Last updated: 30 June 2001

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

Subject:	Award
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 15:42:31
From:	frank.james@homeqonline.com

I love your site.

I am patiently waiting for my ETX90 EC to come in the mail.

Your site spark my interest, in astronomy again. I made a telescope
purchase on your web site. I must say you have some great information,
and good people, who contribute to your web site. Now that I am armed
with the information , and soon my telescope,  I am ready to use it ,
with my family.

Thanks for a super web site.

It must be an honor, to receive such an Award!


Subject:	Meade ETX90-RA for beginner?
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 11:27:10
From:	jujupang@yahoo.com (Gerrit Pang)
They are selling the ETX90-RA for $250 brand new.  Would this be a good
impatient beginner's scope combined with the Autostar?  I would also be
attaching a dig. camera to the set-up.  If you "recommend" this scope,
are there any other accessories that may be useful?


Mike here: First off, the Autostar can not be used with the ETX-90RA and there is no upgrade from the RA model to the EC model. And yes, you can take photos with the ETX-90RA. I started doing that in 1996; lots of results on the ETX site. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for some info on suggested accessories as well as the various Accessories pages.

Subject:	Dr. Clay Supercharge
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 10:20:07
From:	SPSully@aol.com
I have been a regular at your site since the beginning.  What a help for
all us ETX users, the information provided at your site is fantastic.

I've had my ETX 90 EC for a little over two years now and It's
performance has been so-so in fact disappointing.  So I tried Dr. Clays
Supercharge Service.  What a difference it made, before I was lucky the
scope could locate 2 or 3 objects a night and that was a good night.  I
took it out after I received it from Dr. Clay and only after a rough
alignment it found every object I slewed to, 35 in all and most were
dead center in the eyepiece.  The optics were cleaned and aligned and he
fixed a problem I had with the focus knob.  I don't know how he does it
but it is well worth the price.

He also put the newest version of software on my Autostar with many
tours I never had on it before along with the sun, which I like because
I do solar observing.

Dr. Clay answered all the questions I had before I sent the scope In a
VERY timely manner.  Meade should send him all the scopes before they
send them to the dealers.

He mentioned that he will be taking in other scopes besides Meade,  I
have an older orange tube C8 that needs work.  I smell another
Supercharge in the future.

Keep up the good work,
Steve Sullivan

Subject:	Telescope Tune up Service
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 8:45:07
From:	dstone@w3health.com (Dave Stone)
I just wanted to send a quick note recommending Dr. Sherrod's
Supercharge service for ETX scopes. I just had one performed on my 90/EC
and it came out wonderfully. My scope now tracks much better, searching
for objects is a breeze, and the backlash and other problems I've been
experiencing have been much reduced. I also like the little details that
he attends to (such as marking up the setting circle arrows with white
and adding position setting markings on the azimuth lock for so that you
don't over-tighten). He also discovered that the declination locking
mechanism was on its way out and replaced it. I think that the money for
the tune-up was well spent.

							Dave Stone

Subject:	Links
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 6:56:21
From:	paulkesterton@kytecommunication.co.uk (Paul A. Kesterton)
I have been a fan of your site from the very start, I am also
enthusiastic ETX 125 owner.
For the last couple of years I have been writing a monthly astronomy
column called The Night Sky for my local Parish magazine. Recently I
have put the column onto my website. You may like to consider my site as
a candidate for your own links page.


Keep up the good work.


Paul A. Kesterton
Kyte Communication Services Limited, 18 Albert Road, Tamworth,
Staffordshire B79 7JN. Great Britain.
Tel:+44 (0)1827 64539. Fax:+44 (0)1827 68401.

Subject:	Supertuned 125EC
Sent:	Thursday, June 28, 2001 4:42:36
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
My Supertuned ETX-125EC arrived yesterday from Dr. Sherrod. With the
weather being cooperative for celestial viewing, I just had to set it up
and do a little star hopping. Not having a wedge for my Sherrod modified
pier yet I set up the scope in Alt/Az mode. When it was dark enough to
find Polaris I flipped on the switch and entered the required
information. Next was the Easy two star alignment. The scope began it's
first search for the object star and when the Autostar (also Dr. Sherrod
tuned) beeped I peered through the eyepiece, and bingo, almost dead
center. A minor slew adjustment had the star in the middle of the view
and then it was off to the second star. This time the object star was
even closer to the center of the field of view. Pressing enter I got the
"Alignment Successful" message and then it was time to explore the
heavens with my new scope. All of this alignment process took place
around 9:45 PM. Dr. Sherrod and loaded the Autostar with the latest
firmware and software for me as part of his service, so I just had to
explore the databases. I was up until 2:: AM this morning having one
wonderful time exploring the heavens. With Mars shining brilliantly in
the southern skies I just had to observe it for a while, actually for
over an hour, with very little drift from the center of the view. It was
so small of a drift that I didn't even bother to synchronize the scope.

I couldn't be more impressed with the performance enhancement that Dr.
Sherrod has done on my scope. The service didn't stop with the Supertune
service, Dr. Sherrod has been most helpful and patient with a relative
new comer to the wonderful world of computer controlled telescopes. They
sure have it hands down over the mechanical ones when it comes to
extended viewing a particular object in the night sky!

The paperwork that Dr. Sherrod sent back is most impressive and that
brass plaque mounted on the top of the OTA looks great! I just don't
have the words to express my supreme satisfaction with the enhancements
and adjustments the good doctor has done to my telescope.

To anyone reading these accolades about Dr. P. Caly Sherrods Supertune
service you should be able to see a common thread from those of us that
have parted with our telescopes long enough to send them to Arkansas.

I not await the clear night skies and a custom build wedge. If fact if
it were not  for the fact that I will be retiring in a short time I
would consider finding a job working second shift so I could come home
and star gaze until dawn!

Please don't wait, contact Dr. Sherrod for a time slot to get the most
out of your telescope;

  Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
  794 Drake Drive
  Conway, Arkansas 72032
  Phone: 501-327-2341 

Dave Birmingham

Subject:	Questions
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 22:47:37
From:	darklord48@home.com (Anthony Evans)
Firstly I love your site!  Very informative.

My first question is where is Mars these days??? I just bought my ETX
90EC and am still trying to figure out how to polar align the scope so
mostly my observations have been the manula way.  I live in Utah and
would like to know if the bright disc I see in the southeastern sky
around 10 pm is Mars or is it Jupiter?  I also need to know if I need to
get some filters so that I can see some detail on whatever this is
because it just appears as a white disc with no detail.  Do I also need
a filter in order to view Mars and if so which kind?

If anyone can tell me a quick and easy way to polar align my scope that
would be great too.

Thank you,
Anthony Evans
Mike here: That bright orange object in the Southern sky (from Utah) is indeed Mars. Having filters will help; see the filters description page at the Orion Telescope and Binoculars site: http://www.telescope.com/cgi-bin/OrionTel.storefront/3b3bf090061bcc2a271dc0a80a0c067c/UserTemplate/36. Keep in mind that with the ETX-90 you can not expect to use the denser filters without appreciatively dimming the object being viewed. For polar alignment tips, see items on the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Autostar Information page (if you have an Autostar).

Subject:	Observational Guides
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 21:33:37
From:	davidtrumble@home.com (David Trumble)
I've been following the constellation guides on your web site, and
they've been really helpful to a newbie like me.

I have a question and a suggestion:

How many constellation guides will there be all together? I've been
trying to print them and keep them in a binder, and the first binder has
already proved to small!

I have experienced some problems with the printouts - the object lists
seem to get truncated. This caused me to wonder if you have considered
printing and binding this material? I'd be quite willing to donate some
cash for a cleanly printed Kinko's spiral-bound volume with all this
valuable info. Maybe you could poll your readers to see if there's
enough interest to make it worthwhile.

Speaking of cash, I guess it's time I pay for what I use - off to the
Make A Pledge link...

Thanks for all the help!

David Trumble
Boulder, Colorado
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Eventually you will see all 88 constellations!  God only gave me so much
time and cranking out even one a week is a monstrous task!  So far I have
kept up but my wife keeps telling me that I have a "real life" too.  It is a
great suggestion, David, and perhaps your letter will serve as a sounding
board for such a discussion.

I am very glad you are using them and find them helpful...they are fun to
write and I have a lot of great readers who likewise are on their 2nd binder
and looking for a third!

Thanks - Clay Sherrod
Mike here: The printing problems you've experienced are typical of printing with a web browser. The alternative for us would be PDF or as Word files but they have their problems as well.

Subject:	ASO Award
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 13:26:59
From:	a.hatwood@net.ntl.com (a.hatwood)
Well Done Mike,

Congratulations on the award. It's well deserved!

I have learned an awful lot from your web site, and I now get a great
deal of pleasure from my ETX.

Tony Hatwood

Subject:	Dr. Clay Sherrod
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 8:29:58
From:	sgresser@earthlink.net (Steve Gresser)
I've learned a lot of things in my 36 short years on this planet.  I
know how to fly a plane, I know how to conjugate a verb, I know how to
make money and lose it.  But I just learned something new last night;
Dr. Clay Sherrod is a genius, especially when it comes to telescopes.

About a week after getting back my old 1980's model Meade 2080 (with
uncorrected polar drive), the night skies over Scottsdale were finally
clear last night.  It caught me off guard, so I didn't have time to
quite set up properly and I'll need some work setting up the CNP in the
future, but at about 10pm last night I turned those 8-inches of
Schmitt-Cassegrain towards the celestial god of war and discovered the
most amazing thing.  I found out that my telescope hasn't worked in
many, many years.  The optics were clearer than they've ever been.  The
eyepieces were clean and collimated (as was the scope, at its maximum on
one of the set-screws).  And it became painfully obvious to me that my
polar drive wasn't working at all before.  I'd always thought all those
adjustments up and down or left and right for planetary viewing were
normal with my polar drive!

So what was the one thing that helped me see Mars better?  Was it the
collimation of the scope?  The clean eyepieces?  The nearness of Mars or
its opposition?  No, the one thing that made it clearest was being able
to focus, finally, without trying to decide which vibrating airy disc
was in focus.  Dr. Sherrod applied an electric focuser to my scope, and
now looking across hundreds of thousands of miles (if not light years)
is not affected by the vibrations of a human hand turning a focus knob. 
If Dr. Sherrod can do for my old, beat up scope what he did (and made it
look like new on the outside, too!) then he will have my ETX-125 very
soon for the same treatment.  He brought the 2080 back from the dead, I
feel confident he can bring all of the life out of the 125 as well.

Subject:	Finding Lat-Long without GPS
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 6:23:12
From:	gkapusn@optonline.net (G)
I love your site...tons of great info.  I found a site where you can
input an address and it returns lat-long info, it's at


Supposedly you may decode 100 addresses free.

Hope this info helps.


Subject:	Supercharged ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 4:48:48
From:	Rob5755@aol.com
Just wanted to drop you a quick note regarding my Meade ETX125 scope I
received from Astronomics.  I had done my homework on purchasing a new
scope for the past three months, being an amateur astronomer of 20
years' experience.  I was frankly unimpressed with the Sky & Telescope
review of the ETX125, but then I came across your site.  Before taking
delivery of the scope, I had it sent to Clay Sherrod for his
"supercharging," which is the best investment I could have made outside
of the scope itself.  The other action taken from the start, at Clay's
suggestion, was to purchase the Meade #887 heavy-duty tripod and
Celestron anti-vibration pads.  The combination of these three turned a
mediocre scope with excellent optics into a no-frustration, world-class
performer.  This is coming from a former owner, some 20 years ago, of
the venerable, long out-of-production OTI Quantum Four.  Any of the
visitors to your site contemplating the purchase of a Meade ETX should
factor the cost of Clay's fine-tuning into the purchase price...the
satisfaction gained is easily WORTH TWICE THE PRICE.  I'll e-mail you
again once I conduct more in-depth observations, but my initial
observations have been VERY impressive.  The scope is a joy to use, for
much less $$$ than a 4" APO, with highly competitive performance.
Best regards,

Subject:	Supercharge
Sent:	Wednesday, June 27, 2001 2:39:48
From: Donald McClelland 
Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 1:30 AM
Wow!  Just brought the scope in and had more fun with it than I ever had
with an ETX in the almost 4 years I've had them.  Going to leave the
star washer out for now.  The results of your "Supercharge" are now
shining through. One Star alignment and bang, everything in my 18mm
eyepiece!  I must have looked at about 10 or 12 objects with the
limiting sky I had from my Condo balcony.  The rich area of Sagittarius
is fun.  Mars was beautiful in my 7mm and tracked perfectly (remember,
one star alignment).  I just got the flex focus shipped today and had to
try it out.  I don't know how I went without it.  Who needs an electric
focus!  You just have to steady it a little after you use it. Mike, I'll
try to send you a full review on it later.

Thanks for everything Clay!  This telescope is all I could ask for.


Subject:	More Great Work
Sent:	Tuesday, June 26, 2001 21:21:18
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Once again I would like to say THANK YOU to Dr. Clay for the last trio
of Constellations, PEGASUS, AQUARIUS and CAPRICORNUS.  These fine papers
add to the joy of searching the skies.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	SAC-IVb CCD Imager and Mac software
Sent:	Tuesday, June 26, 2001 12:23:06
From:	pst@ksu.edu (pst)
Does the ReelEyes Mac software do real-time video integration
(summing/averaging of frames to increase saturation of faint objects)?
Does the ReelEyes software come with the SAC-IV? I noticed on the SAC-IV
web site (http://www.sac-imaging.com/) that some models come with
integration software. Do you know if that is Windows only or if there is
a Mac version? Also, there is a new program called Videoscript
(http://www.videoscript.com/) that seems to be very powerful. Have you
tried the free version and does it work with the SAC-IV?


Paul St. Amand
Mike here: ReelEyes does not have integration, the last time I checked. The software is (was) on the SAC CD-ROM. The last time I checked the Sonfest web site, their integration software was Windows-only. Don't know about Videoscript.

Subject:	Lat/Lon (re: earlier email on Moon latitude/longitude)
Sent:	Monday, June 25, 2001 21:31:07
From:	marty104@conen.net (John Martellaro)
I found a book on sale at Barnes and Noble.

"Our Universe"
by Roy A. Gallant

Publ. by The National Geographic Society

On sale for $8.99

It has maps of all the rocky planets (incl. Venus) and the moon with
Lat/Lon lines shown.

John Martellaro
QUANTUM THREADS:  http://www.applelinks.com/quantum
HOME PAGE:        http://www.martellaro.com/
"What does your choice of computer say about you?"

Subject:	90 or 125?
Sent:	Monday, June 25, 2001 16:35:30
From:	nick@resnikpr.com (Nick Quan)
Thanks for your great site.  I hope to contribute soon.  I've decided
that an ETX is the way to go based on reports of quality and the support
it is getting from all the people who bought it.  However, should I buy
the 125 for the greater light gathering capacity.  I really like the
idea of having a small, light instrument and the 125 seems bigger than
I'd like.  Most of my viewing will be in my backyard, but I will be
going north occasionally -- I live in Phoenix, Arizona and the skies are

It seems a little 90 mm fits the bill.  Your suggestion?

Thanks again.

Nick Quan
Mike here: For ease of traveling, whether to your backyard for quite look-see or to the dark skies miles away, the ETX-90 makes an excellent choice. But, the ETX-125EC is THAT much larger and heavier and does provide more light gathering power and higher usable magnifications. Of course, it costs more too. So, it really comes down to HOW you expect to use the scope. Remember, the best telescope for you is one that actually gets used. After the newness wears off, if it is too small to meet your expectations or too large to be comfortably moved and therefore ends up in the closet, it was the wrong telescope for you.

Subject:	Dr. Clay SuperCharge Rave Review!!
Sent:	Monday, June 25, 2001 7:03:01
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Peter Rossi)
Let me start by congratulating you for winning your award.  It is WELL
DESERVED!!  You Web Site is is a God Sent for all of us ETX users out
here stumbling around in the dark.  Thank You!!

I have just received my ETX-125EC back from Dr. Clay, The Big Kahuna of
the ETX World.  He has performed his MAGIC on my scope.  I got the
SuperDuper Tuneup job.  It would be a mistake to pass up the good
Doctor's services.  This Guy doesn't miss a trick and is an absolute
delight to deal with.  He is in constant e-mail contact with you every
step of the way so you have a constant update on your scope's progress. 
When you get your scope back it is accompanied by a complete Report.  I
do mean COMPLETE!!  There is no doubt in your mind what was done to your
telescope afer reading the report.

I didn't have a whole of time over the weekend to put the scope
completely through it's paces.  However, I was able to view the Moon and
Mars a couple of times.  My telescope operates like a new unit.  NO, my
scope operates much, much better then a new unit. The focus that was
always a little jerky at times is now smooooth as silk. The motors,
instead of being erratic, now purr along reliably.  The "MOTOR FAULT"
errors have disappeared.  All of the play and sloppiness is gone from
the mechanics. My scope is now a JOY to use.  MAN, WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!

My scope now lives up to the Meade advertising claims and
specifications.  This leads me to ask one question.  If Dr. Clay and do
IT why can't they??  My scope now operates like it should have when it
was new and passed Meade's so called Quality Control.  Meade owes Dr.
Clay a world of gratitude for saving their butts.  They should send him
a free telescope or SOMETHING.  I hope someone at Meade is paying a
little attention.  I hope they at least read Clay's 83 point inspection
list and  take notes of Meade's shortcomings and areas that need

Dr. Clay offers a FANTASTIC service.  If I bought a new ETX or LX90
scope today, I would ship it to him before I even opened the box.


Peter Rossi
Mike here: As to why Meade doesn't provide the system right out of the box, well, that would raise the price point above where Marketing says it should be. All companies do this, not just telescope makers. "What design, materials, and cabilities can we provide for X dollars?" Sure Meade could improve the design and use other materials, but would it sell for the required higher price? Afterall, not everyone has problems with their telescopes so why raise the price for everyone? For those who want more and are willing to spend more, the LX90 8 inch may be the perfect match between price and performance.

Subject:	complete newbie stupid questions
Sent:	Sunday, June 24, 2001 22:55:43
From:	mkattab@mediaone.net (Alexander Khattab)
i've never used a scope before, bought a 90EC...

i know i've got a lot of reading / learning to do....

but what should i expect to see?

example:  i understand mars is pretty close to earth (relatively), and
it looks orange in the sky.   so i look through my scope, and i see the
same bright orange dot (i mean there is zero detail).  i can't imagine
this is as good as i gets (i.e. why bother)...what am i doing wrong?

Mike here: See the reports on the User Observations page as well as the Buyer/New User Tips page. Also, see the Mars guide on the Observational Guides/Reference page. Mars is very bright right now although low in the sky for many Northern Hemisphere observers. If you are located at a low latitude you'll have a fine view of Mars but its brightness can be overwhelming to the eye. Using filters can help but you probably don't have any. Using a higher power than that provided with the 26mm eyepiece can also help, if the seeing is good. Under good conditions you will be able to see some dark areas and perhaps a polar ice cap on Mars. Of course, there is much more to see in the sky than just Mars.

Subject:	Quickcam VC
Sent:	Saturday, June 23, 2001 17:31:30
From:	bobrose500@comcast.net (Bob Rose)
I have a QuickC am VC that I use with my LX90 and previously used with
my ds114. If Scott is still using the "ball" it may be that the ccd chip
is too far from the point of focus. I ran into this problem with my
ds114 using the ball. To obtain focus I had to run the focuser all the
way in. The solution was to pry all the goodies out of the ball and
mount them in something that would bring the ccd chip closer to the
scope. The problem with the VC is that a large capacitor is sticking out
on the same side as the ccd chip and make this process a bit difficult.
If Scott does remove the electronics from the ball, be careful. There
are a lot of surfaced mounted resistors that are easily knocked off the

have fun (but be careful)
bob rose


Subject:	Dust Caps
Sent:	Saturday, June 23, 2001 16:28:07
From:	kdconod@earthlink.net (Kevin Conod)
Is it just me or are the dustcaps for ETX 90/125s over engineered? When
you compare the carefully machined aluminum dust caps to the cheaply
made plastic which comprise much more important parts (such as the fork
arms and mount for the flip mirror) it's almost comical.

I suppose having a sturdy dustcap might protect the corrector plate from
stray bullets, but how likely is such damage?

Has anyone considered making lighter weight, easily removable, plastic
dustcaps for the ETXs?

--Kevin Conod
Mike here: The cover for the ETX-70AT is plastic. Feel better?


Since I don't own a 70, no.  Ha, ha, :-)

Well, it's not really a complaint and I'm not losing sleep over it, but
it would seem to me that the scope would be slightly lighter, not so
front heavy, and faster to set up with a plastic slip-on dust cover.


Subject:	My Congratulations to you Mike
Sent:	Saturday, June 23, 2001 15:41:46
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Just saw the "2001 Achievement Award" Mike and I would just like to
congratulate you for your hard worked and diligence doing your best to
keep us newcomers informed.  WELL DESERVED.

            Blais Klucznik
Mike here: Many thanks! All the photos, tips, and information sent in by ETX users worldwide have made it the Site that it is! The Site awards are for all of them too!


Mike, you do have some fine folks sharing their knowledge and experience
with us but it is you who organizes the various inputs and that is no
small task.  You're too modest.  Go ahead, tip your hat!!

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	help for Quickcam newbie
Sent:	Saturday, June 23, 2001 8:44:05
From:	spowell@columbus.rr.com (Scott Powell)
Mike, could you please post the following on your website (or if you
have any information to help me, I'd greatly appreciate it). Maybe one
of your readers who has done some QuickCam astrophotography can give me
some suggestions.

Scott Powell

I am a complete newbie to quickcam astrophotography, and wanted to
anyone out there could help me with a few "completely novice" questions.

The problem I'm having is I just hooked up my quickcam (VC model) the
other day. I opened it up, removed the lens and IR filter assembly, then
put it back together and attached a film canister to the front to make
it fit where the eyepiece goes. The problem I'm having is I can't seem
to get the thing to focus. I'm trying to take a picture of the Sun
(using a filter of course)...I line it up in the eyepiece so that I'm
looking at one edge of the sun (i.e. the sun takes up about 1/2 of the
view, the other is half is empty). I figured that this would give me the
easiest way to focus...  I should be able to see a half dark / half
light picture on my laptop screen easily when I get anywhere close to in
focus. However, I have NOT been able to see anything so far, I've tried
changing the focus on my telescope as far as it will go in both
directions, tried moving the quickcam closer / farther into the eyepiece
port, adjusted the exposure settings, etc.

Do you have any ideas on what I'm doing wrong? Maybe the Sun is too
bright (but seems fine looking through the straight eyepiece)? I know
the camera still at least senses light (I didn't hose it up too badly
when I removed the lens assembly and IR filter)... it might not focus,
but when I point it at a red sheet of paper it sees red, etc.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, I really want to try some Mars

Scott Powell
Mike here: Two suggestions: Use a piece of paper to find where the image focuses without the eyepiece. That's the position where the QuickCam CCD surface has to be. It may be that you've positioned it too close or too far from this position using the film canister adapter. Second, use a terrestrial scene with lots of details (buildings, tree branches, etc.) to test (focus, capturing images). That way you'll have an easier target for starters. Once you know all is working, then you can progress to the Sun and Mars.

Subject:	Award!
Sent:	Friday, June 22, 2001 14:37:16
From:	ronald.young@libertysurf.co.uk (Ron Young)
Congratulations on the award.

Thanks for all you do in coordinating the exchange of information about
the ETX.

Well deserved recognition. It reflects well on you and others who


Ron Young

Subject:	Meade!!
Sent:	Friday, June 22, 2001 12:31:06
From:	cbdane@pacbell.net (C. B. Dane)
I would just like to pass on an amazing Meade customer service report. I
stopped by my local Natural Wonders last night (last day of business)
and picked up a new ETX-125 in the box for 50% off.  The optics are
perfect and the OTA is clean, not even fingerprinted.  The 26mm Plossl
and the finder scope are both present, NIB.  However, for whatever
reason, the metal lens cap, the rear photo port cap, and the electronic
handset are missing (no problem on the latter, I have a spare Autostar).

I called Meade today, in an attempt to order the two caps.  The helpful
service person asked where I bought the scope and I explained the story.
He then told me that the scope was in warranty and he would ship out
all three parts, including a new manual, by UPS at no charge!!  He took
my name and address and that was it.  That simple!

WOW!  Way to go Meade!!


C. Brent Dane

Brent's R/C Electronics Page

Subject:	The lights in the Sky may not be stars...
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 21:06:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Last night i confirmed my first asteroid... 
Two nights ago i'd [goto]'d Pallas, and saw a faint grouping of
 4 "stars" ... an equilateral triangle and one interloper.

Last night i reacquired the same spot, and the equilateral triangle
was there... but the interloper had moved from within the pattern to
 below it (south of it). 

(see attached GIF, the circle is the 13mm (26mm and Barlow) of my ETX90)

  Nice.  Couldn't'a done it without the Autostar.
(well, could'a... and have in the past seeking Halley...).

Yup... it's the unchanging nature of the sky which makes this all so
 boring...   NOT!

have fun

Subject:	ETX SuperCharge/ P. Clay Sherrod
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 18:48:35
From:	HiU2@aol.com
I just wanted to add my accolades to so many before me praising the ETX
tune-up that Clay Sherrod performs! I have the opportunity to interact
with many business people day in and day out that claim to give good
customer service, but Clay LIVES  AND BREATHS the concept! I just
received my 1 year old ETX 125 back from him yesterday and everything
from the frequent e-mails giving me the status of his work to the
cleaning and polishing of the hard-shell case made it one of the most
satisfying "repair" experiences that I've had. The scope is tight and
the GO TOs are the way they should be!

To those of you that are having any number of GO TO problems with your
ETX and are even thinking about having the work done, I will pose the

       -Will the problems probably get worse? -YES
       -Would like to spend more time OBSERVING and not dinking around
         with alignments, backlash? -YES, (I hope}
       -Is the SuperCharge worth the money and effort? -ABSOLUTELY

If you would like to ask me any questions about my experience, you may
contact me at HiU2@aol.com (Craig Goble)

Great site, Mike!           

Subject:	your etx site...
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 14:53:57
From:	ccray@showme.missouri.edu (Ray Harder)
cool site.  i will use some of the information for my future purchase. 
i am wanting to acquire a spotting scope to use on my balcony (w 6/mile
views).  i am leaning toward a celestron c90 as they are touted for
astronomy and/or spotting.

are you aware of any sites for celestron.  can an etx be used for


Ray Harder 
Mike here: Other than a significant site for the NexStar5, I'm not aware of any Celestron spotting scope sites. The ETX-60 and ETX-70 models will make fine spotting scopes. The ETX-90 comes in a spotting scope model so you don't have to get the motorized base.

Subject:	Your ETX Site
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 12:22:36
From:	agerholm@tusco.net (Jim)
I just wanted to say hello, and thank you for your excellent site.   I
just recently purchased an ETX-70AT (Astronomics @ $229 used and in
excellent condition) with the field tripod, and rounded out the
investment with a few items from Telescope Warehouse (barlows, hard
case, software).   So far I have only been able to use it twice under
less than perfect skies, but I am looking forward to learning with it.

Your web site is a fantastic resource to newbies like me - I have spent
many hours already pouring over the articles.   I have also associated
myself with a local astronomy club, and can see the day when a ETX-125
will be on the wish list! (By the way, the astronomy club has a 16" f/11
Cassegrain telescope, as well as an LX200 and a small planetarium).

Thanks for all your hard work in providing this valuable resource.  I
maintain several web sites, and am aware of the work it takes just to
keep up!

Jim Gillaspie

Subject:	Well Deserved!
Sent:	Thursday, June 21, 2001 5:16:08
From:	ggrainger@prang.com (Garrett Grainger)
Congratulations on the award. You have contributed so much to the
astronomy community (I know - as a less than intelligent novice). I hope
you're the recipient of many, many more!

Garrett Grainger
Dixon Ticonderoga Company

Subject:	Variable Barlow?
Sent:	Wednesday, June 20, 2001 23:25:02
From:	yenalogmen@yahoo.com (Yenal Ogmen)
I would like to ask you if i can use 2x 3x Variable Barlow with ETX125?
I remember that once i rode something that you can use this variable
barlow with the telescopes which have long focal lenght. What about

I wish all of you to have a clear skies tonight to meet with a mars.

Mike here: Some may work with the ETX-125EC and some may not. Really depends upon the optical and physical design of the Barlow Lens.


So which 2-3X variable barlow works with ETX125EC? Can you give me an
Mike here: There are some Barlows reviewed on the Accessories - Eyepieces page on my ETX Site.

Subject:	 You are correct John
Sent:	Wednesday, June 20, 2001 22:11:09
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
John is absolutely correct on his assumption of my choice of formula for
the calculation of the area of a circle.  Upon reviewing my original
note I do see that I used PI(D) instead of PI(R*R).  I must have been
sitting on my brains when I composed the note.

Although I used a different value for PI than John did, his calculated
figures for the area concerned is more accurate.  This, though, only
leads to more confusion.

As both telescopes are outside for our simultaneous observations,
neither my wife nor I are able to discern any object in the 125 that we
cannot also see with the 90.  We also both agree that, in just about all
cases the object is more clear with better resolution on the 90mm

Thus the confusion.  If the 125 has 70%+ more light gathering ability,
based on the assumed obstruction, then either the obstruction is larger
than assumed thus reducing the effective area or the quality of the
optics of the 125 is inferior to that of the 90.

As the quality of the sky for both scopes when used simultaneously is
the same then the difference must lie in the quality of the optics and
useful effectiveness of their individual light gathering ability.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	Autoguider
Sent:	Wednesday, June 20, 2001 21:20:26
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
Recently read that is was possible to connect the Meade 201xt to the ETX
via the main eyepiece opening.  Anyway, the personnel at Astronomicxs
advises that since the ETX has no guider port that it can't be used. 
The people at Meade say that the autoguider can be used with any of
their scopes with an autostar type connection.  You probably know their
exact wording but I wanted your thought on the possibility.  Clay and
Dick may have some thoughts on this matter also.  Certainly would make
taking a one hour piggyback photo a lot easier and better, if possible. 
Might help the SAC IV photos also. Still enjoying the site!!

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Regarding the ETX Aux ports....Dick Seymour is "the man" on that subject
and can advise appropriately.  I do not think that "out of the box" the
201 autoguiders can be used through the ETX Aux port, but there may be
some interface that Dick can suggest.

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Certainly at the moment (v22eH), the CCD port on the APM is *not*
 active on any telescope other than the LX90.

The firmware checks three ways from Sunday to make sure you have
a high-priced scope (similar to the 495 refusing to run an ETX90).

However... what's programmed can frequently be -re-programmed....
(i have a patched version to play with an APM on my ETX90, but the
 patch breaks many other operations in doing so... it's not something
 i'd wish (nor release) for general useage)(focus? you want FOCUS?)

I suggest that we all make meade VERY aware that we'd ALL like to
 Autoguide... (including a $50 check for an APM wouldn't hurt,
 with the endorsement proviso that, by cashing this check, Meade
 agrees to implement APM code for all models of Autostar Telescopes.)

 Just like those "free money" offers which have tiny print saying
 "if you endorse this, you're agreeing to buy a year's subscription 

I wonder if they'd bite...
(i think i can hear the lawyers scrambling from here...)
(-i- didn't make that suggestion... no siree... ;-)

More comments follow:
> Recently read that is was possible to connect the Meade 201xt to the
> ETX via the main eyepiece opening. 

well, you can stuff a -carrot- into the eyepiece opening, too.
I don't think it'd do much for tracking.

If you had software for interpreting the camera's output and producing
 LX200 rs232 commands to perform the guidance, it'd help (some LX90 
folks have done that)... but the LX200 command set does NOT provide
delicate motion control... and when you say "stop", it actually kills
the sidereal drive for up to a second.  Nasty for photos.

> Anyway, the personnel at
> Astronomicxs advises that since the ETX has no guider port that it
> can't be used. 
Good answer...

> The people at Meade say that the autoguider can be
> used with any of their scopes with an autostar type connection.
bad answer.. or "get it in writing" (and then hold their little footsies
to the fire...)

> You probably know their exact wording 
...since it's contrary to how i think the system works, no, i don't 
know the exact wording.

> but I wanted your thought on the possibility. 
> Clay and Dick may have some thoughts on this matter also.
see above.

>  Certainly would make taking a one hour piggyback photo a lot
> easier and better, if possible.  Might help the SAC IV photos also.
> Still enjoying the site!!

For piggybacking, the LX200 command set might work... the errors 
would be less than an arcsecond (we hope)... the LX200 command set
only provides arc-minute levels of control.

good luck
buy one and tell us about it (hee, hee...)
Mike here: It would be nice to have autoguiding support on the ETX models.

Subject:	90mm refractor vs ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, June 20, 2001 14:50:40
From:	woodjc@netcom.ca (John Wood)
Reviewing earlier posts I was puzzled by a claim that a 90mm refractor
would have similar light gahering power to an ETX-125.  On June 1st.
2001. Blais Klucznik provided some numbers purporting to justify this.

>The ETX-125 is advertised as a 125mm SCT or a minor derivative. Thus the
>ETX-125 has a maximum possible light-gathering area of 392.7 square mm. 
>But the so-called 125mm ETX has an obstruction of 34.925mm for its
>secondary mirror or 109.72 square mm.  So 392.7 - 109.72 = 282.98 square
>mm of light gathering ability.

Blais appears to have used a formula of Pi x diameter for the area of a
circle. If the correct formula of Pi x radius squared is used the
ETX-125 is seen to have about 77% more light gathering power than the

3.146 x (125/2)^2 = 12289 sq mm for unobstructed 125mm objective
3.146 x (34.925/2)^2 = 959 sq mm for the obstruction 
Leaving 11330 sq mm net for the ETX

3.146 x (90/2)^2 = 6371 sq mm for the refractor.

Having said this I will agree that the images in my 80 mm refractor are
much better than one might expect from a pure comparison of numbers.

Thanks again for the forum Mike.

Subject:	Re: Eyepiece comparison
Sent:	Tuesday, June 19, 2001 3:53:07
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Tony
Tony try these:


http://www.weasner.com/etx/ref_guides/eyepieces.html (my review)

They should help.

Clear skies!

Clay Sherrod
-----Original Message-----
From: Tony
>A couple of months ago I found an article, written I think by yourself,
>comparing eyepieces for Meade ETX, particularly Meade ones.  I printed a
>copy, but have since lost it in a house move.  If this rings a bell with you
>could you pls send me URL?  I bought ETX90CE a coupe of months ago and love
>it...I would like to expand my range of eyepieces, particularly as we have a
>fabulous view of Mars right now.  ( I live in Melbourne, Australia)
>Thanks and regards,
And from Tony:
Mike, great website, as a beginner I reckon it has saved me months/years
of study and mistakes.  Potentially costly ones too.  Many thanks for
the effort!

Subject:	Electric focuser
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 15:59:41
From:	woodjc@netcom.ca (John Wood)
Thanks for your terrific site.  It was a major resource in my search for
a telescope.  I now have an ETX 125EC bought from Khan Scope Centre in
Toronto, in whom I am well pleased.

I am just at the start of the learning curve but thought I would pass on
my observations in the hope that others can confirm what I am seeing and
perhaps offer suggestions.

I installed the electric focuser putting the face of the gear roughly
level with the end of the shaft as per the instructions.  I then seemed
to experience a decoupling which has been reported earlier.   Mars was
in the field of view but only as a large diffuse ring.  Pressing the in
and out arrows for up to two minutes had no effect on the appearence of
the ring. I slewed the telescope to the zenith and moved the focuser in
and out a short distance and noticed a slight change to the focuser
motor sound.  Returning to Mars  and the focuser worked as intended. 
Later the gear cover was removed and the gear relocated approximately
3mm along the shaft so that it fitted flush against the wider part of
the shaft.   In this position the gear comes up against the back of the
telescope in the fully "IN" position preventing it from turning further.
 In the original position there seemed to be no limit to how far it
would turn in.

I don't know if my analysis is correct but it appears to have resolved
the problem.


Subject:	Link To My Site
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 11:20:45
From:	Dave.Rosenthal@ie-ate.com (Rosenthal, Dave)
My web site is completed.  Astrophotography, software downloads, links,
etc. Please add it to your list of links.  Thanks.

Astrophotography By David Rosenthal :

David Rosenthal

Subject:	Award
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 9:56:11
From:	aph@theleys.cambs.sch.uk (Andrew Harmsworth)
Well done on your award - most impressive!

Also - like your site.  One day when I get paid enough I'll buy a proper


A P Harmsworth, Physics Dept, The Leys School, Cambridge, CB2 2AD
mailto:aph@theleys.cambs.sch.uk         Direct Tel. 01223 508 933
Work better. Use RISC OS on your computer. http://www.riscos.org/

Subject:	ETX tripod stability
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 7:43:46
From:	hans.koerner@gsst.de (Hans Koerner)
thank you for the intersting tips around the tripod. I was really on the
way to change anything, but now I found your side.

Do you know a tip to increase mechanical stability, to reduce mechanical

A friend means I can put fime sand (like for birds) in the
aluminium-legs to increase attenuation.

Best regards Hans Koerner
Mike here: Sand in the legs was a recent suggestion although I personally don't like that idea. An alternative is to place a weight in the accessory tray (if there is a central one between the legs) or hand a weight from the tripod head down between the legs. You can also place the legs tips on "vibration suppression" pads (I believe Scopetronix has them) or other vibration suppression material.

Subject:	IDO :-D
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 5:24:57
From:	bareketj@internet-zahav.net (m&j bareket)
congratulations for the award!!WOW!
I really think you deserve it, honestly. :-)
Keep on surprise us with your dedicated maintain of the site.
Best regards, Ido.

Subject:	Award
Sent:	Monday, June 18, 2001 4:31:28
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
I just stopped by to check what's new and saw the award. I just had to
click it to learn more and was very pleased by what I read. I am
relatively new to your web site, but believe me, I've done a
considerable amount of searching the www for ETX information and none of
the other pages I've found contain the amount of information that yours
does. It's a great site and I believe the award was well deserved!

Hats off to Weasner's Mighty ETX Site!!


Subject:	What Can I See?
Sent:	Sunday, June 17, 2001 22:57:33
From:	mandy604@home.com (mandy604)
I am in the market of getting a telescope in the near future and the
ETX-90EC came up. Can you give me some what of an idea of what might I
be able to see with it?

-Amanda Pagel
Mike here: Look through the Buyer/New User Tips page and the User Observations page.

Subject:	another question about the etx
Sent:	Sunday, June 17, 2001 20:35:04
From:	MrDebit1@apk.net (Brian)
I have a really good cannon EOS camera haw do I take pictures like yours
and get them to come out like that?  what do I need?

Mike here: For starters, see the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page, the Accessories - Astrophotography page, and the "Getting Started in Astrophotography" on the Observational Guides/References page. When you've absorbed all the information there and purchased any necessary accessories, it will be time to start experimenting. Expect to go through a LOT of film. See the "Exposure Time Spreadsheet" on the Guest Contributions Archive 1997 (linked from the bottom of the Telescope Tech Tips page) for some guidance.

Subject:	PLEASE hwlp me with my etx
Sent:	Sunday, June 17, 2001 20:15:45
From:	MrDebit1@apk.net (Brian)
I have an etx 90 and this thing is really getting me mad.   First off
here is my problem I cannot see things right.

Lets take mars for exaple It is so close to us now I should be able to
see the bumbs on it with no problem.  Well when I put on a high power
lense and focus one way I see a well focused round dot.  Then when I try
to focus another way I see the dots but there is a big black circle in
the middle which I think is that circle in the middle of my scope.  How
are you seeing things with yours?  do you get a black circle how big is
your immages?

Mike here: Mars is close and bright (too bright, almost). You should be able to make out some of the dark areas on the surface and under good seeing conditions, perhaps a polar ice cap. When you have Mars infocus (use some stars nearby to verify this), Mars will appear as a small disk in the ETX-90. It will get larger as you increase the magnification but at some point, you'll exceed the usable magnification (about 200X) and it will become fuzzy. That "hole" you see when out-of-focus is the secondary mirror.


OK i have looked at mars with these lenses

9.7 mm
4.7 wide angle

I would think that when I have these on mars would be bigger than my
scope could see but that is not the case.  It is about 3 times the size
of a star. I cannot see anything.  When I put it out of focus and had
the dot I was able to see what I thought were a bunch of bumbs on mars. 
I just cant get a clear look at it and I guess I am agravated 1 because
I spent so much money on all this stuff and 2 i am an amature.  I have
the autostar and the electronic focus.  With the firld tripod.  How big
is mars when you look threw your does it cover the whole scope?
Mike here: Well, your expectations are exceeding the capabilities of the ETX-90, and probably most telescopes you can afford! Mars will NOT cover the entire field-of-view (FOV) using those eyepieces (nor most eyepieces with any telescope). If you look at the head of a bolt holding the finderscope in place, if you get Mars that size in the eyepiece you'll be doing good. Of course, depending upon where you live, Mars can be pretty low in the sky, which can create atmospheric distortions. So, you'll need pretty good seeing to see details.

Subject:	focus speed... 
Sent:	Sunday, June 17, 2001 18:40:26
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	c.burton@acm.org
If you have an Autostar with numeric keypad,
just press the numbers... 1=slowest ("fine")
9=fastest, and there are two speed ranges in the
middle which flip at (probably) 5.

(whenever you encounter an Autostar "feature" which isn't
documented... press EVERYTHING!  It'll eventually yield
 its secrets...

have fun
--dick (pressed)

p.s. i didn't say "don't look at the sun", i said "be careful"

Subject:	Award
Sent:	Sunday, June 17, 2001 17:33:28
From:	davec3@bellsouth.net (Dave Cummings)

Congratulations for the well deserved award!

Dave Cummings

Subject:	Performance Enhancement (Supercharge)
Sent:	Sunday, June 17, 2001 9:13:19
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
Thought I'd pass on my experience from sending my ETX-125EC to Clay
Sherrod.  First of all I had a horrible experience with UPS and it took
over two weeks to get the scope to Clay.  Clay's patience was phenomenal.
 He got the scope a week late and still held my scheduled spot
reassuring me that all was all right when he eventually got it.  He had
it on the bench immediately and within a very short time e-mailed me
with a complete diagnostic (he might as well been in my living room). It
was amazing.  Every detail of his procedure was outlined and updated in
e-mail.  I finally got the scope last week.  Again UPS took over a week.

Clay went out of his way to get the scope back in a timely matter.  Even
pulled an all-nighter testing session.  I'm starting to feel a little

Last night I had it out at the first Star Party.

I have one of those old navy camera tripods but it seemed sturdy enough
to hold the scope (at least in Alt/Az mode.  The ground was soft though
and I didn't have access to a concrete pad.  Each time the scope settled
in the ground I had to realign it.  By the way I noticed he painted the
indicator markers for Dec and RA so you could actually see where "0"
was. Nice touch Clay!  The tripod eventually settled in the ground and
virtually every object was in the field of view (26mm eyepiece).  He
also cleaned my eyepieces and barlow and the views were fantastic.  The
Wild Duck cluster (M11) never looked better at double power with my
barlow.  Left it in the eyepiece, went all over the grounds looking
through other peoples telescopes.  Uh Oh better get back to my scope. It
was still in the same part of the field of view!  A testament to the
tracking.  I must have been gone a half hour at least.  In a word Clay
does a great job and keeps you updated constantly.  The paperwork he
sends you is like an SAT scoresheet.  I think he passes with colors.

Definitely worth the price.

Subject:	ETX 90RA
Sent:	Saturday, June 16, 2001 21:28:52
From:	peggye@bpsom.com (Douglas Smith)
I liked your site. I was out looking for scopes to buy and was checking
different scopes. I noted an ad from Scopetronix that had ETX 90RA for
$250. Just up my alley price wise. But I can't seem to find any
information on it. What else should I get? I like the "go-to" scopes,
but how would that help me learn the how to observe the night sky?

I was thinking about the NextStar 4 as a possible candidate, what's the
down side of this scope? Actually, I was wondering with a budget of
around $500 what would be some options. I really like the Stellarvue
80mm. My budget is flexible, but it is breakable.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Douglas L. Smith
Mike here: The ETX-90RA is the original ETX model (non-Autostar capable). Everything on my Site from 1996 through early 1999 is about this model. Optically, it is the same telescope as the ETX-90EC and so any optical accessories for one will work with the other. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for my first impressions of the ETX and some purchase suggestions. I can't comment on the NextStar 4.

Subject:	Astrophotography
Sent:	Saturday, June 16, 2001 6:33:14
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
I have never done any astrophotography, but I do own two very good
cameras and will soon have a Supertuned ETX-125EC, thanks Dr S. The 35
mm SLR body I have is an older Minolta X-700 and my digital camera is an
Olympus C3030 Zoom ( 3.3 Mega pixel). With the proper adapters both
cameras could be mounted for prime focus. The digital is an excellent
camera and is currently setup to 2048x1536 resolution which renders
photo quality 8x10 prints on my photo printer. The Olympus also weighs
much less than the SLR body.

Any comments on which camera you, or any of your readers would prefer
and why? I am not quite ready to invest in astrophotography equipment
but I thought I would start reading some of the articles on your site as
food for thought.

Every day that I visit your site I find more and more information to
digest. It has obviously been a great deal of work creating and
maintaining the site. I just wanted to pass along my deepest THANKS for
such a great site!

Mike here: I've done both 35mm film and digital astrophotography. Both have their pluses and minuses. With digital you get immediate results and can delete the bad ones right away. With film you obviously have to bracket exposures and are never sure it worked until you get the film processed. But film can handle much longer exposures than a digital camera, which doesn't mean that much with an ETX-125 except for piggyback astrophotography. Unless you add an off-axis guider to the ETX/camera system you won't be able to use the Autostar tracking for long duration photography (while pretty accurate, it is just not accurate enough for long exposures).


Being new to astrophotography, I'm not sure what you mean by an off-axis
guider, other than it is an EP? What sort of digital and 35 mm SLR
setups would you recommend?


Mike here: See the #777 Off-Axis Guider on Meade's LX200 accessory page. There are many such adapters on the market. (I don't have one). As to a specific recommendation on setups, can't make one. I only know what works for me. There is a lot of info on the site, search for "astrophotography" or specific camera types.

Subject:	Solar observing
Sent:	Saturday, June 16, 2001 1:32:20
From:	DEPDAVE2@aol.com
I was wondering if you had any articles or tips on safely observing the
sun.  I recently ordered an H-Alpha system from Thousand Oaks optical
for my LX90.
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
Dave Mackintosh
Mike here: Cover the Finder with a secure object (or a small solar filter). Be certain that the LX90 full-aperture solar filter is also securely inplace. Mount a sunshade on the OTA (I just use a large piece of cardboard with a hole in it so that it slides over the tube). This shades your eye as you look through the eyepiece (also keeps YOU cooler). H-Alpha filter systems are VERY sensitive to temperature so be certain to follow the directions with the filter on usage. NEVER look through the finderscope at the sun (unless you mounted a solar filter on it) and NEVER look through the main telescope without BOTH filters of the H-Alpha system inplace. You can align on the Sun be using the shadow of the telescope. It takes some practice but once you know what to look for it becomes pretty easy. Just minimize the size of the shadow of some piece of the telescope or align the shadows of two finderscope mounting screws. Enjoy!

Subject:	Re: more on Sun Tracking and glows..
Sent:	Thursday, June 14, 2001 17:06:35
From:	c.burton@acm.org (Charles Burton)
Finally got a chance to observe the Sun.  The mylar cover for the finder
scope worked great, letting me center on the big glowing ball.  Lots of
Sun Spot activity.  Anyway, I just wanted to thank you and Dick for your
help and comments.  I know I am going against Dick's precautions, but
using care and the mylar cover worked for me.

I have one more problem.  I have one of the electric focusers.  I cannot
seem to figure out how to change the focuser speed.  It is stuck on
Fast.  I hold the Mode key down for 2+ seconds and the display shows
"Focus Control:  Use Up/Down."  Scrolling up or down from there provides
no other Focus settings.  Using the "0" key, I see "Focus Control: 
Speed=Fast," then "Focus Control: Use Up/Down."  I cannot seem to find
any instructions or method of changing the speed of the focuser.  I am
hoping that you or one of your followers can help me here, too.  Fast
focusing speed really makes tuning the focus very difficult.

Thanks again,
Chuck Burton

Subject:	etx 90 or etx125
Sent:	Thursday, June 14, 2001 13:31:35
From:	msnisbett@hotmail.com (Mark Nisbett)
Great site!! Thank you. I am looking at purchasing a new scope and am
trying to decide between the 90 and 125. I know that the 125 has more
light gathering capability. But I read a review on the 125 in sky and
scope and it left me with some questions. First the obstruction is at
40%, is that a big deal? It just read like they still liked the 90
better? Did you get that impression? Is the 125 worth the extra money? I
might just forget about both and go with the LX90. I'm just thinking
that the 90 might just be to big. Cost wise it is alot more, but you do
get autostar, a tripod. You add these two items to either etx and your
looking at at least $300 on top of the base price.


Thanks again,

Mark Nisbett
Mike here: In a way it comes down to which scope you will use more and how you will use it. I find it easier to carry the ETX-90RA outside for quick viewing. But when I want more details, fainter objects, or longer viewing I use the ETX-125EC. Yes, the LX90 makes a wonderful scope but it is larger than the ETX-125EC.

Subject:	SAC IV
Sent:	Thursday, June 14, 2001 10:48:25
From:	mangum@tstar.net (Murray  and  Jean Mangum)
I read on the e-group that you had done a review and/or comments on the
SAC IV CCD camera.  I have searched the site but haven't been able to
locate anything along this line.  Could you point me in the right
direction.  I have some questions about the quality of the end result
but the price is right IF the results are good.

Really appreciate your help and of course I enjoy the site a tremendous

Thanks Murray
Mike here: My review is on the Accessories - Showcase Products page. If you search the site for "SACIV" you'll find some comments by others.

Subject:	Goto scopes and learning the night sky
Sent:	Wednesday, June 13, 2001 6:18:41
From:	Mnev326@aol.com
Knowing the night sky and knowing the location of some bright alignment
stars are two different things.  I regularly observe with people that
are long time star-hoppers. Their knowledge of star fields and patterns
is amazing.


Subject:	GREAT SITE!!!!
Sent:	Tuesday, June 12, 2001 20:20:35
From:	JPMoonMan59@aol.com
I was referred to your site by a member of my Astronomy club (AAI
Cranford NJ USA)  Amateur Astronomers, Inc. - Home Page (Keyword to:
http://www.asterism.org/)  I have an ETX-125 and a PROMASTER 200PK 35 mm
super camera. I hope to be sending some pictures soon. Thanks again for
such a great site for us ETX users.

Here is a sample before my ETX (4.5 reflector) taken with a Sony Digital
Mavica FD73.

JOE Powell

Subject:	ETX 125 to LX90
Sent:	Tuesday, June 12, 2001 14:11:14
From:	HAWKEYES43@email.msn.com (LISA PEUGH)
Wow, what a difference! My ETX125 was a nice Telescope, but my new LX90
is just incredible. I have only had it out one night because I have only
had it one night, but the amount of light this BIG 8" SCT gathers is
tremendous. I would highly recommend anyone looking at the ETX125 to do
the math and I think you will discover that for 1695.00 (tripod
included) the ETX just doesn't stack up. As many who have purchased the
ETX 125 have discovered, by the time you but the necessary accessories
for the ETX125 you could have just about paid for the LX90. I am so
thankful that UPS damaged my ETX125 during shipment because it allowed
my to mend my error. The only downside I see to the LX90 is that it is
much heavier then the ETX125. However, that is not a problem for me, but
it may be a problem for some. Mike hopefully you can add a LX90 section.
Thanks and here's hoping you have clear skies every night.
Mike here: As to adding an LX90 section, well who knows what the future may bring...

Subject:	Sagitta & Vulpecula Constellations
Sent:	Tuesday, June 12, 2001 13:46:38
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Once again thanks to Dr. Clay Sherrod for his great work on the

We are sure fortunate to have access to Mike's site as well as access to
these fine papers.

Blais Klucznik
Mike here: Many thanks for the kind words. I'm glad the ETX Site has been so useful for so many years. I am proud of the addition of Dr. Sherrod's excellent constellation guides.

Subject:	mars observations
Sent:	Tuesday, June 12, 2001 3:12:14
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	KingLear3@aol.com
Leary - Mars is a lot smaller and, as Mike notes, is much more difficult
right now because of its low altitude.  You will find that Mars requires
about 50x per inch aperture MINIMUM to provide any discernable detail
that you can actually put a name to; thus you should be using at least
250x in the ETX 125.  Your eyepieces you describe just are not providing
enough magnification.  That being said, you cannot use too much power on
poor nights though....if stars are twinking to the naked eye or
oscillating in the eyepiece when you observe them out of focus, then
don't expect Mars to hold much power.

Also try a #21 Orange filter....brings out MUCH detail.

Regarding galaxies, you MUST use a dark sky site in any telescope to see
them well; find at low power, then move up to about 100x to view which
is optimum for brighter galaxies in the ETX 125.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	more on Sun Tracking and glows..
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 22:05:47
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	c.burton@acm.org
I agree with Mike... the "Asteroid" tracking frequently arrives a
 little (one or two sun-diameters off), and you have to hunt.

But there's another item: the ETX90 has "light leaks" at the
 bottom of the main barrel, where it slips into the plastic "field
 mount" base... the curve of the barrel does *not* make a light-tight
 seal against that plastic.
There's also the matter of the two threaded holes in that plastic
 chunk (they're made to hold the barrel on a camera tripod... if
 you didn't have the entire rest of the base).

I seal the front curve, and two threaded holes, with black
 electrical tape.
Those gaps are not -too- important at night, but in daylight with 
 a sun filter, you'll see the leaks... and there's always the chance
 that you might catch more light there than is safe.

At nighttime those gaps -can- be distracting if a streetlight shines
 -just so- into them (like at my house...)

And i must humbly disagree with Mike: NEVER remove the cover from 
your finder... there's too great a chance of forgetting to put it back
on and later, by reflex, looking through the finder... 
(do what i say, not what i did... now -i- do what i say)
Mike here: True. I was just admitting to my indiscretions...


From:	c.burton@acm.org
From:	c.burton@acm.org
Thanks for your assistance here.  I knew about the opening at the
underside of the scope and had filled it with foam material.  However, I
did not know about the two holes.  I will take care of them, too.

As for the Sun search, I will try it again with a little more diligence
this time.  The shadow from my Rigel finder on a piece of paper looked
pretty dead on, but it certainly could have been off by a degree or two
(since it was an eyeball estimate).  My ETX finder's projection on the
paper did show a bright dot, but it was not easy to tell where within
the finder the dot was located, so it too could have had a large error. 
Next time I will try to see if the cross hairs can be projected on the
paper to give a better indication. Another thought is to get some mylar
material (like the Solar Skreen) to place over the objective end of the
ETX finder scope, so it can be used to do the positioning.

Not sure what kind of search pattern to use to locate the Sun.	Since
the scope is tracking the moving Sun, anything that lasts for more than
60 seconds or so without doing a Goto to reset the scope might let
things drift too far out of range.	Will have to ponder this and play
a little.

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions,
Chuck Burton
Mike here: The tracking works after you stop slewing. It just picks up at that new location.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
I use the main barrel and the under-lump as my shadow sources... when
the nose shadow is symmetrically around the back (projected on my
shirt), it's pretty close...

Lots of choice [on search pattern] here: 
(1) just set speed 5 or so, and slew around... when you -find- it, 
     do another GoTo, while you're watching through the eyepiece.
     Note the direction of the Sun's travel as it disappears.
     Now rotate the entire base (not the slew keys) to recapture,
     but use the slew keys for vertical.  This may/should improve
     the north-alignment of the scope.
(2) similar to aobve, but do the initial shadow-aiming by rotating
   the base and  unclamp the Alt to acquire in the up/down.
    No slew keys.  When you -find- the sun (at all) in the eyepiece:
     -carefully- reclamp, and touch up with slew keys.
     Again, you're simply mechanically moving the barrel to where the
     tracking programming thinks it already is...

One of my "someday i'll do this" project: a specific sun-aiming tube 
  on the scope (or dual-ring gunsight) for creating -good- shadows for
   aiming.  Plus an attached white surface for said shadow to strike.
   (a soda straw and postage stamp are the approximate sizes)

have fun

Subject:	Dr. Sherrod's ETX Tune-up
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 19:20:59
From:	tfmf@bellsouth.net (tfmf)
I must of course add my accolades to all those preceeding me.  Clay took
in my ETX90ec "patient" in May and a week later, a whole new world of
astronomy for the family!  By now, most readers are aware of the tune-up
and adjustment services he performs, and believe me, it's worth every
dollar.  I had attempted a number of his "fixes" myself, but finally
gave up in frustration and called upon the services of Dr. Sherrod.

What else can I say? It's a wonderful scope now and does (almost)
anything  I ask it.  Go-to's are a snap, the database is incredible, but
most of all, all those annoying little mechanical issues are repaired. 
In fact, Clay reported on a handful of issues that I was unaware were
soon-to-be problems- one of which would have meant repairs down the

I was glad to have the confirmation that my optics were in good shape (
and you should see the cleaning job on eyepieces), and the satisfaction
that my scope now operates like Meade (probably) intended.  ETX readers,
this service is a gem, and I encourage anyone with scope problems to
give Clay a shout!


Subject:	Question
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 17:59:29
From:	Andrew
I have a 1968 Asahi Pentax Telescope (D=50mm, f=600mm) that I have used
since I was 8.  I am now considering buying a new Meade ETX 60, 70 or 90
so I can see planets and galaxies better/clearer.  Not knowing much
about magnifications, lenses, etc, I wanted to ask you two things:

1) Is my current telescope compatible/equal in strength to the 60, 70 or
2) Is there a market for my used telescope?  
3) Do you know of anyone who might want to help me trade "up" to a
better telescope?

Many thanks - and great web site!

Mike here: The focal length of the ETX-60AT and -70AT is 350mm and the ETX-90EC is 1250mm, compared to the 600mm of your telescope. Longer focal lengths will yield higher magnifications with the same focal length eyepiece. The apertures of the ETX models is larger than your telescope, yielding more light gathering power yielding fainter objects and capable of higher usable magnifications. As to trade-up for your old telescope, I doubt it. Probably too old except for a collector.

Subject:	Orion Solar Filter Problem & Finder Scope Cap
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 17:36:16
From:	c.burton@acm.org (Charles Burton)
I purchased a solar filter from Orion last week for my ETX-90.  I
installed the "2001 Sun asteroid" ephemeris available from your site. I
took the filter and attached the rubberized stick-ons on the inner ring
of the filter.  I took the filter out and held it up to the sun to look
for pinholes.  None were found.  I attached the filter to my scope.  I
trained the scope (leveled it, pointed it at true north using a compass,
put it in the initial alignment position per Meade, and altaz 2 star
aligned it -- just letting it go to the stars and saying okay).  Then I
had it "goto" the "Sun asteroid."  It pointed at the sun (as expected)
and I verified that by looking at the shadow of my Rigel finder and for
a minimal telescope shadow.  In addition, the Sun went behind a cloud so
my ETX finder showed the bright dot of the Sun when projected onto a
sheet of paper.  Thus, I am pretty sure the scope was pointed in the
appropriate direction.  Looking into my 26mm eye piece, I could see only
a chorded 1/4 circle of orange light in the upper part of the lens.  The
remainder of the viewing area was pitch black (see below).

                      |                     |
                      |  orange glow area   |
                      |                     |
                      |                     |
                      |                     |
                      |  pitch black area   |
                      |                     |
                      |                     |
                      |                     |

  Note, it is a little tuff to draw a circle in an email message, so
  imagine that the outer square is a circle.  This view is all I ever

Since the lens image is right side up and backwards, moving the scope up
and down had no effect on what I saw.  The only thing that seemed to
change as I moved the scope around was that the orange area grew dimmer
as I moved farther from the Sun FOV (in any direction).

I live in Denver and at 3pm MDT on Sunday (6/10), the scope measurement
rings showed the following while tracking (in case anyone wants to
verify that I was pointed in the right direction):

  Right Ascension:  16.25 hrs
  Declination:  62.5 degrees

(as close as I could determine).  Next, I started slewing up and down
and right and left around the tracking point.  I could never see more
than what was described above (orange light in quarter circle and black
the remainder of the viewing area).  The orange area never had any
discernible pattern.

I started checking everything.  I slewed the scope to the horizon and
pulled the filter off.  No problems noticed (mountains and trees were
plainly visible, but somewhat out of focus -- seemed reasonable since
distances to planets & stars are much greater).  Thus, the flipable ETX
mirror was correctly positioned.  Took the filter and held it up to the
sun again.  Could see the orange sphere just fine, even moving the
filter around to look for opaque areas (none found).

Not sure what I am doing wrong, so I am hoping you (or someone who
regularly reads your site) can provide me with some guidance or an
explanation.  I was really disappointed, since I have been looking
forward to observing some sunspots and possibly some solar activity.

By the way, if anyone wants a cap for their ETX finder scope, they might
try a Butler Creek Flip-Open rifle scope cover (I used an 02 EYE for my
ETX provided finder scope).  The URL is:


But they can be purchased at about any sporting goods or gun shop that
sells rifle scope covers.  They vary in size from 1.0 to 2.75 inches in
diameter.  The nice thing about them is that the cap can be easily
opened (for general observing) or closed (for the sun) with the press of
a button.  See:


Thanks for your help,
Chuck Burton
Mike here: I suspect that "close but no cigar" applies here. What you were likely seeing was a reflection off an internal surface. When you were slewing around to locate the Sun you kept just missing it! Using the shadow method is difficult until you have a lot of practice (I still goof it up at times and have to hunt around). Checking the Sun's position in the finderscope is dangerous, but I do it too by removing the cover from the objective end of the finderscope and holding it over the eyepiece and briefly projecting the Sun's image on it. If I can see the Sun's projection then I recover the finderscope and check the ETX eyepiece.

Subject:	Re: ETX 125
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 12:46:04
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	David
Low altitude is your worst enemy with any planetary viewing; give it
another try on a steadier night;  best test is to look at a bright star
near the planet (Antares) and turn it counterclockwise out of focus with
the same eyepiece at about 270x or more; make the image fill about 1/8th
the field of view.  If the star moves or there is motion within the
large disk (out of focus) then your planetary images will NOT be good
and you will get what our are describing.  At your latitude, Mars CAN be
a tough cookie.  Hang in there....it is the atmosphere, and likely not
your telescope!  If you get less-than pinpoint star images when aimed
directly overhead on a 2nd magnitude star on steady nights, THEN you
might have optical concerns.

Clay Sherrod

-----Original Message-----
Well the skies in Milwaukee, WI finally cleared enough for your
recommended tests and I think the 125 passed. I was, however, dismayed
by my attempt to see Mars.  I'm at 43 degrees North Lat. so I did not
expect great detail but all I saw was a white, shimmering globe.  The
weather was somewhat humid but I was hoping for something.  Any
thoughts?  Do you think I'm just too far north for a good view?
Mike here: I agree. The low altitude of Mars is a pain. Try to catch it when it is near the meridian and therefore the highest in altitude. Of course, if there is a house beneath it at that time then you may have to contend with heat rising from the structure.

Subject:	Your Advise
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 10:50:29
From:	jonny_a_2002@yahoo.com (Jonny Alder)
I have been looking at your site for some time now. I am interested in
purchasing a telescope for myself and children. My kids are 11 and 9. I
have read as much as i can and looking at the pros and cons of most
telescopes. I have gone from the Meade ds-114 to the 127ec model, the
nexstar series and back to the Meade ETX-125EC. As you might expect when
reading these reviews one can take that all these scopes have lots of
good and bad. But what they never do is say if it was my money and was
looking for a scope, what would i really buy. Now i understand that $$$
is the biggest factor. So what i am asking is if someone was looking to
spend in the $500-$1000 dollar range what would u recommend? I dont care
what type of telescope it is as long as it is of good quality and has
some "go to" type of capabilities as my children will be using it.

I thank you for any advise u would afford me. and look foward to you web
site advise in the future.

Again thanks,

Mike here: What would I do? Well, I spent $500 plus over a $100 for accessories when I purchased my original Meade ETX almost five years ago. Would I do the same today? You bet. As you note, there are a lot of pros and cons to any choice. So the question is: does what you select meet YOUR needs AND expectations?

Subject:	Meade ETX-90EC or an Evostar 120
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 9:10:22
From:	Dsteele@focusnet.co.uk
I am looking to buy either the Meade ETX-90EC for around 499 or an
Evostar 120 for 308 with the tripod and other accessories. The thing is
do you know anything about the Evostar 120. It sounds good in the
adverts but I cant find any reviews about it.  I want to be able to see
the moon close up and Saturn and its rings all in good quality. Also I
will want to get into Astrophotography. Also would I be able to do all
this with the Meade ETX-70EC.

Many Thanks

Daniel Steele
Mike here: I'm not familiar with the Evostar telescope. As evidenced by the reports on my ETX Site, you can tell that the ETX-90EC, and to a lesser extent the ETX-70AT, is a good telescope for viewing the Moon, some planets, and some Deep Sky Objects. And, as evidenced by the photos in the Astrophotography Galleries, you can do some astrophotography.

Subject:	Unknown eyepiece
Sent:	Monday, June 11, 2001 9:04:23
From:	bhuffman@firstam.com (Huffman, Brian)
Hi Mike.  I first want to tell you how much I appreciate your website. 
It has been a tremendous asset this past month as I researched
telescopes to buy.  I finally decided on the ETX-90EC which I purchased
on Ebay last Saturday.  While waiting for it to arrive, I visited the
local Natural Wonders store to look for any great deals during their
going out of business sale.  The clerk there found a Meade eyepiece that
she sold to me for $12.50.  The eyepiece is a Meade MH 9mm.  To see how
good a deal I got I checked several websites looking for this eyepiece,
but could not find it listed anywhere.  Have you ever seen or heard
about this eyepiece?  I am interested to know if I got the deal of the
century or just a basic low end eyepiece (I was thinking it might be a
replacement for the Meade MA 9mm???).

Thanks for your help.

Brian Huffman
Mike here: I suspect it could be a "Huygenian" eyepiece. I couldn't find it listed in the current Meade catalog so it is likely a discontinued model.

Subject:	Goto scopes and learning the nite sky.
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 22:53:41
From:	northweb-info@northernwebs.com (Bob Minnick)
Mike, I'd like to comment on something you mentioned in reply to another
email. You were asked;

"Will I miss not having the Autostar?"  Or is it a convience that I can
live without?"

To which you replied;

"Amateur astronomers have lived for a few centuries without an Autostar
so it is likely that you can too. If you take the time to learn the
night sky (it is easy) you will get a lot of enjoyment from either
scope. The two telescopes do have their differences in how they perform
but if you want better views of planets and the Moon, the ETX-90 would
be better for you than the ETX-70AT (which is more suited to wide field
viewing). "

There is a fallacy here that older hands have been subscribing to that
I'd like to set the record straight on. GOTO scopes like the 60 and 70,
and others, do not mean you need not learn the nightsky. Imagine trying
to align your scope and not knowing, are you pointing at Dubhe or Deneb?
Alderbaran or Arneb? Meade and other GOTO manufacturers imply that you
simply set the scope up, level the OTA, point it north and away it goes.
LOL! If only it were that simple. Depending on sky conditions your
alignment stars can change nightly, and knowing if you are really
pointing at the correct alignment star is a hit or miss affair if you
don't buy yourself a couple of charts and a good book or two. GOTO
scopes make finding some of the more esoteric objects easier, but even
with the convenience of a goto controller, you still need to learn what
you're looking for.

My wife and I spend quite a lot of time making sure we're lined up on
the correct alignment stars, and then, even with the benefit of a goto
controller, we still double check the maps to make sure the scope is
pointed in the right direction. If you mess up with the alignment,
you'll have no clue that you've even messed up if you don't know the
night sky.

Goto controllers make a nice addition to the scope, and for this newbie,
I don't think I'd want to have to live without it. But honestly, they do
not simplify the process to the point implied by the manufacturers.

 Bob Minnick

Subject:	Congratulations on your website!
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 20:00:49
From:	mayidunk@mail1.nai.net (Robert Holbrook)
I, too, purchased an original ETX in August of 1996 and remember when I
first found your website shortly thereafter!  It has definitely come a
long way from then!  I still have my ETX, though I took it off the base
and have it mounted on an alt/az mount.  However, I have entertained
thought of putting it back together for old time's sake.
Take care,
Bob Holbrook
Mike here: Thanks! Both the Site and the ETX have come a long ways in five years!

Subject:	ETX Flip Mirror
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 19:23:09
From:	kdconod@earthlink.net (Kevin Conod)
I just purchased an ETX 125 and I was wondering if anyone's come across
a malfunctioning flip mirror?  I thought it was just the knowbs were
losse but the shaft which flips the mirror up and down just spins around
and won't move the mirror.  Any ideas?

Mike here: If the shaft rotates when either knob is rotated, then you have a disconnected mirror. I don't recall any previous reports of this. Return to the dealer for an exchange.


I removed the knobs hoping they were just loose and need to be reset on
their flat spots. But it is the shaft itself. It spins round and round
but the mirror won't move a bit.

It may not be returnable as it was bought on clearance.
Mike here: Well, you can check the info on Doc G's site (linked from near the bottom of the Tech Tips page on my ETX site) and try to repair it yourself. Or contact Meade.

And an update:

Yes, thanks, I found Doc G's web page thanks to your link. Unfortunately
his site does not give instructions on how to fix this particular
problem, but does have some nice info on how to open the back of the
scope and some good shots of the interior. This gave me the courage to
open it up and see what the problem is.  I found that the plastic mount
which holds the flip mirror is broken right near the shaft, as if
someone tried to force the knob too far. I'm going to contact Meade to
see if they will replace this one part. If so, the repair will be
relatively simple.

Thanks for your help.


Subject:	re: eclipse photography tips
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 16:46:53
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	dmehmet@hamamatsu.co.uk
Kodak used to publish a pamphlet on this (somewhere i've got one from
1972)... it may still be available, and may even be web-accessible.  All
data are still germaine.

Eclipses are one of those things that -any- exposure works. Short: you
get the inner corona, prominences and Bailey's Beads. Long; you
overexpose the center, and get the long trailing outer corona (which can
vary greatly from eclpise to eclipse)

Things which didn't exist when my copy of the Kodak book was published
are: radial-gradiated density filters. Dark in the center, transparent
at the edge. In one shot you get the inner thru outer effects.

Also visit Sky&Telesocpe's  (www.skypub.com) site, and from there link
to Fred Espernak's sites... lots and lots of tips.

Enjoy Zambia!

Subject:	To clean or not?
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 13:30:42
From:	srweeks@suscom-maine.net (Stephen)
Mike, thanks for your reply.  Sorry to keep bugging you with questions
but I had a few more.  Upon further examination, I have found a few more
things besides all the shinyness of the baffle tube that are a little
disturbing about my ETX- 90.  First, the inside of my scope appears to
have alot of dust in it for a new scope.  Second, the correcting lens
has 4 or 5 places on the edge where it appears to be chipped on the
inside, one of which comes close to the edge of the ring around the
outer edge of the lens.  Third, the primary mirror has what appears to
be several scratches on it, one of which can be seen looking into the
scope at normal light.  It is maybe 3 mm long, very narrow.  It could be
a long piece of dust but I dont believe so.  Lastly, looking at the
mirror with a flashlight ( I read the blurb in the instructions about
the flashlight test) the whole mirror appears to be blotchy.  In your
opinion, are any of these things cause to worry?  Or am I being a over-
critical beginner?  Should I contact Meade or will they tell me all is
within tolerance?  Thanks again for you help and the great site.

Mike here: Have you actually done a "star test"? If the scope is really new I doubt that what you are seeing is hurting the optical performance. Unless you use the proper lighting methods on an optical test bench you really can't tell what is OK and what is not by shining a light at the glass and mirrors while they are mounted in the tube. Yes, you may see some dust or evidence of dewing but unless they are really bad, don't make the typical assumption that cleaning is absolutely required. Most new users want to overclean their optics and that is not appropriate. But if you are really worried, return the scope to the place of purchase and ask for a new one. Most dealers will want you to be happy with your purchase. If you want to clean anyway, see the cleaning tips on the Buyer/New User Tips page.


Yes, I did a star test and everything appears to be fine.  If you say
that the other flaws don't make much difference optically, thats good
enough for me!  Thanks.

Subject:	2" diagonal
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 12:21:44
From:	elechtron@home.com (Marceilleiano F. Sosa)
Will the 2" diagonal for the LX #929 fit on an ETX 125?
Mike here: You will likely need an SCT adapter. There is one discussed on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.

Subject:	Observations of Mars
Sent:	Sunday, June 10, 2001 8:32:57
From:	KingLear3@aol.com
My ETX 125 has performed well when observing Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and
many nebulas.  But I have been disappointed with my observations of
Mars.  After over six observations using the 26mm and 12.4 mm eye pieces
on different nights, Mars always comes up fuzzy and without any details.
  The night skies here in Walnut Creek, Calif. have been clear.  Is this
all I can expect?  Would Mars clear up if I move the scope away from
urban lights and higher elevations?

Seeing galaxies have also been unsuccessful.

Thanks for the great web site - Leary Wong
Mike here: If you moved Mars to a higher altitude it would like MUCH nicer. However, since it is so low above the horizon for many Northern Hemisphere viewers, most times the views are disturbed a lot by our atmosphere. Moving to a higher elevation can help but you'll need to get above a lot of out atmosphere to be effective. As to galaxies, I don't know what your expectations were but to the eye, most galaxies will appear as faint fuzzy blobs in lots of telescopes.

Subject:	Paul Rini contact
Sent:	Friday, June 8, 2001 9:46:07
From:	stocknut@worldnet.att.net (Robert Honeycutt)
BTW the number on the website is no longer in service. I thought you
might have a newer one.

If you have any eyepiece recommendations I would be interested in
hearing your opnion. I was toying with a 40mm and 15mm in addition to a
2x barlow. 

thanks again. MIKE
Mike here: All I know is the info on purchasing Rini eyepieces on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. You might also see the other reviews there.

Subject:	re: Flip Polar mounted ETX
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 21:00:05
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	monopertuz@yahoo.com

Oh, what an interesting problem...

Things i would be tempted to try:
 Tell the Autostar that you are Alt/Az mounted, but at a latitude
  of 90 degrees South...  (investigate the singularities in the code)

IF i understand your mount description, the South-pointing mode must
 have the telescope's polar/RA axis pointed 11 degrees -below- 
 horizontal. Ouch.  You must have to lie on the ground to view some

Actually, it's almost simple: In Polar, All the Site Latitude does is
 tell the Autostar which other-side-of-pole stars are below the horizon.
So (almost) -any- latitude would do, for anything but close objects
 like the Moon and satellites.
Tell it Polar, Tell it any latitude... and for aligning: Fake it.
 It'll choose two stars, slew "there" ... and just hit [enter].
You'll probably find that that is close enough... 
Easy Align likes stars at least 30 degrees apart in Azimuth.
If you PARK when shutting down, the next power-up will remember 
 that it's southern and be happy.
As someone playing with their scope in preparation for an Eclipse trip
found... you HAVE to turn off your scope if you "change hemispheres".
The North/South changes are too drastic for simple on-the-fly changing.

But this is one of the compromises made in choosing a Fork mount:
 limited range of pointing.
A German Equatorial mount would have no problem in your location.

Good luck

Subject:	ETX site
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 15:38:17
From:	tgsanford@earthlink.net (Tom Sanford)
I was considering an ETX-125 for months but my wife relented and let me
buy an LX-90.  Still I wanted to thank you for your site and all the
info available to a beginner in astronomy.  Dr. Clay especially has
written some really great articles and his ongoing series on
constellations is ABSOLUTELY THE BEST for a beginner.  Thanks again for
your site.

Tom Sanford in Atlanta

Subject:	Eclipse Photography
Sent:	Thursday, June 7, 2001 5:53:27
From:	dmehmet@hamamatsu.co.uk
You helped me before when I managed to crash my autostar, so I thought I
would trouble you again on this subject!

Basically I am fortunate enough to be going to Zambia to for the solar
eclipse to carry out some research.  As a side line I am hoping to use
my ETX90EC to piggyback a videocamera to film the eclipse and for some
prime focus photography with my Pentax ME-Super.  What I am after really
is some advice on how to go about this ! ! Recomended film and exposure
time for the ETX.

If all goes well I will send you a couple of the pictures !

Thanks for your time (again!) and keep up the great work, I don`t know
how you keep on top of it all!

Mike here: For totality, I'd use about an ISO 400 film. Brackett the exposures a lot (only chance at this, remember). From maybe 1/500 to a couple of seconds. Each one will capture some details, overexposing others perhaps. For the partial phases you will need a good solar filter on your ETX. Practice with the same film/camera combination well in advance. You might also look through the examples on the Guest Astrophotography - Solar Eclipse pages.


Thats great Mike!  I will buy some ISO 400 on my way home tonight and
experiment tomorrow, now I have taken delivery of my field tripod and
camera adapter stuff!

When I return from the trip I will email you some details, an ETX on a
research trip!



Subject:	 Talk about information
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2001 22:39:53
From:	marbla@naisp.net (Blais Klucznik)
Thanks again for having a site that maintains archives of past inputs. 
R Seymour sent me a note (and link) to specific information that was
placed on your site in Feb.

What a wealth of information.  I think I speak for many of the site
visitors in expressing our gratitude for your work and to those who

Good Morning.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	New Etx Advice
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2001 18:27:54
From:	srweeks@suscom-maine.net (Stephen)
Thanks for the great site, as a new ETX- 90 owner, there is a vast
amount of info here.  I have a question about my scope- when I look
through the baffle from the through the photo port, I see what looks
like shiny dried glue or some other material on the sides.  It almost
looks like a a dried coke.  There are also a few sploches of it on the
disc in which the baffle is mouted.  Is this normal?  How clean should
the inside of an ETX be?  Thanks for your help.
Mike here: For the most part, any splotches at the attach points will not interfere significantly with the quality of the views. As to the inside of the baffle, it may not be the perfectly black surface you expect to see. However, it is also not perfect and some light scattering can occur during daylight viewing.

Subject:	Re: constellation guides
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2001 16:29:53
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
You are not wrong about the constellation series.....did that on purpose
and if you read for the next few months you will learn why!(?).

Keep using those guides and let Mike Weasner KNOW that you do....he
loves good feedback and runs a great web site!

Dr. Clay

-----Original Message-----
>Dr. Clay:
>As a newcomer I have really enjoyed your constellation guides on Mike
>Weasner's web site.  Just a simple question though:  Sagittarius was #11
>and Coma Berenices was #13.  Not being picky or critical but want to be
>sure I didn't miss one somehow because these are great tools for a
>beginner such as myself.
>Seriously--Thanks sooooo much for all the info and advice you and others
>have provided on this site.  It really helps a beginner like me.

Subject:	Dr. Sherrod's tuneup
Sent:	Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:13:44
From:	tnorton@altamontschool.org (Tommy Norton)
I want to recommend Clay Sherrod's tuneup service for the ETX scopes. 
Not only was my 125EC in great condition externally after the
recondition, but it is operating just as it should have from the
factory...shame on Meade. Maybe some day they will get the message!  Dr.
Sherrod was honest, courteous, and extremely helpful and professional. 
Clay, we're glad you are there for us!

Tommy Norton

Subject:	Polar Alignment on the #883 tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 16:45:29
From:	d.birmingham@worldnet.att.net (David Birmingham)
In Dr. Sherrod's article "Clays Kochab Clock" there are pictures showing
the polar alignment home position with the OTA in line with the fork
arms, while the Meade instruction sheet shows the polar-aligned ETX with
the OTA at a 90 degree to the fork arms. Having never done a polar
alignment, but convinced by the article I should, I am somewhat
confused. On your site is there a definitive article on aligning an ETX
on the #883 tripod in polar alignment?

Thanks from a Newbie!

From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Yes David....look at
http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/etx_tuneup3.html and associated
other "Performance Enhancement Guides.." that I have published on Mike's
site.  The Kochab Clock article is correct....the Meade diagram is
wrong.  Set up your scope as described in that article and the one just
listed.  That should do it!  good Luck!

Clay Sherrod
Mike here: Of course, a Polar aligned telescope can have its OTA at 90 degrees to a fork following the alignment. It is just the fork arms that have to pointed at the pole (for an ETX and some other scopes).

Subject:	Digital cameras
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 13:30:36
From:	marcuskd@earthlink.net (Marcus Dinsmore)
I'd really like to get your's and your readers' recommendations(or
anti-suggestions)on the digital camera and stacking software I should go
out shopping for, to begin my beginner's forees into astrophotgraphy
with my 90.

Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of the ETX community!!

--- Marcus Dinsmore
--- marcuskd@earthlink.net 
--- EarthLink: It's your Internet.
Mike here: The lastest Nikon Coolpix 990 (I think that's the model) sounds good. Exposures to 8 seconds! AstroStack is probably the best stacking software (Windows) from what I've heard.

Subject:	ETX125
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 11:29:39
From:	jjarrett@csc.com
First I would like to say that you have an excellent website.  Thank you
for the service I have used your website several times.

I apologize for bothering you, I am sure you get alot of questions. 
But, I was curious if you knew of anyone who has tried using a 416xte or
the 216 with a 125?  Can the 125 be autoguided?

I tried to find an email address on Meade's website to inquire about
this but was unable to find one.

Thank you very much.

John Jarrett
Mike here: Search the site for "autoguid" and you'll find some references to autoguiding with the ETX. Search for "416" and also "216" and you'll find some more comments.

Subject:	Solar filter
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 9:32:00
From:	ARottal@gmx.de (Arno)
I m going to buy a glass solar filter for my etx90ec. Now I want to
know, if it's safer with this filter to look at the sun, than with a
baader foil. I heard that these glass filters can easyly shatter.
What do you think of the glass filters ?

Arno Rottal
Wien / Vienna, Austria, Europe
Mike here: For your ETX-90EC, a high quality full aperture (covering the full 90mm corrector lens) is perfectly safe. It doesn't matter that much if it is a glass filter or not; both types must be treated carefully to avoid scratches which would let unfiltered sunlight through. See the solar filter reviews on the Accessories - Filters page. DO NOT USE a solar filter that attaches to an eyepiece; these are not safe and are prone to cracking and letting unfiltered sunlight reach your eye. Also, projecting the sun's image onto a white cardboard or other surface should not be done with the ETX models as the unfiltered sunlight will damage the scope.

Subject:	ETX/EC Update
Sent:	Tuesday, June 5, 2001 9:26:05
From:	SMalin1@aol.com
I have some really good news for those of you out there who have found
the performance of your ETX/EC with the Autostar a lot less than you had
hoped for. Lots of play in the drive system and the inaccurate way the
Autostar dealt with the "goto" function. That certainly was the case
with my scope. I sent it back to Meade and for $75.00 got it back very
much the same way I sent it. Luckily on one of these postings I found
the name of Dr. Clay Sherrod and I emailed him to find out what he does
to the ETX. Quickly a response came and with it I decided to send him my
sick scope for the full treatment. Turn around time was very short and
when I got it back much to my pleasant surprise the scope works like it
should. A complete inspection sheet is included and what was done in
very great detail. For those of you who would like to do the same you
can write to him at:
We are lucky to have this available to us.
Selwyn Malin 

Subject:	Still no serial number
Sent:	Monday, June 4, 2001 23:48:51
From:	bernie.j.verreau@qwestisp.net (Bernie Verreau)
I found the answer to my question in a previous message.  As far as I
can see there is still no serial number on an ETX I purchased about a
year ago.  I hope the Zambian customs officials don't give me a hard
time when I bring it there for the eclipse in a couple weeks.  I wonder
why Meade left this number off?  Surely they must use serial numbers
themselves for tracking inventory.

Bernie Verreau, Redwood City, CA

  Subject:  Where's the serial number?
  Sent: Sunday, October 10, 1999 11:56:49
  From: lschor@home.com (Leslie Schor)
  I've looked all over the thing!  We're getting renter's insurance and
  I'd like to have this info.  Its an ETX-90 classic ( no EC ).


  Jim Bresnahan

  Mike here: There is no serial number on the original ETX. You could
  probably get a number that would satisfy the insurance company off the
  circuit board in the base.
Mike here (again): I didn't have any problems with Customs taking my ETX-90RA to Australia. There was no serial number.

Subject:	great site
Sent:	Monday, June 4, 2001 22:19:12
From:	ab6pn@gte.net (Jim Stoffaire)
A great site with a lot of good information for the beginner! I recently
came across a never used complete Meade ETX-90EC at an estate sale and
purchased it for a song along with lenses, tripod, and camera adapters.
I have been using a camcorder and wwv to video the more spectacular
lunar occultations but I want to video grazes. Hopefully the PC-23C
video camera will work well with this small scope. My question is, is it
very hard to adapt this camera to the prime focus of the telescope? The
scope has a T to C adapter. With the video camera attached at prime
focus are any other lenses used between the camera and the telescope?
Perhaps and ignorant question but I have no experience at this and would
appreciate any information you can give me. Thanks for your time!

Jim Stoffaire

Bishop, CA. (few people and
very dark skies!)
Mike here: For true Prime Focus photography the only lens involved is the telescope. No eyepiece, no camera lens. So, if you can't remove the camera lens, then you can take Prime Focus photography; you will have to do "afocal photography" using an eyepiece. There are several adapters available which might work for you; see the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	Flip Polar mounted ETX
Sent:	Monday, June 4, 2001 15:58:07
From:	monopertuz@yahoo.com (Fernando Pertuz)
Living close to the equator gives us star gazers a greater field of a
sky to look at, but a the same time poses some inconveniences for fork
mounted equatorials like my ETX RA.  Aside from fairly awkward viewing
angles, (try finding M82 and M81 with the finder scope when you are
located at 11 deg North Lat) the ETX's fork mount will not allow you go
any higher (or lower) than about -32 deg posing a serious limitation to
observing the southern skies.

To solve this inconvenience I designed a pier mount for the ETX that not
only holds the scope at the desired polar elevation, but it adds a very
useful "twist".  The base plate to which the scope is attached is welded
to a 1" steel rod such that the rod is perpendicular to the polar axis. 
The rod itself is inserted into a 1" tube and held tightly in place by
two 1.5" screws that traverse both the tube and rod.

This setup allows me to polar align the scope on the NCP and then, if an
object like Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) is below the scope's DEC
limitation, I simply remove the screws, pivot the whole thing 180 degs,
replace the screws and the scope is now aligned to the SCP.  I then flip
the switch to Southern Hemisphere and enjoy the splendor of this
beautiful Globular.

I am now the proud owner of a new ETX EC with an AutoStar and the above
scheme works nicely with the EC in it's "native" mode only that flipping
the switch is not so straigh forward and slightly more complicated.

The beauty of this setup succumbs, however, when I use the AutoStar in
Polar alignment mode.  Selecting Omega Centauri for GoTo responds with a
menacing CHECK MOUNT warning that slewing to the object may hit the
mount.  Now then, If I flip the mount, there is no way that I can tell
the AutoStar that the scope is now pointing to the SCP to realign.	I
tried defining a location at the same longitude but at 11 deg south, but
that didn't work, as an easy align went to the twilight zone and a two
star alignment (also way off) resulted in an "alignment failed, check
stars" message.  In other words it seems that there is no simple way of
"flipping the hemisphere switch".

Granted that with the AutoStar in Alt-Az mode allows viewing the entire
sky without a hitch, but I do not want to discard the posibility of
taking some pictures without having to go through undue body contorsions
to point the darned thing to the subject.

Any ideas? Any takers?

Fernando Pertuz
Way south of the Border

Subject:	your 2045 motor drive
Sent:	Monday, June 4, 2001 4:35:57
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	rmtrue@tinyworld.co.uk
Good morning and glad you got that scope!  Those are nice instruments.

If you are "hearing" the motors in operation, then SOMETHING should be
moving.....albeit it may not be moving the "right amount" if you voltage
is too high or too low.  the telescope is made to operate on a 12V DC
input, so make sure that your power supply is between 10V and 14V for
optimum operation and make sure it is putting out the proper amps for
the motor assembly (it likely is).

If you are clamping the RA axis properly, then it is likely there is
some mechanical slipping in the clutch/gear assembly; you can remove the
base plate on the 2045 and access the drive system; try looking at the
drive while power is applied.....motion will be VERY slow so look
carefully (I put a tiny dot in black on the drive gear - the larger flat
one - and use that like a clock hand to indicate motion and how much).

Good luck!  You should be able to get it going if you are hearing the

Clay Sherrod
And more:
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Roger -from what you are saying, you are dealing with strictly a
MECHANICAL problem here and NOT an electrical; you have pretty well
eliminated that.  It sounds like:

1) a small reducer gear in the assembly is stripped; or 2) one or more
of the gear train elements is slipping on its axle, which should be
pretty easy to identify and fix.

Those options are about the only things that could be wrong.

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod
    -----Original Message-----
    Many thanks for responding so quickly to my dilema.The scope is
    certainly a nice instrument and have a number of enjoyable hours
    viewing already,I only acquired it onMay 24! Anyhow back to the
    problem in hand,I followed your advice and removed the links in the
    battery pack to give 12vdc(in fact 13.7) at the jack plug.I removed
    the base plate to give access to the motor etc and plugged in and
    moved the clamp lever as far as it would go in a clockwise direction
    to lock the drive.The motor runs but after 2 hrs there was no change
    to the datum point originally noted ie 23 hrs.It would appear that
    the motor is totally enclosed as I can see no gear wheels on which
    to put a marker dot .The motor would appear to be running as there
    is still the whirring sound.Unfortunately not being too au fait with
    electrics/electronis I do not know  quite where to put my multimeter
    probes to check the current being drawn.There are 3 wires going to
    the motor/gearbox assy from the PCB.What current would be expected
    to be drawn by the motor?

    Do you have any further thoughts which I may follow up? It would be
    simple if I live in USA I could send it to you for service  but alas
    this is not the case!!!!!!!!

    Many thanks for assistance to date.

Subject:	Meade Model 2045
Sent:	Sunday, June 3, 2001 8:01:48
From:	rmtrue@tinyworld.co.uk (rmtrue)
I have been put in touch with you by a fellow member of the Norwich
Astronomical Society here in the county of Suffolk,UK,hoping you may be
able to help me with a problem I have with my recent acquisition,a Meade
Model 2045 S/C 102mm dia, f10 telescope,with RA drive.On the base of the
instrument alongside the power jack is a label '12vdc'.

Optically,I have no problems,however when I try to drive the RA axis by
plugging in the portable power pack,the instrument will not
track.Placing an ear to the base I can hear a whirring sound indicating
the motor is operating.

The power pack contains 10 x 1.2vdc AA dry cells.

I have checked out the batteries as supplied and found 3 duff cells so
have replaced the lot with a completely new set of
rechargeables.Checking the voltage output at the jackplug,I get a
reading of 6.7vdc(fully charged). I assumed from the label alongside the
power jack point I should have 12vdc!!!!! Looking at the way the
internal connections of the power pack are wired it would appear to be
wired to provide 2 banks of 5 cells in parallel to produce a 6vdc

I removed all the links to produce 12vdc at the jack plug but before
trying it out on the scope, my collegue advised me not to connect the
pack to the instrument as it must be done in this manner for a purpose,
for fear of 'blowing something up!!!' and suggested YOU may be the guy
to advise me prior to seneding the scope away for investigation.

I would be grateful if you have any thoughts or previous experience of
this problem and could advise me on a suitable remedy.

I have looked at your website on the ETX and found it fascinating being
a newcomer not only to the ETX but to Astronomy.

Look forward to hearing from you soon - hope you can help!

Thaanks in anticipation,


Roger True

Subject:	Complete Beginer in need of help
Sent:	Saturday, June 2, 2001 13:00:54
From:	daveandmhari@yahoo.co.uk (Dave Clarke and Mhari McCall)
I was forwarded to your website via a shop in England called Sherwood's
Photo, and am very impressed.

I have yet to purchase a telescope but the Meade ETX-90EC looks like a
very viable option.  However I am completely in the dark about the type
of images and benefits afforded by this telescope.

The small size also makes me weary, are the images comparable to larger
telescopes of the same retail value.  I have nothing to base any
comparisons upon.

We are travelling to the states in November and aim to buy the telescope
there, it is soooo much cheaper than England, so I would really
appreciate your help.

So, I am looking for a user friendly telescope that give excellent
results, is the ETX 90 the one for me?

Thank you in anticipation

Dave Clarke.
Mike here: As you can tell from the Site's contents, there is a LOT you can see and do with the ETX-90EC. Will it give you the same views as a 10" Dobsonian telescope? No way. Will it give you the same views as a 6" Newtonian reflector? Again, no. But, while aperture and focal length count for a lot, so does how you want to use a telescope. If you get a larger telescope but stop using it after a month or two because it is large and cumbersome to move and set up, that larger scope is not very useful. Read through the User Observations on the Site and look at the photos users have taken (remembering that your eye will see more details on brighter objects). Then decide HOW you want to use the telescope and what your expectations will be. If those match the ETX-90EC, then it is the right scope for you (at this time).

Subject:	ETX-90/125 Field Doubler
Sent:	Friday, June 1, 2001 8:25:30
From:	AntonioMendes@netcabo.pt
in Scopetronix I find this accessorie for ETX-90/125 Field Doubler,
effectively shortens the focal length of telescope.

I liked to know if  some person tested this accessorie ?

Thanks in advance
Antonio Mendes
Mike here: It is somewhat similar to the Shutan Wide Field Adapter discussed on the Accessories - Showcase Products page but does have some differences. I don't recall any reviews of the Scopetronix product.

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