ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT USER FEEDBACK
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Last updated: 31 May 2002
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. 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:	I have a few questions
Sent:	Friday, May 31, 2002 7:05:31
From:	evil_feces@yahoo.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 Allinger
Mike 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:	caspden@shaw.ca (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
Dave
Mike 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:	tom_broom@hotmail.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:	johnes@sprint.ca (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:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	eddylush@btinternet.com
> 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:	steve.parrilla@pni.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:	sherrodc@ipa.net (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:	eddylush@btinternet.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 Eddy
Mike 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".

And:

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
Eddy
Mike 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.

And:

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 Eddy
Mike 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.

And more:

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.
As to a larger telescope, this is the "expectations vs reality vs wallet vs usability" question. The simple answer is to get the largest telescope you can afford and that you will ACTUALLY USE. If the telescope is too large and cumbersome to set up at a moment's notice you may find it ends up in the closet or garage. So, it comes down to making a compromise.

And:

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.

And:

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:	richardjudge@btconnect.com (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:	eddylush@btinternet.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 Eddy
Mike 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:	dsnay@charter.net (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,
Dave
Mike 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:	dsnay@charter.net (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:	final_fantasy179@hotmail.com (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 site
Mike 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:	lmelin@attcanada.ca (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:	stantstk@pacbell.net (Stan Glaser)
To:	r_shoesmith@madasafish.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:	lmelin@attcanada.ca (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:	sherrodc@ipa.net (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
sherrodc@ipa.net
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:	atremmel@tampabay.rr.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..

allan
Mike 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.

And:

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:	thomas.henry@magician.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:	ed.fides.carlos@comcast.net (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
Ed
Mike 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:	thomas.henry@magician.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:	brad@bradfoster.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 Foster
Mike 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/DOFI
Mike 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:	vmv@cazafantasmas.net (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 Spain
Mike here: Nope. Also, there are currently no updates for the #494 Autostar.
Subject:	etx 70
Sent:	Thursday, May 2, 2002 19:01:22
From:	eddylush@btinternet.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 Eddy
Mike 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.

And:

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:	richardjudge@btconnect.com (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.
bad image

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?

And:

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:	drady@attbi.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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