Last updated: 24 June 2004
Subject: Re: Questions on Telescopes Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 11:16:15 From: RMDKANE@aol.com (RMDKANE@aol.com) Do you think I would see galaxies and nebulas and other stuff better with the ETX70 or the DS2130? I know they are different types of telescopes, what do you think? Rob.Mike here: Define what you mean by "better".
What I meant by better is can you even see galaxies, nebs , and quasars. Do they have color and detail. Would you even know if what you were looking at was a galaxy or a nebula?Mike here: In most telescopes that you can afford, galaxies and nebulae will appear as small faint fuzzy blobs of grey. Some will show a shape (oval, long, circular) but only the brightest, like M42, the Great Nebula in Orion, will show some color in the larger telescopes (like a 20" aperture). Otherwise, things will appear grey or green. Read through the User Observations page for some reports.
Another question I have is can either the ETX70 or the DS2130 be upgraded later on or would you have to buy another scope to replace them? Like a computer you can buy a faster processor to make it run faster can you get upgrades to a scope to make it more powerful?Mike here: You can add more eyepieces or other accessories but you can't really "upgrade" like you mean. Many of the eyepieces and accessories are universal though.
I really appreciate all the time you are giving to answer my questions. I have been reading all about the ETX70AT and I have found that almost everyone that has owned one has had problems with it alot. Is this true? I read your experiance with it and it looked like you just had the focus knob trouble. What can you tell me?Mike here: I don't read those User Observations as reporting "problems with it alot". There are EXPECTATIONS vs REALITY issues however. It is a small telescope afterall.
I was not talking about what they saw in the scope I was referring to the mechanical aspect of the scope. I guess the scope gets alot of slopin the axis within the first few uses and the battery system of 6 batteries does not power the motors well. I am not sure. Do you still use yours and do you have mechanical problems with it?Mike here: My most used telescope is my old ETX-90RA. I still occasionally use the ETX-70. No problems with it. Battery power will always be a problem when they get low. The ETX line does have a lot of plastic (which reduces overall costs). But many people like the ETX line (obviously).
I kinda had an idea and I wanted to know your opinion on it. Obviously the two I am looking at are the ETX70 and the DS2130. I am going to buy the DX2130 and mess around with it for a couple of days and see what it is like. Then I am going to return the DS2130 and order the ETX70 from the Discovery Channel Store and use it for a couple of days. If I like the ETX70 better then I will just keep it. If I liked the DS2130 then I will send the ETX back and buy another DS2130. What do you think?Mike here: A better solution would be to check for a local astronomy group or club. They may have "star parties" where you can try out many different telescopes. But as long as you are upfront with the store and tell them you want to try it out and that you might return one or the other, then all should go OK.
Another Question I had was do you think that the DS line may be built cheaper than the other lines because it is sold in a Department store? RobMike here: It is less costly because it was designed for a different market segment than other telescopes from Meade, which has different requirements and expectations.
Subject: Web Site Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2004 07:30:38 From: Michael Mead (email@example.com) Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your web site. I am new to astronomy and have a Meade DS-2114S which seems like a good telescope for a beginner although I have nothing to compare it to since it is my first. (I think I had one when I was about 10 which is some 46 years ago) I have interest in viewing variable stars and Messier objects and wonder if you could recommend a good filter. I hope as I gain experience I will be able to add some useful information to your site. Keep up the good work! Thank you Mike Mead
Subject: Questions on Telescopes Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 17:43:27 From: RMDKANE@aol.com (RMDKANE@aol.com) Hello, My name is Robert and I am looking into getting a telescope in a couple of months and I was wondering if you might help me find the one I want. See, I am mostly into looking at the planets and the moon, but but if I can get a peek into deep space then that would be awesome. I have not used a telescope in about 10 years so this is a little rusty to me. Now, the thing is that I am looking at the Meade Telestar DS-2130AT or ATS Telescope and the problem I am having is that Walmart sells the (AT) and Meade sells an (ATS) which they ( Meade) told me it has a shorter tube and that it is better to see Nebulas or Galaxies with it. Now I know nothing about Telescopes and I just want to know which is better, the short tube or the long tube. For some reason I am still not sure about it. I think this next question ties in with the question above. Is it better to have a long focal length or a short focal length. I have been reading some stuff on your site here and It is pretty apparent that you definately know your stuff about astronomy and telescopes. I definately want to use your website for my help and support when I get my telescope. Can you please help? Thanks RobertMike here: What you are referring to is "focal ratio", expressed as "f/" and a number. Just like with cameras, the f/ ratio relates the telescope (mirror or lens) aperture and its focal length. "Faster" systems (lower f/ ratio numbers) gather more light and display a brighter image. That can be important for DSOs. Slower systems can provide more contrast but you need larger apertures to avoid too much dimming of the image. Magnification also comes into consideration (see the FAQ page if you are uncertain how to calculate magnification and the maximum theoretical magnification for any telescope.
Ok, see on the information on 2 scopes I have its says Scope 1 has a focal Length of 650mm and Scope 2 has a focal length of 1000mm Which scope is best for viewing the planets, moon, nebulas, galaxies,etc etc?Mike here: If both telescopes have the same aperture and optical design, a given object will appear brighter in the shorter focal length telescope. That's because it will appear SMALLER, hence its light is less spread out. Typically for planets and the Moon you will want magnification. For Deep Sky Objects (galaxies, nebulae) you want aperture and a "fast" system (short focal length). HOWEVER, keep in mind that most DSOs are small faint fuzzy objects with little details visible. That's not true for all however.
Look I don't know about all that techinical stuff about telescopes and cameras but I want to learn for the sake of using my new scope soon. I guess I am having a hard time understanding the stuff you are telling me. Maybe I am asking to techy questions. I am just trying to find out what is the best telescope I can get for $300 or so. I once had a Tasco telescope and it was manual controlled with the handle and knobs. If I get a Scope with an Autostar system with motorized axises am I still able to turn the scope by hand and point it at the object I want to see or do I have to use the remote to point it? I hope you would not mind helping me in my search for the best I can get for $300 or so.Mike here: To get the most from your dollars you should do some research and learn some new concepts. Which is what you are doing (albeit, reluctantly!). Since you (nor I) want you to make a mistake, it is necessary to understand some of this new stuff. You'll get it though. As to the Autostar, yes, you can move the telescope by hand but that will mess up the alignment, making tracking and GOTOs be inaccurate from then on, until you re-align. If you use the slewing arrows on the Autostar, it will retain the alignment.
Would you recommend the Autostar system or would you recommend just a manual telescope. I guess price wise if you took off the Autostar you could get a slightly more powerful scope and you would get a less powerful scope if you bought one with the Autostar right?Mike here: For centuries, amateur astronomers have used telescopes without a GOTO system. You just need to get some star charts, learn the night sky, and learn how to point the telescope using setting circles, and "star hop" to get to the object you want to observe if it is too faint to be seen easily. Or, you can get a GOTO telescope and with only basic knowledge begin to see objects more easily. Some telescopes can be purchased without the GOTO system (Autostar or other) and then add it later (when funds allow). But you have to be willing to learn the sky in that case.
Subject: DS-60 Sent: Friday, June 11, 2004 14:16:25 From: Melissa Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org) I just recently purchased a DS-60 at a garage sale but it did not have a manual. Do you know where I can purchase or download a manual? I am a beginner star gazer and would appreciate any help. Happy gazing!Mike here: Check the FAQ page for info on manuals.
Subject: DS 90AT Objective Lens questions Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2004 14:18:34 From: AHayes75@aol.com (AHayes75@aol.com) I was given a Meade DS 90AT as a gift this past week but I think there is something wrong with the objective lens coating. Looking at the lens while putting the dew cap in place, I noticed that the greenish color coating is flaking off. Around the outer edges it is noticeably green but throughout the middle of the lens it is clear. The telescope is brand new out of the box so I would think there wouldn't be any marks at all on the lens. Is this a major defect that I should be concerned with as I am a beginner in this hobby? Any advice would be appreciated.Mike here: If the coating is indeed flaking off, that would not be good. However, the telescope was discontinued a few years ago so it must have been sitting around some warehouse for awhile. You should contact the dealer where you purchased it or contact Meade and let them know. It should still be covered under warranty.
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