Last updated: 31 May 1999

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and applicable to users of both the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA), the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC. Items specific to the ETX-90EC are posted on the ETX-90EC User Feedback page. Items specific to the ETX-125EC are posted on the ETX-125EC User Feedback page. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Mike here: The ETX models have been slightly renamed. The "/" has been dropped. So the models are now known as the "ETX-90RA" (which was the original ETX model), "ETX-90EC", and "ETX-125EC".

Subject:	 about etx
Sent:	Monday, May 31, 1999 18:50:38
From:	sled600@tir.com (Jerry Hendrick)
I understand you are not a meade dealer but could you maybe give me some
info on possibly where to buy one one the web new or used.  Thanks for
taking the time to read this your reply will be greatly appreciated.
Mike here: There are some used ETX telescopes listed for sale on the further down this Feedback page. Also, Shutan Camera & Video has some used ones for sale. Several of the dealers listed on the Astronomy Links page have the new ETX-90EC in stock.

Subject:	 ETX hard case
Sent:	Monday, May 31, 1999 12:08:53
From:	Pierre.Henrotay@sbs.be (Henrotay Pierre)
I just bought the hard case from Meade (#774) for ETX. The telescope is
an ETX90/EC and fits well within the case. Unfortunately, the new RA
viewfinder (Meade #825) is in trouble: the one sheet page of info indeed
mentions that it must be removed from the ETX. This is unfortunate: it
took me a while to put the viewfinder in place (it is hard to find a
proper place for it) and even longer to align it properly; I am quite
reluctant in playing this sort of game every night that the case will be
used ! Did anyone encounter the same problem and if yes, any simple and 
elegant solution ? Thanks for your help and above all for your site,
which is probably my favourite.

Pierre Henrotay
Mike here: There has been some discussion of this on the ETX Mailing List. Elliot Rubinsky suggested "to rotate the back of the viewfinder. The same way it has to be screwed on. This should keep the viewfinder aligned and take some pressure off of it at the same time."

Subject:	Using the ETX RA circle
Sent:	Monday, May 31, 1999 12:05:45
From:	Farky526@aol.com
I have a question on the use of the RA circle for the ETX.  I just
purchased the ETX-90EC.  As you know, the RA circle has two rows of
numbers.  The user manual says that "the lower row is used by observers
in the Earth's northern hemisphere . . . ."  I am located at Lat. 34+,
so I used the lower row after first polar-aligning the scope.  I first
manually sighted Arcturus, which is located at RA 14h16m/Dec 19.11.  
The resulting indication on the Dec. circle was correct, and I then set
the RA circle using the lower row of numbers, as instructed.  The clock
drive tracked Arcturus perfectly for about 20 minutes.  I then reset the
RA circle to 14h16m and immediately tried to slew to Vega at RA
18h36m/Dec38.47.  With a higher RA, Vega should have been east of
Arcturus (and it clearly was by sight), but using the lower row of
numbers on the RA circle (i.e., rotating the RA mount clockwise) put the
scope west of Arcturus.  It looks like I should be using the upper row
of numbers.   Do you have an easy answer for me?  Thanks.
Mike here: Use the upper row.

Subject:	CCD and ETX
Sent:	Monday, May 31, 1999 10:39:27
From:	ESoovajian@aol.com
i want to put etx90ec on my computer with ccd live image,can i do it ?i
can buy what ever it takes.......please help mike,eric
Mike here: There are ways to do this. Search the site for "CCD" and you'll find lots of references.

Subject:	Mirror shift on the ETX
Sent:	Monday, May 31, 1999 8:07:48
From:	JaePbond@aol.com
There was a question on your site regarding the severe mirror shift
experienced by some users.   My new ETX/EC came with minimal mirror
shift but then it became much worse than even my old ETX.   The focusing
knob also seemed a bit stiff as if it was rubbing against something.

Taking apart the rear plastic housing I could see nothing that was
affecting the threads on the focusing knob.   I then concluded that the
plastic housing itself may have shifted or been tightened with some
tension on the hole that the focusing knob goes in.   Keeping the allen
screws loose, I centered the focusing knob to minimize tension.  Then I
carefully tightened the screws making sure there was no movement of the
housing.  This eliminated the "rubbing against something" sensation and
also the mirror shift.   The mirror shift is now very slight, even at
high power the shift is say one to two Mars diameters at most or about
10 to 20 arc seconds.  It was about 100 to 200 arc seconds before the

This may not solve all the problems of mirror shift but those with
problems should consider experimenting with this.


Subject:	Meade ETX
Sent:	Sunday, May 30, 1999 22:07:09
From:	Mal47@aol.com
Hello!  Thanks for your great ETX website.  I visit it often and have
read all of the reviews relating to ETX accessories.

I have one question:  If I could have the 26mm and 9.7mm Meade super
plossl eyepieces OR a Zoom eyepiece by either Meade or Televue (8mm-24mm
Zoom), which do you think I should choose?  I think the Zoom eyepiece
would be very convenient, but I don't know how much they sacrifice in
visual quality.  I use the scope as much for terestrial use as for
astronomical use.

I'm sure you get hundreds of e-mails, so I thank you in advance if you
have the time to help with this decision.

Thanks,  Malcolm  (mal47@aol.com)
Mike here: Glad you like the site. As you can tell from the user comments on zoom eyepieces (on the Accessories - Eyepieces page), both the Televue and Meade zooms seem to be of high quality. So, the decision today seems to lean more towards a zoom eyepiece than just a few years ago.

Subject:	 ETX for sale
Sent:	Sunday, May 30, 1999 20:20:55
From:	aaron_dayton@hotmail.com (Aaron Dayton)
hello id like to put up a sale on your page

meade etx 5 months old lookes bran spankin new
only 400 bucks

please email aaron_dayton@hotmail.com
for more info please
ill bargan a lttle bit
comes with all the packaging and box

Subject:	 Re: CCD/Video Image
Sent:	Saturday, May 29, 1999 19:47:00
From:	mturney@innercite.com (Michael L. Turney)
Thanks Michael. This site must be alot of work for "little" (none, zip,
zero..) pay but w'ere highly appreciative if that counts for anything.
Happy viewing.
Mike here: Thanks. But I couldn't do this without the valuable feedback and submittals from the ETX Community.

Subject:	 thanks for you quick response!!
Sent:	Saturday, May 29, 1999 15:02:37
From:	bblodge1@rochester.rr.com (Bill Blodgett)
i have decided to get an etx but what do you feel is the major
differances between the 90 and the coming out 125? should i wait for the
125 because it is better? or will it be too bulky to be considered a

Mike here: Supposedly, the only difference in the ETX-90EC and the ETX-125EC is size. More light gathering power at the expense of portability. If you think portability is not an issue, then consider the 125. If you plan to travel with the ETX, you'll want the 90.

Subject:	 CCD/Video Image
Sent:	Friday, May 28, 1999 12:54:06
From:	mturney@innercite.com (Michael L. Turney)
I am looking at buying the ETX-125 as my first scope. I want to get
non-astronomy types excited when viewing with it and believe if I can
pull an image up on my laptop computer in semi realtime while attached
to the scope it can only help. (rather than squinting in an eyepiece)
Does that capability currently exsist for the ETX-90 and what do you

Thanks a bunch.
Mike Turney
Mike here: CCD imagers can be attached to the ETX (any model). Search the site for "CCD" and you'll see lots of examples and some attachment information.

Subject:	 etx mail list
Sent:	Friday, May 28, 1999 8:22:55
From:	bobf@rrinyc.org (bob friedman)
sorry to bother you, but i signed up for the etx mail list and want to
get off.. i sent mail back to unsubscribe but i guess it didn't take..
can you help me?

thanx in advance

Mike here: ETX Mailing List problems should be sent to the list admin: dan.pancamo@lmco.com (Pancamo, Dan).

Subject:	 Mounting an ETX
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 1999 11:51:27
From:	gcarter@privatei.com (Gregg Carter)
Yeah, great site !!

I'm probably gonna get a 90 or a 125.  Haven't decided yet.

Quick question:  what are the mounting options on the base of the ETX
scopes?  I haven't had a chance to look at the bottom of one yet.  I'm
curious as to how hard it is to mount one on a pier.  I will probably
use it in alt/az mode exclusively.  Also, I have a Super Polaris tripod
and equatorial head.  When I take the head off I have a nice, stable
tripod with a circular base that has a hole in the center and a big
screw for securing the equatorial head.  I wonder if I could mount a 90
or a 125 on top of this for alt/az operation.


Mike here: There are standard tripod mounting screw holes in the base of the ETX-90RA and ETX-90EC. Don't know about the ETX-125EC. You probably want to check the Scopetronix site for their tripod adapter for the ETX-90EC since it doesn't have a central screw hole. Once you have that you could probably mount the ETX-90EC on your tripod.

Added later:

Thanks for the tip.  I checked the Scopetronix site and it sure looks
like that adapter would do the trick.  The SP tripod is solid as a rock.
My long (FL=980mm) Celestron refractor was really solid on the
equatorial head mounted on the tripod, so the 90EC should be very solid
in alt-az mode. Gonna sell the Celestron scope since I recently bought a
Pronto and the new Telepod mount.  But I'll keep the tripod :)

Subject:	 Thanks mike
Sent:	Wednesday, May 26, 1999 23:46:40
From:	johnlat@earthlink.net (John R Latini)
Thanks for this wonderful site. I have a ETX-125 on order and can't wait
to get it. I've been looking for info on it, and even Meade does'nt have
some of the stuff your site has. One thing: This constant claim that ETX
can produce clean images WAY beyond the apeture limits. A professor in
"Sky & Telescope" said that he cranked up the ETX-90 to 350 power, with
no image loss. Meade says you could crank up the 125 to 400X with no
problem., but seasoned amateurs I talk to, some who work in telescope
stores laugh and say it is all hype B.S., and it defies the laws of
physics. I seen one e-mail on your site here, that says "500X".  Is this
Department Store Style Hype, or based on any facts? Do you or anyone
else have any info on this?

Also, any info on the "JMI" tripod as compared to the "Meade" tripod,
for the ETX?

Thanks John L.
Mike here: Image quality is a lot in the "eye of the beholder" but the ETX-90 does do an excellent job in this regard. Depending upon the object, very high magnification can be used during excellent periods of excellent atmospheric seeing. Check the Accessories - Tripods page for some info on several tripods.

Subject:	 I want to see the moons around jupiter
Sent:	Wednesday, May 26, 1999 21:06:25
From:	bblodge1@rochester.rr.com (Bill Blodgett)
Should i wait for the 125 etx to get a better view of the moons around
jupiter? I want to get a telescope and want to get a Meade, but i heard
the 125's wont be out till july when i called Meade. Should i get a 8'
sc from Meade or wait for the 125? Think i know your answer but would
like a comment anyway. Love your site

Mike here: You can see the four largest moons of Jupiter with binoculars, the ETX-90EC, and smaller and larger telescopes. If this is your only requirement, why wait? Go for an ETX-90EC now. Getting an 8" is overkill unless you want to see the fainter moons and then you'll likely need something even larger.

Subject:	 ETX Baffles
Sent:	Wednesday, May 26, 1999 12:50:29
From:	Watson_J@compuserve.com (John Watson)
I noticed quite a severe internal reflection in my ETX, coming off the
inside of the baffle-tube.  It produces a bright horseshoe-shaped
reflection when a bright star is just outside the visual field (with any
Meade eyepiece I tried).  Roger Wortley (in London) has the same problem
and checked some ETXs in the London stockist.  The new ones, both
regular ETX and 90EC, showed the reflection.  An older ETX that has been
used for some time as a demo model didn't.   My ETX has an internally
ridged but rather shiny baffle tube, (looks as if it made out of
plastic?).  Has there been a design change, or are we the only ones to
have noticed?

Subject:	 ETX at latitude 18N
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 1999 18:41:14
From:	park@magma.ca (park)
I'm impressed that there is a site on the ETX and I hope that you or
your readers can help me with some advice. I am about to purchase a
telescope for use at latitude 18 but am a novice. The likely use is a
mix of terrestrial (sailboats) and astronomical viewing. I am impressed
by the reviews of the ETX/RA and it looks like a good choice for quality
of optics, portability and general purpose use.

The only worry I have is that the "Sky and Telescope" review mentioned 
a problem with polar alignment below latitude 45 and no real ability to
polar align below latitude 22.


"Unlike larger Schmidt-Cassegrains that swing through their fork mounts,
the ETX's tube cannot clear its base to aim farther south than about -35
declination. This means that at 20 to 25 latitude (Hawaii and Florida) a
polar-aligned ETX can't aim lower than about 30 above the southern
horizon. The workaround is simply to not polar-align for deep-south
viewing. " How important is this ? I am unlikely to do any astronomical
photography. Can this be faxed with a tripod ?

I'd be grateful if any of your 'readers' can venture an opinion.

thanks in advance 
Mike here: With the ETX-90EC (or -125EC) and an Autostar, you won't need to polar align. The Autostar will track in RA when set up in Alt/Az mode. However, if you need to polar align (for piggyback astrophotography, for example) you can run into problems at low latitudes. Also, you'll need a tripod that can handle the low latitude (such as the JMI Wedgepod).

Subject:	 Portability Plus
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 1999 15:09:06
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
The website is still the best on this planet. As usual.

Finally broke away from my university project I've been working
on...done with that for a couple of weeks.

Thought I'd go outside to smoke a cigarette (okay, okay! Everyone has at
least ONE bad habit!), and saw the sky was relatively clear (for
northern England at a 9 p.m. twilight). Picked up my ETX Classic on the
way to the door, went outside, plopped the scope down on a flat wall top
in my garden. Lit a Marlboro.

Checked out a decent half or so moon, saw some interesting crater detail
(what do they call those pillars in the center of the crater?) on the

Slid over to Mars, cranked in a 9.7, checked out a dark, triangular-
shaped surface feature. Had a couple of quick moments of excellent

Rolled around to Venus, checked out the cresecent, noticed that Venus
was much brighter than the moon (something to do with albedo?).

Put out my cigarette, picked up the scope, went back inside, hopped in
bed with the wife.

I loovvvve portability.


P.S. I left the scope on the dining room table before I went to bed....

Bob Ostergaard 

Subject:	 refractive lenses
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 1999 7:38:56
From:	thehardhat@earthlink.net (Richard March)
#Umm...confused?  Well, how 'bout -me gets quite confused even 
#after these
#many manuals I have ...perused.    Pardon me.
#On a more thlierious note...can anyone direct me to basic information
#regarding how the index of refraction of a particular material 
#relates to
#that materials use as a refractive objective lens?  I am considering a
#material much harder than glass and curious as to what advantage it may
#have, assuming equal or better light transmission.

(The above was my response to the gentleman with the questions about
"viewing" vs "apparent" FOV, and a questions I had.)

As a matter of technical trivia members may find interesting, the
material I was considering was moissanite, manufactured locally by C3,
Inc. as a substitute for jewlery diamond, among other things.  This
morning I spoke with their Director of Technology who graciously
explained that unfortunately, moissanite has a far higher light
dispersion property seperating different light wavelenghts which would
cause the "rainbow" abberation, and is also bio-(something) which means
you would see double if you tried to look at a line through it for
instance.  He did confirm however, that natural diamond would be
superior to all other material.  We both had to chuckle at the prospect
of how quickly the world would probably put someone in jail as a matter
of principal for doing such a thing for a telescope, even if they
actually owned a real diamond that big.  I dare you Bill Gates!

In any case, my question to the ETX community is has anyone experimented
with using the ETX hardware/software with a binocular setup?  Is such a
thing possible without the assistance of MIT?  Or is all of this simply
heretical musings of a madman and I should just go away?

                   Richard March, Pres.                  
               Airventures Uninsured, Inc.    
  The Flexible Helmet, design concept of the future.

Subject:	 A New Dew Shield for ETXs
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 1999 6:21:17
From:	boudreau@eng.umd.edu (Paul J. Boudreaux)
I thought your viewers might be interested in a new and very inexpensive
way to make a light weight and variable coverage dew shield for the ETX.
I used a 2 liter Coke bottle. I'm sure Pepsi would also work. By cutting
off the top and bottom of the plastic bottle, you wind up with about a 6
inch long length of straight plastic tube. Trim the curved plastic off
with a scissors until only a straight plastic tube about six inches long
remains. After carefully washing off the residue, I sprayed both the
inside and outside surfaces with flat black paint. Using the same trick
that I described in the PVC 4 inch pipe conector dew shield: I used self
adhesive VELCRO tape. I placed the "felt" portion of the VELCRO self
adhesive tape on one inside-end of the tube. This acts a a snug fit over
the outside of the ETX OTA. It will slide back and forth on the optical
tube of the ETX without scratching. Next, I placed the VELCRO "hooks"
tape around the opposite outside-end of the tube to act as a gripping
surface to help slide the tube on the ETX. It also helps to hold the
circular shape of the thin plastic dew shield when deployed. The
attached photos show the tube alone, the tube retracted for storage on
the ETX, and the tube deployed as a dew shield. About 15 inches of self
adhesive VELCRO tape was used. It can be obtained at Arts & Crafts
stores or large hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot.

The Coke bottle dew shield makes a very light weight and robust dew
shield for a very low cost. I hope users find it as useful as I did.

Paul Boudreaux

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC: where to buy in Germany?
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 1999 6:16:09
From:	Bernhard.Kohmanns@mchp.siemens.de (Bernhard Kohmanns)
where and to which price can I buy the ETX-90/EC now (= May 1999) in
Germany? Astrocom told me that it wouldn't be available before October.
I cannot believe that, because we are going to have an eclipse here
already in August and nobody wants to buy the older technology (ETX-90)
because of two months.

Thanks a lot and best regards,

Bernhard Kohmanns

Subject:	 Finders
Sent:	Monday, May 24, 1999 20:11:34
Need some info concerning right angle viewfinders. Got a Meade RA finder
from Astronomics (great folks!) and was disapointed with the WIDE
crosshairs (are you listening Meade?) I've got a 30 day return window
and thinking  of returning it to Astronomics,,applying credit to an
Autostar and maybe ordering a Shutan kit. Did the size of crosshair
change with the Shutan? Or even more important, with Alt-Az and Autostar
is a RA Finder a moot question? Plan on trying Astrophotography,,if
Polar vs Alt Az makes a big differance with Autostar. The other big
'hassle" with Meades RA finder is that it sits up so high,,,with a
(shorter) 9.7 eyepiece it gets in the way, the pics of the Shutan look 
much shorter,,any feedback and experiences from the troops would be
appreciated,,,,,clear skies,,,,thanks
Mike here: With the Shutan right-angle finder adapter, the cross-hairs are the same as with the straight-through finder since they are in the finder itself. I haven't had any problem with height of the Shutan adapter. The mounting mode will matter if doing piggyback astrophotography. You'll need polar for that.

Subject:	 [Fwd: Meade Stock]
Sent:	Monday, May 24, 1999 10:18:02
From:	gbg@webspan.net (Gary)
When I last wrote about Meade Stock, I was optimistic.  So far, it has
fluctuated but remained fairly flat, i.e. worth about the same that I
paid oh, say a month ago or so.  BusinessWeek Online lists Meade as one
of the 100 hot growth companies - it doesn't say very much, but my own
view is with the DS series and computerized scopes in Walmart, etc.,
PROVIDED THEY WORK, then the stock will go high next January.

AOL Investment Snapshot - MEAD (Keyword to: aol://4785:MEAD:NAS)

from there, click to the left frame for BusinessWeek Magazine, then
scroll down about 1/10 on the main frame (based on the little frame
marker thingie on the right) until you hit red letters - Special Report
- Under "Hot Growth Companies"

Usual Caveats apply, warranty void if you remove the screws, don't burn
down your house, and nobody is responsible for your stock purchases.  So

p.s. (you knew there'd be one) - I'm on my 3rd etx - still doesn't go to
correctly, i'm an inch away from demanding my money back!!!!can't wait
to try it all again with the 125, which i saw in the Sky & Telescope
July Issue ad...getting close!

Subject:	 tracking
Sent:	Saturday, May 22, 1999 10:09:09
From:	vernlw@teleport.com (vernlw)
Just for the record, I tracked Castor last night for a good 10 minutes
with a 6.4 plossl plus 2x barlow.  That's 390x (111x per inch), folks!
Perfect airy disk images, and still dead center at the end of the time.
From a clear, but light polluted suburban site.


Subject:	 Filter
Sent:	Saturday, May 22, 1999 3:16:33
From:	arne.tjolsen@pki.uib.no (Arne Tjolsen)
The mirror of your great website seems to function very well!

To User feedback:
Just wanted you to know that I tried the Meade 23A light red filter on
Mars, and it worked fine, even with 9.7 mm + 2x Barlow. The image was
not too dark, and contrast between bright and dark areas was definitely
improved. So, 23A may be used on the ETX, although it is suggested that
it should only be used on scopes from 6" up ...

But, all color variations were of course lost, everything is very RED!

- Arne Tjolsen

Subject:	 Help?
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 1999 12:39:09
From:	plewsm@inetnebr.com (Mike Plews)
Your site is terrific, lots of excellent information from people who are
not trying to sell anything. It's been an eye opener for a newcomer like

For the last four years my family and I have lived on a farm 25 miles
from the nearest large city. On a clear moonless night it gets darker
than the inside of a cow out here. We have been enjoying the night sky
with binoculars but now the time is near for us to buy a telescope. We
have been eyeing an ETX90 for a while but for not much more money the
ETX125 looks like a better investment, or should we be looking at one of
the entry level 8"SCTs?. Because we are in a good location for viewing
portability is not an issue.

Any thoughts you or your readers might have on this would be
                          thank you
                           Mike Plews
Mike here: Light gathering power is important. If portability (which can also mean ease of setup) is not an issue, go for the largest telescope you can afford. Just remember that if it is so large that it becomes inconvenient to set it up, the extra light gathering power will be wasted with the telescope in the closet.

Subject:	 No trade
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 1999 5:37:30
From:	r.a.pollock@worldnet.att.net (Robert Pollock)
I love your site!  Just wanted to let you know that I got a letter from
Meade last night that they will NOT be offering a trade out program or
an upgrade from the ETX-Astro to the 90-EC.  They say that parts and
labor costs would be prohibitive.  They also said they will not be
selling the mounts seperately.  Do you get the feeling they would like
us all to dump our old stuff and buy the new models?

Clear Skies,
R. Pollock
Mike here: I'm sure that Meade, like any manufacturer, would love for customers to buy every new product that comes out. Ford, GM, Compaq, Apple, Sony, Celestron; they all release new products with customers on existing products. But not everyone sells their one-year-old car to get the new model, or their desktop computer to get a faster one every six months, etc.

Subject:	 ETX Hole Plug
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 1999 14:45:21
From:	DKretzer@sacbee.com (Dale Kretzer)
I just bought an ETX-90/EC and am having a wonderful time getting
acquainted with it. With all the in-depth discussions on your excellent
Web site, the following item is really minor. I thought, however, it
might be a handy service to others.

When storing the ETX, pulling out the eyepiece leaves that gaping hole
into the interior of the OTA. By sheer coincidence, I found that the
plastic film container for common 35mm film will slip right into that
hole, bottom side down. It rests against a lip about an inch down and
thus will not contact anything else further inside. It is almost a
perfect fit and you can turn the setscrew a turn or so to hold it in
place. Being all plastic, it won't scratch anything and won't break, and
is easy to grasp for removal if you leave the cap on it.

Your Web site is providing a greatly appreciated service, and I will
continue to monitor it for further clues as I muddle along. I'm writing
from work (isn't that handy!), and my home e-mail address is

Thanks again for all the good info.  Dale Kretzer in Sacramento, CA.
Mike here: One caution: watch out for plastic filings falling inside the OTA if you tighten the setscrew.

Subject:	 Polar Alignment
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 1999 14:18:19
From:	cann@axionet.com (Douglas E. Cann)
Hi Mike,  Hope you are keeping well and getting lots of chances to view
Mars.  Just a reminder to 'new' ETX users and polar alignment.  As long
as your mount is adjusted to the correct local angle (latitude) and you
know where true north is, you do not have to use Polaris or the view
finder etc. to polar align. I cannot see the pole star nor the northern
horizon from my observing site, a 'manual' set up has always been more
than accurate enough for the clock drive to track for quite a while. 
Even with a very rough quick set up, you can usually track for up to 15
minutes without too much tweeking.

Hope this helps and prevents "polar alignment anxiety".  Absolute
accuracy is just not that large an issue.

Mike here: I use a compass to consistently set up.

Subject:	 Doskocil carrying case
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 1999 12:38:07
From:	bhc@lion.crsd.k12.pa.us (Bradley H. Criswell)
Great page.  We can only hope your energy for running this site is
sustained for the "long haul".  Thank you!

I've found the weather tight Doskocil carrying case (perfect for the ETX
and/or the ETX 90/EC) in a Cabela's catalog for $57.99 + $5.95 postage
(3-6 day delivery)  This is a few dollars cheaper than Wholesalehunters
($57.00 + $10.00 postage).  It is listed as "Extra Large Doskocil All
Weather Series Gun Case".  Item # HJ-22-0623-803.  Phone 1 800 496 6329.
 Cabela's web site is www.cabelas.com ,though the case does not appear
on their page.

        Hope this can be of use!
        Good seeing to all!
        Brad Criswell (bhc@lion.crsd.k12.pa.us)

Subject:	 Space Calendar (JPL) Link
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 1999 8:13:11
From:	Carlos.Labastida@vw.com (Labastida, Carlos)
Thought you would be interested in this link:


It has a great deal of information on astronomic events.

Congratulations for your site! It rules!

Carlos Labastida

Subject:	 ETX 90EC
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 1999 8:34:16
From:	mafiosoman@webtv.net (David)
I want to start off by saying that I enjoy your site very much and have
learned much from it. I recently exchanged the original etx for the 90EC
and I love the ability to move the scope via remote control. I'm only a
beginner in the world of astronomy and really might have expected a
little more from the scope like viewing deep space objects and viewing
more detail in planets, (even though I haven't used filters and live in
a fairly light polluted region of florida). I was really disillusioned
by how a local telescope dealer desribed the etx as being a tinker toy
and only good for viewing the moon and planets. I tried purchasing a
t-adapter for the etx and he said it was a waste of money and that the
etx was not up to taking astrophotography.He said as far as optics ,the
etx was of high quality, but as for the rest of the scope it was
laughable.He said the etx does not have enough aperature to get good
views of deep space objects, so when I asked about the autostar he said
that was also a laughable product and a waste of money. So what I'm
getting at is, for the money would I have been better off buying a scope
with greater aperature? But I like the ability to easily transport the
scope from place to place. Could I expect more from the 125EC via
astrophotography, views of deep space, detail in planets and a
signifigant noticable difference in light gathering while still keeping
portability a feature? I also want to know if the 125EC is compatable
with the current line of etx accessories ex:T-adapter,eyepieces,
autostar,etc... Thank you,and keep me up to date on your feelings on the
Mike here: More aperture will get you the views you want but at the sacrifice of portability and ease of setup. Tradeoffs! Accessories which work with the ETX-90EC should work with the ETX-125EC, except those that are sized to the ETX-90 (like piggyback adapters).

Subject:	 Comet Filter
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 1999 10:10:06
From:	lylet@access.com (Tompsen, Lyle L (CORP, ITDG))
First I gotta tell you I love your web site...

Do you (or anyone out there) have any info on Comet (so called Swan)
filters? I have seen these advertised but have no idea if they really
work. With Comet Lee rising, I though this might help my urban skis.....


Have a nice day!!

Lyle Tompsen, Senior Accounting Technician Access Graphics
Telephone: 303.415.2882 Fax: 303.938.8210 Email: Lylet@access.com 

"....Argue not with dragons as thou art crunchy and go well with Brie..."

Subject:	 Piggy Back Adapter for a Meade ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 1999 17:00:13
From:	jfmenard@abacom.com (Jean-Francois Menard)
Can you tell me where I can buy the piggy back kit for a Meade

I need one and I live in Sherbrooke, Quebec (Canada).

Thanks in advance for help!

Jean-Francois Menard
Mike here: JMI has one. Any dealer who sells JMI products should be able to help you. Shutan, Astronomics, Pocono, and others listed on the Astronomy Links page can probably help.

Subject:	VHS
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 1999 13:50:16
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
before i ask you my main question, i just wanted to thank you again for
all your help concerning my polar mode problem!

now my new problem concerns a portable vhs recorder... i was out today
at around 3pm, looking at the crescent moon in broad day light with my
etx. i had this amazing urge to film what i saw in the eyepiece, but had
trouble focusing. it either under focused (this ended up giving me a
view of the secondary mirror) or overfocused and all i saw was dust on
the eyepiece. is there a special way to do this, so that i can film the
moon tonight? i tried removing the eyepiece and using the camcorder as
the lens, but that did not work either. is it impossible to do this
without a recorder that has a manual focus? (mine is only automatic) any
help is appreciated (as always)! thanks
Mike here: Focus the camcorder to infinity and the eyepiece to your eye.

Subject:	 I'm a Little Concerned
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 1999 11:09:21
From:	JALowe@hhlaw.com (Lowe, Jeffrey A.)
I purchased a C8 about 15 years ago and I am now thinking about
purchasing an etx-90 for use with my very young children.  I went to the
Discovery Channel Store yesterday to look at one and I have to say I'm a
little concerned.  It seems to have an awful lot of plastic.  More
disturbing, however, was the incredibly shaky image that I got looking
through the ocular.  The etx was mounted to the deluxe field tripod and
every time I put my eye close to the ocular or touched the focus, the
image would shake like crazy.  From reviewing the comments in your site,
it also seems as though Meade has some pretty serious quality control
problems, both with the scope and the autostar.  While it may be true
that the etx offers tremendous portability, will it really be worth it
if the scope continually breaks or provides a shaky image?
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Mike here: There are tradeoffs that must be accepted when designing and purchasing any product. Cost vs capability vs materials vs .... The ETX provides excellent optical quality in a small package. Yes, to reduce the overall cost some plastic is used. Overall, the ETX remains good value for your money. As to the vibrations you've (and other ETX users) have noted, they can be reduced by good mounting (or no mounting; just place the base on a flat surface) or by using the optional electronic focuser.

Subject:	 ETX for sale
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 1999 6:08:29
From:	Ken.George@COMPAQ.com (George, Ken)
I have the following for sale:

Meade ETX-90
JMI Wedgepod
Meade 26mm & 9.7 mm Super Plssl eyepieces
Meade 2X Barlow
Meade Moon Filter
Meade carrying case

Original Purchase Price in October 1998:	approx. $1000
Selling Price:	$600 or best offer.

Ken George
Technical Analyst
Sprint Paranet
email: kvgeorge@sprintparanet.com

Subject:	 Televue 32mm eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 1999 5:36:17
From:	lightkeeper@sprintmail.com (Jock Elliott)
The thing I like least about my ETX is the fairly narrow field of view
(1 degree 5 minutes at 48x with the standard 26mm eyepiece, according to
SkyMap5) and the fact that I can't view with my eyeglasses on.

Recently, while visiting a friend, I used his Televue 32 mm. It has
excellent eye relief, so I can view with my glasses that correct my
astigmatism. The FOV is 1 degree 15 minutes at 39x, a bit wider than
standard, which makes viewing large objects, like Orion, more

I found this eyepiece to be razor sharp. I can detect the "double
double" in the handle of the big dipper with it, and with a 2X barlow,
we split the double in Castor. It also works very well for terrestrial

The folks at Televue tell me the 32mm offers the widest true field in a
1.25 inch eyepiece. All I know is that I liked the wider field and the
eye relief so much that I voted with my wallet -- I bought one for

Cheers, Jock Elliott

Subject:	 Meade Eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 1999 2:31:33
From:	BKSTA2@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
I have just visited your TEST SITE and everything looked fine.

Just a question about Meade Eyepieces.  What is the difference between
series 3000 and series 4000?  The price of series 4000 is 1.5 to 2 times
of series 3000.

Best regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand. 100.3 E, 13.5 N
Mike here: See their web site for the complete descriptions of the Meade Series 3000 Plossl and Series 4000.

Subject:	 $5 solar filter
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 1999 14:49:28
From:	lightkeeper@sprintmail.com (Jock Elliott)
Got a sheet of aluminized mylar for $5.00 from a vendor at NEAF (North
East Astronomy Forum) yesterday (May 16, 1999). He said it's the same
stuff used in solar filters -- use two layers.

But how to mount the mylar? It turns out that a two-liter plastic soda
bottle is virtually the perfect diameter. Cut the top and bottom off,
leaving a 5-inch tube. Wash and dry it well, and tape two layers of the
mylar to the top then slide it over the ETX. A bit of aluminum foil over
the objective of the finder to protect it (if you're using a Rigel
Quickfinder like I am, be sure to protect that from the sun as well),
and -- voila! -- you're ready to look at sunspots!

I've got the world's only Diet Rasberry ETX.

Cheers, Jock Elliott

Subject:	 web page
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 1999 7:34:08
From:	vidalm@ctv.es (Vidal)
Reply-to:	vidalm@ctv.es (Vidal)
I'm Joan Vidal Llidó from Spain again. I send you this e-mail to make
you know that I have a web page. All of them were made with an ETX, I
only have this telescope, I'm 16 years old.

Subject:	 Polar aligning
Sent:	Sunday, May 16, 1999 16:11:56
From:	j.blust@rol3.com (Jrgen Blust)
Congratulations for your ETX Site duplicate at weasner.com that I've
just visited! It is mindblowing fast: loading a Site at about 5.5?6.5
Kbits makes searching for informations nearly a gift of Heaven!

If you ask me, you should kick AOL...

The price of an LX200 and your site brought me to the decision to
purchase an ETX in December last year. Unfortunately, a few weeks later
the EC was shipped. Although watching the stars is fascinating! It was
on my birthday, when I saw Saturn with my own eyes for the first time of
my life! In Technicolor and Dolby Surround! What a present! (Okay,
Saturn was only a small white dish with tiny white rings and all you
could hear was a soft wind blowing)

Last night I've watched Mars. Mars seems to be a light red object, but
looking through the ETX it was "only" a white dish - fascinating.

The only thing that makes me no so happy is polar aligning the ETX: Here
in South-West of Germany we are at 48N. The scale on the ETX's table
tripod ends at 45 or 46,  so adjusting the correct angle becomes a
special science. This is not a serious problem, but it takes too many
time. The real problem that I have, is finding Polaris. There is no
ability to look through the finder scope, and I guess I will never find
it unless I will buy a 90-degree-finder which is too expensive (because
of the over-sea shipping and all the taxes you pay nearly twice the
price of an US-product -  I got my ETX for about $ 900).

Can you give me some short tips?

Best wishes from Germany! Juergen Blust

P.S. Please excuse my not so good English, but I hope that you
understand what I wrote to you...
Mike here: There is a "high latitude" leg which you can purchase. One solution to the polar aligning is to use a magnetic compass. You do the align once and note the compass orientation. This works when the ETX is mounted on a tripod or you have a table on which you always place the ETX. If you always set up the ETX in the same place, you can place markers on the surface instead of using a compass to indicate where each of the three legs should be placed.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Saturday, May 15, 1999 21:51:24
From:	fpco@duke-energy.com (FPCO)
I saw the standard ETX (non - EC 90) at Sam's Club for $299.99 with two
MA eyepieces.  If you don't really want the GOTO capability that's a
pretty good price.

Marcus Parenti

Subject:	 Meade RA finder
Sent:	Saturday, May 15, 1999 21:37:19
From:	fpco@duke-energy.com (FPCO)
I agree with Tomuphigh@aol.com concerning the Meade 8x25 RA finder, but
I find the cross-hairs too thick.  I wanted to know from anyone if there
is a way to remove them and replace them with the ones from the straight
through finder?

Marcus Parenti  (marden1123@aol.com)  

Subject:	 Thank you.
Sent:	Thursday, May 13, 1999 0:28:28
From:	minoru@japan.email.ne.jp (Minoru Hironaka)
Thank you for your mail.
I finally bought a ETC90/EC.
I have learned a lot from your homepage,
and It's very useful.
I'll keep studying. Thank you.

Subject:	 ETX Feedback
Sent:	Wednesday, May 12, 1999 20:46:35
From:	motets@yahoo.com (motets)
hey. you can use the photos and 'reviews' of manfrotto/slik tripod
system that i've posted on my site . hope this will help some people out
there looking for good tripods for their ETX.


Subject:	 ETX 90 for sale
Sent:	Wednesday, May 12, 1999 6:40:16
From:	bkaufman@erols.com (Bernard Kaufman)
I have an ETX 90 with all original accessories and boxes that I would
like to sell.

There is nothing wrong with this telescope or mount and I have never had
any trouble with it.  It is in mint condition.  I want to buy a bigger

I am willing to sell for a reasonable offer.

Please respond to:  bkaufman@erols.com


Bernard Kaufman

Subject:	 traveling with etx
Sent:	Wednesday, May 12, 1999 2:43:03
From:	motets@yahoo.com (motets)
hi again. i wanted to get your opinion (being the ETX expert >8p ) about
travelling with ETX. if can still remember, i already bought an aluminum
case for my etx. the problem is i can't find a shop that will make a
custom cut foam for etx for me. it is safer to remove the OTA from the
fork mount and wrap it with foams before putting it inside the case -
than putting the whole thing inside the case with foams on the sides? i
am assuming that it is best to take care of the OTA.

  thanks (again)!

Mike here: As long as YOU are handling the case, foam pads should be OK since YOU will be careful. But if someone else (e.g., THE DREADED BAGGAGE HANDLERS) will be handling the case, you may want to remove the tube and pack things even more thoroughly.

Subject:	 USRobotics BigPicture CCD
Sent:	Tuesday, May 11, 1999 14:25:17
From:	GPoduska@wcom.net (Poduska, Gary F.)
I have seen many articles describing the use of the Connectix QuickCam
as a CCD on the ETX-90/EC.  Do you know of anyone using the USR
BigPicture CCD for astrophotography?  As I found out, the USR BigPicture
video camera is actually manufactured by Phillips.  Any help would be

Gary Poduska
Network Sales Engineer
UUNET Technologies


Subject:	 primitive 1x viewfinder
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 1999 19:52:26
From:	fsotoma@fis.ulima.edu.pe (Fernando Sotomayor)
It was difficult for me to find with the ETX viewfinder the objects I
wanted to see, specially those objects high in the sky. This was due to
a) the way in which the viewfinder is attached to the telescope and b)
the narrowness of the viewfinder's field.

To solve this problem a made a primitive 1x viewfinder which allows me
to put the desired object inside the field of the ETX viewfinder. Once
the object is inside the field, it is easily put at the center of the

The 1x viewfinder is simply a plastic tube about 10cm long and with
2.5cm diameter. This tube is open at both ends and has two crosshairs
made with black sewing thread. One crosshair is located at one end of
the tube and the other at about 3.5cm from the other end. The crosshairs
are shifted 45 so that when you see through the tube, superimposing the
crosshair centers, you  will see a circle with 8 radios equally spaced.

This 1x viewfinder is mounted above the EXT viewfinder, close to the top
screws,  using a ruber ring (used by bank clerks to group paper money)
which is engaged to the  bottom screws in the left and right of the ETX
viewfinder. The end of the tube which has a crooschair should go as
objective and the other as the ocular.

Once mounted the 1x viewfinder has to be aligned with the ETX
viewfinder. Just move  the1x viewfinder until the centers of its  two
crosshairs coincide and point to some object the ETX viewfinder is
pointing. And that is all.

To use the 1x viewfinder, just move the telescope looking through th 1x
viewfinder until the two centers of the crooshair point at the same time
to the desired object. As result of this operation it is almost sure
that the object will be inside the field of the ETX viewfinder.

To make the crosshair you just have to  perforate the tube at two
perpedicualr diameters and, using a needle,  make pass through opposing
holes a black sewing thread.

I used a REDOXON (vitamin C tablets) tube, removing its base. It is hard
but very light.

I think I will buy the EZ finder from Orion, but in the meanwhile this
1x primitive viewfinder is helping me a lot. I already can point to
Mars, just in the middle of the sky, with a relative facility.

Thanks for your time, and for having this site.

Fernando Sotomayor
Lima Peru.

Subject:	 Trouble with Meade site
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 1999 14:04:52
From:	waltwarren@workmail.com (Walter Warren)
A couple of quick questions.  Do you know of a webmaster email address
for Meade? And are the Autostar update files available anyplace other
than www.meade.com?

For some reason its impossible to connect to the Meade site using the
Internet Service Provider I have an account with.  Neither I nor any of
their other users can get the Meade site to load.  We all get messages
that "the connection to the server was reset" and "Server returned an
invalid response."  My ISP's technical support people haven't got a clue
what the problem is and I'd like to send a message to the Meade
webmaster asking if they are doing anything unusual.

Walter Warren
Mike here: As far as I know, Meade does not host the files anyplace else. There is no webmaster listed on their site. You might try faxing a problem report to Meade at (949) 451-1460. I would expect they can get it sent to the right person.

Subject:	 ETX vs LX50
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 1999 9:25:48
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
In reference to Bob Martin's comments on the ETX and the Meade 7" I have
to say there's no camparison.  I have both and though I'm very happy
with my portable ETX 90/EC, the 7" blows it away.  M81 is not a good
comparison.  Try globulars like M13, M5, M22 to say a few.  M51 actually
shows a hint of arms.  The ETX couldn't possibly do that or resolve some
of the globulars to the core.  Aperature wins.  Especially with
Maksutovs.  If you want to reduce set up time, check out Phil
Harrington's new 2nd edition of STAR WARE.  It has a nice suggestion for
adding portabilty to the telescope already mounted to it's tripod.  It's
for a LX200 but I'm sure it would work on a LX50 too.  Also try what I
do.  Set up the telescope with the fan on and have dinner.  By the time
you come out it should cool off nicely.  Finally, what you have is a
serious research instrument.  Check out the Quail Hollow Observatory web
site at www.bitnik.com/QHO The 7" MAK is their main instrument!  I guess
I have Maksutov fever because I'm seriously considering upgrading my ETX
to the ETX125. The little ETX is still a wonderful portable instrument. 
Hope this helps.


Subject:	 ETX and Dust
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 1999 8:56:57
From:	peter.dawson@uwinnipeg.ca (Peter Dawson)
I was looking into the OTA of my ETX the other day, and I noticed that
the primary mirror had one or two small but visible particles of dust on
it. This has probably come up a few times here already, but I was
wondering if I should be concerned enough to remove them or just leave
them be. The thought of removing the corrector plate alone is enough to
make me nervous. Given that most Newts have open tubes, I'm sure that
their primary mirrors often get exposed to dust, etc, but with the small
size of the ETX's primary, I wondered about possible image degredation.
Am I just beng anal here?


Mike here: Don't worry about it. You won't detect any image degradation from one or two (or even many) small dust particles.

Subject:	 ETX 90 FOR SALE
Sent:	Sunday, May 9, 1999 14:55:45
From:	aaron_dayton@hotmail.com (Aaron Dayton)
portland oregon
Phone (503) 284-1229
I baught this telescope at natural wounders 2days after christmas in 98'
and i really need to sell it because i want to buy something else

its in really good condition has only been used out side for like 5 hrs

I Will include the 26mm lense

ask for price  Willing to bargan a deeleo


Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Saturday, May 8, 1999 19:23:54
From:	kwkee@singnet.com.sg (Vincent Kee)
Just wanna ask a very basic question here. Can the ETX be collimated by
oneself? Does the secondary has the push pull screw so that collimation
can be done yourself???

Mike here: Not recommended for most people. There is no easy way to collimate the ETX.

Subject:	 doskocil case @ $57.00
Sent:	Saturday, May 8, 1999 8:16:50
From:	rkennedy@loquitur.com (Roderick Kennedy)
Wholesalehunter.com also has the doskocil sealtite case for $57.00. 
Great case, great deal.

Roderick Kennedy
P.O. Box 133, Albq. NM 87103
505.841-8287 / FAX 505.841-8228
"For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity."
- Mark Twain, letter to William Stead, 1890

Subject:	 Tripod case
Sent:	Friday, May 7, 1999 22:55:05
Hey Mike,,congrats on the freebie EC,,you must be special,,I asked for
right fork parts since my early model didn't have tube stops,,they said
nada,,,now for the text of the post,, 

I've seen a few questions and posts regarding tripod carrying cases and
I believe I stumbled into a cheap answer. Its little league season and
my son insisted on a helmet/bat gear bag,,,off to sporting goods
department at Wal-Mart. There I spotted	a youth size helmet/bat bag
manufactured by Worth. Its basically a 6 X 6 inch tube 32.5 inches long
made of sturdy 'duck' canvas. The best part is that on one end it
expands to 12 inches (for the batting helmet) and is a perfect fit for
my Bogen 3011 pod and 3028 head with the 10 X 6 inch base shelf.  I
havent found any dimensions for the popular wedges but it looks like
they could slip in there also still attached to the leggs. Total
damage,,,$14.95,, adjustable padded shoulder strap,,outside mesh
zippered pocket,,,again,,,Worth helmet/bat bag,,model CHYH,,,

Subject:	 my new ETX
Sent:	Friday, May 7, 1999 17:11:32
From:	bigfrog420@yahoo.com (Ben S.)
about 4 months ago i purchased a celestron G8 with all the fixens. i had
been deciding on what scope to buy for over a year! it was to be my
first scope, and i wanted to make sure i got what i paid for. it turns
out that i got what i paid for, but i didnt want it. i only had the
scope out maybe 3 times in the 4 months that i had it. bummer! my wife
asked me why i didnt go out with the scope as often as i wanted to. i
told her that it was just too big for me. it was! i had to drive over to
my parents house(they have dark skies, so the scope stayed there) and
lug the scope out to their back yard just to look at the stars. i
remembered reading somewhere that the best scope is the one you use the
most. obviously i wasnt happy with what i had. so i decided to sell it.
in fact it was sold this past tuesday May 4. i lost about $100, but that
isnt too bad. i was just worried i wouldnt be able to sell it at all.
well, wednesday May 5 i went to our local Natural Wonders store and
bought the Meade ETX/EC and Autostar(will have the field tripod in 3
weeks-$$$). i have to say that in the past year i have cruised through
your site just to see what was said about the ETX. it was never anywhere
near the top of my list. i wanted to hunt for galaxies, and 3.5 inches
of aperture wasnt going to cut it. but i am very VERY happy with my new
ETX even if 14th magnitude is way out of my reach. portability and ease
of use are definately underated! the ETX just looks so cute! i had it
out of the box and operational in just a couple of minutes(too bad there
was nothing to see!). the G8 took me a week to get everything right
before i could take it out. now im just waiting for clear skies. wish me

by the way, your site IS the reason for my purchase. it really helps to
have fellow astronomers looking out for each other! keep up the good

Ben Schaeffer
proud ETX owner
Carlisle, PA

Subject:	 re: ETX upgrade path
Sent:	Friday, May 7, 1999 15:55:30
From:	jlicitra@yahoo.com (John Licitra)
I just spoke with Meade regarding the rumor that an upgrade path for the
ETX would be made available.

They confirmed that there is indeed NO such upgrade available. Upgrades
were considered, but the cost was determined to be prohibitive to the
customer to send the scopes in, pay Meade to align the OTA in the new
mount, and send it back.

Subject:	Barlow lens v. 9.7 eyepiece
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 20:54:27
From:	Giggshome@aol.com
In your opinion should I purchase a Barlow lens or 9.7 eyepiece, or
both, for better viewing of planets specifically, and for general
viewing of stars?  Right now I have the standard eyepiece.

What are the advantages/disadvantages.  I live in northwest NJ where we
have some light pollution, but on a clear dark night it's not too

Are there other issues which I should be addressing?

Thanks in advance for your as always friendly assistance.

Alan Schaffer
Mike here: The Barlow Lens will be the most useful in the long run, assuming you only want to purchase one item now but other eyepieces later. Good quality Barlows don't detract much from image quality, at least with most eyepieces you are likely to be using on the ETX. I certainly wouldn't try a 4mm eyepiece with a 2X Barlow! As to other items, check the Buyer/New User Tips page for a lot of useful info.

Subject:	 Solar photography
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 16:12:59
From:	neurobio@ath.forthnet.gr (Panos)
I'd like to write me the exposure time to use for solar photography and
at the total eclipse. I use solar filter B, eyepiece projection and 400
ASA film.

Thanks in advance,
Panos Tsikoyiannopoulos
Mike here: Trial and error. Do lots of test exposures weeks before the eclipse. Then take lots of exposures at different speeds.

Subject:	 Drawing of Mars
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 14:46:31
From:	marwine@greenmtn.edu (marwine)
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading the post and seeing the
drawing of Mars from Kevin Kretsch (5/5).  I recognize that planet!  And
I recognize the efforts it took to see it!  Very nice work.  I, too, am
amazed by what one can see through the ETX.  We've been under the
weather of late, so i've not tried to see Mars for about ten nights now.
Was hoping to get a break this weekend, but it  looks like the skies
will still be cloudy.  I think it would be important to view as often as
one can during the next ten darker nights before the moon returns to
play tag with it.  It will be getting small in a hurry. I find myself
already looking forward to the next opposition.

Though i was not tempted to trade up to the 90EC, I must confess that
I'm awfully tempted to go for the 125.  Not right away, but one of these

Thanks again for a marvelous site.

good seeing,

Subject:	 buy new ETX
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 14:35:34
From:	thehardhat@earthlink.net (Richard March)
I'm brand new at this and looking for my first scope.  Thanks very much
for putting up a very helpful site for a newbie. Can you direct me to
where I might find the best price for an ETX 90?  Is there such a thing
as the ETX 90 being offered by people as used who are upgrading or
Thank you very much for your time,
Rick March
                   Richard March, Pres.                  
               Airventures Uninsured, Inc.    
  The Flexible Helmet, design concept of the future.
Mike here: Shutan Camera & Video, and some other dealers may have either used or new older models. Check the Astronomy Links page for links to several dealer sites.

Subject:	 Web Site Down for Two Weeks
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 14:13:13
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
Just a quick note: Ostergaard's Forbidden Planetoid will be in use as an
educational tool until 24 May. I'll be using the space to finish up a
final project a team of fellow university students and I are completing
(check it out if you're interested in C++). The Planetoid will be back
and better than ever in two weeks, however, with more astronomy
information, notes on observations, and my further adventures with my

I've already received lots of sound advice and suggestions regarding my
question about bino selection. You can only read so many books, articles
and ads; there's nothing as good as the information people who use this
kind of equipment on a nightly basis can tell you.

Witness your website.

Bob Ostergaard "Eppur si muove!"
"Ostergaard's Forbidden Planetoid"

Subject:	 Expectations?
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 13:22:43
From:	ikeh@bigfoot.com (Ike Hassoun)
A quick question please. My C90 is a couple of weeks old and we've only
had a couple of clear nights during that time here in Sioux Falls, SD.
It is not only my first scope but also my first experience with any
telescope. Is there a term more junior than "newbie"?

Anyway to the point. During the couple of clear nights we did have, I
set up and was able to view great sights of the moon surface. I also
located Mars, manually after consulting the demo version of Skymap for

Finally the question, using the standard lens, 26 mm. what should I have
been able to see?

What I did see was an object somewhat larger than with the naked eye.
While I didn't expect to see magazine picture quality features of the
planet, somehow I had hopes of seeing something more.


Ok, if what I did see is correct, and I certainly don't have a problem
with it I just don't know what to expect, then the answer is to invest
in more lenses. Right?

Any recommendations to start with?


Ike H.
Mike here: Nice to hear from a Celestron C90 user. I guess there is no comparable web site for C90 users??? Anyway, welcome aboard. Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page. Lots of info there on what you can see, eyepiece recommendations, and more.

Subject:	 Meade ETX the view is fuzzy
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 12:25:58
From:	rbrady@parsecdigital.com (Rick Brady)
I've purchased a new Meade ETX and for some reason the view is fuzzy.
I'm in a country area no lights high up in a mountain orchard area. so
lights haze etc are not a problem. IN the view with the lens that came
with it it's not to bad even the moon is almost clear. But the set up
pictured on the box it comes in (the moon close up) the barlow and I
believe 9mm I get fuzzy images same with Mars.
Any help would be greatly
appreciated. ..........................Rick
Mike here: If it appears that you can't reach focus, you can loosen the focus knob using one of the supplied allen keys and reposition the knob further out. This will increase the focus travel. This is usually the culprit.

Subject:	ETX vs LX50
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 1999 7:54:46
From:	BMartin615@aol.com
I recently sold my ETX and bought a good used 7" MAK LX50 with a Sky
Vector II.  Using the LX50 for a couple of weeks is enough to make me
really appreciate what a great little scope the ETX is.  The 7" MAK is
razor sharp, just like its little cousin, and somewhat brighter, but the
scope takes a good hour before the optics cool down and the images
stabilize.  Also, I left the ETX on the mount and could carry the whole
setup outside, set it down, insert an eyepiece and be viewing in less
than a minute with a rough visual polar alignment. I could take it
anywhere in an oversized camera bag! The LX50 has to be lugged outside
in two pieces, assembled, and cooled for quite a while before its
usable.  I really miss the portability of the ETX, and for the little
bit of extra brightness, I am beginning to wonder if the tradeup was
really worth it.  Now I have over $2000 invested in a used scope, and
although planetary views are brighter,  the view of M81 is not much
different than it was before.  For that kind of investment, I might just
keep it a few months, sell it, and buy a new ETX 125/EC with an autostar
when it becomes available, and invest the balance in a big-a** (16")
Dob.  Then I will have the portability, refractor-like performance in a
go-to scope, and the added deep sky ability of the 16" scope for about
the same price. I just thought some of your readers might be interested.

I have some recommendations to any ETX owners, or prospective buyers. 
If you are considering moving up from your 90 Astro to a 90/EC, you
might just consider waiting for the 125/EC and kill 3 birds with one
stone (hand controller, goto function, and aperture). If you own a
90/Astro or 90/EC, the move to a 125/EC will probably be disappointing
in terms of increased brightness alone.  In an email to your website a
couple of months ago, I said I would not jump on the 90/EC bandwagon
right away, because I was concerned about potential problems with the
new scope, and the possibility that Meade would come out with a 5" ETX
soon.  Did I call it or what!  Just another thought.  I just fried my
power board on my LX50 (a la $75) because I plugged in the hand
controller with the power on.  Mike Lee at Meade told me that
occasionally but rarely that can happen if ANY connections are made with
the power on.  ALWAYS have power off if you connect or disconnect
anything, including AC power adapters or external batteries!

Thanks for the great site Mike.
Bob Martin
Mike here: Size does matter! And that doesn't mean that bigger is better.

Subject:	 Drawing of Mars
Sent:	Wednesday, May 5, 1999 12:55:33
From:	kkretsch@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
I finally got to see Mars this week. I got a good night on Monday and
was able to get a good drawing. The scanner at work is out of action at
the moment, so instead I tried redrawing it. The GIF image attatched is
the fruits of my labour and is very true to my original drawing (except
that it was black on white). However, the colours in the image are very
similar to my recollection; pale peach for most of the disk, dark areas
sort of greyish, and the light areas are white.

The drawing was taken with my trusty ETX90-EC a 17mm Plossl with 2x
barlow, about 147x. It took about 20 minutes to make the drawing and the
scope was really badly polar aligned, requiring a lot of correction to
keep the disk centered in the f.o.v. Just goes to show what the ETX can
do, with a little patience. (BTW, drawing REALLY focuses the mind on
what you're looking at.)

North is up and celestial East is right in the drawing. The north polar
ice cap is clearly visible. Using the April '99 edition of Sky and
Telescope, the large dark area below it should be Mare Acidalium. The
light area at centre is Chryse. The dark areas to the south are Mare
Erythraeum running into Mare Australe to the west. The light area to the
east of Acidalium is not apparrent in the S&T article but may well be
moring clouds.

Clear skies all, 


Kevin P. Kretsch  B.A.(Mod.)Phys 	e-mail: kkretsch@alf2.tcd.ie
Photonic Materials Group,		Tel:	+353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics,			Fax:	+353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.

Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 1999 21:40:44
From:	irharris@hotmail.com (ivan harris)
Congrats on the new look. Whether intentional or not I don't know but
your picture loads much faster now. I have a couple of comments
regarding recent posts

What Damien saw is a star twinkling.  I am always amazed by Sirius and
that is what he saw I would guess. Other bright stars twinkle the same
way down low. They are probably most impressive with binoculars. I would
guess the other star he saw was Spica. An iridium flash looks just like
the landing light on an airplane that is turning away.

Regarding lenses for terrestrial viewing. My advice to Malcolm is low
power. If there is any sun at all heat waves will be visible even with
the 26 mm eyepiece. For the stars now that is a different story.

Clear skies.

Subject:	 Force Multiplier
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 1999 12:06:25
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
Your site continues to be the first place I check on the Web every
night. It's acted as a valuable "force multiplier" for me in my ongoing
exploration of the sky with my ETX. You are providing a true public

I've decided to stick with my "Classic" ETX, because I like to gain
knowledge the old fashioned way--earn it. I do have a hankering to track
low and medium Earth orbiting artificial satellites with more than my
1X7 or 7X50 binoculars, however, so the ETX/EC does look pretty

Mars was great for two nights at my coordinates, April 29-30. Lots of
surface detail at about 105 degrees Mars longitude (I've got some
sketches) and what could have been the ice cap. I'm still amazed at how
the ETX stacks up against my friend's 80's vintage Celestron 5.

I have not been able to update my web page for several weeks, being
caught up in a Bataan Death March of a programming class, but school's
out next week and I have lots of new thoughts, data, and information to
put up. I'll let you know when this takes place.

A question: any opinions on a decent make/model/specs of binos suitable
for hand-held observing? One reason I like the ETX--besides the optics--
is the mobility. I'd like to acquire some decent binos for the same

Let me know, and keep up the good work.

Bob Ostergaard "Eppur si muove!"
"Ostergaard's Forbidden Planetoid"
Mike here: The usual binoculars for night sky viewing are usually 7x50 to 10x50 or something in that approximate magnification and objective lens diameter. This size is also generally steady when handheld. Of course, if you want to spend a lot of money you could get one of the new "image stabilized" binoculars.

Subject:	 ETX classic retrofit rumor
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 1999 10:36:18
From:	jlicitra@yahoo.com (John Licitra)
I just spoke with someone at Natural Wonders here in the Las Vegas, NV
area regarding a trade-in of my classic ETX for an EC version. According
to the person at Natural Wonders, Meade is about to announce a retrofit
program for the classic ETX.  The sales rep wasn't aware of prices,
when, how, etc.  I haven't called Meade yet to confirm.  Just thought
I'd pass the rumor along pending confirmation.

Has anyone else heard anything about this?

Subject:	 Meade ETX field tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, May 4, 1999 8:03:41
From:	kwkee@singnet.com.sg (Vincent Kee)
Understand that you have the above tripod. Just wanna ask whether do you
think this tripod is suitable for mounting the ETX in an equatorial
country like Singapore (Latitude : 1 degree North)

Just wanna hear some opinion before I buy the mount. By the way, would
appreiciate also if you can give me some feedback whether would the ETX
mechanically and electrically suited for use in Singapore.
Mike here: I have a review of the Meade Tripod on the Accessories - Tripods page. The tripod head can go to 20 degrees latitude. The JMI WedgePod can go to 0 degrees. If you get the new ETX-90/EC or ETX-125/EC (not shipping yet) with an Autostar you may not have to worry about polar aligning the axis since the Autostar can accurately track in Right Ascension in Alt/Az mode.

Subject:	 ETX-125 vs LX-50 7" Mak, epilogue
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 1999 22:19:47
From:	jk.saggese@prodigy.net (JK Saggese)
I wanted to thank everyone who was kind enough to share their
experiences in response to my question I posted last week, and to say
thanks again to Mike for maintaining this wonderful site!
JK Saggese

Subject:	 Polar alignment with ETX Deluxe Field Tripod
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 1999 16:59:26
From:	vhernand@americanisuzu.com (Victor Hernandez)
Do you have(or know where I can get) a good description of the polar
alignment procedure of the ETX when mounted to the MEADE ETX Deluxe
Field Tripod.  The instructions that come with the tripod leave a lot to
be desired.

By the way..  This is a GREAT site.  I've learned a great deal from all
the info contained in your site.

Thanks for the help.

Mike here: Be certain to read the Polar Alignment Techniques section on the Buyer/New User Tips page. For the Meade tripod, just have the "N" at the top of one of the legs on the north side of the tripod and the latitude scale set for your latitude. Then you can use most of the techniques on the above page.

Subject:	 ETX90/EC and Meade 8-24 Zoom
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 1999 15:34:38
From:	peter.dawson@uwinnipeg.ca (Peter Dawson)
First, thanks to Mike for producing such an amazing site! It has
certainly made my life a lot easier! I am considering purchasing a Meade
8-24 zoom for my ETX90/EC but I am a little concerned about the effect
that the weight of this eyepiece might have on the DEC motor. While my
ETX seems to be pretty "tight" when I lock the DEC arm, I have heard
some people comment that the OTA does slip a little on some units. Would
the extra weight of the zoom contribute to DEC slipage of the OTA? Could
this affect Autostar pointing accuracy? Also, how does the zoom work
with a 126 barlow? Do you think this would exacerbate the wieght problem


Mike here: There is a review of the Meade zoom eyepiece on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. It does work with a Barlow Lens. I don't have one of these eyepieces but I don't believe that weight should be a problem.

Subject:	 About ETX-photography
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 1999 8:23:39
From:	pkomi@cc.hut.fi (Pauli Komi)
I'm planning to make my own adapter for photography to ETX. I'd like to
know how long is the Meade Basic camera adapter? I have one kind of
adapter but it's too long to make stars focus. I would be more than
happy to get an answer for my question.

P.S. What a site you have!! It's been a great source of information for

Pauli Komi - Finland
Mike here: The Meade Basic Camera Adapter is 95 mm long.

Subject:	 wha is it
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 1999 5:32:59
From:	droohr@cigna.e-mail.com (Damien)
On Friday and Sat. evenings here in Hartford. CT area, (lat. 42 N) I
noticed a wildly twinkling star in the W.SW at about 9:30 p.m. Here is a
rookie's description of its position: a below and well to left of Venus.
It's color was stunning, shifting from red, green, yellow, unlike
anything else in the sky at the time. However, another star appeared to
display the same features about 10 p.m. in E.NE.

Any idea what this was?

Also, can you gove me your top three recommended books to help a
beginner point the ETX at interesting things? I'd like to learn the sky
before relying on the Astro, which I do plan to purchase eventually.

Mike here: Sounds like they might have been Iridium satellite "sun flashes". As to books, check the Book Reviews page for some suggestions.

Subject:	ETX Eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 1999 0:57:37
From:	Mal47@aol.com
First of all, let me say thank you for the great ETX website!  It is a
really great service.

I just bought a used ETX spotting scope (no base motor) and an
equatorial (?) tripod.  It is coming with the standard 26mm (48x)
eyepiece and a 2x Barlow.  I want to use the scope for terrestrial use
and to look at some planets and the moon.  After reading through your
website, it seems to me that the first new eyepiece I should buy is a
9.7mm, which would give me 128x, and 256x with the 2x Barlow.

Do you agree that that would be the best bet?  I can really only afford
to buy one new eyepiece at this time.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this e-mail, and
hopefully letting me know what the best additional eyepiece would be.


Malcolm  (mal47@aol.com)
Mike here: The 9.7mm is a good choice for its magnification. You might check out the Accessories - Eyepieces page for some other alternatives. Scopetronix and Rini have some good eyepieces for less money.

Subject:	 Edmund Scientific Telescopes
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 1999 18:08:04
From:	tony_diana@email.msn.com (tony_diana)
I've recently purchased an ETX and I find the optics to be every bit as
good as the legendary Questar. Reviewing your "Just for Fun" site I see
that, like you, my first telescope was from Edmund Scientific. I still
have my 4.25" Newtonian along with a Cave 10" Astrola. Unfortunately,
Edmund no longer makes their own scopes and I understand that Cave has
been out of business for some time. Your site is great; keep up the good

Subject:	 ETX-90ec focus?
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 1999 16:46:54
From:	rrobinsn@memphis.edu (Robert K. Robinson)
I am new to astronomy and just purchased a new ETX-90ec.  I have not
experienced most of the problems mentioned on your site.  I have looked
at length and have not been able to find much on a focus and vibration
problem with my ETX (tried to use search as well).  When I locate an
object with the scope, I have problems looking at it due to excessive
vibrations.  Just a slight touch of the eyepiece sends a star hurling
around and around.  Focusing with the knob results in exacerbated
vibrations as well.  Could you please offer me some advise or lead me to
an archive that might contain this help info?  Will the purchase of the
electronic focus help? Thanks again for your site.  I have found it very
interesting and useful.

Mike here: As to the focusing vibrations, this is a common problem. Purchasing the electronic focus will eliminate these hand-enduced vibrations. One tip mentioned several times by contributors is to use a clothes pin (the clamp kind) on the focus knob. This provides better and smoother control over the focus and can help eliminate some of the vibrations. Scopetronix sells a larger knob that can also help.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 1999 15:16:07
From:	l72@flash.net (Jeff Halterman)
This is one of the best sites for ETX telescope yet! I have the first
ETX scope and i'm very happy with it, I know Aperature makes a big
difference, but the size of the ETX is so portable and easy to set up in
no time at all it makes it a perfect scope for the novice like me.      Jeff

Subject:	  ETX Accessories
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 1999 5:05:24
From:	dick@dwalters.com (Dick Walters)
Two very nice ETX-CE accessories that don't appear to work together are
the hard case and the right angle viewfinder.  The case won't close with
the VF attached.  It may be that cutting the top foam our altogether
over the VF eyepiece would fit, leaving little or no shock support for
the vf.  Haven't tried this yet.

Dick Walters

Subject:	 ETX on the road (long)
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 1999 8:09:09
From:	kentop@dakotacom.net (Ken Bertschy)
I've just returned from a whole month of camping with my ETX. I went
from Tucson, Arizona to California, up the coast to Mt. Hood, over to
Texas and back. Out of the entire trip, I had only three excellent
nights of viewing! The rest of the time, it rained, snowed or clouded up
on me. Before I went, I bought a couple of accessories for my ETX. The
telextender allowed me to attach a 35mm camera to the eyepiece. I also
bought the Orion 5mm ultrascopic eyepiece and the 90 degree finder.  The
finder was the most annoying thing. It worked fine with the 26mm
plossel, but when I went to put in the 6.7 mm plossel, the finder stuck
up too high for me to get my eye to the eyepiece. I wound up turning the
finder eyepiece counter-clockwise so I could get near the eyepiece,
which of course, messed up the alignment.  Also, it has to be snug up
against the adjustment ring or it bangs against the eyepiece holder on
the ETX when you turn it.  It really started to become more trouble than
it was worth once I had the scope polar aligned.  Going up the coast and
camping on the beach, the ETX did surprisingly well considering that
even on clear nights, there's so much moisture in the air that the
viewing is not all that great.  A dew cap is a must if you're on the
beach. I worried a lot about getting sand in my ETX. I put all my lenses
in zip lock bags.  and the ETX stayed clean. For a tripod, I used a milk
crate that I stored provisions in with a  metal camp stove on top, which
gave me a very sturdy table to set the etx on.   I was really getting
depressed since leaving Mt. Hood. It snowed or rained on us every day
after that until Texas except for one night, while driving through
Wyoming, the sky cleared up and there was perfect viewing. It was 2AM
and we were driving all night to get to Flaming Gorge. The highways in
Wyoming have these parking pullouts sprinkled along the interstate. No
facilities, just pavement and a trashcan. I pulled over, dug out the
Scope, set it up on the hood of my Jeep, and had incredible views until
some clouds mysteriously formed instantly above me.  Turning the ETX on
the only terresterial lights visible turned out to show a power plant
just west of Green River, Wy which started pumping smoke and steam out
of it's stacks after about two hours of incredibly great viewing.  Rats.
A good night's viewing terminated.    So, this trip, I've had the ETX on
the beach, in the snow (don't breath near the lenses or finder, they fog
and ice up), out in the woods, in cow pastures and wheat fields and on
parking strips and it's just so easy to use and set up that I wouldn't
hesitate to whip it out and look for a few minutes no matter where I was
or what I was doing. The ETX is the most convenient and practical scope
I've ever used.  On many nights, the clouds would break, giving me a
view for a half-hour or so of different sections of sky, and I would
grab the ETX and be set up and viewing in minutes.  So, for my money,
this is the only scope to travel with.

Subject:	 ETX Tracking Glitch?
Sent:	Saturday, May 1, 1999 16:05:06
From:	taylor-made-music@madhousenet.co.uk (Julian Taylor)
Great Website!

Please could you help me or put me in touch with someone who may be able
to help me solve a very frustrating problem.  I have an original ETX
which does not track very smoothly and the RA jumps every few seconds
when locked and the motor drive is engaged.  Is this normal?  It's my
second 'ETX' as the first one had a similar problem!  Observing Mars
last night I spent most of the time re-adjusting to the moving image. 
The moving planet would settle revealing some detail only to jump across
the field of view at higher magnifications.  In spite of this I have
some pleasing first attempts at eyepiece projection of Mars & Venus with
a digital camera.  I would welcome any thoughts you may have on the

Keep up the good work with the website.

Julian Taylor
Ewell, Surrey, UK
Mike here: Search the site for "teflon" and see if the problems mentioned sound like what you are experiencing. You might also check the Tech Tips page for the "ETX Base Modification" and "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products" items. If your ETX is still new you might want to exchange you through your dealer after reading the items above.

Subject:	 ETX-125EC
Sent:	Saturday, May 1, 1999 2:12:13
From:	filmdos@seanet.com (Paul Walsh)
You might want to list Anacortes telescope & Wild Bird among your
"Dealers".  Their web site now is now mirroring the entire Meade Catalog
section on the ETX-125EC and they are also taking pre-orders.  Their web
site URL is http://www.buytelescopes.com.

-Paul S. Walsh

P.S. Your site is still a real winner among sites.  More now then ever,
you are to be commended.

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