Last updated: 30 November 2002
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.

Subject:	Mains power for etx-90
Sent:	Saturday, November 30, 2002 19:10:03
From: (Sally-ann Zetter)
I was wondering if you could let me know, I have purchased  a battery
eliminator 12voltdc/1amp for my etx so I don't need batteries.  Should
this be strong enough for my scope and does it sound like the right one
as well.  I have also purchased a connection so that I can use my car
battery when not near a powered site.
Mike here: 1amp should be sufficient. According to most of the external power supply articles on the Telescope Tech Tips page, 500-1000mA should power the ETX. If you add other items (like a dew heater or electronic focuser) it may or may not be sufficient.

Subject:	Contest
Sent:	Saturday, November 30, 2002 10:53:53
From: (Ted Wilbur)
I was disappointed that weather prevented me from entering your recent
imaging contest. Almost the whole month of November has been a wash
(pun!) here in the Northeast. We've even had 2 snow storms since
Thanksgiving, everthing's white!

Forgive me for saying so, but only 3 contestants?(!) I would have
expected a lot more. It's got to be an anomaly. Maybe cloud cover
affected participation from many locations. I hope the turn out doesn't
dissuade you from doing another one!

Hope you had a nice holiday,
Mike here: There will be more.

Subject:	Total Solar Eclipse
Sent:	Saturday, November 30, 2002 07:39:15
From: (Don Barbee)
Check out the link below.

For those interested there will be a total eclipse of the Sun webcast
live from the web-site listed below.  For those of us in Central Time
(USA) that will be 3:10am (Yes that's in the morning) December 4'th.  A
total Solar eclipse lasts ~2 hours from begining to end with totality
occurring 1 hour into the eclipse. (That's when the Sun is completely
covered by the Moon.)  Set your clock for about 3am, fire up the ole
computer.  Totality occurrs at Ceduna, Australia just slightly (seconds)
after 310am CST, lasting 33 seconds.  (If you want to watch the whole
show get up at 2am!)


Subject:	Thank you for everything
Sent:	Friday, November 29, 2002 06:01:00
From: (Victor Burhans)
Mike, you have the best site on the web. I've been on line for five
years, and have visited maybe a thousand sites.  The reason for the
thank you is I have corrected the only problem I had with my ETX-125.  I
have two ETX's, an ETX-70 that was purchased over a year ago, and a
ETX-125 that was purchased in September this year.  I experienced
absolutely no problems with the ETX-70, other than programming on
initialization incorrectly, but the ETX-125 was another story.  It had a
"rubberbanding" problem until I read up on enhancing and correcting for
this problem from you site.  On Wednesday, November 27, I spent five and
a half hours observing with the ETX-70, and on Thursday, November 28,
after Training the Drive and Resetting the AZ Percentage, I spent 5
hours observing with the ETX-125.  Again I express my thanks to you and
all the people who have contributed to your site.

Victor Burhans
From the State of Colorado
"A Mile-Higher to the Stars"
Mike here: Many thanks! Obviously the Site is a collective effort of many people.

Subject:	another question for you
Sent:	Thursday, November 28, 2002 20:40:57
From: (D.A. and Michal Landau)
I am curious about a company called Owl services offering a brand of
Plossl eyepieces that they call the Knight Owl series.

Have you heard of  them?
they claim that this is a great group of eyepieces and that they have
had a large number of positive feedback.

they are selling them at a very affordable price.
They said to me in an email:

"Our customers and us were so pleased with these eyepieces that we
started to import them directly from the factory in China. This is how
we can give very good prices. We have sold more than 500 of these and
have about 100 positive comments about these from our customers on eBay
with no negatives or neutrals."

this is their address:

thanks for all of the help

Subject:	HI!!!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 27, 2002 17:51:32
From: (Michael COURNOYER)
I am really interested in a new telescope. Th Meade ETX really caught my
eye. But I have always read bigger scopes are better, why is the focal
lenght in the EXT better than a larger scope.
Mike here: The ETX is a Maksutov-Cassegrain design. There is a correcting lens at the front aperture, a mirror at the other end, and a secondary mirror on the back side of the correcting lens. This causes the light to traverse the length of the tube three times, hence the longer focal length than just the length of the tube. There is a diagram of this on Meade's site (
Subject:	Moon Contest
Sent:	Wednesday, November 27, 2002 14:10:47
From: (Martyn Edwards)


Looking at the entries from you and Jim I reckon I came third. Which
isn't bad until you count the number of entries.....

Why does it rain so much in Wales? Mike's contest has stimulated me into
taking more piccies but due to the weather I am being forced to play
with older stuff in Photoshop/Astrostack/Registax/RegiStar.

Hopefully Mike's excellent idea will stimulate more entries next time he
organises a contest; let's hope it's not piccies of the sun as I haven't
got a Hydrogen Alpha filter! (yet - but I may be retiring soon.....)

Best regards,

Mike here: Not all contests will be photos...


From: (jim abbey)
Hey  Mike ,you  need to  have a  contest  on  the best jury rigged
scope,HA HA!

Subject:	ETX question
Sent:	Wednesday, November 27, 2002 11:59:43
Recenly I just bought a ETX105EC, And I bought the ETX book that you
wrote. I want to know how can I takes a photo of the sun with flame in
it. And I found a solar filter at one from ScopeTronix one
from JMB do you know which one is better? and can these filter see the
flame of the sun?

And One last question, Can ETX105EC see the color of galaxy? if yes,
which filter do you think I should get to have a better view?

Thank you for you time. and I love your book, but would be great if it's
in color.

Mike here: In order to see or photograph solar prominences you need what is called a "Hydrogen-Alpha" or just "H-alpha" filter. The "white light" solar filters (in which the disk of the Sun appears white, blue, or orange, depending upon the type of filter) won't show prominences and other details but will let you see sunspots and some other details. See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info on both types. Due to the design of the human eye, typically the only color seen in faint objects like nebulae and galaxies is a faint green (or pale gray). The larger the telescope the brighter the objects can appear and with really large telescopes you can see more colors. But don't expect to see the same colors that you see in most photographic images.


Do you know where I can get a Hydrogen-Alpha filter for ETX105ec?
Mike here: Only Coronado Filters sells them direct and some dealers may also. However, there is a long waiting list.
Subject:	thanks
Sent:	Wednesday, November 27, 2002 7:30:18
From: (Harry Bachrach)
thanks for your web page!!
a new etx 125 owner
have a nice thanksgiving

Harry Bachrach
 Group, Inc.

Subject:	Questions for you
Sent:	Tuesday, November 26, 2002 1:01:19
From: (Dovid Avraham and Michal Landau)
i need some advice
i have a Meade 125ETX
nothing else
what accessories do i need?
do i need a:
dew shield?
what about an electronic focuser?  is it worth getting for a beginner?
would you then recommend the #884 even if the #883 is available at a
significantly lower price?

i don't want to buy "everything" right now but i do not know what are
basic necessities

thanks for all of the help
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews pages for some ideas. A Barlow Lens and/or extra eyepieces make good additions. A red-light flashlight will come in handy for looking at papers or charts or finding things in the dark without affecting your night vision. Filters can be handy but which ones you need depends upon how you want to use the telescope. There are different filters for different purposes. Depending upon your location and its potential for dew, a dew shield may or may not be necessary. An electric focuser can make a nice addition, especially if your tripod is a little less than sturdy and/or you have the tripod legs extended to their full height (which increases vibration opportunities), as it will reduce vibrations in the view since you won't be touching the focus knob. There are also alternatives to electric focusers: the Scopetronix FlexiFocus for example (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page). You could also make devices to help reduce vibrations when focusing (see the Telescope Tech Tips page). As to the tripod, the #884 is a good solid tripod and more sturdy than the #883.
Subject:	I missed it!
Sent:	Monday, November 25, 2002 3:15:17
From: (Wade)
I missed your lunar contest!  I guess that's what I get for not checking
back more often : ) .  Will you be having another soon? What a fun idea.

Mike here: There will be future contests.
Subject:	Question from new user
Sent:	Saturday, November 23, 2002 14:21:47
From: (mark mathosian)
I recently bought a ETX-90EC.  I purchased a sun filter and tried it
today.  However, don't laugh, I couldn't seem to locate the sun with the
telescope.  I was using a 26 or 32m lens.  Also,  It seemed that when I
put the telescope higher than a 90 degree angle I would see half
darkness through the lens.  Ever heard of this problem before?  any
suggestions for viewing the sun?


Mike here: I use the "shadow technique". Just minimize the shadow of the telescope on the ground. I have also removed the eyepiece and looked into the eyepiece hole to see the Sun's image; once it is visible then I put the eyepiece back in. A really nice tip is the "Sun Pointer" on the Telescope Tech Tips page. As to the light you are seeing, there are two tripod mounting holes on the bottom of the ETX-90 telescope optical tube assembly (OTA). These can be covered with electrical (black) tape to eliminate this source of stray light.
Subject:	New scope
Sent:	Saturday, November 23, 2002 9:47:28
From: (Ted Wilbur)
Congrats on your new scope! I assume the LXD55 weighs less than the
LX200 (couldn't weigh any more :)

Your Kitt Peak trip looked -really- fun! It must have been great to look
through such a big telescope. What's with the inclined plane of the
solar observatory?

Mike here: The Kitt Peak trip was fun! The inclined plane is the (long) light path of the sun's image. Just the way they designed it.
Subject:	Nov 19, 2002- Leonid Meteorites
Sent:	Saturday, November 23, 2002 8:27:57
From: (Carlos Family)
Just a late report on the Leonids...

I got up around 4:50am EDT on Nov 19, 2002 to catch a glimpse of the
meteor shower.  There was a high Cirrus cloud over the night sky.  I
could see Jupiter near the Zenith and Saturn towards the South West. 
Seeing conditions were poor and I started to think that I should just go
back indoor and sleep.  I decided not to follow that instinct.

I'm glad I did not because a few minutes later, I saw one around 5:10am.
After a minute there was another.  Both were very bight streaks and it's
highly visible through the clouds.  There were fainter ones after the
two bright ones for every minutes until 5:30-5:45am (I lost track of
time). Finally the sky cleared up and there were two or three every
minute until close to 6AM.  Some of them would leave a trail that would
last for a couple of seconds or three.  They did not look like streak
but more like a slice through the sky.

I tried count and and was able to confirm at least 60 but there were
others that showed up that I know I was not able to.  I would estimate
that I saw about 70-80 meteors.

I missed it last year so I'm glad that I got a chance to see the encore
this year.

Clear Skies,

Subject:	strange object in sky..
Sent:	Friday, November 22, 2002 21:53:14
From: (David Jennings)
I'm fairly new to austronomy.
I emailed you awhile back when i first got my etx-105.
I knowticed this object i'm currently mailing you about in the sky the
other night during the leonoid shower.
I wanted to take a look at it with my scope but i was limited on time so
i could watch the shower out of town so i was in a hurry & didnt have

What has sparked my intrest in this object is that it appeared to
pulsate colors of  green,red,blue.

I found this object again tonight.
I live in TX in the united states.
The object  appears to be(this is as i type this it's 11pm here) right
underneath orion's belt  & to the east of my viewing location.
I looked at this object thru my etx-105 tonight with the eyepeice it
came with  + a borrow lens to i estimate i veiwed it with about  210
power...      It is pulsating these colors!!
& its shape looks this:  
                              0    or  |
                             00       / \  almost like the back of a 
shuttle engine?!  sorta looks like the eyesight the alien uses in the
moivie Predetor. But if it was a shuttle I dont think i would see it in
about the same spot  2-3 nights in a row in about the same spot in the

This object i am seeing is currently the brightest object i can see in
the sky other than the moon & I can see many stars tonight.

Also I've managed to find jupiter before. I thought i'de metion that
cause its bright too.

This is one of the strangest things i've seen thru my telescope so far.
Its pulsating is visable by naked eye.
Mabe you can get back to me with what knowlege you may have of what I
might be seeing.

Thanks for reading this,
            David Jennings
Mike here: It sounds like you are seeing the star Sirius. It is very bright and when low in the sky (that is, shortly after rising or if your latitude is high) it can appear to "twinkle" a lot. The Earth's atmosphere is causing the effect you are seeing. For more on "seeing", see the article "Seeing Conditions and Transparency" on the Observational Guides/References page.
Sent:	Friday, November 22, 2002 19:37:45
When are you going to respond to my comments?
Mike here: I have tried to respond but you are blocking my email address:

** Farflekspek - This member is currently not accepting e-mail from your account.

Thinking that might be a mistake I even tried an alternative (non-AOL) account and you rejected that as well:


I have tried to respond to you in the past but the email was rejected. If you want to have an email discussion please remove the restrictions, otherwise I have to make an assumption about your motives.

Subject:	re:  etx-60at
Sent:	Friday, November 22, 2002 8:21:45
From: (Richard Seymour)
The Electronic Eyepiece is only sensitive enough for -bright- targets,
such as the Moon and Jupiter (and you probably won't see Jup's moons)

Exactly -what- you have floating in your eyes will have an effect
upon this suggestion: if it's typical-with-age "floaters",
then the act of looking steeply down can "shake" them loose and
they'll drift across your vision... you might try using a different
orientation of the eyepiece (so you're looking parallel to the
ETX barrel, rather than down into it).
If you can borrow a look through a classic refractor telescope,
that would let you test this method.
You can equip your ETX to allow "parallel" viewing with either an
eyepeice holder for the rear port of the telescope, or adding a
"diagonal" above it, with the eyepiece plugged into that.

A problem with the ETX60 is that you may not be able to run the 
focuser far enough to use that external diagonal... if you have
a Barlow, insert that in the ETX, then the diagonal into that,
and finally the eyepiece (the Barlow stretches the light cone).
-that-, however, will really crank up the magnification (it will 
turn a 2x Barlow into a 3x) and may result in over-magnified fuzzy
images (if you're using the 9mm eyepiece).

If you have binoculars, see if the floaters affect -their- use
when looking up at stars... if not, then changing to a straight-through
refractor arrangement may be the answer...

good luck
--dick (<-- has floaters, too)
From: (tbennett)
Thanks so much for the quick replies. I just happened on to your web page
and I think it is great. I also got help from another person that watchs
your web site. Thanks again and have a good holiday. Tom

Subject:	etx-60at
Sent:	Thursday, November 21, 2002 18:43:16
From: (tbennett)
Hi! My wife bought me the etx-60at scope two years ago and now I have
occured a problem with my eyes that looks like a big smuge moving around
when viewing thru it. The eyes doc. tells me surgery is not recommended
and that I would have to put up with it. I was at our Discovery store
last year before this happened to me and they were giving away a free
eyepiece that hooks up to the video jacks on the back of the tv and you
could see images on the tv screen. My question is, Where can I buy one
at and how much ? I have all lens and accessories  for this scope with a
lot of money spent so far and now I can not enjoy it. This might help me
to be able to use the scope again for a few years or months till they
get so bad I will have to give it up Thanks for any help. I really enjoy
your web page. Tom
Mike here: Meade dealers have the "Meade Electronic Eyepiece" for about $90. Orion Telescopes and Binoculars also has a similar "Electronic Imaging Eyepiece" for $120. I have no experience with either.
Subject:	Telescope Donations
Sent:	Thursday, November 21, 2002 7:59:53
From: (Jordan Blessing - ScopeTronix)
For the last few years ScopeTronix has been donating small telescopes to
deserving kids during the holiday season. This year we have a few ETX-90
Astro telescopes reserved for this purpose. Each will also include an
additional eyepiece, barlow, and moon filter. We hope to let a few
underprivileged kids enjoy the splendors of the night sky that they
would otherwise be missing. If you know an underprivileged and deserving
kid we want to know about it.

We do ask that they meet the following qualifications...

-They are 16yrs old or under (but old enough to operate a telescope).
-They live in the US.
-They have shown an interest in astronomy and would greatly appreciate
receiving a telescope as a gift.
-Due to the financial situation of their family they very likely would
not get a telescope for the holidays.

Please email us a brief description of why your submission is deserving
of a free telescope. Decisions will be made before December 15th to
allow enough time for shipping before Christmas. You will be notified if
we select your submission. Be sure to include your email and phone
number so we can follow up if your submission is selected. The
telescopes will be sent to a parent or family member of the child so
they can be given as a gift, this makes 2 people happy....not just one

We give a special thanks to our valued ScopeTronix customers, YOU have
made this possible!

Jordan Blessing - CEO
ScopeTronix Astronomy Products

Subject:	Leonids
Sent:	Wednesday, November 20, 2002 6:18:11
Well, I'm still waiting for the return of my scope from Meade, but was
told I should have it by the end of the week.

I was really looking forward to the Leonids, the last couple of meteor
showers were washed out because of cloud cover and it looked like it
would happen again. The evening of the 18th was looking very cloudy
despite the fact we had clear skies for a few days prior. I took my
chances and awoke a 3 am and went into the back yard -- looked east over
San Antonio and rats! Clouds. But I turn to the Northwest and there was
clear skies and looked to be moving east. I decided to drive out to my
dark sky site (about 16 miles west of SA) and there they were! from
about 3:45am to 5:15am I viewed about 200 to 250 meteors, the most I've
ever seen in one outing.

I had my camera but I did not bring out my other mount so I just set on
top a my truck pointing to the zenith and took 2 rolls worth of PICS.
They turned out pretty bad, too much moon shine, but I did capture
several Meteors in some of my shots.

The Leonids lived up to the billing in my view and if I didn't have to
be at work by 6 am I could have enjoyed the show a little longer.

Clear Skies from San Antonio

Subject:	ETX90
Sent:	Monday, November 18, 2002 18:37:44
From: (david)
I've been visiting your site regularly since I got my scope back in
August.  It's a most enjoyable and educational spot on the web.

The sky is not particularly dark here in suburban Northern
Massachusetts; I've never owned a telescope before because I didn't
believe it would be worthwhile with all the light around.  How
wrong I was!  With the ETX90 and a home-made (wooden!) un-driven
fork mount attached to a JMI Megapod, I've bagged several easy double
stars, a couple of Messier objects and three planets.  This despite
the fact that I have to pack everything into my car and drive a couple
of miles in order to set up.  You're absolutely right about buying
a scope that will get used -- I'd love to have more aperture but the
portability of the ETX90 outweighs that consideration considerably.

The home-made mount has no setting circles so I'm just star hopping by
hand.  (I recommend for whole sky charts and I've
been using the Hawaii Astronomical Society for their constellation maps,
but I just found your awesome observing guide area this past week.)
 Over the winter I hope to replace the hack carpentry with a
machined metal fork and DS-based Autostar tracking system.

I must get off the computer and hit the sack -- I want to be up early
tomorrow morning for the Leonids.

Clear skies!
To err is human.  To *really* err requires a C++ compiler.

Subject:	OPT Book Signing
Sent:	Monday, November 18, 2002 12:44:13
From: (Busch III, Joseph P.)

It was a pleasure to meet you this past Saturday at OPT.  Keep up the
good work on your website.  It is a truly valuable tool for all
amateurs, whether novice or experienced, and whether or not we use the


Joe Busch

Subject:	RE: customer concerns
Sent:	Monday, November 18, 2002 12:02:36
From: (
Dear Mike:

Thanks for the email.

A TeleWrap dew cap is being sent to Ron as promised. I sometimes have
customers that don't receive an order (U.S. mail has in the past damaged
and/or lost shipment).


Barry A. Craig

Sent:	Sunday, November 17, 2002 20:39:59
From: (Brian W Johnson)
My name is Brian Johnson.  I live in the suburbs of Chicago and I am
trying to plan a trip with my wife and the old telescope.  I am looking
for dark skies and don't mind a little drive.  I have been researching
on the internet and found your web page on the SECOND ANNUAL MIGHTY ETX
STAR PARTY and loved it.  It sounds and looks like a great place to

I was wondering what the Jim Edgar Panther Creek Wildlife Area is like
the rest of the year.  Are we allowed to set up our tent and scope (I
have a tent with a zippered roof for observing) in the field I saw in
the pictures?  Or are we restricted to the normal campsites.  And if so
are they any good for observing or is there a lot of tree cover.  Thank
you for your time.

Brian Johnson
Mike here: It was a nice site. Not being local to Southern Illinois I have no info beyond what is posted at the various websites. You should contact the Sangamon Astronomical Society of Springfield; they should be able to answer your questions.
Subject:	re: making focus cable
Sent:	Saturday, November 16, 2002 9:34:03
From: (Richard Seymour)
You might try buying a set of screw extractors (tapered screw bits
with -reversed threads-).
They might be able to grab (and extract) the screw.

good luck

Subject:	re:  Meads 90 deg ViewFinder for the etx90
Sent:	Saturday, November 16, 2002 9:28:40
From: (Richard Seymour)
Since it works better upside down, i'd suspect that the prism or
mirror which is in the 90-degree bend is not firmly held..
so it can fall in and out of position (or a lens could be loose).

I've had mine apart a few times (i had to bend the crosshairs
to get them to -also- focus when i focus the finder for me without
my glasses).

The real test is to -shake- it.  It shouldn't rattle.
If it does, you might consider getting it swapped by the vendor,
or simply take out the major units (eyepiece, bend, front lens cell),
and see if the locking rings are fully screwed in. (and/or do the 
rattle test to each individual chunk)

good luck

Subject:	re: Motor drive in RA axis
Sent:	Saturday, November 16, 2002 9:20:13
From: (Richard Seymour)
You said:
> I checked the RA axis lock to make sure it was locked all the way.

If the RA Clamp handle can be moved -all the way- across the sweep
range, it might need/want to be moved so that the clamping action happens
about 60% across the range.
Your problem could simply be that you cannot tighten the RA axis
just that -little bit- more needed for solid action.

(this might even be in the manual)... Meade supplied the hex-wrench
needed for this with the scope.. 
You tighten the clamp, you loosen the screw holding the
handle on its nut, lift the handle up, rotate the handle 60 degrees
counterclockwise, and just drop it back onto its nut.
This is just like repositioning a box wrench "one face" on the 
underlying nut.

The procedure is also covered on Mike's site under Telescope Tech Tips:

(of course i can't find the -exact- page, but many of the lower-right
column items (with "RA" in the title) go through this as a sub-section.)

have fun


Thanks Mike.  I'll give it a try.  It'll be some time before I get to
try it out in a star gazing session since they're calling for rain over
the next couple of nights here on the East Coast.

Dick Seymour also suggested adjusting the RA Clamp a bit to allow it to
clamp down a bit more.  I'll be trying that as well.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Mark G.

Subject:	ETX Comments
Sent:	Saturday, November 16, 2002 9:14:54
Your site is a real boon for any ETX fan. I am also from Indiana. I
graduated from Indiana University (Bloomington) in 1971.  I spent some
time with the on-campus refractor and took some astronomy classes too. 
After college I entered the Air Force ('71 - '77) where I spent time in
North Carolina, Germany and Greece.  My astronomy interest grew out of a
view through a 3" Newtonian when I was about 10.  I got a 4" Dynascope
soon after that.  In high school I built a roll-off roof observatory in
my backyard. It was 8' X 8'and built with less than $250 in materials. 
I had an electrical hook-up in it for my 6" RV-6 Dynascope.  Over
thirty-five years later I am observing with the Meade ETX-90EC (my
second ETX, the first was an RA).  The legendary Dynascope was a
magnificent telescope for $194.95. However, the Dynascope could never
match the tack-sharp images the ETX routinely furnishes.  True, the RV-6
was a great scope and was better for deep-sky and produced brighter
images because of its light gathering abilities. But, the ETX just
produces exquisite definition and contrast. Today I live just north of
San Antonio, TX in the Hill Country.  Seeing here is sometimes unusually
good just before sunrise.  Today was one of those mornings.  I was
observing Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and some early Leonid meteors.  The
view of Jupiter located near the zenith was good enough to allow the use
of my 6mm Citerion Orthoscopic.  The view was amazing for a small scope
like this.  I have been observing with the ETX for several years now but
am still amazed at the performance this instrument provides.  I use some
of my old eyepieces with the ETX like an 18mm Erfle that just permit
some great views of the moon and deep-sky objects.  I get a real taste
of what the ETX is capable of when I travel to the dark skies of West
Texas. Mount Locke where MacDonald Observatory is located and the Chisos
Mountains in Big Bend National Park have been my favorite locations for
observing. My experience with the ETX mechanical performance and
reliability has been very good.  Granted the ETX is no Questar but the
price difference is very significant.  I like the ability to set-up the
scope in less than 2 minutes and track at high power without the object
leaving the field for several minutes.  I really enjoy this little scope
as you can tell and am very glad to see your WEB Site has made the Meade
ETX experience more enjoyable for thousands of viewers around the world.
 Keep up the tremendous job Mike.

Bill Winscott
San Antonio, TX

Subject:	focus cable
Sent:	Friday, November 15, 2002 23:28:12
From: (jim abbey)
I want you  to  know that  the focus  cable from the tech tips  ,works 
great  and  THANKS!  You  are  the best!I  am  starting  my own  group
wich  may help  you  out ,or  at  least compliment  your  group!

Subject:	Telescope Saga and Pier Mount
Sent:	Friday, November 15, 2002 16:02:03
From: (Edelmann)
Below are two links to my website for my telescope story (entertaining
at best), and more useful, hopefully, my pier mount design.  The scope
was returned via UPS on 11/12 and I haven't started counting the days as
yet...   (both telescope saga and
pier)  (pier direct link)

Comments, questions, clarifications, are welcome of course to me, at my

John Edelmann

Subject:	ETX 105 EC new...
Sent:	Friday, November 15, 2002 9:43:37
From: (Mitchell Strauss)
Just received a new 105 this week... prior to purchase I have been
banging around your very comprehensive site... have taken the scope out
of the box and placed in my new Sear tool bag, which I learned of
courtesy of your site... also turned it on once and watched it slew with
the manual controller...

Also recently received the deluxe tripod... so I am set to go...
however, I am immobilized with fear after spending too much time on your
site... it appears that there are so many things that can go wrong! Am I
getting paranoid...

Cripe... when you look at what Clay recommends it seems like the whole
telescope needs an overhaul before it will find a heavenly object... Am
I over reacting...

or should I follow the instructions that came with the scope and get out
on the porch and find Saturn?

What do you think?

Regards, Mitch Strauss
Mike here: Until you KNOW the telescope needs anything, don't worry about it. Most users never need to do anything. With your car there are a TON of things that can go wrong and there are a TON of things you can do to improve it. Same with computers. Same with telescopes. Go enjoy it!!!
Subject:	Motor drive in RA axis
Sent:	Thursday, November 14, 2002 20:42:25
From: (Mark Golczewski)
I'm looking for some advice in a solving a problem I've been having
recently with my ETX125 scope.

The scope has been unused for about nine months though as I recently
anticipated using it a bit more as the days get shorter, I refreshed the
batteries and trained the motors, etc. before going out for the night.

In my Easy Alignment procedure I noticed that the RA axis movement of
the scope would sometimes "stick".  By this I mean I would hear the
motor moving, but no movement of the scope was going on.  With a little
nudge, I would get the scope moving again.  This forced me to realign
each time this happened as the alignment would fail.

This would also happen again later in the session, especially where the
RA axis would require a long traversal from the home position (greater
than 90 degrees).  It initially would happen in clockwise moves, but
eventually would show up in counterclockwise moves as well.

I checked the RA axis lock to make sure it was locked all the way.  I
did not change batteries yet since I believe these are fresh and most of
the power source problems I've seen involve the movement of the DEC

The scope itself is one of the "older" ETX125's and is about 2 years
old.  I have an Autostar attached with the latest and greatest software


Mark G.
Mike here: Due to the lack of use I suspect some grease just needs to be redistributed. You can normally easily do this by unlocking the axis and moving the telescope from hardstop to hardstop in both directions several times. You can then check it out and further distribute the grease by just slewing electrically using the handcontroller (standard or Autostar) from hardstop to hardstop several times in both directions.
Subject:	Clear Night Products
Sent:	Thursday, November 14, 2002 10:49:18
First off, great site!  Thank you for all of your effort and time.

Now for the FYI.  I am having a problem with a company found on your
site.  I don't expect you to resolve it but maybe you can alert others
of this problem, or maybe remove his link from your site.

Clear Night Products (a.k.a. Barry A. Craig) has cashed my check for a
dew shield and sent me nothing,  Below is the text of messages that went
between me an Barry Craig.  I sent him money in March, he cashed the
check in August, promised to send me the dew shield in early October and
then nothing.  He won't even email me.

Anyway, thanks again for your work.

Ron Zagacki
Mike here: Unfortunately, others have reported similar issues with CNP. They have also usually reported that the issue gets resolved after a lot of time has passed and frequent emails. I'll contact CNP and see if I can get some information.
Subject:	Sunspot #30
Sent:	Thursday, November 14, 2002 10:11:29
From: (divenuts)
I found this stunning image of the sun, coincidentally is the same day I
took a photo (7/15/02) that is pictured in your Guest Astrophotography
Gallery of the sun dated 7/19/02.

Clear skies.
Chuck Callaghan

Subject:	re: UHTC or not?
Sent:	Wednesday, November 13, 2002 8:52:12
From: (Al Adrian)
> (1) UHTC:   I recenty purchased an ETX-125 with the UHTC coatings. Is
> there any way to tell that you have these coatings by looking at the
> scope? I inadvertently disposed of the box before thinking about this. I

My new 105 has a sticker on the bottom of the OTA, by the tripot mount
pad, marked UHTC...

From: (Robbie Harris)
my recently purchased ETX90 has a label 'UHTC' on the 'underside' near
the base of the OTA

Subject:	contest
Sent:	Tuesday, November 12, 2002 13:57:52
From: (divenuts)
Chuck in Florida here. Great idea with the Moon contest, I hope it is
very successful and you continue with other contests. We are having a
cold front moving through and I may actually have clear skies this
weekend. I saw on your contest page to use the best resolution, can I
assume you will reduce as necessary, photo size and resolution. I also
have the CoolPix 995 (thanks to my wife and yourself) and have not
really used the 'best' resolution. I have lost detail many times
converting the photo for ease of e-mail. It is a treat to see the
results of our efforts on your astrophotography page.

I very much enjoyed the photos from your recent star party. I will
remind you early next year the site I hope you will consider for the 3rd
Mighty ETX Star Party.

Pretty convenient for Doc Clay and myself.

I hope the most of the people that read your website regularly realize
that the vast majority of ETX owners have little or no trouble with
their scopes. It seems only the folks with problems send you e-mails.

Thanks as always for your efforts!
Clear skies,
Chuck Callaghan
Dunedin Fl (Tampa Bay)
Mike here: Generally, I will post the images in whatever resolution I get them (unless it takes terabytes...).
Subject:	site suggestion
Sent:	Sunday, November 10, 2002 20:48:47
From: (SciNet)
I was wondering if you would be interested in adding my new astronomy
website (AstroNet) to your list of astronomy links. AstroNet (at is an astronomy
search engine and directory with over 100,000 astronomy links.

Brad Bereitschaft
AstroNet Webmaster

Subject:	ETX 90 EC Stuck DEC clutch
Sent:	Monday, November 11, 2002 14:25:13
From: (
You have addressed so many questions/problems on your site, that I was
surprised when I encountered a problem that I have not seen covered.

I have a etx 90 ec with a DEC clutch that will not disengage. It still
slews and points nicely, but I cannot move the scope in the DEC axis
unless the power is on.  I have read the postings on your site regarding
DEC problems, and at one point or another they all say "remove DEC
knob". That's my problem. I can't. The DEC knob will turn in both
directions, but the DEC clutch remains engaged.

Help! Can I do anything to fix it or does it have to be sent back to

Thanks for everything you do for those of us with stars in our eyes.
Your site is an amazing resource.

I hope to meet you one of these days at OPT.

Thanks again--

Jim Wellington
And from our hardware expert:
From: (Clay Sherrod)
Yes....what has happened is that there is still sufficient pressure from
the locking knob to totally engage the clutch and very likely the clutch
trunion block is so tight in the fork arm hole that it is dragging way
too much (which probably led to the stripped knob); the knob is totally
stripped out against the right OTA adapter (the pivoting arm that holds
the tube).  You can get the knob off by applying gentle pressure with a
large flat screwdriver behind the fake setting circle while
unscrewing....the knob will eventually come off and do not get in a
hurry.  You will likely note that the small black clutch block that fits
inside the fork arm hole is entirely too tight; mill it down using first
medium steel wool and then fine to buff.... Obviously take it off to do
this as you do not want metal shavings anywhere near the scope!

You will need to get either (or both) a replacement lock knob and/or OTA
adapter from Meade.

Good luck!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory
MPC/cbat Obs. H43
And an update:
Just wanted to thank you for your help. Dr. Clay sent me a reply.....and
within a half hour I had the problem solved.

You two are a great resource. You saved me time, money, and frustration.

Thanks again----- Jim Wellington

Subject:	2" Eyepieces on the ETX
Sent:	Monday, November 11, 2002 12:24:07
From: (Bruce Dickson)
I've tried to use my 8.8 and 14 mm UWA eyepieces on my ETX 105.
Basically, you can reach focus, but the eyepieces are so heavy that they
unbalance the scope appreciably. The 24.5 mm SWA works fine.


Subject:	Meads 90 deg ViewFinder for the etx90
Sent:	Monday, November 11, 2002 11:43:31
From: (Tom)
I recently purchased on of meads right angle viewfinders  with the cross
hairs and the adjustable focus .  it's teriffic but why is it when i
hold the unit upside down it works better then right side up ?  Well i
tryed to focus the finder by turning the eyepiece but it binds up not at
the same spot all the time.  but when i hold the viewfinder up side down
no sticking  it's wonderfull .  i took the rubber grip off to take a
look and i see a little screw in a grove and it binds up .  what is one
to do wit ha sticky focus problem ?

Thanks Tom
Mike here: You could add some lubricant to the threads to make focusing smoother. But unless you need to continually change the focus (for terrestrial use), the simplest would be to focus and then mount it.


im sorry it did have some lube on it . well anyway it works  what elese
can i say  keep up the good work on the web site

   Thans for the imfo Tom

Subject:	making focus cable.
Sent:	Monday, November 11, 2002 11:15:10
From: (Eric Smith)
While trying to build a focus cable, I stripped out the set screw on my
focus knob.  Actually, I'm  quite good with tools, but I sure blew this
one.  I asked Stan about drilling out the set screw.  His response is
below.  Any ideas or cautions?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Stan Glaser 
To: Eric Smith 
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2002 1:32 PM
Subject: Re: making focus cable.

Hi, Eric -- 
oh, boy!! Well, you might want to contact Weasner's site or Clay Sherrod
regarding some of those questions.

If it were me doing it, though, I would probably do or make sure of the
following --

use a very high-speed drill with a strong bit to drill out the remaining
set screw, and be EXTRA CAREFUL when you get to the bottom of the screw
and the "top" of the shaft -- you don't want to drill into the shaft at
all if possible. With a  high-speed drill I would think that you would
eliminate most of the vibrations, but then I don't think that much
vibration would cause any problems. By drilling out the screw, you'd
also be finishing off the focus knob that came with the scope, no doubt.
Or you could end up re-tapping with a slightly larger diameter and buy a
new set screw that fits.

As for shavings, I would grab some newspapers or paper towels or
something and some masking tape and thoroughly cover the rear of the
scope with paper so that it overhangs all around the scope tube, taping
the paper  all around so that the rear of the scope is completely
covered, except for the focus shaft coming thru -- if you're careful,
you could probably tape around the focus shaft as well -- just cram tape
around there so that you form a tight seal -- that would pretty much
guarantee no loose shavings get into any cracks or crevices.

I'm not sure what the set screw is made of, but I think it actually can
be drilled out. I know that allen wrenches are usually made of hardened
steel, and trying to drill those is pretty difficult. But if the slot on
a set screw can be stripped out, then it cant' be that hard of material.

I'd just go slow -- take your time, small steps, drill and check, drill
and check -- until you can get in there and remove it -- you might be
able to drill it  part way and CRACK IT, then use a small pointed tool
to remove whatever is left.

Again, you might check with Weasner or Sherrod for any suggestions they
might have, assuming you want to tackle it on your own.

I'm not an expert on this and I'd be a little scared doing it, too --
but I'd probably do it myself...

Good luck!!! 

Stan Glaser 

Eric Smith wrote: 

  Stan I went to  Home Depot and got what I needed for this little
  project.  My etx 90 ec did not come with allen wrenches.  So, when I
  tried mine, I stripped out the set screw on the telescope knob.  Now,
  can I drill out the set screw if I mount the telescope on tripod so
  that I'm drilling up - so that shavings do not fall on the telescope? 
  Will the drill vibration cause any problems?  Will Mild pressure on
  the focus stem be ok? Thanks, Eric
Mike here: Others have drilled out the setscrew so it can be done. Just use appropriate care and be certain the telescope is aimed up about 45 degrees.
Subject:	Re: ETX 105EC and ETX 125EC 
Sent:	Sunday, November 10, 2002 20:36:19
Mr. Weasner,

Thank You for the info, I feel  better with your input. I do appreciate
your quick response to my questions .Just a note, thank you again for
your work, I will keep up with your web site in the future. I will be
buying an ETX model telescope and based on your input, I'm now leaning
toward  a 125. I have been trying, to see both scopes in action, its
hard to do, that is to get everything together, weather and people.
                                         Thank You,
Thank you for a wonderful site, and thanks again for the advice. I' ll
let you know when I get the scope.

Just a note, I received a copy of aberrator30, as you probably know you
can test different parameters of your scope on actual images,  example
focal length, objective size and my favorite secondary obstruction. You
can actualy see the results. How realistic is the results?


Subject:	etx 125 question
Sent:	Sunday, November 10, 2002 19:36:44
From: (John)
The other night I was set up and went to adjust the focus, when I
noticed that as I moved the focus knob the image in the eyepiece moved
slightly from side to side depending on the direction I moved the focus.
Is this common to etx and I have just never noticed it before?

BTW I want to say Thanks, being new to astronomy and the etx's your web
page has been of great help to me.

Mike here: Some "image shift" is normal to the Maksutov-Cassegrain used in the ETX-90, ETX-105, and ETX-125.
Subject:	ETX-125 - Several Questions
Sent:	Saturday, November 9, 2002 17:43:27
(1) UHTC:   I recenty purchased an ETX-125 with the UHTC coatings. Is
there any way to tell that you have these coatings by looking at the
scope? I inadvertently disposed of the box before thinking about this. I
purchased the scope from Astronomics, so I am not suggesting that I was
swindled, although if I ever sell the scope how will someone know the
scope has UHTC coatings?

(2) 2" Eyepieces: Is there any way to use 2" eyepieces with the EXT-125?

(3) Is it better to view not using the flip mirror system - there is no
mirror so perhaps a diagonal wil do better?

Thanks for all your help :-)
Greg Chirichigno
Mike here: The standard coating is "purplish"; I don't have a scope with UHTC but I believe it is a slightly different color. See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces for a "binocular viewer". Yes, you can get a 1-1/4" to 2" adapter but you may notice some vignetting. It is also possible that some 2" eyepieces won't reach a focus. There is no reason to not use the flip mirror. You can add a star diagonal (with the proper adapter) or use a focal reducer at the rear port but depending upon its size you may find it obstructing movement in some telescope orientations.
Subject:	RS232 Port question.
Sent:	Saturday, November 9, 2002 12:19:02
From: (john.lukey)
Thanks for a great site.  I have owned a couple of Meade scopes for
several years (LX200 and ETX RA) but have just purchased an ETX EC -
Much lighter than an LX200 to carry back in 10mins after setting it up
and the clouds roll in!!

In the instructions for the LX200 Field De-rotater, It says that the
field de-rotater can be connected to the RS232 port with a "Y" piece
"eg. Fry's Electronics Part No BBT-11-6 six conductor Modular Duplex
jack Adapter. The other port can then be used for a PC connection. Do
you think I could apply this idea to connect a CCD camera or Guider and
a PC running something like SkyMap Pro by plugging the "Y" piece
connecter into the RS232 port on the Astrostar hand controller?
Mike here: Don't bother; autoguiding on the Autostar won't be that accurate. There is no "PEC" mode.


Sorry to be a pain and I take on board what you say about PEC.  However,
do you think a "Y" connecter would work with any two signals going into
the handset. eg. CCD imager/webcam ( not being used as a guider) plus a
program like SkyMap?
From: (Richard Seymour)
Unlike the Classic LX200gps, the ETX/Autostar does NOT have two
serial ports combined into the single socket.

So, no, a Y-connector will not work with a 497 Autostar.
(but a switched port might).  The Autostar does not have
two "logical" serial ports waiting for commands, only one.

I -think- the Y-connector will not work with the new LX200gps,
but i'm not home to fully check that... the new LX200gps has two 
separate rs232 sockets, rather than sharing the single socket.

Like Mike, i am far from my scopes, so cannot check where the
extra pins in the LX

> do you think a "Y" connecter would work with any two signals going
> into the handset. eg. CCD imager/webcam ( not being used as a guider)
> plus a program like SkyMap?

If you're not having the CCD perform autoguiding, why would you
want it to talk to the Autostar?
If you are trying to have the two devices (Autostar and CCD)
talk to the -computer-, then a switched Y-connector could help.
RS232 lines cannot be simply "tied" together.

have fun

Subject:	binoviewers
Sent:	Saturday, November 9, 2002 6:39:39
I'm considering purchasing a Siebert binoviewer for use with the
ETX-125.  It weighs a little less than 1.5 pounds.

Do you think there will be any problems in terms of using a binoviewer
with a 125?

Thanks and regards,



Dave Adriance
Mike here: There is a review of one on the Accessory Reviews --> Eyepieces page. Seems to work OK.
Subject:	Meade ETX125
Sent:	Friday, November 8, 2002 14:55:11
From: (Matthew Jenner)

Dear Mike,

Thanks for your reply regarding the problem i was experinecing with the
telescope, it was not the axis locks, as they worked fine,

for some reason i cannot get the electric focusser to work, i may have
messed up the settings on the standard hand conroller, cos i was
pressing the mode button,

i do not know what caused it as the night before it was working fine, i
looked at the rings on saturn and the orion nebula and it worked fine, i
am running it from the ac adapter, it worked fine as i said the night
before, if you have any ideas i would really appreciate them

many thanks in advance

Matthew Jenner
Mike here: Do you have the connections proper? I recall some other users had things plugged in wrong. I don't have one so can't provide any specific advice.
Subject:	Clay Sherrod and Supercharged ETX-105
Sent:	Friday, November 8, 2002 11:55:07
From:	Tammaro@VNTSCEX.VOLPE.DOT.GOV (Tammaro, David)
I am writing to acknowledge the outstanding professional service that
Dr. Clay provided when supercharging my new ETX-105, and also to comment
on the superior performance of the scope after being supercharged.  To
be honest, my praise for Dr. Sherrod is long overdue since I actually
received the telescope as a Christmas present last winter, and I sent it
in for a supercharge before ever using it.  I had hoped to use the scope
right after the Supercharge, but with the birth my daughter, and alot of
work that I needed to do on the house, I never had a chance to use the
scope until recently.  So I'm just now getting around to sending in a
few comments.

When I first contacted Dr. Clay I had absolutely no experience with
telescopes or astronomy.  I had a lot of questions and some of them were
probably pretty dumb, but Dr. Clay really went out of his way to help me
out.  He answered all my questions, gave me a ton of useful advice
(including pointing me to the Mighty ETX website), and really helped me
get started on the right track.  When I sent the scope in for the
tuneup, he let me know when the scope arrived, kept me constantly up to
date on everything he was doing with it, and had the scope heading back
to me in under a week.  And now that I've had a chance to finally use
the scope, I can say that the Supercharge service was everything that
was promised.

I'm think I heard that he is cutting back on the number of SuperCharges
he performs but for anyone who's considering the service for their
scope, I highly recommend trying to get an appointment with Dr. Clay. 
You'll get personal service and the highest level of technical expertise
from someone who in every sense of the word, demonstrates what it means
to be a professional.

Now, about the Supercharged ETX-105: I had a chance to use the scope for
the first time two weeks ago, and have used it several times since then.
 In each case, the telescope has performed flawlessly.  Being a complete
beginner in astronomy, I've been using the scope mostly on brighter
objects that are relatively easy to observe.  To this point the
performance of the scope has surpassed my expectations. I've gotten some
great views of the planet Saturn, M-15 in Pegasus, and a few open
clusters in Casseopia and Perseus.  The tracking and go-to's have been
right on even using the scope in an Alt-Az setup.  A guy I work with
just bought a new NextStar 5 and we had a chance to set the two up side
by side on a really clear night last week.  Believe it or not, while the
views in the NextStar were a little brighter, my ETX-105 seemed to give
sharper and more detailed images, and it tracked better.  In fact, I
think my friend may have spent more time looking through my scope than
his ! own.

Great site, Mike - keep up the good work.  And my thanks again to Dr.
Clay Sherrod.


Dave T.
From: (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Tammaro@VNTSCEX.VOLPE.DOT.GOV (Tammaro, David),
Beautiful and thanks.....and I am sure that your time has been very well
devoted to your new congratulations.  Glad the scope is
doing so well and hope you keep in touch!

Dr. Clay
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Best Accessories for ETX125
Sent:	Friday, November 8, 2002 7:26:58
From: (Edelmann)
This is obviously subjective, so I'll qualify the question a lot.

I now have this 125EC being repaired by Meade, owing to the flip mirror
that came loose.  They will be collimating the optics again as well, I
understand.  3-4 weeks  ETA.

Now, as a result of a discount the Discovery Channel afforded me, plus
the little coupons you get (btw, on 11/15-11/17 they have double coupons
... for every $75 spent you get $150 worth of credit towards a $10
coupon), I have some $ to use for accessories.

I'll NOT be doing photography in the near term, so rule that out.

I have an Autostar already planned and accounted for, so rule that out.

I'm getting the eyepiece deal from Meade, so barlow's are probably out
as well.

What does that leave, then,  that would be most useful to the casual

Variable polarizer for the moon, a basic filter set, an electric
focuser, dew shield or dew zapper, and of course the carrying case
(though that would eat up the available funding right there)?

Or is the erecting prism for terrestrial viewing a handy option to have?

So many options, so little money...!

Thanks for any guidance... realizing that one person's requirments may
not even be another person's druthers...  I'll be reviewing the
accessories comments on the site... don't worry...!

From: (Clay Sherrod)
John - does the coupon cover just MEADE accessories?  If I were you I
would consider investing in Starry Night Pro, the fantastic planetarium
program that will run your ETX from a laptop; you are going to need the
#505 Meade cable anyway for upgrades to the Autostar, so why not have
this great resource at your fingertips?

Available at   I think it is the best on the market and
super for the ETX system.

Dr. P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory
Mike here: Software can be handy. So can filters (moon and/or polarizing, and a collection of colored ones). You might want to consider a solar filter as well. An electric focuser is worth a lot to eliminate the jiggles when focusing. A dew shield can be important, depending upon your local observing conditions. Unless you plan to do a lot of terrestrial observing where proper orientation left-right it important, I wouldn't worry about getting an erecting prism.


Yes... Clay suggested the software and hookup option to be able to down
load updates to Autostar...

I guess then, I'm really wondering what the best entry level filters are
by color or meade # designation would be without going over board.

I've gotten my pier that I'm making much further along.  I'll have
pictures to share soon.

Thanks for the suggestions...

Mike here: Check the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for some ideas.
Subject:	ETX 90EC mods
Sent:	Friday, November 8, 2002 5:33:01
From: (Daniel Provencal)
In your opinion, has anybody tried to modify an ETX90-EC base and extend
the forks, so that one can mount a 80-100mm refractor on it? My
refractor is ~6lbs, and each fork would need to be extended by 6". The
result would be the most compact goto alt-az refractor setup around!

May be you know straight off if ETX90EC forks can be extended?

Thanking you for your help,

Mike here: Yes, you could "extend" the forks. You would have to cut the forks into two sections and make inserts that carried the weight and stress, you would have to extend the wiring, and you would have to make your own adapters to mount to the forks. Unless you are a very good mechanical and electrical craftsman the result would likely not be very stable and not too reliable. If you make the attempt though let me know the results.


Thank you for the information. 
When you say that I would have to "cut the forks" is that because they
are part of the same casting as the base? I do not have an ETX yet, but
I hoped that the forks were only screwed to the base, and that would be
much simpler to extend. I have access to a machinist and could do the
wire extension myself (I am an electrical enginer).
Mike here: You could remove the forks from the base but then you would have to make your own extension. Seems like a lot of work for little gain. Buy a GEM for the other OTA.
Subject:	Observing 54 Cygnus
Sent:	Wednesday, November 6, 2002 23:58:02
Hi. I noticed in a portion of the comments you'd written about observing
the double star 54 Cygnus.  We were looking at it last weekend and were
able to split it with my refractor. Do you happen to know the separation
of the components?  I can't seem to find it listed anywhere. Thanks very
much,  Mike Mayerchak
Mike here: Back home now, trying to catch up on email. I went to the "Double Star Library" (link on the Astronomy Links page). But there were too many to look through in a short time. I suggest you start your search there.
Subject:	ETX 105EC and ETX 125EC 
Sent:	Wednesday, November 6, 2002 22:19:54
I 'm looking for a second scope, I have a Schmidt-Cassegrain. eight
inch. The results I'm looking for are the following.

 1) portability
 2) High Contrast (black to white)
 3) High resolulation
 4) Sharp Images(defined lines)

I like the ETX125EC due to its  5.0 inch aperture. I know that the
ETX105EC has a smaller secondary obstruction compaired to the ETX125EC,
The effects of a larger secondary obstruction, that is the combination
of a secondary and its baffle has an effect of, coarseness, and softness
of the visual image and lowering its contrast.Thus at this point I feel
that the ETX105EC is my best choice.

Please give me your input, is bigger better.

                                                   Thank You,
Mike here: Both are fine telescopes. I doubt that you will notice any difference in contrast or sharpness with either telescope.


Thank You  for your quick reply on my question on the ETX 125 vrs
ETX105. Your reply indicated that the difference would be minium. Right
now i'm in an information overload, here is the reasons.

     The physical measurements of the ETX125 are, 
clear aperture of the 5.0 inches
secondary obstuction 1.55 inches
secondary size of the baffle, measured at the outer pt. 2.125 inches
If you use the physical size to determine obstuction, percent  would be 42.5 %

     The physical measurements of the ETX 105 are,
clear aperture of the 105 mm
secondary obstruction 33.0mm
secondary size of the baffle measured at the outer pt. 29 mm
If you use the physical size to determine obstruction, percent would be 27.6 %

This brings up another question how do you measure secondary
obstruction? physical measurement or by area measurements, to figure the

From your web site mail, dated June 4, 2001, by Blais Klucznik, and
again on June 1, 2001 by the same person, compairson made, makes you
stop and think.

I do have a Schmidth Cassegrain eight inch, I want a second scope, one
that is portable, ETX 125 or ETX 105 is the approximatly the same in
that category. What is not the same is the secondary obstruction, an its
effects.. The baffle in the 125 is much larger, therefore you have an
even larger obstruction size, do I loose the increased in the five inch
due to the secondary obstruction baffle size and its mirror.

If you had to choose between the two, and were going to use it for
planetary work, and I cant say I'll rule out deep sky totally. Is bigger
the better.
Mike here: Personally, I wouldn't get too hung up on the obstruction size. Yes, it is a factor but remember that "area" of the aperture is what is important, not diameter. The ETX-105EC is a fine telescope in a small package but the -125 does have a slightly larger aperture and sometimes that difference will be important.
Subject:	Flip Mirror Detached
Sent:	Wednesday, November 6, 2002 18:22:13
From: (John Edelmann)
The scope arrived today in record time... I think they forgot whatever
it is they should do to keep the flip mirror attached to the flipper.

And so, I've searched your site, but don't see anything at all
specifically about fixing this... unless only Meade, or Dr. Sharrod can
address this.

Do I put it back in the box Meade bound before it even looks at a
cloudless sky?

Mike here: I suggest returning it. You could glue it back but then if it came off again you would have violated the warranty.


It's not COMPLETELY detached.... the bottom most edge is still barely
adhered, it would seem.

Is it possible to flip it back up into place, and reattach it with epoxy
or something? (Forsooth!)
Mike here: Well, you could glue it down but then you'd have to worry if it is still aligned.
Subject:	OPT visit
Sent:	Wednesday, November 6, 2002 16:05:03
From: (Steve Ralston) [bad address]
I am looking forward to your visit to OPT later this month. Will it be
possable to buy a signed copy of your ETX book at that time?

Thanks, Steve
Mike here: You bet! (I will be at Oceanside Photo and Telescope on Meade Day, Saturday, 16 November.)
Subject:	ETX-70AT versus ETX-90RA
Sent:	Wednesday, November 6, 2002 11:30:28
From: (Matt & Julie Burroughs)
I'm in the market for my very first telescope. I have been searching the
net and have found the ETX series scopes my Meade which led me to your
website. WOW! You have got the best resource on the Web for the ETX
scopes. Being said I intend to purchase an ETX but my decision is
needing to be made on which one. The issue I have now is price.

Discovery Stores have an ETX-70AT with tripod, and hard case for
$299.00. This is the cheapest I have seen it with the tripod and case.
However I think I want a better scope to see more but the price leads me
to the ETX-90RA. As you know the RA does not have the Autostar feature
and cannot be upgraded. Which leads to My question.

Being an Amateur astronomer, Would you recommend the Autostar with a
smaller scope or a stronger without?

I want to look at planets first then to other deep space objects.

Thanks for having this great resource for all astronomers,

Mike here: Based upon your requirements of seeing planets and deep sky objects, the ETX-90 is better suited to that than the ETX-70AT (which is more a wide field instrument). Yes, you can view planets and DSO but its short focal length may limit you. If you know your way around the night sky (or are willing to learn) and have (or will get) star charts, then you don't need the Autostar.
Subject:	Observation
Sent:	Wednesday, November 6, 2002 6:57:12
From: (Schilling, Henry)
Just an observation. There is nothing quite like seeing Saturn in your
own scope for the first time. It was really something.   hjs
Henry J Schilling 
Birchtelecom-Corporate IT- Windows Systems 
Lead-Computer Technician 
Mike here: Yep, I'm sure we all remember that first view of Saturn!!!
Subject:	Precision.
Sent:	Tuesday, November 5, 2002 19:09:34
From: (Richard Platek)
Fine tools, in order to perform at their best, require precise
calibration, in telescopes, this is called collimation. The precise
alignment of mirrors, eyepieces, etc.

Knowing this, I searched for people passionate about delivering this
service, way above and beyond that, which the manufacturer, offers

Here is the link and my response and query.


It has always bothered me that the makers of objects which require or
can benefit from precise calibration, fail to includes the tools and
instructions required to accomplish it.

It's a good thing that people, such as yourself provide this service.

Your website, although wordy, is really good. It communicates your
experience, skill, and love of good viewing.

I have stored it in my favorites file and will call upon you when I have
need. A friend and I are considering the purchase of either a 8 or 10
Meade or Celestron GOTO GPS.

Can you bring either of these to the best possible, beyond what Meade or
Celestron delivers?

Should we use either for a period of time first, so we can communicate
our concerns or dislikes?

And also precisely locate our viewing locations?

Meade or Celestron? Your opinion would be valued. I want to do
astrophotography with my Nikon 990 digital camera. We both want to view.
My fellow purchaser has one of the best, minimal light polluted
locations, in the SF bay area.

I am in educating myself mode. I am all ears.

Love, Lion
Mike here: Improvements beyond what the original manufacturer had in mind can always be done to any product, whether it is a telescope, a car, an operating system, or a house. It is just a matter of cost vs effort vs gain. Certainly the original manufacturer could have made the improvements but then the cost to the user would be higher and many users don't need those improvements and so don't need to pay for them. As to Meade vs Celestron, they both have worthwhile products and their products can have limitations, depending upon your purpose. My only experience with Celestron products is described on my ETX-125EC vs NexStar5 comparison report (linked on the ETX-125EC feedback page). If you have a chance to try several telescopes from different manufacturers, do so. But keep in mind your expectations and intended usage when making your comparisons and decision.
Subject:	sun filter for ETX 125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, November 5, 2002 15:24:26
From: (Hans Philipps)
I bought a new etx125ec last summer and had very good experiences with
it. Even rec'd a full set of eyepieces for $99. Question: can I (or
should I) buy a sun filter (not available from Meade) to use with this
scope? Question: is there another or better way to observe the sun?

Hans Philipps
Mike here: You can buy or even make a safe solar filter. See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for some; also check out Scopetronix. With some telescopes you can project the image of the sun onto a white surface. However, DO NOT do this with the ETX models; you will damage the telescope. You must use a full aperture solar filter (or at least have the full aperture covered).
Subject:	UHTC
Sent:	Tuesday, November 5, 2002 6:35:21
From: (Gallo, Fred A (Fred))
I am relatively new to astronomy (I was an amateur astronomer back on
the 60'sa & 70's). I am thinking of buying a Meade ETX 125 and my
question is this, shall I go with the UHTC coating? Is it really that
much better. Also, what is its lifespan and is it durable under regular
use? I had a Newtonian reflector and I had to have the mirror re-coated
once in 10 + years of use, do the Maksutov-Cassegrain optics need to be
re-coated every so often?

Thank you,
   F.A. Gallo
Mike here: There is a test report on the UHTC on the Meade announcements page on the ETX Site. Bottom line: it does improve the views over standard coatings. As to long-term durability, that remains to be seen as it is so new. But there have been reports of it needing more caution than standard coatings. I don't have a telescope with UHTC so have no direct experience with it. And under normal use the mirrors won't need to be recoated.


Your website is excellent, especially for a "new" guy like me!


Subject:	GPS Systems
Sent:	Saturday, November 2, 2002 9:12:07
From: (Duncan Cassidy)
You've proble noticed in most of the Astronomy magizines lately that
Celestron have recently launced the new Nexsar 5i & 8i, for which you
can get an optional GPS module. As Meade seem to be in competion with
Celestron do you know if its likely that they'll produce a similiar
product for the ETX? It might well allow quicker alignment when in the


Duncan Cassidy,
Mike here: Personally, I think that GPS is overkill for small telescopes. And it does not necessarily make the alignments quicker. I don't know how fast the Celestron GPS is at acquiring satellites but my Garmin eMap (handheld) takes several minutes. As to whether Meade will copy Celestron remains to be seen. Actually I'd rather they update the Autostar handcontroller to use FireWire or USB instead of RS-232.
Subject:	telescopes
Sent:	Friday, November 1, 2002 7:03:22
I'm planning on purchasing my first telescope  and have a few questions
on what would be the right one for me. I've always been fascinated by
astronomy, but have little knowledge. With the reasearch i have done so
far i do have my mind set on a meade telescope. I would like to get
either a ETX-125EC or the Meade 8" LX90. My question is , am I capable
of using one of these as a beginner. I would like to be able to purchase
one telescope once that I will be happy with that i won't need to buy
another one for a long time. I use to dabble in photography at one time
and am very interested in the astrophotograpy aspect that these
telescopes have to offer. I just recently purchased your book "Using the
Meade ETX" and have been reading up on that. It' s very informative and
should  be very helpful. Another question I have is , is the Ultra-High
Transmission Coatings they offer  worth the extra money spent? Well I'll
end it at that for now although I do have many more question but don't
want to take up to much of your time. Any insight to my questions would
be greatly appreciated. Have a nice day!          

Sincerely, Bruce Wavra
Mike here: Either telescope can be used by someone willing to learn. If you get the Autostar with the ETX-125EC then it can help you locate objects; it comes standard with the LX90. Both can do some types of astrophotography as you can see from my ETX Site (and book). You'll want a sturdy tripod for the ETX; eventually but not necessary to start if you want to keep costs down (assuming you have a stable flat surface to set it on).
Subject:	Warning for Electric Focuser Installations!
Sent:	Friday, November 1, 2002 0:20:35
From: (Brian K. Gamble)
I had no idea there was a problem of such. I recently purchased the
Meade ETX-125EC and the electronic focuser #1247 which I have installed
after reading the instructions that came with the focuser. Now I fear
that the primary mirror is lose. When I go to focus using the electronic
focuser I can tell that the mirror is moving in a way I suspect it
shouldn't be. Do you have a suggestion or link that tells how to correct
my current potentially disastrous situation?

Best regards,
Brian K. Gamble
Mike here: See the Warnings page for the article "Electric Focuser Installations".


Ok, after having done some checking of my scope, I know my mirror isn't
lose. It only shifts slightly when the motor drive kicks in to focus.
Interesting page. I'm considering adding a second scope to my
collection. I currently own the ETX-125EC but I'm considering either the
14" LX200 GPS or the Meade 16" Starfinder Dob. Any suggestions?
Mike here: Whew. That's good news. As to those scopes, they are QUITE different in purpose and usage. Aperture is certainly one aspect of your decision but so is the mount and capabilities.


I really like the #884 Deluxe Field Tripod; however, I have had to screw
the bottom "Feet" onto the tripod after two of the three fell off. Other
than that it's perfect in both Alt/Az and Polar Alignment positions. I
just wish it had a level bubble on the tripod.

As far as the aperture of my ETX-125EC I'm a bit disappointed in the 5"
aperture and the f/15 primary mirror. After looking through an 8" Dob, I
was jealous to say the least.

I love the "go to" capability and the easy updates for the AutoStar
controller #497. I have had good results photographing with a 35mm Nikon
N90 of the moon; however, trying to photograph Saturn the tracking was
WAY off and over a 20 minute exposure, the image was a streak across the
print. I have trained the drive and done everything else the instruction
manual suggests so I'm at a loss. I am considering a second scope. There
is a photograph of the moon that I took on my local Astronomy Club web

Thanks for your reply. I like your web site but find it a bit difficult
to navigate. I'm very much the type who does things by topic and
alphabetical order (Personal anal repetitiveness). I am doing a web site
for our local Astronomy Club, but I have little knowledge in html. You
can check out our site at
Mike here: I looked through a 20" Dob at the last Mighty ETX Star Party. Yes, impressive views but not exactly my type of telescope.

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