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: email@example.com Congratulations. 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! Frank
Subject: Meade ETX90-RA for beginner? Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 11:27:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? Aloha, GerritMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. www.kytecommunication.co.uk/news/astronomy.html Keep up the good work. Regards Paul -- 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. www.kytecommunication.co.uk
Subject: Supertuned 125EC Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 4:42:36 From: email@example.com (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. THE SERVICE IS THE MOST VALUABLE INVESTMENT THAT YOU COULD EVER SPEND ON YOUR TELESCOPE!!! 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 EvansMike 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: email@example.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, ColoradoAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 SherrodMike 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: email@example.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. Thanks, Tony Hatwood
Subject: Dr. Clay Sherrod Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 8:29:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 http://www.geocode.com/eagle.html-ssi Supposedly you may decode 100 addresses free. Hope this info helps. Gail
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, Rob
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. Don
Subject: More Great Work Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 21:21:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com
Subject: SAC-IVb CCD Imager and Mac software Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 12:23:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? Thanks! Paul St. AmandMike 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 terrible. It seems a little 90 mm fits the bill. Your suggestion? Thanks again. Nick QuanMike 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: email@example.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 improvement. 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. THANK YOU DR. CLAY!!! Peter RossiMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? michaelMike 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: email@example.com (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 card. have fun (but be careful) bob rose firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Dust Caps Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2001 16:28:07 From: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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. Regards, Kevin
Subject: My Congratulations to you Mike Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2001 15:41:46 From: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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: email@example.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. Thanks! Scott Powell firstname.lastname@example.org 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 pictures! Thanks! Scott PowellMike 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: email@example.com (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 contribute. Regards, Ron Young
Subject: Meade!! Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 12:31:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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!! bd -- C. Brent Dane email@example.com Brent's R/C Electronics Page http://www.cliftech.com/
Subject: The lights in the Sky may not be stars... Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 21:06:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 --dick
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 following: -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: email@example.com (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 spotting... Sincerely, Ray HarderMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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! Sincerely, Jim Gillaspie
Subject: Well Deserved! Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 5:16:08 From: email@example.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 VPIS Dixon Ticonderoga Company
Subject: Variable Barlow? Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 23:25:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 ETX125? I wish all of you to have a clear skies tonight to meet with a mars. YenalMike 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 advice?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: email@example.com (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 refractor. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Autoguider Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001 21:20:26 From: email@example.com (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!! Thanks MurrayAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 SherrodAnd:
From: email@example.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 to..." 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...) --dickMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 refractor. 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. Regards.............John
Subject: Re: Eyepiece comparison Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 3:53:07 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: Tony Tony try these: http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/ep_specs.html http://www.weasner.com/etx/ref_guides/eyepieces.html (my review) They should help. Clear skies! Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- From: Tony >Clay, >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, > >TonyAnd 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Regards...........John
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 : pages.prodigy.net/david.rosenthal/ David Rosenthal mailto:email@example.com DRSoft
Subject: Award Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 9:56:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 telescope. Cheers, Andrew -- A P Harmsworth, Physics Dept, The Leys School, Cambridge, CB2 2AD mailto:email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 vibrations??? A friend means I can put fime sand (like for birds) in the aluminium-legs to increase attenuation. Best regards Hans KoernerMike 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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!! Dave
Subject: What Can I See? Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2001 22:57:33 From: email@example.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? Thanks! -Amanda PagelMike 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? thanksMike 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? thanks brianMike 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 32mm 9.7 mm 4.7 wide angle 26mm 18mm 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Cummings) Mike, 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 guilty. 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. Don
Subject: ETX 90RA Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2001 21:28:52 From: email@example.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. Thanks, Douglas L. SmithMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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! DaveMike 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? Thanks, DaveMike 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 DepDave6@hotmail.com DepDave2@aol.comMike 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. ANY ADVICE???!!! Thanks again, Mark NisbettMike 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: email@example.com (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 amount. Thanks MurrayMike 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. Mark
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Blais Klucznik) Once again thanks to Dr. Clay Sherrod for his great work on the constellations. We are sure fortunate to have access to Mike's site as well as access to these fine papers. Blais Klucznik email@example.comMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hi... 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) --dickMike here: True. I was just admitting to my indiscretions...
From: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.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 BurtonMike here: The tracking works after you stop slewing. It just picks up at that new location.
From: email@example.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 --dick
Subject: Dr. Sherrod's ETX Tune-up Sent: Monday, June 11, 2001 19:20:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 road! 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! Terry.
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 90? 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! AndrewMike 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: email@example.com (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 saw. 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: www.butler-creek.com/m_scopes_p2.asp?grpky=203 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: www.butler-creek.com/m_scopes_p.asp?grpky=203 Thanks for your help, Chuck BurtonMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? -DavidMike 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: email@example.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, Jon...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 SteeleMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 HuffmanMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 HolbrookMike 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: email@example.com (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? --Kevin firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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. Regards, Kevin
Subject: re: eclipse photography tips Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2001 16:46:53 From: email@example.com (richard seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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! --dick
Subject: To clean or not? Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2001 13:30:42 From: email@example.com (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. StephenMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 WongMike 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: email@example.com (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. MIKEMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (richard seymour) To: email@example.com Fernando, 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 targets. 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 --dick
Subject: ETX site Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2001 15:38:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com 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! Deren.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! Thanks, Deren.
Subject: Talk about information Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2001 22:39:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 contribute. Good Morning. Blais Klucznik email@example.com
Subject: New Etx Advice Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2001 18:27:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. StephenMike 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: email@example.com (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. > >Tom
Subject: Dr. Sherrod's tuneup Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:13:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com (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! DaveAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 SherrodMike 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: email@example.com (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 --- firstname.lastname@example.org --- 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: email@example.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 JarrettMike 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 ? Sincerely Arno Rottal Wien / Vienna, Austria, EuropeMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 ). thanks, 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 motor. Clay SherrodAnd more:
From: email@example.com (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. Regards Roger
Subject: Meade Model 2045 Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2001 8:01:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 output. 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, Regards Roger True
Subject: Complete Beginer in need of help Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2001 13:00:54 From: email@example.com (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 MendesMike 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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