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ETX USER FEEDBACK - JUNE 1999
Last updated: 30 June 1999

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and applicable to users of both the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA), the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC. Items specific to the ETX-90EC are posted on the ETX-90EC User Feedback page. Items specific to the ETX-125EC are posted on the ETX-125EC User Feedback page. 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.


Mike here: Recently there was an ISDN router hardware failure which took my new site offline. This has finally been corrected and the site connection is back online and at full speed. Should something like this happen in the future I will post a notice on the ETX Mailing List and at http://members.aol.com/etxastro (the former site URL). My apologies for the inconvenience this downtime caused and many thanks for the email "condolences" and support.


Subject:	 Incorrect Hemisphere Description of RA Ring and Incorrect Total Minutes
Sent:	Wednesday, June 30, 1999 9:29:59
From:	jhagerman@activepower.com (Jim Hagerman)
I just purchased an ETX90-EC and found the following 2 problems:

1) The description of which set of numbers to use on the RA ring for the
Northern & Southern Hemispheres is backwards. I was on the phone for 45
minutes Monday with their technical support proving to them it was
wrong. Finally they confirmed and agreed it was incorrect. They claimed
no one else has ever reported this problem. 2) Last night I discovered
that between 12H & 13H on the RA ring (top numbers) there are 65
minutes! I called their technical support today (Wednesday) and talked
to someone different. When I mentioned that Monday I reported to them an
error in their manual, they claimed ignorance. They also claimed that
the RA ring is only meant for rough estimates of locations and should
not be relied upon.

Both of these problems give me a very poor feeling about their quality
and technical support. It is very hard for me to believe that no one
else has ever seen these problems with the RA ring. And if they have
been reported, it is very disheartening that they have not resolved
these problems or made sure that all of the technical support staff are
informed. If they have these type of problems with something as
fundamental and simple as the RA ring, what other problems will arise as
I use the telescope more? This is my first telescope, and will be used
primarily by my 13 year old son, have I made a big mistake?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank-you,

Jim Hagerman
mailto:jimhagerman@usa.net
Mike here: The reversed RA setting circle description has been noted here by several others. But yours is the first report of the 65 minute "hour". And it is that way on my ETX-90RA. But Meade is correct in that the RA setting circle is not intended for precision use. If these are the only two problems you have to report, you shouldn't believe you have a made a mistake. Consider them like minor software bugs; they don't crash your ETX.

Added later:

The biggest problem is that BOTH of these things were wrong since the
ETX-90RA and SHOULD have been fixed by now. The reversed RA is no real
problem other then they should have fixed their manual by now, or at
least have the information on their WEB site, or have told their
customer technicians so people that call could be told. Where does Meade
say that the RA setting circle is not intended for precision use? Even
if this is true, they should AT LEAST not make such a stupid error that
has been done now since their last reversion! They clearly explain how
to use the RA to find everything, of course it won't be precision, but
to be off by 5 minutes in their RA circle has no good explanation other
than they don't pay attention to details.  - Jim Hagerman

Subject:	 Very Impressed
Sent:	Wednesday, June 30, 1999 5:52:47
From:	tnop@home.com (Thomas Noppe)
Just wanted to drop a note today and let everyone know how impressed I
am with the ETX.  Up until this morning I had only to look at Mars,
Venus and the Moon.  Of course I have looked at some stars and some deep
sky objects (with little success) but the views were dissappointing.

However, this morning (5:30 a.m. PST) I drug the ETX out and pointed it
at Jupiter for the first time and WOW what a sight.  I was able to the
cloud bands very clearly as well as 6 of the moons (2 may have been
stars), and this was with the sun comming up and not completely dark
(can't wait to take a look when it is dark).  I was also viewing with
the stock 26mm eye piece.

The wierd thing is that Jupiter and Saturn are about the same size, and
although Jupiter appeared to the naked eye like a brite star, Saturn was
nowhere to be seen (they should have been close together).  Could this
be because Saturn's color does not reflect as much light?

Anyway, I am much more impressed with the ETX and it's capabilities.
Mike here: Saturn is further from the sun than Jupiter, so receives less light to reflect. And it is further from us so less reflected light gets here.

Subject:	 Filters
Sent:	Wednesday, June 30, 1999 3:24:15
From:	amanuel@swbell.net (Adam Manuel)
Love your site.  Its the main reason I decided to buy an etx and I've
been happy ever since.  Anyway, have you or anybody ever had any luck
with  visual filters, not color ones.  I recently purchased an Orion
broadband skyglow filter and have had no luck with it.  Every nebula I
look at doesn't show any better hint of its clouds.  I've tried it on
the Lagoon nebula, Trifid, and the Ring nebula with absolutely no
improvement.  Has anyone had any better views with different brands or
ones like the Lumicon UHC or Oxygen III.  I'm looking to put more money
into buying a filter but dealer websites don't give me any detail of how
much of a visual improvement would be.  I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth
area in Texas and the skies out here are pretty polluted.  So I figured
a broadband would'nt give me any noticable difference but I wondered if
you ever tried any other types of filters.  Any info would be greatly
appreciated.
           Thankx for the wonderful site.
                                                    Adam Manuel
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Filters page for some user comments. Also, further down this Feedback page are a couple of reports.

Subject:	 T-mount digital camera?
Sent:	Wednesday, June 30, 1999 0:34:11
From:	DAGwyn@null.net (Douglas A. Gwyn)
Are there any digital cameras that support T-mount?
I'd like to use one at prime focus.
Mike here: I'm not certain but one of the Olympus models might.

Subject:	 ETX TERRESTERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Sent:	Tuesday, June 29, 1999 8:07:27
From:	steview@gte.net (Steven Wheeler)
Do you know of any sites, links, literature on using the ETX as a
telephoto for wildlife photography. I am having a hard time finding
such. Most of the information is related to astrophotography.

Thanks in advance for any information you can forward.

Steve Wheeler
Steven R. Wheeler,M.F.C.C.
Clinical Counselor
Mike here: Search my site for "bird". You'll find some info on using the ETX for "birding". I believe there are some links mentioned in some of the references.

Subject:	broadband filter
Sent:	Tuesday, June 29, 1999 7:18:34
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
well, i told you that i was going to fill you in about how the filter
worked once i got a good night of viewing, and last night was the best
night --  and the worst night. it was the best, because there was not a
cloud in the sky or a hint of wind. and the bad thing was that the moon
was full and high in the sky.

i decided that since i was not going to be getting prime results with
the filter, i would make the viewing worse, by setting up a citronella
candle (what i usually do, when i observe the moon) and turned on all
the lights around my house. i figured i would test the limits of the
filter...

well, with all this in place i turned a quick eye to the moon and had a
beautiful view of green maria and wisps of whiteish-green highlands...
but the amazing feet took place when i told the scope to goto m57. this
is, for me anyway, a hard to see object on a clear night without the
filter. i figured that if i could see it with all of the above light
pollution, then it would be great when i have a dark night. (plus it
would justify the expense of the filter)

to make a long story a bit shorter, the ring nebula was in fact apparent
and was at the same level of visibility that it usually is at when i
have a dark, moonless, candleless night. this little piece of glass is
definitely worth the money! i'll fill you in more when the moon isn't so
high up. thanks again for the great site!

~noah

Subject:	 What is it
Sent:	Sunday, June 27, 1999 22:37:16
From:	ustirna@idl.net.au (Daniel)
on the 14th of june at around 7pm I was outside with my etx searching in
the constellation of centaurus for NGC 5128. After having no luck in the
finder  i decided to try and imagine the boundaries of the constellation
using just my eyes to see if that would help. I was not to far away from
alpha centaurus when I notice a strange flash about 5 deg north of the
star. It was like a star that was to faint to see, brightens to brighter
that any other star in that area and then disappeared all with in a
couple of seconds. I did some scaning in that area with my scope but
found nothing. I put it down to one of two things, an Exploding star or
an Iridium flare . The book Astronomy 1999 (Australian edition) says
that the flares are seen during twilight hours, but twilight had
finished and it had been pitch black for well over an hour, and what I
saw was not moving. I don't think it could be an Exploding star either
because don't they stay bright for months or even years? If you have any
idea on what this might be it would be much appreciated.

Clear Skies,
Daniel Beringer,
ustirna@idl.net.au
Mike here: It was probably an Iridium. There is a web site that you can check (although past events are only available for 48 hours). Go to: http://www2.gsoc.dlr.de.

Subject:	broadband filter
Sent:	Saturday, June 26, 1999 14:18:31
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
i'm glad to see your site is up and running again. i just wanted to let
you know that i received my broadband filter and while i have not had
the opportunity to view nebula with, it has come in handy. last night
the skies were cloudy and the moon was waxing gibbous, so deepsky
viewing was impossible. but i used the filter while looking at the moon,
and it helped to block much of the reflected light. so the broadband
filter can actually be used as a moon filter. the only negative was that
it produced a green image, but all of the maria and craters were very
apparent. i may hold off on purchasing a moon filter now. the only thing
i didn't get a chance to do was see if the filter can split doubles like
a moon filter is advertised to do. i'll let you know in a few days if it
is possible and also how the nebular viewing is. and as always... great
site!

~noah

Subject:	 Gibbous Mars?
Sent:	Thursday, June 24, 1999 19:44:21
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
Just visit your site after the last unsuccessful try on Monday 21 June.
The sky in Bangkok is still hazy/cloudy/rainy in the evening, but I
managed to get the view of the Moon and Mars on last Sunday.  I was
surprised to see that the disk was not in full circle.  I tried with
higher magnifications and the gibbous Mars was more apparent.  I've
heard about the phases of Mercury and seen those of Venus but never
heard about Mars.  So I looked up in the Planet observation handbook and
thought that it mentioned something about the gibbous Mars. I didn't
know if this is correct, but I looked at Mars again last night and
confirmed its gibbous appearance.  Quite lucky, I also happened to see a
satellite moving in the field during the observation.  It looks like a
small bright dot (well, not so bright!)  moving steadily fast through
the field at 48X.  I was also able to move the ETX tube (manually) to
track it for about 3-4 seconds.  I also took a few photos of the moon.
That's all for Bangkok cloudy skies.
Best regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand : 100.20 E 13.47 N
(I got the more precise location from a handheld GPS)

Subject:	 Image Shift Resolved!!!
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 1999 22:05:16
From:	tjdonovan@worldnet.att.net (Tim Donovan)
I finally got the time to try out the scope after making the following
adjustments. All seems to be OK now. What I found was the focus shaft
was actually bent slightly. Simply adjusting the rear cover of the scope
was not enough to get clearance. I guaged the hole the focus shaft goes
thru, (I believe I went from 7/32 to 1/4, don't remember exactly, but in
any case I drilled out the hole by 1/32" ).After drilling and carefully
realigning the cover, there is no more binding feeling & the image shift
is only about 1/10th - 1/5th of what it was. How the shaft get bent in
the first place, I have no idea.
 Thanks!!
Tim

Subject:	 etx 90 ra
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 1999 15:07:20
From:	emosser@gte.net (E Mosser)
Glad you are back.  I really missed this site while it was away.  I
cannot tell you how much this site has meant to me.  I purchased my etx
in Oct 98 after finding your site and seeing someone post that JCPenney
had it on sale for 25% off.

Regarding a question of which eyepieces to own.  In addition to the
26mm, I have purchased a 45mm and 14mm from Paul Rini.  These are really
nice eyepieces for the $$$.  Last weekend I purchased a 2x shorty barlow
and it completely blew me away.  What a great accessory.  As I use this
scope more, I am amazed by the capabilities.  Yes, it is a little
disappointing for deep sky stuff...but the view of most Messier's is
good and a great item to track down is double stars.  This scope really
works well for it.

Technically...will the high focal ratio for the etx125 also restrict the
viewing of the faint fuzzies.

Regards,

Ed Mosser - emosser@gte.net
Mike here: Thanks. It is nice to be back online! "Faint fuzzies" will be a challenge. Doable but challenging.

Subject:	 Tripods for the ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 1999 14:40:45
From:	gucken@traveller.com (Brian Guckenberger)
Has anyone out there mounted the ETX (90 or 125) on a Meade or Celestron
Equatorial Wedge and Tripod?  The wedge and tripod was designed for the
larger SCT's, but seems like it would work OK for the ETX base.  I have
seen several forsale on Astromart and Ebay, and have been tempted to try
it.  The price on these used tripods have averaged around $150.  Might
be a bit of overkill as tripods go, but it still might be a cheaper
alternative to buying the smaller Meade tripod designed for the ETX.

Curious!!

--
Brian Guckenberger

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

 Brian Guckenberger                     email: gucken@traveller.com
 Computer Systems Integration           http://internet40.msic.dia.mil:82
 Nichols Research Corporation           phone:  (256) 876-9182 or
 Missile and Space Intelligence Center  (256) 885-8000 (x1834)

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Subject:	 ETX rules!
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 1999 13:41:09
From:	LiscumM@missouri.edu (Mannie Liscum)
You site is a great resource. I recently purchased an ETX90EC and I've
been loving it, although I've had very few nights of good seeing since I
got it. I have a sub-page dedicated to space related things on my
homepage...you may wish to add it to your list, or not.  It's always
great to find others who appreciate the greatness of our universe.

keep up the great page.

Cheers,
Mannie

*******************************************************************
Mannie Liscum
Asst Prof
Division of Biological Sciences
105 Tucker Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

email: liscumm@missouri.edu (*Note change in address)
office:573-882-2672; 108C Tucker Hall
lab:573-882-2675 ;108 Tucker Hall
fax: 573-882-0123
web page: http://www.biosci.missouri.edu/liscum/LiscumLabPage.html

"The ending is just the beginning. The closer you get to the meaning,
the sooner you'll find that you're dreaming"....RJD
*******************************************************************

The Univeristy of Missouri-Columbia does not accept responsibility for
the contents of this email, nor does it reflect the official position of
the University.

Subject:	 [Fwd: [Nelpag] Stellafane]
Sent:	Friday, June 18, 1999 16:37:31
From:	tjdonovan@worldnet.att.net (Tim Donovan)

A "heads-up" on the pending crisis at Stellafane:

Feel free to forward this message as far as it will go...
***********************************************************
Dear Friend of Stellafane,

What follows is an article that I have written to try and discourage the
Town of Springfield from placing a Vermont State Prison 3 miles
Southeast of Stellafane. The town vote will take place on June 29th
1999.  Time is of the essence. After my article you will find a list of
contacts of persons or agencies which may be able to influence this
decision.

Here is a 'laundry list' of possible arguments:

1) The spoiling of the natural tranquil beauty of the night sky -
something which should be considered a natural resource.

2) The damage to the skies over Stellafane, reducing the viability of
the Stellafane Conventions, and the year-round observatories at
Stellafane (Both the Porter Turret and the superb new Schupmann
Telescope)  Stellafane Observatory is a National Historic Landmark, and
very few observatories in the United States have been granted  that
distinction.

3) The loss of tourism that the dark skies of the Stellafane Convention
draws to Springfield and the surrounding areas.

4) The devaluation of real property values associated with becoming a
Prison Town.

5) The strain that a Prison will put on city services such as police and
social services.

6) The likelihood that the only jobs produced will be relatively low
paying.

7)  The reduced likelihood that high tech companies and their employees
would want to relocate to a Prison Town

8) Occasional prison breaks and transport of prisoners will become
business as usual.

9) That the leftover land for the Town Industrial Park is may be too
contaminated from toxic waste to be desirable. The other monetary
concessions and other perks to the town have various stipulations that
cannot be guaranteed.

10) With only 6 months notice the Prison can be turned over to private
enterprise that will have no leverage to obtain those concessions.

11) That the prison will be filled up almost immediately and agreement
says the State will be allowed to expand the facility footprint "if the
need for increased bed space emerges."

IF YOU ARE RECEIVING THIS AFTER THE JUNE 29th vote and THE PRISON WAS
APPROVED....

Our Fallback Position is to argue that the Prison must be designed with
the most modest full cut-off (FCO) lighting available to minimize the
damage to the sky at such a close distance. (newest IESNA specs)

Thank you for your concern for Stellafane.

Sincerely,
Maryann Arrien
President, Stellafane

Maryann V. Arrien
President
The Springfield Telescope Makers
Telephone/Fax 914-528-7420
marrien@computer.net
http:/www.stellafane.com

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Prison Threatens Historic "House of the Stars"

By Maryann Arrien
President, "Stellafane"

Back in 1924 I'm sure that Russell W. Porter never figured that the
shrine  to the Stars that he was building might
ever have a huge State Prison built just 3 miles away.  It has 3
telescopes built into the house. In 1930 the world famous Porter Turret
Telescope was added to the observatory.

The present day members certainly didn't figure on a prison either when
they undertook 7 years work to build the world largest operating
Schupmann Telescope and housed it in the newly dedicated McGregor
Observatory at Stellafane.  We still carry on Russell Porter's tradition
with free telescope making courses at the Community Center in
Springfield.

But let's talk about the big Convention. For the last 75 years, people
from all over the world have been making the pilgrimage to Stellafane. 
Last year attendance was over 2000 people.  Many of them brought
additional family members who did not attend the convention, but
certainly patronized countless businesses in the area.  They came from
England. Australia. Europe. Japan. Canada. South America. From all over
the United States.  The economic impact from all these visitors should
not be underestimated.

Why do they come?

The sky is still dark and magnificent.  The history of the place is very
significant.  It is the oldest and largest gathering of amateur
telescope makers and amateur astronomers in North America.  In 1989 it
was granted National Historic Landmark status by the US Department of
the Interior. There are only two other places in Vermont that are of
sufficient historic national importance that they have been raised to
the level of Historic "Landmark."

According to David Levy, co-discoverer of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9
which crashed into Jupiter:

"There are over 100 major Star Parties around the world, but there is
only one Stellafane."

I have no idea why some other kind of industry can't be enticed to come
to Springfield that would be 'nicer' and less light polluting.

If anything like a Prison is built at a distance like that from
Stellafane, the reflected light alone off the surfaces will be enough to
severely harm the night sky.

If that happens I, and others all over the world, will mourn that the
"Mecca" of the amateur telescope makers and astronomers will be
diminished forever.

I hope that when the residents of Springfield make their decision on
June 29th, they will remember these pictures of the "House of the Stars"
and the beautiful priceless History of Springfield that is enshrined and
revered at Stellafane.

Stellafane Observatory has been here for 75 years and there's one
important thing to remember - it's not portable.

						***
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////
CONTACT LIST FOR RESPONSES:
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////

tom.torti@state.vt.us

Commissioner Thomas W. Torti
State of Vermont
Dept of Building and General Services
2 Governor Aiken Avenue
Drawer 33
Montpelier, VT  05633-5802

Phone # 802-828-3314

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

jim.richardson@state.vt.us

Jim Richardson
State Engineer

802-828-5642


////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////

khoyt@admin.state.vt.us

Kathleen C. Hoyt
Secretary
Agency of Administration
State of Vermont
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0201
Phone # 802-828-3519


////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

johng@doc.state.vt.us

John F Gorczyk, Commissioner

CORRECTIONS, DEPARTMENT of (HUMAN SERVICES, AGENCY of)
103 South Main St
Waterbury VT 05671-1001
802-241-2442
Fax: 802-241-2565
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////////

*****
Fax 802-828-3339
(no e-mail - must print out and fax or send by snail mail)

Governor Howard B. Dean III
State of Vermont
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0201

Phone 802-828-3333

*****
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////

Bernie@mail.house.gov

US Representative
Bernard Sanders

202-225-4115
802-862-0697

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////

vermont@jeffords.senate.gov

Senator Jim Jeffords

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////////

Senator Patrick Leahy
no e-mail address
web link page to his e-mail
http://www.senate.gov/leahy/mail.html

U.S. Mail: Patrick Leahy
433 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510
Telephone: (202) 224-4242
Vermonters may call 1-800-642-3193

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
/////////////////////////////////////////////////

jdumville@dca.state.vt.us

John P. Dumville, Historic Sites

HISTORIC PRESERVATION, DIVISION for (HOUSING & COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, 
DEPARTMENT of)
National Life Building, Drawer 20
(National Life Bldg., 6th Floor)
Montpelier VT 05620-0501
802-828-3051
Fax # 802-828-3206
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

canute.dalmasse@anrmail.anr.state.vt.us

Canute Dalmasse, Commissioner

802-241-3808
Fax: 802-244-5141
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, DEPARTMENT of (NATURAL RESOURCES, AGENCY of)
103 South Main St,
1 South Waterbury VT 05671-0401
802-241-3800 (main #)
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
gdavis@vhs.state.vt.us

Gainor Davis, Director

VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
109 State St,
Montpelier VT 05609-0901
802-828-2291

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

e-mail list:

tom.torti@state.vt.us
jim.richardson@state.vt.us
khoyt@admin.state.vt.us
johng@doc.state.vt.us
Bernie@mail.house.gov
vermont@jeffords.senate.gov
jdumville@dca.state.vt.us
canute.dalmasse@anrmail.anr.state.vt.us
gdavis@vhs.state.vt.us

(please note that Governor Howard Dean would need to be sent a fax
& messages to Senator Leahy would have to be pasted in at 
http://www.senate.gov/leahy/mail.html)

	***

---------------------------------------------------------

Daniel W. E. Green                   [green@cfa.harvard.edu]
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Cambridge, MA  02138, U.S.A.

_______________________________________________
Nelpag maillist  -  Nelpag@harvee.billerica.ma.us
http://harvee.billerica.ma.us/mailman/listinfo/nelpag


Subject:	nebular filters
Sent:	Thursday, June 17, 1999 19:22:09
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
i hope you get your site running soon as it is one of those "check every
time i sign on" sorta sites...

anyway, what i really wrote to you about was the meade broadband filter.
i read up a bit on it and decided to purchase it from astronomics today
($84.49 including shipping). i can't wait to view some of those hard to
see nebulas! but what i was wondering, and what doesn't seem to come up
in any of the reviews is whether or not the filter will be able to
enhance globular clusters... i can see m13, m3 and a few others very
well, but will the filter help to resolve the individual stars near the
edge? till now i have only been able to view a faint fuzzy blob, but
some have said that the etx should be able to resolve the clusters edges
slightly. the filter should blacken my light polluted skies a bit, but
will it do anything to the stars resolution, or is it only going to
enhance the nebular gases? i am assuming that the extra glass that the
light has to go through might actually make the image worse, but if you
have any knowledge as to what i will see please enlighten me. i should
receive the filter in about a week so i will keep you posted on how it
works... thanks for everything and good luck on getting your site up and
running again!

~noah
Mike here: Check out the Orion Telescope filters page: http://www.telescope.com/categories.asp?cat=Filters:+Light+Pollution,+Solar,+and+Lunar for good explanations on what Broadband and Narrowband filters can do.

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, June 16, 1999 17:36:17
From:	NGT125@aol.com
I JUST GOT MY ETX CAN YOU DIRECT ME TO ANY SITES I CAN LEARN ASTRONMY
FROM
THANKS
Mike here: Check out Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazine sites. Excellent starting points.

Subject:	 New ETX user
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 1999 22:47:08
From:	tnop@home.com (Thomas Noppe)
I just got my ETX-90EC and Deluxe Field Tripod from the Natural Wonders
Web Site (http://www.naturalwonders.com), this is my first telescope and
I love it!

A few comments about the ETX after my two days of usage.  The gearing
seems to be pretty sloppy, when moving the telescope using the buttons
on the key pad, it takes a few seconds for the telescope to move in any
speed other than the fastest, and then it seems to jerk quite a bit when
it does move.  The sidereal tracking seems to be a bit off, after
fiddling with it, if I put it at 5% slower than sidereal it seems to
track pretty accurately.

As far as viewing, Venus and Mars show up very nicely (although it is
just a white spot).  This time of the month the moon is not up so I
can't check it out yet.

What lenses would you recommend for a beginner other than the standard
26 mm SP that comes with the ETX?  I want to be able to see some deep
sky objects such as a Nebula or Galaxy.

Any help is greatly appreciated, and thank you for your web site, it has
been immensely helpful to me.

Thomas Noppe
tnop@home.com
Mike here: Be certain to check out the Buyer/New User Tips page for eyepiece comments; also the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 HELP SETING UP  ETX-90 EC 
Sent:	Saturday, June 12, 1999 18:48:57
From:	dthrelfall6969@yahoo.com (richard threlfall)
I NEED HELP IN SETTING UP MY ETX 90  IN KINGSTON N H .  WOULD YOU PLEASE
HAV SOMEONE CALL ME AT 603 378 0451.         THANK YOU  DICK T

Subject:	 must be doing something wrong
Sent:	Friday, June 11, 1999 4:43:07
From:	Louis.X.Ruggiero@chase.com
Picked up my ETX 90, tripod and autostar this weekend from the
Learningsmith and got 25% off the whole bundle.    This is my first
telescope and I have a few questions.   First, I was able to track Mars
and Spica in the finder scope for about a hour last night but lost them
in the main scope after a few minutes. Most likely a finder and main
scope alignment or a polar alignment problem. I'll keep at it.

The question I have is how do you get to see Mars or any objects like
the pictures on the side of the ETX packing box?  Do you find the object
using the sp26 (standard eyepiece) center it and change to a smaller
eyepiece like the 9.7mm?   I remember reading something about this in
the manual but was unable to find it.  I can see Mars the same looking
with my naked eye as I can with the standard eyepiece.

Lou Ruggiero
RuggieroL@aol.com
Mike here: First off, don't expect the views through the telescope (any telescope) to look the same as high quality astrophotographs. Just won't happen, except for the Moon. Second, if you have properly setup your ETX and/or Autostar per the revised instructions on Meade's web site, then objects should stay centered in the eyepiece (not just the finderscope) for many minutes, at least. Finally, Mars should show a small disk with the 26mm eyepiece. If not, you may not have Mars in the field of view. By the way, sounds like you got a super deal! Congrats.

Subject:	 your deep sky photos
Sent:	Thursday, June 10, 1999 17:54:33
From:	kundaria@ix.netcom.com (Summit Kundaria)
I was wondering what type of lens (focal ratio) and guiding tolerance
you used with your pictures in your deep sky section.

Thanks,
Summit
Mike here: The telephoto is a 90-230mm zoom, f/4.5. The "deep sky" photos were done at 230mm. I used the Celestron Guide Eyepiece (12.5mm). Most guide stars were maintained within the inner ring on the "bulls eye" (as shown in the Celestron Guide Eyepiece comments on the Accessories - Eyepieces page on my site. Occasionally I would get sloppy or press the Microstar button too long and the guide star would move out as far as the outer ring on the bulls eye. I would quickly get the star back into position; such deviations were not detectable on the film.

Subject:	 Re: Mirror shift on the ETX
Sent:	Thursday, June 10, 1999 0:06:14
From:	tjdonovan@worldnet.att.net (Tim Donovan)
Dear Jae,
 
On your advice, I removed the back cover of my ETX to check for any
visibe signs of interference on the focus shaft. (Found none), but
re-aligned the rear cover carefully to see if the shaft was getting
resistance from the cover. I think this may do it. My Question to you:
In the photo (from Doc G's Site), there is a collar around the focus
shaft where it protrudes from the rear of the mirror cell. I put a
yellow circle around it. Was this on your scope, as this collar is
absent on my scope? (Possibly Doc G added this??)

Thanks,
Tim

Photo on: Doc G's ETX Guider page
www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/etxguider.html

Subject:	 Considering an ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, June 9, 1999 22:11:36
From:	lyster@istar.ca (Stuart A. Lyster)
Thanks for your excellent webpage on the Meade ETX90.

I am comparing it with the Celeron G3 and G5.  Yours is a page that
seems to have a balanced review of the ETX90 - other pages pan it all
together.

Is there any one thing that One should know before purchasing?

Thanks for your time.  Also, thanks for your page.

Cheers,
Stuart
Mike here: Be certain to check the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 Re: ETX-125
Sent:	Wednesday, June 9, 1999 22:07:17
From:	KB3CNY@intergrafix.net (John J. Boyle)
etx@me.com wrote:
> 
> KB3CNY@intergrafix.net (KB3CNY@intergrafix.net) said on 6/9/99 3:54:
> 
> >Where can I find info on the ETX-125.  I see lots of references to it,
> >but no sources, etc.
> 
> Well, there is some info on my ETX site on the ETX-125EC Feedback pages.
> Also, some dealers have posted some info.

Thanks Mike...
Hey!  Fantastic web site.  It's mandatory cover-to-cover reading for
prospective ETX buyers.
  ..jb

Subject:	 Cameras, CCD & ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, June 8, 1999 20:42:59
From:	johnlat@earthlink.net (John R Latini)
I'm going through all the Astrophotography articles on your site, trying
to find info on CCD with the ETX. Of course I am looking at using the
125, but all the info is on the 90. I've e-mailed a few people and it
does'nt look good for CCD on the ETX, from what they tell me. Also,
reading about other cameras you have used, it seems the extra weight is
putting a strain on the motor and gears, and causing problems with
tracking, from what I've read, even in Equatorial mode. I was hoping to
get some lonnnnnnnnnngg exposures (1900f/l) on some deep sky objects,
but the drive does'nt sound like it will support a camera very well, CCD
or regular.

Any suggestions or comments on this?

Thanks Again
John L.
Mike here: Can't speak directly about the ETX-125EC but in general long duration FILM astrophotography is a challenge. You can do it but you have to assist in the tracking somehow. For CCD photography, long exposures may not be required however. Yes, the extra weight and torgue required may be issues but proper counterbalancing can help. Search the site for "CCD"; you'll get lots of hits.

Added later:

Whoa !

Did I speak too soon in my last e-mail? The "Quickcam" looks good. A
digital camera(low cost too) that can be adapted to the ETX.  Is this
the "lightweight" solution to the extra load on the drive mechanism? So
what is your evaluation of the quickcam for the ETX?  Am I excited about
nothing?

Still reading the articles
Mike here: Several people have successfully used the QuickCam (B&W and Color versions) with the ETX. You can search the site for "QuickCam".

Subject:	 materials for dew cap
Sent:	Tuesday, June 8, 1999 20:34:39
From:	fsotoma@fis.ulima.edu.pe (Fernando Sotomayor)
I live in a place where we can not be find any  accesory for astronomy.
I want to make a dew cap for my ETX. Could you tell me please what are
the physical propierties the material to make a dew cap should have? And
how long should be a dew cap? If I know these propierties I will have a
range of materials to choose.

Thanks again, you already helped me previously.
Fernando Sotomayor
Lima, Peru
Mike here: Check the April 1999 Feedback page; there is one homemade one described there. If you search the site for "dew" you may find some others.

Subject:	 RE: ETX
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 18:53:03
From:	drisaza@epm.net.co (Daniel Isaza)
I'm trying to figure out how will the objects look in the three options
that I have to buy a new telecope and I think that you could help me to
take a decision.

The first one is the ETX90EC, great, portable, but I have an 3"
reflector now (very bad quality, like a TASCO) and I'm very disappointed
with it, impossible to see the bands of clouds on jupiter or the Cassini
division in Saturn's ring or the shadow of the planet on the rings, M42
has no distinguible shape and omega centaurii it's completely fuzzy and
with no individual stars resolved in the edges, like a small circular
cloud. I want to know if all these problems could be resolved with the
optical performance of MEADE and it's model, the 90EC, also the image in
the finder of my actual telescope looks darker that with the naked eye
making the faint objects imposible to find through the finder, how looks
the stars in the finder of the ETX, like in a pair of binoculars? Isn't
the image of a planet at 390X looks too dark (i.e. Saturn)?I want to
know if the optics of this scope are so great that I'll have no need of
a larger telescope. If so, here's my second option:

MEADE ETX125EC

Fantastic, 5" of aperture and very portable, how different are the views
with this one?, I think that the long focal ratio of this telescope its
a disadvantage, why Meade made an f/15 telescope if the could keep the
focal distance of the ETX90?, I think that if you gain more light
collecting power, it's lost by the long f/ ratio, am I wrong? I'm
thinking that the images on the ETX125 will look darker than in the
ETX90, so why move to a 5" aperture with a larger f/ ratio? I'd have no
doubt in buying the 125 if the would kept the focal ratio a little
shorter. I'm so afraid of the long focal ratio because my actual
telescope its an f/9 an if the images look so dark and confused on it
how will they look in an f/15?? On the other hand maybe its the bad
optics of my scope and not the f ratio what makes the images look dark
and fuzzy. I have the feeling that I'm so wrong in this (and I hope you
correct me) because I don't think Meade will loose the light gathering
of a bigger mirror extending the focal distance. The point with this
scope is: I want to know how different it is from the 90EC and what are
the advantages, what more will I see if I buy this scope instead of the
ETX90.

the third that I'm considering its the 8" LX10, I know that this isn't a
so "portable" telescope as the other ones buy I'll buy it if there's an
enormous difference between this and the previous scope, sacrifying a
lot of portability. I think this is a more serious equipment, but if the
others can't fullfill my expectatives I'll pay the price, I'm trying to
boy a scope for the rest of my life and I don't know if an ETX its the
right scope to do so. Will I be missing a little of aperture in the
future??. How far can this get me this telescope from the ETX 125?

I'm only hoping to see detail on the planets, the red spot on jupiter,
resolve individual stars in the outer regions of globular clusters, be
able to look all the messiers clearly in my telescope, the cassini
division in saturn, the shadow of the planet on the rings, maybe a moon.
a distinctive shape in m42, the trapezium. If you tell me that I can
look all of this with the ETX90, ok i'll go for it, but I'd like to know
how far should I go to get all this, ETX 125 or LX10. the LX10 it's
kinda expensive for me with some accesories but if it's the right
telescope for a lifetime, I'll buy it.

Thanks in advance Mike and sorry about my english
Congratulations for your Website

Sincerely

Daniel Isaza
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Castle/7436
Mike here: Well, the easy answer is to get the largest telescope you can afford. But remember you actually have to USE the telescope to get any benefit from the larger aperture. If you can't permanently mount a large telescope you will have to move it outside to observer and then back inside when you are done. And you'll want to do more precise polar alignments with the larger scope (otherwise things will drift out of the field-of-view quicker in the higher magnification eyepieces you'll use. So maybe you'll decide the largest telescope isn't really convenient for you. Then it comes down to the ETX-90EC vs the ETX-125EC. Again, if you don't really need the extreme portability of the smaller telescope, go for the ETX-125EC. But I'm saying that sight-unseen since I've not actually seen, let alone USE, the ETX-125EC. But to add more to your decision, you CAN see cloud bands on Jupiter, Cassini's Division in the Rings of Saturn, and even the ring shadow on the planet. Of course, extended nebula details are very hard to detect visually in any telescope. Good luck. Hope this helps.

Added later:

It really helped me , I thinks it'll be the ETX125. I'll resend the
message to the ETX mailing list to have a few more opinions and I'll let
you know what I decide.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 13:13:20
From:	Ken.George@COMPAQ.com (George, Ken)
Thanks for posting my ETX on your site. I am please to announce that it
was sold this weekend. Thank you so much.

Ken George
Technical Analyst
Sprint Paranet
(281) 518-3405

Subject:	 A Couple of Questions
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 13:07:01
From:	DYoung@cfund.org (Young, David)
First off...I love your website!!  Excellent provider of information. 
Here goes:

I just ordered the ETX-90EC and a 2x Barlow, deluxe field tripod, and
t-adapter along with the Autostar....I have an Olympus d-620L digital
camera...wanted to know what I would need to hook it up to the scope for
taking pictures....and I am also wondering:

What case you recommend?
A Tele-vue 5x powermate?
What else should I examine or want to purchase?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again,

Sincerely,

David S. Young

David S. Young
Manager, Business Systems
Commonfund
450 Post Road East
Westport, CT 06881
Phone: (203) 341-2143
Fax: (203) 341-2004
Email: dyoung@cfund.org
http://www.commonfund.org
Mike here: You'll need a T-Mount ring for your camera. If the lens is not detachable you'll either have to handhold the camera over the eyepiece (which is what I've done) or get the Scopetronix camera bracket (or make one yourself). Search the site for "case"; you'll get lots of suggestions. Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page for a review of the PowerMate. Look at the Buyer/New User Tips page for some items to consider.

Subject:	 photo's
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 11:10:38
From:	PC@village.uunet.be (Patrick Cramm)
Congratulations with your pic's. Were they all made with your ETX ? With
wich eypiece you made that great orion nebula pic ? I bought myself an
ETX also and would like some info on interesting subjects to look at
(Mars was still very small)... I have an ETX + Barlow 2x + 9.7mm
eyepiece.

Greetings

Patrick
Belgium
Mike here: All the photos on the site were done with an ETX, either through the ETX or using the ETX as the guide and tracking scope. My best shot of M42 was done with a camera and telephoto lens mounted piggyback on the ETX and guided using the ETX and an illuminated reticle eyepiece.

Subject:	 user feedback
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 9:41:02
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
i skimmed the e-mail from the former indiana resident, now living in
england (lost the post) - anyway, since he has no one knowledgable in
the US to check out the scope before it goes on a plane to him, i'd
suggest a "Roger Tuthill pre-certified scope" - i know nothing about
this, cost, etc. - but it seems to me this is a one shot deal, and it is
my understanding that for a premium, the scope will be checked
out....just adding my 2 cents...usual disclaimers, etc.

Subject:	 'First Quarter'' Venus
Sent:	Monday, June 7, 1999 1:31:50
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
Tropical rain/cloudy skies have been with Bangkok almost every evening
since late March.  Not many chances for clear night sky for good
observation. However, on Sat 5 June, about 30 min of open sky at 7.30
pm.  I took the ETX 90  RA out to look at Mars and there is nothing so
spectacular.  Only the reddish surface with blackish maria and the Polar
ice cap is invisible. I turn the scope to the bright Venus and its
'First quarter' Phase (half circle) is visible at 48X and 96X.  That's
all for the night as the clouds are covering up the sky again.

I just realized that there is a private observatory equipped with MEADE
16" LX 200 in Thailand.  It main objective is to support education in
astronomy. Anyone interested can find more at its homepage
http://kirdkao.org.  Good news for Thai people who read this site...and
More good news to come soon....
Clear skies...Hope,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand. 100.5 E, 13.5 N

Subject:	 Camera mount
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 1999 21:35:52
From:	jchalfen@goldengate.net (John Chalfen)
I was just looking at my camera and thinking. If hook my camera up to
the #64 t-adapter and mount my camera to the back of the ETX, it almost
seems to me that the camera is either going to:

a) Produce a drag effect to throw off slewing or
b) Put so much weight on the tail end of the ETX to throw off the gears
(or strip)

Older camera, not very large. Am I little off the mark here?? Any
comments welcome.

--------------------------------------------------

TIA and TTFN

jchalfen@goldengate.net
jchalfen@aol.com (I know...I know...)
Mike here: No, you are not wrong. See my comments about the T-Adapter on the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	 Re. Autostar, etc.
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 1999 14:33:13
From:	hurley@sirius.com (Dave Hurley)
Howdy from light polluted and fog blanketed but otherwise pleasant SF,
CA!  My Autostar arrived in 1.0c condition and, while playing around
with it, I saw that there were objects listed under the "Satellite"
menu.  In the course of my fiddling (I have PC cables on order and plan
to upgrade to 1.1 ASAP), I hit "reset" and it seems to have deleted all
of the Satellite listings (the version number still says "1.0c"
however).  The Meade tech (I called regarding the long screw problem on
the Deluxe Field Tripod) "thought" that the 1.1 upgrade would
re-populate that data but we'll see.  Other observations and ongoing
questions/areas of interest:

1.  Am a Mac (iMac) user and am looking for cabling
suggestions/experiences.  I see that a cable can be rigged for Macs
(seen elsewhere on this site), but has anyone done a config for USB yet?
I'm inclined to wait for the Mac-compatible Java software, but if that
doesn't come soon, I might try to emulate PC per Weasner's process.

2.  Do not have the shear-off or (excessive) slop problems yet, but plan
to boldly go in and do the tune-up procedure anyway.  There is a LOT of
excess grease in the works and I at least want to clean that up a
bit--looks like that might improve grip.

3.  Rec'd my #126 2x Barlow and have a question:  Meade lit says it is
3x if  "placed into the 'star diagonal'"  Huh?  I assume it's 2x when
placed into the eyepiece holder or erecting prism and an eyepiece is
then inserted into it.  What other assembly sequence could Meade be
referring to?

4.  Thanks to Mr. Weasner, Mr. Blessing and all of the other
intelligent, helpful ETX owners here.  This site is superb!
Mike here: Glad you like the site. I hope Meade or someone does do a USB cable. But until then, serial is the only option (of course, there are the USB-serial converters). As to the Barlow + "star diagonal", thought would only be 3X if the diagonal was a 1.5X (which it might be depending upon its design). And I know about fog blankets. I've been living with that almost every night since I got my Autostar software upgraded. Rats.

Subject:	 Barlow choice
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 1999 11:21:43
From:	ikencindy@email.msn.com (Ike Hassoun)
You've helped me before and here I am again.

My next lens will be a 2x Barlow. The Meade short model recommended for
the ETX90 is not achromatic while the Series 4000 one is.

Question, any reason I should not spring the extra dollars for a lens
with "better features?"

Thanks, and again kudos on a really great site.

Ike  Hassoun
Mike here: Search the site for "barlow"; you'll find lots of references. Many users have reported successful results with both models of the Meade Barlow Lens.

Subject:	 Re: M13 resolution
Sent:	Sunday, June 6, 1999 8:37:12
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Daniel Isaza wrote:
> Could the ETX resolve individual stars in a globular cluster visually, 
> I mean, not in a photo, but with the trained eye i.e M13??

This is strictly a matter of aperture.  In an ETX, even the "best"
globular clusters, M3 and M13, show up as a fuzzball.  In the 7"
refractor I have access to at Frosty Drew (http://www.frostydrew.org),
we can resolve some granularity, so that the cluster looks like a mound
of sugar poured on black paper.  In the 20" Obsession Dob reflector
someone brought to the observatory last month, it was easy to see
individual stars, with the cluster showing a depth that was
breathtaking.  That's why people spend the big buck on scopes like that!
(And why Obsession is a perticularly apt name :)

The ETX simply lacks the aperture to resolve such detail in a deep-sky
object.  That's not to say that it's not worth looking at in an ETX, but
we need to know what our scope can and cannot do.  It can't resolve the
spiral arms in M51, or the dust lanes in M82, or individual stars in M13
- but it can show these objects, and we can wonder that we see them at
all given the vast distances!

======================================================================
        Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 1999 16:11:12
From:	drisaza@epm.net.co (Daniel Isaza)
Could the ETX resolve individual stars in a globular cluster visually, I
mean, not in a photo, but with the trained eye i.e M13??

I think I cannot use it here at 7 latitude as an equatorial mounted
telescope, could I use it in altazimuth mode?? and even find objects in
this mode with altazimuth coordinates??, will it track the stars
accurately in the same mode?

Disaza
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Castle/7436
Mike here: The ETX-90EC with the Autostar will locate and track objects in Alt/Az mode. As to resolving individual stars in Globular Clusters, even the best telescopes will not do this at the core of the cluster but you should be able to resolve stars in the outer regions.

Subject:	Focal reducer f/3.3 with the ETX90.
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 1999 14:23:50
From:	FjhDAVID@aol.com
I plan to do CCD images with an ETX90/EC. To get a wider field of view,
I want to use the new focal reducer from meade f/3.3 made for CCD use
only. Meade says it works with all the SCT f/10 and f/6.3.

Do you think I can use it with an SCT 8' adapter?

Thanks Mike for your help

Francois

Subject:	 A Few Thoughts
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 1999 9:40:20
From:	johnlat@earthlink.net (John R Latini)
The ETX-90 is suppose to be the biggest selling telescope in the
world............"BUT"...................

After reading a lot of the complaints of operational and construction
weaknesses of the ETX on this site , including yours with the Autostar
GOTO problems and Alignment problems, people returning their unit not
one, but several times, and STILL getting telescopes that don't work,
I'm starting to get concerned.

It sounds like Meade has a serious problem in their Quality Control
Department. Maybe some inspector is coming to work with a hangover too
many times a week, or perhaps Management is "buying off" assemblies or
materials, just to meet a shipping schedule. or maybe they don't have
enough qualified inspectors, who knows......

I am waiting for my 125, but if it is "Q-C'd" the way the 90s are, I
think I might be facing a lot of frustrating observing sessions, and a
lot of buyers regret.  I agree with the guy who e-mailed you, who has
gone through several ETX-90 units and is about to give up, he said,
"They have to work ALL THE TIME, not just Some of the time".  That would
seem to be a given, and common sense.

Even if the scope is priced low for the mass market, still, it should
work and do what it is advertised to do. I am looking forward to a 5
inch GOTO scope that WORKS according to its specifications, and I don't
expect it to be an LX-200, but at least have an envelope of reliability,
within its specifications as advertised, at $900.  Am I asking TOO MUCH?
I hope not; I think my expectations of Quality, are what most  people
expect.

It seems the problems are in the software, assembly (loose & missing
parts) and materials, (the broken shaft you found) and not in the actual
tube assembly.

Concerned and thinking twice.

John L.
Mike here: I believe that Meade has been addressing the problems in the Autostar software (as evidenced by the positive reports on the 1.1m update), the flawed right tube assembly, and the "teflon pads" used in the original ETX that are not used in the ETX-90EC. I'm sure there are more examples. As to the ETX-125EC, we will all have to wait and see. On the other hand, is Meade the only company with negative consumer reports? Obviously not. If there are Celestron C5, G3, and/or G5 user supported web sites, perhaps there are the same types of reports there as we have on the ETX, both positive and negative. But I don't even know if there are such sites.

Added later:

I surely don't want to imply some sort of "Meade bashing" of any kind,
although I have heard similar stories from other people, other than on
your website. While at the RTMC I listened to people complaining to
Meade reps about grease leaking from their brand new scopes. It actually
seems a shame that these kinds of stories and reports are circulating,
even on your site. I have worked in Quality Control and I know how it
works. Defective units allowed to pass through inspection, usually means
either someone is not doing their job to spot defects before they are
passed down through the assembly line, or Management is pushing so hard
to "Make Shipment" that they turn their heads, when defects are spotted,
and simply say, "Ship It" just to meet quotas.  Meade seems like a world
class operation, (factory tour on their site), and it is really
supprising to find these kinds of reports from consumers.

It would seem logical that the 125 is manufactured exactly the same way
as the 90, maybe even on the same assembly line, by the same workers,
since the 125 is basically a big 90, with a few alterations.

Maybe there are "horror stories" about other telescope manufacturers, I
don't know. What I do know is that I put out a thousand bucks of my hard
earned money for a Meade scope, and I assume it is going to work as it
should, according to the specs, when I get it, just like other small
items I buy, (microwave oven, VCR, 19 inch TV, power saw, lawnmower,
camera or whatever) which I have never had a problem with, when
purchased, brand new.  Meades manufacturing process, is still a
"manufacturing process" and they all follow the same pattern, no matter
what the product is.

There just seems to be a lot of people complaining about the unit, (not
including the tube assembly and optics).

I did'nt go looking for these reports of problems, they were "there" and
fell into my lap, and upon my ears, and before my eyes.

Hoping for the best
Mike here: Meade, like most successful companies, does their best at delivering quality products. Only a few companies deliberately ignore quality or accept second-best in their products.

Added later:

I had looked at Meade as a company that "would" deliver quality
products. That would only seem to make good business sense. Any good
company would not want people receiving poor quality units that are
defective and give a bad impression to the consumer and the public. That
is why I am surprised and dismayed over these reports of defective
scopes that I keep coming acrossby customers.

I think that Meade wants good quality products to hit the market, but
someone there, in their factory is dropping the ball, and not getting
caught, and that is how these defective units get out there. I don't
know what else it could be. I doubt if it's "shipping damage", and if it
is, they should take a look at their packaging criteria. But that
does'nt account for the GOTO problems, which you said are now being
addressed. Actually, I am on Meades side. I want them to give me a good
product so I am satisfied, and therefore one more happy user of Meade
telescopes. The 5 inch ETX at $!,060 with GOTO, just seems like such a
great deal, I really don't want to end up with a sour taste in my mouth
about it.

Hoping for good seeing & automation with the ETX-125
John L.

Subject:	 etx  
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 1999 9:01:17
From:	dusty1@evansville.net (Dusty Rhodes)
can u give me some advice on a new scope. i have an etx but it just
doesnt show much detail on jupiter and saturn, i want to see the red
spot and cassini. can you give me some advice on the type/ model of
scope i need? i have about $2500 max to spend thanks
Mike here: Using the ETX, you can see the Great Red Spot on Jupiter when it is visible and Cassini's Division in the Rings of Saturn. But as to a larger telescope, I suggest you post your message on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup.

Subject:	 ETX Sale
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 1999 7:52:03
From:	DKretzer@sacbee.com (Dale Kretzer)
For what it's worth, Fry's Electronics out here, which has huge stores
in the SF Bay Area and the newest in Sacramento, just put the ETX90/EC
on sale for $588 through next Tuesday (June 8). They don't charge
shipping, just the typical 7.75% local sales tax, giving them about the
best total price I've found. They also carry the field tripod for
$199.95 and the Auto-Star for $149.95, plus tax (only), also edging out
the competition.
Added later:
It probably would have helped make my message clearer if I had included
the fact that many of the businesses here in the Central Valley that
handle Meade products like to do the old "drop shipment" routine. That
means they always pass along shipping costs, and that can add up if you
order the ETX and the tripod. Someone ordering from outside California
can avoid the state tax, but here I was facing the tax and the shipping
no matter where I looked. It's not a big matter, but it just stuck in my
craw enough for me to appreciate the difference. I was looking at more
than $25 shipping for the ETX/tripod combo to my home in Lodi.
-Dale Kretzer

Subject:	ETX and Epoch2000cd software
Sent:	Saturday, June 5, 1999 1:51:20
From:	TZIMMS@aol.com
I don't think this is where I write to ask questions, but nobody has
info for this question. Sorry for the inconvenience.

What do I need to do to get the epoch2000cd software to run the
ETXEC-90? there's no selection for it since the software was wrote
before the ETX was made.

                 Thanks.     Todd

Subject:	 Astronomy Site
Sent:	Friday, June 4, 1999 9:31:42
From:	jzi@gen.com.mx (Jess_Zazuetamaging.com>)
I've been reading your web site since two years ago and it is an
obligatory stop when astronomy web search implies. I'm an owner of an
ETX and a LX200. I have founded an astronomy club here in northwestern
Mxico and this is  our web site www.saasin.org we would like you to add
this link to your Links page, Thanks

Jess Zazueta

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC
Sent:	Friday, June 4, 1999 1:59:28
From:	dale@farmuk.demon.co.uk (Dale Newman)
I live in the south of England...originally from Indiana. My 9 year-old
daughter is very interested in astronomy. Through her interest I'm
learning things I've always wanted to know, but didn't bother to find
out. I should tell you....I am a RANK AMATEUR and can only find a few
constellations and at the moment enjoying Venus and Mars in the sky. We
have observed the Moon through a spotting scope for years. I plan to buy
a telescope soon. I've done some research on the net and I'm down to two
choices....the Meade 4500 (VERY good price...bulky, and perhaps too hard
to use?) and the ETX90EC....(pricey at three times the cost...here in
England...but looks like fun and very portable which is important)

I see this being my only scope so I want it to be the right choice for
Alice's future. I'm leaning toward the ETX, but this is a major
investment for me so I'm trying to get the best deal I can. In England
the best I can do is almost 700 ( $1000). My sister is visiting me in
July and said she can bring one for me. Is it safe to buy one from a
shop? Are there set-up things i need to be aware of? Can she buy one
new, bring it to England, unbox it and use it?

Also, do you know of a good way to obtain an ETX in the next month and
how much it would cost in dollars?

I'm sorry if I'm wasting your time....these are questions that are hard
to answer from where I am and ANY help or advice would be most welcome.
Please respond to dale @farmuk.demon.co.uk

Kind regards,
Dale
Mike here: From your description, the ETX-90EC would make an excellent choice. If your sister does buy one and bring it with her there are two things to consider: 1) be certain she or someone knowledgeable checks it out before getting on the plane, and 2) take it on the plane as handcarried luggage. Buying one in the United States should run about $600 for the basic ETX-90EC. Add another $150 if you want the Autostar. Most dealers have the ETX-90EC in stock; Autostars may be in short supply right now.

Added later:

Thanks very much for your message. i've decided to go with the ETX 90EC.
Getting someone to check it out on the U.S. end could be a problem
because we don't know anyone knowledgable to do that, but we're going to
look into it. She will buy the hard-shell briefcase and carry it hand
luggage. I have a lot of experience taking guitars onto aircraft, so I
know the value of your advice. I was in London on Thursday, so I stopped
at Telescope House on Farringdon St.....they had a display model....my
first impression was that it was a bit plasticy, particularly the
base...but, I guess that's why it is so light which makes it so
portable. They told me that every ETX they have had in new needed
checking out and, in particular, needed the oil (grease?) cleaned off.
They will do this (for a price, of course) for me. I contacted Meade
direct and they said that the fact that it was bought in the U.S. and
lives in England would'nt affect the warrantee. Anyway, your sight has
been a big factor in making my decision....for that thank you! I'll will
visit it regularly and try not to be a nuisance.

Subject:	 CCD
Sent:	Thursday, June 3, 1999 22:24:43
From:	johnlat@earthlink.net (John R Latini)
I'm planning on doing some CCD with my ETX-125. I was planning on
building a CCD unit, using the TI-chip rather than buying a Meade CCD
208 or 216.  Sorry I can't afford a "Santa Barbara Instruments" device.
Maybe when I hit the Lotto this Saturday (LOL).

Any comments on CCD for the ETX?

John L.
Mike here: Search the site for "CCD"; you will gets many hits.

Subject:	 ETX - startup
Sent:	Thursday, June 3, 1999 14:04:29
From:	mgreenleaf@tripod.com
If I am whey out of bounds in asking you this question, feel free to
send me on my way.

I received an ETX as a gift.  I've always looked up to the stars -
usually with my naked eye - so the telescope was the next obvious step. 
My question is - is there any place on the web or some book that kinda
steps you through getting started with a scope, preferably, with the
ETX?  I am so excited to get started, but find myself fumbling with it
and not well educated on how best to use it. It gets frustrating and the
scope ends up sitting ther eunused.

Where do astronomers start? anyways

If you can provide some guidance or direction, I am truly appreciative.

Michelle Greenleaf
michelle@tripod.com
Mike here: There are LOTS of good resources on the web. Start by checking the Book Reviews on my ETX site. That will give you an idea of some good books to consider. Then go to my Astronomy Links page and check out places like the sites for Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines. And don't forget to check the Buyers/New User Tips page on my site. Finally, check out the other sites listed on my Astronomy Links page. Have fun! By the way, when I began I just had books to read. Norton's Star Atlas was one of my favorites.

Subject:	 New website
Sent:	Wednesday, June 2, 1999 16:01:45
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
I've put ap a new website that collects the reviews I've written for the
Mighty ETX site and others, along with pictures of my setup.  It's at
http://etx.brainiac.com

Hope you enjoy it!

======================================================================
        Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 25% off
Sent:	Wednesday, June 2, 1999 13:34:04
From:	Louis.X.Ruggiero@chase.com
Great site, lots of good info.

Just found out that the Learnsmith store at Short Hills Mall, NJ is have
a 25% (you get a coupon at the sales counter) off sale this Saturday
6/5/99.  I called to check if the etx 90EC was one of the items on sale.
According to the sales person it is.  The coupoon is good for only one
item, but I asked if I could also use the coupon for the tripod and
autostar if I purchased them all together and was finally given an OK.

Since my luck was going in the right direction, I asked if I could use
the coupon for the 125 (advance order it.)  Waiting for a call back from
HQ.

  e-mail address ruggierol@aol.com

Subject:	 Hnmmmmm
Sent:	Wednesday, June 2, 1999 11:57:17
From:	dougdd@ix.netcom.com (doug)
Like the no AOL!! Your site sure loads faster!
Doug

Subject:	 ETX-90EC Questions
Sent:	Wednesday, June 2, 1999 7:22:40
From:	gcarter@privatei.com (Gregg Carter)
Got the replacment ETX-90EC, but alas, no clear skies yet.  However,
I've been exercising the declination axis from time to time, and no
failure as of yet.

Now for the questions:  are there any optical tests I should perform on
my new scope to ensure that the optics are as advertised?  I'm thinking
of collimation tests, diffraction-limited optics tests, etc.  If so,
where can I find a description of how to perform the tests?

Thanks,

Gregg Carter
Mike here: There is a collimation test described on the Tech Tips page.

Subject:	 Calming Tripod jiggles
Sent:	Tuesday, June 1, 1999 13:04:59
From:	rlambert@ene.com (Ralph Lambert)
I have the classic ETX and the Meade Field tripod.  I decided to fight
the jiggles (which weren't bad and mostly happen during focusing anyway)
on several fronts.  So I did the following:

1	Make sure that all bolts are snug, including the RA and Dec
adjustment screws on the tripod and the large screw on the bottom of the
tripod head.

2	I placed some thin (from mailing envelope) closed cell foam between
the large washers found on the large screw that holds the tripod head to
the tripod.  An old bicycle inner tube tire might work better.

3	I used two rubber plumbers washers (I had to enlarge the central
hole a bit) on the bottom of the two bolts that hold the ETX to the
tripod.

4	I made my own vibration dampeners for the tripod feet.  I cut scrap
3/4" plywood into 2X2.5" rectangles and drilled a slanting hole partway
through each (to accept the tripod foot).  I then bought a 5mm thick
soft computer mouse pad for $3 and cut 2x2.5" sections off the end. 
These I glued using rubber cement to the bottom of the plywood pieces.

It seems to work--of course it still jiggles when I focus but it settles
fast.
Mike here: Using a clothes pin on the focusing knob can help reduce vibrations.

Subject:	 Apogee accessories
Sent:	Tuesday, June 1, 1999 12:40:00
From:	rlambert@ene.com (Ralph Lambert)
I'm wondering what anyones experience is with the Apogee widefield
adaptor, focal reducer, or their tele extender for the ETX is?
Mike here: See the Accessories - Showcase Products page; I discuss the Widefield Adapter and Tele-Extender there under the Shutan name. I believe they are from Apogee.

Subject:	 JMI
Sent:	Tuesday, June 1, 1999 8:17:55
From:	Bernhard.Kohmanns@mchp.siemens.de (Bernhard Kohmanns)
Hallo,

does JMI also sell and ship to Germany?
How much is the shipping fee?

Thanks and best regards,

Bernhard Kohmanns
Mike here: Beats me. Check their web site (http://www.jimsmobile.com).

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