Last updated: 31 May 2002
Subject: I have a few questions Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 7:05:31 From: email@example.com (Evan Allinger) Hello my name is Evan Allinger,14, and I have a few questions. Okay, I just got an ETX-70AT and I absolutely love it, it works great! And I haven't had any problems with it but I've been reading reviews on the internet and lots of people have been having problems with the standard field tripod. I haven't experienced any problems with mine, is it just the luck that decides whats going to happen, because other people have been saying that theirs has been working perfectly! My second question is if the air pressure is higher isn't the viewing going to be better? My last question is do you know of any cheap hard carrying cases for the astronomer on a budget? -Evan AllingerMike here: Many times, problems with telescopes can be attributed to user error (failing to follow the instructions or just not understanding the instructions). However, there are times when something is physically wrong with a telescope or mount. For info on seeing conditions, see the Observational Guides/References page on my ETX Site. As to cases, see the Accessory Reviews - Cases page for some ideas.
Subject: ETX-70AT Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2002 5:23:27 From: Deakintjm2@btopenworld.com (Trevor Deakin) Just saying thanks,I have found your site very helpful as I have recently purchased EXT-70A. This is my first telescope and I must say I,m impressed with it so far.The Autostar is great,worked first time for me,I must be one of the lucky ones.Purchased a 3x barlow,had some great views of the craters on the moon.I,ve not had chance to view planets and stars properly yet because of weather conditions. I was reading through your site last night somebody was asking for information on good batterys.I use UNIROSS Ni-MH 1700mah rechargable batterys,I find these exellent compared to everything else I,ve tried. These batterys really do have the staying power. Thanks again, Trevor...
Subject: Confused with ETX-60AT Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 14:36:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Cindy Aspden) I just recently purchased an etx-60, now at first I had alot of expectation for this thing, but t after reading alot of information from your site I found out that my expectations were a little high, but theirs still some things I would like to clarify. When I look at the moon with my 9mm eyepiece it apears larger but not much bigger than what I see when I look at it with my 35mm binoculars. I see some craters but its not what I was expecting at all. In my meade telescope catalog it shows aproximatly what the surface of the moon looks like with a meade DS-60EC (which is the same price as my etx-60) so I figured it would be quite simular in appearance, but it wasnt anywhere near it. Is this normal? Would getting the 2x Barlow lens really increase my visability of the moon and other things? One other thing, when I go to find anything when it says slewing does that mean its following the object? Im really new when it comes to this stuff so excuse me if my questions are a little lame. Thanks alot DaveMike here: Those must be rather "powerful" binoculars! With the 9mm eyepiece you get 38X magnification from the ETX-60AT, or perhaps 5 times the magnification of standard 7x50 binoculars. (See the FAQ page for info on determining magnication for any telescope). If you add a 2X Barlow Lens you will double the image size of what you see. Will that still be what you are expecting? Only you can answer that. As to slewing, that is the motion of the telescope when moving to an object. When you stop slewing, the tracking engages (if you have aligned and are in astronomical mode) to compensate for the Earth's rotation.
Subject: etx-70at Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 15:50:59 From: email@example.com (Tom Broom) <-- bogus email address Need to know size of wrench to remove focus know. I have tried 1/16 inch and it is too large.
Subject: Re: re: Autostar and Messiers Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 4:16:47 From: Typec2@aol.com I saw M3 in my etx60 last nite. Very faint with a 9mm, but at least I could find it. Thanks again, Bill
Subject: 70mm lens swap Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 12:09:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Stein) Great Site. I have a hypothetical question for you. Can a 70mm lens form a ETX-70AT be fitted to a ETX-60AT? The lens tube diameter for both is exactly the same dimension and if you look at the 60mm lens it looks like it just has a wider lens holder. Thanks John Stein
Subject: re: etx70 (and dippers) Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 21:08:29 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org > Polaris straight overhead That was (what we call) the *Big Dipper* (you may call the Plough or the Wain) The two stars which form the non-handle-side of the bowl -point- at Polaris. (if the Dipper is overhead, travel in the line they form towards the north...) How to otherwise locate Polaris: Step outside. Wait at least 15 minutes while your eyes adapt to the dark (Polaris is -not- very bright... that's Capella) Face due north. Hold your fist at arm's length, thumb up. Knuckles stacked on top of each other. Your fist is about "ten degrees" tall IF you know your latitude, you can be more precise, but let's assume it's about 50 degrees. Polaris is therefore 50 degrees above your Northern horizon. (if a house blocks the view of the horizon, just hold your arm out straight and level with respect to the ground) Now count five fist-heights up from that northern horizon. Hopefully the top of your fist is now somwhat near a moderately isolated, not-so-bright, star. *that* is probably Polaris. See if the bowl stars from the (overhead) Big Dipper point at it. good luck --dick
Subject: ETX-70 RA Problem Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 10:31:26 From: email@example.com My kids knocked over my 6-month old ETX-70 telescope. I quickly discovered the RA motor would not rotate. I disassembled the base motor (RA) and found a small broken piece of plastic that was part of the motor gear. I used epoxy to fix this. However, I noticed the large (6") gear moves freely. Do you know if this should be adhered to something. The 3-prong white washer is intact but not sure why the gear moves freely. Also, I looked at the link www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/inside_etx70.html but couldn't find a good view for what I need. I also need to know the appropriate re-assembly order for the azimuth lock. Is it the 4 finger nut, then the 3 prong metal lock, then the metal washer, then the metal bearing, and finally the metal click that fastens to the 4 finger nut.And from our hardware expert:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) what he is describing is NOT making any sense at all....the disengagement of the AZ lock knob makes no sense whatsoever...it is not that complicated; also the large gear is not supposed to spin free....there is NO "3-pronged white washer...."??
Subject: Re: etx 70 Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 14:17:51 From: email@example.com (Eddy Lush) Oh well it looks good tonight and im wide awake, We are on British summer time here so do I need to answer yes to daylight saving time? I put the telescope flat and pointing towards true north if I can find polaris which I guess is the brightest star in the north in the uk? Cheers EddyMike here: Use a star chart to locate Polaris; it is easy since it is located at the end of the Little Dipper's handle and is pointed to by two stars in the Big Dipper's bowl. And yes, for Alt/Az mounting, the ETX tube is horizontal but pointed in the direction of True North. As to the DST, I don't know for sure but I would guess you say "No". If the alignment stars are off by 15 degrees (which is one hour) then go back and say "Yes".
Sorry if I am being a real bore..... ok ive been outside and as far a I can work out using a planisphere Polaris is straight above my head! So its hard to tell where north is if anything Polaris is west but only a shade it just seems to be straight above me am I doing something wrong? Sorry again EddyMike here: If you live at the North Pole, Polaris will be overhead. But since you are South of the Artic Circle (unless you have moved in the last few days), it will be the same angle above the northern horizon as your latitude. So, if you live at 35 degrees North Latitude, Polaris will be 35 degrees above the northern horizon.
Ok guess I got the wrong little dipper it looks the same and has the same amount of star but like you say I still live in derby England so I guess it must be user error again! :) you lost me on the last mail so do go out again and look in the north (magnetic) area for the little dipper or should I take up another hobby :) Cheers EddyMike here: You'll get the hang of it. Like anything new, the knowledge will come. As to how high Polaris is in your sky, do you know your latitude? There are sites on the web that you can look it up or you can just use the Autostar site location value. If Polaris will be 30 degrees above the horizon, that is 1/3 the way from the horizon to the zenith. If your at 45 degrees, Polaris will be halfway from the horizon to the zenith. Hope that helps get you in the right neighborhood.
my latt is 52.93 ill have to give up for tonight as its nearly 4am and its getting light but there is always 2morow thanks for you help again and by the way what is zenith?Mike here: zenith = straight up
Subject: RE: ETX70AT Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 7:11:41 From: Corina.Fernandez@qwest.com (Fernandez, Corina) Thanks Mike, but which two eyepieces should I use together? Also, I would like to upgrade my telescope to be able to see a larger view. I went to the discovery store and looked at the next sizes up. Which would you recommend?Mike here: You don't use the eyepieces together. Center the object in the 25mm and then switch to the 9mm. Refocus.
Would you also recommend I go up to the 3x Barlow instead of the 2x?Mike here: Actually I don't but many ETX-70AT users like it.
Do I then switch to the Barlow?Mike here: If you want to keep increasing the magnification, yes.
Subject: ETX 70AT aberration continued... Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 1:48:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Judge) Just to keep you posted as to what's happened since my last mail. I managed to find a clearish night (good between the clouds) but the strange spidery image still occurs. I tried two more things: If I move my eye around the eyepiece with the image centred the distortion does move around the object (and almost disappears if I look from the far left.) This is just cutting out light from one side of the lens. I tried a view with my left eye. This was well out of focus and I couldn't get a clear image at all. I do have a difference in focus to my eyes for which I used to wear glasses but this makes it seem very bad. My right eye is my dominant eye. (But your hands together to form a hole and hold it at arms length. Look through the hole with both eyes at an object. When the object is centred in the hole and in focus shut one eye. If the object moves out of the hole that is your weak eye. If it stays centred the open eye is your dominant eye.) I have purchased the dew cap to try to reduce stray light as recommended by my dealer with no noticable improvement. So I have decided to take everyone's advice and try to get the dealer to look at it. Here in the UK Meade do not offer manufacturer support and the only thing you can do is speak to the dealer (his only course of action may be to replace the whole scope) Phoned the dealer and they're on Holiday until 22nd May so I guess I'll have to wait. Between all this I did manage to get a good look at The Double Cluster which was very good even low on the horizon and my alignment is improving each time I go out. Clear nights are thin on the ground at the moment however. Best regards Richard Judge
Subject: ETX70AT Sent: Monday, May 13, 2002 15:08:41 From: Corina.Fernandez@qwest.com (Fernandez, Corina) I have been looking through your site as well as sky and telescope. I received an ETX70AT telescope for Christmas and until recently have been able to get into it. I have read some comments on your site where some folks are actually seeing the rings of Saturn through the same scope. Can you possible tell me what eye lenses I can use together to see this? I have the 9mm and 25 mm and just recently bought the Barlow 2x and still can't see much. HELP!!! I want to see what everyone else with this scope is seeing!! Thanks, Corina Fernandez Anyone who thinks the sky is the limit, has limited imagination.Mike here: You have the eyepieces that will let you see the Rings of Saturn, although the image will be very small with this telescope. Keep in mind that you have to turn the focus knob A LOT when changing eyepieces with the ones you have. (You can reduce the amount focus changes but lets worry about that later; just get the images into focus for now.)
Subject: Re: Re: Re: etx 70 Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 19:40:07 From: email@example.com (Eddy Lush) Thanks for your reply, it is clear as bell here tonight its 3.35am. I guess ill wait for you to start from the beginning I'm all ready to go when you are, if you are to busy tonight let me know we can try another night. Cheers EddyMike here: Just put the telescope into the proper HOME position (use Polaris as a True North indicator rather than using a magnetic compass), set the date/time (assuming the location is correct or close). Then start the two star easy align. If you can't verify that the star it has chosen is correct AND you don't see the right star nearby, just accept it as entered or skip it by pressing the down arrow key to go to the next star. Repeat until you have the alignment.
Subject: How deep can I go with an ETX-70? Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 15:50:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lisa) I'm still quite new to this and I'm wondering if I should be able to see some of the objects I'm trying to find. One data point that would help me figure out if it's me or my expectations of the scope is "just how bright does something have to be to show up in my ETX-70?". Assuming good seeing (a rare thing lately), what magnitude object should I be able to spot? Can I realistically expect to see something dimmer than 5.00 Mag? thanx, DaveMike here: Well, the "limiting magnitude" is 11+. But whether you can see something that faint will depend upon your local conditions, the cleanliness of your optics, and your eyesight. You might want to look through the User Observations page for some realworld reports.
Subject: re: useability of the 40mm eyepiece on an ETX 70 Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 15:46:05 From: email@example.com (Lisa) I have the 3000 series 40mm and I use it all the time with great results in my ETX-70. I find that it produces much nicer images than the 25mm that was supplied with the scope. I use it to find objects in the sky (I'm still relying on the computer more than I'd like for that), and then I switch to a 6mm Plossl. An added bonus is that there is very little focus adjustment required between these two eye pieces. Dave
Subject: Autostar Etx 70 At Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 13:05:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alessandro Casciato) Ok I Just bought the meade etx 70 at telescope in really happy with it because i could see saturn jupiter but i have to find them manually.I dont know how to use the autostar first i point it north then i make it align but then there are no stars in the eyepiece i dont know what to do all the stars like regulus in leo are on the otherside when my align goes i couldnt even find the orion nebula and thats my fav object by the way i live in toronto canada.And one more thing i have the 9mm and 25mm eyepiece should i buy the barlow lens or go with the 4mm and 5mm . PS i come to ur site everyday u have the best siteMike here: There are two ways to go. But first, be certain you have the telescope in the proper HOME position and that the Autostar is set for the mounting mode, Polar or Alt/Az, that you have the telescope in, the proper location/date/time, etc. Then you can use the star charts in the article "Alignment/High Precision/Star Charts" on the Autostar Information page to identify the alignment stars. If you need more help on aligning, there are several articles on it on the Autostar Information page. The second method of aligning is to just accept the alignment stars as centered even if you can not see them or identify them. The better your HOME position is established the more accurate the alignment will be when you "fake" the alignment by this second method. As to a Barlow Lens or eyepiece, personally I'd go for a Barlow Lens as it can be used with all your eyepieces. However, a Barlow Lens is a compromise on image quality but if you get a good one you may never notice this.
Subject: Re: $219 canadian for a Meade ETX60-AT a good deal? Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 11:34:46 From: email@example.com (Lorne Melin) Bought it, I like it! I've been reading books on astronomy for years but this is my first real scope, (albiet small). Can't wait to get out of the city and get away from all this light pollution! best regards lcm. (ps: great website)
Subject: Re: Remote electric focus for ETX 70AT Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 21:46:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Glaser) To: email@example.com Hi, Richard -- Now how does that slogan go, again? He who dies with the most toys, wins!! Definitely a creative use of the Lego gearbox gizmo -- Clear skies, Stan Glaser
Subject: Eyepiece Query for the ETX70 Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 15:06:37 From: Lewis.M.Coward@btopenworld.com (Lewis Coward) I have gleaned most of your site and looked at the Meade site and I am still at a loss in terms of determing whether certain eyepieces can be used with the 70. I am trying to find out if I could use the Meade 4000 Series Zoom or the Meade 3000 Series 40mm eyepiece. I am pretty sure that they may be suitable but before I invest 380 I need to be sure. If anyone, or if you can assist, it will be very much appreciated. With best regards, Montague Coward - Sheffield (UK)Mike here: I don't have either eyepiece. I suspect they should work although you might see some vignetting with the 40mm eyepiece.
Subject: $219 canadian for a Meade ETX60-AT a good deal? Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2002 20:06:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Lorne Melin) In just received a flyer from a company here in Vancouver BC, indiacting they're going to have Meade ETX60--ATs on sale next week for $219 cdn (that's about $150 US) Unit comes with motorized mount and the Autostar gizmo as well. I've always wanted to buy a 'half-decent' telescope and this sounds like a real deal, can anyone give me any advice on this? Do you think I'd get a look at the rings of saturn? thanks in advance, lcm.Mike here: See the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" Feedback page for info, as well as the User Observations page. Also, read my ETX-70AT comments (linked at the top of the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" Feedback page.
Subject: Re: question regarding your PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT article Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2002 15:07:38 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) To: Dave Very good point, and strongly recommend NOT getting into the scope unless specific problems are encountered. Many times more damage is done than is fixed! However, many of the applications certainly do apply to the mechanical aspects of the ETX 70 should adjustments be needed! Good to hear from you and good luck with the scope. Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod firstname.lastname@example.org Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org ----- Original Message ----- > I started reading your article on how to enhance the performance of your > ETX that is posted on Mike Weasner's website and quickly realized it is > focused on the ETX125. I have the ETX70 and wonder if these tips apply to > that scope as well. I don't want to go messing with my scope (I'm a > complete newbie at this, but I am mechanically inclined) until I know that > I'm not doing it more harm than good. > > thanx, > Dave
Subject: Finder scopes for ETX70AT Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2002 4:56:12 From: FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen) A user comment on the finder scope thread: Of all gadgets I have acquired for my ETX70 the most useful so far is the Rigel QuickFinder (even more useful than the Flexicord focuser!). The QuickFinder projects two red circles on a piece of transparent plastic, the inner circle covers one half degree of the sky. When properly aligned (which is extremely easy) every thing you see in the inner circle will be in the field of view, also with the 9 mm eyepiece. I always use the two-star alignment when setting up the scope, but for some reason one or both alignment stars are often way off (up to 5 FOV's!) the point where Autostar think they should be (may be I should be more careful with the initial levelling in all directions...). If I have chosen stars that are easily found by the naked eye I'll speed up the slewing, get the star into the red circle, center it in the eyepiece and press enter. Before finding things with Autostar I always go to some easy naked eye object in the vicinity, center it, press enter for two seconds and then enter to the prompt: "press enter to synch". Goto and tracking in the neighbourhood is then quite accurate. I have the #827 right angle finder too, but it is not nearly as useful for initial centering of naked eye objects as the QuickFinder. Of course, it has the advantage of 8X time magnification, but it's field of view is too narrow if you are really off the target. Moreover, it gets very easily misaligned by the slightest push of your nose so you need to realign it every other minute. As noted by some users it may get in your way, but the upright part of it does not have to be parallel to your eyepiece. Try various orientations and move your entire head or step left when looking into it. It is definitely much better than the standard finderscope that comes with the ETX90. The Rigel QuickFinder can be attached firmly to the OTA by rubber bands, the glue pads provided are not necessary. Check it out under accessory reviews -> finderscopes (that is where I found it in the first place - this site is truly a mighty place to look for all kinds useful info and interesting gadgets!). "Scopetronix" will export to Europe. Happy finding and scoping, Finn R. (Copenhagen).
Subject: etx 60at Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2002 18:33:06 From: email@example.com (allan) Just purchased the Meade ETX60AT...Mounted on a camera tripod...bad idea...when the scope tracks, the entire starfield wobbles...but my main concern is the 2 eyepieces that came with it..9mm and 25mm, cause a problem when changing from one to the other. If you have a good focus with the 25mm then switch to the 9mm, the foucus knob has to be turned over and over and over to bring the object back into focus. The focus knob is a joke to begin with. So small and hard to get to....Am I missing something with my observations... By the way, great web page, lots of good info, keep up the good work.. allanMike here: The instability of ANY mount will affect the views through a telescope. Not only does a telescope magnify objects, it will magnify vibrations as well. And as you've noted, eyepieces do not always focus at the same position. However, you can make these (and some others) "parfocal". If you search the Site for "parfocal" one of the hits you get will direct you to the February 2001 General Feedback page in the Feedback Archive where there is a tip on doing this.
Gawd.....it can't be that easy...the photo showed all...thanks for the tip...
Subject: M107 through the ETX-70AT Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2002 12:10:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas Henry) In a recent posting, I had mentioned the difficulty I had finding M107 with the ETX-70AT, and blamed an errant magnitude listing. Another user wrote me to say his books show the object at mag 8.1, not the mag 9 I mentioned. I checked this a little further. I think that value of 8.1 probably started with the NGC catalog and has been copied ever since (including in software). However, Burnham's Celestial Handbook (the bible of deepsky stuff) lists it as mag 9, as does the Night Sky field guide and Mallas and Kreimer's The Messier Album. Most importantly, that latter source gives new, unprejudiced magnitude estimates based upon recent observations. Their report of mag 9 closely matches what I saw. I should have been more clear about my comparison with M80. What I meant to imply was that something not several magnitudes away or greatly differing in size ought to be more easily found than it was. However, one quick look and it's clear the two objects differ in concentration considerably, and probably in how the light is spread out as well. Thanks again, Thomas Henry
Subject: 827 Right Angle for ETX70AT Sent: Monday, May 6, 2002 18:53:49 From: email@example.com (Carlos Family) Finally got my 827 Right Angle Scope and tried it out last Friday and Sunday. It was easy to install even though the instructions were for ETX-90. It was also easy to figure out how to align it using the two knob with the main scope. The crosshair are (as has most people notice) a bit too thick but it'll do. The maximum focus is fine for objects such as Jupiter or Acturus. However, other objects not as bright are blurry. No matter what focus adjustment I do it seem like it's not working. Is this this how it's suppose to work? I would have thought that the other stars would have been as sharp as the bright ones. Pretty much how I would see it in a 25mm lens but of course at lesser magnification. I'm thinking about calling Meade to see if there's a defect. Also, the finderscope gets in the way of the main eyepiece, especially when using shorter lens (9mm and 4mm). The eyepiece of the finderscope ends up on my forehead (may be I have a big forehead). This is the same the otherway around. The main scopes eyepiece with a barlow lens gets int the way of the eyepiece of the finder scope. It takes alot of getting use to using it. By the way, I finally found M81/M82 and saw the comet Ikeya-Zhang by the cons Draco. Not very bright but it was nice to finally see before it goes away. I still cannot find M51. The Autostar can find M81/M82 and I know it's there because I can verify it with the two blurry objects. However with M51 is a bit harder to confirm eventhough the Autostar seems to be working. I tried star hopping using the techniques of Robert Garfinkle (Star-Hopping: Your Visa to Viewing the Universe) which by the way is a very good book but still no success. I need to practice some more... Regards EdMike here: There should be no difference in sharpness for bright vs dim objects, except that your eye may perceive a difference.
Subject: Aberrations in ETX 60/70 Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2002 6:53:44 From: AlanM@peoplepc.com (Alan McDonald) Richard's posting sure looked like my problem. I've been meaning to send a note off, and keep forgetting, so this is the perfect time. After playing around with my scope for a while, I finally decided to call Meade's tech support and see what they could offer up. After describing the condition, they recommended that I send it to them for a warranty repair. I had to pay to ship it there, but they fixed it and sent it back for free. Meade was great about it. They had the scope for about two weeks, although with shipping is was gone for a little more than three weeks. The result is that I have a scope that is not perfect, but much better. I still do not get a perfectly centered disk when I go in and out of focus in a 110x star test, and there is some asymmetry to the diffraction pattern, but more than 90% of any aberrations are gone, and the color is still good. They also fixed my flip mirror detent so that it goes to a full 45 degrees. While I would like it to be better, I'm happy with the scope now - I do not think I would have had any complaints about this level of performance if it came out of the box like this. In truth, the severity of the problem caused me to learn a lot about optics and aberrations, so I'm more capable of telling the difference in performance than I would have been. So I thank Meade for fixing my scope, and causing me to learn a lot in the process. Planet views are great now - I see clear color banding on Jupiter in all combinations of my series 4000 eyepieces (9.7 and 6.4 mm, plus a 126 barlow) - there are at least 5 or six distinct bands. Saturn is great too - while the Cassini division is too much of a challenge for these scopes, I swear I see a drop off in the intensity of the rings where it is. The difference in performance is even noticeable in terrestrial views as well. I'm convinced that they changed the doublet (it may be a different scope, but I can't tell since there is no serial number). I have not taken the lenses out, since it is working well and a I don't want to mess it up, but they show a much better coating than before - they appear much darker than before I sent it in for service (in terms of reflected light when you look at the objective lens), and there are a few irregularities in the coatings that were not there before. Maybe it is just in my mind, but images appear brighter too. Part of the problem may have been internal reflections that are now eliminated by the better coatings . . . . From what I've experienced, I do not see how it could be a stray light problem. If your experiments with that are showing improvement, it is probably related to the coatings. When I gave the old lenses the "flashlight test", it was obvious that there were two lenses in the element due to internal reflections - now I see almost none, and it looks like a single element. This scope is pretty well baffled internally, so what little light that does come off internal objects like the focusing shaft and gets to the eyepiece should be fully random, and not be associated with the stars or planets in the form of spikes. I suggest calling Meade's tech Support on (800)626-3233. They tell you where to send it and give you a reference number. They do not have e-mail, so you can't forward your picture to them, but faxed it into them (they will want you to fax them a copy of the receipt for warranty work, so just include your description with it). I also sent the picture with the scope so that they knew what condition to fix. I took mine to a "Mailboxes etc." store to have it packed and shipped, as I no longer had the original box - that cost $32, so you can save a lot if you still have the box. Best of luck!
Subject: ETX-70AT Viewing Comments Sent: Saturday, May 4, 2002 1:27:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas Henry) I've been following the various recent questions in the ETX-70AT Feedback Forum concerning viewing, focusing and image quality with great interest. I keep hoping we'll see some sort of pattern that will explain the various anomalies reported by users over the past year. In the meanwhile, here's my two-cents worth on some of the most recent questions: 1. Brad Foster asks if he can see the planets inside of Pluto. The direct answer is "yes." Of course, you won't make a disk out of Uranus or Neptune, but still it's great fun charting their progress over the course of a year. (I use the free Carte du Ciel software to print out maps, and then plot the positions with pencil dots every night I can). 2. Nelson Sturdivant asks about seeing Jupiter's bands, optical quality with the 2X Barlow and collimation. Two of Jove's bands are usually visible with the 9mm alone, depending on sky conditions. As for the Barlow, I've had good luck with mine, but only use it for splitting tight doubles. I never use it for extended objects; instead, I employ a 6mm ocular. With regard to collimation, a star test was suggested, but don't expect much. Of the five units I've tested, all suffered from varying amounts of pinched optics (especially noticeable in the winter) and the star patterns were more triangular than circular. 3. Richard Judge has the scientific spirit and I look forward to his test results as he pursues the internal reflection possibility. As he notes, coma is an off-axis phenomenon, and that's probably not what he's seeing if it appears centered in the eyepiece. Astigmatism or some other nameless aberration is a more likely candidate. Of the five scopes I've tested, one of them had a severe case of the "spike" woes shown in his picture; I exchanged it pronto. And I recall another user here reporting an identical problem. The distortion is very annoying; every reasonably bright star shows a flare or spike consistently off to one side. Unfortunately, I have no idea what causes it; I've never see the aberration described in any of the optics books I have. 4. Another source of optical distortion is your own eyes! It's perhaps best to think of the ETX-70AT as a system: the objective + the eyepiece + your eyeball. If the parts don't all work together properly, distorted images can occur. I mention this for two reasons. First, over the past couple of years I've developed astigmatism (after forty-eight years of perfect vision). It crept up on me gradually and an eye exam confirmed what I suspected was happening. Also, eye position over the eyepiece is very important. If I cock my head one way or another, still looking into the scope and seeing everything in view, I can create some wobbly, off-center images. Moral: the rubber eyeguard gives a false sense of security. Just because your brow and socket is up against it doesn't mean you're looking straight down the axis. 5. And here's a tip: we all know that scopes have an upper limit of useable magnification (around 120X for the ETX-70AT under reasonable sky conditions). But they also have a lower limit. Drop below a certain level and the exit pupil of the eyepiece exceeds what the human eye can take in completely. The 25mm is borderline for low end powers (about 14X). You can get some ugly vignetting and "shadows" if your pupil isn't accurately placed over the eyepiece. 6. Finally, do you believe that the Autostar can also affect how well you see? Sound impossible? Well, just a couple weeks ago I had mentioned that I think globulars are particularly rewarding in the ETX-70AT. M3, M5, M92 and so on are extremely easy and pretty objects, for example. Last night I decided to give M107 a try---a new one for me. The Autostar indicated a magnitude of 8.1 and a size of 2 arcminutes; "should be do-able" I said to myself, having just found M80 which is close in size and magnitude. An hour later I wasn't so happy. I ended up having to use the finder chart from Mallas and Kreimer's THE MESSIER ALBUM to point the scope to where M107 ought to be. With averted vision, tapping the tube (moving faint objects are more visible) and all the usual tricks, I was finally able to make it come into view. After checking various resources, I discovered that this is actually a mag 9.1 object, a fairly difficult target when fighting skyglow. In a nutshell, the Autostar told me something should be easy to see when it really wasn't. By the way, someone here was wondering last week if the M81/M82 galaxies were do-able. I can report they are, having found them tonight for the first time with my ETX-70AT. The 9mm lets you see both in the same field of view; it's a great shot! Best wishes, Thomas Henry
Subject: ETX-60 Sent: Friday, May 3, 2002 16:33:28 From: email@example.com (Brad Foster) I just bought a ETX-60 which is used. Is it still going to be a good telescope to look out there? I have never used a telescope before. I am wondering if I will be able to see all the planets out there except Pluto. Will I be able to see comets and nebulas? How about good shot of moon? Thanks, Brad FosterMike here: See my ETX-70AT comments as well as the comments of other ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT users on the "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT Feedback" page and on the Helpful Information --> User Observations page. As to astrophotography, there are many examples on the various astrophotography pages on the ETX Site.
Subject: ETX-70AT -focusing problems Sent: Friday, May 3, 2002 11:59:44 From: Nelson.Sturdivant@RANDOLPH.AF.MIL (Sturdivant Nelson R Maj. AETC/DOFI) I have a Meade ETX-70AT and have been really enjoying looking at the planets as of late. With the standard PL9mm I can see Jupiter as an actual disk and I can spot it's moons, I can also see Saturn and it's rings(albeit very small), but I want more. I want to be able to see the cloud bands on Jupiter and be able to make out the rings of Saturn more clearly. I purchased a 2x Barlow, thinking that would help me, but I have not been happy with it. It does magnify more, but I can not get a good focus with it. With the 9mm and 25mm eyepieces without the Barlow I get very sharp focus, but as soon as I put the Barlow on, I can't. Is this a problem with the Barlow lens itself, or am I doing something wrong? It was also mentioned to me that it might be a collimation problem. Can my ETX get "un-collimated"? Should I just skip the Barlow for now and go with a PL4mm or 5mm? Thanks for any help you can lend. Hawk Maj. Nelson Sturdivant AETC/DOFIMike here: Adding Barlow Lens will slightly reduce the image quality as you are adding additional optics into the light path. As long as you don't get too close to the theoretical maximum magnification (140X for the ETX-70AT), the image should not deteoriate too much. But the reality still may not meet your expectations and you could require a larger telescope. I doubt that the optics are out of alignment, although this can occur. But you can easily check it with a star test; do the slightly out of focus images stay reasonably circular?
Subject: #505 with ETX-70AT Sent: Friday, May 3, 2002 4:07:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Víctor Martín) Hello, I've a ETX-70AT, and I now that I need #506 to control the telescope from the PC. But, would it be posible to use #505 with ETX-70AT just for Autostar updates? Thanks a lot, regards from SpainMike here: Nope. Also, there are currently no updates for the #494 Autostar.
Subject: etx 70 Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2002 19:01:22 From: email@example.com (Eddy Lush) Sorry if this is a really pants question ive looked all round your great site for the answer but to no avail I know it is probably there somewhere! I have brought a scope etx 70 the first properish scope for me and the family I was of course drawn by the autostar (no more hard work) I have been out 3 nights for hours now trying to set it up but with no joy, I go for the easy align get the tube level point it magnetic north with a compass and start it on its merry way to find my 2 stars but each time it stops and I peer through, darkness is the only things I can see. My local store don't know (camera shop) and I cant get to any of the local star meets and im now stuck and don't know where to go it aint much fun looking at the stars not knowing what's what. If you could help in any way I would be most grateful.Thanks for reading my mail and I hope you can point me in the right direction soon. Cheers EddyMike here: Have you tried looking through the telescope at land objects? Trees or buildings down the street, for example. Is that still dark? If so, is the flip mirror in the right position (without the eyepiece inserted, look inside the eyepiece hole and you should see the small mirror)? If you see light, are the objects in focus? If not, turn (and turn and turn) the focus knob until the tree or building comes into focus. If things are OK during the day, then you know the telescope optics are likely OK. Next comes the alignment. Magnetic North and True North may be up to about 20 degrees different, depending upon your location. You should use True North. If you can see Polaris (the North Star), use that to indicate the direction of True North.
Hi Mike thanks for your speedy reply, The telescope works fine I can see stars and things through it if I just pan around, it was just the setting up with autostar that I was having no joy, in other words when it try's to align with the 2 stars it never points to anything so I cant press enter if you understand! Anyway I will try it with true north on the next clear night.thanks again for your help and keep up the great site! Cheers Eddy
Subject: ETX 70AT Aberration Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 6:26:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Judge) It's quite difficult to visualise an image that someone else is seeing so I have tried to draw a picture of what I can see. This has come out very similar to a picture by Alan McDonald posted in January. The distortion always points up and left regardless of the position of the object in the field. The problem is reduced if the left side of the objective (from behind the scope) is obscured. I think in my original posting I may have used the word aberration to freely without being specific. My understanding is that astigmatism or coma would be oriented toward the edge of the field and lessen toward the centre. I can see chromatic aberration but as Thomas Henry suggests a little colour around objects can be lived with. My personal (inexperienced) opinion of the problem is something reflecting stray light around the OTA.
Mike here: What happens as you put pressure on the flip mirror like you were flipping the mirror to the other position? Does the distortion change?
No the distortion remains the same when the flip mirror is moved. (The image moves in the field of course As It was clear last night I carried out a "Don't do this at home" experiment. I used curved pieces of a black film canister taped to the inside of the OTA to cover the thread of the focus rod. I also covered the rest of the rod using the insulation from a piece of black electrical cable. (It's a bit untidy but is not permanent) The result was that although there was still alot of leftward distortion it had lost the spikeyness and was more rounded and fuzzy. (Reflection from the film canister rather than the edges of the focus thread?) My next step will be to remove the film canister and insulation. I have regreased the focus thread with Tamiya Molybdenum Grease (Usually for model cars but it is black). I have ordered a Dew Shield in the hope it will reduce stray light and I will try it like that. The major cause of this problem is not the scope but the light pollution in my back yard coupled with the shortening of the night. Even at 11pm it's still not fully dark. I will try a different viewing site as well. I will keep you informed of my progress. Thanks Richard
Subject: ETX60 Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 21:50:12 From: email@example.com (Roger & Diane Ady) I have an ETX60 that has been dropped. The aluminum casting in the main housing has broken (there is a flat plate at the top of the housing that the motor attaches to- -it has a central tube which faces downward and which supports the RA driven gear and clutch). The central tube has broken away from the plate. In all probability, a workable fix would be to use metal-mending epoxy to put it all back together, but it escapes me how to dissassemble the cast tube from the driven gear and lower housing. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your help, Roger Ady
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