ETX USER FEEDBACK - MARCH 1998
If you have any comments, suggestions, 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: Nikon "2X teleconverter" Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 1998 16:49:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (peter zimmerman) I checked this evening, finally, that my scope will come to focus on a Nikon at several hundred meters distance, and still has at least one turn of the screw, maybe more, left, so I think I'm OK using the old Celestron back. It ocurred to me that I own a fine Nikon "2X teleconverter" and am wondering how this 7 element Barlow might function on bright astro subjects like the moon. I'm going to try it of course, but does anybody else have any experience? It makes the ETX an f/36, 2500mm lens which sounds like a real opti-cannon. 50x over a 50mm lens. So it should be a useful way to shoot the moon. I'll probably use fast film such as Fuji 800 Super G or the slightly less grainy NPH 400. pete
Subject: ETX Dew Zapper... Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 1998 09:17:00 From: JSlowik@imsisoft.com (John Slowik) I recently spent an evening doing some serious observing (as it has been raining in northern California thanks to El Nino) I noticed that a large accumulation of dew formed on my main lens adversely affecting my optics and I was forced inside. Do you have any home remedies for this situation?
Mike here: One interesting and inexpensive solution is the Craig TeleWrap/Dew Cap. Check out the review on the ETX Accessories - Miscellaneous page.
Subject: ETX and Ni-Cad batteries Sent: Monday, March 30, 1998 10:21:59 From: email@example.com (Douglas Cann) I hope that all is well and that the skies are clear for you. When do you have time to observe and maintain this site at the same time ?? Someone just recently suggested ni-cad batteries for the ETX. However, I believe that they only give 1.2 volts each so they could pose a problem even when fully charged. Often times, you will see that manufacturers of various different types of electronic equipment do not recommend using ni-cads for that very reason. I would suggest to stick with good quality alkalines even if you do have to replace them half way through. They seem to have quite a good 'half life' as it is !!! Cheers......Doug
Mike here: Fortunately for site readers and unfortunately for me the weather has been really lousy here thanks to El Nino. When it has been clear I've been sick or traveling on business. So I've spent extra time keeping the site current. But Monday night it was clear so I was outside for the first time in a long time!!! However, the rains came back tonight. Fooey.
Subject: ETX on MAPUG Sent: Monday, March 30, 1998 07:00:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Kline) Just thought I'd let you know of a bit of publicity the ETX got on MAPUG. Doc G recently wrote one of his papers on the ETX as a guide scope, and along with considerable praise, also made some suggestions for improvements. Of course, the 'adjustments' he made would completely void the warranty, those who love to tinker might find them useful. I've included the link to Doc G.'s website where it mentions the ETX. www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/etxguider.html Sincerely, Tim
Mike here: Included at this site are some photos of portions of the ETX disassembled.
Subject: saturn Sent: Monday, March 30, 1998 02:37:38 From: email@example.com (Patrick & Deborah Jasper) well,got a first look at saturn..i can guarentee for a fact that my etx out performed my 90mm pentax refractor..what a nice surprise!not a bad scope for the money...AND A HECK OF A LOT EASIER TO TRANSPORT!!!! will keep you updated on the construction of my 7 foot diameter observatory,..base blocks done, now building bottom race for golf ball bearings..will start wood/fibreglass dome within 2 weeks i hope..c-ya,pat
Subject: Im a ETX recent owner Sent: Sunday, March 29, 1998 20:12:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org How do i Polar align my ETX while mounted on a Velbone standard tripod? The user manual only shows how it is done assuming you use the three legs that attach. Thanks-- Stephen!... PS great website! check out mine at www.sai.com/ralls! I designed the web pages and created all the artwork...mostly in Photoshop.
Mike here: Tilt the tripod pan head to match your latitude. The only concern is whether the tripod is stable enough to handle the weight at this angle. Then follow pretty much any of the polar alignment techniques (like mentioned on the Buyer/User Tips page).
Subject: Re: Re: problems with Rigel Quick finder Sent: Sunday, March 29, 1998 19:55:09 From: email@example.com (peter zimmerman) I bought a 40 mm Sirius Ploessl eyepiece from Orion. This is their house-marked eyepiece, made in Taiwan, and selling for $59.95 instead of $20 more for a Meade 3000 or $40 more for the Meade 4000 and similarly branded eyepieces. So far I can't see any problems with the Sirius unit; the FOV is quite impressive, and stars imaged as clean points all across the field. I had no trouble finding the image with a dark-adapted eye -- I didn't come close to poking out my eye, for example. I won't know just how well the eyepiece meets my needs until I see the moon hanging in it's field, but it seems a nice compromise in features and price. I also got Orion's large accessory ring (LAR) to fit the ETX's rear viewport. Nicely made, and it exactly mates up with all accessories made for larger SCTs. It lets me use the surplus camera adapter from my stolen C5 and should allow me to mount the telextender (eyepiece projection) unit from that 'scope on the rear. I will, however, worry about counterweighting things because the lever arm will be very long. One of the interesting challenges of the ETX is finding out how to do things with it that it is not "supposed" to be able to do. Since I have a full wet-lab darkroom, I'll be sticking to film cameras and paper prints. Once I get some experience on easy targets, I'll be willing to show some work. Not until. The first project will be to shoot a Minox 8x11 "spy" camera through the eyepiece for the ultimate in "tele-Minox" work. G'night. pete
Subject: play in the RA slo-mo; adjusting the RA setting circle Sent: Saturday, March 28, 1998 15:17:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (peter zimmerman) How much play should there be in the RA slo-mo knob? mine seems to have a lot of up-down motion; do you think something could have slipped in the drive compartment? It still drives well. And shouldn't the RA setting circle turn independently so you can set it to the tabulated RA of a known object you have acquired in the telescope? Mine won't rotate at all. pete
Mike here: It sounds like maybe the knob may have worked a little loose. Mine does not move up and down. It can be tightened; there is a setscrew in the side of the knob. See Bob Martin's comment further down this page for the solution (from Meade) for the tight RA circle. The tape should move in its track. One of these days I, or someone, really has to update the ETX FAQ in the Guest Contributions area!
Subject: ETX Owner Sent: Saturday, March 28, 1998 10:39:16 From: FSBV91F@prodigy.com (MR ANTHONY S SCIARA) Hi, I have just recently received the ETX for Christmas a few months ago. My eyepiece collection includes only the Series 4000 26 mm and UWA 6.7 mm and a 2X Barlow. But, I have been looking for something more. I recentlty saw an ad in Astronomy magazine about the Tele Vue 5X Powermate. I have been unlucky in my search for more information on the internet. I do not want to buy anything unless I know exactly what it is and what it does. I was wondering if you could try to find out what it does and if it will work with my ETX. I First thought it was like a Barlow, that it increased the magnification of any eyepiece 5X. But I'm not sure and it didn't say anything in the ad. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you P.S. If you can't find anything perhaps you could recommend some new eyepieces that have worked good for you. My e.mail is FSBV91F@Prodigy.com.
Mike here: There is a brief description of it in the May 98 Sky & Telescope (new products section). It is a 5X Barlow. Probably way overkill for the ETX.
Subject: Accessories Sent: Friday, March 27, 1998 15:24:54 From: email@example.com (Michael McGarvey) Great job on the website! I particularly like the search addition; it really helps when you're trying to track down some idea you remember seeing in the archives. I've finally had clear skies to try out some new accessories. The Apogee right angle finder from Pocono Optics is wonderful, a real back saver. I also have done some sunspot viewing with a Thousand Oaks solar filter. You can clearly see the calcium clouds, spot penumbra and even the granulation on the surface. It has been the only solace (is that a pun?) when the clouds keep moving in at sunset. A great way to extend the ETX's versatility. I also tried out an eyepiece from Paul Rini. I ordered the 45mm 40' field eyepiece which offers a theoretical 1.44' true field at 28X. Wider than anything else on the market. After trying it out, I am really pleased. I'm not sure if it truly yields a full 1.44' but enough to really help in star hopping, almost double the area of the 26mm Meade. It really excels for looking at large extended objects. The view of Andromeda was excellent and the lower magnification reveals the dust lane which escaped my vision through the 26mm eyepiece. Dark skies are a must. The eye relief is quite long (and a bit tricky, a ruber eyecup would be nice), it would be great for eyeglass wearers. The secondary obstruction becomes a real issue when using it in the light of day, or before your eyes are dark adapted. Anyway, it's a great addition at a great price. I'm going to order the 13mm 82' reviewed recently on your accessories page next. That's a phenomenal bargain. Clear Skies, Mike McGarvey
Subject: ETX low power Sent: Friday, March 27, 1998 13:37:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Hoy) Peter Zimmerman was wondering what the lowest power eyepiece one could use with the ETX. It is possible to do the math to figure this out, and whether a particular eyepiece will work, but to keep it simple: I've experimented with a few, and it appears that about a 40 mm Plossl is it (50deg. apparent field of view). I was looking for the widest field and the most brightness, to counteract the "little black hole" characteristic of this type of scope. Wanted to see galaxies, dontchaknow. Trouble was, the 40 mm Omcon I tried had such long eye relief I couldn't find the image in the dark. Near poked my eye out one time, weaving and bobbing my head around.... Plus, in the daytime I could see the secondary lens as a darker blur in mid-field. It gave me the widest field though--I could just see the sides of the tube starting to vignette the image. I was playing with an old RKE eyepiece, and realised that although it was about 30mm, it was almost as wide, and *much* easier to look through. So, went back to my friendly telescope store (which lets me exchange lenses until I find the one I like), and tried an Omcon 32 (didn't have a 35). I'm going to stick with it, it's so much better to use. The magnification is a little higher, and it's a smidgen darker, although the contrast is better. It's the best daytime eyepiece. So. For cheaper eyepieces (plossls), I'd say 32-40 mm is it. Higher magnification and wider angle pieces like Naglers, Panoptics, Speers-Walers and Meades are big, heavy, and expensive. Plus, they have twice the glass in the tube, and cannot transmit as much light, although good coatings help I hear. Oh, I discovered how to see galaxies, and it's not the perfect eyepiece. It's DARK SKIES! Once I really got away from the light, I could see them in 10x70 binoculars, and the supplied 26mm Plossl was fine. I'm going to 12,000 feet in Colorado this June, and it better not be cloudy. !-) Doug
Subject: Another happy owner Sent: Thursday, March 26, 1998 19:47:57 From: email@example.com (Barry Smith) I just got my ETX a couple of weeks ago and your site, and all the suggestions of your email contributors, has been very helpful. Like others, I have had that focusing problem when using a comera at prime focus. The suggestion of repositioning the focus knob corrected that. I had a problem that, when I removed one of legs, the bolt stud unscrewed from the leg and stayed in the base. Since these bolts are really 1/4-20 setscrews and have an allen wrench hole in one end, it was easy to move it back to the correct position. I now have added a 1/8 inch allen wrench to the 3 allen wrenches supplied by Meade in case this happens again. I think Meade just missed putting some glue or bolt-locking stuff on this. Some messages ask about misc small hardware (screws, bolts, etc). Try Small Parts, Inc. (800-220-4242, www.smallparts.com). They have bunches of stuff including lots of brass sheets, tubes, etc that may also be of help to those of us making our own accessories for the scope. A couple of extra base plate mounting screws and finderscope thumbscrews came from there and are in my tools bag. I also got some 1 1/4 inch o-rings to see if slipping them on a couple of eyepieces will make them closer to parfocal. Another one of your contributors mentioned a camcorder carrying bag from Walmart ($29). I got one and like it. The ETX just fits. From the descriptions of the Meade soft bag, this is probably very similiar - tight fit but it works. I only plan on using it when I want to fly and carryon the ETX. The hard case I got was an all metal case I found at a local hardware store. Inside dimension of this case is 9 inches high so it gives me a little more foam around the top and bottom of the ETX 7 1/4 inch minimum dimension than some of the standard photo/scope cases gives. This case was $80. So for $110, I got two cases for two seperate uses rather than a single case that might be a compromise between small enough for carryon and large enough for extra protection, camera and accessories. I'll have to see if having two cases adds confusion as to where I end up putting stuff. Some of the changes/additions I'm thinking of... Since we have to remove the base for battery replacement, I wish that the N/S switch had been put inside or, at least, felt different at night. I'm considering shaving an 1/8 inch off that switch so it is flush with the baseplate. It could still be switched with a screwdriver or knife tip or when the baseplate is off and would not be confused with the on/off switch. For mounting another finder - how about mounting it to a slide-on dew shield ? Would the finder still be aligned accurately enough? This would not mar the scope tube and may make packing the scope easier. The finder could easily rotate from the right to left side of the tube depending on ease of viewing. Maybe combine this with the sewer-pipe coupling dew shield mentioned on your web site. For a counterweight for a camera at prime focus, how about a bar that is anchored at one end to the 1/4 inch tripod mounting hole on the underside of the OTA? The bar would extend towards the front of the scope, supported midway by the bottom of the dew shield encircling the scope tube. The bar would continue to extend (maybe) in front and slightly below the OTA and would support a small counterwieght. Would I have to worry about the OTA bending, even slightly, with weight hanging on the front and the tube being supported in the back? I haven't tried this yet. And another half-baked idea - most of those pretty chrome plumbing pipes are 1 1/2 inches but a few of them are 1 1/4 inches (outside diameter) and some fittings have a flared end so its inside diameter is 1 1/4 inches. Sounds like a solution in search of a problem... Maybe a diffraction grating, a bent plumbing pipe and an eyepiece in the camera port for a cheap spectrograph? Does anyone know where to get a parts list drawing for the ETX? One of those exploded-view drawings of the ETX? I'm curious about the scope but not curious enough to risk taking it apart. Barry Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Thanks for the great ideas! I especially like the idea of mounting a secondary finder to a dew shield. I'm going to try that with my Rigel QuikFinder.
Subject: ETX Optics Cleaning Sent: Thursday, March 26, 1998 12:53:59 From: email@example.com (Antonio L Gonzalez) First of all let me congratulate you on the great job you have done with your ETX web page. It is now my primary source of information regarding my new ETX. My question is: What is the best way to clean the ETX external optics? I am a bit leery using camera lens cleaning supplies. Haze has been a problem every time I use them. Thanks for your help. Sincerely; Antonio Gonzalez
Mike here: A can of clean compressed air, available from camera stores, is one of the best ways to clean off optics safely. But be certain to spray away from the lens first to eliminate any moisture in the stream. You can also use a squeeze bulb to blow air on the lens. I use lens cleaner but only as a last resort. And then I use a VERY VERY small amount. I've found that if I use too much I get the haze you mention. And I clean VERY infrequently. It takes a lot (or very large dirt) to impact viewing.
Subject: Thanks again Sent: Thursday, March 26, 1998 11:18:04 From: JDDGA@aol.com I just want to say "Thanks" once again for having the BEST ETX web site. I also enjoy the flag I get when you update the site, so I can drop back in and see what's new. Great job! John D'Angelo
Subject: LX50/LX200 Sent: Thursday, March 26, 1998 06:34:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim Kline) Saw your post on the ETX site and your comments about getting the 'aperture fever'. If you're serious about this and doing research, you might want to tune into MAPUG. If you are not monitoring their mail lately, there's been a thread going for quite a while on the LX50; some good, a lot of bad though. I subscribe to the digest version of MAPUG so I only get two posts a day, but it contains all of the comments. If you don't subscribe to MAPUG now and would like the digests that contain this thread(it's still going, by the way), just email me and I'll be glad to send it to you. I'm also sending a copy of this email to Mike at the ETX site because others that are getting the fever might also be interested in what some of the 'heavy hitters' have to say about the LX50 and LX200. I must admit, I also get that fever from time to time, but then I look at my checkbook and the baby crib that will be occupied in a few months and I start to recover rather quickly! Let me know if I can help. Sincerely, Tim Kline
Subject: Tracking speed variations Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 09:34:01 From: BMartin615@aol.com I have read many complaints about the tracking speeds, fast or slow, of the ETX and other scopes battery cell powered RA drive motors. One of the inherent problems with the alkaline batteries is that the fresh battery will have about 1.62v to 1.65v output. They last almost forever, and as the battery is slowly depleted, so to is the voltage. You will find almost half of the battery useful life will be in the range of 1.45v to 1.50v, and as a result the RA drive will run at different speeds as the batteries are used. One possible fix short of circuit board modification might be to use rechargeable Nicad batteries. Although the life span is shorter, they maintain almost consistant voltage from full charge until they are depleted. It might be best to have backup batteries with the Nicads, since the RA won't slow down until just before the batteries die. You don't want to get caught short during that once in a lifetime viewing. Bob Martin
Subject: Wide-Field Adapter for the ETX Sent: Monday, March 23, 1998 23:03:39 From: email@example.com (Rashad Al-Mansour) Hi Mike, and all the ETX owners, I happened across this new accessory for our favorite portable scope. New! Wide-Field Adapter: This new accessory, resembling a 90 degree diagonal converts your ETX's 1250mm f:13.8 optical system into a 750mm f:8.2! With the standard 26mm SP eyepiece the ACTUAL field-of-view is increased from 1.1 to 1.8 degrees-- a 64 percent increase! Mounting this converter requires a 1.25" Visual Back (see below). Expected price, $90.00. Expected delivery about 3-25-98. www.shutan.com/html/etx.htm Rashad
Subject: etx declination slo-mo controls Sent: Monday, March 23, 1998 19:33:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Peter Zimmerman) Well, we finally got clear skies, but I got home around 8:45 and was so dead all I could do was take the beauty out and look at whatever bright stars I could find w/out polar aligning except with the table pod and a compass. which worked ok. The damn thing tracked for 10 minutes at a crack! Much better than I heard it would. BUT, I seem to have run out of tangent arm and done something so my dec slo motion control only works in one direction. You or MAPUG had something on the fix just a couple of days ago, but I can't find it when I need it. Could you point me at where I need to go? Please. Tomorrow I order the Rigel finder as recommended by Mike Lee at Meade who agrees that the supplied finder is tough to use. Impossible with the table tripod at 39 deg latitude, I would say. I also will be ordering my "second" eyepiece (I have a couple of .965s from my old celestron and even tho' they're kellners except for a 12 mm orthoscopic, I'll live with them), a 40mm tho' I'm not yet sure of the brand. Mike Lee says go with the meade series 3000 (!) and I'll never see the difference. It saves $20. The comparable Orion/Sirius goes for $59.95 instead of the $79.95 for the Meade. The sirius ones are edge blackened which the Meades aren't. I really want low power to look for extended objects. Best, pete And THANKS!
Mike here: regarding the DEC control "problem", I think you are referring to needing to get the screw back to the midpoint in its travels. Just unlock the DEC lock, turn the DEC control knob in whichever direction it will turn the most and try to find the midpoint. Then you'll be ready to go in either direction again. I mentioned this (briefly) on the Showcase Products page because I kept running into the limit with the MotoDec (not the MotoDec's fault).
Done. Thanks. I ordered a Rigel finder today along with a bunch of stuff from Orion including the 40 mm Ploessl with their own brand on it. I don't think I'll be able to tell the difference between that and a Super-Duper-Ultra-Namebrand eyepiece at that focal length. The nice thing about the Orion is the edge blackening of the optics which is more important than multicoating so long as all air-glass surfaces are coated.
Subject: ETX UPDATE Sent: Sunday, March 22, 1998 18:56:33 From: SPSesq@excaliber.net (Steven Sukel) Mike, Great site. I wrote about a year age when I first got my ETX and have monitored the site ever since. It has helped a lot with my decisions to purchase accessories. After I bought the scope (at the Nature Store) I got a bogen tripod and pan head and then set out to learn the sky. All I can say about the scope is I know that my hard earned bucks were well spent. Since April 1997 I have added the mandatory accessories... a 17mm televue plossel, a 9 mm meade series 4000 plossel and a celestron ultima 2X barlow. This past october, I added the JMI motofocus- I reccomend it to all- no jiggles when I focus- and the JMI motodec and the 90 degree finder adapter. Next is to add a better finder scope and perhaps the new JMI polar finder. Does anybody have it? Is it worth the $50.00? This past summer I took the scope to the New Jersey Shore (LBI twice) since this is a great dark sky area close to home. The ETX performed flawlessly. I saw the Orion Nebula M42 as a grey area clearly defined in the26mm plossel. In the 9mm I could just make out the trapezium. I also took it to Massachusetts in the Berkshires where it was so dark, you could see the Milky Way naked eye. I showed these wonders to family and friends who are not into stargazing and had them amazed. Again the ETX was up to all its hype. When SKY & TELESCOPE reviewed the scope, they raved and I agreed with them. I am beginning to get that aperture fever and am looking at either the 8 inch LX50 or LX200 and use the ETX as my guide scope. This is a great scope and I reccomend it to anyone looking to start in the hobby. For under $1,000, (my setup and accessories), it is worth every penny and the veiws do not disapoint. I am getting more out of the ETX than I had expected. Keep up the great work on this site and clear (warm) skies to all!!!
Subject: Two questions and a comment Sent: Sunday, March 22, 1998 09:20:14 From: email@example.com (peter zimmerman) Well, I bought the pretty blue thing yesterday at Nature Company. They had just gotten in a new lot of 2 (allotment for a month; sells in 2 weeks the guy said), and I noticed that the ABS plastic is a slightly darker hue than on the demo model I had seen elsewhere. I don't know if that indicates any manufacturing changes of significance. 1) Where is the serial number on this puppy? My insurance company is not going to be happy with a $600 item for which all I can say is 'no serial number'. 2) What is the _lowest power_ (longest F.L.) eyepiece it is practical to put on the telescope? I would ideally like to go to a 40 or 50 mm eyepiece for wider star fields and to see more extended objects. The 26mm Super Ploessl supplied by Meade has its large diameter barrel reduced in length by one quarter inch in order to provide the user with the dubious benefit of a lower profile instrument, according to the instruction book. That means that the eyepiece is not parfocal with the rest of the line. There is an easy fix which should get you within a fraction of a turn of the focus knob. Simply purchase a roll of quarter inch wide "Dymo" labelling tape, cut a strip a bit longer than 3 inches (to be more accurate, pi*1.25 inches), strip off the protective backing, and wrap it around the chrome barrel making sure that it touches the black barrel at all points. This will replace the quarter inch Meade took away. Alternatively, you can get some quarter inch lucite and bore a 1.25" diameter hole in it and file off any rough edges. Hundredths of an inch error will be of little importance since you will be fixing an error of tenths of an inch. Cost, about a buck. This idea stems originally from a scheme Leica suggested for use on collapsible lenses fitted to the M5 and Leica CL bodies which used a swing-away photocell to meter through the lens. If the retractible lens were pushed all the way in, it would smash the photocell. pete zimmerman
Subject: ETX Question Sent: Saturday, March 21, 1998 08:55:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nikolaj Vagner) i'm thinking of buying a JMI computer for my ETX scope, which one would you recommend, and what are the differences between JMI-Micro,Mini and MAX. Also which motor-dec/focus should i buy for my scope ?? thanks in advance ;) Regards, nikolaj vagner e-mail: email@example.com icq no.: 8127398
Mike here: There are some reviews of the JMI computers and MotoFocus and MotoDec on the Accessories - Misc page and the MF and MD are covered in more detail on the Accessories - Showcase Products page.
Subject: getting into ETX-ing Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 1998 20:01:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (peter zimmerman) I am about to buy an ETX and have been reading the comments on this site with interest. I have two questions: Does the group have a consensus on the best unit-magnification red-dot finder to seek out, and how to mount it without destroying the beautiful tube with glue and the like, and certainly without drilling? I'll be doing a limited amount of astrophotography on the fork mount. Is there a consensus on how to counterbalance the instrument with a camera hung on the back, either at prime focus or at the right angle eyepiece position using eyepiece projection? Many thanks, peter zimmerman
Subject: Re: Latitude tripod Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 1998 19:33:00 From: email@example.com (Benjamin Tsai) I have a Tuthill IsoStatic Equatorial mount for ETX sitting next to me.. But it seems that nobody besides me is using this mount for the ETX, and I'm left to wonder if it was such a smart purchase afterall.. Do you have any experience (directly or indirectly) with this mount? Thanks. --- Best regards, Benjamin Tsai firstname.lastname@example.org 40 45' 55"N 73 49' 04"W "Low noise, clear and steady skies!"
Subject: Dec problem & a HOT eyepiece Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 1998 13:11:26 From: rong@pogo.WV.TEK.COM (Ronald M Gilbert) I have an apparent shifting problem with the DEC control while moving in either direction. The image seems to shift about 1 or 2 degrees before engaging in the direction I intend to go. Has anyone experienced this behavior? Is there any adjustment for this? Somewhere I have read about this problem in the archives but I cannot locate it. Help! Keep up the good work Mike, I visit daily! Clear Skies!
Subject: Finally, a warm night Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 1998 09:06:39 From: email@example.com (Wayne Hale) For the first time in months, had an evening that was both clear and not bitter cold. Now if I could just figure out how to turn off a million lights from my balcony, I'd be all set. Picked up an Orion EZ Finder Reflex Sight today at S&S Optika here in the Denver area. It is a very simple device, a 3/4 inch diameter tube a little under 4" long containing a partially (very partially) coated clear glass lens in one end. A small 3v lithium battery powers a small red led which is inside the tube, at the opposite end from the lens. The sight has zero magnification, you simply look through the tube and a very small red dot appears to be superimposed on the star or other object you are trying to find. There is a convenient adjustment for the brightness of the dot. Two screws adjust the elevation and right/left alignment. The unit comes with a dovetail mounting bracket, several screws of various lengths and a piece of double sided tape. Since I can't imagine drilling a hole in the tube of an ETX, I elected to use the sticky tape. The manufacturer sells the mounting bracket seperately so you could share the sight between multiple scopes. With a little care in positioning the tube parallel with the long axis of the tube, I was able to stick the unit to the ETX and only had to make a very small adjustment to align everything. I mounted the finder fairly far forward to make sure it didn't interfere with the mounting yokes. The unit does what they claim and it is much less obtrusive than the Telrad or Rigel units which basically do the same thing. The sight is painted flat black and looks good attached to the ETX. My one criticism is the inside of the tube is fairly shiny and if the brightness it turned up a little to high, you see multiple reflections of the LED down the length of the tube. I may try inserting a piece of black dull construction paper inside the tube and see if I can kill the reflections. So far the new Orion Reflex Finder is working well although it is still hard to locate dim objects with a lot of sky glow from the city. To make the red dot visible against the front "lens", the lens is overcoated slightly with something slightly reflective and you can notice a small amount of light loss coming through the unit. Cosmetically, I'll live with the light loss to have something that looks like it is not out of place on the ETX. Clear skies to all, Wayne
Subject: ETX eye pieces Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 1998 06:06:57 From: WRNIX@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU (W. Robert Nix) I have enjoyed the material I found on the WWW I am not much of a net user, but I am learning a bit. I am an OLD art professor, and teach photography at the University of Ga. I recently purchased an ETX and am impressed with it in many ways, some are a bit of a problem but - I have some questions and a little information which may be of use to some ETX users. First, I did not like having dirt and dust get into the scope when I did not have an eyepiece in the angle finder, or in the top if it did not have an eyepiece in place. Also having the back cap removed is a good way to not have it where you want it when you need it. To solve this problem I have found that the black plastic 3 5mm film can, the new ones with the recycle arrows on the bottom will slide in to the tube space nicely. I cut the length of the can down a bit, wrapped the top with a few layers of electrical tape cut to 1/4 in wide and screwed the threaded back cap in place. The plastic tape takes the thread impression and hold swell . With the film cans as black tubes I have cut them to length and mounted light weight 16mm movie camera lenses in them to serve as eyepieces. My question basically is about using my Bolex camera lens, and my Leica 12mm copy lens as eyepieces. I get good sharp images, but I am not sure about angle of view and eye relief. These are very fine quality lenses but are they a practical answer for Telescope eyepieces. Thanks for what you are doing and any help you can give. W. R. Nix
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 12:05:24 +1100 From: "Cass L'Hotellier" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: [M]: Astronomy Ratings Web Page Hi all, I don't know if this has been mentioned before but I'd just like to alert MAPUG members to the existence an Astronomy Product Ratings Web Site: http://www.excelsis.com/vote/astro/index.html You can cast votes for particular eyepieces or telescopes and the results are averaged and presented in a table for anyone to look at. There doesn't appear to be many people voting on the page so far. The more votes there are the more realistic the average result will be. I think it's a great idea. Tony L'Hotellier
Subject: Camera mounts on ETX Sent: Saturday, March 14, 1998 22:54:49 From: email@example.com (Walter Warren) I can't tell you how glad I was to find your website. I had been wanting to see what kind of views I could expect from an ETX. A question though. With a camera mounted at prime focus it appears it would be impossible to photograph anything in a significant area around Polaris. Do you know how much area is lost? I was a little surprised that you could get Hale-Bopp pictures because of this problem. Also, I don't quite understand the eyepiece projection technique. With your Pentax, are you just holding the camera pointed at the eyepiece, or is it attached somehow? Hope you can take the time to answer my questions so I can decide if the ETX is right for me. Walter Warren
Mike here: It will be difficult, if not impossible, to get prime focus photographs when pointed near the pole if you leave the ETX mounted in the fork. However, you can do eyepiece projection photography using the Meade Basic Camera Adapter (see the ETX Accessories - Astrophotography page). You can also hand-hold the camera over the eyepiece but this is tricky and obviously only for short duration exposures. Long duration astrophotography is difficult at either prime focus or with eyepiece projection since the extra weight drags down the drive motor.
Subject: Re: Mirror shift Sent: Saturday, March 14, 1998 20:31:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rashad Al-Mansour) Field report on the 90mm Meade ETX telescope AUGUST 2, 1997 I attended the annual "Star BQ" put on by the Fremont Peak Observatory Association on AUG. 2ND 1997. It was the first time that I attended a star party and is something I recommend to all beginners such as myself, they are a great resource for information and advice as well as allowing the beginner the opportunity to talk with experienced amateur astronomers for tips and tricks for negotiating the night sky. For the beginner that lives in the city and who is trying to get a hold on the night sky by studying the visible stars , is likely to be overwhelmed their first trip to a dark when confronted by the thousands of naked eye stars, even finding Polaris can be a challenge. Star Parties, Highly Recommended! Equipment Telescope, Meade ETX 90mm Astro Finder, Orion EZ Finder ( Highly Recommended ) Tripod, Vanguard Extra Large Tripod Head, Bogen model # 3275 ( Highly Recommended ) Lenses, 26mm Meade Plossl, 32mm Sirius Plossl, 17mm Sirius Plossl, 7.5mm Sirius Plossl Filters Orion Glass Sun Filter, # 80A Blue Filter I arrived at Fremont Peak in the early afternoon, and after pitching my tent did some solar observing, using the 17mm lens I was able to see 3 sunspots in the southwest third of the disk. Nightfall In less than one minute after Polaris was visible, I was polar aligned, this was due to the Bogen tripod head and the Orion EZ Finder. Easily split the double double in Lyrae also split Antares and 5 or six others, as well as M4 images were very sharp text book defraction rings. Jupiter was just lovely, the 17mm lens 73.5X revealed 4 highly visible bands very sharp. I spent a lot of time on Jupiter, mainly because it was so beautiful but also because I wanted to test the tracking ability of the ETX. I have read what others have said about the drive on the ETX, I had no problems, except when some kids, who wanted to look at Jupiter kicked the tripod and knocked the scope out of alignment, but as I said before alignment is a snap with the Bogen head and the EZ finder. Anyway after realigning I tracked Jupiter, using the 17mm lens for 1hour 45 minutes! Until another kid came along and kicked my tripod again L I dont know how long it would have held its track but I think 2 hours on one object should be good enough for most amateur sky hawks. Very exciting! While looking at Jupiter Io began to rise from behind the disk, I saw it before it cleared the disk! I was surrounded by big iron, on my left was a 16 inch Meade LX200, the thing was so big that the owner had to use a car motor hoist to pull it out of his van and to set it up. On my right was a Takahashi 9 inch Cass. The owner said it was one of only 100 made and cost close to 6,000 bucks! And all around me were 8,10,and 12 inch Celestrons and Meades. When I shouted about what I was seeing all you could hear was the sound of motor drives moving to track the big planet, everybody seemed impressed, the guy with the 16 inch Meade looked through my tiny scope and was also able to confirm that I was seeing Io before it had cleared the disk of Jupiter, he was really impressed not only with the optics, which are first rate, but also with the tracking. I was to impress him even more, an hour later while still on Jupiter, I shouted "hey it looks like there are some storms on Jupiter" again the silence was broken by drive motors as all the big iron swung back to the giant and once again my observations were confirmed, there were 3 storms in the big northern band, I had 6 or 7 big iron owners standing in line to get a look through my little gem and all commented on the optical quality of the ETX. None of us saw the GRS. Saturn was awe inspiring the Cassini Division was clearly seen , and when using the 7.5mm lens ( 166X ) I saw Titan for the first time! I also used a 2X barlow to push the 7.5mm the image on Jupiter and Saturn was still somewhat sharp, but they did darken the image some. Under ideal conditions I believe the view would have been acceptable to almost anyone. I had a chance to view the sky through some of the best telescope on the market today. Meades from 8 to 16 inches 10 and 12 inch Celestrons Takahashi 9 inch and Astro-physics 4 inch refractor etc. In my opinion pound for pound dollar for dollar the Meade ETX 90mm Astroscope is one of the finest telescopes that the amateur astronomer is likely to find anywhere in the world and when you factor in portability and ease of setup it has to rank in the top 10 or maybe even the top 7 of the scopes on the market today.
Subject: Mirror shift Sent: Saturday, March 14, 1998 02:13:13 From: email@example.com (Rashad Al-Mansour) It's been a while since we last communicated, I hope all is well. And I like what you have done to the page, even if it's not geared toward IE4 :-) Anyway I have been using our favorite scope allot and have begun to notice more and more mirror shift! I have not seen post on your site discussing this subject and was wondering if you had any ideas, the last thing I want to do is send it off to Meade! Rashad
Subject: Re: Great Board! Sent: Friday, March 13, 1998 15:21:02 From: JDDGA@aol.com I gave a call to Roger W. Tuthill. For the ETX they charge $625. If you want one which has been prechecked by them and certified (plus they added the diode to let you know if the drive is running) the price is $695. I figure I don't really want to spend $695, but I do want to get it from a place which has a decent reputation. The Nature Company has a store out in Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, which is about a 45 minute drive for me. I heard some nice things about them from folks on your site, so I may check them out. I want to be able to bring it in and exchange it if the collimation is off. Roger W. Tuthill is in NJ about an hour and a half from here, so they are in driving range. Gosh, I wish we could get our windows done, so I can concentrate on the ETX. I think it'll be a good partner for my Celestron 8" SCT. Celestron just overhauled my scope and collimated it using a laser collimator, and it is on its way back to me. I'm anxious to see how it will perform. Clear skies! John
Subject: Re: Great Board! Sent: Friday, March 13, 1998 03:24:30 From: JDDGA@aol.com I've been re-reading the reviews of the ETX which were in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazine. I didn't realize that the scope can easily be detached from its mount and used as a spotting scope because there is the block underneath with the 1/4-20 hole which will accept the regular camera tripod adaptor. This will let the scope be used in the nature/spotting scope style. That really makes it a very versatile unit. I could even mount it on my Celestron and use the excellent PEC drive to take pictures through it, or use it as an excellent guide scope for the Celestron. Another interesting point! I think I may buy one for myself, but I will have to wait a bit first. We need to get new Anderson windows for our front porch, so I will have to take care of that item first. With all the interesting e-mail you get from folks who are tinkering with their scopes, I get the feeling that the ETX is a lot like the Sinclair ZX-80 computer. In the early days of home computing, the ZX-80 came on the market and sold for 100 dollars. It had a membrane keyboard, built in basic, and 4K of RAM. I purchased one, and learned how to program in basic with it. There were magazines devoted to it, and folks made all kinds of modifications to the basic unit. One was even put on display at the Smithsonian because they felt it represented a turning point in the use of computers for the home. I still have mine stored away with all the manuals. The ETX gives excellent optical performance, but the drive system was kept simple to keep the price down. For 600 dollars it represents one heck of a buy, and invites improvements to the operating system by the owner. Fun! Clear skies, John
Subject: ETX Information Sent: Thursday, March 12, 1998 19:05:13 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Mckeating) I am interested in purchasing an ETX telescope and would appreciate if you could point me in the direction of a reputable dealer or person who has a used but in good condition for sale. As I am new to this hobby I would also appreciate any pointers you could give me, thanks for you help in this matter. Yours John McKeating
Mike here: There are several good dealers on the web. Check the Astronomy Links (dealer section) on my ETX site. The Nature Company and Natural Wonders are two that have been frequently favorably mentioned by many users. Also, check the Meade site (link on the astro link page) and go to the dealers page where they list all their dealers by location.
Subject: TO SLOW !!!!!!!! Sent: Thursday, March 12, 1998 13:51:23 From: PURKY@webtv.net (EARL PURKISS) HOW WE DOING? I HAVE HAD THIS PROBLEM FOR AWHILE. MY MOTOR IS TRACKING TO SLOW. AT LEAST THAT IS WHAT THE PEOPLE AT THE SHOP TOLD ME. HOW CAN I FIX THIS OR DO I HAVE TO SEND IT TO MEADE? IF YOU CAN HELP ME ASAP I WOULD BE VERY GREATFUL I'M GOING TO THE DESERT THIS WEEKEND ALSO I WANT TO TAKE A PHOTO OF STAR TRAILS GOING IN A CIRCLE, HOW WOULD I DO THIS THANKS , EARL
Mike here: If your drive is locking in RA properly but still tracking too slow it could be due to your batteries running down. Try replacing them. If that doesn't help, and you are sure you are getting a good lock, you may have a more serious problem. As to star trails photos, it is easy (assuming you have the right camera). Just mount the camera on a tripod, point it in the direction you want to shot, then open the shutter (be certain to remove the lens cap!). Exposures of 5 minutes with a normal lens will show only slight trailing whereas longer exposures or using a telephoto lens will result in longer trails. Of course, you have to have really dark skies to do really long exposures. Good luck!
Subject: Some more Feedback.. Chromatic abber. Sent: Thursday, March 12, 1998 11:57:50 From: email@example.com (Doug Hoy) Awhile ago Ray Wartinger expressed concern that he could see red and blue colours on the top and bottom of Venus (he didn't say which colour was on which end of Venus). At the time something moved (alright, moved sluggishly) at the back of my memory, but reading Terence Dickenson's article on viewing Venus in the 1998 RASC Handbook reminded me that Venus, because it is usually seen low on the horizon at dusk or dawn suffers particularly from atmospheric chromatic distortion. In other words, "it's the environment", not the ETX's fault. This may have been Ray's problem. On another note, someone loaned me a pile of eyepieces to try out on the ETX: a Televue 13 Plossl, an Omcom 20mm Plossl, a Vixen LV 25, a 10.5 Ortho, and an unamed Ramsden of unknown focal length. All filthy. Hope it's clear tonight! ************************************************************* Doug Hoy Evaluation National Museum of firstname.lastname@example.org & Science & Technology (613)998-6863v Research P.O.Box 9724, Station T (613)990-3654f Ottawa K1G 5A3 CANADA **Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the NMSTC** *************************************************************
Subject: INFORMATION Sent: Thursday, March 12, 1998 09:44:23 From: email@example.com (Luis Carrera) Dear Friends: I need some information about MEADE ETX TELESCOPE, for terrestrial use (birdwatching): Is possible to use it with an terrestrial tripod (video tripod, photography tripod, etc)?. I will very pleased to receive your news about. Yours sincerily, Luis Carrera Spain
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Tripods page for some info on tripods.
Subject: ETX and T adapter Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 1998 11:29:17 From: WCoates@netcom.ca (Coates, Walter) I just found your ETX web page this morning. I think its excellent...great job! I have really enjoyed using my ETX, although my only complaint is that the weather here in the Pacific northwest is too cloudy and rainy! Now for a question... I recently bought the T adapter for attaching my Nikon camera to the ETX. I already had the appropriate T-ring for my camera, so everything fitted together perfectly. Unfortunately my telescope won't focus on anything farther than approximately 50 feet through the camera. The focusing knob just won't turn any farther. - very frustrating! Naturally, I have been careful not to force the knob to turn, but I am sure that the focussing mechanism is at the end of its travel. It focuses beautifully when using either of my two eyepieces. Any suggestions? Thanks! And once again... I think your web page is great. I will be a regular visitor! Cheers from: Walter Coates WCoates@netcom.ca
Mike here: There was a comment about a similar focusing problem from another user. Apparently some camera bodies are too large to get a focus with the full T-Adapter. Try using just the shorter segment and see if that helps.
I think I found the answer to my own question! After browsing extensively through your web page I found an article (I think it was part of the ETX review in Sky & Telescope magazine) which described the same problem. It suggested that the focusing knob was inserted too far onto the focusing rod. By loosening the tiny allen screw on the focusing knob and moving the knob back a few millimetres, you should be able to get enough focussing travel to accommodate the T-adapter. I haven't had time to try it out with this adjustment, but it should work fine. You might want to pass it along to other ETX enthusiasts. Cheers from Walter...and thanks again for the excellent work on your ETX web page.
Subject: Re: Great Board! Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 1998 03:10:36 From: JDDGA@aol.com I'm enjoying going through the archives of owner comments. I was up to 12:30 am last night just going through January. Keeping the archives of comments is a great idea. I wish there were a site like this for Celestron owners. You have done a great job, and Meade should be paying you a consultant's fee. I think your site will be bringing many new ETX owners to Meade. John
Subject: Re: Great Board! Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 20:51:08 From: JDDGA@aol.com I remember a review somewhere where the reviewer stated something about the lag in the drive once an object was centered. He did say (I think) that it was an annoying process. My 6" Dynascope RV-6 reflector gave exceptional optical performance, but the drive didn't allow long term exposures either. MY Celestron Powerstar 8 with the PEC drive is a far better instrument for long exposure photography. However, I have not been fully satisfied with the optical performance, and the OTA is back at the factory being serviced. Hopefully once I get it back, the optical performance will be improved. Your photos of Jupiter and the Sun were quite interesting. I was particularly impressed with the Jupiter photo. I was really suprised that a 3.5" aperature instrument, with a central obstruction, could do so well. I did get the feeling that a limiting magnification was around 60X per inch and pushing it past this limit resulted in loss of image quality. But 60X per inch is nothing to sneeze at. I also enjoyed the diode information, and can see that the ETX may become a real favorite among folks who enjoy tweaking. Well, I've got two years to go before I retire, so I am not rushing into the portable scope purchase. I was in love with the Questar, but the price was beyond belief. If I am reading the notes right, the ETX does have the optical performance but needs help with the drive end of the equation. I most certainly will be dropping in on your web site to keep up with the ETX news, and who knows, perhaps I'll end up getting it. The jury is still out. Clear skies! John D'Angelo By the way, my camera is the Pentax 1000K. I don't care for all that automatic stuff. Have you tried it for astrophotos?
Subject: ETX Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 20:13:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I just yesterday bought a ETX telescope and this being the first time I have ever tried to see the stars upclose and personal, Im a little lost as yet about how to best use this but I'll get there with the help Im finding online and with trial and error . My E-Mail address is email@example.com if any one has any ideas about how a newbe can get the best out of what I have.
Mike here: Check out the New User tips page on my ETX site for starters.
Subject: ETX finder Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 16:08:18 From: atimke@DNS1.famvid.com (Allan Timke) I've read that the finder bracket on the ETX is only about 1 mm to small to hold the Meade 6x30 finder. Has any enterprising soul started selling a replacement bracket that would accept the Meade 6x30? I've read about someone cutting the existing bracket with a jewelers saw, but I'd rather not do that. - Al Timke - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Great Board! Sent: Monday, March 9, 1998 23:39:01 From: JDDGA@aol.com Hi Mike, I checked out your board as you suggested. Absolutely great! Meade should give you some credit here. I found it to be very interesting and helpful. I have a comment on using eyepiece projection of the sun with the ETX. Although the aperature is not too large, 3.5", I would steer clear of allowing the sun's light to be transmitted through the unit. Celestron specifically warns against using their SCT scopes (any size) this way. They stated that the heat could destroy eyepieces with multiple optics (anything more complicated than a Huygens) and/or warp the telescope optics. They strongly recommend that only an external filter mounted in the front of the scope be used, such as the 1000 Oaks filter. I would think that should be true for the ETX also. Do you know if Meade has corrected the drive drift, which seemed to be a real problem with some of the people who wrote in? Clear skies, John D'Angelo
Mike here: As to the RA drift problem, I'm sure Meade doesn't consider it a "problem" since it doesn't occur all the time with all scopes. Several users have commented here about how accurate the drive is (including myself); the problem is that getting it to track properly just isn't consistent. Most times I get a good RA lock and it tracks well, but at other times, even during the same observing session, the lock doesn't engage properly. We, as users, could state it is a design flaw, but Meade probably has a different opinion.
Subject: Beginner's Questions Sent: Sunday, March 8, 1998 15:46:38 From: email@example.com (Dave Harris) I have just purchased an ETX and, having used it for the first night tonight, have a number of observations/queries. 1. My setting circle band was too tight (see earlier mail to this forum). Following the advice from Bob Martin, I fixed it with ease. Thanks, Bob. 2. The finder is in an impossible position (at least at my latitude - London, UK). I've cricked my back trying to bend my body into unnatural positions. I will need to consider a right angle adjustment set very quickly. 3. The motor drive is totally unreliable. Sometimes it works, most times not. When it does catch, it's far too slow - the objects move out of sight quite quickly. My question is - what is the most likely cause? I have read a number of contributions, and think it might be too much friction at various points of contact between the base and body. Is my best bet to follow the advice of R.Smith, November 21 1997 20:28:16? Or does anyone have any better solutions? (I don't want to attempt the potentiometer solution just yet - I don't think this will solve my particular problem) 4. (A beginner's question) The moon was a bright waxing moon tonight - a beautiful sight in the 26mm; even my wife was impressed. But I found the image too bright! After spending 30 seconds looking, I was blinded in one eye. Is the solution a moon filter? Is that what moon filters are for? Or is there another solution? Thanks firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: To reduce moon brightness you can purchase a "moon filter" or you can "stop down" the ETX by reducing the size of the objective lens area. This could be done by cutting a small hole (say 1-2 inches) in a piece of cardboard and then attaching that to the end of the ETX tube. This will reduce the amount of light coming into the ETX. Since I have not down this I don't have an exact value to try. Once you decide on a good value you can make the mod a bit nicer by cutting the cardboard into a circle (with the hole offset from the center) and then adding a side to it that would slip around the ETX tube.
Subject: Early ETX Sent: Sunday, March 8, 1998 15:05:13 From: FGBIKE@aol.com Was shocked to read that John Atkinson was blessed with an ETX that tracked for two hours without need of correction. When I was inside the electronics compartment of my ETX I was surprised to see that there was a 6200 ohm resistor pigybacked on a 10,000 ohm resister and also there is no cutout in the printed circuit board directly above the bolt that attaches the fork arm module to the base. Obviously there have been some upgrades since I acquired my ETX from Lumicon in Livermore, CA. They told me that mine was the second one that they had shipped. Maybe it is better to wait until the bugs are ironed out. In any event I have made the power on LED modification along with the replacement of the sheet metal screw with the hanger bolt as suggested by Paul J. Boudreaux. I haven't had a chance to test this modification under the stars but it works fine on the kitchen table. Best wishes, Frank Dement
Subject: Solar Eclipse Sent: Sunday, March 8, 1998 08:14:37 From: LUCKYCUSS@aol.com I purchased my ETX about a year ago for the main purpose of taking it with me to the Febuary 98 Total Solar Eclipse. As this would be my first solar eclipse I wanted to try and obtain some memories with photos. I purchased the necessary optional equipment: tripod, wedge, auto focus, camera adapter etc. I practiced with this equipment months before the event and everything was working fine. The day of the eclipse however, the autofocuser came apart and some of the parts went overboard (I was on a curise ship). The plastic housing around the Dec slow motion control cracked ( I don't know why). The photoport pulled out of the ETX when I was unscrewing the camera adapter. It appears the threads just pulled out. They are very fine threads. And lastly the motion of the ship rocking made keeping the image centered in the field of view difficult. Dispite all this, I did get some very good photos which I will charrish for years to come. Gary
Subject: Question Sent: Friday, March 6, 1998 20:21:06 From: Psymonds@aol.com I'm thinking of buying a telescope and the first one that I looked at was the Meade ETX. I've spoken to a few people that have been studing astonomy for some years and they recommend buting a Orion VX80. Why should I buy the Meade ? I would appreciate your comments. I like the idea of portability, terrestrial viewing, and the price. What about the optics ? Plus and minus's ? I've read comments on the message boards and now it's getting confusing. Again, I would appreciate your comments. Phil
Subject: Starpointer spotting scope Sent: Friday, March 6, 1998 11:15:21 From: email@example.com (Doug Hoy) Have been enjoying your excellent site for awhile, and thought I'd send some flowers your way. This is a valuable, sensible, friendly resource for ETX owners. Bravo! I couldn't find the Telrad or Rigel 1x finders recommended, but did find a Celestron Starpointer BB-gun type finder for cheap. Put it on a small block of dense black foam and glued it to the tube with a little black silicon goop. What a difference! I wonder if the galaxies tremble when they feel that little red dot on their foreheads? Nah... Got some eyepieces, and am wondering if anyone has compared a 35mm Plossl with a 40mm? I have a 40, and the field is wide alright, with no vignetting, but the eye relief is a little big (gotta put your eye just SO). ************************************************************* Doug Hoy Evaluation National Museum of firstname.lastname@example.org & Science & Technology (613)998-6863v Research P.O.Box 9724, Station T (613)990-3654f Ottawa K1G 5A3 CANADA **Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by the NMSTC** *************************************************************
Subject: Re: ETX tripod legs at higher latitudes Sent: Friday, March 6, 1998 09:01:06 From: email@example.com (Tim Kline) Greetings, Being located in South Florida, I came upon the same dilemma for the lower hole: latitude below the scale. Applying some of my long lost trigonometric functions, I came up with a solution. There probably is a way to tie in the scale that Meade uses on the center leg, but after a few minutes of careful measurement, this Friday afternoon researcher determined that the scale was 'ballpark' at best. The triangle formed by the ETX legs and the table surface is a right triangle, so the best way to determine the setting for the center leg in the upper or lower hole is as follows: 1) Get out the old scientific calculator and determine the tangent(TAN) of your latitude. EX: Ft. Lauderdale, FL = 28 TAN(28)=.532 2) Determine the distance (careful, don't drop the scope) from the center hole to the table top with the base perpendicular to the table top. Mine was roughly 9.3 inches - yours should be very close to that as well. 3) Now that you have those two numbers, you're set!! The tangent of an angle(28 degrees in my case) is equal to the opposite side(9.3 inches) over the adjacent side(center leg). Go back to the calculator and the length of the center leg extension is equal to the opposite side constant divided by the tangent of your latitude: 9.3/.532 = 17.48 inches To determine the center leg length for the upper or lower holes, simply add or subtract 2 inches(distance between the holes) respectively to the 9.3 inch constant. It may seem like a lot of work, but there isn't a 'fix all' number that I could find because of the variable of the tangent involved. Another by-product of this is the realization that the scale is simply a reference and not meant to replace a good thorough polar alignment using the drift method or other means. Kind of scares me that I actually enjoyed figuring this out...I'd like to thank my calculus professors, the academy and my TI-35X..... Check this out at your latitude setting to check my findings. Tim
Subject: Could you please help me? Sent: Friday, March 6, 1998 07:39:15 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I am trying to get information regarding to where I can buy a telescope in Mexico city, of course a Meade one. You may be have a contact here in Mexico city who can provide me information, if so, please send me the information. Yours, Eduardo Rangel
Mike here: Check the Meade web page for dealers.
Subject: Quick Question Sent: Friday, March 6, 1998 07:35:03 From: email@example.com (Steve Loxdale) Just received my etx - have a simple question. I live in London, so all etx's here come with the additional centre leg for our altitude (51 N). The problem is, there are no calibration markings on it - is this normal with this add-on or is the sticker just missing on my leg ??? Keep up the good work.
Subject: Sent: Thursday, March 5, 1998 13:53:07 From: RevFF@msn.com (Felicia A. Fontaine) [possibly invalid account] From reading the comments, I must be incredibly lucky. I got my ETX within a week my first attempt to locate one and everything seems to work fine. I've noticed that several folks have had difficulty with sharp focus at higher magnifications. I've comfortably pushed my ETX to 300x with no loss of focus on most objects. I suggest that folks not forget that the eyepiece is half the scope. I'm using TeleVue's for higher powers and have found the resolution to be vastly superior to the Meade eyepieces. Using a Lumicon UHC filter at 300x (8mm Tele Vue + 126 Barlow), I was able to clearly focus on Antaires with two very clear airy disks (one bright red and the other rather green) and accompanying defraction rings. With good seeing conditions, I've been able to see the Red Spot on Jupiter and was able to track Europa and Io across the planet disk. It will take 300x with the right eyepiece.
Subject: New site format Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 1998 18:40:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kate and Tom Harnish) Bravo. Outstanding. Incredibly useful. Just what the doctor ordered. The Cat's pajamas (whatever that means.) Very nice job....and a heck of a lot of BBediting, I'd say! Major improvement on an already great site. Meade ought to include a link...okay, just acknowledge your efforts even, eh? So how's come a big public company like that doesn't have some soul to monitor your site and answer questions. 'Course they are they same company that hasn't fixed the right angle finder. Cheers and congrats Tom
Subject: Telrad for ETX Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 1998 15:35:03 From: email@example.com (Robin Lent) Your efforts in your website are appreciated. Thank you for this site. I have an ETX, and I use a Telrad with it. I attach the telrad base to the top of the scope with a 4.5 inch hose clamp (with a ring of thick construction paper to protect the tube). This works well for me. I found the finder that came with the scope too small. I use a bogen tripod with a 3126 head, and this is more than sturdy enough, and allows me to set up outside quickly. Thanks again, Robin Lent firstname.lastname@example.org Centerville OH
Subject: Setting Circles Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 1998 13:33:24 From: email@example.com (Dave Harris) Thanks for an excellent site. The enthusiasm of you and your many contributors persuaded me to buy an ETX, which arrived last week. The weather since it arrived (in London, UK) has been poor, and I've not managed to take the ETX outside the house yet. I have, however, set it up and familiarised myself with the scope, and how it works. One question though. The RA setting circle does not seem to move. Should it? Or am I misunderstanding something? Should the scale itself move, or the plastic flange (with the ^ marker on it) move? Perhaps you could help? Thanks, Dave Harris
Mike here: See Bob Martin's comment below for the solution (from Meade) for the tight RA circle. The tape should move in its track.
Subject: ETX Photos Sent: Wednesday, March 4, 1998 10:29:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael & Lori Nicholas) Have you seen the photographs of M33 and M27 in the March issue of S & T? The ETX was piggy-backed on a 16" scope but the quality of the pictures is remarkable. I continue to enjoy my ETX, but the weather here has not afforded me much opportunity lately. Best Regards & Clear Skies, Michael A. Nicholas Paducah, Ky.
Subject: Meade Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 1998 12:31:25 From: email@example.com (B Ortiz) Lost Meade's 1 800 number and have to contact them. Please forward at you convienience. Thanks. BTW Painted all indicator arrows on the ETX and motor on and off switch with white luminous paint for easy viewing during the day and at night. Now it's easy to see if the motor in on or off and less likely to leave it on. Setting circles are easy to see also. Boris
Mike here: Found their 800# via the Search capability on the ETX site (just searched for 800). It is: 1-800-626-3233.
Subject: etx Sent: Tue, 03 Mar 1998 12:10:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim Lowry) When using the tripod legs for the ETX, the built in latitude scale is only for use up to 42.5 degrees. next week, I am going to Switzerland for a week high up in the alps, at around 46.7 degrees latitude. The Meade instructions, state to put the leg in the upper hole for latitudes up to 48 degrees, but that you must then eyeball a polar alignment. Has anyone worked out a conversion for the printed scale to higher latitudes using the upper hole??
Subject: Thomas Stebler's question Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 1998 06:57:58 From: email@example.com (Tim Kline) Just read the recent 'Feedback...' update and took note of Thomas Stebler's question about projecting an unfiltered solar image on a screen using the ETX. When I bought my ETX from The Nature Company, they sent a telescope specialist out to assist me with a viewfinder problem (which they ended up replacing). He quickly discovered the problem and because he had extra time, I got a one-on-one introduction to astronomy for about an hour. I did ask him the question of why it is said there is a danger, not only to the eye (obviously), but also to the scope to point it at the sun without the filter. Long story short, you are right on - he said that the heat build up inside the tube would be dangerous to not only the optics, but also to other parts in the OTA that might warp or swell because they are not meant to endure that focused heat. One other quick note, since I am fairly new to astronomy, I was always leery about trying to find the deep sky objects because I was afraid I would be quickly disappointed by the image or the effort in finding them. If there are others out there that feel this way, might I direct them to M42 in Orion. This was my first nebula spotted in the ETX and I was completely blown away. The resolution and ability to see detail in the nebula was almost as inspiring as the first sighting of the Moon and Saturn. Astronomy, I'm finding, is definitely one of those things you just jump into and get your hands dirty. Happy days, and clear skies! Tim
Subject: QV-10 Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 1998 02:38:54 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ross Bench) Reply-to: email@example.com I remembered that you had used a Casio QV-10 with the ETX so I thought I would pass along the following info. I just picked up a QV-10a and I found what looks to be a pretty decent piece of software for it that you might be interested in. Check out this URL: http://www.beausoft.com/ Now that I have a color digital cam I will send you a couple pictures of my ETX setup !! Take easy Ross Bench
Subject: etx Sent: Monday, March 2, 1998 20:39:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick & Deborah Jasper) hello,searched "meade"and got your page.this is bizaar because i just picked up my etx !!!!!!!!!!!!this is tooo cool! what a shock when your page popped up first after my search? well,i havent even looked through it yet,waiting for about one more hour till i go outside[its 835pm] ill give you some background on me.im 32 and live in the high desert about 35mi n/e of los angeles..not bad skies but could be a little darker. i own an 8inch lx200 and just wanted a small scope to play with my daughter age 3.5 i saw the etx and fell in love.i figured f 13. something will be good for planets and maybe ill pick up a hydrogen alpha filter one day. nice page,ill email back after a few observing sessions and let u know what i think..c-ya,pat
Subject: latitud 7 degrees north Sent: Monday, March 2, 1998 19:04:49 From: email@example.com (Juan Ramirez) can the ETX track the sky at this latitud "7 degrees north" ? congratulations Meade should put you on there payroll, fantastic web page!
Mike here: Yes, you can track at 7N; you just need an appropriate mounting.
Subject: ETX User comments Sent: Monday, March 2, 1998 09:39:31 From: BMartin615@aol.com I purchased my the ETX as a replacement Christmas gift after returning the camera shop 90mm refractor I originally bought. The difference was light night and day. The refractor was almost unusable at powers over 125X, and the constant adjusting the the Eq mount and subsequent vibration took all the fun out of it. My first real sighting was Saturn, still high in the sky. The view was perfect and beautiful. Unlike some of the other users, the tracking on my unit is very good. With just an armchair polar alignment sighting, I can keep a star in the view field for over half an hour without touching it. The only problem I encountered was that the RA set circle was so tight, it could only be moved with a pensil eraser as a grip aid. Mike at Meade customer service advised me to peel the set circle tape apart at the seam, and stick the tape back together giving it an additional 1/16 to 1/8" additional clearance. He said if I ruined the tape that he sould furnish me a replacement. It worked fine. I would also suggest placing a small drop of epoxy over the "top" of the seam to insure that it won't come apart again. I am thinking of also glueing a small piece of clear plastic on that spot to provide a better grip on the tape when trying to move it with cold hands. When I went to a scope store to buy a high power eyepiece, the owner talked me out of it, saying that anything over 175X was unusable in a 3.5" scope. So, I bought a used 7.4 TeleVue plossl from an internet ad and tried it (338X with barlow). The first try was a telephone pole 1/2 mile away. I could resolve details 1/3 the size of a BB!! I tried it on the moon and the image was excellent at that power. However, because of the limited aperature, I find the dimmer subjects might be limited to about 225X to 250X. That still a remarkable 70X per inch of scope. The higher powers need a little patience, and a pretty good night, but Its worth it when you split your first double stars. Overall, I think its a great little scope (my first, or second if you count the refractor). Bob Martin - Brea CA firstname.lastname@example.org PS Do you ever notice a little reverse scope envy from other scope owners? (smaller is better?)
Subject: Sun Sent: Sunday, March 1, 1998 06:42:41 From: email@example.com (Thomas Stebler) is it possible to use the ETX for the projection of the unfiltered picture of the sun onto a projection srceen. Greetings from Basel, Switzerland
Mike here: Sure would but I wonder if heat build-up inside the tube would be a problem. Anybody know for sure? I used projection with my old Edmund 3" reflector but that was an open-ended tube. It worked great.
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