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ETX USER FEEDBACK
Last updated: 30 November 2000

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and specific items applicable to the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA). 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.


Mike here: On Friday, 24 November, I gave a talk on small telescope astrophotography at the Loscon 27 Science Fiction Convention in Burbank, California. It was well received. I demonstrated how any telescope, using the ETX as an example, could be used to take good photographs of the Sun, Moon, Planets, and sky with film, digital, and video cameras. I showed examples from the Astrophotography Galleries, both mine and the guest contributions. There were many "oohs" when the really good photos were shown.

Mike here: On Saturday, 18 November 2000, I attended the Oceanside Photo & Telescope "19th Annual Winter Telescope Demonstration, Star Party, and Sale". This was Meade Day (Celestron/Televue/Discovery Day was 11 November). See the "OPT Meade Day" report on the "Just for Fun" page.

Mike here: I recently asked about usage of the site "search" feature. Thanks to those who responded; their responses are at the end of this page. Besides the Javascript search engine, which will continue, you can now download a ZIP file (4MB) containing all the archive pages and their graphics to do your own searches using a word processor or text editor.


Subject:	 Accurate angles for Polar alignments
Sent:	Thursday, November 30, 2000 21:17:11
From:	pol@alaska.net (Paul Loughman)
For those who use Polar alignment for astronomical viewing, are using a
tripod, and want to ensure that you have set the degree of tilt
accurately, then I want to let you know about the Mayes Angle Finder.

I wanted to be as accurate as possible when adjusting the latitude
setting on my Meade Deluxe Field tripod head. I was not satisfied with
the degree marks on the tripod head; too 'coarse.' I wanted a level that
could accurately display the tilt angle.

The Mayes Angle Finder displays tilt angles from 0 to 90 degrees in 1
degree increments. The price was under $10.00. Now I can easily set the
needed tilt angle to within 1/2 of a degree.

I purchased this item at Fred Myers (tool section).

--
Paul O. Loughman

Subject:	 rumors, rumors...
Sent:	Thursday, November 30, 2000 20:15:22
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
from the LX-90 egroup: ( www.egroups.com/message/lx90/135 )

 Got off the phone with Oceanside and they have 16 lx90's and were
 going to call back to see if they were all taken.

 The guy said the lx90 is quieter than the lx200, more of a higher
 pitched less grinding sound but still quieter than the Nexstars 
  (slewing only)

 while on the phone, I asked his opinion on Meade vs. CI optics and
 he said they were very close but Meade had slight "image shift" 
 problems that CI  seems to have eliminated?

the discussion was "how noisy are they?", but the "16 at Oceanside"
caught my eye... and the "image shift" sounds like the ETX family.
(i even have it in my 90!)(but only really noticable if i'm using
the electronic focuser)

--dick

Subject:	 Good ETX prices!!!
Sent:	Thursday, November 30, 2000 18:29:56
From:	slider2253@msn.com (slider2253)
First of all thank you for earlier helping me to solve a problem I had
with my scope. I've noticed a ton of people looking for a place to get a
good price on an ETX. Well I know of a place that discounts all models
and is a meade dealer. I got my 90ec with a free electric focuser for
$519 about a month ago. As I said they also carry the 60 and 70at,
discounted as well. I have no affiliation with Woodland Hills Camera,
just want to help more people find a good deal. Check them out at-
www.telescopecity.com

Subject:	 do you have info?
Sent:	Thursday, November 30, 2000 13:39:35
From:	raymond.hansart@pandora.be (Raymond Hansart)
A while ago i started to work in a store who sells telescopes of the
brand Meade. I would like to be able to inform the clients more detailed
then i do now. Could you please tell me what his strongest features are,
and if you have other comment please send it to Scattach@hotmail.com .
Thank you very much in advance.

Greetings fie.
Mike here: If your customers are interested in the DS or ETX models, send them to this site. For LX200 models send them to MAPUG.com.

Subject:	 Subject: Solar Filters
Sent:	Wednesday, November 29, 2000 14:06:16
From:	martinic@nbnet.nb.ca (Calvin Martini)
Was checking out the updates and noticed the solar filter comments from
Noah(LooneyRoo).

I too bought an Orion solar filter for my etx-90 a few weeks back. I
have only used it once or twice, but I have nothing but good things to
say about it so far! The color is great, orange/yellow, and it fits
nicely on my etx(I only had to add one foam insert to the inside rim to
get a nice snug fit). It appears to be a high quality glass filter and I
am really glad that I decided to go with a full aperature glass filter.

I live in Canada and the service was fast! I emailed Orion inquiring
about the shipment and they responded promptly to my request. All in
all, a great company in my opinion.

I live on the East Coast, New Bruniswick, and we should see nearly 60%
of the sun covered!! Well, that is if the weather co-operates and it is
sunny--crossing my fingers big time on that one :).

The one thing I had not realized would be so difficult is trying to find
the sun without the use of any type of finderscope! It turns out to be
harder than you think!! Thanks to Noah for the idea of using the eclipse
glasses from the Astronomy today issue, what a great idea.

Does anyone have advice/comments on using the solar glasses for making a
filter for the finderscope? Since I am a newbie any help is always
appreciated.   Would the film need to be lose like the mylar type solar
filters or would it simply work as is? Any advice would be great, who
wants to fry their eyes figuring that one out!

As always, great site!

Vernita
Mike here: See the next message for a warning on the solar filter glasses.

Subject:	 Re: Solar Filters
Sent:	Wednesday, November 29, 2000 05:32:05
From:	tpmiles@bellsouth.net (Tony Miles)
This is directed to Noah and any other person out there who got the
Astronomy issue with the solar glasses. They need to read page 99 of
that issue where it states that those glasses are for the naked eye and
not designed to be used with binoculars or a telescope. After reading
that I would be very careful trying to use them as a make-shift
finderscope filter.

Take care,
Tony Miles

Subject:	Solar Filters
Sent:	Tuesday, November 28, 2000 17:09:59
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
I just ordered the Orion solar filter for my ETX today. I'll let you
know what I think of it when I get the chance to use it. Now I'm all
ready for December 25th! I also received the January issue of Astronomy
today. They included two solar glasses with this months issue, so that
the readers can get a glimpse of the eclipse without telescopic
equipment. What occurred to me just as I opened the pages of the
magazine is that the film on the glasses can make great solar filters
for my finderscope! Pretty nice of Astronomy to provide finderscope
filters for everyone!

~Noah

Subject:	 WATCH OUT!!!
Sent:	Tuesday, November 28, 2000 11:58:45
From:	star_journey@yahoo.com (Scott Horne)
Just a little hard-earned warning.  When using bolts to mount the
ETX-60AT to a surface, be ABSOLUTELY sure that the bolts do NOT extend
more than three-quarters of an inch into the mounting inserts! There is
no cap on the inserts, and the bolts will protrude into the base and
cause damage!  My '60 is on it's way back to meade because of this..... 
The azimuth slew is pretty much wrecked....  This probably applies to
the ETX-70 as well.  Don't know about the 90 or the 125.

regards

=====
Scott Horne
http://starjourney.net
21:20:49.150N  157:54:18.374W
Mike here: This likely applies to all ETX models.

Subject:	 LX90 manual
Sent:	Monday, November 27, 2000 19:02:23
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
The LX-90 manual is available online... not at Meade (noooo...) but at
http://www.egroups.com/files/lx90/LX90+Meade+Documents/lx90.pdf

(969kbyte PDF file)

--dick
Mike here: Hey, that's a pretty good manual. Lots of nice info on the Autostar.

Subject:	 camera for etx90ec
Sent:	Monday, November 27, 2000 15:30:21
From:	farb72@hotmail.com (chris farber)
i am wondering what would be the best digital camera for taking both
astro and land photographs using my meade etx90ec? if u have two or
three different models that u suggest i take a look at and maybe even
suggest a good program for my laptop for transferring images, enhancing
them things like that. if u need to know the platform i will be running
the image software on is a dell latitude 650mhz 12gb harddrive pretty
much a kick-ass laptop. thank u for any and all information. please
respond to Farb7276@excite.com.
Mike here: Some cameras come with editing software such as Adobe PhotoDeluxe. This may be sufficient for your needs. There are also shareware applications for Macs and PCs. At the other end of the scale is Adobe Photoshop 6.0. It is an excellent but expensive package. As to a camera, if you look through the Astrophotography Galleries on my ETX site you'll see that many cameras can be used to take good photos. Some suggestions for minimum requirements: real zoom (not digital) to get the camera lens close the eyepiece, manual exposure control, manual focus control (may or may not be needed), tripod mounting hole (in case you want to put it on an adapter like the Scopetronix Digital Camera Adapter), and a self-timer (to let vibrations dampen out).

Subject:	 Video astronomy?
Sent:	Sunday, November 26, 2000 11:30:24
From:	jshelto1@rochester.rr.com (ours)
I saw your trip to the OPT and I was checking out there webpage when I
came across this. I was wondering if anybody you know or have you tried
this out it sounds really good,please let me know thanks Jim
videocam
Mike here: There were some inquiries about this camera back in 1999; no responses. You might try one of the astro newsgroups.

Subject:	 image - opposite???
Sent:	Sunday, November 26, 2000 10:12:50
From:	jucaiba@earthlink.net (Julius Baradas)
If you don't mind but I have two simple questions to you from an extreme
amateur like me.  First, I just recently bought an ETX-90EC.  The
salesperson showed me how powerful this telescope is by focusing the
"EXIT" sign inside the store.  I was amazed on how powerful this
telescope yet able to to focus on an object that close (30-40 feet).
When I got home I finally tried the ETX-90EC on a somewhat clear night
in Los Angeles.  When I tried to focus my telescope to focus (or align)
my viewfinder I noticed all objects I focus with alphabets (street and
building signs) were the OPPOSITE.  I mean as if I was reading the
newspaper through the mirror in the bathroom.  I was wondering if you
ever encountered that before or from your readers in your website???

My second question is regarding about the standard eyepiece that came
with the ETX-90EC.  Can you please recommend a standard set of eyepieces
to someone like me since I noticed I could not see any galaxies with the
standard eyepiece (SP 26mm).  Thanks again!!!

Julius
Mike here: Maybe you missed the comment in the ETX manual (page 17 in mine, under the optional accessories: Erecting Prism) but when using the normal eyepiece position on the top of the ETX, the image is upright but reversed. So letters on terrestrial objects will appear backwards. As to optional eyepieces, check the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessories - Eyepieces page on my ETX site.

Added later:

thanks.........i actually found it after sending you my email.  thanks again.

Subject:	 Etx 90EC  Alignment/Collimation question
Sent:	Sunday, November 26, 2000 03:06:04
From:	racer521@pacbell.net (Sam)
I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I am new to
astronomy and this scope. I took it out last night and centered it on
Jupiter. Wondering about collimation problems I read about on your site
I turned the focus knob until Jupiter turned into a  wide circle with
black hole in the center. I noticed that the outer circle was not round
it was more of an oval, slightly cut off at the bottom. I slewed the
scope so that the image was slightly higher in my view and the wide
circle became perfectly round. Does this mean that my scope is out of
Collimation of mis-aligned in some way?. I tried the same test with
another ETX 90 and found that the circle was perfectly round when
centered in the eyepiece, which seems correct to me. Thanks in advance
for any Information you can give me on this, and by the way; Great
Site!!
Mike here: If you move the focus to an extreme you may see some cutoff, probably due to the small size of the flip mirror. As long as the rings are concentric circles and not ovals, the collimation should be OK. If you want to check whether it is the flip mirror causing this, mount an eyepiece in the rear port using an appropriate visual back and adapter. This will eliminate the flip mirror from the light path.

Subject:	 Jupiter and Ganymede
Sent:	Saturday, November 25, 2000 20:18:40
From: doccpu@yahoo.com (Larry Smith)
I had a good night viewing Jupiter tonight with both my new ETX and my
6" f/5 Newtonian.  It was an interesting comparison.  Jupiter was
particularly interesting because the red spot was visible, and Ganymede
was moving across Jupiter's disk at high latitude.  For about 1/2 hour
the seeing was excellent, and at 140x the ETX revealed both features.
Ganymede was interesting, since at the high latitude, where the planet
disk is darker, I could see both the moon and it's shadow clearly.
Usually the eclipses are at lower latitudes, and the moon is difficult
or impossible to see since it's about the same brightness as the planet,
leaving only the moon's shadow clearly visible.

The comparison with the 6" was interesting.  I've read that a 6"
Newtonian should reveal about as much planetary detail as a quality 3"
refractor.  Also, the 3.5" ETX should perform similarly to a 3.5"
apochromatic refractor.  It appeared that both estimates were true,
indicating that both my scopes are up to par.  I could just glimpse some
additional detail with the 6", but fleetingly.  The images through the
ETX were much steadier, and therefore easier to view.  It appears the
the ETX makes an excellent planetary telescope.

Subject:	Cracked base
Sent:	Thursday, November 23, 2000 09:57:10
From:	HOYNACKIJJ@aol.com
Your information sharing program is excellent.  GREAT!
I have an ETX Model M, which I carry on our motor home travels. 
I have been keeping it in foam lined plastic tool box.  To my sorrow I
discovered the tool box is too small for the major diameter of the base.
I have cracked the plastic base (plastic piece through which the R. A. 
control knobs are attached).  Is this base critical to the system which
must now be replaced or is it only a cover which I can patch with duct
tape? (Scotch tape looks better)
I would appreciate your comments.
Jerry Hoynacki
Johnson City, TN
Mike here: The base is part of the support of the telescope and so a cracked base is going to weaken the whole system. However, depending upon the extent of the crack, it may or may not be a problem. You can try taping and see if you have problems. If you do, contact Meade for a repair.

Subject:	 missing links?
Sent:	Wednesday, November 22, 2000 09:50:19
From:	rcantor@worldnet.att.net (Robert Cantor)
Thanks for your great Astronomy site!  A number of people mention
Astrocap and Astrostack software.  Do you have any links to where I
could get these?

Much obliged!

Bob C.
rcantor@att.net
Mike here: I did a "Sherlock" search of the net and found an incredibly useful link, which includes a link to the Astrostack site. Check "Dan's Astronomy Software Collection".

Subject:	 Meade Tripod Mod
Sent:	Wednesday, November 22, 2000 08:39:42
From:	katetom@znet.com (Kate and/or Tom Harnish)
Do you have an e-mail address for someone at Meade that will send me the
free leg mod for their tripod. Mine's starting to slip.

BTW, tried the idea of putting something heavy in the lower legs (I used
Instant-Rock from Home Depot) and aside from the fact that that it got
hard much faster than they said it would it worked great. Makes the
whole contraption much more stable. Guess I won't be lugging it to
Hawaii again, though!

Speaking of which, spend the night on Haleakala last month (huddled
behind the USAF Space Surveillance Complex in between some Univ of
Chicago shacks to get out of the wind. Frustrated to exasperation trying
to get my digital camera working with the ETX. Got a couple of decent
pictures of the moon, though and sure enjoyed the view of the milky way
and visual observing. But attempts to image the Milky Way were
wasted.... "But try, try, try again for who knows what ye shall
accomplish"

Tom
Harnish photo

Harnish photo

Mike here: You have to call Meade to get the part. Wish I could have spent the night on Haleakala when we were there in July.

Subject:	Meade eyepiece size
Sent:	Wednesday, November 22, 2000 07:15:09
From:	TSCDH@aol.com
I noticed a system that will attach an Olympus 3030 digital camera to
the ETX-90  telescope, in your Sept. 2000 archives. I am using the
Photosolve system. The problem I have encountered is with the physical
size of the SP 40 mm eyepiece. The eyepiece has to slide into an Orion
adapter which has an inside diameter of 1-15/32 inches. I have been told
that the SP 40 mm eyepiece is 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Could you give
me the actual dimensions of this eyepiece i.e.: Diameter, overall length
and the length from of the body ( black portion  only ). Can you also
send me the physical measurements on the SP 32 mm eyepiece.
Thanks... Ted
Mike here: I don't have these Meade eyepieces. Hope someone else can supply the info.

Subject:	 Questions
Sent:	Wednesday, November 22, 2000 07:05:16
From:	MREYNOLDS@expl.com (Mike Reynolds)
Thanks for the information.  What's a red light spotting scope?  The ETX
90 spotting scope is hard to use when the scope is aimed high.  I saw
Jupiter and Saturn last night for the first time with the ETX 90.  They
were exciting to see but rather small in size.  Which tripod do you
recommend?
Mike here: See the Accessories - Finderscopes page for info on red-dot finderscopes like the Scopetronix LightSight. See the Accessories - Tripods for info on tripods.

Subject:	 Seven Wonders- Binocular Viewer 
Sent:	Wednesday, November 22, 2000 04:00:13
From:	steve.evers@ingferri.fr (Evers Steve)
I have just come across your site.. very impressed.. .

I read the article regarding the Seven Wonders Binocular Viewer ...
please.. do you happened to have either/both a web site address or email
address ??

regards,

Steve
Mike here: All I know about Seven Wonders is what was submitted and posted.

Subject:	 Putting the little scope that could through its paces 
Sent:	Tuesday, November 21, 2000 10:25:20
From:	cpiso@erols.com (Charles Piso)
Charles from Massachusetts here again.  I did several things two Fridays
ago, first I met Joe Hartley from Frosty Drew Observatory in RI. They
are a great group of people there, always willing to take the time to
answer any questions and let you try whatever scopes are around for
comparison. Then I brought out my ETX, and in between waiting to get on
the 16 inch scope a small group of die-hards, and myself put it to the
test, the ETX 90EC never ceases to amaze me.  It was a cloudy night at
first but we actually got in quite a bit viewing as it got better and
better the later it got.

Jupiter and Saturn were first on the list and both provided stunning
views, with Saturn its brightest in the last 25 years it has been a
particular favorite of mine this last year, one moon was visible and the
rings never fails to impress those seeing them for the first time. 
Jupiter was no less spectacular showing clearly its banded pattern and
with 26 mm ,and a Celestron Ultima barlow the great red spot was
visible, a little washed out but there the images were sharp and clear
right to the edges, I think I have to give the Ultima barlow a plug
because it slightly edges out the Meade shorty in its performance
characteristics.

Next we turned to the Ring Nebula [M57] the best views with the ETX were
obtained with A Tele Vue 32 mm plossl and Orion Ultrablock filter.  The
little smoke ring is joy to see under dark skies and the contrast added
by the filter was so impressive that I am going to purchase one very
soon. We also took in [M27] the Dumbbell Nebula, again very impressed
with the filter even with my Tele Vue 32 it has never been an easy
target from my yard.  The great Orion Nebula [M42] took on spectacular
proportions filling the eyepiece with much more detail and filamentary
structure present. Trapezium's fourth star was blinking in and out of
view.

Next were a group of clusters [M15] the Great Pegasus Cluster is one of
six globulars brighter than 7th Mag. visible in the northern hemisphere.
Because of its greater distance it appears both fainter and more compact
than [M13], but it is a great target for the ETX, and for me it is also
seen better with averted vision showing some of its spider like
structure under dark skies.

Then [M35], [M36], and [M37] were targeted by both the 16 inch and the
mighty little ETX.  This trio of open clusters is stunning in any scope 
and for me the 32 mm and 26 mm are about the best possible EPs looking
at this type of cluster.

Later I aimed the little scope at the Double Cluster in Perseus this
object is one of the finest celestial showpieces in the northern sky and
are cataloged as [NGC869] and [NGC884] usually viewed best in a rich
field scope the whole structure is visible with the Tele Vue 32 mm, and
I think this was by far the most commented on object seen through the
ETX.  Given the competition though that's not surprising.  The
observatory's 16 inch LX200 however the little scope kept them coming
back to the eyepiece all night, and disappointed no one.

Joe thought he saw the faint nebulosity of the Pleiades [M45] the seven
sisters for the first time using the Tele Vue EP but then thought again,
due to some cloudiness, call me an idealist I think he was right the
first time. Although I bought the 32 mm for use with my six inch scope I
believe it to be one of those eyepieces that proves itself perfect for
any type of use and would highly recommend it to other ETX owners.  All
in all a great night of viewing given the ever changing New England
weather, horizon to horizon clouds and mist, horizon to horizon stars
and planets, and on the way home a rain shower and a snow squall.

I know with your user group Mike I am preaching to the choir but if you
want to get the most out of any scope learn the basics (the
constellations and star hopping), and know the limitations of your
equipment.  Visual astronomy is one of the best ways to find serenity
and a sense of balance in this life.  The ETX 90 is probably the best
innovation in astronomy in the past twenty years.  I own several scopes,
but this little wonder is easily my most used,  and that's what really
counts

Clear Skies To All

Ps. Another shameless plug look up your local group there are alot out
there.  One of the best in my opinion is Frosty Drew Observatory
www.frostydrew.org/observatory.  The life list put together by Les
Coleman is a great starting point and everything on it is visible to the
ETX

Added later:  I was lucky tonight had crystal clear skies for the
leonids the moon was not very cooperative, but it and the four visible
planets made for some interesting distractions.  Early in the evening I
pushed the ETX to 181x on Venus low on horizon but still good views
would say it was gibbous looking very bright sharp images with 13.8mm
superwide and ultima barlow. later did the same with Mars vivid color,
but the horizon and the moon working against me tonight.  Jupiter and
Saturn were their usual showpieces they really strutted their stuff with
the Meade 13.8mm.  I was counting about 27-30 very bright fireballs per
hour, when I got tied and put the ETX on the Moon the new EP again
showed that Meade has a winner with the 13.8 superwide.

And a reply from Joe:

From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
To:	cpiso@erols.com (Charles Piso)
Charles Piso wrote:
>     Hi Mike, Charles from Massachusetts here again.  I did several things
> two Fridays ago, first I met Joe Hartley from Frosty Drew Observatory in RI.

Glad you made it down!  It was great to meet you.

>     Later I aimed the little scope at the Double Cluster in Perseus this
> object is one of the finest celestial showpieces in the northern sky and are
> cataloged as [NGC869] and [NGC884] usually viewed best in a rich field scope
> the whole structure is visible with the Tele Vue 32 mm, and I think this was
> by far the most commented on object seen through the ETX.  Given the
> competition though that's not surprising.  The observatory's 16 inch LX200
> however the little scope kept them coming back to the eyepiece all night,
> and disappointed no one.

This is where the ETX actually out-shines the 16"!  Even with our widest
FOV eyepiece (the 40mm University Optics MK-70 Konig) we only get about
2/3rds of a degree for a field.  This means we can't get more than one
of the two clusters in the field at any one time!  In the ETX, it's two
handfuls of diamonds on velvet!

> Added later:  I was lucky tonight had crystal clear skies for the leonids
> the moon was not very cooperative, but it and the four visible planets made
> for some interesting distractions.

We were very lucky to have a superb display at FDO despite the moon. 
From 1:30 to almost 3, we were seeing hundreds per hour.  As 3:00 AM
approached, Les commented that it was as fine a display as he'd ever
seen.  I commented that all we lacked was a big fireball, for which the
Leonids are known. Almost at 3:00 on the dot, an enormous fireball, mag
-5 or -6, streaked across the sky from just past the zenith heading due
west.  This was followed by a few dozen smaller meteors within the next
10 seconds.  Like the grand finale to a fireworks show, this signaled
the end of the evening, as things trailed off significantly after that.

Thanks for the kind words about FDO.  We're open every clear Friday
night all year around for our public sessions.
-- 
======================================================================
      Joe Hartley - Technical Director - Frosty Drew Observatory
        12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - 401.782.9042
            joe@frostydrew.org - http://www.frostydrew.org

Subject:	 Meade ETX 60
Sent:	Tuesday, November 21, 2000 07:50:59
From:	sz325584@mail.marketing.fedex.com (xzhang)
Thank you very much to put on such a infomative site.  I have been
always like to purchase a telescope.  From the comments on your site,
ETX60 or ETX70 maybe a good start.  But I do have one concern.  Some
people said,  through small telescope, most planet and deep sky object
are black and white because they are too dim.   They will not look as
colorful picuture on the telescope box.  Is that true?  Will photos
looks better than what I will see using my eyes?

Thanks.
Sean
Mike here: The eye is a pretty lousy astronomical instrument compared to CCDs and film. In low light situations, like when looking at nebulae and galaxies, colors are lost due to the construction of the eye. So yes, long duration photos will look more colorful than what you see with the eye.

Subject:	 Christamas confusion
Sent:	Monday, November 20, 2000 09:53:22
From:	sparkywall@hotmail.com (Bingo Wall)
Help!
I am hoping you can give me some advice because I am shopping for a
telescope and know NOTHING about such!  Any pointers you could provide
would be appreciated.  I am looking for a scope in the $350 to $500
range that can be used by a college student (hobbyist only - not related
to her studies) both in Massachusetts and in Africa while she is doing
her semester abroad. It must be super portable (no long tube) and
hopefully come with (or have available) a battery charging system for
European current.  However, I would hope she could enjoy the darn thing
for many years to come in the States just viewing standard planets,
stars, etc.  I have been looking at the Meade ETX-90 and the Astroscan
2001 Wide Field Telescope w/ Image erector on the Internet.  Any
thoughts?  Advice?  Am I nuts?  Clothes would so much easier to buy but
much less fun.  Thank you.  Jenny Wall
Mike here: Certainly the ETX-90EC will make a nice portable, long-lived telescope. It runs on AA batteries (rechargeable or not). Check the Buyer/New User Tips for some info on accessories. Recent Feedback pages have more thoughts on what to consider when purchasing a telescope.

Subject:	 Foam For All Cases
Sent:	Monday, November 20, 2000 07:44:22
From:	David.Ferber@allgon.com
I have been using your website since last year to assist in evaluating
telescopes.  Based upon your membership's feedback, I purchased a
ETX-90EC for Christmas last year and have not been disappointed.  I have
since been looking at different cases to transport it, the Autostar, the
original control, multiple lenses and other accessories.  There are some
terrific case suggestions on your website.

However, none of them mentioned where I could get foam padding to put
inside.  Having spent a tidy sum on the ETX equipment, I wanted to
ensure that my investment would be safe.  I could have "borrowed" foam
from work, but the would not have the done the nice job that I wanted. 
I have found a retail distributor that carries charcoal R65 cubed foam
padding for these great case suggestions.  Right now, they only sell two
different sheet sizes:

*	14.5"x19.25"x2"
*	14"x18.875"x2"

Each sheet costs $4.50.  The company is:

Dallas Foam Inc.
2171 East Southlake Blvd.
Southlake, Texas  76092 USA
(817) 481-5551 

This will give your membership and readers a venue to get this foam to
protect their investments.  If they begin to see an interest in this
product, they will consider expanding the sizes, colors, etc... that
they carry.

Thanks for the development and support of a reference site,

Dave Ferber
E-mail: david.ferber@allgon.com

Subject:	 ETX-125 Mirror Shift Reply
Sent:	Sunday, November 19, 2000 06:39:32
From:	arlan@webzone.net (Scott A. Johnson)
Thanks you very much for your quick reply to my question.

Do you know Meade's toll free number for customer service.  I had it at
one time but can't seem to locate it (a Meade telephone rep gave it to
me when I was dealing w/ another small ETX difficulty).

Thanks again and clear skies!

Scott A. Johnson R.T. (ARRT)(R)(CT)
arlan@webzone.net
http:\\www.webzone.net\arlan
Mike here: I searched the ETX site for "800" and found this number: 1-800-626-3233. That was from a user in 1998; don't know if it is still good (I didn't try it).

Subject:	ETX90EC Deal
Sent:	Saturday, November 18, 2000 16:58:08
From:	WHowell501@aol.com
I keep stumbling across these incredible deals...ETX Deal (Keyword to:
http://www.slickdeals.net/#p1155)...(go to telescopes at
photoalley.com)...I already have my shiny new ETX90EC, hoping for a
break from work to enjoy it.
  Thanks,
  Bill Howell
  whowell501@aol.com
Mike here: Photo Alley shows a list price of $1030 for the ETX-90EC. I didn't check what currency was being used but the list price in US Dollars is $595, which is the same as their "deal price".

Added later:

I've never understood that, either, Mike...their sale price is $595,
then deduct $100 if you take the order over $600, then another 20% off
the total if you go through MSN Passport...FWIW.

Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-90M
Sent:	Saturday, November 18, 2000 08:35:10
From:	SKBROTHERS@aol.com
Thanks for your advise!

I appreciate your taking the time to respond and assist me with this
decision.

Take Care!

Subject:	 RE: question
Sent:	Saturday, November 18, 2000 08:17:20
From:	kardrak4@hotmail.com (Eduardo Lopez)
Thank you very much Mike, your site is the best worldwide and all of us
know it!

Clear Skies

Eduardo Lopez

Subject:	 hy-alpha work with ETX
Sent:	Saturday, November 18, 2000 07:57:42
From:	richard@jean100.freeserve.co.uk (Richard Bailey)
The red pre-filter I use on the LX50, and previously on a LX200, is the
one supplied by Thousand Oaks when I bought their h-alpha prominence
filter. Iy has always worked OK with my other Meade SCP's.

I am asking Thousand Oaks whether they make a pre-filter for the front
of an ETX, so that their h-alpha prominence filter can  be used on an ETX
as on other Meade  LX scopes I have used successfully.

Richard

Subject:	etx-90ec
Sent:	Saturday, November 18, 2000 05:56:52
From:	Rmtc09@aol.com
Please excuse my most simple questions, but I am new the this area, and
want to make good decisions when it comes to purchasing my etx
telescope.

I am looking at either the etx 70-at or the etx-90ec. Is there a
dramatic difference between them that would justify the extra cost of 
the 90? I don't mind paying the extra cost, but just want some
indication that it is the right thing to shoot for.

Second, I am not clear about usability. Is the field tripod a necessity
or a near necessity?  When looking at the 70-at, the indication is that
all that is needed is a flat surface, and this would seem to imply that
a table outside would work. Yet when I read about the 90ec, indications
seem to imply the field tripod ($200.00) is needed.

What accessories are reasonable to make the scopes usable and practical.
It makes no sense to buy the telescope and not have the NECESSARY
accessories to make it usable.

Any advise or recommendations will be appreciated.

nrsmd@duke.edu
Mike here: You will see more through the larger telescope, as to be expected. The -90 has a larger aperture and a longer focal length than the -70. This means you'll see fainter objects and you'll be able to use higher magnifications on the -90. Any stable flat surface will work with either model provided you have the Autostar (which is an additional purchase item with the ETX-90EC). With the Autostar, the telescope will track the sky when mounted in what is called "Altitude/Azimuth mode" or Alt/Az for short. If you don't have an Autostar and want the telescope to automatically compensate for the earth's rotation, then you have to mount the ETX-90EC in "equatorially", also called "polar mode", where its vertical axis is tilted to match your latitude. That requires either the optional table top legs for the ETX-90EC or a sturdy tripod. As to accessories, see the Buyer/New User Comments page.

And:

Thank you for your help. I appreciate your time.

Subject:	 Re:  It ain't natural!!!
Sent:	Friday, November 17, 2000 22:01:18
From:	doccpu@yahoo.com (Larry Smith)
I have the ETX Model M (90 mm).

I have confirmed that my clock drive isn't working. The motor is, but
the drive gear isn't.  I assume the gear box has something stripped. 
Out of the box, I didn't notice till I read the hints on your web page,
but I think the screw attaching the base was too tight, and it probably
stripped the gears.

No problem, I have a small equatorial mount to put the ETX on for now,
with a clock drive.  Do you think when I send in the warrantee I can
simply ask for a new drive train?  Or, failing that, only send in the
mount, so I can use the scope?

Anyway, the scope is fantastic, and soon as the clock is working, I have
no heartburn with the mount either, though for home use I may still just
use the equatorial.
Mike here: I would suggest checking with the dealer where you purchased it. Maybe they will exchange it. Otherwise, contact Meade; they will provide warranty return information.

Subject:	 Stacking images?
Sent:	Friday, November 17, 2000 18:04:43
From:	jshelto1@rochester.rr.com (ours)
I was wondering how this is done or is there a good site that can
explain how to stack the images?

Thanks Jim Shelton
Mike here: Depends upon what software you use. Some software does it automatically. I use layers in Photoshop.

Subject:	 "Help with a decision"
Sent:	Friday, November 17, 2000 08:57:50
From:	mdunlap@pressenter.com (mike dunlap)
Not sure if I am knocking on the correct door with my question but here
goes! I have been looking at the Meade ETX-90, ETX-125 and the Celestron
NexStar5 for our "first" telescope and was hoping you could point me in
the right direction. We live out in the country in WI and enjoy  both
astronomical and land viewing.   I am not the "diehard" viewer that many
of you are but I don't mind investing more up front to insure a quality
item for a lifetime of enjoyment.  It will get used everyday in both
land and sky views!  We have 3 young children so I know they will enjoy
the views as well....... Any other suggestions or comments are very much
welcome!!! Thanks for your time and efforts in this matter. 

Happy Holidays! 
Mike Dunlap

PS  I enjoyed reading your comparison between the ETX-125 and the
NexStar 5 I am still having a hard time deciding which way to go.....or
if the ETX-90 would do just fine for us........or something
else..........Thanks again!!
Mike here: For daytime use the ETX-90 would be the more obvious choice. The larger size of the ETX-125EC and NexStar5 would be wasted on day viewing. However, for nighttime viewing, the larger aperture of the 5" telescopes comes into consideration. However, you will sacrifice some portability with the larger scopes.

Subject:	Re: Meade ETX-90M
Sent:	Friday, November 17, 2000 07:04:21
From:	SKBROTHERS@aol.com
Thanks for your prompt response!

I also received a response back from someone at Shutan.  I assume you
inquired about the unique model number (ETX-90-M) from Sam's Club with
him.

One final question for you then I will make my decision on this scope. 
I have seen many many message board posts that really tear down the
quality of the ETX-90-EC drive gears.  Many say they are inferior,
noisy, break often, and in general don't track objects accurately.  Do
you have any insight on this topic?  I do feel the autostar would
greatly enhance my interest in the night sky as it's been 10 years since
I took astronomy in college.  If the mechanical integrity of the
ETX-90-EC is questionable I am not real interested in throwing the extra
$200 at it.

Additionally, I just stopped into Natural Wonders and they are selling
the Celestron models now.  Including a new Nexstar 4 for $699.  The
focus knobs look like they're easier to work with, there are more
objects in it's computer tracking database and the computer controller
is included.  Additionally, I've been told the tracking motors are
quieter than the Meade's.  I think it has roughly the same aperture as
the ETX-90 series.  I can't find any good reviews of this product.  What
is your knowledge of Celestron and the Nexstar 4 specifically.  I
understand Celestron has been bought by Tasco; which doesn't fill me
with confidence.

Hate to keep leaning on you and I promise this is my last extended
question.  I found your last reply very concise and helpful.  As a
result, if my decision is between marginal mechanical integrity or
manual star hopping I will definitely choose the latter.

Again, as always, thank you for your assistance.

skbrothers@aol.com
Mike here: Bob Shutan (owner of Shutan Camera and Video) frequents our ETX site and contributes a lot of good information. The ETX optics are the better component while the mechanical systems are less than optimal. But a better drive mechanism would mean more cost and that is not the target market for the ETX line. It does the job. Yes, it would be nice if it were better with NO backlash, NO slop, and NO errors. But even the NexStars can't make this claim from my brief experience and from what I have seen on the Net. So, there will always be tradeoffs in making your decision.

Subject:	 It ain't natural!!!
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 20:58:30
From:	lsmith@zianet.com (larry smith)
Nice web page -- excellent in fact.

Since I was a tad (a few decades ago) I've read about the incredible
things one can see with a 3.5" Questar.  More than once I decided I'd
save up and get one, only to come to my senses and realize there's no
such way such a small scope could do that.

So I've owned numerous other scopes, mostly Newtonians, 4.25" to 10",
now back to an f/5 6".  Bought the Meade 392 refractor (90mm) for
planetary work, was very disappointed in it, then learned it was a
Chinese import.  For the last few years, the ETX radicals began putting
forth that same unbelievable Questar-ian rhetoric about the new ETX.  I
briefly thought about buying one, remembered the useless Meade refractor
I had, and thought better of it.

Then, the other day I stumbled across the ETX in a Sam's Club for a
price hard to ignore.  On impulse, I bought it, figured I could get most
of my money out of  it if need be.  I've used it the last few nights to
view Jupiter and Saturn, and a few stellar objects.  It's hard to admit
it, but I'm now a believer.  I should have bought that Questar when I
was a kid, I'd have enjoyed the heck out of it all thoses years.  The
only complaint I have so far about the ETX is that the clock drive on
mine runs too slow.  Maybe with use, bearings will break in and it'll
work better.  The rest of the mount is fine by me, if it holds up well.
It's enormously portable, non-shakey, pretty easy to use.

But the images.  I can hardly believe the definition, after all those
moderate to poor images I've seen on those Newtonians and the import
refractor.  The detail on Jupiter knocks my socks off.  Cassini's
division pops out (with good seeing) as well as those fanatics said. I'm
sold.  For stellar, I still love my 6".  I can move the entire apparatus
around without disassembly, and get great wide field star images.  But
now, finally, I have a supurb lunar/planetar scope that's even more
portable.

Subject:	 ETX "M"
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 18:09:57
From:	bob@shutan.com (Bob Shutan)
Guys!
ETX-90M..... M as in Modified Achromatic eyepiece... an eyepiece that
sells for about $40 at retail, costs us dealers even less.... and Meade
even less than that. Why view thru $10 of glass when you can buy an new
ETX/RA from us with a Premium Super Plossl 26mm eyepiece for about $450
and not pay sales tax if you live outside Illinois. Go to Sam's for
10lb. tubs beef jerky and get your telescope from a specialty dealer.

Bob Shutan
Shutan Camera & Video
www.shutan.com

Subject:	 H-alpha solar observations
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 12:53:47
From:	richard@jean100.freeserve.co.uk (Richard Bailey)
I have just checked out your web page....all good stuff !!

I have been thinking of buying  an ETX90 for solar observartions, which
I do at present with a Meade 7" LX50 Maksutov-Cassegrain.

I use a Thousand Oaks H-alpha  Prominence Filter, plus a red prefilter
over the Meade, with a binocular viewer plus eyepieces.

Do any of your ETX users know whether this H-alpha/binocular viewer
system will work with an ETX90 ?  The smaller 'scope would be more
portable than the Meade LX50 !!!

Richard Bailey           Barham,Canterbury, UK
Mike here: You need to have the solar filter at the objective end of the ETX to avoid damage to the telescope. But beyond that, an H-alpha filter should work fine on the ETX. And binocular viewers do work in the ETX.

Added later:

Thanks for the prompt reply about using an ETX for h-alpha work on the
sun with my h-alpha system. The prefilter I use on the front of my Meade
LX50 has a red glass of about 72mm.diameter to let light through for
h-alpha filter viewing, with the binocular viewer in the end of the
h-alpha filter. As a thought, would this red glass 72mm.diam, prefilter
not be effectively reduced  in area by the ETX secondary mirror ?  What
is the diam. of the ETX secondary for comparison ?
Mike here: A red filter on the front of the ETX will not be enough to avoid damaging the telescope. You will need a solar filter of some sort (full aperture ones do exist; see the Accessories - Filters page). Whether they will let enough light through to allow the use of the H-alpha filter, I don't know.

Subject:	 Homer case and first light
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 12:37:14
From:	MREYNOLDS@expl.com (Mike Reynolds)
The "Homer" case referred to in
http://www.weasner.com/etx/cases.html#misc is regularly priced at $6.94
at the Home Depot store in Tulsa.  I'm now on a hunt to find a suitable
rubber liner for the Homer case at Wally World.  My goal is to end up
with a lockable padded hard case for my ETX-90EC for under $10. FWIW: 
ScopeCity did deliver the free Meade electric focuser with the purchase
of the ETX-90EC as promised.  My first light was the moon through cloudy
skies from my patio in bone chilling temperature.  I've never seen the
moon craters so bright and I've never been so cold.  >G<

Subject:	 question
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 08:39:07
From:	kardrak4@hotmail.com (Eduardo Lopez)
What exactly means multi-coatings ?  what does it works?

Thank you..  

Eduardo Lopez
Mike here: Usually it means that there are different coatings applied to the optical surfaces. One coating will pass some wavelengths and other coatings will pass different wavelengths. They also reduce glare and reflections. Combined they provide a quality optical system with minimal loss of light.

Subject:	 User feedback ?
Sent:	Thursday, November 16, 2000 06:25:54
From:	spowell@triad.rr.com (Scott Powell)
I saw a post in the user feedback section from SKBROTHERS@aol.com who
was trying to decide between an ETX90-M (no autostar) vs a -60 or -70
with Autostar. My two cents worth - if he can't afford a -90 WITH an
Autostar, I would recommend getting the -90 without and getting a good
book such as "Turn Left at Orion". I originally had a -90RA, and last
year upgraded to the ETX-125. I still feel that using the Autostar is a
bit of cheating - yes it makes it much easier to find things, but doing
it the way "Turn Left at Orion" shows is a lot more fun! (in my opinion,
of course)

Thanks,
Scott

Subject:	Meade ETX-90M
Sent:	Tuesday, November 14, 2000 20:17:02
From:	SKBROTHERS@aol.com
I am considering the ETX-90-EC as a first scope.  However I was walking
thru Sam's Club and found a skid of about 15 ETX-90M telescopes.  Any
idea what this unit is?  It appears to be the same thing as the
ETX-90-RA.  There is no hand controller or any provision for one.  There
are two switches on it's base: one for North or South Hemisphere and one
to engage the tracking motor (One speed I think).  The thing is that the
price on this scope is only $399.00.

Initially I was considering the ETX-60-EC for it's price and autostar
capabilities.  I have since decided that I might be better served with
the optics of the ETX-90 series.  What are your thoughts on the autostar
vs. larger optics.  The $399 is appealling but will I regret not getting
the duel drive motor with autostar?

The ETX-90M has the little tripod legs and I don't know if it can be
mounted on a tripod.  Could this be a refurbished unit?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  I intend to buy a scope for
Christmas.

Thanks!!!!!!

skbrothers@aol.com
Mike here: The ETX-90M apparently is the same as the original ETX, now known as the ETX-90RA. $399 is a good price for that model. It is certainly a capable telescope as evidenced by its original success. Until the ETX-90EC was released, this model was the only ETX model and so most of my site up until January 1999 was about the original model. The original ETX was what motivated me to even start this site! It can be mounted on a tripod (see the Accessories - Tripods page). Certainly the extra aperture and focal length of the -90 model make it a more capable telescope than the smaller -60 and -70 models. Will you miss the GOTO capabilities? That depends upon your familiarity with the night sky or your willingness to learn it. It is worthwhile to remember that mankind observed the sky for several centuries without a computer. But as some have noted, if you live in light polluted areas having the Autostar will possibly let you locate objects that would otherwise escape your notice. Will you get more out of observing with an Autostar? Sure, because it does a lot of the work for you. Is that worth the extra money? Only you can say. Always trade-offs! Good luck with the decision.

Subject:	 Second hand ETX-125 check...
Sent:	Monday, November 13, 2000 16:51:29
From:	jskoh@pc.jaring.my (Koh Joo Siang)
I'm a very frequent visitor of your site. Just make myself up and
decided to buy a scope of my own. I've offer a second hand ETX128EC in
just around USD1315, wonder is it a bargain? Another reason of this
email is what should I check with the second hand scope? Thanks in
advance.

Siang from  Malaysia.
Added later:
Items Included:

 Meade ETX-125EC Telescope (Retail : Rm5900)
 Deluxe Tripod for the telescope(Meade) (Retail : Rm1200+)
 Autostar Controller(Meade) (Retail : Rm1000+)
 Electronic Focusor(Meade) (Retail : Rm1000+)
 Sky Chart software with the connection cable(Meade) (Retail Rm100)
 Telrad Finder
 45 degree erect prism(Meade) Rm100+
 T-adapter(Meade) for the telescope with the Canon EOS camera ring Rm100+
 26mm Super plossl (Meade) Rm400+
 18mm Super Wide Angle plossl (Meade) Rm800+
 9.7mm Super plossl (Meade) Rm400+
 32mm Super plossl (Meade) Rm400+
 8mm-24mm Zoom Lens from TeleVue Rm1000+
 2X Barlow from Celestron Rm600+

 Total Value Rm13000!!!
Mike here: I don't know if the price is good or not. But to check a used scope try to actually star test it. Pick a bright star like Sirius. Run the focus from one side of exact focus to the other out-of-focus side; in the out-of-focus positions you will see some rings. Symmetrical rings show that the optics are in collimation. Check the physical condition (motor drives work, optics clean and not scratched, and general cleanliness), plastics not cracked, etc. Don't forget to check the accessories. Check the play in the axis with the locks engaged; should not be excessive (more than just a few degrees). Check the battery compartment for corrosion. Check the base mounting holes for stripped threads. Run the drives normally and verify there is no excessive jumping or other oddities. Check all the buttons on the standard controller and Autostar. They should all work. Hope this helps.

Subject:	 Buying for an intermediate
Sent:	Monday, November 13, 2000 07:44:51
From:	jmeyers@leasecorp.com
I'm trying to buy a new telescope for my husband for Christmas. I bought
him a beginner scope about 3 yrs ago and he keeps asking for something
more intermediate. I would prefer to spend around $600 but if there is
something better for more money I will consider it. What do you suggest?
He is definitely a Meade fan.

Thank you,
Jenny Meyers
Mike here: The ETX models make nice telescopes. For $600 you could go for the basic ETX-90EC (minus the Autostar and a tripod). Or you could look at the smaller ETX models. Check out the DS models as well.

Subject:	 Meade day
Sent:	Monday, November 13, 2000 05:11:08
From:	dean@cwdi.com (Dean Schwartzenberg)
I have a LX90 on order.  They are supposed to ship this week to us. 
Will you get a chance to look at it?  Possibly compare drive train and
autostar to etx and lx200.

I have never used an LX200 but know that they are near 100% perfect in
goto.  According to the meade adv. the lx90 should be nearly the same. 
Also the mount is a concern after dealing with the 125.  The LX200
tripod I am sure is fine, but the actual forks and telescope base?

Since this scope is a 'hybrid' of the etx & lx200, do you think you may
have a section on this scope?  With the autostar being the same, it
sounds like it will be a very similar scope in operation.  Hopefully all
earlier autostar bugs have been fixed.

Thanks, Dean.
Mike here: I hope to check out the new LX90. As to whether we'll have a section on here, remains to be seen. It does use a version of the Autostar so from that standpoint it would make sense. On the other hand, it is a pretty large telescope, going beyond the ETX models up to 5-inch. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Subject:	 RE: RE: #126 Barlow
Sent:	Sunday, November 12, 2000 21:21:30
From:	jcleland@jamescleland.com (James A. Cleland)
I can focus on either side of "focused", so it's not a range thing. I
can see at what point the object becomes as clear as it is going to,
It's just not absolutely clear. Even the moon, you can tell there is a
little fuzziness to it. I'm going to get a nice rag out and clean it
tomorrow to see if this helps. If not, I may just try another lense.
Perhaps this one is defective.

Also, is it normal for things to be completely out of focus when you
insert the barlow after they were in perfect focus with just an
eyepiece? I'm speaking of a 9.7 Plossl.

Thanks again!
James
Mike here: There are eyepieces and Barlows that are "parfocal", meaning they focus at the same setting. But the 26mm is not parfocal with anything else. However, you can attempt to make things parfocal by some experimentation and not inserting eyepieces all the way in.

Subject:	 #126 Barlow
Sent:	Sunday, November 12, 2000 17:35:33
From:	jcleland@jamescleland.com (James A. Cleland)
I love the site. Bet you get that alot :) I thought you might be able to
answer a quick one for me. I have been having a little trouble with my
Barlow lense and I don' t know if it's defective or if this is normal,
but I have a heck of a time getting a good focus with it. Actually, I
never really get a good focus. I have been using this lense for some
time now and I don't think the halo's that I'm seeing are problems
induced by the atmosphere. How do you feel about the image quality you
notice with the barlow and various eyepieces?

BTW, I'm using it with the 26mm, 18mm, 9.7, and 6.7UWA.

Thanks for any input!
James A. Cleland
Mike here: You didn't indicate which telescope you use the Barlow with but on my ETX-90 and -125, it works fine with the 26mm eyepiece. On the -90, things do get a little fuzzy on faint objects with the 9.7mm plus 2X Barlow Lens. But other than that, I've not seen any halos. Could yours just need cleaning? I assume you don't see any halos when you don't use the Barlow.

Added later:

Thanks for the response!

It's a 90. I have checked the optics pretty well and they seem to be
spotless. I don't clean my optics often so as to preserve the coating,
but I do occasionally wipe them gently. I could check it out again.

I noticed there is another 2x Barlow (#122) that is much longer than the
#126. What's the difference?
Mike here: The short #126 Barlow is recommended for the ETX. If you can't reach a good focus you may have to adjust the position of the focus knob. If you turn the focus knob and it hits the back of the ETX before reaching a good focus, just loosen the setscrew on the side of the knob, slide the knob just slightly outward, and retighten the setscrew. Be careful to not let the shaft fall inside of the ETX tube (point it upwards before loosening the setscrew).

Subject:	 CCD camera
Sent:	Sunday, November 12, 2000 14:44:46
From:	jshelto1@rochester.rr.com (ours)
I was wondering do you know of any CCD camera that are in a 275.00 to
350.00 price range ? I use my Toshiba digital camera now but I would
love to get a CCD,
Thanks Jim Shelton
Mike here: Check the SAC CCD systems. See the Showcase Products page.

Added later:

Thank you very much I think that will be what I'm going to get!
I'll send you some pictures.

Thanks JimShelton

Subject:	 weather effects on 125 and double stars (not related)
Sent:	Sunday, November 12, 2000 12:40:07
From:	brass@uconnvm.uconn.edu (Emory Braswell)
Mike, I am bothering you and your extremely useful site again--I need
some technical kinds of info.  First; does anyone know how much weather
the 125 will take?  I live in Connecticut which can be quite damp, and
occasionally cold or hot.  If the scope was left out on its mount with a
heavy plastic bag over it--is that enough? What about moisture
condensation and possible freezing--How about leaving it in an unheated
garage?  Now the second more complicated issue.  I am getting interested
in doubles.  There is a standard way of representing them, as if the
brighest one straddled the zenith.  Then recording the angle from N for
the fainter star and of course the distance between them.  Well one
doesn't wait to record this only when the star gets to the zenith.
Therefore there must be a simple trignometric transformation between the
angle measured with relation to a vertical (or some other reference) and
the LST of where you are and the RA of the star.  I understand that this
was (once?) done with a "filar micrometer".  Where can I learn more
about this and doubles in general?  Thank you for your time and anyone
else who will supply me with some answers.   
Regards to all, Emory Braswell
Mike here: Most consumer telescopes are not really meant to be permanently left outside. And freezing it would not be good for the plastics, glue, and optics. Moisture can cause problems as well. Dew is not a long term problem (except for cleaning) but rain would be. As to double stars, I did some research for you by starting with the Sky & Telescope web site and checked their Resources area. From there I ended up at the ad.usno.navy.mil/dsl/ Double Star Library site. Isn't the web amazing!

Subject:	 meade telescopes
Sent:	Saturday, November 11, 2000 21:06:40
From:	bobafitt66@netzero.net (bobafitt66)
hi, sorry to bother you, but the internet has far too much information
and i'm not sure how to look for things, so i just grabbed on to you. 
from the picture i felt comfortable in assuming you know what you're
doing! lol

i have a meade telestar.  i don't know how to use the thing, and don't
know where anything is in the sky and was wondering if you could send me
a link to get me started.  i would greatly appreciate the help!  please
send your response, if any to muckwalk@hotmail.com    thank you so much
for time.  take care and be safe...marie
Mike here: I don't have the Meade Telestar but I suggest you visit the tips section of Sky and Telescope's web site. Lots of really good info for the beginner. Go to: www.skypub.com/tips/tips.shtml.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC is AWESOME!
Sent:	Saturday, November 11, 2000 19:48:05
From:	rick@deepskies.com (Rick Towns)
Great site! I traded in my Celstron C8 for an ETX-90EC this week (you
read that correctly - I traded an 8 inch SCT for a 3.5 inch MAK). I
finally got some clear skies tonight (I live just north of Toronto,
Canada) and took my ETX for a run. All I can say is "WOW"! This little
scope easily out performs my C8 for crisp, clear images and amazing
colour contrast. I noticed that the central obstruction on the ETX is
really, REALLY small as a percentage of the entire corrector plate. I
assume this plays a role in the superb and sharp images.

I owned the C8 for over 4 years, and although it was a decent
instrument, let's face it - it's *THE* entry level 8 inch SCT. The
optics were decent, but this ETX just plain blows it away. With poor
seeing, I was still able to observe excellent detail on Jupiter's
surface (5 bands were viewed) at over 200x. What would normally turn
into an amorphous fuzzy ball in my C8 was crisp and clear with a sharp,
defined edge. Saturn gave the same startlingly excellent view as well.

I have the AutoStar computer and a full size field tripod, and all I
wanted to say to ANYONE considering the ETX-90EC - DO IT! You'll never
regret it (I picked this scope over the similarly priced but completely
plain jane Tele Vue Ranger).

Thank you.

Rick Towns
Mike here: Yep, the ETX is a Mighty telescope, which is one of the reasons this site is called "Weasner's Mighty ETX Site"!

Subject:	ETX90 EC
Sent:	Friday, November 10, 2000 11:57:38
From:	Piperwarrior7@aol.com
Hi my name is Seth im a 13 year old and I was wondering if you could
answer some questions about my ETX90. Does the UltraBlock Narrowbard
Light Pollution Filter and the SkyGlow Broanbrand Light Pollution Filter
work with the ETX90. Thats all I was wondering.
             Thank you
Mike here: See the Accessories - Filters page for some comments on these types of filters.

Subject:	photos
Sent:	Thursday, November 9, 2000 20:42:33
From:	CBarn32329@aol.com
I have one lunar with etx 90 you might want to take a look at
WWW.CHASBARNARD.COM
there are some others taken with my lx 10 if you want a copy please replay.

Chas Barnard

Subject:	 Lens cleaning Fluid
Sent:	Thursday, November 9, 2000 08:48:26
From:	martinic@nbnet.nb.ca (Calvin Martini)
Have a quick question for you or any of your guests.  I just bought a
lens cleaning  kit with cleaning fluid from a small camera shop in a
mall. I asked the clerk  if the cleaning fluid would be suitable for
telescope oculars, since camera lenses are coated too etc., they said
that it was suitable for any type of lens. It looks identical to a kit
sold thru the dealer that I bought my ETX-90 EC from  this past summer,
but at nearly 2/3 less. Does anyone agree that it is suitable for all
lenses? I would not want to find out after the fact that I was
misinformed! I am pretty much a newbie and I dont want to make any
expensive mistakes. I already know that I should do as little cleaning
on my oculars as possible. I just want to make sure the fluid is safe if
I ever need to use some.  What do you think?

I also want to say again how much I love your site. It is so informative
and helpful! I used the reviews and comments from the filters section to
do some of my research before buying my Solar filter and color
filters....it was very helpful. I bought a full aperature glass filter
from Orion. They were prompt in filling out my order and it should
arrive on my door step any day, I can't wait!!!

You do such a great job at keeping this site up and running.  Keep up
the good work!

Clear Skies,

Vernita
Mike here: I have successfully used various lens cleaning solutions (extremely SMALL amounts) on eyepieces and the outside of the correcting lens on the ETX. I have not tried it on a mirror surface. However, I _strongly_ recommend reading the telescope instruction manual on maintenance. Here's a link to the ETX-90EC manual section on cleaning:
http://www.meade.com/manuals/etx90ec/ch06.html#1

Subject:	Aperture Rant
Sent:	Tuesday, November 7, 2000 06:32:52
From:	Mnev326@aol.com
This is response to Brian Straight's rant about aperture on the
Editorial page.  First of all I don't think his evaluations were valid. 
If you're going to compare scopes you need to operate them at the same
magnification.  He used just a 26 mm.  With this eyepiece the 5 inch was
at 73x, the 6 inch at 35x, the 8 inch at 77x, and the 16 inch at 154x. 
I also think he's blowing collimating out of proportion.  I have a 10
inch DOB that I collimate every time I use it.  It normally takes under
a minute.  Also, I like to have the ability to collimate to optimize my
scope.  If your ETX gets out of collimation it needs to be sent back to
Meade.  He also states that what he saw visually wasn't worth the price
difference between the ETX and the LX200.  I think people that buy a 16
inch LX200 are buying them to do advanced astrophotography.

A fairer comparison would be the 16inch Meade Starfinder DOB which
retails for about $1200.00.  About what you would pay for a ETX 125 with
the autostar and tripod.  Now which gives more bang for the buck.  I've
used scopes from 2 inches up to 25 inches and believe me if the seeing
is good the larger apertures always give better views.  But, don't take
my word for it join your local club and go to their starparties and look
through as many scopes as you can and make your own decision about
aperture.

Mark

Subject:	 ETX Model M
Sent:	Monday, November 6, 2000 11:13:47
From:	ELIZABETHA1@prodigy.net (ELIZABETH E ADAMS)
no nothing about scopes and want to find one for wife for xmas.  what do
you think of the ETX model M @ $400 at SAMS?  I know it is not on the
upper price end but would it do a nice job at that price? any help would
be appreciated since you know about the ETX series.
Mike here: Supposedly, the ETX Model M is the original model, also known as the ETX-90RA. The current model is the ETX-90EC, which supports the Autostar. $400 for a new ETX-90RA is a good price, assuming it comes with all the original equipment: including the table top legs, 26mm 1.25" eyepiece, and 8x21 finderscope.

Subject:	Re: Doskocil Hard Case
Sent:	Saturday, November 4, 2000 09:24:45
From:	WHowell501@aol.com
...as a follow up, I noticed this morning that photoalley.com (hope this
link works...) ETX90EC (Keyword to:
http://photoalley.com/pa/shopProductDetail.cfm?id=38CFDD27-0006-2952
-00004F7B00004F7B&mid=MDE&uid=00018F07-07B7-1A02-B6FF80ADD557FCF6)
has their $100 off on orders over $600 again...through 11/7...makes the
ETX90EC a good buy at $495 net...add something else to the order(star
chart, filter,etc.) to bring it up over $600 to get the discount. No
tax, free shipping, I believe.
...thought you might like to pass this on...
Thanks,
Bill Howell
whowell501@aol.com
PS...they are not in stock at the moment, but I suspect they will have
some in this coming week...

Subject:	 Re: place to buy?
Sent:	Saturday, November 4, 2000 05:15:25
From:	w0kie@home.com (Michael R.)
I gave scopecity an order based on free electronic focuser.  The
salesman just wanted to take the order and get off of the phone.  I hope
that focuser is worth it because I saw a nice ETX90 discount at Shutan
that caught my eye.   I'm leary about buying a ETX90 by mail order out
of concern of damage or whether it will be a return or a second.  There
was a return at Natural Wonder in Tulsa for $505 but I took a pass on
that.

I really wish your web page had a faq list for newbies of ETX90
accessories ranked in order of REAL importance.  Also a faq on what to
do to check out the scope when you first open the box.  This may sound
really dumb but to me it's not.

Thanks again for your web page.

Mike Reynolds, CPA, MBA
Mike here: Each user's needs vary as to what accessories are more important. Some want a new finderscope right away while others want more eyepieces and/or a Barlow Lens. Filters of various types can be handy for some users and less useful to others. Of course, some would rank a tripod high on the list where for others it would be low. And then you come to accessories for taking photos. The list can go on and on. Review the Buyer/New User Tips pages for some suggestions. Regarding the FAQ for what to check out when receiving a new (or especially used) telescope, that's a good idea. Maybe someone already has something written up that they could submit.

Subject:	 Meade sale items
Sent:	Friday, November 3, 2000 16:26:12
From:	lpdisadog@netzero.net (THOMAS)
Some of the Meade products are on sale at Natural Wonders.  Web site: 
www.naturalwonders.com
We purchased a ETX-90EC for $505.00 on sale.
Mike here: As I recall, NW is dropping Meade.

Subject:	 place to buy?
Sent:	Friday, November 3, 2000 04:40:58
From:	w0kie@home.com (Michael R.)
I've been checking places to buy an etx-90, both local or mail order. 
Scope City is tossing in a free electronic focuser.  Do you know if
Scope City is reliable or should I stay local and pay full price?  BTW:
Thanks for your site.  I'll be a supporter as soon as I get my scope.

Mike Reynolds
Tulsa, OK
Mike here: There used to be a Scope City near me but they closed that store many years ago. I've don't recall ever seeing any complaints about the Scope City chain.

Added later:

Thanks.  I hate how Meade is trying to fix retail scope pricing.

Subject:	 cooling time
Sent:	Thursday, November 2, 2000 23:29:59
From:	zen420@gateway.net (zen420)
I purchased an ETX 90EC in May 2000.  I love my telescope.  I have sold
them in a retail store since 1997.  I didn't know anything about
telescopes before I started working there.  We recently started carrying
Celestron instead of Meade.  One thing that is mentioned as a benefit of
the Schmidt-Cassegrain over the Maksutov-Cassegrain is that the primary
mirror has a slower "cooling time".  What does this mean and how does it
affect my telescope?  Thanx!

Also, I really enjoy touring around your site!  It's very informative
and interesting.

Jennifer
Mike here: "Cooling time" is actually the "thermal equalization time" for the optics, or the time it takes for the components in the telescope, including the air in the tube to reach the same temperature as the outside air. For some telescopes, with only small holes for the air to move through, this can take a couple of hours. For other telescopes it can take 20-30 minutes. While some would dispute this, I think most small telescope users will never notice much difference whether they wait 30 minutes or 2 hours or just start observing when the bring the telescope outside. Of course, if you move from a 78 degree temperature to a 20 degree temperature, there is a more noticeable affect than if you move from 78 to 70 degrees. What with all the heat sources around most homes, if you take your telescope to the backyard, this is enough disturbance going on that deciding what is due to the telescope and what is due to other heat sources is going to be difficult for most users to determine.

Subject:	ETX-90
Sent:	Thursday, November 2, 2000 13:19:14
From:	BGJAKU@aol.com
I'm new to astronomy and will be purchasing either a 90 or 125 very
soon.  I have one question I have not been able to get a real clear
answer on.  I thought maybe you could help.   When people speak of
"tracking" with the out of the box controller, they mean tracking by
pushing the remote buttons in place of knobs, right?  Does the autostar
controller allow for tracking stars in the sky without touching any
buttons?  And do you recommend the 125 as a beginners scope?  I spoke
with a local dealer and he tried to talk me into the 90 because it is
more widely used.  Sounds strange to me.

Thanks in advance Mike,
Bryan Kubsch
Mike here: Tracking usually means that the scope moves to compensate for the Earth's rotation to keep objects in view. And yes, the ETX-90 models (and all ETX models for that matter) will track if the telescope is mounting equatorially (also called Polar mode). If you mount the telescope in Alt/Az mode you will need an Autostar to automatically track. In any case, the ETX standard handcontroller and the Autostar use buttons to move the telescope to locate objects. Or you can move the telescope manually by unlocking the Right Ascension and Declination locks and move the telescope tube. As to which scope makes a better beginner's telescope will depend upon your expectations (a topic which is covered a lot on my ETX site) and how you plan to use the ETX. Larger is not always better if it stays in the closet.

Subject:	 re: camcorder on an ETX90
Sent:	Wednesday, November 1, 2000 19:54:05
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	lpdisadog@netzero.net
Thomas,

I saw your note on Mike's site, and another factor to consider is that
the ETX90 cannot handle much off-center weight.  Its clutches and drives
are plastic, and too much weight hanging off-balance will slip the
clutches and can damage some of the internal pieces.

You -can- hang a counterweight on the barrel, but if the camcorder is at
all bulky, the effective weight will be changing as the telescope slews
up and down. So the counterweight may have to be adjusted for each
target.

As mike says, even a 1-lux camera cannot handle dim (and almost
everything is dim, except for the moon and major planets) targets. 
"real" astronmy CCD cameras work by either taking long (5, 10-minute)
exposures, or by frame-grabbing many individual images and adding them
together (this has other advantages, too).

Simple video-taping of the dim targets will probably be disappointing,
but using the camera to supply frames to your PC/MAc for post-processing
can work very well. Try chasing some of Mike's links involving CCD and
QuickCams to see what the ETX can be convinced to deliver.

have fun
--dick

Search Feedback

Subject:	 search... yes, i use it
Sent:	Sunday, October 22, 2000 22:17:52
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Of course, just a zipped whole-year's-digest would also serve... i could
download -that- and use a word-processor on it. Compared to multiple
downloads of the 75KB keyset it'd almost be faster on busy weekends
(there was a day i download many, many months of archives for multiple
searches)

--dick

Subject:	 Search Feature
Sent:	Thursday, October 19, 2000 13:56:55
From:	Kurt.Sowers@dtn.com
I saw your question about use of the Search feature and wanted to share
my experiences with you, which I assume are pretty typical.  I found
your site in May of this year; I was searching the net for information
on telescopes because I wanted to purchase my first scope.  Although I
found a lot of useful information on other sites, yours is hands-down
the most useful site I've found yet.  Initially I spent a great deal of
time reading the posts and combing through the archives gathering
information about the ETX. Primarily because of the information on your
site, in July I took the plunge and bought an ETX-90EC and have been
very happy with it.  I continue to visit your site a couple times a
week.

I sometimes have a problem or question and remember reading something
about it on your site, but don't remember all the details.  I have used
the Search feature to find the information I'm looking for with great
success. The information on your site has saved me a great deal of time
trying to figure things out on my own.  I know it seems like people
aren't using the Search feature (judging from the questions you
receive), but I think there are may others like me who do use the Search
feature, and so you don't hear from us very often (the silent majority
theory).  I find this feature very useful.

Personally, I'd rather invest a little time searching the archives for
information and receive an "instant" answer, rather than to submit a
question and wait for a reply.  Although you are very timely in
responding to questions, usually you direct the inquirer to use the
Search feature anyway (As you should!), because the information is
already out there.  I suppose they think it will be easier to just ask
the question rather than look for themselves.  They could save you a
great deal of time if they'd just spend a little time looking.

Your site has been, and continues to be, an invaluable resource for me
and other ETX users.  If I can be so presumptuous as to speak for all of
us, I'd like to sincerely thank you for the work you put into
maintaining this site, and for all the help you have given us.  I have
no doubt that there are thousands of ETX users who would be unhappy or
unsatisfied Meade customers if not for the information you have gathered
here.

Thanks again,

Kurt Sowers

Subject:	 search
Sent:	Monday, October 16, 2000 17:20:40
From:	danta@email.msn.com (Dan)
Hey Mike, great site!   I've used the search feature several times
(looking for parfocal measurements and fixes for that wonderful 26mm
plossl, tripod info and product fixes. Though not necessary it is a
uesful feature.  Hope its not too much extra work for you. Thanks so
much for keeping up such an excellent source of knowlege.  The
information sharing has been invaluable.

Subject:	SEARCH Feature
Sent:	Monday, October 16, 2000 14:16:06
From:	RBSAUER@aol.com
Thanks for the wonderful site.  A many others have said, my decision to
purchase an ETX-90EC was highly influenced by your website.

As for the Search feature, I have used it many times successfully.  I
will say that I have been frustrated at times while utilizing it. 
However, I realized that the information for which I was looking was not
on your site but on another.  I guess that is the nature of the beast
when the site has so much info...I assumed I must have seen it on the
Mighty ETX Site.

For newcomers, like me, I think it is invaluable.  After looking through
many of the Archives it is virtually impossible to remember, days later,
where you read that factoid of current interest.

If it is not too time consuming to keep up to date, my vote is to keep
it.

Ron Sauer

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