Last updated: 31 March 1999

If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	 Thanks
Sent:	Wednesday, March 31, 1999 11:45:28
From:	rwestmaas@easynet.co.uk (Ron Westmaas)
Thought I'd celebrate my ETX's first birthday by writing to thank you
for a wonderful site. I started visiting some months before finally
deciding to get this great 'scope on the basis of what I'd learned from
you and other contributors. The other deciding factor was the very
existence of your site. Not having owned a 'scope before I felt like I'd
be joining a club where help and advice would be available if needed. It
is a superb resource. Thank you, and long may it continue.

Whilst the ETX has it's well documented imperfections and limitations,
it meets my needs better than I could have hoped. I was a binocular
starhopper for a couple of years before getting the ETX and found it an
excellent addition. One of the critical factors for me is that it takes
so little time and effort to set up and get going that it positively
invites use.

So far I've had no problems with tracking and no teflon bits have fallen
out... yet. The only problem was a broken finder crosshair which was
quickly replaced by my dealer.

I find it interesting to hear of others' setups so will quickly note
that I use a Manfrotto #144 tripod with#29 head and find that perfectly
adequate so long as it's not too breezy. A Rigel EZfinder supplements
the finder and has made a huge difference. I've improvised an enlarged
focussing wheel which helps a bit and a dewshield from a foam camping
mat which works fine. A solar filter allows me to get additional mileage
from the scope.

That Meade had added electronics to the ETX surprises me little and
bothers me not a jot. I'm sticking to this one for the foreseeable
future and any change would be primarily for reasons of more aperture.

My next project is taking my Quickcam apart and seeing what I can do
with that and on that score I'll probably be seeking guidance...

Thanks to you and the other contributors to the site,

Subject:	 new ETX models
Sent:	Tuesday, March 30, 1999 21:28:43
From:	lovemouse@webtv.net (Matt Thomas)
Like alot of autostar owners who have read their manuals, I too wondered
if there were new models of the ETX coming out. So yesterday I called
Meade's dealer support ( I work for Natural Wonders) and this is what
they told me. The dealer rep that I talked to had no idea if or when the
new models were being released. But she did mention that a few other
people had called her about them. Not that it means anything.
Apparently, information works backwards to Meade reps. They found out
about the 90/ec only after dealers called them and after customers asked
dealers. I know that Natural Wonders is about to restock their stores
with new models and by the weekend I will know which ones. Personally,
I'm hoping for the new ETX 125/ec to be released and in stock in the
very near future. I'll keep you posted. And I can't thank you enough for
your site. You've been invaluable to me as an ETX owner.

Matt Thomas
Mike here: Only Meade knows when, or even if, a larger ETX model will ever be released.

Subject:	 Viewing Mars with the Meade 90 or any other scope
Sent:	Tuesday, March 30, 1999 17:05:02
From:	DSellerman@att.net (David Sellers)
In reply to the messages on viewing Mars.  I have been in astronomy for
about 25 years and currently own a 10" SC.  I have view Mars in
everything from a 60mm department store scope to a 32" Newt.  It isn't
the size of the scope so much as it is the size of Mars (that is how
close it is to the Earth) and how still the atmosphere is when observing
and maybe most of all the experience of the observers eye.  You will
find the longer you are in the hobby and spend time at the eyepiece the
more you will be able to see.  The 60mm showed me the most prominant
polar ice cap about 12 years ago, and a 4" refractor showed the subtle
markings on the planet, the 10"SC, on a very, very good steady night,
showed incredible detail and both poles.  The 90mm is a nice type and
size scope to get very nice views of Mars, including surface markings
and unmistakeable polar caps, you will see darker markings below the
polar cap and dark markings, volcanoes and even evidence of dust storms
brewing as the markings begin to disappear across the planet.... but
wait till Mars gets a little bigger, practice your observing with
patience, your eye will begin to see things it missed before and you
will soon wonder why a friend sees only a coral colored orb when you can
almost see the "canals!"

Subject:	 FW: meade etx/ec 90  drive base and fork arms
Sent:	Tuesday, March 30, 1999 14:25:27
From:	DHOUGH@ncc.nsw.gov.au (David Hough)
I thought that this may be interesting for the old etxers out there
David Hough
Special Projects Technical Officer
Newcastle City Council
Phone 02 49742435
Fax 02 49742401
Email  dhough@ncc.nsw.gov.au

-----Original Message-----
From:	astroptx@astroptx.com
Sent:	Tuesday, 30 March 1999 23:27
To:	David Hough
Subject:	Re: meade etx/ec 90  drive base and fork arms

David Hough wrote:
> I heard a rumour that you sell this item.  Could you please confirm and give
> price for same and autostar.
> David Hough
> Email  dhough@ncc.nsw.gov.au (mailto:dhough@ncc.nsw.gov.au)
we have drive bases listed in our magazine ads-std ETX $249 ETX EC $299
your shipping location ? wholesale optics 860 355 3132

Subject:	 Doskocil Case & Padded Tripod Bag
Sent:	Tuesday, March 30, 1999 9:49:32
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
After reading the INCREDIBLY VALUABLE information about cases, I ran
(ok, walked kinda swiftly) to B&H Photo to pick up a case.  I was going
to order the Meade Hard Case, as I knew immediatly that I would return
the flimsy Meade Soft case - not suitable for my baby, let alone any
accessories - big disappointment.

After spending a LOT of time looking around at all the goodies in the
store, I opted for the Black Doskocil, and also a Bogen Tripod Case
(Padded for about $46) for my sparkling, new, unprotected 883 Deluxe
Tripod (How can Meade sell this stuff without cases?)  I had seen a
padded tripod case in Orion for about $90 - Ouch!

Anyway, the tripod bag hold the tripod well (have to use a little
influence around the wedge) and there's plenty of room the bag is I
think 46" or 44", and there's an external pocket that can do a mediocre
job of holding the accessory tray - will have to work that one out.
Sorry, I'm rambling....anyway, when the case came to the counter (you
wouldn't believe the conveyor belt/basket system they have in B&H
overhead - looks like Mr. Rogers neighborhood, only green!), I noticed
the case said "Seal Tight" - lifetime warranty, and all that jazz! I was
psyched, couldn't wait to get out of that store - I figured they
accidentally sent me the more expensive case where Shutan ran the truck
over the wheel.  Alas, upon closer inspection (well out of their sight!)
I saw the expensive case was the Seal King, not Seal Tight, so instead
all i got was a very good value instead of a free ride - oh well, next

The latches on the case not only seem indestructible, but they actually
HURT MY WRISTS opening and closing them (and i'm a weight lifter!) -
anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks for reading this, and don't get eyestrain!

Subject:	 Mars filters
Sent:	Tuesday, March 30, 1999 9:43:22
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
Hi - since all i do is bitch and moan and ask stupid questions here, i
thought i'd actually share some semi-useful knowledge - per the orion
catalog (800) 447-1001, "#25 RED passes the predominant reflections of
surface plains and maria, and #21 ORANGE is good for reducing the
intense glare to enhance detail and mottling.  The polar caps stand out
with #15 DEEP YELLOW and #80 MEDIUM BLUE; examine the melt lines with
#58 GREEN."

I assume the numbers refer to their inventory numbers and not a
standardized color, but of course, you know what happens when you
assume....they sell the filters for $15 each, or 4 packs of various
colors for $35 - the starter set #5514 seems to have the above colors
except for the orange, but i didn't compare that closely... Still
haven't gotten my autostar to accuratly zoom in yet, despite training
again with the barlow and 9.7mm eyepiece - i'll try changing +5 to -5
GMT for New York, and then try, try again!

Happy Seeing,

Subject:	 follow up on ETX EC base available seperately from Astroptx
Sent:	Tuesday, March 30, 1999 8:14:58
From:	staff@ggwire.com (G & G Wire)
To give you an update on my prior e-mail, Astroptx shipped the drive
base friday not monday as they said they were going to do, so when I 
got home last night it was waiting for me. The drive base shipped in the
actual Meade ETX 90-EC carton, it came with the controller, manual and
allen wrenches. The swap from the old drive base to the ETX was flawless
the mount points are identical, I undid the 4 screws, slid out the optic
tube, slid it into the new drive base and tightened the screws. The
drive base was in perfect condition, not a scratch. I inserted the
batteries and it is functioning as specified, can't wait to pickup the
autostar controller, should have ordered it at the same time. warranty
work is still another matter, but having the box will probably help.

Our mail server is down, so I am sending this from an alternate source
my original e-mail was from g.skinner@neccsd.com

Glenn Skinner

Subject:	 Stupid Questions 758 & 759
Sent:	Monday, March 29, 1999 11:05:45
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
Fellow ETX-ers,
Stupid Question number 758:
I just bought the meade deluxe tripod, and have played around with it
inside (darn clouds!) - Anyway, the question is:  Is there an advantage
to polar alignment of the ETX-EC with the Astrostar?  I think the only
advantage would be the ability to "set circles" when I get to that
point.  Fooling around, when i tried to locate "Mir" (indoors, with the
lens cap on) it indicated i could only use the Alt-AZ mode, although it
appeared to slew to other satellites without problem in polar mode).  I
know there are software bugs for polar...

Stupid Question 759:
Anybody else think Meade slipped up in NOT having captive bolts for the
883 tripod?  I was thinking of tying dental floss or wire to the bolts
and securing with O-rings to keep from losing those precious bolts.  I
also couldn't figure out why Meade has the cutaways by the bolts - I
imagine you can attach one bolt to the scope, slide on the mount, then
attach the other bolt, but i don't really see the utility...oh well, I'm
a newbie.

Last thing in this verbose letter - I visited the Coleman Factory Outlet
(really nifty place) and picked up a bunch of cheap compasses and
flashlights, including replica lanters that are about 1 inch in diameter
with RED LEDS - I think they'd be perfect for reading star charts.  I
also found a compass for about $5 that has a clip for your belt - if you
remove the pins for the clip, you can velcro the compass to the font leg
(it fits really nicely right by the "N" on the leg and poof - you're
facing North.

Anyway, as always, great site, and thanks for everything!
Gary Garland
Mike here: When I first attached the ETX to the Meade tripod I was surprised at the way the bolts were mated to the tripod but over time as I have mounted and removed the ETX, I have found that I actually like it the way it is. At least for one of the holes on the ETX, I don't have hunt around to get the bolt into the hole.

Subject:	 ETX Dec Motor and Camera
Sent:	Monday, March 29, 1999 9:07:28
From:	jwday@usa.net (Jonathan Day)
Thanks for the great ETX site.  I recently purchased an ETX/EC and have
a question about attaching a camera.  I have the T adapters, etc, and
attached an older Pentax 35mm camera to the back of the ETX. 
Unfortunately, it seems to be too much weight, and the ETX Dec motor
won't slew the scope upwards while the camera is attached.  Is this
normal, or should the motor be hefty enough to handle a camera?  Thanks!

Mike here: The original ETX has some problems with the extra weight of cameras hanging off the back. I suspect the same could be said of the new model. A counterbalance would probably help.

Subject:	 Re: Mars
Sent:	Monday, March 29, 1999 6:34:02
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
[Alan Marwine posted, disappointed with the views of Mars in the ETX.]

Alan, Mars is one of the bigger disappointments in amateur astronomy,
especially for beginners.  While it's easy to discern its disk shape in
the ETX, it remains virtually featureless even in larger scopes.  I was
viewing Mars Friday night through a 7" Astrophysics Starfire refractor,
and I saw virtually the same thing you did - a pink disk with perhaps a
hint of a polar ice cap that we couldn't swear was really there or
wishful thinking!

The features on Mars are said to become more visible with the use of
color filters, but I have no experience with them to know which is
recommended for Mars viewing.  Perhaps others have had better luck than
I, but Mars usually proves pretty elusive.

            Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782
   Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Moon observations
Sent:	Monday, March 29, 1999 6:14:02
Love your site, as always.  After several weeks of cloud cover and
outright laziness, last night I hauled out the ETX to look at Mars. 
Still too low on the horizen for us with early bedtimes, all I saw was a
shimmering orange dot.  So I turned the ETX on an old and forgotten
friend, the Moon.  And was so pleasantly surprised that I stayed out
until I was shivering too much to focus.  Even though the Moon doesn't
(now) have the allure of distant (read "grey fuzzy") galaxies, it is
lunar observations where the optics of the ETX really become eyepopping.
Rilles and escarpments so tiny yet so clear I had a hard time believing
they weren't hairs on the eyepiece - no need for averted vision and
other eyeball gymnastics!  The Moon is easy to find, bright (i.e. you
can test out absurdly high magnifications), and is has both physical
features and history to see.  I spent a good hour tracking down a bunch
of Apollo landing sites - it was quite a kick to find where Apollo 11
landed.  So instead of cursing the full moon, I highly recommend hauling
out that lunar atlas and revisiting an old friend.

Clear skies,
Kelvin Lee

Subject:	 Basic Camera Adapter
Sent:	Sunday, March 28, 1999 17:13:29
From:	rgilbert1@snet.net (Bob Gilbert)
Thanks for the great page!  the information you provide is comprehensive
and interesting to say the least. I am considering purchasing an ETX,
and will check your site for information.

I ran across your page in search of any information/experience with the
Meade Basic Camera Adapter.  I bought one to use my old russian
telescope (5 1/4" newtonian reflector with no motor drive) as a huge
telephoto lens for wildlife in my backyard.  The 'scope has a fabulous
tube and base (all aircraft aluminum), and actually takes 1.25"
eyepieces.  The russian eyepieces that came with the telescope are poor
Kellners, and much to my dismay do not fit by 2/1000ths of an inch into
the camera adapter, so I found a place that sold Meade eyepieces at a
very low price, and happily ordered their 26mm 4000 super Plossl.  Boy,
was I unhappy when it arrived though - it stuck way past the t-mount,
making it impossible for me to use it!  While this eyepiece will be
great for viewing (I can count the mites on many of the birds that visit
my yard with the lens in the adapter for a shorter focusing distance of
about 30 feet),  I cannot use it with any of my cameras.

So here's my question - is there an eyepiece with a similar aperture to
the 26mm (I need the huge aperture for photography - it just makes sense
to have as much glass as possible)  that is short enough to fit in the
Basic Camera Adapter?  I don't want to use smaller diameter opening
eyepieces. I photograph squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and birds from
the back window of my house.  To date I have been using telephoto or
zoom lenses, but these do not get me as close as I want to get to the
animals - so I thought why not use the telescope...

Thanks in advance for any information you may have.
Mike here: There are "shorter tube" eyepieces with similar focal lengths. You'll find them available at most dealers. I used an "extension tube" to add to the length of the camera adapter. You can find extension tube sets at your local camera dealer.

Subject:	 Lens cleaning for the ETX
Sent:	Sunday, March 28, 1999 16:27:18
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
Can someone please provide information as to how to best clean the
exterior portion of eyepieces and the correcting lens on the OTA (seems
that there is some spotting from condensation/drying that can occur over
time from use of the scope in cold weather - right?)?  And if the
interior of the correcting lens requires cleaning, is it something I
could do, or does it require special treatment/care?

I just don't want to damage/ruin any special coatings that may be on the
eyepieces/corrective lens. Or maybe I should just leave everything alone
since their seems to be no degradation of image quality, anyway. But
then how can you maintain your equipment in this manner?


Mike here: Search the site for "clean"; you will find some tips.

Subject:	 Regarding a possible ETX 125C
Sent:	Saturday, March 27, 1999 21:41:38
From:	mikewrobel@harborcom.net (Michael Wrobel)
It is interesting to hear rumors about a possible 5" or 6" version of
the ETX.   I would suggest that everyone who purchases a Meade ETX-90/EC
pass on the following suggestion when they send in their product
registration to Meade.

The product regestration has a few lines available for suggestions.  
When I sent mine in I passed along these as suggestions.

1)  Provide an upgrade path to a larger aperature version of the ETX
that will provide an incentive for the existing ETX user base (ETX
Classic and ETX 90/EC to buy the next great version of the ETX, the 125
mm sized or 150 mm aperature sized ETX.

I like many of your new customer's (ETX buyers) took the plunge on a
buying the ETX because Meade offered an entry level offering into the
realm of high quality optical astronomy.   The ETX allowed me to change
from being an armchair astronomer to an actual amatuer astronomer.    I
belong to a local astronomy club, the Chagrin Valley Astronomical
society.   I mingle with people who I jokingly call 'Professional'
rather than 'Amatuer' astronomers because they have to choose the car
they buy based on the size of their telescope.

All kidding aside, I am proud to set my ETX up next to an LX-200 at our
public star parties.   Our star parties are associated with the Lake
County Metroparks, so we get a large attendance.   The messages I convey
to everyone who looks through my scope is this: "You can do this as
well.   It is fun, and you don't need to be serious like the guy with
the LX-200 to enjoy astronomy.   You can do this from your backyard and
enjoy it casually.   You can do the same thing I do without having to
drop a lot of cash.".    I want people leaving that star party to think
that casual astronomy is something they can actively participate in !

2) The 125mm/150mm ETX upgrade path should allow the existing ETX 90-EC
owner with existing accessory equipment such as an Autostar or ETX
deluxe tripod to re-use these same accessories with the new ETX 125C or
ETX 150C.   If Meade wants to sell me another telescope in the future, I
would definatelly take the bite If I knew I could reuse my existing
accessories.  After I own & use the ETX 125C / 150C for a while,   I
might just be interested in taking the next step up to an LX-50 or
LX-200.    I hope that the markiting guys at Meade realize that the
reason the huge jump in sales of their 9mm Plossls & other accessories
is due to the large number of ETX owners as compared to LX-50 / 200

I would encourage everyone who sends in his/her ETX-90C product
registration to express the same or similar comments. I think that there
are a lot of ETX-90EC owners like me that would love to upgrade to a
larger aperature ETX. Lets let Meade know this.

Clear Skys
Mike Wrobel
Mike here: I understand the passion that the ETX invokes (I'm infected too, which is one of the reasons I maintain this web site). A similar passion hits Macintosh users. But Apple does not provide an upgrade path from their older model Macintosh systems to a new one. Yes, there are third-party upgrades available (I have a third-party G3 processor installed in my 8500) but Apple has not offered an upgrade to me to a whole new computer (letting me keep and use my existing peripherals). Years ago they used to offer logic board upgrades for some model computers but no more. Few companies provide upgrade paths from one model item to a higher model. Does Dell? Does Nikon? Can I upgrade my VCR to a new one? I'd like to upgrade my laser disc player to one that also accepts DVD (letting me keep my existing speakers and other components) but Pioneer doesn't have such an upgrade path available to me. Does Celestron offer upgrades from a low-end model to a higher one? Meade is no different. I'm sure that LX200 8" owners would love to upgrade to a LX200 12" someday. But I don't think Meade will help them do that. I'm not defending Meade or any company in their lack of an upgrade path; I'm just pointing out that few companies into today's world provide one. On the other hand, should Meade ever decide to do this it would make them even more of a standout company in this industry.

Added later:

I honestlly am not holding my breath waiting for an ETX-125/EC or
ETX-150/EC to come about. From talking to other astronomers who have
dealt with Meade, I myself deduced that its market is a low volume/high
priced business.    I may be wrong on this on the actual numbers of
telescopes involved, but I imagine that Meade at least in its large
telescope business, operates in a contract by contract, place your order
then I will build the widget model.   How else can you explain waiting
several months for a telescope to be delivered as several of my friends
in the astronomy club have indicated to me.   One several occasions
where people have had to deal with exchanging their telescope, there was
actually someone at Meade who had time enough to even hagel with them
about it.   There is nothing wrong about this model of business when it
involves low volume/high priced sales.   In fact it probably is the only
way to succesfully survive in a speciality business such as telescope
manufacturing.    Despite Meade's leading position in the industry, my
opinion is that at least in its large telescope business, it still sees
itself as having to follow this business model.

I sure that Meade's success with the ETX series has opened its eyes to
an entirelly new market place.   That of the average person that might
want to ocassionally look at the Moon, Planets, and a few of the
brighter objects in the Universe.    I think Meade's boldness of
introducing the ETX at such a low price was a recognition of this
market.   I mean, why should the masses have to resort to buying a cheap
department store refractor when it can get an ETX ?   I would like to
shake the hand of the person at Meade who had the boldness to go ahead
with the ETX series of telescopes.    When I saw the introduction of the
ETX-90/EC with its GOTO Autostar capability, I was at first dumbfounded.
If Meade is still thinking like I described in the first paragraph,
then why even add the GOTO capability to the ETX.   Surelly this would
cut into the LX-200 marketplace since prior to the ETX-90/EC, the only
option to get GOTO capability was to buy an LX-200.   Now who can afford
that ?   Not I.   Some smart person at Meade figured out the reason they
where not selling a lot of the epoch 2000 Computer software packeges.
The reason is that there are not that many LX-200's out there.    That
same smart person looked at why Meade was all of a sudden selling a lot
more 9 mm Plossl's & other minor Meade accessories.    Now that same
smart person looked at the figures for the ETX user base and figured
that If they could sell a lot more 9mm Plossl's why not epoch 2000
software packages.    That in my opinion is the genesis for the

Now, nothing in the above logic gives justification for creating a
larger aperature version of the ETX.   For that, you have to look
internally at the Meade operations.   On the one hand you have a small
group of people literally  handcrafting low volumes of LX series scopes.
Again, nothing wrong with that setup.    One the other hand, you have
a high volume production line that is cranking out ETXs.   If you look
at the bottom line cost of running both operations againts their returns
in investments, you know which one wins hands down.    Now I am not
suggesting that Meade shut-down its LX production operation by any
means.   The LX series of telescope is the elite product line that you
sell at a premium and proudly tout as the best in the business.   You
want to build and sell as many LX series telescopes as you can
(handbuilt and finelly crafted as they are no less).   However, your
real high volume bread an butter scope, the ETX 90/EC, ETX 125/EC, ETX
150/EC, and dare I say, the ETX 200/EC series you sell at a price that
gives your sensible buyer no choice but to choose an ETX (whatever
aperature size fits their budget) over the much more expensive LX series
scope which costs much more to produce because it is hand made. If the
market does not comply, raise the price of the LX until it does. Now
here is the real kicker.   Your average aperature hungry buyer is going
to go for the ETX 150/EC or ETX 200/EC over the smaller ETX 90/EC (as
near and dear it is to our hearts).   It turns out that the marginal
cost differance of producing an ETX 150/EC vs and ETX 90/EC is much
lower than what you can sell it at. I could go on and on about the
benefits of a standard product line that can be mass produced. The main
point is that the LX series is geared for the high end low volume
market. The ETX series is intended for the high volume low end market.  
Which would you push in the marketplace ?

As far as the Autostar interchangability between ETX models goes, the
justification for Meade to do so is simple.   When I as an current
ETX-90/EC owner is ready financially to move up to a larger telescope. 
I can look at Celestron, Orion, Televue and a host of other vendors.  
There is nothing concrete that will keep me as a Meade customer.   Sure,
I will have fondness for my ETX, and that will make me think of Meade in
a good light. But bottom line, there would be nothing to guarentee I
would remain a Meade customer.   Faced with the prospect of having to
make a complete re-investment in my computer hookup to my new telescope,
the field of options to me is wide open.   I might go with Celestron.  
Now if I were Meade, I would not even let my ETX customer base even
think about going with anybody but Meade.   The way I would do that is
by marketing my larger aperature ETX scope as being fully compatible
with my costumer's original ETX accessories.   That way I get a
gaurenteed return customer that is going to keep buying Meade.

Well enough said.   I could sum it all up by saying that I see the ETX
is to the telescope market what the Model T Ford was to the automobile
market.    It is the scope that opened up astronomy to the common man.
Meade can go far with the ETX if it has the sense to do it right.  
Aside form all of the good hard business reasons I have stated above, I
will give you another good reason for expanding the ETX series.     I
still think despite all, there is still a vision in Meade Corp to have a
telescope on every street corner in every neighbor hood in this land so
that everybody can look at the sky and say "Wow, that is really Neat !".
Astronomy doesn't have to be difficult.   Computers use to be difficult,
clumsy, and of only interest to, for a lack of a better term, nerds.
Sound familiar ?.    I repeat,  Astronomy doesn't have to be difficult. 
I hope someone at Meade sees this as well, and makes the ETX the scope
that made astronomy easy and accessable.
Mike here again: I agree with your bottom line analysis. And if you are right I applaud Meade for pursuing "astronomy for the masses".

Subject:	Meade E-Mail
Sent:	Saturday, March 27, 1999 13:09:37
From:	MLesko0825@aol.com
I just purchased the Meade ETX-90/EC and am very pleased.  Several of
the accessories are on back order (#497 Autostar, #825 rt angle view,
#1244 focuser), but the views both terrestial and astral are better than
I expected.

My question is, does Meade have an E-Mail address that can be used to
answer questions?

Your web site is very helpful and very well done!

Thank You,

Mike Lesko
Mike here: Meade does not have an email address. They prefer using Voice and Fax.

Subject:	 Solar Viewing
Sent:	Saturday, March 27, 1999 10:02:33
From:	w1828@erols.com (LaMont Cranston)
I'd like help in pointing my ETX for solar viewing. I know I can't use a
regular viewfinder or my Telrad. I've tried using the shadow on the
ground to line up the scope. This works quite well with my larger 10"
Newtonian. But, the ETX shadow is so small it doesn't leave me much to
work with. Sighting down the tube has only been somewhat successful. Any
Mike here: I use the screws that hold the finderscope. I line up the shadows of the front and back heads on a piece of paper held behind the ETX. Once you get used to this technique it works pretty well.

Subject:	new ETX90EC+autostar
Sent:	Saturday, March 27, 1999 9:11:16
From:	FjhDAVID@aol.com
Congratulation for your website.

I planned to buy the ETX 90EC+autostar
I didn't see any CCD autoguider connector on both of them

Is it possible to connect my old pictor 216 on this scope (in term of
combatibility and weight !!!) and how can I do the connection? And is it
possible with this new small scope to do CCD guiding or imaging?

And what about the ETX90EC+autostar for CCD autoguiding ONLY (with a
classic photo camera for the imaging)?

Can I use one of the two auxiliary slot of the scope panel to plug the
pictor cable directly, or do I need a relay adapter between them?

Thanks a lot for your answer

Mike here: CCD imaging is possible. Search the site for "CCD" and you'll get lots of hits, including some examples on the Guest Astrophotography pages. But there are limitations, especially for long duration exposures unless you also have an off-axis guider.

Subject:	your etx site
Sent:	Saturday, March 27, 1999 8:32:18
From:	Djano@aol.com
You have alot of great info on the etx website, thanks. I live in NY and
received the ETX as a gift, being ashamed to ask for a receipt from my
sister, where could I go to trade it in for the etx ec?
d.a. janosick
Mike here: If you know where the ETX was purchased, you could try that store or dealer. But they might want the receipt.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC Sound Dampening
Sent:	Saturday, March 27, 1999 4:43:39
From:	aerowood@home.com (Wayne Powell)
Well after owning and twiddling with and upgrading my ETX for two years,
I happened upon my local scope retailer's web site, figuring that this
year I should really purchase a set of decoders and a Magellan I Digital
Setting Circle so that I could expand my limited repetoire of known
objects (I only get a few opportunities a year for really great seeing).
I've been dreaming of computerizing my ETX for the two years... I also
wanted to take my scope to the next level and add realtime video imaging
(I've experimented with Still Digital, you can see my simple Jupiter
pics in the gallery on this site).  More on the video later...

... in any case, lo and behold I discover that Meade has created and
released the ETX-90EC...CHRISTMAS is early this year!  Traded in my old
ETX with JMI MotoDec / MotoFocus combo and hard mounted Orion EZ Finder,
got a good price.  I'm still waiting for the updated (software fixed)
version of the AUTOSTAR, and the motorized focusser.

Well I'm pleasantly surprised, Meade put a lot of thought into this
upgrade and provided just about everything on my "wish list"!  (Still
sending it out with the non-parcocal 26mm SP eyepiece though..@#$%@!)

They really should have provided a conversion plate for using a standard
tripod mount, a lot of us already have pretty good tripod set-ups.

Couple of questions:

The motors are loud at "slew" speed.   They call it "the coffee grinder"
at my local star club.  (But the fact that casual viewers can watch what
I am observing through a video monitor without the usual focus and eye
alignment problems of "first timers" impresses the hell out of my
relatives....).  Has anyone opened the base or arms yet?  I'm wondering
if it would be safe/practical to either inject minimally expanding foam,
or stuff insulation in the cavities to reduce the emanating motor sounds
(and possibly help reduce mount vibration too)?

I'm loathe to plug in any 12v (even regulated) power supply into my ETX
(and haven't ordered Meade's yet), but I would really need to plug in a
fairly good quality12v rechargeable battery source to power the ETX, a
small composite monitor tv, my ccd micro cam, etc.  I know of the one
offered on the net, but am looking for plans for a home brew one that
won't blow up my scope's electrics.

I'm curious to get some advice/feedback on the use of CCD for
autoguiding.  It was mentioned to me that Meade provided the extra
accessory port for this purpose but I haven't found any references to it
on the net yet.  In this vein, there was an article about using Video
for Astrophotography (which I have found), but haven't seen much in the
way of an update.  I'm just wondering if anyone knows of software that
samples from a live video stream and does automated multiple image
layering to produce high resolution still images from lo res video
frames of astronomical subjects?

Thanks Mike and all! aerowood@home.com (formerly wap@interlog.com)

Subject:	 ETX EC base available separately at Astroptx
Sent:	Friday, March 26, 1999 13:35:40
From:	g.skinner@neccsd.com (Skinner, Glenn)
I just wanted to mention that I just ordered the ETX EC base only from
Astroptx, It is the complete unit less the optics tube. Price was $299 I
do not have the option of returning my old ETX and I don't want 2
scopes. I have been told the tube should mount without modification I
will let you know. It was in stock and I should have it tuesday I'll
update you on the outcome. If this is the complete unit and mounts
without modification, it is an alternative for owners of the old ETX who
want the goto ability without buying the whole scope. It is cheaper than
the $350.00 trade in program at Shutan.
Mike here: I wonder where they got just the base unit!

Subject:	 ETX-125C
Sent:	Friday, March 26, 1999 8:29:41
From:	larry.lowell@analog.com (Larry Lowell)
Great pages!  Keep up the good work!

Thought you might find this interesting . . . .

A previous poster mentioned the existence of an ETX-70C and ETX-125C in
the Autostar.  In a recent call to Meade, I asked about it.  I got a
somewhat cagey reply that there would indeed be an ETX-125C being
released.  I asked about price, features, and release date, and was told
that he couldn't discuss those specifics yet.  I suggested that it must
be too early, and thus would perhaps not be until at least next year. He
said no, that the 125C would be released THIS year!!

So, watch out for later this year for a 5" ETX!!


Subject:	 long-duration photography
Sent:	Thursday, March 25, 1999 23:47:20
From:	jk.saggese@prodigy.net (JK Saggese)
I've been fairly successful with some prime focus and eyepiece
projection photography of the moon with the ETX and am eagerly waiting
for Mars to reach opposition so I can take a whack at that as well.  My
(probably unduly) ambitious idea, however, is to try some long-duration
photography of M31, for example.  I think this could be done with, say,
an off-axis guider and illuminated reticle eyepiece (attached,
presumably, via a Shutan visual back or equivalent) and a Microstar
drive corrector.  Has anyone attempted any such thing?  Any thoughts?  I
know M31 looks rather dull through the eyepiece but I'd guess it would
photograph nicely through a small aperture scope if the drive were
accurate enough.  Of course this setup would give me about a $1200 ETX
"classic," so...
Mike here: I've been hoping to try an off-axis guider on the ETX but they tend to cost as much as the ETX. So I've stuck with piggyback astrophotography for now.

Subject:	 Tripod question!
Sent:	Thursday, March 25, 1999 21:10:16
From:	gilles@magnitude-electronics.com (Gilles Grosgurin)
First I must say you have a great web site! I own both an ETX and LX200
8" and I'm wondering if I could use my standard LX200 tripod with my
ETX?  Any idea how I would be able to accomplish that?  Thanks you,


Subject:	 ETX-90EC vs. 8" SCT LX-50
Sent:	Thursday, March 25, 1999 14:37:02
From:	edwardd@microsoft.com (Edward Dake)
I have the option to get a scope from Meade (it's going to be a present,
and at this point $$ is not an object, it might be, but it's not right
now). Have you seen the viewing difference between the ETX and the 8"
LX-50? If so, how do they compare?

I am vacillating between the ETX with the Autostar and the 8" SCT LX-50
with the Magellan II.

Help me make a choice! :-)

This will be my first telescope (I've wanted one for years and years and

What would a wise choice be?

Of course I want the 10" or 12" SCT LX-200, but...... 

Edward Dake
Mike here: I've not looked through the LX50 so have no opinion other than noting that observing power will be greater with the 8" while sacrificing some portability versus the ETX.

Subject:	 Trading in my ETX
Sent:	Thursday, March 25, 1999 14:11:04
From:	jtocco@tir.com (Joseph Tocco)
I have been a regular visitor to your site since I bought my ETX 2 years
ago. Always enjoy reading the feedback from other users. Many things I
like about the ETX but also a few I don't. It is not designed for small
hands (fingers really) and the long focal length makes dim images hard
for me to view. My sky in Michigan is better than most, when its clear I
can almost always see a large portion of the Milky Way. I will probably
trade the ETX in for a 10" Dob from the Nature Company and would really
appreciate some feedback from yourself and others if I should
reconsider. The Dob will certainly brighten the images and still be
relatively portable. 99% of the time I use the ETX for visual observing
(no astrophotography) and I usually starhop from object to object. As a
result I think the Dob mount is perfect. I won't trade it in for a few
weeks so let me know what you think.

Kindest regards and Clear Skies,

Joe Tocco
Mike here: If you have a choice, keep the ETX even if you buy a larger telescope. Taking a 10" Dob on car or plane trips can be a real challenge! You might wish you had a smaller telescope for such occasions.

Added later:

I took the ETX to the Nevada desert when I first bought it. It was great
and a pleasure to take on the plane. However...

The Nature Company will refund my original purchase price for the
ETX...the Dob will cost about $117.00 out of pocket. Thats the only
reason I can do it right now.

In a perfect world I would piggyback the ETX on a 12" LX200.

Subject:	 ETX and 8" LX200
Sent:	Wednesday, March 24, 1999 21:00:38
From:	barrycnp@earthlink.net (Barry Craig)
Although I don't own the new ETX-90EC, my friend Dave has one and we
have been out observing with it a couple of times. I can't get over the
view through it. I own a LX200 8" and I like it very much. It's GOTO
features are great and it's fun to use. The 8" of aperture gives a
bright view of the sky. The only thing that bother's me is the "SOFT",
Smidt Cass. low contrast images. I think the views through the ETX are
better and more enjoyable. The image isn't as bright, but resolution and
contrast make up for this lack of brightness. It's like looking at a big
screen rear projection TV. The image is big and bright, but less
defined, whereas the image on a small monitor is sharp and well defined.
I won't give up my LX200, so I have decided to piggyback mount my old
ETX.  I thought others might appreciate my experience.


Barry A. Craig  (Clear Night Products)  248-547-2315

Subject:	the etx and sony mavica cameras
Sent:	Wednesday, March 24, 1999 18:49:37
From:	AndrewS100@aol.com
Do you know of any source for obtaining an adaptor for the camera port
on the back of the Meade ETX to connect a Sony Digital Mavica MD-71?  
The lens of the camera has internal threads (for available attachment
lenses) that almost fit the threaded port on the back of the ETX.  But
almost, unfortunately, isn't good enough.
Andy Shayne (andrews100@aol.com)

Subject:	 ETX: The Revolutionary Telescope
Sent:	Wednesday, March 24, 1999 15:35:41
From:	hopewell@new-quest.net (Meade Daffron)
As someone who's becoming a regular poster on your first-rate site, I
must say I was overwhelmed to see a full-blown review of the ETX-90/EC
in my May Sky & Telescope magazine which arrived yesterday! Wow, the
press must be as overwhelmed with this little "revolutionary" scope as
we are! Seems the astronomical press was in a race to review it! (How
long has the Celestron G-3 been out -- anybody see 'em racing to review
it? OK then!)

On the subject of revolutions and overwhelmings -- I hope my fellow
ETXers out there have been keeping up with all the grandstanding and
soapboxing that's going on on the sci.astro.amateur newsgroup, and here
to a much lesser extent. Seems there's the ETXers (us) and the CRITICS
(non-ETX owners). The CRITICS seem to think we're all beginners who made
impulse purchases instead of buying REAL scopes. Hmmm. I've been an
amateur for 20 years. I've had aperture fever, owned a 6-inch Newt and
an 8-inch almighty Celestron. After watching the Celestron sit in a
corner and collect more dust than starlight, I bought an ETX. Then I
traded it for an ETX-90/EC. And I've done more observing -- and seen
more -- in a year's time than I ever did before.

Sure, the ETX isn't for everybody. But those CRITICS are just proving
Meade's point even further. Let the newsgroup traffic speak for itself
-- the ETX is one REVOLUTIONARY telescope! It's got the whole amateur
world talking!

Happily enjoying my (as-yet) unAutostar'd ETX-90/EC,

Meade Daffron
Richmond, VA

Subject:	 thank you for the incredible site!
Sent:	Wednesday, March 24, 1999 5:54:18
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
hi - i'm just an amateur who has been salivating over the ETX for about
1 year, trying to justify the price...then i saw the EC, and after
seeing your site, i plopped down my hard earned cash last night.  Thank
you so much for this valuable resource - i haven't had a chance to
observe anything outdoors yet (bad weather in new york) but i had a
chance to play around inside my home - seeing dust across the room
magnified many times (perhaps more than you needed to know) and just
having a blast.

Once again, thank you - I hope this accolade helps brighten your day. If
there's anything I can do for you, feel free to let me know -
Gary B. Garland, Esq.

Subject:	 etx and LV zoom 8mm-24mm
Sent:	Wednesday, March 24, 1999 0:55:46
From:	rbean@worldnet.att.net (Your Name)
i plan to purchase a cat spotting scope (as an accessory to my audubon
804 binoculars) and would like to know your choice between the celestron
c90 and etx when usage would be for terrestial viewing at various
locations on nature hikes. are the plastic and nylon components less
durable for mobile use or a weak point in the etx?  i was considering
the vixen lanthanum zoom for the primary eyepiece.  i don't know if the
etx would stand up to "backpack" usage as well as the celestron.
however, i assume that the meade performs better optically (?). and it
is for this assumption that i lean towards the meade etx. would surely
appreciate any feedback from anyone who has experiance with the etx
exclusivly as a spotting scope or as telephoto as this is my plan for
the purchase of the etx. i wish i could compare the c90 and etx side by
side.  but since such is not an option for me, i would certianly
appreciate any imput or direction.

thank you
Mike here: Search the site for "bird"; you'll find some comments from ETX users who use it for bird watching.

Subject:	 Meade dealer in Turkey
Sent:	Wednesday, March 24, 1999 0:13:27
From:	erhano@ayesas.com (Erhan Ozturk)
Very good site Mike, I plan to buy a telescope and I think it will be
ETX/EC. Do you recommend Meade 90mm refractor?

Loreta Georgieva asked a Meade dealer near Macedonia. Ther is one in
Ankara/Turkey. The address of the one in Ankara is
Cinnah Cad. 37/31 06680 Cankaya/ANKARA
FAX: +90 312 441 04 55 
TEL: +90 312 438 34 63

Subject:	 #64 T-adapter
Sent:	Tuesday, March 23, 1999 18:26:01
From:	jburton@hsonline.net (John Burton)
You have done us all fine service by having this ETX web page and I
thank you for that.  I have been  a regular visiter for quite some time
now.  I have a question for you or the group, I just purchase the Meade
#64 T-Adapter and when I attached it to the scope I was surprise when I
found that I could rotate it and that there was about 1/16" of play at
the end of the adapter where the camera will attach.  Is that normal?? 
I expect no movement once the adapter ring was tighten at the scope end.
John Burton
Mike here: You need a T-Mount ring for your camera model that attaches to the T-Adapter and the camera body.

Added later:

I think you might have miss understood my question... I have the
T-Adapter for the ETX and the T-Mount for my camera, What I am seeing is
that the whole assembly (T-Adapter andT-Mount and camera ) has about
1/16" or more of play at the camera end.  The whole assembly can be
rotated from where it is connected to the scope.  I have never used a
T-Adapter or a T-Mount so I don't know what to expect.  Can your rotate
your camera when the T-Adapter is firmly connected to the scope?

I figure out what I was doing wrong,   I can now tighten the T-adapter
against the scope.  I was only tighten the large outer ring and did not
realize that  I could tighten the tube against the ring.

Subject:	 etx spotting scope recomendations or??
Sent:	Tuesday, March 23, 1999 15:35:34
From:	rbean@worldnet.att.net
have you any recomendations for a catadioptric spotting scope.  i was
considering the meade etx or celestron c90 and perhaps the VL 8-24 zoom.
this is to accompany my binoculars on my hikes.
thanks for your time and suggestions...

Subject:	EXT-90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, March 23, 1999 12:08:11
From:	Starpull@aol.com
HI Mike ,I found a ETX-90EC for 650.00 (new),does that sound like a good
deal,and what kind of tripod and eye pieces do you recomend.
                                                                     thanks Bill Johnson
Mike here: List price for the ETX-90/EC is $595. Unless the dealer is throwing in some accessories, $650 is too much. As to tripods, see the Accessories - Tripods page, and for eyepieces, see the Buyer/New User and Accessories - Eyepieces pages.

Subject:	 Re: Question
Sent:	Tuesday, March 23, 1999 11:49:50
From:	tbrannon@erols.com (tbrannon)
Mike, thanks for the reply and the advice.  I did return the old ETX and
now have a New ETX EC.  Thanks for you help.

----- Original Message -----

> Check with the dealer where you purchased it. Some are exchanging recent
> purchases.  As noted on the January and current Feedback pages, Meade
> does not offer an upgrade from the original model.
> Mike Weasner
> etx@me.com
>  ----------------------------------------
> |   http://members.aol.com/etxastro      |
> | "Best Meade ETX Telescope Web Site"    |
> |    -- according to ETX users worldwide |
>  ----------------------------------------

Subject:	 mars
Sent:	Tuesday, March 23, 1999 4:48:30
From:	marwine@greenmtn.edu (marwine)
I finally got my first long look at Mars last Sunday (21st)AM from about
3-4 in the morning when it was pretty much due south and about as high
in the sky as it was going to get.  I had the scope cooling on the back
porch and moved it on the tripod around to the side so that the house
provided a shadow from the street light (which is most unnecessary in
the neighborhood).  I started with the 13.2 Meade wide angle and was
astonished at how small the planet appeared.  Using the Barlow seemed
essential.  The sky was dark and clear, but the seeing was not great. 
In a way, I'm glad I didn't know what I should have seen, because I
certainly would have seen it.  Having just read Sheehan's book Planets
and Perception, I was even prepared to imagine canals on the surface! 
Well, I didn't see canals, but I did "see" polar caps at what I imagined
to be both poles and mottling of the surface in what I imagined to be
the southern hemisphere.  I'd be willing to bet that I didn't really see
much of anything, though.  The moments when I could even pretend to see
something were few and fleeting, and the eyes and mind play wonderful
tricks on us when we're operating at the very limits of seeing.  This is
not to say that I am discouraged.  Mars will continue to get closer, and
all I've read says that to look at planets successfully requires both
patience and persistance.  One never knows when a bout of  spectacular
seeing will occur.  But it was cold, I was not dressed properly, and so
had to give up after an hour.  Moreover, the scope was not tracking
well, and I suspect it was the cold (about 20 degrees) because it worked
fine the next morning (late) when the world had warmed to 38 degrees.  I
wonder if there are others out there who have operated the scope at
lower temperatures for extended periods?  I have modified mine with the
hanger-bolt "fix" as described elsewhere on the site.  I look forward to
other's observations on Mars now that Jupiter and Saturn have departed
the stage.

good seeing!
alan marwine

Subject:	 Measuring Double Stars
Sent:	Monday, March 22, 1999 20:58:14
From:	jkeli@earthlink.net (Kyle)
I have searched the site using the keyword 'Double' to find all
references to double stars.  I tried this evening with my ETX-90/EC to
split Sirius and Riegel with no success.  I think the viewing conditions
were not favorable (it was fairly windy), and since I'm new at this
double star thing, I may not have known what exactly to expect in the

Anyway, I had taken a trip last week and I passed the plane time by
reading the articles from the February Sky & Telescope which I had
skipped.  One of these articles (p.116) discusses measuring double
stars.  I must say I was fascinated by this.

To get to my question, I was wondering if you or anyone else had any
experience doing this with the ETX, and if it is even feasible to
accomplish this type of measuring with the ETX?  Has anyone used the
Meade Astrometric eyepiece, and can it even be used with the ETX??

Mike here: I've not tried measuring double stars but the Celestron Reticle eyepiece I reviewed on the Accessories - Eyepieces has the necessary scales.

Subject:	Nagler 7mm 
Sent:	Monday, March 22, 1999 18:24:39
From:	SO2001COMP@aol.com
I just received my Tele Vue Nagler 7mm eyepiece ($220 from Shutan) for
use with my ETX-90/EC and the view of the moon was unbelievable.  The
eye relief is great and now I am spoiled.  I think I want to buy another
Nagler, but don't know what to expect by going to say a 16mm, except
seeing a little more for a lot less cash in my pocket, (i.e. $310).  I
recently purchased a 40mm Tele Vue Plossl, but the eye relief is so bad
I can hardly stand to use it and hope to trade it back in with Shutan. 
I also have a Celestron 2x Barlow Ultima and the Meade Super Plossl 26mm
that came with the unit.  What would you recommend as an additional
eyepiece that has great eye relief?  I am looking for one or two more
eyepieces to round out my collection, but don't want to make another
expensive mistake.  Sincerely, Hal.

Subject:	 Leaving the Milky Way.
Sent:	Monday, March 22, 1999 12:58:14
From:	knox_king@hotmail.com (Knox King)
Hi everyone!

After a whopping 192 hours of complete overcast the skies cleared up for
last weekend! The ETX had been gathering dust like a floor-mat and the
mood in the house was getting tense:)

I ventured out in the middle of the night. Most all planets were set and
the winterconstellations were disappearing behind the horizon. This
night I was going to test if the ETX would be able to reach out of our
own galaxy and even our own 'local group'. My expectations were pretty
sober I believe.

Well, I almost broke my neck searching the area above the Big dipper in
the finderscope. (Actually I had taken the optical tube of the base and
mounted it directly on a tripod. Works great and is extremly light to
carry around looking for the darkest spot in my neighborhood.) After
some neck-wringing around zenit, the little beautiful pair of M81 and
M82 was perfectly clear and visible. Nice! I started to get daring and
boldly pointed my 'superbinoculars', which I like to call the ETX,
towards 'downtown' of our part of the universe - towards the north
galactic pole and the Virgo Cluster around Leo. More fighting with the
finderscope and behold, the M65 and M66 came into view. I wonder what's
so special and exciting about these little grey blobs of blurr, anyway?
But it sure is exciting! I felt very insignificant but still so
important standing there with my ETX in the middle of the night looking
out of our galaxy, past all star clusters and nebulas out into eternity,
seeing it the way it looked dozens of millions of years ago.

I'm now looking forward to the next clear night and it better come soon
- the daylight is increasing by the day here in Sweden and when end of
april shows up we will soon have no end of twilight before the sun
starts rising again! Can't wait to explore the Virgo- cluster. Has
anyone seen any of those galaxies through an ETX?

  Enjoy your lives:)
 / \

Subject:	 Buy?
Sent:	Monday, March 22, 1999 9:13:45
From:	michelleibalfour@yahoo.com (Michelle Balfour)
I am less than a begginer in the star gazing catagory. I enjoy going out
for special events, things you can see with the eye or binoculars. A
hobbyist like yourself recommended the Mead ETX. I am saving for this,
but it will take a while. I've wondered about a used telescope. Is that
wise and where do I go?
Michelle Balfour
Mike here: A well maintained used scope can be a good buy. And with the newly released ETX-90/EC, some original model ETX owners are looking to sell. Perhaps you'll get some email from them.

Subject:	 astronomy magazines
Sent:	Monday, March 22, 1999 8:37:31
From:	irharris@hotmail.com (Ivan Harris)
I thought I would weigh in on the magazine issue (forgive the pun). I
believe Astronomy is better for a beginner than Sky and Telescope for
the reason that Astronomy seems to talk in more easily understood terms.
S and T seems more technical, designed for those with no other interest
than astronomy. I don't have much of a life outside the ETX but I do
have some life so am not ready to make my own 24" scope from scratch or
start hypering my film. I have also noticed what appears to be an
anti-Meade bias in S and T. I think they still resent Meade coming in
and taking over.
Clear skies

Subject:	 Error Message
Sent:	Sunday, March 21, 1999 8:58:59
From:	dboedeker@empowering.com (David P. Boedeker)
I emailed you regarding an error message I would get every time I would
go to your site using Internet Explorer.  You have mentioned this on
your site.  You might want to pass on to your users that the problem has
not occurred for me since I upgraded to Internet Explorer 5, which is
available now.  Just thought you might like to know.  Keep up the good
Mike here: Only the Windows version of IE5 is available. Microsoft says that the Mac version will be out in the Summer. But Mac IE4.5 doesn't experience the same problem as Windows IE4 has.

Subject:	Hello.
Sent:	Sunday, March 21, 1999 4:58:58
From:	ChrisCool2@aol.com
We are first starting out using the ETX  and I have a question: What
kind of camera should I use with the ETX and also what kind of film.
Mike here: Depends on what kind of photography. Lunar and some planetary photography can be done with SOME digital cameras. Long duration astrophotography usually means piggyback the camera on the ETX and use the ETX to track the sky motion. That can be done with almost any 35mm that can have its shutter locked open. Terrestrial or lunar photography at prime focus requires that the camera be mounted at the rear of the ETX using the appropriate adapters. Check out the Astrophotography Gallery sections and the Accessories - Astrophotography page for lots of information and example photos.

Subject:	Meade electronic focuser
Sent:	Saturday, March 20, 1999 20:21:07
From:	MAbraham1@aol.com
A friend told me that Meade came out with a focus control for those of
us who own a Meade ETX instead of a Meade ETX-EC.  My friend saw it in a
Meade add.  Do you have any information or a review?
Thanks Michael D. Abraham
Mike here: Quote from Meade's web site: "#1244 Electric Focuser: The #1244 Focuser replaces the manual focuser knob of a 90mm ETX-Series telescope and permits smooth, precise electric focusing of the image through a remote handbox supplied with the focuser. Alternately, on the ETX-90EC, the #1244 Focuser may be plugged into the telescope's computer control panel and operated through either the Electronic Controller or the optional #497 Autostar Computer Controller." So, it should work with both the original ETX as well as the new ETX-90/EC.

Subject:	 Address Change
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 19:29:25
From:	oppenheim@home.com (Peter)
Just wanted to let you know that the URL for DewBlocker Dew Caps has
changed.  The new URL is http://members.home.net/risks/dewblk.htm.
DewBlocker works well with both the classic and ETX 90/EC.  The price
remains only $12.95!

My Quickcam astro images page is now at

Clear skies!

Subject:	 Using the stock viewfinder scope
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 15:44:24
From:	chrono@ibm.net (Jin "Time Traveler" Kim)
Am I the only person who frequents the site and doesn't have any
problems with the stock finderscope?  I especially think that getting a
90 degree scope is a bad idea, especially with the flipped images and
the handicap of not looking directly at the object you're trying to
spot.  No thanks.

Maybe it's the technique I'm using.  Generally I can pinpoint an object
within seconds without any problems and see it show up in the main
eyepiece even at 100x.  I haven't tried 200x or more yet because it's
been really cloudy and I've owned the scope now for just under a week.
Oh yeah, and I do this with glasses on.

1.  Make sure that the finder scope is correctly calibrated.  I
calibrated mine to Polaris since I will mainly use the scope for viewing
at infinity.  If this isn't practical immediately, try focusing first on
a nearby object but absolutely keep in mind that you want to NOT have an
image centered in both eyepieces because doing so results in the two
"lines of sight" NOT being parallel.  This problem is only multipled as
the objects being spotted go to infinity.  You have to calibrate
initially with that roughly 2" offset in mind.  Once you home in on
Polaris, then you can recalibrate both eyepieces to center to infinity.

Now to actually use this...

2.  Point the tube in the general direction.  This is the obvious part.

3.  Close your "off" eye and look through the finder.  Get a fix on the
crosshair.  Now open the off eye and spot the object you're trying to
look at.  With any luck, you will see the image of the crosshairs
superimposed on the night sky.  If not, try alternating which eye you
close and your brain will eventually superimpose the two images.  I have
no problems attaining this instantly (but maybe it's a problem for

4.  Because the two views are superimposed, you should be able to see
the crosshairs "floating" above the distant sky.  Just move the scope
until the crosshairs start moving over the object.  As the crosshairs
approach it, you will see a second brighter "blur" approaching the
crosshairs rapidly.  The "blur" of course will be what you're actually
seeing inside the finderscope.  Just close your off eye and center the

Voila, you're done.  Takes 5 seconds tops to center an object and best
part is, no money spent on a new finderscope.  Your neck will thank you
too because you'll be done almost instantly so no long term peering
through the viewfinder.  Having one eye closed while you're trying to
spot an object is a really bad way to do it, especially if you have a 90
degree finder.  And since you are really only looking for that tiny
little "x" mark in the scope and not straining to get in as much of the
scope's field of view, you don't have to remove your glasses or push up
against the eyepiece.

In a pitch black sky this might be tougher (hard to see the crosshairs)
so a daisy scope may work ok.  I'm concerned about the lack of accuracy
depending on the size of the dot though.  Maybe if somebody knows where
I can get dimly illuminated crosshairs, something like the tritium night
sights found in many handguns.
Mike here: Some people prefer a right-angle finder and some don't. As I noted in my review of the Shutan 90-degree adapter, sometimes one is more useful than the other. Which is a good reason to add a QuikFinder (or other 1x finder) to the telescope in addition to a right-angle. You get the best of both worlds.

Subject:	 Meade Products
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 15:28:28
From:	sommer@gol.com (sommer altabatsali)
Hello everyone out there can any of you suggest a vendor that can ship
Meades' products outside the United States ? although where I'm living
at the this time there are Meades' dealers,but I don't think paying
5350US $ for  an f/10, LX-200,10" and an extra 350US $ for the same
Scope with an f/6.3 is a good idea,I really appreciate any input.  Great
site Mike, I think it is only fair that Meade should reward you for
making people all over the world interested in their products.

Subject:	 my lanthanum choice
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 12:20:02
From:	saulk@total.net (Saul Kujavsky)
Honest truth.  Do you buy:
1) The 8-24mm vixen LV zoom eyepiece? or
2) A 9mm LV and a 15mm LV?

Both options cost just about the same.  I'm asking because I'm worried
about the drop in quality from the seperate ep's to the zoom, although
the zoom would be more convenient.(Also, I could sell my old 25mm!!!)

HELP!!  thanks......

Mike here: Personal opinion: since I have a 26mm eyepiece (that came with the ETX) I see no reason to get the zoom. I would get (and have) the 9mm (I bought a 9.7mm) and a 2X Barlow Lens (which makes the 26mm like a 13mm eyepiece).

Subject:	 Photo Tips-Re Extension tubes
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 7:52:30
From:	rwlange@PioneerPlanet.infi.net (Roger W. Lange)
In an earlier tip I indicated that a camera attached to the rear of your
ETX with the short adapter would be in focus when an eyepiece extension
tube 48mm long was used with eyepieces whose focal plane was at the
eyepiece shoulder. Since then I've had a couple of requests asking about
the 26mm Plossl. TheMeade 26mm LP Super Plossl supplied with the ETX
reuires an extension of about 59mm. The standard 26mm Plossl 57mm. I say
about because I have observed that not all flip mirrors are at 45
degrees and they don't always return to the same place. Hope this
additional info helps.

Subject:	 S&T vs. Astronomy
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 7:08:00
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
BirdoB had asked whether S&T or Astronomy is better for a 10 year-old to
subscribe to.

Having subscriptions to both, I'd give a very slight edge to Sky and
Telescope.  Astronomy has made great strides in the past few years, and
now holds its own with S&T, but S&T is still the bible.  I tend to like
S&T's reviews a bit more (Phil Harrington is an excellent writer and
font of knowledge regarding hardware), but they both do an excellent job
covering the month's astronomical events.

Astronomy had an article in their Feb '99 issue about ETX accessories; I
don't know when the last time S&T had an ETX article.

            Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782
   Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 etx-90/ec
Sent:	Friday, March 19, 1999 2:45:58
From:	motets@yahoo.com (mote)
hi there again, mike. i was hoping if you can tell me (i'm really new to
astronomy without any experience with a TELESCOPE) if i can use ETX'
'autotracking' mechanism (is it the dual axis drive?) near the equator
where i will be using it? i have yet to find a site that describes the
ETX in use near the equator.

i am off to US tomorrow and will be buying my etx-90/ec in about 2 weeks
time from a nature company outlet in PA.

  thanks and thanks again in advance.
Mike here: The RA drive will track from the equator. But you'll need a tripod or other mount to tilt the ETX to your low latitude. Alternatively, if you get the Autostar in addition to the ETX-90/EC, you should be able to track in the Alt-Az setup.

Subject:	 Great Minnesota ETX Gathering!
Sent:	Thursday, March 18, 1999 19:08:57
From:	pthorpe@mediaone.net (Peter Thorpe)
Date for the "Great Minnesota ETX Gathering" is set for March 28th at
1PM at the Mall of America Discovery Channel Store at the ETX display
... where else!  Show up and we'll find each other I'm sure.

All Best Wishes
Peter Thorpe

Subject:	Question....
Sent:	Thursday, March 18, 1999 5:31:21
From:	BirdoB@aol.com
Have enjoyed your site very much and "check it" before buying anything
for the ETX.

Which magazine would be better for a 10 year old interested in
astronomy...Sky & Telescope or Astronomy???
Mike here: I've been a continuous subscriber of Sky & Telescope since January 1960 (I was 12). I even still have all the issues! I may be biased but I like S&T. When I looked at Astronomy magazine a number of years ago I didn't see any reason to switch. But I haven't looked at more recent issues so can't really say. Perhaps others have opinions.

Subject:	 Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, March 17, 1999 16:16:10
From:	kundaria@ix.netcom.com (Summit Kundaria)
I just got my ETX-90/EC yesterday, and instead of paying $30 or whatever
Meade asks for the tabletop tripod, I just made one out of threaded rod.
All it takes is four 12 inch peieces of 1/2" threaded rod and a two of
couplers to make an adjustable third leg.  Haven't tried it out yet, but
it holds the wieght of the scope well.

Summit Kundaria

Subject:	 ETX view
Sent:	Wednesday, March 17, 1999 13:39:30
From:	Roger.G.Urban@ucm.com
Great site on the ETX! I've got one on order and won't be here for 3
weeks. I ordered a Nagler 9mm objective too.

Do you have any photo's of Messier objects, like Andromeda or the
Whirlpool galaxy you could email me? I'd like to see what they look like
through the ETX.

 Roger Urban
 Development Support / Information Services
 312-394-4890 (or, tie line 461 x4890)
Mike here: Don't expect that any photographic image of nebula or galaxies will match what you'll see with your eye. Your eye can't handle the low light levels as well as a long duration photo. But there are many examples in the Astrophotography Galleries on the site of what can be done photographically with the ETX.

Subject:	ETX Upgrade
Sent:	Wednesday, March 17, 1999 9:47:56
From:	RDAskins@aol.com
Enjoy your site!  

Assuming I really want an ETX with some type of computer guiding, should
I take the Shutan Camera trade-in offer, and add the Meade Autostar, or
go with an add on (like JMI) computer guider and add it to my old ETX?

Thanks again
Bob Askins

Mike here: Getting the new scope is likely a better idea since there are some improvements, besides the computer. Yes, you'll pay more but you'll have a new scope with new features. Just my opinion.

Mike here: Although under construction, JMI is developing a nice site that is now online at http://www.jimsmobile.com.

Subject:	 Olympus 1400
Sent:	Monday, March 15, 1999 23:04:05
From:	ucjttjc@ucl.ac.uk (James Chambers)
Hallo from London,England.
Just got my ETX and have been enjoying your wonderful site. Just a quick
question. Having seen various shots from at least 2 differing digital
cameras, my Olympus wont fire its shutter unless it has lots of light,
and if it does fire the longest time is a quarter seconds. Any help
anyone on using this hi res cam?        Jim Chambers.
Mike here: When taking astrophotos with digital cameras, you'll usually be able to get only the brighter planets and the moon. Start with the moon.

Subject:	 ETX dew cap - home made
Sent:	Monday, March 15, 1999 14:46:09
From:	vernlw@teleport.com (vernlw)
With the advent of wet weather last fall, I became aware of the need for
a dew cap of some kind.  My wife being a seamstress, I asked her to make
something.  She came up with  sandwich of materials:  Black
waterresistant nylon on the outsides, and a sheet of heavy, flexible
plastic and a sheet of quilt batting on the inside.  I sounds heavy and
thick but is only about 3/16 thick.  I simply wrapped it around the
telescope, and secured it with duct tape.  It wasnt pretty, but it

Then I came on some 3/8" sleeping pad foam.  I cut a rectangle of the
right size, to go inside the other material (I had to reposition the
duct tape to make the inside diameter a little bigger, of course). Now,
the material part lies flat on the bottom of my soft ETX case, and the
foam forms a u-shaped cradle in which the ETX rests when in the case. 
To put it on the ETX I just roll up the foam, slide it into the tube of
material, get the edges of the  foam even and slip it onto the ETX.Takes
about 5 seconds! Ive been out on some pretty dewy nights and have had no
trouble at all.  It could be made prettier by  cutting the outside
material to size and sewing it, of course.

Vern Weiss

Subject:	 Compliments on your ETX page & Request for info
Sent:	Monday, March 15, 1999 2:13:27
From:	skipcashwell@snet.net (Skip Cashwell)
I have been into astronomy since 8 years of age (I'm now 54!), and am
the happy owner of a 1990 Meade 2080 - lots of really great eyepieces,
etc. Anyway, I shall be traveling to Alaska for vacation this summer,
and am trying to decide between a new Meade ETX-EC, a Questar Duplex,
the TeleVue 101, and the Celestron 5+.

Although the price differentials are substantial, the portability is my
major goal: as you noted in your discussion, it has become increasingly
more difficult for me to get the 2080 out...so I miss a lot of
opportunity. I ask you your opinion, what would you choose, if you had
only one scope to purchase of these four?

Thanks very much for your correspondence.

Regards & dark skies to 'ya,

Mike here: If money is no object, go for the Questar! Great views and a great status symbol! But putting cost aside, the Celestron 5 will give you slightly more light gathering power and resolution than the ETX but with slightly less portability (due to its somewhat larger size). I can't comment on the TeleVue since it was never really in my mind as something I would consider. If portability is highest on your list, and you like the style and capabilities of the ETX-90/EC, then that would be the right choice. I've taken my ETX on an airline flight across the country as a carry-on. I'm planning to take it with me to Australia later this year. I don't know if I would try that with the C5+. But if aperture is your highest priority, then the C5+ would be the way to go while retaining some portability.

Subject:	 Venus
Sent:	Sunday, March 14, 1999 21:27:40
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
Hi Mike,  Had an opportunity to view Venus this evening in a clear blue
sky at about 6.10 to 6.35 pm.  The ETX had been cooling for about an
hour and the sky was very staedy. Even in the 'daylight', Venus dazzles
quite a bit.  I used a variety of filters and also tried my polarizing
filter to reduce the glare. The polarizer set to about 50% cut off was
quite good.  The light orange filter was the best single filter. As
expected, the light blue and light green filters were not so good. 
Adding all three together was very good as the combination ended up
being a muddy orange and cut the glare and the blue.  I also tried my
Serengetti Drivers sun glasses, without the filters !, and they were
surprisingly good.  I just hope that no one saw me ! !.  Based on this,
I am going to try the Serengetti's on Mars next time.

It has clouded up again so I will not be doing any viewing in a dark
Cheers........Doug             *   *
                                          *        *
                                    *        *

Subject:	 New ETX/Astonomy Site
Sent:	Sunday, March 14, 1999 14:23:45
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
Love your ETX site. I bought a used ETX about 10 months ago, and have
been rediscovering the skies with it ever since. The weather here in the
UK hasn't been the best of late, but I've gotten TWO good nights of
viewing in during the past month.

I plan on putting a link to your site on my site. Feel free to check
mine out, and link if you please. I'll be expanding it incrementally on
at least a weekly basis.

Thanks for the good work you're doing--keep it up.
Bob Ostergaard "Eppur si muove!"
"Ostergaard's Forbidden Planetoid"

Subject:	 declination ring adjustments
Sent:	Sunday, March 14, 1999 6:10:57
From:	kentop@dakotacom.net (Ken Bertschy)
Grreeaaaaat site! I've been using my etx classic for about one year now
and I'm extremely happy with it. I had EC envy when the new one came
out, but thanks to hints and tips from your site, I am now more than
satisfied without the slewing and goto features. I use a demoware
version of skychart 2000 and the setting circles on the etx to find deep
sky objects.  It works great. I did a polar alignment last night and
then a two star alignment on sirius and betelguese (sic) using the dec
and ra numbers provided by skychart and it worked beautifully.  The
problem I have is that the declination rings on either side of the etx
mount are not aligned correctly. the "left" one is about three degrees
away from the "right" one. Any clues on how to adjust them so that both
rings read the same number? The gradients and pointers on the etx are
pretty crude but they will put you in the ballpark.  I'm going on a
month-long vacation in April up towards Mt. Hood from Arizona and plan
some extensive skywatching at campgrounds between here and there. Is
there a software program which will give me the longitude and latitude
of US cities so that I can make adjustments to skychart 2000?  Thanks,
and keep up the good work. Your site is the best!
Mike here: The DEC setting circle adjustment is described on page 9 of the original ETX manual. Basically, you just slightly unscrew the DEC setting circle cover plates, adjust the circles, and retighten the cover plate. The commercial charting programs include site (city) locations. There are also web sites that can do this. See the Astronomy Links page for a couple.

Subject:	 Re:  Hi  !!
Sent:	Thursday, March 11, 1999 12:04:34
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)


         \ 0      Hi there  !!!
           | \
         /  \

I noticed the little 'star man' from Sweden.  We should all be so
creative !!!!


Subject:	 New Meade finder
Sent:	Thursday, March 11, 1999 12:01:54
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Meade's now come out with a right-angle finder to replace the straight
finder on the ETX.  I noticed from their ad in the new Astronomy that it
is an 8x25mm finder, while the standard finder is 8x21mm.  Being
unfamiliar with finder/binocular specs, can anyone tell me what this
will mean in terms of differences in FOV and eye relief?

HFSH@aol.com wrote:
> I am new at this but I find it very hard to look thru the viewfinder 
> and then switch to the  eye piece. I usually sit down  with ETX on a 
> small low tripod  VERY hard to get low enough to find things easily 
> Much needed for my style of viewing. The reason for me with ETX is to 
> use camping on tripod legs.

A new right angle finder (which makes the eyepieces for both the finder
and the ETX parallel with each other) make it a lot easier, BUT getting
the scope pointing in the general direction of the object you want can
be a bit more difficult.  The image inversion in both the finder and ETX
can be very confusing at first.

I put the Daisy red dot sight on my ETX, and it's perfect for getting
very close to the object.  It's the next step of centering the object in
the finder before going to the ETX (especially at higher powers) that
gets me doing the finder contortion dance!

The combo of a right-angle finder and the Daisy sight should fix all
that for me.  I've got to wait a couple of weeks to order it (new toys
have been forbidden for the moment!), but when I do, I think I'll get
rid of some of this back pain!


            Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782
   Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Manfrotto and ETX
Sent:	Thursday, March 11, 1999 7:33:46
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Saul Kujavsky wrote:
>Do I only need to buy the #3296 quick release plate from Bogen to adapt
>the ETX to my Manfrotto tripod?

If you've already got a Manfrotto tripod and a quick release head, then
you most likely can simply get another quick release plate and attach it
to the base of the ETX.

You don't say whether you've got the classic ETX or the new ETX90/EC. 
If it's the former, you're all set to go!  If the latter, then you will
likely need the tripod adapter from Scopetronix (http://www.scopetronix.com).

I have a 144 tripod (Bogen #3011) which is great.  If you have the
lighter model (#3001), you may find it unsuitably shaky or unstable.

I have the Bogen #3030 head (sorry, don't remember the Manfrotto #) with
the quick release, and love it!  I keep the head tilted at a 41 degree
angle (my latitude) and simply snap the ETX on the head when I setup and
turn the whole setup north - bang!  Good polar alignment.  I love this

You may want to look at the tripod section on Mike Weasner's Mighty ETX
website.  A gentleman named Steven Schwartz builds offset plates for
Bogen/ Manfrotto tripods which moves the ETX's center of gravity over
the center of the tripod.  It makes the setup more stable.  They're
inexpensive and Mr Schwartz sends them out on a "try first and pay if
you like it" basis.

This isn't a real necessity - the setup was pretty stable before I got
it - but helps a lot.  It doesn't seem to bother Meade any; in the
tripod section of the Mighty ETX page, photos of the ETX on Meade's
field tripod show the ETX centered a good 6"-8" off-center over the
north leg of the tripod.

            Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782
   Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 my ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, March 10, 1999 20:42:58
From:	saulk@total.net (Saul Kujavsky)
I'm a brand new etx owner.  I've been looking everywhere for help in
choosing a way of mounting my etx on a tripod and I've just read on your
page that I can adapt my manfrotto tripod to my etx.  I was wondering if
this was true?  Do I only need to buy the #3296 quick release plate from
Bogen to adapt the etx to my manfrotto tripod?  If this is true, it
would be great and would save me the money I would have spent on the
field tripod for the etx.   Get back to me as soon as you get the

Mike here: Search the site for "manfrotto"; you may find the answer you need. Not having one I can't say directly.

Subject:	 The 'old' ETX  !!
Sent:	Wednesday, March 10, 1999 9:43:23
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
After having just looked at and played with the controls on a 'new' ETX
90 EC and hearing some of the comments (and the gear train !!), I think
that I will definately hang on to my 'old' ETX.  It seems that we are
seeing a repeat of the 8 inch S/Cass wars of the mid 80's and that too
much is being packed into the 90 EC for $600.00. The 'goto' ability is
great when it works but for a lot of newcomers, I think that this system
might not be the best when about 98.5% of the pre-programmed objects are
so relatively faint.  I just hope that alot of these 90 EC ETX's don't
end up as many of the 'department store' type refractors have. Learning
the sky and star hopping is still the best way to see the night sky.
Each new object found should be enjoyed, you also benefit from stumbling
across other objects while you star hop. The 'goto' system seems to have
turned astronomy into some sort of race  !! ..to hopefully dial up as
many objects as possible without really looking and studying them.

Just my 2 cents worth on a cold and rainy day !!


Subject:	 Cookbook camera
Sent:	Tuesday, March 9, 1999 17:03:45
From:	gmueller@fischerimaging.com (Fischer - Glen Mueller)
Thanks to your outstanding web site I am totally getting carried away
with pushing the limits of my ETX/EC.  Astrophotography seems to be
limited using conventional means but a CCD would be small and light
enough for the ETX to handle.  The added sensitivity would offset the
90mm aperture as well.  I've found several intriguing web sites on the
Cookbook camera.  This CCD has a large following much like the ETX.  I
haven't found any references to its use with the ETX anywhere.  I'm
curious to see if anyone at this web site has ever attempted this
interface.  Much like the ETX, it uses the LX200 as its basis so the
possibility must exist.  The weight of the camera, approx. 2 lbs. seems
reasonable for the ETX to handle.  Any thoughts?
Mike here: There have been several different CCD models attached to the ETX. Search the site for "CCD". As to the Cookbook CCD, I don't recall any references to that one.

Subject:	 Meade ETX 90/EC Uncertainty..
Sent:	Tuesday, March 9, 1999 16:00:37
From:	mariesonnet@email.msn.com (Marie Sonnet)
My name is Martin Spitznagel.  I am a VERY amateur astronomy lover, and
I'm looking into purchasing the Meade ETX 90/EC.

Right now, I own a Meade Model 230, a 2.4" refractor with a 700mm focal
length.  I have been a little discouraged with the performance, mostly
because I don't know where to look yet to see somthing good.

My current telescope has pretty much fallen apart; I've had to tape on
the mirror and eyepiece holder-thingy,(pardon my technically advanced
terminology), to keep it from falling off.  I have 25mm, 12mm, and 9mm

I've done some research on the web and in different stores around where
I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I was pretty sold on the EC until I
found your website; there I found people who had had discouraging
experiences with this new product.

My question is, sir, is the 90/EC worth purchasing now?  I have a budget
of around $1,000, and I was attracted to its Go-To capability... that
way I could learn where the objects in the sky are.

I know this is a tough question, but if you could possibly either
recommend another telescope or verify my interest in the E/C, I would be
forever indebted.

Kind regards,

Martin Spitznagel, 16

Subject:	 hi Mike
Sent:	Tuesday, March 9, 1999 15:50:19
From:	awinger@azstarnet.com (awinger)
traded my etx for the new etx 90,   waiting for the autostar for 2 wks
now. hurry up and waitttttt.
yr site still is  the BEST!
keep up yr great work
best rgds
al winger

Subject:	 telescope
Sent:	Tuesday, March 9, 1999 11:09:25
From:	lori@nic.mpt.com.mk (Loreta Georgieva)
My name is Loreta Georgieva. I entered your page while I was looking for
some information about telescopes. Long time I like to buy a telescope.
I look photos you have on your side for this small telescope and I find
it nice for my use. But what I am afraid is this: that it wont't be easy
to learn how to use it. I have no knowledge about astronomy and
telescopes, only a big wish to watch the sky and make photos. Before I
decide to buy one I realy need your advice on this. Another problem is
that I am from Skopje, Macedonia and I need information if you have it,
in which Europen country near Macedonia (for example, Greece, Turkey,
Bulgaria, Hungary) I can find shop and for what prices.
It was nice to find your home page.
Thank you.
Best wishes,
Mike here: Since you are new to astronomy, the new model ETX-90/EC with the Autostar will be good since it can locate objects for you. However, that does not mean that you should not attempt to learn the night sky by reading basic astronomy books or getting some astro software for your computer. Check out the software products on the Astronomy Links page and the book reviews page. As to countries near you where you might be able to purchase an ETX, perhaps some of the ETX users from nearby countries will respond.

Sent:	Monday, March 8, 1999 20:09:21
From:	corlett@henge.com (Corlett)
Love your site. We are researching the ETX and have found much useful

A couple of questions for you......The new ETX model no longer comes
with the table top tripod, do you recommend buying it as well a large
tripod? If we were to get only one, which would you recommend?

Also, could you give us some insight into eyepieces? We are only going
to buy 1 or 2 to begin with. What would you recommend for beginners? We
have read a lot about Barlow lenses. Many people seem to endorse them,
however, our sales person said not to buy a Barlow. Help, we are

Thanks for all the valuable information. Keep up the great work.

John & Cindy Corlett
Parker, CO
Mike here: As to the legs vs a tripod, go with a tripod unless you plan to travel a lot with the ETX and the extra item (the tripod) would be a pain to carry. Of course, if you plan to place the ETX on a flat surface, you can use Alt-Az tracking and fore-go the legs. As to eyepieces, check out the Buyer/New User Tips and Accessories - Eyepieces page for some recommendations and user comments.

Subject:	Meade ETX Eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, March 8, 1999 18:45:14
From:	Cs01Hunk@aol.com
Your webpage was the final push I needed to buy an ETX, my first
non-department store telescope.  As a new user, I could use some
recomendations on the most effective eyepieces (and filters) to use with
this telescope.  Also, how do you feel about Rini or Siebert eyepieces? 
Any info you can provide will be most appreciated.  Thank you so much
for your wonderful webpage.

Yours Sincerely,

Mike here: Glad the site has been helpful. Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessories - Eyepieces page for info on eyepiece selections and info on Rini eyepieces.

Subject:	 Mars - 1999
Sent:	Monday, March 8, 1999 11:23:09
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
I had my first opportunity to view Mars on this latest go around for
1999.  It was late and low and despite the low haze, I was able to see
the polar ice cap with the 9.7 mm (129x) and with no filters.  Next time
I will use the filters and report back.  I think in 1997 !!!, I sent
some comments on Mars and filters and never did follow up with the
'blue' filter.  We know that the pale green and orange ones work well. 
Venus is a real dazzler but I have not been able to view it in a lighter
sky before sunset.  The shape of the disk is very obvious though.

Late saturday night, gamma Leo and gamma Virgo were spectacular doubles
as was Caster even up to 391 x (6.4 mm + the 2x barlow).  It was the
steadiest night I have had for doubles this year.

Roll on the warmer weather.


Subject:	 Web site to link.
Sent:	Sunday, March 7, 1999 17:29:13
From:	wrwoodard@compuserve.com (William R Woodard)
Please offer a link to my site, it has ETX photos, as I submitted to you
before, and will have more added soon.  Thanks.

"Richard Woodard's Home Page"

Subject:	 wedge / wedgepod
Sent:	Sunday, March 7, 1999 15:59:36
From:	jpm1@fastlane.net (Jason Mahanay)
I appreciate your page's information on the ETX.  I have had a difficult
time finding quality information on this scope and available accessories
on the net.  I am currently in the market for the equatorial wedge and
tripod or the wedgepod and would like to contact JMI.  I saw that you
had listed their phone number and was curious if you knew of a website
or catalog that would have more information on this company and their
products.  Also if you have found a product that is superior to the JMI
wedge for the ETX i would like to know what it is.

Thank You

Jason Mahanay
Mike here: Unfortunately JMI does not have a web site. Fortunately, many of the dealers with web sites do carry JMI products.

Mike here: Many apologies for the recent access problems. America Online had their web-hosting services Offline for a long period on Friday, 5 March, through Saturday, 6 March, and they seem to be continuing to have problems on Sunday, 7 March. In the process they reset my page hit counter back to zero; it was about 180,000. I am looking into alternative hosting services but will stay here until other arrangements are made.

Subject:	 Paul Rini homepage moved
Sent:	Saturday, March 6, 1999 8:16:13
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
Paul Rini, who makes decent eyepieces that are incredibly inexpensive,
had a webpage at the Starry Messenger site.  This is no longer active,
but Paul's page can still be found on the net at:


At $17.50 each, I've currently got 3 on order - I'll let you know how
they turn out.

            Joe Hartley - jh@brainiac.com - brainiac services, inc
12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782
  Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	 Meade Web Site
Sent:	Friday, March 5, 1999 15:37:38
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
FINALLY, Meade has updated their Web site and it is filled with
information about the ETX/CE and Autostar, including manuals.  Though
I'm mention it since most of us have probably quit looking for them to
update it.


Subject:	 Thanks for ETX site
Sent:	Friday, March 5, 1999 10:05:14
From:	jimswitz@olympus.net (Jim Switz)
Just a quick note to say thanks for maintaining your ETX site.  I'm
still diddling on buying one, being otherwise distracted by building a
house and a gyroplane, but I'll end up with one eventually so your site
is very helpful to keep up with what's new and what's good.  I'm pretty
far away from any retailers, so will probably mailorder pretty much
everything and the feedback and reviews on your site are great to have

I'm fortunate to live out in the boonies with clear/cold  night skies
and no light pollution, so I'm sure an ETX will be a nice toy to have

	Jim Switz
	Port Townsend, WA

"Giving money and power to government is like
 giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."  
                                        -- P. J. O'Rourke

Subject:	 RE: ETX tripod
Sent:	Thursday, March 4, 1999 21:08:04
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
Dear Anant,
From Mike's response, it seems that the new ETX, with dual axis
motordrive, does not require Polar alignment or requires alignment
method that is different from the old model as he suggested that either
a Bogen, Manfrotto, JMI, or the Meade Tripod will serve you. For the old
model, the fork mount base, i.e. the whole scope, must be tilted to
point to the POLARIS (I wonder if you can see POLARIS at you latitude?).
This means that, for your latitude of 6 degree, the scope would have to
be positioned almost parallel to the ground (FOR THE OLD ETX!).  You
should also check with the supplier to get some advice and confirm if
the tripod you are purchasing would be attachable to the new ETX or
would require any extra adapter. For the planisphere, hope you be able
to get the StarCalc from the site. It's a good one for free!

Mike : I just visited the Meade homepage and scanning through the ETX 90
EC manual (at last the site was updated!!) and they still mention the
Polar alignment procedure similar to the old ETX.  In this case, Anant
may not have as many choices as you suggested above??.  OR with
Autostar.. the Polar alignment of the scope is not required as the
computer will do all the tracking after 'trained' of the location, time
and 2 bright star position?? Kindly make this clear to Anant and the
Group, esp. those who live at low latitude.

Best regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand (13.5 N, 100.5 )

Subject:	 ETX ec and the Nature Co.
Sent:	Thursday, March 4, 1999 14:47:21
From:	vegstan@ix.netcom.com (Stan Rosenfeld)
The Nature Company exchanged my ETX purchased in August 98 for the EC!!!
I am very happy with the Nature Company!


Subject:	 Re: Setting Circle Accuracy
Sent:	Thursday, March 4, 1999 7:38:30
From:	rizaljp@hotmail.com (Jose Rizal)
I calibrated the circles recently and have been using the old etx scope
to crudely 'goto' celestial objects. I followed the method to calibrate
the circles as given in the ETX manual [i.e., Polaris coordinates = dec,
bright star coordinate, such as Sirius, verifies dec and sets RA].

I star hopped and compared the coordinates to those in a Star Atlas for
20 stars and found reasonable accuracy for 19 stars.  I'll reverify
these findings when the skys clear [1 star, Capella, was off by 30 min

Dec= 2 degree variation +/- 2
RA=  7 minute variation +/- 7 

With these, I can jump to a coordinate and the object will be within the
finderscope FOV [about 10 degrees Dec and 40 minutes of RA].  I then
zero in on objects with crosshairs.  Roughly, the finderscope FOV is the
same as large grids on a star altas [ 10 degrees x 60 minutes of RA].

With our Philadelphia light polluted skies, and visual magnitudes of 2
at best, the goto capability lets me see up to 4-5 on the finderscope,
and makes astronomy viable in the city.  The ETX finderscope has a blind
spot from [65]70-90 degrees declination, where the angle makes viewing
through the straight through scope very difficult. So 'goto' helps
locate objects at this declination.

Subject:	 Doskocil Extra Large Case
Sent:	Wednesday, March 3, 1999 16:08:48
From:	phuff@raex.com (Patty)
I stumbled upon a website where I found a Doskocil Extra Large Case at a
very reasonable price.  The company is J & G Sales, Ltd.  The website
can be found at: www.jgsales.com/jgacc.html and the Doskocil
cases are toward the bottom of the page.  I was debating on ordering one
for $69 like everyone recommended.

I purchased this case: M675 - One Pistol and Accessories, Weather XL,
20x16x9, #10803 . . . $49.95  and I was very pleased with this company.
If you decide to order from them, their part number is 7000675.  They
had a hard time locating the all weather model that I wanted in their
computer, but it was worth the wait.  Shipping was 11.93 from AZ to OH.
Everything arrived in perfect condition, and not a piece of foam was

Clear skies!

Subject:	 Scopetronix and Astro photog.
Sent:	Wednesday, March 3, 1999 15:06:18
From:	dashmanc@idt.net (carl)
Just got the tripod adapter for the ETX from Scopetronix--the opposite
of the one you show.  I use it with my Bogen 410 junior geared head and
it's fabulous! I made one mod that I told Jordan about--I drilled a 3/8"
hole so the quick release mounts at 2 points, preventing any unplanned
swiveling.  Jordan is looking into predrilling such holes.  I have yet
to install the replacement motherboard, but I will.  I have been very
pleased with the quality and thoughtfulness of his stuff--I like it
better than JMI's accessories (you can edit this out w/o me screaming
censorship--JMI is a good company having some problems with QC and I
don't want to keep hammering on them).

Speaking of JMI, has anybody out there written a telescope driver for
SkyMap that works with the JMI Max computer?  The only s/w I know that
runs with it is TheSky by Bisque and that costs a bundle for even
version 2, much less 3 or 4.  I have the Celestron Demo vers 1 and I am
not impressed enough to want to replace SkyMap. How about drivers for
other s/w?

Moises from the Phillipines should know that Pocono Mountain Optics is
the best of the best--and they ARE in Pennsylvania (as are the Poconos).
He needs to be careful about which Minolta camera he uses. Some of the
Maxxum series are really wonderful, others are problematic. The old 3xi
absolutely will NOT work with the adaptor--the shutter will not fire
unless there is a Maxxum AF lense attached--the electronics talk to the
lense and cannot be bypassed.  A number of the Maxxums have a power-on
sequence to get around this limitation--and some don't have it at all
(Hooray!).  Then there is the cable release issue.  None of the Maxxums
use a standard cable release--you must use the Minolta electric one--and
most of the lower line Maxxums don't even take that, but take
heart--there are the two fine old solutions: 1) use the timer to fire
the shutter so you don't touch it. 2) use the "hat trick" for bulb
shots--cover the lense with a black hat without touching the lense or
the camera, press the bulb open amd wait a few seconds(for vibrations to
dissappate), remove the hat and start timing the exposure.  Put the hat
back and close the bulb to end the shot and that's it.  My 3xi is great
for everything--but astrophotography!  I bought a used 7000 body and
it's perfect--I put a data back on it and get date or time imprints. It
just doesn't have a built in flash, but it takes a cable release
(electronic of course).  Both cameras share lenses, so I saved that
expense. Hope this helps.


Subject:	Maximum realistic magnification for ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, March 3, 1999 14:23:26
From:	HFSH@aol.com
I was in an optics store and was advised by the clerk that the realistic
magnification for the ETX was a little over 120x He used a formula and
came up with the figures Something with the 90 mm 3.5 aperture with the
focal ratio f 13.8 and probably use the focal length  also The idea was
after a point  available light is reduced I remember with a camera this
was correct what is the max useable eye  piece with 126 2x barlow lens
wanting to get MORE POWER  but useable also
Mike here: The typical theoretical max for any telescope is 60x per inch of aperture. That means about 210x for the ETX. Depending upon the quality of the eyepieces/barlow lens used and the object viewed, you can exceed the max.

Added later:

I just have the original lens 26 mm and i purchased the 126 2x barlow 
The next lens will probably be the 9.7 mm any suggestions on mfg. of
lenses I was advised to stay with the Meade over the Orion or others as
usually looking for the best deal for the buck but don't  want to
purchase junk also.

Subject:	 Messier Objects Web Site
Sent:	Wednesday, March 3, 1999 12:16:38
From:	willsj@aol.com (William S Johnson)
Just thought I'd second, what Reagan Herman wrote on your site, and
mention that the SEDS Messier Database is an excellent resource for
information on all of the Messier objects as well as other objects of
general interest to anyone with an ETX.  The address is
(http://www.seds.org/messier/).  Take a look and see if its worth adding
to your links.  You have a great site keep up the good work.  Thanks for
all you've done, your site has really helped me and my ETX.

Will Johnson

Subject:	 25% Discount from Penney's for item in Spring Catalog
Sent:	Wednesday, March 3, 1999 6:41:25
From:	SolomonR1@state.mi.us (Robert Solomon)
Great site.  It has helped me out  a lot with my ETX.
Just got in the mail a coupon from Penney's for 25% off anything in the
Spring catalog.  I don't know if they have the new ETX but this is a
good discount.

Subject:	 ETX tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, March 3, 1999 1:20:39
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
I am Sukun from Bangkok, Thailand (13.5 N, 100.5 E) and is a new user (4
months) of the ETX old model.  I read you mail in Mike's page, but
haven't seen his response yet.  So may I take this opportunity to
respond as I used to have similar problem in getting a tripod that works
at my latitude. Congratulations on your acquiring the new ETX 90 EC. 
Hope it would work well.  I don't know much about the new model.  With
computer control, I wonder if it requires Polar alignment as the old
model.  If it needs as the old model, I think the you have not many
choices for tripod.  As far as I know, Meade field tripod will not
support latitude less than 20 degree.  I once asked Mike about the same
question and we ended up with either a JMI Wedgepod, or a Tripod AND the
Equatorial wedge. I went for the Wedgepod and got the JMI Wedgepod  from
Shutan (It works fine),www.shutan.com, for $190 plus ca $70 shipping. 
But if the new ETX 90 EC does not require any polar alignment, i.e. it
needs only 2 stars alignment and the computer will do the rest of the
tracking, any HEAVY duty tripod should do (I think the ETX 90 EC is
lighter as it changes from metal base to Plastic).  So try to figure out
if it requires the Polar alignment.  Mike should know better than I. For
the planisphere (I think you mean star map)  you can get from Starcalc
which is a 'planetarium' freeware and you can select the observation
place. Visit the page
www.bankvoronezh.ru/HomePages/Zavalishin/main.htm and download
the program in Zip form.

Mike,  I visited Questar page and find an article in their library about
computer controlled telescope which is interesting and you may consider
posting it for our group. Try

Best regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand (13.5 N, 100.5 E)
Added later:

From:	anant@slt.lk (Anant)
It is reassuring to know ( For someone new like me ) that there is a
strong fraternity out there to help out novices at the game. Needless to
say, your site is a boon and a very well respected one at that. My
congratulations at your foresight and perseverence Mike. If price were
not the issue and Photograthy is a definite yes, then it would be very
helpful if you could recommend a tripod. Someone said to me that being
at 7 Degrees N, the Meade tripod will not support the ETX ?? So I really
dont want to experiment especially when there are experienced people
like you out there to guide me. Would appreciate your guidance.

Many Thanks for responding.

Mike here: As I note on the Meade Deluxe Field Tripod review on the Accessories - Tripods page, "...the latitude scale goes from slightly less than 20 degrees to 90 degrees. The scale is graduated every 5 degrees except from 70 to 90 degrees, although every one degree would have been better and possible given the size of the scale. There is no fine adjustment available between about 75 degrees and 90 degrees. The JMI Wedge latitude adjustment scale is large and goes from about 20.5 degrees to 59 degrees with divisions every one degree. The JMI Wedgepod goes from 0 degrees to 90 degrees and also has divisions every one degree."

Subject:	 What Magnification Do You Get When....
Sent:	Tuesday, March 2, 1999 21:53:34
From:	rayreg@harbornet.com (Ray and Jeanie)
I have been searching to find the formula for calculating the apparent
magnification you get when you point a camcorder into the eyepiece using
the ETX.  Using the moon as an example, if I use an 18mm Ortho eyepiece,
the image on video appears to be about 200X!  With the 26mm Plossl, the
magnification appears to be about 150X.  The camcorder is a Panasonic
PV-54 using the lense at 64.8mm (12x optical).  I have looked in several
astronomy books and don't find anything meaningful.  Either that, or I
was looking at the right formula and didn't know it.

By the way I did check out the ETX-EC.  It is very nice -especially the
control paddle - , it does sound like a can opener and you can't readily
use it on any "ordinary" tripod, like the Bogen/Manfrotto.  I'll stick
with the "old" ETX . When it's big brother shows up, then I'll be really
interested (hey there Meade, are you listening?)

By the way, we just passed our 90th consecutive day of rain in the NW. 
Pretty dismal for viewing, I'd say.  Makes you wonder why there are so
many amateur astronomers up here.

Ray G

Mike here: On Monday, 1 March 1999, I talked with a Meade Vice President regarding the new ETX-90/EC and about the lack of an upgrade path from the original model ETX to the new model. Meade's policy is that there is no upgrade path. The differences in the old model (using older technologies) and the new model (with newer technologies) made it not cost effective to either Meade or the end-user to upgrade. If a current ETX user wants to get the new model, the recommended approach is to sell the original model and buy the new one. We also discussed the future of the ETX. Several options are being considered and some have been designed and perhaps even prototyped. If and when the timing is correct (confluence of cost, design, capabilities, technologies, marketability, etc), Meade could release another ETX-style telescope. I mention these facts, not to promote more discussion and/or dissension on these topics, but to stop the speculations.

Now, back to today's ETX and ETX-90/EC telescope discussions.

Subject:	 etx-90/EC
Sent:	Tuesday, March 2, 1999 18:53:38
From:	motets@yahoo.com (mote)
hi! i've been sort of visiting your etx site since i've learned about
the 'old' etx and i am really impressed how 'large' your site has grown.

i write to you now to ask for some advice as my wife decided to get me
the new etx! great news, huh!? we will be visiting the US and i really
don't know which store to buy from. been searching the net and i've been
reading about:

1) astronomics
2) shutan
3) science company

please tell me which shop is the best place where i can get the most
discount. i also need your help on which accessories should i get with
the ETX. i like photography and i would really like to use the ETX in
front of my camera. i will be using it somewhere near the equator so i
guess the table tripod is rendered useless for me. i am quite new to
astronomy and i really need your help.

i've decided to get the ff accessories:
1) 126 barlow
2) T adapter
3) minolta ring for my camera
4) softcase

what else do you think i will need?

i decided to make one of those tripod/wedge that i saw in your site so i
can make it 'adapt' to the equator where i will use the ETX.

thanks in advance and more power to you.


p.s. we will visit our brother who is living in pennsylvania. hope this
helps on which is the best place to get the ETX from. thanks again
Mike here: Currently, discounts are tough to find. But good dealers are available. Shutan, Pocono, The Nature Company, and Natural Wonders come to mind. In the Pennsylvania area I'd suspect you'll find Nature Company or Natural Wonders (or even Discovery Channel) stores. JC Penneys also sells them. But since you are taking it outside of the US you may before to buy from a dealer who at least has email and can provide after the sale support. Shutan, Pocono, and mentioned on these pages can do that. Your accessory list is a good start.

Subject:	 Another great night with the ETX!
Sent:	Tuesday, March 2, 1999 11:04:48
From:	knox_king@hotmail.com (Knox King)
Hopefully somebody gets blessed by these little stories on what the ETX
will do for you.

I was out tonight under the beautiful full moon, observing the most
common landmarks on its surface. It was almost to bright for my
sensitive eyes to bear through the eyepiece, though. I also had a camera
mounted on a tripod next to me. Now the time came around when an Iridium
Satellite Flash was supposed to be seen >from my location. Exactly at
20:03:40 a spot appeared in the direction I was watching and to my
amazement it started brightening..and brightening. It reached incredible
magnitude -8 before it flipped over and started diminishing in strength!
I grabbed my camera and managed to get a shot of it blazing the heavens.
I was awestruck by the splendor I had just witnessed on those 20
seconds. Makes me want to see another one:)

Well, I continued checking out the 'easy' targets like the Orion-
nebula, the Beehive-cluster etc.. till to my amazement the Aurora
Borealis, the northern lights, appeared on the northern horizon!! I'd
actually never seen them before from my latitude 58N in Sweden. It was a
spectacle to behold. For over twenty minutes the heavens were like a
curtain in the wind lit up with greenish and white light, changing in
brightness. After that I had to go home and digest all this beauty that
filled the sky tonight. I packed up my little ETX and walked home to my
sweet wife and a cup of hot tea.:)

Knox King  --   (58.41N and 13.86E)

 / \     P.s. If you want to check out Iridium Flashes from your
         location, go to: http://www2.gsoc.dlr.de

Subject:	Autostar 
Sent:	Tuesday, March 2, 1999 8:48:09
From:	BMartin615@aol.com
Does anyone know if the Autostar can be adapted for use with an LX50?


Subject:	 A very quick question
Sent:	Tuesday, March 2, 1999 5:13:25
From:	larry.lowell@analog.com (Larry Lowell)
Sorry to bother you with an annoying novice question . . .  But, you
seem to be a great source of ETX information!  I have not tinkered with
a telescope since I was a teenager.  My dad had a budget model refractor
style telescope.  Now, 20+ years, a physics degree (with a couple
astronomy courses on the side, and a wife and 2 kids later, I've decided
to start pursuing my interest in astronomy again.

I'm curious about the ETX vs. the new ETX/EC.  I have an immediate
opportunity to get a new, display model, of the ETX for $300.  Or, I can
purchase the new EC for the $600 going rate.  The cost delta is not the
major concern, but saving $300 is always nice.  Is the EC model a
significant improvement?  If you had to pick between the two versions of
the ETX, which would you suggest?  Does the EC controller have a GO TO
feature, or does that require the Autostar?  What would you recommend
for a good set of initial eyepieces, barlow multiplier, etc.?

Thanks ever so much, and sorry to take up your time.  Maybe 6 months
from now I'll have something worthwhile to contribute!


Larry Lowell

Mike here: I don't have an EC model so can't comment directly on it. But there are many things (improvements) that make it worthwhile. But whether saving money on the older model is a good idea is up to you. Consider what you would do with each model and what add-ons you would purchase. Especially if you would plan to add similar capabiities to the original model (such as the Microstar drive corrector). There are many pros and cons of the new model vs the old one covered in the January Feedback page (in the Feedback Archives). Of course, purchasing the current model of anything is usually a good idea. Keeps it from going obsolete as quickly! You do need the Autostar for the GO-TO capability. As to eyepieces, check the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 Autostar Question...
Sent:	Monday, March 1, 1999 18:00:17
From:	mitch@palmtop.net (Mitchell Hamm (N8XS))
Do you know what notation the Autostar uses for Lat/Long? I entered a
new location to edit and chose Cincinnati which is roughly N39 and W84.
When I went to edit the site more exactly, I saw +39' and +84'. Normally
West is negative. Does Meade use a backwards notation or something?
Added later:

I found an old response on DejaNews. Meade does in fact use a backwards
notation for longitude. They consider west positive. Thanks!

Subject:	Check out J-Track 3D
Sent:	Monday, March 1, 1999 14:09:48
From:	HFSH@aol.com
Click here: J-Track 3D (Keyword to: 
Very good site lots of fun looking at satellites
lets u get updates for satellites u can see in your area

Subject:	 Skyglobe!
Sent:	Monday, March 1, 1999 8:03:36
From:	chalmers@cabletron.com (Chalmers, Richard)
Since I've learned so much from the EXT site, I thought it was about
time I shared some info myself.

I did a search of the ETX site, and found no mention of a great
shareware software tool called "Skyglobe". Essentially its a view of the
sky from any location at any time of hour, day, year.  Looking in any
direction... its Great!  You can check it out for yourself, its at


       Dick Chalmers  

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC Electronic Focuser Confusion
Sent:	Monday, March 1, 1999 7:36:25
From:	kyleeli@us.ibm.com
Hey Mike,  kudos on the excellent web site - thanks for all your effort.
I know its paid off for me, since I now know what 'scope to buy.

I have a question about the new ETX which maybe you or someone else can
answer.  I was looking at my April issue of Sky and Telescope, and saw
the new ETX-90/EC advertisement inside the back cover.  I noticed that
under the 'Optional Systems' portion of the add, there is a new item,
the #1244 Electric Focuser ($119.95).  When I look at the picture of the
ETX-90/EC in the ad, it has a caption that says 'complete as shown, with
electronic hand controller... $595'.  When I look at the hand controller
in the picture, I see on it a label that says 'FOCUS' with an IN button
and an OUT button. How does this differ from the new accessory?  Or does
the FOCUS function on the hand controller require the new Electric
Focuser?  I have noticed several readers have complained that the new
ETX needs electronic focus, but it seems to me in the add that it should
already have this capability. Is anyone else confused by this?  The
description in the ad does not mention anything about the focus
capability of the standard hand controller.

Thanks again, Mike!

Kyle Eli

Subject:	 90 degree finderscope option
Sent:	Monday, March 1, 1999 7:02:33
From:	Edward_Bansbach@rossinc.com (Edward Bansbach)
Love your web page, it has saved me alot of time and misery.

I too have fought with the finder scope and have finally come up with a
solution that works well for me. I have replaced the finderscope with
the 6X scope from my 22 rifle that I haven't used in over 20 years. This
fits easily into the finderscope mount and gives alot more eye relief so
that I don't have to press my eye to the eyepiece to use it. To provide
a 90 degree option to this finderscope I purchased a bicycle rear view
mirror that is designed to velcro to the side of a bicycle helmet. I
glued the velcro to the side of the scope and the mirror can be stuck on
to the scope and alligned in a matter of seconds. This gives me the
option of a straight through or 90 degree finderscope, the only drawback
is that the image is inverted, but it sure beats straining my neck
trying to get my head into position to look through the finderscope.

No longer a pain in the neck,


Subject:	 ETX -90 /EC
Sent:	Sunday, February 28, 1999 23:37:35
From:	anant@slt.lk (Anant)
I am a new astronomer from sunny Sri Lanka (Colombo) and after refering
to your superlative sight bought the new Meade ETX- 90/EC when I was in
Dallas 2 weeks ago at the Galleria from the Discovery shop. The sales
guys in the store were extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. The
fact that somebody like me with no knowledge of Astronomy was going to
take this telescope 10,000 miles overseas brought out the best in them
and I am thankful for their valuable advise. I got the 26 mm eyepiece
and the Barlow too.

I live in Colombo (Sri Lanka) which is 7 Degrees above the equator (6.56
N   79.51 E) They also recommended me to buy the book - The Star Guide
(Robin Kerrod) which comes with a Planisphere Latitude 42 Degrees North
(USA, Southern Europe, Northern Japan). I wonder if it will be accurate
for my position. Also do you get planispheres for 7 Degrees Latitude??
where can I get them or is the one that I have good enough.

I want to now buy a Tripod and am confused since there are so many
comments on your site! I was considering the Meade # 883 Deluxe Field
Tripod but there are mixed reviews. I have also read the comments of an
e-mail to you from andre.mueller@student.uni-ulm.de and he has
recommended a Manfrotto tripod # 075 with a head # 410 Would you be kind
enough to make me a recommendation as to what will be the best since
nothing is available in Sri Lanka and will anyway have to buy it
overseas ., so want to make sure that I make the right choice. Will be
most grateful for your help.

Best regards,

Anant Dhotrekar

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