Last updated: 30 November 2001
This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS 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: I have been receiving a lot of virus-generated email from Windows users. Windows users who receive an infected email message can pass it on. If you use Windows, I strongly suggest that Windows users check their systems and if necessary clean them off. Please note that my system will not pass on these types of Windows viruses nor can you get them from this ETX Site.
Subject:	ETX-90RA (I think)
Sent:	Friday, November 30, 2001 11:40:56
From: (Frank Loflin)
I have an opportunity to purchase an ETX-90RA. I think that is what it
is as it has no remote control and is being sold with a Meade Series
4000 26 mm Plossl and Barlow lens. The guy is asking $200.00, but I
think he might take less as he has been trying to sell it for some time
now. Is this a good buy? It's in the original box with all papers and
looks to be in good shape (I know, looks can fool you). I own three
Newts and this would be my first experience with an ETX. Any help would
be greatly appreciated.


Clear Skies and Dark Nights,

Frank Loflin
Jackson Astronomical Association
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Mike here: See the Dealer Specials page on my ETX Site. One dealer (and perhaps others) are selling new ones for essentially the same price.
Subject:	Skew-T diagrams and astronomical seeing
Sent:	Friday, November 30, 2001 3:34:25
From: (Clay Sherrod)
One of Brian's current undertakings at our Cascade site is doing some
confirmational work of NOAA's (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin.)
Skew-T diagrams of air turbulence and how those patterns can be
translated into effective measure for astronomical steadiness,
particularly for planetary work.

This should be of interest to all Jupiter observers and imagers,
particularly for long-term observational planning during this
apparition; as we all know, the Northern Hemisphere winter months are
the most subject to rapidly changing (usually deteriorating) air
steadiness in most areas.

The ASO link is:

His work is very preliminary, but I thought you would find the attached
link to the Observatory's site interesting nonetheless.  Any input and
discussion is certainly welcome for both exchange and posting on the
subject if you desire.

P. Clay Sherrod -
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	question abut telescope
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 18:44:18
From: (Brian Gaines)
What type of telescope do you have? and what are your other telescope
stuff do u have
Mike here: Except for the Edmund 3" reflector (see the Ancient History page on the Just For Fun page), I have the scopes shown at the bottom of my ETX-70AT comments page. As to other stuff, it is all detailed on the Site in the appropriate places.
Subject:	Re: Used ETX-90 OTA tabs
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 5:02:18
From: (Clay Sherrod)
This is one of the major problems that can happen when a user decides to
remove the OTA from the mounting; there are two very delicate (too
delicate) small flat plastic tabs, one on each side of the OTA, which
engage and hold firm the tube assembly to the rotating fork mount.

If the tube is twisted or torque in any way upon removal, either or both
of these tabs can break off;  once off, there is nothing at all to
prevent uncontrollable rocking of the tube within the fork arm when
clamped.  It results in up to 7 degrees of play in the altitude axis.

Unfortunately when broken the user faces three problems:

1) the scope will not stay put in altitude and will move very easily
with the slightest pressure;

2) the tab CANNOT be reattached, either by superglue or any other common

3) the tab is a molded part of the telescope tube REAR CELL, meaning it
is not something that can be replaced.

I have a very involved fix for this when ETX scopes come in for
Supercharge which have broken tabs; the telescope must be completely
disassembled, including the OTA and the barrel of the tube, mirror, etc.
is all removed. At that point I clean up the break area and proceed to
drill and tap two very tiny pinholes vertically into the wall of the
rear cell at which I install special brass pins to replace the broken

This is a full-day's job and NOT something that most users should ever
attempt; of course this will void the Meade warranty as well....the new
metal tabs are there to stay can cannot break and allow an extremely
firm and wobble free hold.

Since it is unlikely the user can return just the broken tube assembly
to Meade for replacement of the rear cell (which is what they do), then
the entire scope must be sent in for repair.   Since the scope is used,
I am sure it is not covered under warranty repair.

Unfortunately the telescope will NOT operate properly and efficiently
until the telescope is repair.  All the more reason to thoroughly check
out any used telescope prior to accepting and paying, or have a
notarized statement of guarantee prior to purchase.

Best of luck to him....this is a major problem, albeit one that can be

Clay Sherrod
P. Clay Sherrod -
Arkansas Sky Observatory

----- Original Message -----
> Date:        11/28/2001 19:41
> From:
> Now, I've taken the OTA out of the fork arms and I noticed that a small
> plastic tab (about 1/4" long) on the front right (drive) side of the OTA's
> collar was broken off.  I assume that this fits into the trunion.  Is
> there a fix for this small tab?
> Thanks,
> Brent

Subject:	A question to (John Cuckney)
Sent:	Thursday, November 29, 2001 2:46:27
From: (Monty Coward)
To: ('')
While reading the thread in the ETX70 section, I noticed a comment
submitted by John Cuckney.  John says that he places coins on the ground
and then lines up the tripod after a previous session when he placed the
scope in PARK.  I have one question about this process.  When doing this
.. does he unlock both DEC and RA ... or does he leave them locked in
between sessions. I was under the impression that when storing (not in
use) the scope, that both DEC and RA should be unlocked as keeping it
locked  it will cause stress on the various parts???  John ... any
comment as to whether you keep the DEC and RA locked will be great.  Is
it possible to unlock both axis and keep it in the same position till
the next session?

Lewis Montague Coward (UK)
From: (John Cuckney)
I leave them in the locked position - I try to not tighten too hard.

I have started a web page with pictures of the bits I commented about - try
John's toys at

Mike here: Couple of points. Keeping the axis locks locked for LONG periods of time is probably not a good idea, especially if there is stress, such as on the Altitude lock with the OTA in a raised position. However, if you Park the scope using the Autostar Park command you HAVE to keep the locks engaged.
Subject:	Installing the Flexi Focus from Scopetronix
Sent:	Wednesday, November 28, 2001 20:07:07
From: (Rudy Belsito)
I recently purchased a Flexi Focus.  I was able to remove the original
focus knob with no problems, but the Flexi Focus will not fit onto the
focus shaft.  I don't want to force it on for fear of causing damage. 
Any help?

Mike here: Have you contacted Scopetronix?
Subject:	The etx sees double. latest installment.
Sent:	Wednesday, November 28, 2001 14:18:25
From: (martyn)
This is a new installment of "The etx sees double" saga. Today I took my
etx to see the dealer at his home. We viewed some fine detail with the
UWA 4.7mm on a churchtower which was some 300 meters in the distance. In
fact a flat, sunlit metal(goldplated??) hen. Nice contrast. The dealer
and I could actually find nothing wrong with the image, no double edges.
In fact the image was probably a fine example of what the etx can
accomplish. If an ant had walked on the metal ornament, we would have
seen it. The texture of the ornament was easily seen. Sometimes I saw a
hint of a darkish shadow outside the edge of the ornament but I can't
say I saw double. The dealer also said the image looks just as he
expected. The seeing sometimes blurred the image somewhat. If I would
have to base a purchase of the ETX on the image I saw, I would probably
have bought it. Now, I can't say for certain whether the prevailing
seeing would have obscured any doubling, on surch "fairly large" detail,
and detail also that is not as contrasty as brightly lit lunar details
but the image there looked fine. He told me about his experiences with
thermal non-equilibrium and atmospheric conditions and that these can do
all sorts of weird stuff with a telescope-image. He also said that for
any doubling to appear it would probably not make a difference whether
the subject would be high- or low contrast. But he also could not
identify exactly why I saw lunar details double, but he advised me to
really let the scope cool down. [outside temperature this evening is
about 6 1/2 degrees C]. When I came home this evening, the moon was out
and I aimed the etx with UWA 4.7mm at it. The seeing was quite poor but
I think I did see some double crater edges, but other crater/lunar
detail I could not confirm seeing double. The scope also had not reached
thermal equilibrium, so untill now I cannot judge what the state of
affairs really is. The scope has now been cooling down in an unheated
outside room waiting for a reappearance of the moon. Just checked
outside....overcast. So no testing this evening. Anyway, we found no
obvious defects and I took the scope back home for further testing and
hopefully normal use.

If anyone out there has similar experiences, I would really like to hear
about it. I'll be testing again and let you know about the results.
Thank you very much Mike for your time and your quick responses. You
really take the 'bite' out of telescope experiences like these. Many,
many thanks.

very best regards,
Mike here: I doubt that not having reached thermal equilibrium would have caused double images that were each clear and not fuzzy. But if it works...


I agree with you, but I am willing to try everything. If someone would
say to me, stop having sugar in your coffee, you won't see double then, 
I would probably try that to. ;-) I'll be testing after full moon again
under different circumstances. We'll see what happens. It has become a
very interesting thing for me.

Subject:	Nice tool for determining your seeing conditions!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 28, 2001 4:38:48
From: (Clay Sherrod)
On the Arkansas Sky Observatory page, we have just posted a very nice
and useful link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Clear Air Turbulence Risk Forecast - From NOAA

which can be accessed through the Arkansas Sky Observatory at:

This is  a very nice update and actual forecast site that will allow you
to judge the actual "seeing conditions" for anywhere in North America. 
It will be particularly of interest to many planetary observers and
those who do high resolution imaging of planets now that Jupiter and
Saturn again are dominating our night skies.

P. Clay Sherrod -
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Local ETX users
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 22:41:30
Its been a little while since the star party.  My wife and I had a great
time and wish we could have them 3 times a year.  Since that's
impossible I wonder if other ETX users would mind if their e-mail
addresses were made public so users could get together?

If anyone in the SF Bay area is interested they can reach me at

Thanks for the great web site and all of the valuable info.  Hope to see
you in 2002.

Subject:	book when?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 21:35:15
From: (BOBCATH28)
Sir!, Can you give us an idea when your new book on the ETX  will be
available?? Thanks,   Bob D.
Mike here: All I know about the publishing date is what is posted on the book announcement page. It will be updated when I know more.
Subject:	I'm back -- and with a question!
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 9:54:42
From: (Meade Daffron)
Hello Mike and everyone! Many of you won't remember me, but the
long-timers on this site will -- I hope. At least you'll get a laugh out
of my name. (No relation -- it's a family name, honest!) Mike, kudos as
in the past, and even more now, for keeping this incredible fountain of
information flowing for so many years now!

Anyway -- I'm back because I'm taking a hard look at purchasing a
competitor to the ETX-125 -- the new Orion Starmax 127, a 5-inch Mak on
a conventional German Equatorial mount. I like the Starmax because it
seems to be made from more durable materials than the ETX -- i.e.
aluminum front AND REAR cells, all-metal mount, etc. It seems an
incredible deal for $539 -- even though it's not a "GOTO" scope, which I
have no use for anyway. I'm more concerned with top-quality optics and a
stable mount, and so far the few reviews I've read on the web have been
very favorable.

Mike, I remember you had a side-by-side comparo of the ETX-125 vs. the
NexStar5 (I think that was the model) when they both came out a couple
of years ago. My question: Has anyone here taken a hands-on look at the
Starmax? Better yet, have they compared it to the ETX-125EC?

Tell you what -- I'm probably going to buy one of these as an early
Christmas present to myself. If you'll permit me and welcome an old
regular back to your site, I'll be happy to post a hands-on review of
the telescope -- comparing it to my old ETX-90RA and ETX-90EC -- after I
get it.
Sincerely yours,
Meade Daffron
Richmond, Virginia, USA

Subject:	Clay Sherrod vs. Rod Mollise?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 7:32:06
From: (Monty Coward)
I read an article by Clay saying that the LENSPEN will dull optics and
on the LENSPEN site, Rod says that this little device works wonders. 
Now .. who is correct. Both of these men are giants in the astronomical
fraternity ... It seems that they both can't be right and wrong ... so I
would challenge these gentlemen to discuss the pro's and con's of the
LENSPEN and then let us, 'little ones',  take the best advice.  I rely
heavily on advice of those with much experience .. but now.. I'm

Lewis Montague Coward (UK)
Mike here: I like the LensPen myself (see the "Cleaning Optics" article on the Buyer/New User Tips page). But, like many things, it can be over used and can cause problems if you press too hard. But it is probably like your computer OS; use what works and makes you feel good (I use Mac OS X).
Subject:	hello from Britain
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 4:55:19
From: (y1leaninp)
Hi, just ta let you know you got the best site. Irecently got an ETX
90-EC but evn with a six mm lens and 2x barlow, planets are small and
fuzzy. I often see the pictures people send in, containing huge pictures
of planets. Is this accomplished using CCD cameras or digital cameras?
Thank you for your time and keep up the good work.

Peter Leaning, Surrey, England
Mike here: Film and CCDs (digital cameras, as well) will be able to create better images than the eye on some objects and with some post-processsing. With the 6mm + 2X Barlow, you are trying for 416X, which rather exceeds the theoretical maximum magnification of 180X for the ETX-90EC. Even without the Barlow, you are exceeding the max. So it is not surprising that images will look fuzzy and dim.
Subject:	your book
Sent:	Tuesday, November 27, 2001 3:22:51
From: (Tony Finley)
Great ETX site, just got s/h ETX90EC after seeing your site and went to
order your book from my local book store here (Milton Keynes, UK) and
they say that it has not been published yet? will it be ready for Xmas
do you think?.

Keep up the good work.


Tony Finley
Mike here: Thanks for wanting the book; as I note on the announcement page, it is to be published in about two months, probably January.
Subject:	 Another very nice paper
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 14:06:18
From: (Blais Klucznik)
To: (Clay Sherrod)
Hello Clay,

I would like to thank you for your posting, amongst all the other
contributions you've made, the excellent paper for the GOTO you on Part
1 of the Great Constellation ORION.  I am sure I speak for others in
appreciating your work and for sharing the fruits of your labor with
this community.

            Thank You and Good evening to you.

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	ETX 90 seeing DOUBLE
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 14:04:26
From: (martyn)
How are you? I would very much like to hear your opinion about my ETX
90. It is seeing double now. The double image can be seen inside crater
walls, ridges and craters. Especially with bright details. Very strange
(?). In general it degrades the overall focus of the image. I noticed it
through the UWA 4.7mm, then checked with my sp6.4mm, same thing. Never
noticed/seen this before.  Do you have any idea what causes this? I
would very much appreciate your valuable judgement.

Thanks in advance and best regards,
Mike here: Without an eyepiece inserted, when you look though the eyepiece hole, what do you see? Is the image there double or way off-center?


Well looking through the eyepieceholder the image is not way of center
nor is it double. When I look at the secondary through the
eyepieceholder so my eye is centrally reflected in the secondary mirror,
I see that the black circle around the secondary is not circular but
slightly oval - as if the secondary baffler is not centered.

Yesterday evening I checked the trapezium with the 9.7mm and noticed
that the stars where not exact pinpoints. They were all VERY close

Today, at daylight, I checked with the 6.4mm, on some metal poles in the
distance. Out of focus I see that pole as two unfocused poles. Focusing
the image brings the "two unfocused poles" together, but they never quit
come together completely. Dark tree-brances seem to be okay, it is the
brighter things that show double. (planets, craters, stars etc).

There seem to be no cracks in any of the mirrors as far as I can see. I
hope I have given you some usefull info here, I am baffled. Hoope to
hear from you...many many thanks,
Mike here: Check the position of the secondary mirror/baffle on the correcting lens. See the photo at If yours looks like this same movement, then it will need to be returned to Meade for repair.


I had a look at that image of the shifted secondary-baffle. My secondary
mirror-baffle is also not quite centered, but is not peeking from behind
the silverspot (to what degree is this acceptable?). But I am still
puzzled about seeing double - I can think of no way for this scope to
"project double". Maybe it will go as quietly as it came. Anyway, I am
taking it to the dealer tomorrow for him to have a physical look as well
and perhaps arrange to take it to Meade Europe to have it checked
out/tuned up.

Many thanks for all you help, I really appreciate it.
Mike here: When mine slipped, there was only a slight deterioration of the image evident. I could have lived with it but since I was going to Meade anyway, I decided to have it fixed. Let me know what you learn.
Subject:	etx-90ra mounted on etx-60 piggyback style?
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 9:18:10
From: (David J. Kinney)
I have read some of the emails/comments on mounting one of the etx-90ra
that are on sale on the etx-60/70 base. Would it be possible to instead
piggy-back the 90ra tube onto the back of the 60/70? I saw someone do
this with an etx-90ec and 90ra  on your site. Are there any commerical
kits that you know of that could be modified to aid in mountining the 90
on the 60? If it worked the 60 could would make a nice finders scope.

BTW, I have a etx-60 and your site has been a great deal of help and

Mike here: I did mount the ETX-90 on an ETX-90 and the "Dual ETX" worked, sort of. But the axis locks would slip. I suspect the same problem would occur with the ETX-60AT axis locks. But if you want to try, Scopetronix has a piggyback adapter for the ETX-60AT.
Subject:	ETX Book
Sent:	Monday, November 26, 2001 3:03:46
From: (Michael Wulff)
How the hell am I going to get a copy of your Using the ETX here in
             regards Mike Wulff
             Brisbane Australia.
Mike here: The publisher is worldwide so I expect it will show up worldwide.
Subject:	hi there
Sent:	Sunday, November 25, 2001 19:07:19
From: (Moazzam Ahmed)
hi Mike, how're you doing? excellent website man. I think we emailed
back and forth a couple of times a couple of months ago. I was hoping
you could help me, Ive had a Meade ETX and Autostar computer for a year.
I have been trying to get it to work so I can observe deep sky stuff but
so far I havetn been successful. All Ive seen is the moon and thats
manual. Can you help me? Here's a few details on what Ive done and the

1. Do you know of a Meade party etc. scheduled for the Dallas, TX
region? That may be my best bet to get this thing working. How would I
find out?

2. Ive initialized, trained the drive and set it to home position, but
when I EZ align it (alt/az mode), it always focuses on an area where
there's no star. Its usually a little to the RIGHT of the cirus ctr.
Same with the second star. Then, if I tell it to go to the moon, it
revolves around and stops to the right of the moon. Any idea whats going
on? Ive tried to follow the instructions word to word but no avail.

3. Ive tried the Guided Tour and when it goes out to the Arameda (sp?)
galaxy, there's like nothing there. But I guess thats cause Im not even
aligned right so.

I spent a lot of money on this thing, I need to get my money's worth out
of it. Im going to keep trying until I see something! :)

thanks a bunch

Mike here: You can check the Sky and Telescope site for some star parties. As to the Autostar, you don't say what version you but if not the current one (2.2Et) you should upgrade it if you can. As to alignment problems, most stem from an improper HOME position OR incorrect settings in the Autostar. So check those; see the Autostar Information page for more on aligning.
Subject:	Re: Screw question
Sent:	Sunday, November 25, 2001 18:59:29
From: (Matthew Gertz)
Thanks for the info -- I've got plenty of those screws, as it turns out,
having all sorts of old computer bric-a-brac sitting about, so I'll keep
it in mind if this happens again in the future.  (As an aside, Meade did
send me a free replacement as promised -- just got it two days ago.)


Subject:	Homemade permanent piers for the ETX
Sent:	Saturday, November 24, 2001 12:53:29
From: (James Foster)
Do you or any of the folks out there have any plans for permanent piers
for the ETX. Specifically what would interface between the post and the
ETX? Please don't send info on ready made products - - as they are
ridiculously expensive, and I think a fellow could make one himself. I
have found reams of info on homemade LX200 piers, but nothing for the

Jim Foster
Cedaredge, CO
Mike here: Have you checked the pier articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page?
Subject:	Where is???
Sent:	Saturday, November 24, 2001 11:16:25
From: (Brian Gaines)
where is a list with its pictures where i can find all the messier

where is a list with its pictures where i can find all the NGC objects

where is a list with its pictures where i can find all the and
everything else
Mike here: Look down the list in the "General Astronomy" section on the Astronomy Links page.

Subject:	CCD imaging
Sent:	Saturday, November 24, 2001 2:08:26
From: (hajduzoltan)
I am an amateur astronomer.I have small telescope (Bresser 114/1000) and
a small camera. Really I like to observe the nature and take beautiful
photos about it.I have an Olympus DL820 small digital photo camera,
which is a very good device for my photo hobby.I can use this camera to
make good photos about the nature and the moon. But  I cannot make long
time exposure photos about galaxies and so I have decided to buy new
one.I have found 2 cameras wich have long time exposure mode (60sec).
These are the Casio QV series and Nikon Coolpix series. I do not know
that can I use these types of camera to take photos about deep sky
object (for example messier object). The special Astro CCD cameras are
very expensive for me and I can use the digital photo camera for 2 thing
(daylight and night sky photos).

Please  help me if you have any experiencies about it.

Thank you very much in advance.

Yours sincerely

       Zoltan Hajdu
  electronical engineer
Mike here: See the Astrophotography page; you'll see some info regarding digital camera photography.

Subject:	Longitude Latitude
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 20:49:58
From: (Brian Gaines)
how do i figured out my exact location, using longitude and
Latitude...can u figure it out for me i live at

30 McBride Way  
New Jersey

Thank u
Mike here: You can do this yourself. See some of the links listed on the Astronomy Links page.

Subject:	ScopeTronix Website Access Problem
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 18:10:57
From: (Jordan Blessing - ScopeTronix)
A number of people have been emailing to let me know that our site is
down. The "site" is actually up but there is a problem is with our
domain name forwarding service provided by namesecure. It is being
worked on but is expected to be down for some time still.

However, our site can still be accessed at its native location:

Thanks and have a great Thanksgiving weekend.
Jordan Blessing
ScopeTronix Astronomy Products

Subject:	Book
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 17:02:37
From: (Brian Gaines)
What is ur book like is it worth buying it looks like a really neat
book...what types of things aer in it can u be more specific that the
review thing on ur website
Mike here: What a question to ask the author! I'll leave the review of this one to others. I did post the table of contents today.

Subject:	ASO Leonid Watch Results - Thanks for the Reports!
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 13:28:35
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Many of you participated - and even more were expecting to before clouds
moved in - with the Leonid Meteor watch last weekend.  Much data has
been sent into the Arkansas Sky Observatory and more we know is still on
its way!

Brian has posted the preliminary (data still coming in and being
evaluated) results AND each participant's individual tally's and
periodic work results on the Arkansas Sky website at

We thank everyone who participated, and it is NOT too late to send in
your results - we need YOUR observations!   final reports will be posted
with graphics and photos within coming weeks.

P. Clay Sherrod -
Brian M. Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Longitude + Latitude
Sent:	Friday, November 23, 2001 3:39:21
First off, I think your website is absolutely amazing.  I don`t know how
you manage it, such dedication!

I thought it was time I gave some useful input back to the ETX
community!  Like many people I do not have access to GPS so i was
struggling to find my longitude/lattitude.  Then I realised that on the
popular website If you type in your postcode it no
only gives you a nice map of the area but if you under the zoom buttons
. . . . Well I think you will know what you will find there!

Maybe you guys all know this already, or have an idea of better sites,
but I thought it was cool !!



Subject:	Thank You X 10! from a prospective ETX-90EC owner
Sent:	Thursday, November 22, 2001 17:33:54
From: (Alan Daly)
First, I'd like to thank Mike, and the endless nameless contributors to
the MightyETX site for providing invaluable advice through the articles
& communications on the site, and that thanks is definitely a deep,
bottom of the heart type of thanks, the information you have all
provided have stopped me from making a major error in my purchasing

I have had a 'passive' interest in Astronomy since childhood, I recently
decided to turn this passive interest into active participation due to
're-alignment' of my time.

I visited  local camera / optics store to enquire about my options, I
gave the various needs I had and the dealer showed me straight to a
ETX-70AT package on special (free tripod etc.). I had warned the dealer
that I needed a scope to last a while, not earning (house husband) makes
getting 'toy' money from my 'better half' hard to justify, sometimes it
seems all my hobbies / interests involve 'toys' as far as she is
concerned. *grin*

I decided to do some research before commiting my funds, and came across
this site, and in short time had looked at the various meade models &
capabilities, as you can guess I learned quite quickly that my
expectations for the ETX-70AT, along with the dealer 'promises' for that
model were farfetched and soon likely to leave me disillusioned. Through
my passive interest I know my way around the sky well, and Autostar,
while a nice function I look forward to using one day, was superfluous
to my immediate needs, I want to learn my way more in 'the old way'
before laziness steps in *grin*, common sense dictated to me that it was
likely that a good portion of the cost of the 70AT package would be in
the Autostar implementation, rather than the optical capability, I would
have been spending my money on something I didn't need, not a good start
to make.

I read nearly every review / user observation / snippet about the
various models and decided that what I had hoped to achieve with the
ETX-70AT was likely to be satisfied by an ETX-90EC, although I would
need to buy second-hand, as budget considerations remained.

Following this I managed to get a look through an ETX-90EC on a fairly
dark night, The first thing the user wanted to show me was Jupiter, I
was stunned, literally, to silence, to see Jupiters cloud belts, with
the possibility on a good 'seeing' to see the GRS floored me.

As I spoke to the owner, I related my tale about coming close to buying
the 70mm model and he laughed, he then went on to tell me that I had
just avoided the mistake that he had made, as he was originally a 70AT
owner, his ownership of the 70mm apparently lasted weeks, with a
purchase of the 90EC following quickly.

I would like to say though, that it is not the ETX-70AT that I
criticise, it is no doubt a scope that has its place, it's happy owners
& no doubt is the right scope for some people, rather I am
self-criticising my own expectations, the expectations that the 'dealer'
had led to believe.

My ETX-90EC arrives in 3 days, and then I'll be apologising for the skys
over the UK clouding up, and then waiting for my eyes to cloud up when I
see Saturns rings for the first time with my own eyes, I refused to look
at them last time I was offered, I want to see them the first time
through MY scope.

Again thanks & clear, dark skies to all.

Alan C. Daly
Leicester, UK.

Subject:	Screw question
Sent:	Thursday, November 22, 2001 10:57:29
From: (Frank Goldner)
Matthew;  I saw your November 3 ETX -125 question re the size of the
eyepiece retaining screw.

I remember someone once posted on the ETX site that the screw is the
same size as the screws used on computers to hold serial and parallel
connectors.  After loosing my locking screw once in the grass, I tried
the suggestion and it worked.

Best regards.

Frank Goldner
Bethesda, Md

Subject:	ETX-90RA
Sent:	Thursday, November 22, 2001 6:37:07
From: (Larry Sorensen)
I just purchased a ETX-90RA because the price was right ($249) and the
salesman talked me into it.  I mainly wanted a telescope for terrestrial
photography & spotting.  I'd like to take wildlife photos but the f/13.8
focal ratio is a bit steep and don't know if I can keep the critters
still long enough for slower shutter speeds.  Notice that the industry
makes field doublers & focal reducers for everything but the ETX.  Do
you have any suggestions for terrestrial photography?

Thanks for having such an informative web site.  I have a large site and
can appreciate all the work you've put into yours.  Great job Mike.

Larry Sorensen
Hemet, CA
Mike here: Certainly you can use a focal reducer or wide field adapter (see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page for one). Also, there are camera adapters discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page.


Thanks for the quick reply.  My goal is to take terrestrial photos using
a faster shutter speed (1/60-1/100th) with 200 ASA print film.  Is that
asking too much using a ETX 90?  I notice that Sultan Photo sells a
Schmidt-Cassegrain adapter that has ETX threads for the back photo port
and adapts to larger 2" threads to where you can use Sch-Cass
accessories.  Seems like those telescopes have all the cool
reducer/corrector stuff, which Meade, Celestron & others make.  Just
wondering if adding that adaptor will increase the focal length to where
I can't focus?  Taking photos through the eye piece adaptors would still
require too slow of a shutter speed.  Will I just end up with 3' of
adaptors and accessories where it wouldn't work anyway?
Mike here: I've only used the WFA with eyepiece projection. It is possible that you could have focus problems with some cameras. If you search the Site for "birding" you will find some comments (and at least one photo).

Subject:	ETX plus digital for terrestrial
Sent:	Wednesday, November 21, 2001 20:03:39
From: (Thom Eckles)
I stumbled onto you site just now. Read your review on the Sonfest SAC
IVb. I'm enjoying using my ETX Astro for terrestrial shooting with my
35mm, but I'm fast going to digital shooting otherwise. I'm looking for
a way to shoot digital through the ETX, primarily terrestrial - nature
and that kind of stuff. Do you think the SAC IVb will work for this kind
of photography?

If not, any ideas?

Thom Eckles
Atoka (near Memphis) TN
Mike here: It would work but using a digital camera would be more flexible.

Subject:	Whats wrong?
Sent:	Wednesday, November 21, 2001 15:34:39
From: (Gregg Culp)
I have a Nexstar 114 and i was wondering why some pictures on your site
that were taken with a ETX 90 have been much better images than mine. If
you have any tips, please mail me back.
Mike here: Well, that's a wide open question. See the Astrophotography page for info that is applicable to many telescopes. Also, getting really good astrophotographs requires a lot of patience and practice AND luck.

Subject:	Inside the ETX-125
Sent:	Tuesday, November 20, 2001 21:16:19
On Monday, November 19, 2001 I saw on your web page an article on inside
the ETX-125( pictures of the ETX taken apart). I was at work at the time
and printers at work doesn't pirnt in color.  So, I rush home to print
it out on my color printer. But the article was no longer there.  Will
you put it back on your web page? Or is it possible to email me the

                   Thank you, 

PS: You have a great site. Thank you.
Mike here: It is still there on the Telescope Tech Tips page.

Subject:	ETX-125 Supercharge first night out
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 15:27:48
From: (Terry Gerber)
I wanted to thank you for a fine site that I stumbled upon months ago. 
Because of your site, I was able to get in contact with Michael Webb
from and purchased a ETX-125 with Supercharge
done by Dr. Clay Sherrod.  What an awesome job, and great customer
service by Michael.  He is quick to offer me suggestions on purchases,
and because this was a Web purchase, the "piece of mind" that the
Supercharge option gave me made the purchase a no-brainer.  I was
reluctant at first to make such a large purchase sight unseen, but
knowing that Clay would be "supercharging" the scope, I knew the scope
would arrive in the best shape that it could be.  I live in Hawaii,
where I face generally cloudy skies on the windward side of Oahu, but
Saturday 11/17/01 was crystal clear.  I could FINALLY bring out the 125
and put it through it's paces.  I have the 125 mounted on a Mega-pod
from JMI, so setup is a snap.  After messing around for a good 1 1/2
hours trying to get the Autostar to align  the scope properly, (user
error) I was quite frustrated.  I decided to manually look at something
really bright, so started slewing while looking through the view finder.
 Found a bright star, centered it in the viewfinder,  looked through the
eyepiece and saw Saturn in all it's glory!!!  I can't describe what it
is like to view such a thing for the first time with my OWN eyes on my
OWN scope!!! It was like someone pasted a picture to the front lens!! 
From there on out the rest of the night went flawlessly.  I was able to
do an easy align right after that, started a Tonight's Best tour, did a
goto to Jupiter, after slewing I looked through the view finder while my
wife looked in the eyepiece, and all I heard her say was "oh
my"...Jupiter was dead center.  As you can tell I am a complete novice,
but love looking at the sky.  We went through the whole
tour....double-stars, Nebula's...too many things to mention.  I saw more
things in one night of viewing, than I have in my entire life.  My wife
and I, along with her parents stayed up until the early hours viewing
the night sky from my scope and watching the Leonids.  I couldn't be
happier with my purchase!  Thank you for all the information you
provide, and I am here to tell you that if you want to be treated right
with great service, make sure you get in contact with Michael Webb at with a "Supercharge" done by Dr. Sherrod,
you can't go wrong.

Mahalo Mike, Michael and Clay!!

Subject:	Autostar Help
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 11:23:22
From: (Mason, Garry)
I really enjoy your site.  It was instrumental (no pun intended!) in my
decision to buy an ETX-70AT telescope.  I've been sighting with it for a
few nights now; it's real nice.  But I have two questions:

First, I can't seem to get the autostar to align.  I can set the barrel
to the 0 degrees position easily enough, but I can't seem to locate
north.  I bought a small compass to point in the direction of north and
(I thought) turned the turret in that direction, but every time I auto
align, I don't find anything.  I'm putting in the current date and time,
and I have selected the closest city for my location.  (Side question: 
is it possible to add new locations to the Autostar that aren't in the
database straight out of the box?).  So any advice you can offer on how
to align the telescope would be helpful.

Second, I attached my 35 mm camera to the telescope with the recommended
accessories.  All went well, but I was somewhat disappointed with the
fact that I couldn't get closer to the subject.  Is there any way I can
"zoom in" closer to my subject when using a camera attached to the

Thanks for all of your help.  And thanks for your site; it's been a big
help already.

--Garry Mason
Mike here: Magnetic North and True North are not the same. The difference (Magnetic Variation) can vary from 0 degrees to about 20 degrees. If you can see the "North Star" called Polaris from your location you can use it to indicate True North (within about 1 degree, which is close enough for more purposes). Or you can use street maps, aviation maps, call you local airport and ask, or check out a web site that shows magnetic variation (see the Astronomy Links page). To get more magnification on film you would need to either do eyepiece project photography or afocal photography, both of which require mounting the camera over an eyepiece. For afocal photography you keep the camera lens attached. See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page for more info on adapters.

Subject:	foggy etx 125 and eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 8:33:23
From: (Raimond, Adam)
I am sure you have answered this question before but I could not find it
under archives or search. I take my etx 125 out to show friends Jupiter
and Saturn and about 10 minutes into viewing my scope and eyepieces get
foggy and so does the image. How do I keep these fog free? I have a dew
zapper for the scope but I don't want to have to drive my car into my
field to be able to plug it into the car charger, and I don't see how
that would help the eyepiece either.
Adam Raimond
Mike here: You can add a dewcap (or dewshield) to the objective end. There are some reviewed on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page, or you can make one. This will keep dew off the correcting lens. Keeping dew off eyepieces is more difficult, especially since breathing is typically done while at the eyepiece. You could stop breathing but that might be difficult for long periods of observing! I suppose you could add a dew heater to an eyepiece but then you'd be back at the power problem.


If I use the scope heater will it heat the temperature of the scope
enough to keep the eyepiece warm?
Just a thought, maybe I'll try it and let you know!

Subject:	Storage concerns
Sent:	Monday, November 19, 2001 7:33:40
From: (Tim Berthaume)
I would like to get some advice on storing my ETX-125.  

I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula; so this means intense winters and
a great deal of seasonal variety in weather and temperature.

For the most part I have been leaving my scope in the garage---wrapped
up.  The reason being that when I go out for a viewing session it is
already at the ambient air temperature.  My main concern is rusting of
any internal mechanisms.  Do you think keeping it in the house is better
for it--and taking it out as needed? And as a corollary are there any
mechanisms that need treatment (WD-40?) without gumming up the works?? 
That is to say any mechanisms that need rustproofing????

Any advice is greatly appreciated.  As an addendum I had a great (albeit
short) viewing session Saturday night----Jupiter, M42, The Double
Cluster, Saturn and its Cassini Division.  Also saw a handful of bright
Leonids.  Unfortunately it clouded up during the peak.  Oh well.

Specto Caelum.

Mike here: The ETX models are not meant to stored where moisture could be a problem. If you think the garage is too damp I would suggest keeping it indoors. Wrapping the telescope can also be a problem if it traps moisture inside the telescope and base. Rust can be a problem, including on the electrical components. I'd be rather cautious (as in I wouldn't do it) putting WD40 on anything on the ETX.

Subject:	Hi again!
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 20:05:45
From: (Michael Wong)
Hope you were able to catch the Leonids. My family and I were out for
about an hour and I lost count of meteors after about 100! It was a
great night.

So I compiling my xmas list and wanted to get some feedback on good
eyepieces. I know that the lowest I want to go is an 8mm, but what would
you recommend as a good set of three including the Meade 26mm that comes
with it. I hear that Telvue is good across the line, but some Meade
lines aren't as good.

Any advice is appreciated.

cheers, m

Michael A. Wong

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-- Arthur C. Clarke
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces for a lot of input on eyepieces. I have a Scopetronix 40mm, and the Meade 26mm and 9.7mm, plus a Meade 2X Barlow Lens, as my main eyepieces.

Subject:	MAK F/?
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 19:53:35
From: (Jim Miller)
Are all Maks (g-maks i guess) long f/# by design resulting in narrow FOV?

Mike here: That is usual but I seem to recall one that wasn't (I forget who made it).

Subject:	Telescope purchase
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 16:55:40
From: (Timothy Martin)
Sorry for the instrusion.  I am researching my first purchase of a
telescope for primarily my wife and also my astronomical viewing.  Your
sight is the most informative I have found on the web and am hoping you
can give me some advice. I am sure you recieve alot of emails so I will
be brief.

I wish to purchase a telescope for astronomical viewing and also for
terrestrial viewing.  I want a telescope that will afford good viewing
of the planets and deep space objects.  I was thinking of possibly the
ETX-90 RA, has what seems to be a good price.  Although, I do
like the Autostar capability that it does not have.  Also considering
the ETX90-EC, but am trying to keep the whole package below 500 dollars,
including the tripod.  What is your recommendation? Also considering the
ETX-70? Seems to be a good deal for 299 with tripod and autostar?

Again, I apologize for the intrusion and would appreciate any feedback
you can give. Thank you in advance.

	Tim Martin
	Syracuse, NY
Mike here: Both telescopes can make fine terrestrial instruments and they both make excellent astronomical instruments FOR THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE. The ETX-70AT is more a wide-field instrument with its lower magnification capability (it is only a 350mm focal length telescope) whereas the ETX-90RA (or EC) will perform better on planets and some other objects (due to its longer focal length; 1250mm). With the -90RA model you will need to learn your way around the night sky but people have been doing that for centuries so it can be done with minimal effort. If you step up to the -90EC model you can add an Autostar later if you like (but then you'll need to learn the night sky to get the most enjoyment out of the non-Autostar equipped model).

Subject:	More kudos
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 14:30:24
From: (Alan Shapiro)
I don't have an ETX, but I love your site and want to thank you. I use
an Orion 6" Dob, and I find your information very useful in my

Just so you know (and, maybe, you can pass along the suggestion on your
site), I download your entire web onto my Palm using Isilo.  (I could
use Avantgo, but I think Isilo makes it a bit more manageable in terms
of bytes--not to mention that I can devote a download to it maybe once a
month, rather than every time I synchronize my Palm.)

Actually, I download your site as well as Prof. Kaler's Star site--both
very useful to read with the backlight when I'm out in the "field".

Of course, I have to scroll down past that section on the ETX that
appears in every one of your constellation GOTO searches.  Maybe you can
move all that text over to one introductory "readme first" page?  But
that's only a minor point.

I look forward to your xmas gift of Orion!

Thanks again.

Alan Shapiro
Brooklyn, New York

Subject:	Supercharged ETX-90 EC
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 13:26:19
From: (Ted Weiler)
Thank you Dr. Sherrod!!!

I received an ETX-90 EC as a gift from my wife this summer. In August I
managed to fry the electronics and so sent it to Meade for repair. Far
too many weeks later I received a scope back from them but it was not my
original scope. My original, new scope hadn't been great but this scope
had some real problems. It had lots of backlash and drift and just
generally didn't track worth a darn. It even had the eyepiece locking
screw cross-threaded. I really didn't want to go another round with
Meade service so I decided to take advantage of Dr. Clay Sherrod's
Supercharge service. I figured I could get these problems taken care of
and get it tuned up all at the same time.

That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I contacted Dr.
Sherrod who just happened to have an opening. I shipped it to him and he
went right to work. He found all sorts of mechanical problem inside the
scope control which he repaired for no additional charge. Fortunately,
the optics on this particular scope were quite good. When I got it back,
after only 1 week, at the beginning of October I was ready to try it
out. Unfortunately, I live in Seattle and there were no clear skies to
be found the rest of the month.

Last night we went to a Leonid Star Party with the Seattle Astronomical
Society to a reasonably dark site. I took the scope and sure enough we
had clear skies. What an amazing experience. The scope worked
beautifully. It aligned very easily and tracked perfectly. At one point
I set it up on Saturn with my 9.7 mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow at it
tracked it perfectly for at least 45 minutes.

If you have an ETX, as you probably do if you are on this site, I can
highly recommend the services Dr. Sherrod offers. I am sure it would
make a world of difference for any scope, old or new.

Ted & Marie Weiler

Subject:	Qustion
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 6:48:05
I have an etx 90 an I want to use the autostar.  I have a compass but
was told that you only will receive magnetic north not the true north
that you need to have the autostar work correctly.  Is this true??If it
is what is the easiest way to find true north??
Mike here: Magnetic North can vary from True North by zero to about 20 degrees. You can determine the difference in many ways but if you can see the star Polaris, use that to point you (and your telescope) at True North. If you can't see it, street maps are a good way to determine True North. Aviation maps (or your local airport) can tell you the magnetic variation for your location. Also, there is a site listed on the Astronomy Links page that can help.

Subject:	EXT-125EC
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 5:42:12
From: (T. Bledsoe)
I own an EXT-125EC. I want to buy a tripod for my unit but not sure
which to get. I heard that I can buy one with shocks. I have a Canon
AE-1Program camera with an adapter. I think its the #887 or #883. Can
you fill me in on a site that could help me find the right information
before I buy one.


Mike here: The #883 is the older tripod and only really works for the -125EC if you do not extend the legs to their full height (works best if not extended at all). The #884 is better (and apparently has replaced the #883) and the #887 better still. (I'm basing this on reports and comparisons of the designs since I've only used the #883.)

Subject:	info on etx-90 spotting scope
Sent:	Sunday, November 18, 2001 5:38:20
From: (Marcos Ramella G.)
Im trying to find out the weight of the etx spotting scope (not the
astro version) but i cant seem to find anywhere. Meade doesnt specify
this to my knowledge in their web page. Any ideas
thanks in advance for you time
Mike here: I don't have a weight either but the last time I had the OTA unmounted (a couple of years ago) I recall it being rather light. Seems like I recall it being lighter than my 30 year old 90-230mm zoom telephoto lens, if that helps.

Subject:	Right angle Finder
Sent:	Saturday, November 17, 2001 15:28:00
I purchased a Meade right angel finder some weeks ago an I've a sever

I can't get a sharp focus over the whole field of view. Either the upper
part is sharp or the lower part is sharp. Has anything like this been
reported before?

Remark:The Objective seems not to be fitted very well, because is is
clicking when the finder is shaked.

Best regards,

Ralf Schulz
Speyer, Germany
Mike here: The uneven sharpness and rattling you report are likely due to the same thing: the objective lens is loose. You should be a able to tighten it down inside its cell.


Yes, but how? I can't remove the front part of the objective tubus. Is
there a trick? Remark: I purchase the finder in the US and have no
warranty on that!
Mike here: The objective lens cell on my Meade Right-Angle Finderscope (that came with the ETX-125EC) rotates. Maybe your model is different. But I still suspect that you should be able to tighten a ring that holds the lens inplace. Is there a ring visible that holds the lens? It might have small slots diametrically opposite each other used by a tool to turn the ring.


Finally I've made it to remove the objective lens - the thread was very
poor and I had to remove it with all strength. I've added a plastic ring
to tighten the lens. This made the rattling disappear, but did not
improve the quality.

I've removed the mirror and put some strips of paper between the mirror
mount and the casing. This improved the quality significantly. It seems,
that the mirror angle was not correctly adjusted to 45 degrees.

Still the view quality of the right angle finder is worse compared to
the original finder that was shipped with my ETX-90EC. The mechanical
quality of the right angle finder is really poor! I could not recommend
this finder at all. I think, this was the last device that I've bought
from Meade!

Thank you for your help and thank you for your great homepage!

Subject:	Camera
Sent:	Saturday, November 17, 2001 11:49:12
From: (Brian Gaines)
what kinda digital camera do u it a good one?  how much did it
cost do u recomend me buying the same kind...are olympus cameras good
cameras i was looking at the C- 2020 olympus camera... well if u cant
answer some of my questions can u get some one who can?   thanks mike
Mike here: See the Astrophotography page. You'll see some info on cameras; ones I have used and some info from others. As to prices, check various dealer sites for the best deal.

And this email arrived later:

can u find out how i can hook my digital camera to my telescope...most
digital cameras(including mine) can not remove the lenses...i see
picstures of some sort of adapters...i dont want u to just say well i
dont work with cameras..ur my lat hope...i bought a cannon power shot g2
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography for some digital camera adapters. Some hold the camera over the eyepiece and some can be directly attached to an eyepiece. Which works best for you will depend upon whether there is a filter thread on the camera lens.

Subject:	Learning the Night Sky
Sent:	Saturday, November 17, 2001 5:23:02
From: (sean currie)
First of all, let me just say that I love your site. As a beginner, I have 
found a lot of useful information here, inlcuding some other sites. I have 
recently bought a ETX-90EC and have been enjoying using it. I am a Canadian 
expat who is living and working in Peru for the last 4 years. My old 
interest in astronomy was alway perked up by the fact that I am usually 
working about 4000 m a.s.l in the Andes, and the night skies (during the 
100% cloudless dry season) are absolutely tremendous.

Before I bought my telescope, I stumbled upon an excellent site for 
beginners, especially for those that only have a pair of binoculars and are 
considering buying a telescope. The site, (not to be 
confused with the "s") offers free, downloadable skymaps 
each month for both the northern and southern hemispheres. They are 2 page 
adobe files that are ready for printing on an 8.5 x 11 paper. The include a 
map, useful info and a list of objects by category: naked eye visibility, 
binocular objects and telescope objects. It really gives you a background 
for learning the sky and I would recommend it to anyone. You can even be put 
on the mailing list and be advised when the next month's map is online for 

Another site (which I found through your site) is
It has a complete lising of all the Messier objects with a photo and a 
detailed text on each object. I highly recommend for anyone pursuing the 
Messier catalogue.

On alignment of the ETX, as one reader said "Meade makes great telescopes, 
but lousy instruction manuals." I thoroughly agree. I have found info on 
your site for the southern hemisphere Alt/Az alignment which I have not yet 
had the opportunity to try out. Whenever I tried aligning the scope, it 
would pick a visible star, but try and point down into the ground 
everysingle time, no matter which star it was looking for. Hopefully I can 
resolve this problem. However I haven't found anything on polar alignment in 
the southern hemisphere. Any advice?

Thanks for the great site.
Sean Currie
Mike here: Regarding the alignment process, be certain your location is correct in the Autostar and that you start with the proper HOME position for either Polar (OTA pointing at -90 Dec) or Alt/Az (OTA horizontal and pointing at True South). Be certain you have the ETX properly mounted for the selected mode and that the Autostar is set for that mode.


On the AltAZ you said OTA pointing true south, but one of your articles
said that even in the southern hemisphere you point the OTA to trun
north?? Am I confusing two different things??
Mike here: Not being in the S. Hemisphere I haven't personally tried it. Try both and see which works. Let me know.

Subject:	Cold vs display
Sent:	Saturday, November 17, 2001 4:25:26
From: (Jean Valle)
I just bought a ETX-60, and I leave in Canada. Am I to expect problem
with the Controller display when it get colder, like -15C? How about
drive and battery problem?


Jean Valle
Mike here: The Autostar display does not like cold weather. Keep the Autostar in your pocket or other warm place when not actually being used to select objects or slewing. The low temps doesn't seem to affect the computer, only the display. So if it blanks out, warming it up again will restore it. The grease on the gears will get harder and create problems. And the batteries will put out less power at cold temps. Basically, you can expect problems just like with some vehicles. And use caution when moving from warm rooms to really cold outside temps and back. Rapid temp changes could damage the plastics and glass. Just exercise the same cautions you would with any precision instrument not designed for use in sub-freezing temperatures.

Subject:	meade questions for the board
Sent:	Friday, November 16, 2001 5:28:44
From: (Feis Family)
Thanks for your terrific board.  I just got a ETX-105EC and have two

First, I find that when using the GOTO in alt-az mode (not
polar/equatorial), when the scope stops at its selected position (call
it the "original position") where it thinks the object is, the object
might in fact be just outside the field of view.  There are 2 ways to
get the object into and centered in the field of view.  1. You can just
use the slew buttons, and that will work, but then the scope will revert
to tracking the original position rather than the actual object, thereby
taking the object back out of the field of view.  2. You can hold the
enter button for 2 seconds then use the slew buttons to get the object
into the center, then push enter again, which the 497 calls
"synchronizing."  But even with this, the tracking seems to revert to
the original position rather than where the object really is.  This is
especially noticable on higher-power eyepieces.  Is there any way to
cause the scope to track exactly what is in the center of the field,
rather than the spot where the scope thinks the object is?

Second, in using the 497 with this, should I use the alt-az mode or the
polar mode? I am confused. I tried to get it into the polar mode and
couldn't figure out at all how to align it.

Thank you very much for your help!
Mike here: First off, most users can use Alt/Az mode for most purposes. Unless you plan to do some long duration astrophotography attempts, polar mode is not needed. There may be slightly less vibration from the drives in polar mode but probably not significantly so for the ETX-105EC. So, get comfortable with Alt/Az first. And the "rubberbanding" (or "creep after slew" is probably being caused by poor training. Try reTRAINing the drives.

Subject:	ETX-70A Alignment
Sent:	Friday, November 16, 2001 1:09:21
From: (hugh.adamson)
I used a magnetic compass to align my ETX-70A to North the other night
by placing the compass on the base of the 'scope and ended up well out
of alignment.  The reason?  The motors have magnets in them and were
pulling the compass needle 20 or more degrees away from magnetic north. 
This could be cause of some users' alignment problems.  Better to use
Polaris if you can see it.


Hugh Adamson
Mike here: Good point. And don't forget magnetic variation for your location...

Subject:	Re: your scope is on its way!!
Sent:	Thursday, November 15, 2001 23:35:52
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Terry
Thanks and I am truly glad the scope is working so was a
dandy!!  Please keep in touch and let me know if there is anything I can
do for you ....enjoy the Leonids!!

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
----- Original Message -----
From: Terry
> This is the first chance I had to tell you that you have done a great job on
> the Scope!
> Everything arrived in one piece, and so far it looks great!
> It has been cloudy for the past few days, so I have yet to observe the sky
> with it, although
> I did set it up to do some terrestial viewing.
> WOW!  The views are crystal clear and the slewing of the scope is precise.
> Thanks again for a job well done!
> Terry
> p.s. I will give you an update when I get a chance to view the night sky and
> take a few pictures.

Subject:	Site suggestion
Sent:	Thursday, November 8, 2001 7:09:57
From: (Chad Reynolds)
Was surfing the web and came across you website, it is a wonderful
resource. We would like to have a link added to our website from your
links section if possible.  Please drop by and visit us at and let us know if we are a suitable candidate
for your link list.  We produce and manufacture custom aluminum shipping
and rackmount cases for all applications.  Feel free to contact me with
any questions you may have andthank you for your time.

Chad Reynolds
Web Designer
Cyber-Case Corp.
1.800.268.6000 ..x221
Mike here: These are cases custom made to your specifications. A typical price might be around $250 for an ETX-90EC case and $275 for an ETX-125EC case.

Sent:	Thursday, November 15, 2001 14:26:48
From: (Richard R. Gala)
Meade has a new Electronic eyepiece #07165 that they are giving away
with some of their telescopes.  I purchased one and you are surposed to
be able to hook it up to the in put jack of a black and white TV to get
images from the telescope.  I don't seem to get mine to work.  Has
anyone had any experience out there with this eyepiece.  It seems to be
a video cam of some type.    Dick Gala

Subject:	Leonid Meteor Observing Forms and Information
Sent:	Thursday, November 15, 2001 12:24:24
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To all our dedicated ETX and LX 90 users:  the awaited Leonid observing
form is now available on-line as are many detailed descriptions of
observing tips for the meteor shower.

A complete discussion can be found here on the Mighty ETX site under the
"Observational Guides"

Be sure to read the discussions under the forums carefully for the
proper way to scientifically record AND photograph the meteors.....we
look forward to your data!

P. Clay Sherrod -
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Labelling Eyepiece holders and some tips?
Sent:	Thursday, November 15, 2001 6:31:41
From: (Monty Coward)
Greetings once again,

For those of you that are wanting to label your eyepiece holders, that
is, to place a number on the lid, or side, depending on how you store
them ... be careful.  I made the fatal error of using the transfer type
of label, that is, the one that you place on your surface by scratching
the reverse side of the label ( transfer ) with a pencil.  It works
fairly well ... and looks very good ... but after time it begins to
crack and peel.  The result is that small particles of the label creep
into the eyepiece holder itself and land up either on, else very near to
the lenses.  The better method is stick-on numbers available at your
local store.

Another tip .. I always seems to find either my scope or EP's land up
with finger marks .. which I suppose are easy to get off.  Well how do
you solve that and perhaps deal with another problem .. the cold?  I
recently purchased a thin pair of kitchen gloves which keep the hands
'warmish' but at least stops the paw marks landing up on the instrument
and EP's ... now I do not have to spend much time cleaning off finger
prints. A friend of mine used throw-away surgical gloves that are very
cheap ( packets of 100 pairs) .. and his equipment stays nice and print
free.  He uses them when cleaning his optics as well.  He also uses
lint-free computer cleaning cloths to revive his instrument after a
viewing session.

How to keep the ETX and controller warm?  I purchased some silver-sided,
thermal covers  (insulation )that are available for home radiators. 
They are easy to cut and form to make a pocket for the controller and
keeps the ETX dew free.  I also used this to form a  5 inch tube and
then added the Baader Solar Material  to make a very fine looking solar
filter.  The insulation used for radiators compliments the solar
material and after being wrapped around the dew cap, moulded and then
removed .. results in a practical, and pleasing filter.

Lewis Montague Coward

The Regional Technology Centre
Reresby House, Bow Bridge Close
Templeborough, Rotherham
England  S60 1BY


Subject:	2 more questions for you...
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 21:15:56

You have been a great help to me so far.  I visit your web page almost
every day...

I have two more questions that you might be able to help me with.

As you know from my previous posts, one of my main problems is the fact
that objects seem to bounce around in the eyepiece...

1)  My Meade dealer is willing to exchange my Deluxe Field Tripod, for
the #887 Advanced Field tripod (as long as I pay the difference).  
Everyone says that it is much more stable...  However, when I look at
the pictures, it doesn't appear that the legs can be shortened.  I was
just wondering approximately how tall the Advanced Field tripod is?  Can
I use it in the seated position?  Is it really much better/stable than
the Deluxe Field tripod?  Any additional info would be greatly

2)  I was also planning on switching to a differnet focusing mechanism. 
I am debating on getting the Autofocus or the Flexifocusing knob.  Which
would you recommend...  I know the Autofocus is like $100, and the
Flexifocus is about $25.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

Thanks for any information!

Mike here: I don't have any info the Advanced tripod but it is more stable. And the FlexiFocus works but there will still be some vibration since you are still touching the telescope. The Advanced tripod will help reduce that however. There is almost no vibration using an electric focuser.

Subject:	Re: 25 mm eyepiece won't easily fit into thingie!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 14:47:19
Thanks for your help. We went back to the store and the manager was very
helpful in finding another 25mm eyepiece. We tested it out on the floor
model to make sure it fit, and we also picked up a 2x Barlow lens. I am
getting the hang of the Autostar, which is complicated by the house
totally blocking the northern sky, with assorted trees and shrubbery
blocking every other direction. But I was able to do a one star
alignment with Rigel and that was good enough to use Autostar to get to
Saturn and the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades. How exciting to have it
track.  I know newcomers to telescopes may not appreciate how awesome a
thing it is to have something like the 70AT available at such a
reasonable price, but wow! How far things have come since I was trying
to poke about with a cheap refractor in the 70s.

Thanks again!

Subject:	ETX-70 AT Vertical Lock... How Much?
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 6:50:09
From: (Bruno Santos)
First I would like to thank you for you great site, it has been a lot of
help to me.

I have a 3 weeks old ETX-70 AT. The trouble is with the vertical lock.
How much do I have to tighten it? What can go wrong if I overtighten it?

Bruno Santos.
Mike here: Tighten just until the tube won't move from its own weight. If you overtighten it you can damage some parts.


Thanks a lot for your fast response.

I got the feeling that the tube wouldn't move if I didn't tighten it
hard. I'll see how it behaves without so much pressure on the lock.

Subject:	Focuser woes
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 3:16:03
From: (Jim Wilkins)
I've been trying to  install my Meade electric focuser without a lot of
success.  After reading the Meade instructions and your alerts, I think
I'm supposed to end up with a brass gear about 1/2 inch from the end of
the focus rod.  The problem is that I can't get anything to focus at
that spot.  When I use the manual focus knob, the knob is almost flush
against the OTA when focused. Therefore, I'm not sure how to proceed
with the electric focuser.

Hopefully, I'm missing something obvious, but so far, all I have is a
brass gear I can use as a larger manual focus knob.  Do you have any

BTW, too many years ago, I attended Hendrix College in Conway and also
spent many happy hours on Lake Conway.  I assume both are still there
and still useful, each in their own way of course.

Mike here: About the only help I can be is to manually move the shaft further out and then install the focuser.


I can do that, but won't I be very out of focus?
Mike here: Depends upon where the focuser attaches and how fun you run the shaft out. Since I don't have one I can't speak from direct experience.


From: (Clay Sherrod)
Jim - you should have enough in-travel to be able to offset that knob as
Mike careful with that rod cranked in so far...we don't
want the mirror getting loose down there.  Be sure to angle the scope
near level when removing either the knob or the focuser gear.

Clay Sherrod
Pardon me for being dense, but if I move the focus rod out, say 
1/2  inch,( which I do by turning the rod counter-clockwise, 
right?) and then install the brass gear, then by definition, I'll 
be 1/2 inch away from being focused.

BTW, I was not able to understand, even with my apparent problem, 
fully why I was not able to achieve focus with the electric 
focuser.  Given that the depth of the manual focus knob is equal to 
the depth of the brass gear, I would think that focus would be 
achieved at the same position relative to the OTA.  It didn't 
happen.  I'm going to haave to experiment more this seekend.
And this:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Your focus rod is obviously mis-installed and you are absolutely do not have enough travel.  You said it came loose from
the primary at one sounds like it has improperly been
refitted since.

There is obviously a problem with the length of this rod.

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	RE: Help!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 14, 2001 5:30:50
From: (Richard Seymour)
Stephen asked:
> I've had my tripod mounted as in the picture, but how would you view any
> object that is higher in the sky than Polaris?  Polaris isn't directly
> overhead, and there are many more objects higher in the sky than
> Polaris. If in the picture the OTA is pointing at Polaris, ...

The barrel will rotate 180 degrees in Azimuth (RA), so that the eyepiece
is pointing at the ground.  Then it can "drop" the barrel (run from 90
down to zero and beyond) to point at the sky "above" Polaris.

(a) tighten your eyepiece holding screw.
(b) be prepared to crawl under your tilted telescope to reach the eyepiece.
(c) schedule a chiropractic visit the next day.

have (contortionist) fun

Subject:	Fw: Clay's Kochab Clock and Drift Alignment Question
Sent:	Tuesday, November 13, 2001 12:38:21
From: (Clay Sherrod)
nice testimonial of a different kind!!!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: John
  I finished building my observatory in early September and needed to
  permanently set my wedge.  I used Clay's Kochab Clock. I waited for
  the cardinal day of Sept. 15th so I would be as accurate as possible.
  It is so simple.  No calculations.  It works great.  If use use it at
  any other time you need to do very small calculation. Very simple.  If
  it is going to be permanent the next cardinal point is Dec. 15th. Give
  this a try, it is simple and works.   John

Subject:	New ETX-90-EC owner
Sent:	Tuesday, November 13, 2001 11:26:36
From: (John Hewit)
Hi there, love the site. I am hopefully going to be the proud new owner
of a ETX-90-EC Telescope soon (fingers crossed.) I am somewhat
bewildered by the vast array of accessories available. For example,
eyepieces, where do I start? How do you correlate Focal length(mm) with
magnification (X view) and how does the viewing angle come into it? Is
it something to do with eye position and ease of use? How do normal,
super wide and ultra wide eyepieces compare? What is a good selection of
sizes? is it worth getting a zoom lens? How about autostar? What are the
prices like?

So many questions...

John Hewit
Mike here: Yep, lots of questions that research can handle. And yes, there are many things to consider when getting into amateur astronomy. So, don't try to absorb it all at once; you'll get overwhelmed. And don't plan to buy all those accessories at the start (unless your budget is infinite); learn how to use the telescope and decide just how you plan to use it. Then you can make the right decisions, based upon your use and research. But to briefly answer your questions:
Magnification = telescope focal length / eyepiece focal length
Typically, the higher the magnification the smaller the field of view. However, there are wider angle eyepieces that provide "wider than normal" fields of view for a given magnification with your telescope. See the "Buyer/New User Tips" and the Accessory Reviews pages for more on eyepieces and accessories. The ETX-90EC comes with a 26mm eyepiece; many users will add a 2X Barlow Lens and perhaps a 7mm to 12mm eyepiece. A zoom eyepiece has its uses. And if you don't want to deal with star charts, an Autostar is useful to locate objects. As to costs, you can spend $10 to thousands of dollars on accessories.

Subject:	Re: Comet Linear
Sent:	Tuesday, November 13, 2001 5:02:16
From: (Michael Knapp)
It is comet Linear WM1 I was looking for. I thought that I had read in
my Astronomy magazine that it was approaching a binocular/naked eye
object but I could be wrong. I will have to check again and I will
definately check out your alerts section. Thanks.

Mike Knapp

Subject:	Right Tube Adapter
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2001 14:45:16
From: (Tim DeWitt)
Once again thanks for the info.  I wanted to let you know that I called
Meade and order the replacement part.  They now charge for the kit.  The
cost is $35 and customer support was quite nasty to me on the phone. 
Makes me think twice about buying another one of their scopes.


Tim D.

Subject:	25 mm eyepiece won't easily fit into thingie!
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2001 11:58:55
Hi! My girlfriend and I just got her daughter a 70AT for her birthday.
Of course, that means I got to set everything up and test it out.
Unfortunately, I immediately had the weird issue of the 9mm eyepiece
slipping neatly into the thingie the eyepiece goes into, but the 25mm
eyepiece only going in if you twist and push etc, and then, when you
want to get it out, having to twist and pull again. Obviously, this is a
BAD thing. It seems the eyepiece metal part is either a teeny bit off
true roundness or is a teeny bit too wide? I am wondering whether this
is a known problem (I may have missed it on your pages) and whether
there is anything I can do with the scope, or if I should just have the
store replace the eyepiece and hope the next one fits.

Thanks! I am enjoying your site and learning stuff I can do and things
to watch for once I get past the eyepiece issue.

Lee Tracy
Glendale, CA
Mike here: There have been some reports of "off spec" eyepieces over the last five years that I've had the ETX online. Suggest swapping at the dealer if possible. But before you do that you might check for a metal "burr" or some other object that is making the eyepiece tighter than it should be. Check both the eyepiece itself and the eyepiece holder.

Subject:	Comet Linear
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2001 11:05:57
From: (Michael Knapp)
I finally has a really good weekend here in the midwest (okawville IL)
for observing. Nice enough that Andromeda and the nearby double cluster
were visible to the naked eye. I wanted to take a peek at comet linear.
I had the approximate coordinates and a star chart to locate it. I know
that my father-in-law and I were in the correct sky location but could
not find it with either my 90EC or his binoculars (good ones). I even
entered the coords into the autostar directly (and autostar was set up
perfectly-tested a few "go-to" objects and it nailed them) and still
could find nothing that fit the description of the comet (fuzzy patch
with maybe a tail slightly showing). Have you looked at it with your
90EC it even still there??

Jupiter and Saturn were absolutely stunning thru the scope at approx.
20mm zoom. Lots of detail on Jupiter and Saturn was crystal clear.
Saturday night was by far the clearest night I've had yet. I could even
see the hole in the ring nebula.

Mike Knapp
Mike here: I've been clouded out for quite a few recent nights. You don't say WHICH Comet LINEAR you are trying for; there are several with that name. If you are trying for the Comet LINEAR WM1 mentioned on the Alerts page, then check that magnitude column and compare that to the limiting magnitude of your ETX.

Subject:	RE: Help!
Sent:	Monday, November 12, 2001 1:29:58
From: (Stephen Turnock)
Mike, Thanks for the quick reply.

It's annoying that Meade don't ship the ETX 90 with the right angle
spotter, for the couple of bucks extra it would cost, it would remove
some of the hassle that novice astronomers like myself have to face!

I've had my tripod mounted as in the picture, but how would you view any
object that is higher in the sky than Polaris?  Polaris isn't directly
overhead, and there are many more objects higher in the sky than
Polaris. If in the picture the OTA is pointing at Polaris, there is only
a degree or two of vertical pitch left on the OTA before the internal
hard stop ends the alt movement (just before the spotter hits the fork
mount). It seems to me that the Alt/Az configuration is a lot easier. 
Despite some of the reports that I've read, my autostar doesn't seem to
make too many errors in this configuration as long as you spend the time
setting it up correctly.

One more question (sorry) is it possible to get an illuminated reticule
for the spotter?  When I'm out in some of the dark sky where I live it's
almost impossible to see the cross hair in the eyepiece.  I know you can
get them for the proper eyepiece, but wouldn't it be more useful in the

Thanks again.

Mike here: There is no one solution fits all situations/users when it comes to finderscopes. Some users prefer straight-through and some prefer right-angle ones. In some orientations, straight-through works better and sometimes right-angle. And you're right; Alt/Az mode is easier and for most users the way to go. All portions of the sky are accessible in Alt/Az. However, not all users have the Autostar GOTO (or similar system) which will track in Alt/Az and for some purposes, Polar is preferred over Alt/Az. Again, a case of no one solution fits all situations. There are illuminated reticles for finderscopes but I don't recall seeing any for the model finderscope that Meade ships with the ETX. You would have to add a different finderscope.

Subject:	Re:  Temerature Range of ETX125 and 497 Autostar
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 23:05:20
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To: (Blais Klucznik)
Hello Blais -
The operating range of the ETX 125 in cold extremes is
problems to date; however, the Autostar is very temperature sensitive,
much like a laptop would be.  My personal experience has been that the
Autostar display begins odd behavior at about 27 degrees F, with
unrecognizable characters appearing many times at that cool temperature;
lower temps and the display will sometimes fail altogether although the
A.S. appears to operate normally - provided you can figure out how to
key in commands without a display!

Battery power is also a consideration below freezing temperatures, with
both internal and power source DC units beginning to diminish greatly in
output the colder it gets.

Protecting the Autostar when cold is a good idea; suggestions range from
merely keeping it in your pocket to actually wrapping it in a "dew
zapper" strip to keep it warm.  Whatever it is worth the
extra trouble.

Dick likely will have some specifics on the cold operation of the
electronics themselves and much as been said about cold operation on
Mike Weasner's site....

Good to hear from you!

Clay Sherrod
From: (Blais Klucznik)
Hello Dr Clay,

Once again I express my thanks to you for responding to my question
about the ETX125/Autostar operating temperature range.

I have read your notes on high temperature effects on this type of
equipment but couldn't find any similar information, even at Meade, when
the thermometer heads the other way.

We had a very clear day yesterday so I brought two scopes out about 3:30
PM yesterday afternoon and set them up.  Everything worked fine for
about 7 hours but then I began to notice that the Autostar was becoming
sluggish in response to key depressions.  (My wife did comment that
frost had formed on the outer cases of both scopes as well as the
automobile windshield and roof by that time.  The outdoor thermometer
read 30 degrees Fahrenheit.)

As we tend to do more of our observations in winter than in the summer
months I had, wrongly I guess assumed the Meade equipment could handle
that moderately cool temperature but from my observation of the Autostar
late last night, or was it the wee hours of this morning, along with
your comments with reference to what you had experienced I guess my
assumption was wrong again.

Unfortunately I no longer have access to an environmental chamber in
order to run more scientific measurements so I will simply heed your
advice and obtain one of the dew zappers that are on the market and use
it on the Autostar.  I did order one for the ETX125 but it hasn't
arrived yet.  (What we need are dew zappers for our fingers and our

I do monitor my battery voltage continuously Clay.  I have a fairly
accurate digital meter monitoring both the ETX125/Autostar battery plus
the digital voltmeter battery.  The ETX/497 battery is a rather rugged

I do want to thank you for your reply to my question and also to take
this time to thank you again for the marvelous work you do in supplying
us with the excellent CONSTELLATION go-to's and other documentation. 
Your sharing of so much useful information is a credit to your

Have a good week Clay

Blais Klucznik

Subject:	ETX foam insert site
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 20:42:07
From: (R L Laffoon)
Take a look at the bottom of this page:
Does one of the foam inserts look like the one that is used in the MEADE
case for the 5" ETX scope?
Regards, Larry
Mike here: Yep, looks like it might be it.

Subject:	First Light after Super-Charge!
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 14:14:37
From: (Peter Thorpe)
I had my ETX-90 out tonight for the first time since Clay Sherrod
performed a Super Charge.

I could not be happier after a 2.5 hr session.  Not once did I run into
a hard-stop or loose alignment. I spent the night as an astronomer, not
an ETX-mechanic.

I purposely put the scope through the paces, my log shows 33 targets for
the session. ALL targets were in the 26mm eye piece with about 80% of
them dead center. In the past I have never gone this long (2.5 hrs)
with-out the need to fiddle with something or re-do an alignment by
starting all over (especially going to so many targets all over the
sky).  The Autostar tours are great and nicely tailored to the ETX

The scope was sent to Arkansas and returned by the date promised.  Clay
provided an extremely detailed tune-up service description of my scope. 
He responded very quickly to my e-mails and a phone call.

THANKS Clay, this is what I wanted my ETX to do from day-one!

Peter Thorpe
Maple Grove, Minnesota

Subject:	Quick thanks and another question thrown in!
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 13:01:55
From: (Faryl Zaslansky)
I plan to enjoy planetary views mostly, so the 125 is probably the
better option. Another concern of mine is that with the 125 the field of
view is even smaller than with the 90, which is apparently very small as
is. The 125 is an f/15 if I am not mistaken. Do you know if this still
provides pleasant views of larger objects such as nebulae, galaxies, the
sun or the moon? I reckon changing eyepieces could probably help this
though.  Anyway, those are my thoughts!  If you don't have time to
reply, don't hassle.

Take care...
South Africa
Mike here: Longer focal length telescopes typically do have smaller fields of view than shorter focal length telescopes. That's why the ETX-70AT makes a fine wide field instrument. For most objects, using appropriate eyepieces, field of view is not an issue with the ETX-125EC.

Subject:	Suggestion
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 10:13:57
From: (Francisco Diez)
My husband wants to buy a telescope for our 15 yr old daughter..He is
looking at the mead etx70 at..Do you recommend it? What other suggestion
you can give us?

Since she is just 15, we are not sure she will continue with the
enthusiasm she currently has. All things considered based on the
investment we are making.

Roxanne Ruiz
Mike here: The ETX-70AT makes a fine beginner's telescope. However, it may not live up to yours or your daughter's expectations since using it you will not be able to see lots of details on planets and faint objects. If that happens it can turn you off from amateur astronomy. On the other hand, the Autostar (once you learn how to use it properly) will provide many objects that are very nice and that you might have not even considered looking at. So, it will come down to money, telescope size, and features. Of course, you can start with the ETX-70AT (with the proper expectations) and then if you decide to move up, sell it or keep it.


Thanks for your prompt response..When you mentioned this
what you are talking about?
Meade ETX 70at with Autostar controller
Mike here: The ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT come with an Autostar GOTO computer. The Autostar is optional on ETX EC models.

Subject:	Details of ASO Jupiter Patrol for 2001-2002 Apparition
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 6:33:20
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To all Jupiter Correspondents and Observers for the Current 2001-2002

Because of last week's virus scare and questions regarding the posting
of jpgs to our discussion group, I have withheld posting the usual
patrol images from the observatory.

Many of you who are in need of the imagery have continued to be supplied
daily near-real-time updates on the ASO Jupiter imaging.

Several of you have inquired as to the continuance and protocol of these
as well, so I thought I would let you know how to access these and how
they will be done for this apparition; already they are in use at
several major projects for Earth-based comparisons and for reference

We are happy to provide real-time ground-based imagery which will be
available on a daily basis (weather permitting) throughout the upcoming
apparition, something which should prove valuable as data and
observations continue to increase throughout opposition.

Here are the details of the Arkansas Sky Observatory's Jupiter Patrol
for 2001-2002:

1) to download or to examine any date's patrol images for comparison to
you observations or to use with upcoming presentations, etc., merely
access these at: which gets you into
the ASO Image Archives.  At that point you can enter either by START
DATE (just enter the date you desire and all images for that date will
appear, regardless of longitude) OR enter by a longitude span, say 30 to
100 degrees for the GRS for example.  Then press "Submit Search" at the
bottom of the screen.  You can access via either System I or System II,
but NOT by System III.

2)  the images are composite but NOT processed images except for color
correction, usually taken within a 3-minute span to eliminate
differential rotational effects; exposures are 1/2 group @1/20th sec.
for density and 1/2 group 1/25th sec. for contrast, all white light with
an Olympus C-3000 CCD digital camera via a closed circuit television
system through a Meade 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope;

3)  the images are taken NOT for show detail, but for patrol purposes
for maximum coverage through any given night, to demonstrate major
cloud/rotational changes from day-to-day;

4)  each night's/morning's images are posted by 7 a.m. the same morning;

5) a new image is begun roughly every hour, thus allowing for about a
40-degree span of rotation of Jupiter between each successive final
image; this allows a constant view of a new CM each image;

6) final image processed and filed at 640 x 480 pixels @ about 300k.

7) South is always UP and east to the RIGHT as in conventional
astronomical image presentation.

We intend to continue to provide images on every available
(clear/steady) night throughout the 2001-2002 apparition and provide the
images on a real-time basis for use throughout the Jupiter observing

Please let me know if further information/data is needed and we will
attempt to provide what the group is needing.

P. Clay Sherrod -
Brian M. Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	70AT vs. 90EC
Sent:	Sunday, November 11, 2001 5:52:27
From: (C Burns)
Its great to find site like yours where individual people (not just big
organisations) can share information.  I am considering either the 70AT
or 90EC.  Your comparison of the 125, 90 and 70 suggests that the 90 is
considerably better than the 70 (its also considerably more expensive
here in the UK).  My question: I have read that the 90EC has a central
obstruction of about 40%, so doesn't this mean that light gathering
capability of the two is almost the same?  If so, is it really just a
question of choosing a refractor vs. a Maksutov?

Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Charles Burns
Mike here: Each model telescope has its purpose and things it does well. But remember that besides aperture and design, you are comparing a 350mm focal length optical instrument with a 1250mm FL instrument. The longer focal length also counts for a lot; regardless of the central obstruction.

Subject:	Your ETX Book
Sent:	Saturday, November 10, 2001 21:03:33
From: (Fernando Pertuz)
Your book sounds great even if it is half as good as your site. When
will it be available (that is to say inmediate delivery from
AMAZON.COM)? I need to use a forwarder and give him an ETA.

I would like to suggest you give us a hint and publish a copy of the
book's table of contents on your site as an enticing tidbit.

Fernando Pertuz
Mike here: As I note on the announcement page, the book will be published in the next couple of months. I don't yet have an exact ship date. I will be posting more details; keep watching the Site.

Subject:	Book Cover
Sent:	Saturday, November 10, 2001 15:23:56
From: (Kevin Berg)
I took a glance at the back cover of your book, which seems to indicate
that the largest ETX is 127mm, not 125mm - a typo?

Mike here: The ETX-125EC _is_ a 127mm telescope. But thanks for watching out for me!

Subject:	Updated field report
Sent:	Saturday, November 10, 2001 12:21:14
From: (Ed Mosser)
On my recent field report, I touched on not finding Neptune.  I received
a star chart from Sue French, which showed the exact location for
Neptune and using that I was pretty confident of finding the outer

On November 9th I took advantage of the warm, clear weather to head
outside.  Actually, I made two trips out and was successful on both

Neptune was the main objective on the first trip.  The planet is
currently located 1 degree east of Omicron Capricorn.  Omicron is a nice
little double, which is located south of Alpha and Beta Cap.  It is very
easily split at 48x (25mm) as the separation is 21".  By placing Omicron
to the extreme left of the FOV, and moving manually to the east (right)
you will see an 8th magnitude object just outside the FOV, or 1 degree
east.  That is Neptune.  There are no other bright objects nearby.  Just
north of Neptune are 2 -10th mag stars about 20' distant.

I spent considerable time looking for M72, M73, and NGC7009 (Saturn
Nebula) but was unsuccessful.  I believe I spotted M73, but could not
really confirm it.  The considerable suburban light pollution seemed to
be the problem (about 4.5 limiting magnitude).  After an hour, my 7 year
old and I went inside for dinner and Law and Order.

After a nap, I went back out at 1130pm and viewed an entirely new sky. 
Jupiter just dominated the eastern sky.  I powered up to 156x (16mm
Meade 3000 series plus 2x Meade 126 barlow).  The image was not as sharp
as 96x and got fuzzy at times.  However, I was able to make out the
cloud bands.  At 156X the planet and 4 moons nearly filled the FOV.

Saturn was next and was dazzling.  I was able to see the ring layers at
156x and thought I saw a cloud band on the planet.

I swept thru the Hyades open cluster.  Wow.  What a great view. 
Concentrate on the heart of the cluster (around 77/78 Taurus).  Easily
made out 25 stars in the FOV.  In addition there were very dim stars
which I didnt count.  I then swept thru the area SE of Aldebaron (91,
92, and 89 Taurus area).

I attempted to locate NGC 1647 and 1746, which I failed to locate, due
in large part to fatigue and a desire to go to bed.  One last look at
the Orion Nebula confirmed that it is still there and waiting for
visitation this winter.

Subject:	new comet 2001WN Linear
Sent:	Saturday, November 10, 2001 7:13:39
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Hey - I saw the new comet 2001WN Linear this morning....bright in 10 x
50 binoculars, midway from Algol to Capella.  Quite a site, barely naked
eye too!   Has a spike dust tail in 5" refractor wide field that goes
southeast from head (opposite its direction of motion...this is NOT the
solar repelled gas tail....)

Check it out!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Final report on Matt Gertz's supercharged ETX-125EC
Sent:	Friday, November 9, 2001 22:15:13
From: (Matthew Gertz)
To: (Clay Sherrod)
Hi, Clay,

Thought you might like to know that I was finally able to field-test my
ETX which you supercharged & replaced the encoder on (luckily, even
Seattle has an occasional clear night in the fall :-)  The scope worked
beautifully -- just marvelous!  I aligned on Capella and Vega, and then
slewed to my favorite view -- the Pleiades.  Bingo -- dead on, and as
pretty as always!  That being a somewhat large target, I then worked on
the "Tonight's Best" list for find some "tighter" targets.  I slewed to
M32 (dead-on again!) and stayed there for 20 minutes, and it stayed
centered in my view (on the 9.6mm lens!) for the entire time.  I then
visited a few more Messier objects -- all were found correctly,
including another favorite, Andromeda.  Then, I tried it in reverse -- I
manually slewed to Saturn (*very* nice view tonight -- I got a nice
picture on my digital camera through the eyepiece), and chose "Identify"
-- it pegged Saturn correctly.  I then repeated this exercise on Jupiter
& its moons, and again it had no problems identifying the planet.  (I
was also rewarded by Jupiter and Callisto being occluded by an
slow-moving airplane during the procedure, which was a very odd thing to
see, but I missed the photo opportunity that time :-)

All-in-all, I spent a total of three hours running the scope, and had
absolutely no problems at all.  The scope was rock-solid perfect.  It
was a very good night for viewing (tomorrow is supposed to be rainy
again, so I'm glad I got this night in!), and was certainly the best
experience I've had with the telescope.  Bravo!

Thanks again -- my supercharged ETX 125EC is just fantastic!

Hello Matt from dew-y Arkansas!  Just got in from lots of Jupiter
imaging....caught your e-mail. (you can see tonight's latest by logging
onto and going to the ASO Images Archives.... Thanks very
much for the update and I am very glad the Supercharged ETX is doing so
well for you!  I knew we could do it!  Now you can really enjoy that
wonderful winter sky coming up!

Enjoy the upcoming Leonids!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	Bad motor?
Sent:	Friday, November 9, 2001 15:59:03
From: (markq10)
I have a ETC-90 that has a faulty motor.  I'm not sure if it is due to a
short in the hand controller or the base of the scope.  Do you have
knowledge of others having this problem?
Mike here: There have been a few reports of wires being caught in a gear. I suggest calling Meade before you attempt to troubleshoot it yourself. Don't try connecting an Autostar or another handcontroller or you may damage it.

Subject:	Help!
Sent:	Friday, November 9, 2001 4:46:47
From: (Stephen Turnock)
Congratulations on the ETX site.  I've trawled the web and can
confidently say that's it's the best that i've found. Anyway, enough
with the flattery! I wonder if you can help me.

I have been a big fan of astronomy for about 2 years now and i have just
recently purchased and ETX 90 with the field tripod.  I am having a
great deal of difficulty getting it setup in the polar alignment. 
Before you mention it, i have reviewed the many articles on your
website, but i am puzzled about the differences between Meades
recommendations and those expressed on your site.

If you follow Meades instructions, and, especially look at the pictures,
the telescope optic tube appears to be parallel to the etx base ie. with
the alt set to 90 degrees. However, in the article on your site by Clay
Sherrod, his etx is perpendicular to the base. How come there are these

I tried last night to set mine up with polar alignment, and after
setting my latitude (51.7 degrees) and orienting the N leg towards the
north, the ETX base was then pointing towards the ground. This meant
that i coud not view any object higher in the sky than polaris.

If i were to set up my telescope using Clay's method, my ETX would
effectively be useless as i don't have the 90 degree spotter, only the
standard one and i would be unable to sight the telescope using the
spotter. Also, with this method the internal stops prevent the etx from
connecting the spotter with the main forks, so again, viewing anything
higher than polaris would be impossible.

Am i missing something blindingly obvious??!!  If i am, i appologise for
the stupid question!

Many thanks for your assistance,

Stephen Turnock

(Aylesbury, UK)
Mike here: no question is stupid. There are a couple of things to consider. In some orientations, regardless of whether you mount ANY telescope in Polar or Alt/Az, straight through finderscopes can be difficult to use when the telescope is pointed high in the sky. That's one of the reasons that many users (not just ETXers) will have two finderscopes mounted. Now, to your mounting confusion. I'm concerned about your comment that the base is pointing towards the ground. The tripod head won't allow that! So, lets start at the beginning: You've set the tripod head for your latitude (52 degrees). With the ETX on the tripod the fork arms will be pointing upright. With the telescope pointed at Polaris, the tube will be parallel to the fork arms and perpendicular to the ETX base. See Jay Freeman's photo of the ETX-125EC mounted in Polar (also known as "equatorial") mode on the "ETX-125EC Feedback" page for April 2001 ( Hope this helps.

Subject:	Finally
Sent:	Thursday, November 8, 2001 6:55:38
From: (Rosenthal, Dave)
I am so excited, I have to tell someone who will appreciate it!  Last
night the seeing was so good that I could clearly, for the first time,
see Cassini's Division through my ETX-90EC.  I was using a 26mmSP with a
2x Barlow.  I wanted to take a picture, but Saturn is so far overhead I
could not access the rear port to attach the camera.
David Rosenthal

Subject:	TV/digital camera electronic EP
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 18:42:04
From: (Richard Seymour)
I don't have one, but i believe (from other owner's comments and photos)
that the Electronic Eyepiece is simply a black and white,
battery-powered TV camera.  So it's OK for the Moona and major planets
(as well as daylit landmark work (birds, ships)) but will *not* be able
to show dim stars, galaxies and nebulae (fancy for "nebulas").

It does not have the long-term ability to collect photons that true
astronomy-grade CCDs (or modified webcams) have. You -can- use your PC
to "capture" many frames of the video stream to -create- a long-exposure
shot (this is handy for Satellite Tracking). But that requires "frame
capture" hardware for your PC (under $100).

Don't take me wrong: you CAN do a lot with this device, but it's NOT as
flexible as a "ripped-apart" QuickCam. It does not provide the ability
to -control- the imaging chip that the QuickCam does. (i'm sure there'll
soon be "ripped-apart electronic eyepiece" articles all over the web...)

have fun

Subject:	Webcam pics
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 17:26:39
From: (Ken W Anderson)
Im trying to find a site thatll give me instructions on how to modify a
webcam for astro pics such as lunar an planets, do you know any?
Mike here: See the Astrophotography section. In particular, see the web sources page as well as the Quickcam page. There may be some info there. Also, search the Site for "quickcam" and you'll find some tips I think.

Subject:	Hope you don't mind  a quick question!!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 14:36:07
From: (Faryl Zaslansky)
Of course, as everyone tells you (so I've read...), amazing sight. Well

Basically, I'm about to purchase my first ETX scope, be it the 90 or
125EC. I'm not sure about the light pollution factor though. Do you
think it makes a huge difference? Or will it only apply when you start
talking 8" and so on?

I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and there are lights aplenty in
this city, and I am in the business park area. There are no street
lights in the surrounding suburbs, which is a bonus!

So, do you think it will make a difference which scope I buy? Our
pollution isn't all that bad. It's only the light pollution that
concerns me.  The 90 will definately be fine, how do you think the 125
will fair? Any ideas please?

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and hopefully reply

Kind regards,
Mike here: As to light pollution, it affects the ability to see fainter objects. So, yes, it will affect the -90 as well as the -125. However, depending upon what you plan to view, either scope can work acceptably well. If you have the opportunity to go to darker skies then the larger scope will let you see more. Hope this helps.

Subject:	Followup: Size of eyepiece rettainer screw on ETX-125EC?
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 12:29:19
From: (Matthew Gertz)
Thanks to Paul Valent & C.B. Dane & who sent me e-mail on this issue. 
The screw size is 3mm (thanks, Paul, for the info!), but there's general
agreement from both Paul and C.B. that the best thing to do is to call
Meade and ask for a replacement.  I did that, and they are very kindly
going to send me another screw for free.

In the meantime, it turns out that the screw on my Barlow lens is also
that size, so I'm able to use that as a surrogate.

Thanks again!


Subject:	ETX Finderscopes
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 12:07:04
From: (Alan Goodley)
I have just come across your web site and am very impressed. I wish I
had found it earlier!

I own a ETX 90 and have been considering changing the finderscope for
something better for some time but didn't quite know where to look!. Do
you have any suggestions on how I may purchase a 'Red Dot' type as
described from here in the UK.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Alan Goodley
Mike here: There are several UK dealers listed in the Dealers section on the Astronomy Links page of my ETX Site. Check those. Alternatively, some USA dealers can ship some items overseas so check with them as well.

Subject:	SAC CCD imager (both)
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 8:45:38
From: (John Wilde)
I want to thank you for your site as I was referred to you by meade.   I
have a question on the CCD imaging system the SAC.  It is true only G4
and above? I have a G3.  How can I buy the DB9 adabter for the software
kits and to be able to download from the meade sight for my G3.
Mike here: The SAC CCD is a USB device. The Blue and White G3 has a USB port.

Subject:	Supercharge it!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 7, 2001 8:41:53
From: (Tim Berthaume)
Just a short testimonial for Dr. Sherrod's "Supercharge" service.  He
took care of my ETX-125, and I can say I have never been happier with
its performance.  I would recommend this to anyone who wants optimal
performance.  Besides the "Supercharge" I also had a serious problem
with a gear slipping out if its trunion.  This was the source of a lot
of my frustration---but not anymore.

The service was prompt, courteous and extremely professional.  I have a
thread started at Yahoo, which is all about the ETX.  My testimonial is

Thanks for a great Web site, and thanks for the Supercharge.

Tim Berthaume

Subject:	Re: ETX Question
Sent:	Tuesday, November 6, 2001 20:41:18
I will give the focus thing close attention and if necessary try to
reposition the knob.  As for clarity, I have noticed the ETX-125 can be
very finicky; but, I have been able to fine tune the 26MM to some
excellent viewing, even with the 2X Barlow.  On windy nights I just give
up trying to get great views.  As an experiment, I can try another
eyepiece in the 12 to 18MM range to see what happens.

Which brings up another question:  Considering the comments about the 5"
and clarity, is a Super Wide Angle (SWA) eyepiece worth the price for
the ETX-125EC?  I hate to spend the money if I can't get a good view
like I am doing with the 26MM.

Don Ratliff
Mike here: There is a comment about a SWA eyepiece on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page. He was using an ETX-90. But I think you would find a use for one, depending upon what you like to view.

Subject:	ETX Question
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 19:58:53
I have an ETX-125EC scope and bought a Meade Super Plossl 9.7MM
Multicoated eyepiece to use.  But, I have never been able to get the 9.7
to focus sharp as I can with the 26MM.  The store insists the eyepiece
is good, but can't explain why it does not focus sharp.  No matter how
careful I am, the focus always remains slightly blurred. 

Question:  Is there some process I can use to determine if the eyepiece
is bad?

Question:  What am I doing wrong to keep the eyepiece from focusing

Thanks for your help.
Mike here: One thought: you might need to reposition the focus knob. If the focus problem is that the knob reaches the back of the ETX prior to achieving focus then it needs to be slid a little further out on the shaft. Tilt the ETX tube upwards (to keep the shaft from falling inside the tube), loosen the set screw on the side of the focus knob, slide the knob a little further out on the shaft, and then retighten the knob. Another thought: are you expecting more clarity than a 5" will give?

Subject:	Great Website!
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 19:45:36
From: (Steven G. Ables)
Just wanted to say thank you for providing such a great website. I'm in
the process of returning to astronomy and am awaiting the arrival of an
ETX-70AT that I purchased last week. Your website has been and will
continue to be a great resource.

Thanks Again !
Steven Ables
Tulsa Snapshots
Detecting Tulsa

Subject:	New Book!!
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 8:05:57
From: (Rossi, Peter (Peter))
Good Luck with your new book.  I have already ordered a copy and will
read it cover to cover when I receive it.  Your book should be an
excellent reference.  I can hardly wait for the Hollywood Movie.  Mike
does ETX!!

You and your Web Site are a wealth of information.  Thank You Very Much
for your efforts, they are much appreciated!!
Peter Rossi

Subject:	Dutch manual?
Sent:	Monday, November 5, 2001 2:39:02
From: (Marcianna Hartman)
Hello, I'm writing this e- mail for my father, who can't read or write
English. This is at same time our problem, he has bought the ETX -90
autostar, but he can't read the manual, he has an English version and a
German version (he can't read that either!)

Our question is : is there a manual written in Dutch?

I hope you can help us out!

Greetings from Marcianna Hartman and M C Roose

Subject:	Re: nominations
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2001 17:04:07
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Bill
I can't thank you enough for the kind words!  I am of course NOT
eligible for our award, but my reward every day is hearing from folks
like yourself. It is a pure joy to be able to still contribute a little
joy and understanding to so many nice people out there.

Mike, Dick and I all try very hard to keep the hobby fun, exciting, and
educational for all.....stay tuned.  The sky only gets better with age!

Clay Sherrod
----- Original Message -----
> Dear Dr. Clay,
> I know that you would exclude yourself from consideration but I would gladly
> nominate you for your wonderful writing and support on the ETX group. And
> while your Supertune service is a commercial venture (I hope to avail myself
> of it one of these days), it has turned many disappointed owners into
> enthusiasts, as witnessed by the countless testimonials on the site. Both
> Mike and you are wonderful!
> Yours',
> Bill
Mike here: I'm happy to know that our efforts are much appreciated!


From: (Bill Gore)
You know they are! Plus, the fact that you're a Mac guy always was a
plus in my book! I look forward to receiving my email notification that
the site has changed. But, tell you the truth, I like the equipment
reviews the most and they haven't really changed over the past few
months. I think every manufacturer should send in their product for a
review. I know that I put a lot of store in what others say about
products when I purchased my accessories.

Also, I run a bunch of websites as well as a mailing list and I know the
dedication it requires. People should know the slice of time it takes to
keep things running. You should be commended. The additional input from
Clay has added icing to an already wonderful treat.


bill gore

Subject:	Saturn occultation
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2001 11:29:29
From: (Denis JOYE)
I have added on my web site a new page dedicated to Saturn occultation
which occured on saturday evening:

Pictures were taken with my ETX-90EC and an EPSON3000  digital camera.

Best regards
Denis JOYE

Subject:	Your new book...
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2001 9:38:23
From: (Philippe HAAKE)
Nice to see that you made a new book....

But you should also add to your site Amazon in Germany,

Because for us in Europe, it is cheaper to order there... Even for
people in Germany, Switzerland and Austria there is no postage fees...

Nice isn't it??

So try to add a link for german amazon...

Hope it will help you

Best Greetings From SWITZERLAND
ICQ 3128404

Subject:	NOTICE- Nomination Being Accepted for 2002 ASO Contributions Award
Sent:	Sunday, November 4, 2001 6:18:13
From: (Clay Sherrod)

Each year the Arkansas Sky Observatory presents an award to the person
who it has selected as contributing over and beyond the expected toward
the growth of knowledge in astronomy for the general public.

The ASO Annual Contributions to Astronomy Award is selected from the
following criteria:

1) The activity toward public awareness/education/outreach must be
deemed as well beyond the scope of what is expected from an individual
on a strictly volunteer basis;

2) The efforts at promoting astronomical interests must have been done
during the 12-month period PRIOR to December of the current year;

3) The person receiving this distinctive award can be from any element
of astronomical background:  amateur, teacher, professor, professional
or any mentor as deemed by the activities reviewed;

4)  The efforts must have been strictly voluntary and the result highly
visible in the public sector;

5)  The person must be nominated by a second party who is familiar with
and can communicate the attributes of the prospective recipient's
efforts during the preceding year.

NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2002 Arkansas Sky Observatory award are now being
accepted.  If you know someone who is deserving of this recognition for
the aggressive promotion of astronomy to the general public, then please
nominate them now.

We will consider all nominations until December 15, 2001, and the award
will be presented on January 20, 2002.

Last year's recipient of the prestigious Arkansas Sky Contributions to
Astronomy Award was Mr. Michael Weasner, of ETX fame.  Mike has
contributed tremendous resources to the enjoyment, use and understanding
of small telescopes to the astronomical community.  He was nominated by
several users of his very diverse and comprehensive "Mighty ETX" website

You may submit your nominations to either Clay Sherrod or Brian Sherrod
at the Arkansas Sky Observatory web page below.  Good luck and may YOUR
nominee win for 2002!

P. Clay Sherrod
Brian M. Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Your Book
Sent:	Saturday, November 3, 2001 7:40:02
From: (David Rosenthal)
I ordered your new book yesterday from the link on your site.  I can't
wait to read it.  Congratulations on your latest publication!!

David Rosenthal

Subject:	Polaris
Sent:	Saturday, November 3, 2001 5:23:59
From: (Fred & Rose Lieberman)
I have been trying to see Polaris' companion without success.  What
magnification do I need to begin to resolve the two as separate entities
with the EXT 90?

Also, is there a formula that I can use that shows magnification vs

Thanks again.

Mike here: See the article "Resolving Power" on the Observational Guides/References page. Since the separation is around 20 arcsec you should be able to determine this yourself.

Subject:	speed
Sent:	Saturday, November 3, 2001 4:15:42
From: (Francesco Rizzoli)
many times , when I change speed  whith the hand box (not the Autostar) 
the speed dont cange or change in a very strange and random way.Many
times , instaed to have a more precise and slow mouvement  the Etx move
very quicly and so I loss the wiew. What I can do? Usually I  test the
motor whit the autostar but for people that dont have autostar what they
can do ?Thankyou very much,
FRancesco Rizzoli
Mike here: Are you running AC or batteries? It sounds like you may have low batteries. If batteries are not the problem then your report is the first one I recall of random speed selections with the standard controller. Check the connection to the ETX base. Also, check the cable: has the cat chewed through it?


I am just comig  after  a beautifull occultazione of Saturno that I have
seen with my 90 Etx ( I have also a 125 Etx but it is more easy for me ,
in Venice  no cars ! to use the little one). Really the problem happen
many time : I  select one speed  with the standard controller an the
speed remain the same , not for both  az and dc -means that one is fine 
but the other one dont followed my selection. This night apparently I
solve the problem: after  swich on an after the test I start  selecting
the lowest velocity  and after  the others one.all was fine! Really I 
check  if mine bunnie   chew the cable ::venetians cats are very lazy.
Grazie e arrivederci

Subject:	Balancing the ETX
Sent:	Saturday, November 3, 2001 3:55:32
First of all, thanks for your great ETX site. I have learned a lot from
it. According to your recomendation at your site I have bought the JMI
Piggyback Mount, on which I want to ask you a question. My question is
about balancing. When I piggyback my SLR ( Minolta Dynax 7000i ) on my
ETX90RA, balancing is needed. For that purpose, the piggyback mount is
sold together with a weight. But this weight doesn't solve all the
balancing problems: when the telescope is aimed high at the sky ( or at
the northern skies ) the telescope cannot be balanced. I tried changing
the camera position but I haven't succeeded in solving this balancing
problem. I thought may be you have some ideas by which I will be able to
solve this problem. In addition, I also have balancing problems when I
attach the camera to the ETX via the Meade  T-Adapter and the Meade
Basic Camera Adapter ( not surprisingly ). I tried to use the JMI weight
to solve those problems, and also tried "piggyback" the weight ( I
attached the weight to the piggyback mount ). Again, the problem was
partly solved: the telescope is balanced when aimed at some directions
and imbalanced at other directions. The imbalance is a serious problem:
beside harming the already weak axes of the ETX90RA, it also prevents
the motor drive from working correctly.

I'll be very gratefull if you'll be able to help me.


Ohad Drucker 
Mike here: Yes, counterbalancing is a difficult thing to accomplish perfectly. The JMI piggyback solution works with some cameras but may not work in all situations. The Scopetronix Piggyback Adapter can be used as a counterweight in some situations. However, no one (yet) markets the perfect solution for the ETX models. You can make one. Look at counterweights on other telescopes; you will see that most are rods with movable disks for the weight. If you can mount something like that you can more effectively balance the ETX.

Subject:	Re: ETX70A
Sent:	Saturday, November 3, 2001 1:14:02
From: (Graham)
Thanks for the reply, my aim is to get an instrument that is portable
(we go abroad regularly) so it needs to be easily transportable, as I am
beginning to find my way around the heavens the goto facility appears to
be useful. Would I be better spending more on the 90 rather than the 70?

Graham Dickin
Mike here: Read my ETX-70AT comments (linked from the top of the current "ETX-60AT, ETX-70AT" feedback page). If it will satisfy you in what you expect to see using a telescope, then it is a fine instrument. If you want more, the ETX-90EC with an Autostar (optional) may be what you need.

Subject:	Eyepiece Question
Sent:	Friday, November 2, 2001 19:40:08
From: (Ken Hammer)
I just recently bought a ETX 125EC. It's a great scope!! I can't say
enough about it =). I also want to thank you for the site you provide,
it's a WEALTH of information for ETX users! I very much appreciate it. I
have a question for you about eyepieces, is there a quality difference
between EP's made by Meade in Taiwan and Japan? I've heard that the ones
made in japan were better. is this true? My ETX came with a Taiwan EP,
if the EP from Japan is better would it be worth it to upgrade to a EP
from Japan? Thank you! And thanks once again for a terrific site!

Ken Hammer
Mike here: There has been no definitive answer to this question. One user surmised that the Japan ones were older and that new ones are now made in Taiwan.

Subject:	Book
Sent:	Friday, November 2, 2001 10:20:32
From: (Dave Cummings)

Good luck with your new best-seller.

Dave Cummings

Subject:	question about etx90/ec astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, November 1, 2001 18:04:33
From: (John Scully)
I have purchased an etx-90/ec about a year ago and now want to go into
taking pictures with it. I was wondering If it was possible to take
photos using a web cam and how exactly to mount it to my scope. If you
can answer these questions for me it would be greatly appreciated.


P.S, Is there any special programs I should use to take the photos with?
Mike here: Yes, you can do this. Read through the Astrophotography section on my ETX Site. Also see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products and Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography for more info.

Subject:	TV/digital camera electronic EP
Sent:	Thursday, November 1, 2001 11:18:54
From: (Robert Smerdon)
I was at the science and hobby website and saw a new EP from Meade. its
an electronic EP that can be hooked up to a TV or digital camera. It has
no magnification and can not be used to looked through. I wanted to get
more details. So I went to the Meade site and its not listed in their
catalog. It cost $69 from science and hobby. If you can find any other
info it would appreciated. I would like to maybe use this with some kind
of EP mount on my 125 to add magnification. maybe the scopetronics
digital mount or something. I think this would be a big leap for
astrophotography on a small budget . no more having to rip apart the
quickcam and trying to mount the thing with tape or whatever. please
check this out. keep up the good work.            thanks Robert
Mike here: This sounds like the same eyepiece that is being bundled with at some dealers. The October Feedback has some info on it. Read down through that page.

Subject:	some photos (60/70/90)
Sent:	Thursday, November 1, 2001 5:26:14
From: (asif raza)
Anyone one interested to look at the same photos taken with ETX
telescopes (60/70/90) follow the link below. Provides a good comparison.

great website Mike .. !

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