11:51
From:	denali@mediaone.net (Winn Horton)
I just bought a Meade Deluxe Field Tripod from Natural Wonders.  They've
just started carrying not only the ETX-125, but also the tripods, cases,
and other 125 accessories.  They've been carrying ETX-90 accessories,
except tripods, for quite awhile.

Anyway, they had a 125 mounted on a tripod in the store.  It seemed
very, very stable and not as shaky as I'd expected from reading reviews
and other feedback from other users.  I'm not sure if Meade redesigned
the tripod, as the store staff suggested, or not, but I was impressed
well enough to go ahead and get one.

They do have a 30-day money back guarantee and I was told by the staff
to return the tripod if I wasn't totally satisfied for any reason.  I
told them that I will be literally "field testing" the tripod, as next
week I will be going to New Mexico and Arizona for a 3-week vacation.

Their price for the 125 case was comparable to Shutan and Pocono at
$150.00; but the tripod was $20 less at $179.  I wasn't able to find
reference to #883 for the Deluxe Tripod, on either the shipping boxes or
on the tripod itself, but it is written "Deluxe Field Tripod" on
everything.  So, I'm assuming I've got the same tripod.

When I return from vacation, I'll send an update to the tripod's
performance.

Best Regards,
Winn Horton
Middleburg, Florida
***********************************
 See The Backcountry While You Can
http://www.jacksonville.net/~denali
Mike here: Were the legs extended? I use mine with the legs NOT extended. Pretty stable that way.

Added later:

Yes, the legs were extended.  Both at the store and when I got mine
home. I, too, plan to use it mostly not extended, as I enjoy using the
telescope while sitting.

Subject:	 ETX-90 Focus?
Sent:	Saturday, June 17, 2000 09:22:31
From:	Marko66@earthlink.net (Mark O'Brien)
I have a ETX-90, and have been lookikg though it for a few months. I
seem to have a hard time focusing on ET objects.  I simply thought it
was me, and what I did not know.  However, I recently purchased a
spotting scope (Astele 60, made in Russia) and everything is so clear,
in focus, etc.  What I am wondering, Is it possible that my ETX is a bit
out of calibration? I have not had the nerve to hook up the Autostar
yet.  WHat do you think?

Mark, Tucson, AZ
Mike here: If you believe you can not reach a proper focus, try loosening the setscrew on the focus knob and slide the knob a little bit outward on the focus shaft. Retighten the setscrew and try to reach focus. Sometimes this is all that is required.

Subject:	Re: etx90 barlow +50%
Sent:	Friday, June 16, 2000 20:11:18
From:	FaybE@aol.com
thanks for your help. which barlow would you recommend for 3x? thus i
take it there is no way to position 2x barlow to get extra 50%? (please
excuse my somewhat limited grasp of mechanics of these matters.) again,
thankyou for taking time.

yours,
OllO 

Subject:	 HNSKY newsletter, the new SAC 7.1 deepsky database.
Sent:	Friday, June 16, 2000 14:18:31
From:	Han_Kleijn@compuserve.com (han kleijn)
Newsletter of the HNSKY planetarium program.            Date: 2000-6-16 

Dear "Hallo northern sky" planetarium program user,

The Saguaro Astronomy Club has created an other monumental work. They
have released there new, highly improved SAC deepsky database version
7.0 and will release version 7.1 the next days. See what Steve Cou has
to say in the text added to the end of this email. The number of objects
is still a little more then 10.000 covering allmost all objects visible
in amateur telescopes. So there is no need for UGC and PGC catalogs. SAC
version 7.0 gives the latest and almost all answers for wrongly
identified and missing NGC and IC puzzles. For background information it
is a must to visit the internet domain "ngcic.com" of the NGC & IC
project group. Very interesting historian information and other stories
how they fixed/corrected missing and wrong entries of the NGC and IC
deepsky catalog dated about 100 years ago. The Saguaro Astronomy Club
can be found at http://saguaroastro.org/archive/home.htm.

The SAC 7.1 database is now available as the standard HNS_SAC1.DAT,
HNS_SAC2.DAT and  HNS_SAC3.DAT files for HNSKY. Since the abbreviations
and comments are often longer, I suggest to download HNSKY version
2.059. In older versions the statusbar text length is limited to 130
charactors only. You can use your old default.hns file but you have to
switch on the stars to "ON" in the object menu.

The following has changed in HNSKY since 2000-4-9:

-00-06-14 Update for 2000+ plus help (v1.01) file with potporri of
astronomical information such as annual meteor showers.
-00-06-13 Release of version 2.053. Improved interpretator for
abbreviations.
-00-06-12 Release of version 2.052. Allows long messages on status bar.
First preliminary version of deepsky databases based on SAC70.
-00-06-07 Release of version 2.051. Improved time update   routine.
Up/down key for maximum star magnitude. Overvied for dark moonless  nights
for the next 30 days, Up/down key readable in "night vision mode".   Action
Arrow key in OBJECT menu improved.


I will introduce HNSKY version 2.06 after two week or so. It will be
almost identical to version 2.059. I like round numbers and I only want
to improve a few very small things in HNSKY next time. Then hope again
to slow down. Family is calling. And my new computerized telescope is
coming...

I still hope that HNSKY will described in Sky&Telescope or Astronomy one
day. I you have good relations there, please inform them about HNSKY.


That's all for this time. Thanks for all the replies and comments.
Without those, this program would never be expanded to this state.


====Happy computing and clear skies, Han Kleijn, Bruehl Germany.====

___________________________________________________________________________

The latest version can be downloaded from my web page:

ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/han_kleijn/software.htm

The program Hallo northern sky is an electronic version of the night
sky. It displays all stars to about magnitude 12 (2.5 million stars) and
10607 deep sky objects. It also shows the all planets, Moon, Sun, moons
of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, phases of the Moon and
inner planets, solar and lunar eclipses, rings of Saturn and minor
planets and comets. HNSKY has the ability to use the GSC or "Guide Star
Catalog" and USNO CD-ROM database with a limiting magnitude of about 15
or more.

The intention of the program is to familiarise you with the night sky
and prepare yourself with a map for a night with your telescope. To help
you with this, all deepsky objects are displayed in the correct size and
orientation if available.

This program is free. Please distribute and enjoy. Inform me if you
liked it. Comments are always very welcome. This program stays copyright
(C) Han Kleijn and you may not make money of it. Please distribute with
original files only.


======="The README.TXT of the new SAC70 deepsky database"
====================================

Information on the Saguaro Astronomy Club Database version 7.0

dated June 4, 2000

by Steve Coe, SAC Vice President
email: Steve Coe (stevecoe3@home.com)

This club project started many years ago, when we wanted a listing of
the brightest deep sky objects on our computers. Thinking it would be an
easy task, here we are nearly 20 years later, still maintaining and
updating a much larger listing of information about what to observe at
the telescope. How far we have come from the list of objects from
Burnham's Celestial Handbook, all typed in on my Apple II+. Time flies.
As always, if you find an error, please let us know. This ZIP file
contains five text files:

This README.TXT file.

SACDOC.TXT is the documentation for the SAC database, there is much
information here on the data fields and what the data means. Please
spend some time reading this info before trying to utilize the database,
it will help you to use this data effectively.

REVHIST.TXT is the revision history, a short file about the various
releases of the SAC database.

POTPORRI.TXT is a set of information about a wide variety of
astronomical phenomena from white dwarf stars, red stars and meteor
showers. These are useful files, but they did not fit the information
style of the main database.

SAC70.TXT is version 7.0 of the Saguaro Astronomy Club database in
quote, comma, quote delimited form. Any modern database manager or
spreadsheet will import the data in this form. I contains information on
over 10,000 deepsky objects.

There are a few changes to the database fields from the previous
releases of the SAC database: 1) The SIZE field has been split into two
fields, one for major axis and one for minor axis. The SIZE fields use
the lower case letter [m] for arcminutes, [s] for arcseconds and [d] for
degrees. Because the database is delimited (field separated) with a
double quote, it was confusing in some programs to also use a double
quote for arcseconds. 2) The addition of the BCHM field allows easy
access to Messier or other references from prominent catalogs. 3) The
NGC description field and the NOTES field are now next to each other, so
that they can be easily included or left out of a printed observing
list.

Much time and effort was spent to update the data with information
available on the NGCIC.ORG Web site. Thanks to Bob Erdmann for managing
the site and providing this valuable resource. Both Wolfgang Steineke
and Dr. Harold Corwin have many hours of searching for, and correcting,
errors in the NGC. Their work is reflected in this release of the SAC
database. A small fraction of the number of objects still persist as
NONEXISTENT, compared to the beginning of this database. Brian Skiff of
Lowell Obs. has also been a constant help with a variety of information
about these deep sky objects.

Thank you to the skill, knowledge and expertise of all who helped the
Saguaro Astronomy Club create an excellent listing of what to observe in
the deep sky.



=======" REVHIST.TXT" ====================================

REVISION HISTORY for SAC DATABASE,

The goal of the people working on the Saguaro Astronomy Club database
has been to provide a listing which could yield an observing list for
use at the telescope.  The early versions covered plenty of objects for
users of scopes up to 8" in size.  As we added more objects and data,
the list became more massive and we believe that it now covers a large
portion of what could be seen in a telescope in the 10" to 14" range. 
Addition of many more objects will add many small and faint galaxies,
seeing as that is about all that remains below 14 magnitude.  We do not
relish this task and probably will not undertake such a large work.

Version 1.0 consisted of 1100 objects down to a magnitude limit of about
11.5.  It was also the beginning of the navstar and multistr files.

Version 2.0 started to add a variety of objects from the RNGC.  We soon
discovered an excellent list of corrections from Brian Skiff and Dr.
Harold Corwin.

Version 3.0 should not be used.  It is easy to spot the erroneous data. 
Look at M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, if its' declination is -31, that is
the bad version!!  We certainly learned a lot about maintaining back ups
to data.

Version 4.0 combined data from version 2.0 with the data input by Jeff
Weintraub from Sky Catalog 2000.  This version contains much good info
and started to show us how massive a fairly complete deep sky database
was going to get.  This was the first version to contain Dan Ward's
Report Generator.  This version was compressed with PKPAK 3.61.

After the release of version 4.0 many SAC members joined together in a
combined effort to try and find as much info as we could on objects each
person was assigned.  The listing of who-did-what is in SACDOC.TXT.
Several intermediate versions were compiled within the club, and then:

Version 5.0 fixed some problems with the DESCR field and included all
the NOTES which members had found.  With the inclusion of multistr,
navstar, potporri and Jim Lucyk's photondx files, this was the best
version to date. A medium to large telescope owner with good skies can
keep busy with version 5 for many observing sessions.  A.J. Crayon's
install program will put this version onto hard disk.  The files are no
larger than 360K each, to accommodate BBS operators.  SAC Report
Generator has been rewritten to include several more features.  This
version was compressed with the old compression algorithm so that we
would only have to include ARCE on disk to un-arc the files.

Version 5.1 fixed a small problem with the Report Generator.  It can now
search for objects with lower case characters in the name, such as Cr or
Tr.  If you are using your own database manager or if you do not use
SACREP to search for individual objects, the update is unnecessary.

Version 5.2 added several corrections, given in the file "errata50.txt".
Dan Ward updated the Report Generator.

Several internal versions existed within the SAC as we updated the
information and Dan Ward set up Report Generator to accomodate the
changes.  We dropped the SOURCE field, finding that we where doing a
poor job of keeping track of where each objects info source.  We added
the SUBR field with info from RC3 on surface brightness. Sizes of
several fields changed as the NOTES and NGC DESCR fields got larger.  U2
and TIR fields got smaller because we found that we did not need to
provide multiple chart numbers for each object.

Version 6.0 contains all the changes mentioned above and accompanying
changes made to Report Generator.

Version 6.1 incorporates several changes which I believe are well worth
doing.  First, the database is in one large file and not small pieces,
RA hour size.  Second, nothing is compressed by the pkzip program, it
all fits on one 1.44 Meg floppy.  Third, the errors given below have
been fixed in the data, I will maintain a complete errata list if you
wish to add to it, please contact me.

Version 6.2 takes care of a few errors, and make the data more
consistent, such as finding a magnitude that was given as 08 and
changing that to 08.0, so that all the data appears the same to the
computer.

Several SAC members have been working with the NGC project to update the
NGC and make certain that all the objects are identified with the
correct object in the sky.  The fruit of this undertaking is in Version
7.0.  Dr. Harold Corwin and Wolfgang Steinike have provided info on many
NGC objects and have solved many puzzles concerning the NGC.  The number
of truly unknown or unverified objects has shrunk to a fraction of where
we began and this version of the SAC database reflects that work.

Subject:	 Eyepiece Projection
Sent:	Friday, June 16, 2000 11:43:49
From:	GSkoubis@ussco.com (Skoubis, George)
When shooting through an SLR attached to a camera adaptor using eyepiece
projection, do you focus (i.e., the moon) through the eyepiece first and
then attach the camera, or do you set your focus when all is attached by
viewing through the camera?

Skouby
Mike here: With the camera lens removed for eyepiece projection, you have to focus on the camera's film plane, not to your eye. So you have to use the SLR viewfinder. Obviously a bright object is likely required. Some cameras have swappable viewfinders, some which work better with astrophotography.

Subject:	etx90 barlow +50%
Sent:	Friday, June 16, 2000 05:29:20
From:	FaybE@aol.com
hi there,

want to thank you for your site which has been a help as i am a first
telescope/etx owner. if you have a moment what would be best way for me
to make my meade 126 barlow function for 3x magnification (as well as
2x)? or would i be better off with another barlow setup to complement my
vixen 8-24mm zoom? i am wanting to achieve 50-150, 100-300, 150-450
magnification ratios. thanks again for your help.

yours,
OllO
Mike here: Best way to get 3X is to buy a 3X Barlow Lens. Unless you are real good at optics, modifying the 2X to get acceptable results would not be worth the effort.

Subject:	 GREAT SITE
Sent:	Thursday, June 15, 2000 16:16:31
From:	TLINEMAN@webtv.net (THOMAS MAHONY)
Found your site at scopetronics . I own  a etx 125 started with the
deluxe tripod it was too shaky  returned that one. Bought the advance
tripod with the fixed leg height but that assume all ground is level
traded those in for the adjustable  legs . Now i have a nice tripod . I
would like to know if you have a diagram of  how to mount  the scope  in
the polar home position . Again love the site  and thanks.

TOM
Mike here: You'll need some sort of a wedge to mount the ETX in the polar mode. See the Accessories - Tripods page and the Tech Tips page for info.

Added later:

Thanks for your speedy reply .  I forgot to mention that the tripod has
a wedge .The diagram meade supples with it meade said was wrong .I look
though your site but i did not see  instructions  on mounting the scope
to the wedge in the in the polar home position or i missed it.
Mike here: Sorry about the confusion but which Tripod and Wedge do you have? In any case, you are likely correct that there are no revised instructions about it on my site.

Subject:	 site
Sent:	Thursday, June 15, 2000 14:06:58
From:	rmsandy@roanoke.infi.net (Robert Sandy)
Very nice ETX site!  Great Casio shots!

Bob

http://www.roanoke.infi.net/~rmsandy/astrophotography.html

Subject:	 [Fwd: RTMC trip] - another stolen telescope report
Sent:	Wednesday, June 14, 2000 15:55:41
From:	vernlw@teleport.com (Vern Weiss)
Bruce Sayre wrote:

> Hi, Vern and Jackie,
>
> We enjoyed your note. Sounds like the trip up 395 was a success for you. Nothing like a
> little desert heat to make you long for cool, cool Oregon.
>
> We really enjoyed ourselves at RTMC, in no small part because of your company. It's not
> quite a star party, is it? More a bunch of telescope nuts who are more interested in
> building than looking. But it's a fun group.
>
> A sad note: someone stole Tom Noe's 10-inch Teleport. Here's a note he sent to RTMC (Mel
> posted it on the ATM list for him):
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> TO BOB AND ALL AT RTMC: Thanks for a great telescope makers
> conference. In spite of the unfortunate ending for myself and Linda, it was a good
> one. I want to thank all who worked so hard to make it happen.
>
> It would perhaps be appropriate for all of you to line up and kick me
> in the rear. I ignored your warnings and left my scope unattended and
> vulnerable, and know I have only myself to blame. The integrity of
> 99.9% of our community lulled me into ignoring the .1% who would do
> something like that.
>
> I appreciate your offer to help spread the word via the RTMC web site.
> Perhaps I'm still just naive, but I think there's a small chance my
> scope will come back. The following is a plea to the one who stole it,
> plus a description and photos for those who may encounter it sometime.
>
> TO THE THIEF: There are a lot of fine people in our astronomy
> community who share a love of the sky and appreciation for the equipment that
> helps us explore it. Have you looked at where this act puts you with
> respect to that community? Have you asked yourself if that's where you
> want to be? Can you ever really enjoy using a stolen telescope? Can
> you ever share it with a friend? You must know that the rest of our
> community will watch for you.
>
> Have you considered how you have affected other people in that
> community? That scope didn't come off an assembly line. It is so much
> more than its $2850 price. Besides the $1100 in parts, it's well over
> two weeks of my life, and is a vital part of me. Making scopes
> professionally is a labor of love, but is also now my livelihood. When
> you stole it, you took almost 10% of my years effort, and almost 20%
> of its net income.
>
> The lady in Oregon who had waited months for it will now wait longer.
> Nine others who have put down deposits will see their deliveries slip.
> I won't have another 10" scope for myself or to show until next March.
>
> We all make mistakes. Many of them can never be undone, but this one
> can. Just put a label on my scope that says "Shipper #760-477, phone
> 972-442-5456", set it inside the front of any UPS office in the
> country, and leave.
>
> If you do that, I promise to never press charges against you, and that
> I will in fact speak up on your behalf should you ever be caught. If you
> don't, and the scope is traced to you, I will do all I can to insure
> you are punished to the full extent of the law. At this point, you have a
> choice. I hope you make it right for everyone, especially you.
>
> - ----------------------------------------------------
> TO MEMBERS OF THE ASTRONOMY COMMUNITY: Please look out for my
> telescope. It should be easy to identify, as there are only a dozen
> like it in the world. It is a 10" Teleport, the "telescoping telescope"
> that lifts up for use. Closed, it's a small box. Open it's a 10" F/5 Dob.
> It has a shroud with light baffles, a 2" custom helical focuser, and a
> fold out Crossman LED type finder. Photos of the scope open and closed are
> shown below.
>
> A label on the mirror box has the name of my wife, Linda Silas, my
> signature, and the serial number TP10-004. The label is easily
> removed, but the same serial number is also engraved on the edge of the Zambuto
> mirror, and is visible when the mirror cell is removed. The mirror is
> also easly identified even if the serial number is obliterated. It is
> 7/8" thick Pyrex, with a flat ground back and a 3/8" wide bevel around
> the back edge.
>
> Please learn what you can, about anyone you see with a 10" Teleport
> (especially a vehicle license number) and contact me at once. The
> thief missed the scopes ground board and slip cover (as shown folded up on
> the open scope in the photo). A crude ground board and the absence of a
> cover would also help quickly identify it.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Tom Noe
> 4030 N. Hwy 78
> Wylie, TX 75098
> 972-442-5456
> tomnoe@wt.net
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Most unfortunate. This incident has left a lot of us pondering the risks of stolen
> telescopes at star parties. The lighter and more easily set up a telescope is, the worse
> the risk. My own telescopes are way to complicated to be lifted up with one hand and
> carried away like a Teleport. Of course, there's Steve Swayze's theft -- someone just
> climbed into his van and drove off, telescope and all. I suppose one should take
> precautions against the 0.01% who live on the dark side.
>
> I'm pretty sure we'll be attending OSP, but we don't know what day we'll arrive. We'll let
> you know when we figure it out.
>
> We're enjoying the pretty pitcher you gave us. Last night it was full of strawberries.
> Thanks so much.
>
> Good summer stargazing,
>
> Bruce Sayre
> P. O. Box 544
> Applegate, CA 95703 USA
> mailto:sayre@foothill.net
> http://www.foothill.net/~sayre

I'm forwarding this to all my astronomy groups.  somewhere this stolen
Teleport has to show up.  I have one (SN 003) and love it.  I talked
with Tom and Linda at RTMC and there are not two nicer people in the
world.

May the thief be condemned to study the sun forever without a filter.

--
 Vern Weiss
503 236-1059
Darker, clearer skies!
Added later:
Here is a print of the scope that was stolen (the smaller one on the
left).  Tom oe and his wife, Linda are seated.  Tom's email is
>tomnoe@wtd.net< if anyone has any information or questions.
Teleport

Subject:	 help Mike
Sent:	Wednesday, June 14, 2000 15:18:16
From:	garyc@voicenet.com (gary)
I have been saving for a etx90 for quite a while and just saw the ads
for the 60 and 70 I am so glad I cam across your web site it is very
informative at first I thought $350 was great for the 70 as it includes
the autostar with but as I read in the tips for new users the lens are
nowhere near as good as the 90 and viewing is very small.I hate to bug
you but would you happen to know a website that sells the ETX90 at the
lowest price? Also can I use it right out of the box or do I need all
these barlow lens that I keep reading about? As you can see I am a real
novice I love the stars but never owned a tetescope and thought now that
I saved up I will get a pretty good one.

thanks for all the help

Gary Copestake
Mike here: ETX models continue in high demand, so like gasoline, low prices are rare. Sometimes places like JCPenney or The Nature Company have sales. However, your best bet is to buy from a dealer that knows what they are selling. The Nature Company, Discovery Channel Store, and telescope dealers online (like Shutan and many others), are good sources. Shutan sells used ones and sometimes you can find used ones on eBay. As to accessories, you can start with the just the standard supplied items and grow from there as your experience and enjoyment (and bank account) expand. I would recommend a 2X Barlow Lens right away as that will double the magnification you have available. Then as you add more eyepieces, you can continue to use the Barlow on them. Don't feel that you need to add the Autostar right away. Millions of amateur astronomers have gotten by without a GOTO computer for centuries. Learning your way around the night sky can be part of the enjoyment.

Subject:	 8-inch "ETX"
Sent:	Monday, June 12, 2000 20:21:21
From:	bob@shutan.com (Bob Shutan)
Since aperture fever is always ever present... thought your readers
might be interested in knowing about the new Meade LX90 8" GOTO scope.
It's an 8" SCT that is factory equipped with a 30,223-object Autostar!
It looks like that really-big ETX on your home page! We have it listed
at our web site www.shutan.com in the telescope section of our online
catalog.

Cheers!

Bob Shutan
bob@shutan.com
Mike here: Click for the www.shutan.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=1&Product_Code=ML8F1&Category_Code=telcat6 direct link. Click for the Meade announcement.

Subject:	ETX Delux Field Tripod
Sent:	Monday, June 12, 2000 18:47:39
From:	Homda1@aol.com
Has anyone experienced problems with the ETX Deluxe Field tripod?  I
have had problems with the legs slipping down even though the wing nuts
are as tight as I can get them.  Last night (middle of the night) one
tripod leg slid down and my new ETX 125 bit the dust.  Actually it was
the cement floor of the garage.  Would appreciate any feedback before I
contact Meade.

Pete Burtis
Homda1@AOL.COM
Mike here: There have been some reports of legs slippage. A fix is on the Tech Tips page under the "Meade Tripod mod" from 9/10/99. Scopetronix sells a "Tripod Leg Clamp Set" that can help. Others have just inserted a US Quarter or similar disk between the leg and the bolt.

Subject:	 Linear S4 with CCD+ETX
Sent:	Monday, June 12, 2000 13:46:22
From:	guillaume.dubos@freesbee.fr (Guillaume Dubos)
I've done my first CCD comet pictures with what I call my ETX-GP. I've
imaged C/1999S4 (aka linearS4), this summer comet. Pictures are on the
page : 
etxgp.free.fr/Audine/ETX/LinearS4/LinearS4eng.html
(french version available at
etxgp.free.fr/Audine/ETX/LinearS4/LinearS4.html)
Maybe it's a little out of topic but I couldn't resist :-)
Clear skies
Guillaume Dubos

Subject:	STOLEN GOODS: PLS watch for these recently Stolen good
From:	Patrice Scattolin 
Date:	Sun, 11 Jun 2000 09:20:27 -0400
The Laval (Quebec Canada) astronomy club's observatory was broken in and
most of their stuff was stolen. All of the stuff was marked with the
club's name (CAAL) and serial number (see below). Robbery would have
occured between wednesday june 7th at 19:30 and friday june 9 20:30.

I find it odd that someone would rob a public observatory. As a robber
how much of a market would you have for your goods? My guess is that
it's the last we have seen of this equipement. But you never really know
so keep your eyes open in case someone in a back alley offers you an
LX200.

Here is the list of what was stolen and the serial number:

Should this stuff turn up, contact CAAL at:

  Jean-Marc Richard     rés.  : (450) 625-5527
                        bur.  : (450) 978-8754
                        cell. : (514) 978-2681
                        email : jmr@cam.org 
                  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  Inventaire de l'équipement volé.                
                  
  DESCRIPTION                                     NO D'INVENTAIRE GRAVÉ   
  Télescope Meade 12" LX200                               1       
  control paddle                                          2       
  Transformer                                             3       
  focuser 2"                                              15      
  8 x 50 finder                                           16      
  super wedge                                             4       
  Meade super plössl 26mm 1.25"                           6       
  Kelner 25mm 1.25"                                       7       
  Erfel 25mm 1.25"                                        8       
  illuminated super plössl 9mm 1.25"                      9       
  Barlow 2X Meade #140                                    10      
  variable polariser Meade #905                           11      
  "piggyback" brackets Meade                              12      
  Bague de réduction de 2" ą 1.25" fileté ą 48mm          13      
  dew shield Meade #612                                   21      
  counter weight Meade #1403                              28      
  electrical focuser #1206                                29      
  Nagler Télévue 16mm 2"                                  30      
  focale reducer f 6.3                                    32      
  nebular filter Lumicon 2"                               33      
  Maksutov Meade ETX 3.5"                                 36      
  Meade super plössl 26mm 1.5" L.P.                       37      
  finder for Meade ETX                                    38      
  caméra Adapter Meade # 62                               40      
  H-Alpha filter Thousand Oak                             35    

+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Patrice Scattolin      scattol@videotron.ca
|       http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Woods/6905
|
|  No! Try not; Do or do not; There is no try.
|                                -- Yoda
+-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject:	 SCS Astro Wide Field Eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, June 11, 2000 11:44:59
From:	dpersyk@worldnet.att.net (Dennis Persyk)
I was interested in Andy Williams' report on an SCS Astro wide field
eyepiece having a whopping 1.8 degree field of view.  I visited the site
and they advertise a 50 mm focal length Erfle eyepiece with an apparent
field of view of 30 degrees.  With an ETX 90EC focal length of 1250 mm,
this works out to an actual FOV of only 1.3 degrees, not 1.8. I find the
Rini 45 mm eyepiece with 40 degree apparent FOV yields an actual FOV of
1.4 degrees and is the most degrees for the buck!
Clear skies!
Dennis Persyk

Subject:	 Battery leakage Energizer 2004 expiration
Sent:	Sunday, June 11, 2000 11:14:54
From:	thomas.chmura@gte.net (Thomas J. Chmura)
You may have come across this problem before, if not posting it may help
others. I have no idea yet what is causing the problem. I am concerned
that a great deal of damage can occur.

Sent to the ETX Discussion Group on June 11, 2000

There has been quite a few postings about battery leakage. The postings
have generally referred to Duracell as the problem.

About a hour ago I walked up to the ETX90-EC sitting on the tripod in
the family and noticed something on the head, at the mount. It was
battery acid leaking out of the compartment. The batteries were
Energizer brand with a 2004 expiration date, installed on the 7th of
June (2000). The scope had been used for less than one hour since
installing the new batteries.The package of twenty batteries was
purchased at a Sam's Club in late May, 2000. The scope is always in a
temperature controlled environment (68 to 78' F) except when in use.

Previous postings had indicated the last battery in the chain as the
point of leakage. Three batteries were leaking in the #5, 6& 7 position
(L to R) with on/off switch facing up. The #8 battery  appears to be
O.K. By visual inspection after a thorough cleaning, then power on test
the scope seems to be O.K.

Fortunately I saw the problem before the leakage did any major damage.
It had not reached the carpeting under the scope. How do you send 18
yards of new carpet and three leaky batteries back under the warranty ?

I suggest everyone keep an eye on the batteries without regard to age or
time in use.

Tom C

Mike here:
Subject: Mercury Observations.
Friday night I took the ETX-125EC outside shortly after sunset to view Mercury. Since NO alignment stars were visible at the time I just set the ETX up in the HOME position, pointed approximately North, selected Easy Align, and accepted each alignment star as centered once prompted. I then selected GOTO Mercury. The Autostar got it in the Finderscope field of view (about halfway to the edge)! Using the 26mm eyepiece (73x) I centered Mercury. I then used the 9.7mm eyepiece (196x) to look at Mercury. Due to the low altitude of Mercury there was a lot of atmospheric distortion but the phase was distinctly visible at times. I then decided to push my luck and use the 2X Barlow Lens with the 9.7mm (392x). Actually, there were times when the view was steady enough to allow this magnification to work out well. So, if you haven't seen Mercury before, take advantage of this excellent viewing opportunity. It is the bright object low in the West Northwest right after sunset. You won't even need the Autostar to find it.


Subject:	 observing report/northern Calif. southern Oregon
Sent:	Friday, June 9, 2000 01:47:56
From:	OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz)
Hi there

Here's some observing logs from my recent trip to the Redwood Highway in
California and Oregon! (I hope the formatting below remains somewhat
intact, if not, I apologize):

Date:  05/30/00	Location:  Benbow, CA
Time: Start:  11:00 [PM]		End:  12:45  [AM]		Optics:  ETX90EC/v1.3c
 Seeing: 3.5  Transparency:  7  Mag:  6-6.5    Temp (deg F.):  50     __
Humidity:  ~70%

Designation  Type  Const.  EP/Mag   Comments/Description
M65/66        G     Leo    26SP/48x Excellent both in same fov
NGC3628       G     Leo             Dim compared to M65/66
M95/96        G     Leo             Could almost see all 3 (95,96,105)in same fov, & may have..
M105          G     Leo             ..seen one of the nearby NGC objects as well
M51/NGC       G     CVn             Very nice, size, shape easy
M97           PL    UMa             Owl, very nice, large, dim disk
M108          G     UMa
M109          G     UMa             Not a struggle like it usually is back east
M101          G     UMa             Faint, but readily seen oval shape
M106          G     CVn             Fairly easy
M94           G     CVn             Ditto, bright core
M63           G     CVn             Sunflower, big oval shape
M81/82        G     UMa             One of the nicest observations of this pair I've had
M3            GC    CVn    96x      Beautiful!
M53           GC    Com             Nice
M64           G     Com    48x      Blackeye, ALMOST visible!
M104          G     Vir             Sombrero, dust lane JUST barely visible with averted 
                                    vision, 1st time with ETX!
M92           GC    Her             Excellent, dense, beautiful
M13           GC    Her             Classic, just begins to resolve in ETX
IC4665        OC    Oph             Big, loose, bright stars
M57           PL    Lyr             Ring, sharp doughnut easy to see
M56           GC    Lyr             One of the smaller GC's, but nice
M27           PL    Vul             Dumbbell, excellent, big, round, bright

Additional Comments:
Viewing from redwoods in north California not as good as from 7000 ft up
in New Mexico, but still a major improvement over east coast. I think
transparency suffered a little due to low altitude and proximity to the
Pacific, plus I was near a highway. Nonetheless, I was happy to be able
to get some observing time in from any kind of really dark sky sites
during my trip to the redwoods area of California this spring.
Everything was so much easier to see, and details more apparent in any
objects that would yield detail. I had to end this session as large
clouds started to roll in.


Date:  06/02/00	Location:  Cow Creek, Azalea, Umpqua Nat'l Forest, Oregon
Time: Start:  11:00  [AM]		End:  01:00  [AM]	Optics:  ETX90EC/v1.3c, 10x50's
 Seeing: 3.5  Transparency:  8  Mag:  6.5-7    Temp (deg F.):  50     __
Humidity:  medium

Designation  Type  Const.  EP/Mag   Comments/Description
M81/82        G     UMa    26SP/48x Awesome pair, sizes and shapes easily distinguished
M13           GC    Her    18AR/80x Starts to resolve, always a classic
M57           PL    Lyr             VERY nice
M29           OC    Cyg             Nice, not very dense
Albireo       *     Cyg    26SP/48x Always beautiful!
IC4665        OC    Oph             Big, loose, bright stars
IC4756        OC    Ser             Rich, loose, big, 2 bright stars in field
NGC6633       OC    Oph             Irregular shape, sparkling, bright
NGC6709       OC    Aql             Small, nice
NGC6503       G     Dra             Small, edge-on, oblong shape
NGC6960       DN    Cyg             Veil, VERY tough, only a hint
NGC7063       OC    Cyg             Small, faint
NGC7039       OC    Cyg             Small, nice
M39           OC    Cyg             Excellent
NGC6811       OC    Cyg             Lots of faint stars
NGC6871       OC    Cyg             Large, bright, several double stars in fov!
NGC6819       OC    Cyg    18AR/80x Dense, small, rich, nice
M22           GC    Sgr    10x50 binocs
M8            DN    Sgr             Lagoon
M20           DN    Sgr             Trifid
M17           DN    Sgr             Swan
M16           DN    Sgr             Eagle
M11           OC    Sct
M71           GC    Sge
Cr399         OC    Cyg             The Coathanger AWESOME in 10x50's
M4            GC    Sco
NGC7000       DN    Cyg             North American Nebula, beautiful!


Additional Comments:
This was my second and last chance for dark sky observing during my
recent northern California/southern Oregon trip. From about 3000 feet
up, in a small meadow in the southwest corner of the Umpqua National
Forest, I had only to step right outside of the guest cabin we were
staying at for a couple nights to enjoy truly dark, mag 6.5-7 skies. The
view was cut off from about 20 degrees above the actual horizon by
surrounding 4000' mountains, but I did not care! The Milky Way was
visible from the northeast to the south, clear from the ridgelines on
up. The Coal Sack was obvious. I basically ended up on more or less of
an open/galactic cluster tour through the Cygnus and Ophiuchus areas.
These are great objects for an ETX90 class instrument. After about 90
minutes I was unfortunately stopped by heavy dewing of everything, and
could not go on to the great Sag area objects, which were now well above
the southeast ridgeline. So I then went to my 10x50 binocs and scanned
about for several of the showpiece objects, and quite enjoyed the wide
field views of the Milky Way and other rich starfields. I am sure I saw
many more objects than I listed, but I simply did not make the effort to
specifically identify them at the time.

As expected, I had a lot more planned than I actually managed to find
time to observe, and I missed what were probably some good opportunities
to view Mercury and perhaps the Linear comet, among many other things.
The first night out I spent looking at several objects I had logged here
(back east) several times, because I simply wanted to be able to compare
the views from under better skies. I really get spoiled, and then almost
angry or disgusted when I return to the east coast, with its rampant
light pollution AND typically hazy, humid, skies. I really envy those
folks whose lives' fortunes or circumstances allow them to regularly
enjoy the great skies I only get an occasional glimpse of. At any rate,
once again, I was VERY glad to be able to have a great little scope with
me during my travels. Despite its small scope class, the ETX90 provides
endless observing enjoyment, and the Autostar, which was performing at
nearly 100%, helps makes tremendously efficient use of my typically
limited observing times.

Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery
Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place'
http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN

Subject:	Orion EZ finder and piggybacked camera...
Sent:	Thursday, June 8, 2000 11:54:23
From:	Etxstargazer@aol.com
I will soon be buying a Piggy Back bracket for my ETX-90/EC from
Scopetronix. I will be using it with a 200-300mm lens. After that I will
want to buy an Orion EZ finder. Will there be room on the telescope tube
(the large lens takes alot of room). I wish to use these instruments in
conjunction with eachother because the camera body blocks the view of
the standard finder on the ETX. Where can I put the EZ finder so I can
view objects comfortably.

Thanks alot,
Taylor Chonis

*Please Visit the ETX Domain*
**http://www.etxdomain.cjb.net**
***A fun and interesting Location to Learn about the scope***
Mike here: Not having the Orion EZ Finder I can't say where it would fit best. But check out the Accessories - Finderscopes page and see the my Scopetronix LightSight comments. There are some photos showing where I mounted it. Depending upon how you have to set up your piggyback lens/camera you should be able to find a spot to mount the finder where it won't interfere with the camera and vice versa.

Subject:	 Re: Eyepiece for solar observing
Sent:	Thursday, June 8, 2000 07:22:04
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Roberto Battaiola had asked about eyepieces to observe the Sun's disk
and eliminate the border around it.

I use my TeleVue 8-24mm zoom for solar viewing with a Baader solar film
filter.  It allows me to dial in the view I want, including one where
the solar disk fills the view completely.  It also allows me to get
closer in on the sunspot groups that appear interesting, or pull back
for a smaller image.

I suspect that the inexpensive zoom from Scopetronix would allow the
same type of views, though I do not have this eyepiece to verify this.
-- 
======================================================================
       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Obs. reports
Sent:	Thursday, June 8, 2000 00:53:55
From:	xdh24@dial.pipex.com (Paul Clark)
Here is a report detailing two recent observing trips with my ETX90 EC. 
They were originally written for the monthly newsletter of the
Altrincham and District Astronomical Society (ADAS) near Manchester,
England.  I think the reports highlight the power of the scope' as a
very portable GOTO and non-GOTO instrument.  I hope you find them
interesting.

Regards,
Paul Clark.
---------------

What I saw on my holidays

A two week stay south of Florence, Italy (43N) presented the
opportunity to observe many of the more southerly objects on my numerous
'tick' lists.  I used my ETX90 EC, this I carried as take-on luggage for
the flight down to Italy from Manchester (53N).

The first session was on a warm humid evening.  Now I understand what
some Americans have to suffer...

...it was too hot!  The downside being very poor seeing with crud
extending about 15 degrees above the horizon.  I hoped to pick off some
bright open clusters from the Caldwell list in Canis Major and
Monoceros.  These were lost in the evening twilight and murk.  The
seeing was so bad that I could barely make out the Ghost of Jupiter, a
mag. 8.6 planetary nebula and the  Spindle and Needle galaxies at around
mag. 9.  The rising moon put paid to any more observing that evening.

Five days later things were looking better.  A day of heavy rain showers
followed by a cool cloud clearing north-easterly breeze boded well for a
good session.  I was not disappointed.  From my observing site at about
1000m. elevation I experienced the clearest conditions I have ever
seen!!!

The Coma Berenices star cluster was a brilliant sight near the zenith,
better to the naked eye than the Beehive!  I started in the deep south
by Hydra, Sextans and Corvus.  The seeing made the Ghost of Jupiter jump
out of the eyepiece as unmistakably not a star.   I tried the UHC/Deep
Sky filters that Roger had lent me however, despite increased contrast
the overall view was not improved.  The Spindle galaxy was this time
bright, obvious and very spindley.  M68 and M83, difficult from the U.K.
were obvious, though unremarkable.  The big ticks here were the two
interacting galaxies NGCs 4039 and 4038 in Corvus, visible as a lobsided
blob.  All the better for knowing what they are and how they look in
pictures.  On familiar ground M67, the 'other' cluster in Cancer, looked
far better through the scope' than the Beehive, which needs a wider FOV
than that available through the ETX.  Skimming through Leo the 'trio' of
galaxies looked excellent with the two vertical Messier galaxies hanging
below the fainter horizontal NGC something.  A check on the Sombrero,
M104, showed a beautiful setting with a nice asterism to the west and I
could easily imagine a dark lane running along the middle of the galaxy.
Moving up to Coma three galaxies from the Caldwell list half seen, half
imagined from the previous session were so clear that I could not
believe I was looking at the same objects.  Despite having finder charts
from SkyMap Pro which confirmed all the observations!

Next I tried higher powers on the big globular clusters M5, 92 and 13. 
M92 readily resolved at the edges whilst the others looked bigger and
granular.  M51, the Whirlpool galaxy was simply stunning, so bright with
haze extending around it and over to the associated galaxy.  I then
notice that Vega was quite high and decided to try epsilon Lyrae.  This
double double split readily and the seeing easily accepted x256. 
Hopping down to the Ring nebula was a breathtaking find with it being so
clearly defined as a ring at x128.

Finally I ticked a few Messier globulars in Ophiuchus, not impressive
owing to their low altitude.  Reluctantly I had to end the session at
around midnight with Scorpius rising from the horizon.

I had hoped to finish off a complete  round of the Messier list whilst I
could see the southerly objects from a favorable location and so a few
days elapsed waiting for the moon to wane and a clear night to appear. 
Fortunately following some thunder storms the skies started to clear two
nights before we were due to return home.

Starting at about 00:30 local time this was to prove quite an arduous
session, even with the aid of the Autostar and detailed finder charts. 
The sky gradually cleared throughout the next four hours however, a lot
of the time was spent low down in the south and south east trying to
pick off the objects as they rose through a light haze.  The globulars
in Ophiuchus passed by easily, I'm sure they warrant further viewing in
an August evening.  The big open clusters in Scorpius looked the part as
they rose to about 15 degrees.  The Butterfly was true to it's name.  A
bright mag. 2 cluster, the Table of Scorpius, was also seen in the haze
of 3 degrees altitude.  The Wild Duck cluster in Scutum was a gem.  Then
I moved on to Sagittarius.

The sights to be seen here cannot be underestimated.  Staring into the
centre of our galaxy for the first time was a profound experience. 
Eagle, Swan, Triffid and Lagoon nebulas plus a feast of stars.  Reason
enough to travel south in the summer.

Difficult low altitude globulars followed with lots of averted vision
and scope' joggling, leading to a touch and go final tick of M30 in
Capricorn through the morning twilight.

The use of  the Autostar combined with excellent finder charts has
certainly made it possible for the beginning astronomer to travel the
universe.  Now I've got to learn to do it without

Astronomy on the Algarve (37N).

It only seems like minutes since my first observing report from Italy. 
A week of cold weather coupled with a forecast of rain, rain and rain
sent my wife into a frenzy of net surfing and phone' calls which
resulted in a late booked week 'somewhere' in the Algarve.

Arriving at 3 a.m. I could easily see Scorpius and Sagittarius standing
high through the lights of Faro airport.  This set the scene for six
more nights of clear skies and darkness through the new moon period.

My first brief session was from the deck of an empty beachfront
bar/shack well sheltered from wind, spray and light pollution.  At this
latitude Mercury was well above the horizon at mag. -0.3 in rapidly
darkening twilight.  No grubbing around amongst the trees and houses in
the northern twilight and light pollution of Manchester for me!  Phase
detail was seen at x128.  The galaxy Centaurus A could be discerned as a
large haze with nearby stars whilst omega Centauri appeared as a massive
globular, both crying out for more aperture and altitude.

It turned out that 'somewhere' in the Algarve was about 20 minutes drive
from the Center for Observational Astronomy on the Algarve (COAA).  I
was welcomed there the next day, watered and given a tour of the
excellent observing facilities and accommodation.  I certainly hope to
holiday there soon however, you need to book early to get a place during
dark sky periods.  Bev. also pointed out an excellent nearby observing
site for  me to use.

I drove to the site that evening.  It was at about 800 metres and had a
commanding view of the whole of the Algarve.  After re-visiting omega
Centauri/Centaurus A I was about to turn my attention to some overlooked
Caldwells in Canes Venatici when the RA/Azimuth drive on the ETX failed!
Forced into using more traditional methods, brain and eyes, I managed
to track down the following objects.  All can be found from the nearby
bright stars.  Starting with Antares a quick scan found the enormous M4
and condensed M80 globular clusters.  The Table of Scorpius dimly seen
in Italy was a wonderful, small bright open cluster at mag. 2.6.  M13 in
Hercules was found but at a neck breaking angle for locating in the
straight through finderscope on the ETX.  M57, M58 and M29 in Lyra and
Cygnus followed.  The big naked eye clusters of M6 and M7 were easily
seen in Scorpius.  I spent the remainder of the session wallowing in the
splendors of the Milky Way around Sagittarius.

So, in astronomer's paradise and no GOTO!  Fortunately, back in the
apartment, I had some half-sky maps showing Messier and Caldwell
availability and some small FOV, detailed finder charts left over from
my previous trip abroad.  A couple of hours sketching lines, triangles,
parallelograms and estimating distances resulted in a list of  75+
targets to try for.  I also thought through a vague sequence that would
avoid having to crane my neck at painful angles when trying to find
objects at too high an altitude.

Starting at about 10 p.m. local time.  Setup was very quick without the
need for accurate leveling or any alignment routine.  The scope' slews
very smartly by hand as well!  I quickly found M13 at 50 elevation in
the darker eastern sky.  M92 followed using a parallelogram constructed
out of part of the Hercules plantpot.  The Beehive was dimmed somewhat
by the twilight in the west and it took a few minutes to pick out M67 as
darkness prevailed.   The benefit of the southern location was
immediately noticed when M68 a mag. 8.2 globular and M83 a galaxy low
down in Hydra were easily found using Corvus as a pointer constellation.
M65 and M66 in Leo were found first time in Leo mid way between two
bright stars.  I don't know what happened to M95 etc. though.  It proved
very difficult to orientate correctly for any object far from bright
stars that could be placed in the finderscope field.  A quick spin round
and M108, M97 and M109 were spotted near the bowl of Ursa Major before
disappearing behind the trees.  The Sombrero galaxy proved a difficult
find in Virgo, far from bright stars and using a large, virtual
right-angle triangle to find.  After some sweeping the familiar
asterism, known as Jaws, and galaxy slid into view.  I realized that I
had forgotten M81 and M82, these were nailed first time.  The dark sky
made this much easier with hazy objects sometimes just catching the edge
of the eyepiece FOV.  The dark sky also allowed a naked eye observation
of M13 later in the night.  A first for me and indicative of a limiting
magnitude in the 6+ range for keener eyes.  But, it didn't help me
unravel the Virgo clutter, abandoned after 15 minutes of fruitless
searching.  The easy globulars M3, M53 and M5 gave some respite.  I had
missed M5 previously wandering around Libra by mistake!  The
constellation of Ophiuchus had always been a mystery to me but with the
good, dark skies and maps the constellation and globulars therein soon
revealed themselves as impressive objects.

I then returned to the ground covered during the previous session. 
Messiers in Scorpius plus Caldwell 75, a fine mag. 5.8 open cluster. 
The globulars along the base of the Sagittarius teapot, M69, M70 and M54
were easily seen.  M54 particularly bright and condensed.  M22 and M28
are by the lid of the teapot.  Lagoon and Triffid nebulas made up steam
puffs from the spout.  By this time the Milky Way was stretching across
the whole sky as a frozen cloud.  The Small Sagittarius star cloud, M25
and M23 made for fine sweeping all in a row.  The Eagle nebula caused a
problem, the nebulosity was so bright I didn't identify it initially and
kept trying to make out the upside down tick of the Swan nebula
instead!  The bright star clouds made Scutum difficult to identify
however, the Wild Duck cluster was striking enough to pop out from the
background.

Returning to the north west another silent, quick spin with the scope'
M51 and M101 in Ursa Major and galaxies M63 and M94 in Canes Venatici
were low enough for easier viewing, but still difficult finding.  Back
to the east where Messiers in Sagitta, Lyra, Cygnus and Vulpecula were
found and identified.  All tricky against the Milky Way background  with
tired eyes.  To the south, drawing a line through the teapot and beyond
took me first time to a four star asterism on the border with Capricorn.
This was fortunately on a detailed finder chart.  M55 and M75 followed
easily, these had been very difficult with the Autostar in a hazy, low
altitude position in Italy.  Moving the scope' to allow a clear view of
Cassiopeia the open clusters of M103 and M52 were ticked.  The bright
globulars of M15 and M2 provided suitably easy targets as my head, eyes
and back told me they had had enough.  The rising M31 and M32 galaxies
in Andromeda provided the final easy pickings.

In all I managed to find and observe 60 Messier and 2 Caldwell objects,
plus numerous double stars, Albireo, Cor Caroli etc.  during this 5 hour
session.  Messier Marathoners try to find the full 110 in one long dark
night in late March.  Any takers for the Algarve next year? 

Subject:	 pollution filter ask
Sent:	Wednesday, June 7, 2000 20:41:12
From:	ALFA1@isla.net (JOSE SAAVEDRA)
hello my name is jose please what is the best pollution filter for etx
90   thanks
Mike here: There are several filters reviewed on the Accessories - Filters page on my ETX site.

Mike here: If you haven't done so, check out Mercury. It is visible low in the West Northwest shortly after sunset. Nice at about 128x magnification (9.7mm in the ETX-90). You will definitely see about a "half moon" phase on the planet's disk.


Subject:	 buy out problems
Sent:	Wednesday, June 7, 2000 06:14:53
From:	alanlhanson@hotmail.com (Alan L. Hanson)
Hang in there. In western PA, PennCom was bought out by a larger company
and the service immediately went to hell. Took them about two months to
get their personnel situation figured out and actually get the hardware
to work again. Luckily every thing seems to be running OK here now.

Thanks for your ETX web site. It's been a great resource as I was
debating what to spend my money on when I bought my first real telescope
(ETX-125/EC).

Subject:	 ETX Focuser
Sent:	Tuesday, June 6, 2000 21:16:58
From:	danl@thegrid.net (Dan Lublin)
I recently bought a Meade #1244 Focuser on E-Bay.  It came with no
mounting instructions.  How do you keep the focuser from falling off the
mounting position on the telescope.  It seems that a screw of some kind
should hold it in place.  If so, where could I find one?  Would Meade
supply me with one since I didn't buy it from a Meade dealer?  I enjoy
your website very much.  It is a Godsend for an amateur astronomer like
myself.

Thanks - danl@thegrid.net
Mike here: I don't have the Meade focuser so can't answer your question. As to whether Meade would send a replacement screw (if it is missing), they might.

Subject:	 etx 90 in spotting scope version.
Sent:	Tuesday, June 6, 2000 13:35:26
From:	rbean@worldnet.att.net (rod bean)
first of all, as others have mentioned, laudits to you for an objective
and indepth website for etx users and those considering the purchase of
one. it's most appreciated as an extensive etx feedback and
informational resource in my search for a catadioptric spotting scope
for nature study. the only other spotting scope i am considering is the
celestron c90 (the questar scope is light yrs beyond my reach
financially); however i cannot find any input on this scope.  after
browsing the etx user comments on meade (very negative) i'm shying away
from dealing with a less than forthwith company that seems to write off
their clientle after purchase is made.  perhaps they feel  that they can
release a defective product and have it heal itself somewhere enroute to
the consumer. (perhaps they should include a prayer cloth instead of a
lens cloth with their product!). they don't even have the courtesy to
offer an "800" toll free telephone number on their wesite.  anyhow, i
don't know if celestron suffers from this same malaise or not since i am
unable to find a comparable website on their products.  if you may know
of one, i would appreciate forwarding the site to me as i'm ready to
flush the meade etx as a contender for my choice of a spotting scope.

on another tangent, are you familiar with harding optical of
oregon(www.harding-optical.com) as they offer the etx spotting scope for
$389? i don't know if you of other users have leveled their etx's for
terrestrial viewing, but any feedback on this aspect of use would be
appreciated.  (i plan to equipt my spotting scope with the celestron
8-24 lv zoom.

thanks again for your input and website... 
Mike here: I'm not certain what level of support Celestron provides. They don't show an 800 Technical Support phone number on their web site either. Some users have good responses from Meade (and probably Celestron) and some have negative (probably with Celestron as well). As to terrestrial use of the ETX, search the site for "terrestrial" and also for "birding"; you'll find some hits. As to the C90, I suggest you post your message on a Celestron related newsgroup (assuming there is one; I haven't looked for one).

Added later:

thanks for your reply and suggestions... most appreciated.  perhaps i
was a bit hasty in my judgement of meade.

Subject:	 Boston area viewing
Sent:	Tuesday, June 6, 2000 12:16:27
From:	cpiso@erols.com (Charles Piso)
Saw the message on viewing in MA. I live 17 miles west of Boston and it
gets dark quick as you go west.  Here are a few suggestions though for
good viewing the first is Cochiuate State Park, and even better is
Callahan State Park about 5 mile west.

I think the important thing is that Jeremy just get out and use the
scope or his frustration on finding the perfect spot will quickly sap
his enthusiasim to do so.  I live in a large town that should really be
a city, and the beauty of the ETX is the ability to move it around so
easily. From my back yard I have found myself working on the Frosty Drew
Observatory life list, when I need to decompress from work when I get
home at night.  The list can be downloaded from the Observatories web
sight at www.frostydrew.org    this site has been helpful to me and the
observatory is open to the public on fridays.

Heres a quick list of my results for those working in areas of marginal
skies

B Cyg.   Albireo    Magnificent a briliant topaz and orange double
easily found

A Lyr.    Vega       One of my personal favorites tack sharp diamond
like, and a quick jump away from M57 The Ring Nebula even in marginal
conditions can be seen with averted vision a whispy smoke ring.

M44 The Beehive cluster, the first object I found using Autostar a
wonderful open cluster that is worth finding

M13 The Hercules Cluster

M42 The Great Orion Nebula Easily viewed Trapezium Lyra and the Summer
Triangle, also the double double spliting both on nights of good
transparency

I have reasently taken up comet hunting and use the widefield adapter as
well as two high end eyepieces hopefully Comet LINEAR will prove a
summer surprise for us all.

Again to Jeremy I would just say get out there and enjoy what you can
the beauty of the scope is its ability to do just that. I own a larger
scope and since getting the ETX I use it for star parties and those rare
nights when I can spend many hours at the eyepiece.  The ETX can be used
and enjoyed every clear night with two eyepieces and a 2x barlow mixed
with a little knowledge of the night sky, which you only get by going
out there and finding your way around.

Clear Skies to all

Subject:	 To buy or, not to buy in the US, that is the question
Sent:	Tuesday, June 6, 2000 07:21:25
From:	rwathome@lineone.net
Thanks for the site and the opportunity to indulge....

I am thinking of buying an ETX125 and have done a lot of research but,
in doing so find that the UK prices are, predictably, much higher than
in the US.   I have found that if I  bought the ETX125 with 3 additional
lenses and tripod and hard case as a package in the US it would save me
more than $900 compared to UK prices!!  Incredible!!  You guys don't
know how good you've got it!

But then my $900 saving would quickly disappear when I start paying duty
and shipping charges.  If I found a way of getting the complete package
back to the UK legitimately 'avoiding' these costs would one recommend
it in light of the various problems with random slewing and alignment
problems with the telescope on arrival?

Would the UK Meade dealership honour my purchase and sort out any
problems under warranty with my US bought 'scope?

rwathome@lineone.net
Roland Wike,
Purton
Swindon
UK	
Mike here: Your last question says it all. Purchasing in the US voids the UK warranty. So you'd be on your own.

Subject:	 ETX Eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, June 6, 2000 02:37:38
From:	r_battaiola@it.ibm.com
A question:
I would know which is the best focal ratio eyepiece, to obtain the max
solar image, standing in the eyepiece field. I have now, only the PL26
Meade and I suppose that with the 2x Barlow lens (=96x), the
magnification will be to much higher.

Ciao
Roberto Battaiola
R_Battaiola@it.ibm.com
Mike here: I'm not certain I fully understand your question. Using the 26mm eyepiece on the 90mm model the sun's disk will nearly fill the eyepiece field of view. So that would be what you use to get the max view of the sun. On the other hand, if you want maximum magnification that will be a much shorter focal length eyepiece but then you have to content with how much your solar filter dims the view. I find that my 9.7mm is about the limit.

And:

for max magnification I intend this:

When I see the sun with a PL26, I observe the entire solar disk, but
with a black border around the solar disk. I'm looking for an eyepiece
with a focal lenght to minimize this black border (I suppose a PL20, but
I'm not sure...).
Mike here: Now I'll make the answer more complicated. As the Earth revolves around the Sun it gets closer and further away. The Earth is farther away from the Sun during the Summer (Northern Hemisphere) and closer during the Winter months. So either you'll have a black border at some times during the year or you'll be missing part of the Sun's disk. On average the Sun is about 0.5 degree in apparent diameter (similar to the Moon). So you want to know what eyepiece would yield something around 0.5 degree actual field-of-view (FOV). There are two factors that influence an eyepiece's FOV: focal length of both the eyepiece and the telescope it is used on, and the design of the eyepiece (i.e., wide angle, ultra wide angle, etc.). If you want to know the actual FOV for an eyepiece that you have, do the timing test: put a star on the celestial equator at the eastern edge of the eyepiece view. With the RA drive OFF let the star drift westward. Time the drift until the star the opposite side of the eyepiece view. Ideally, the star should cross the maximum diameter of the view. Now that you know the duration of the drift in seconds, you can calculate the actual FOV of the eyepiece by knowing that the sky rotates 360 degrees in 24 hours. The accuracy of this test depends on the distance the target star is from the celestial equator and whether it cross the midpoint of the eyepiece. OK, what if you don't have the eyepiece yet? There is an Excel spreadsheet available on the "What Eyepieces Should I Buy?" link from the Buyer/New User Tips page. It has some specs on several eyepieces.

And:

Thanks a lot

your analisys is correct.

Subject:	20mm SP eyepiece
Sent:	Sunday, June 4, 2000 13:20:31
From:	Etxstargazer@aol.com
I really like your site. Well, my question is:   Does the Meade SP 20mm
eyepiece (Series 4000) fit inside the Basic 1.25" Camera Adapter. I know
the 26mm eyepiece supplied with the ETX doesn't, but I would like a
Series 4000 eyepiece to use with my camera. Please mail me back at
Etxstargazer@aol.com.  Thanks.

Clear Skies,
Taylor Chonis

Subject:	 Finding the right viewing spot?
Sent:	Sunday, June 4, 2000 13:04:48
From:	radowning@home.com (radowning)
I have used Dark-Sky Observing Site Directory (ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/pharrington/Dssd.htm) to find sites here in
California (Bay Area).  I would suspect that the sites found for
Massachusetts:
 
* Cummington 
* Northfield 
* Savoy 

are probably too far, but a little work might help out.

The site, itself, is very good, I think.

Subject:	 Product recommendations
Sent:	Sunday, June 4, 2000 12:53:23
From:	stanleyc62@juno.com
Last night I attended a star party and was able to use a few recently
purchased products for the first time.  The first is the Anti-vibration
pads made by Celestron.  I use a Bogen 3046 tripod with a 3047 head, and
after using the anti-vibration pads I noticed a significant difference
in the amount of time it takes my scope to stop shaking after it gets
bumped or even when focusing.  The time for my telescope to settle down
went from several seconds without the pads to less than 1 second with
the pads.  I would highly recommend this product to everyone!

The second product I used for the first time also helped with less
shaking of my ETX, and it is little blinking red lights from
ScopeTronix. I purchased 3 of these and taped them to the bottom of my
tripod legs. And for the first time, since I started attending public
star parties, no one accidently kicked my tripod legs!

Anyway just thought I would share this.

Clear and Dark Skies!

Carl Stanley

Subject:	 help!
Sent:	Sunday, June 4, 2000 08:23:18
From:	jacoggins@earthlink.net (Jack Coggins)
I'm Jack Coggins, Nashville TN. I bought an ETX90 RA, (the
non-computered version) a little while back. I found your site through
ASK JEEVES and was hoping you copuld help me. I belong to the
Bernard-Seyfert Astronomical Society here in Nashville. One of the
members has a laser/hologram columator (sp?) and tested my scope.
Needless to ay, it is out of whack a bit, being as it was a store
display model, but my question is how do you go about adjusting this
thing? I'm leery about going into this without some info. Any help will
be appreciated!

Thanks! 
Jack Coggins

--- Jack Coggins
--- jacoggins@earthlink.net
--- EarthLink: It's your Internet.
Mike here: See the "Collimating an ETX Mak" tip on the Tech Tips page. However, you first might want to do the "Collimation Test" (also on the Tech Tips page). I have heard that the laser collimators don't work with the Maksutov-Cassegrain designs. If both tests show the same result, let me know.

Subject:	 Yet Another Adapter Plate
Sent:	Sunday, June 4, 2000 07:08:21
From:	saranac.tv@worldnet.att.net (Jeff Rothfus)
For those of us wishing to use a photo tripod with the ETX-90, there's
always been a problem fashioning a simple homemade adapter plate: 
Either the plate must be threaded, to receive the tripod's 1/4-20 camera
mounting screw; or sufficient clearance must be provided under the
'scope's base, for a 1/4-20 nut.

In my setup, I've gotten around the conundrum with a little hardware
item called a "cap nut" --- essentially a tiny internally-threaded brass
tube with a 'T-shaped' flange machined on the top.  It replaces the
conventional 1/4-20 mounting nut.

The advantage to the cap nut is that it effectively moves the 1/4-20
attachment threads from on top of the adapter plate to within the plate.

The cap nut's 'T' flange is then thinner than the mounting feet of the
ETX; and thus there's no need for spacers.  (The ETX mounting feet alone
provide sufficient clearance for the flange.)

For the plate, I actually found a 5-inch diameter 'hole', removed from a
larger plate during some manufacturer's milling operation, which covers
the ETX's base perfectly.

The Cap Nut's *cap* is not only thin enough to not require spacers
between the steel plate and the ETX; the Cap Nut's internally threaded
shaft obviates the need to tap and thread the steel --- you simply drill
a 3/8-inch hole and drop it in, then insert and tighten the tripod screw
up from underneath.

The ETX thinks it's bolted to a steel table, resting on its
factory-issued feet --- and is quite stable.

Cheers,
jeff

BTW - The cap nut is most often used to assemble knock-down furniture.
The cap's 'top' has a hex hole machined into it for an Allen wrench.  I
found mine at Home Depot --- so they're readily available.

Subject:	 Skyview Deluxe Mount
Sent:	Saturday, June 3, 2000 04:36:21
From:	secondwind@alltel.net (Second Wind)
Hello, I am hoping someone out there can help me. A few weeks ago I ran
across a website with very detailed instructions for improving the
Skyview Deluxe mount. There were many pictures on dis-assembling and
re-assembling with instructions on improving the rigidity and
reliability.

If someone knows of this site, please Email me the location to
secondwind@alltel.net . I cannot find it again !!!!

Thanks, Doug

Subject:	 Finding the right viewing spot?
Sent:	Thursday, June 1, 2000 08:18:13
From:	jneuringer@kpmg.com (Neuringer, Jeremy)
Any suggestions in finding an ideal viewing spot?  I'm willing to drive
in whatever direction, for as long as it takes, but how do I find the
idea spot?

I have tried on several nights in different spots, and have not seen
first light yet because of a number of factors...

I live in Boston, and wonder if I should go North or West?  Are there
some type of spot (like a baseball field) that are particularly good (I
tried the baseball field, but the night lights killed the idea.)..

Jeremy

jneuringer@kpmg.com
Mike here: Hopefully someone in the Boston area will respond. You could also post a message on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup asking about dark skies in the Boston area. I'm on the other coast. As to finding the ideal area, away from city lights. Away from the things that create air turbulence, like large asphalt parking lots that heat up in the day or roof tops. Sometimes parks or lakes can be good.

Subject:	 ETX 70AT for $749.95
Sent:	Thursday, June 1, 2000 04:01:27
From:	rodrickse@mediaone.net
I saw the link to the web site that shows the 70 AT for $750. Isn't that
crazy!? I think it would make a nice spotting scope on the 90 or 125 but
not for that much $$ Does Meade sell it cheaper without the drive? Arn't
the 70 mm DS series a better value?

Clear skies,
Joe
Mike here: That dealer is listing prices way above what Meade shows the prices to be. Perhaps they are adding some extra value they don't mention... [This is a follow-up to a message thread that started at the end (top) of the May 2000 Feedback page.]

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