Last updated: 30 November 2003
Subject: re: Eyepieces for the ETX-125 Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 08:41:34 From: email@example.com (Alan and Susan McDonald) To: ERenger@harlandfs.com I thought I'd offer a few comments that might help in your judgment on both ends of your question. High power At the high power end, I have the Meade 9.7 and 6.4 Super Plossel eyepieces. The 6.4 is virtually useless in this scope, as it requires extraordinary seeing, and even then reduces contrast to the point where more details are visible with the 9.7 (I do use the 6.4 in my ETX-60, for 55x and .88 degrees FOV). I remember one night of phenomenally stable air, and while observing Saturn with the 9.7mm eyepiece, the Cassini division was crystal clear, and to my surprise, I could even start to detect the thin dark band in the middle of the A ring! I switched to the 6.4 for a better view, only to have the dark band completely washed out and the Cassini get fuzzy. So I went back to the 9.7 and enjoyed a view that I have will never forget (that was when I really learned to appreciate the ETX's optics!) The only thing I have between the 9.7 and the 6.4 is my 14mm Meade UWA used with a barlow. It is more workable under stable skies than the 6.4mm, but is too dark due to all the glass (nine pieces with the barlow!). One of these days I plan to spring for either an 11mm or 9mm Nagler Type 6 - while the 14mm UWA is beautiful, at 26 oz. it is a little heavy for the scope (I'll probably sell my UWA when I get the lighter Nagler). The bottom line is that a 9 or 10mm is about as low as you'll want to go for contrast, and you still won't be able to use them all of the time. You will probably still use the 12.5 the most - for me it is either the 26mm in the barlow (light weight if I'm doing a lot of slewing) or the 14mm UWA if I'm staying in one part of the sky (the wieght throws off the goto capability). Low power: I have the Meade 40mm Super Plossl and it is very good, and I don't notice much vignetting. It is the limit of what you can get to in a 1.25 inch eyepiece in this scope. While it works well, it is still limited to only about 0.9 degrees FOV, which is only slightly better than the 26mm eyepiece at .68 degrees (or the 14mmUWA at .62 degrees). And nobody that I know of makes a 40mm that is parfocal with the rest of their line. I use my 40mm mostly for M42, and the views are really good with it. I long for a full field view of the Pleiades though my 125 . . . . One option that I have heard about, but have not been able to try myself, is to use an adapter and 2" eyepieces available from Siebert Optics (http://www.siebertoptics.com/). He claims to be able to get almost double the FOV out of the scope (up to about 1.4 degrees), and a review I read elsewhere from a user of an Orion 125 seems to back it up. Still, I'm not interested in spending the $265 for the pair until I know for sure. If anybody else out there has tried this set up, it would be great to hear about it. For about the same money, you could add an ETX 60 or 70 to your "fleet" and get some great wide field views from your current line up of eyepieces - the 40mm works in my ETX 60 and gives me a gorgeous 4.8 degrees of the sky while the 26mm gives me 3.7 degrees (I like that a lot!), although the resolving power is down dramatically. I find it very interesting that I bought the ETX-60 first, and had to have more power. Then I got the the ETX-125, and then lamented the lack of wide field views. I guess it just shows that there is no "perfect" all in one scope out there. I hope this helps! Alan McDonald
Subject: Eyepiece Advice Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2003 20:50:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Aneysi Fernandez) I own an ETX-125 and since I can't see absolutely anything with the eyepiece that it came with, I would really like some advice on what to buy. I went to www.telescopes.com and saw that they are selling sets of eyepieces for less than $100. But what is the difference? They have something called Super Plossl 40mm eyepiece 1.25 inches for $97.00 and Super Plossl 9.7mm eyepiece 1.25 inches for $77.00. My question is: what do the 40mm and the 9.7mm mean? Which one is better? With your knowledge, please advise me on which packet I should buy and with which packet I will be able to view such phenomenons such as Mars and other planets. Thank you for your time, AneysiMike here: The numbers are the focal length of the eyepiece. The shorter the focal length the higher the magnification when used with a particular telescope. For the formula to use to calculate magnification see the FAQ page. However, I'm concerned about your comment that you can't see anything with the 26mm. There are many many objects that are viewable nicely with the 26mm eyepiece. What have you tried? As to eyepieces, if this is a new ETX-125 you might consider taking advantage of the Meade $99 Eyepiece Deal (details on their website). For more on eyepieces, see the Buyer/New User Tips page as well as the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page.
yes....you told me you were concerned with my comment about how I can't see anything with the 26mm eyepiece. The only thing I can see is the moon.....I am very pleased with viewing such things as the craters, but I tried viewing Mars the week that Mars was closest to Earth and I had absolutely no results. I am not exaggerating that I saw more of Mars with the naked eye than I did with the 26mm eyepiece. Which eyepiece should I use to view such planets? I have not been successful with viewing any planets whatsoever. Please, help me in advising me on what eyepiece I should use. Thank you for your time, AneysiMike here: You should be able to see a disk of Mars, the RIngs of Saturn, cloud bands on Jupiter, the phases of Venus, and more with the 26mm eyepiece. If this is a new telescope I recommend taking advantage of the $99 deal; you'll get a lot of different eyepieces for varying purposes. See the User Observations page for more on what you can see with the ETX-125.
hey, one more question......I live in Miami, Fl., does that have anything to do with me not being able to see anything with my original eyepiece on my ETX-125? I know that it being light poluted here has something to do with it, but does the actual location on the map have anything to do with me not being able to see things such as the rings on Saturn?Mike here: Location can have something to due with how well objects will appear. If the object is low in the sky, whether in the east or west or in the north or south, the Earth's atmosphere will mess up the views and cause turbulence and color banding in the object. But I suspect this is NOT what you are experiencing. Could you be doing a common new telescope user mistake of using the focus knob to make the object appear as LARGE as possible in the eyepiece instead of as small as possible? When you focus on the Moon the focus will not change (accept due to mirror shift when changing the telescope orientation) when viewing other objects in the sky.
Subject: ETX 125 tube assembly Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 13:05:57 From: email@example.com (C Giffard) I wonder if you can help me. Although I know nothing about telescopes, my husband is an avid amateur astronomer currently using an ETX 90EC. I know he would like to upgrade to a 125, and I have recently seen advertised for sale an ETX 125 tube assembly only. Would it be feasible to buy that assembly and then purchase the other parts seperately to make up a a working 125EC? If so, what would else would I need to consider? He's highly technical,and if it's possible to do he'll be able to put it all together. Any advice appreciated. Many thanks LizMike here: The telescope tube can be mounted on other tripods using the photographic tripod mounting hole in the bottom. But you would also need to purchase the appropriate adapter for whatever tripod you get or already have. But you would lose the GOTO capabilities of the Autostar. And ultimately you might end up spending almost as much for the necessary items as for a new ETX-125EC that comes with the Autostar and a tripod.
Subject: Eyepieces for ETX-125 Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 12:02:05 From: ERenger@harlandfs.com (Eric Renger) I have a couple of questions regarding eyepieces for my ETX-125. I have purchased a set of the Celestron Xcel ED eyepieces, a 25mm, a 12.5mm and an 8mm, which all have a very nice 20mm of eye relief for wearing eyeglasses. The 25mm has been a good replacement for the 26mm that came with the telescope. The 12.5mm is the one I use most for planetary and lunar observing. On most nights the seeing has not been good enough for the 8mm. I understand the ETX-125 will allow around 250x magnification under good conditions, which would call for a 7.6mm eyepiece, but I find I can almost never use the 8mm in this area. I still have the option of exchanging these eyepieces, and I want to get a small set that will meet my needs most of the time. So for my high-magnification eyepiece do you think that the 12.5mm will be the highest magnification that I can reliably use, or do you think a 10mm would be reliably usable? I know it will depend on conditions --- here in the Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore area of the San Francisco Bay Area, I think conditions tend to be average at best. I am trying to decide whether to just return the 8mm and use the 12.5mm as my high magnification eyepiece, or to mail them both back and get a 10mm. I just don't want to get the 10mm and find I can't use it on a typical night. But I figure if the 10mm will work, I probably don't need to keep the 12.5mm. The second question is about a low-magnification eyepiece for extended objects. Do you have a suggestion on a focal length and brand? I had thought that something in the 40mm range would probably be good, but I was told that on the ETX-125 a 40mm would have a vignetted field. I was told that you need at least an 8" telescope to see the full apparent field with a 40mm eyepiece. It was suggested that a 32mm would be better. Is that true? I know how to calculate the true field from the apparent field, but is there a way to calculate the maximum true field for a telescope? Is there a way to know if the field will be vignetted for a given eyepiece and a given telescope? Do you think a 32mm or a 40mm would be most useful for an ETX-125? Thanks, EricMike here: If the 8mm is unusable then I suspect you'll similar issues with a 10mm. The only way you'll know will be a test. Try to borrow one. On the other hand, you could keep the 8mm for those (perhaps rare) occasions when seeing is good. Yes, you'll get some vignetting and even distortion near the edge of the FOV with a 40mm. Took a look at the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page; you might want to consider one of the Wide Angle type of eyepieces. As to the calculation, lots of varibles but most eyepiece specs will give you a starting point.
I am going to have to hook up with some fellow astronomers locally, maybe a club. I have never been much of a "joiner," but it would really help to be able to try some of this fairly expensive equipment before mail ordering it, trying it for a while, and then wanting to exchange it. Without a good shop nearby and no friends in the hobby, it's been difficult. Deciding on the eyepieces has been especially hard without an easy way to try them first. I wish I didn't need to wear my glasses because I would just do the $99 Meade offer and have all the focal lengths I could ever want. That sounds like such a good deal. The Celestron Xcel EDs that I bought seem like pretty decent long eye relief eyepieces for $65 each. That's a lot less than a lot of brands designed for long eye relief. The 20mm eye relief has made it possible for me to really enjoy the telescope. And the fact that they are all parfocal has been nice too. Unfortunately there are no eyepieces in the line that are longer than the 25mm, so if I do get a longer FL eyepiece it will likely not be parfocal. The other thing worth noting about these eyepieces is that they are physically long, so combining them with a Barlow makes for a looooong combination. So if you don't like that, it's hard to "leverage" this line of eyepieces with a Barlow. I probably will keep the 8mm in the hopes of good seeing and keep shopping for a longer focal length eyepiece. Thanks again. Eric
Subject: Not everyone has problems Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 18:35:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Kafka & Val Hildebrand) Just to let let folks know. I purchased an ETX-125 EC late last winter, without Autostar. Purchased Stellarvue red-dot finder and Meade's eyepiece deal. I have used polar allignment almost exclusively. I recently purchased the Autostar and a Phillips ToUcam. I had had tracking and battery problems with the hand controller (I use the Scopetronix battery system), but the Autostar tracks beatifully and I'm still on the battery charge from 2 weeks ago. Amazing what an intelligent controller that can be trained agaist your drives will do. I use Easy Allign, Polar, not too carefully using Kochab's Clock to find the Home position. Ran several avi movies of Mars this evening, with the ToUcam and the Meade 2X Barlow, equivalent to using the 9mm eyepiece with the Barlow. Tracked through several movies, only adjusting between movies to stay away from the dust and flaws in the camera. Still learning how to optimize Registax, but I at least have some photos I like. Just for fun, I used the Autostar GOTO to look at some things. Everything was in the 26mm eyepiece. Thanks Dick Kafka Silver Spring, MD
Subject: Rechargeable batteries for ETX 125 : good or bad ? Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 13:09:15 From: email@example.com (alain verschuere) Great site, especially when waiting for the scope (and thereafter too :-) ), but a question remains open. I read some pro's and cons regarding rechargeable batteries for the ETX 125. My question : will 8 2100mAH 1,2V GP Power (or other) rechargeable batteries run this telescope fine? Thank you in advance for answering. Regards Alain Verschuere BelgiumMike here: They should; only issues might be life of the charge and whether they can handle the load when slewing starts.
Subject: 125 Sent: Friday, November 14, 2003 07:14:22 From: DJBarnesCBX@aol.com I was tthinking of purchasing a new 125 but,alas after reading all emails I may change my mind.Is this telescope worth buying ?Mike here: How many emails did you read with positive comments? How many emails did you NOT see because no one was having a problem. Keep in mind that people tend to write when they have a problem and not when things are going well. But you will find positive reports on the site as well.
Subject: ETX 125 Dec drive skipping. Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2003 14:44:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Allan Macdonald) I`ve been reading your site for a couple of months now since I bought my 125, and I suppose it had to happen, I have a problem with the dec drive. I noticed it a few days ago, and last night, especially, watching the lunar eclipse, that, when tracking, the dec drive motor tends to skip, producing an audible click. Watching the moon, it tracks it fine, but seems to jump a bit to the side, as if catching up, every few seconds. Is this something I could fix myself, or would you recommend sending it back to the retailer. The scope is only 2 months old, we`re getting some good skies here in the South UK, so I am loath to be without the scope for long. Another reason to delay sending it back is our postal system lost my 500 camera I sent back for repair, nearly 8 weeks ago. I dont want to lose the ETX! I can rebuild a Jaguar V12 engine, a plastic drive box cant be difficult to fix! Regards Allan Macdonald, Kent, UKMike here: If you are not overtightening the axis lock, you might reTRAIN the drives. If that doesn't cure it, do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES.
thanks for the info, I did as you suggested, but there was no improvement. After I just trained the drives, I did an easy align and left it tracking the second star. Still clicking away, then it started slewing clockwise, stopped and a motor error fault showed on the Autostar controller I rang the importers, they are collecting it tomorrow, looks like one of the motors is failing. They seem on the ball, hopefully, it will not be away for too long.
Subject: What an addiction Sent: Thursday, November 6, 2003 02:24:28 From: email@example.com (Jenny Morgan) This am (4:18a Central to be exact) is the first clear morning we've had here in a month, and the first opportunity I'VE had in several months. So what do I do when I let the dogs out and see the clear skies? You got it, I whip out the 125 for some quickies... Jupiter was georgous with her 4 moons flug wide to one side, the Plaedies (sp) in their fuzzy glory, and Orion... Damn... sky not dark enough to see the nebula. Dammit! I've been wanting to see THAT since I was 12. Guess I'll just have to plan a safari to the west for some truly dark-skies. Thanks for having the site up so I had someone to share the thrill with that won't look at me funny afterward. -Jenny Morgan Milwaukee
Subject: Showcase Product: Meade Electric Focuser #1247 Sent: Monday, November 3, 2003 08:51:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org I read with interest the review on the Meade Electric Focuser #1247. I am a newbie (in fact my ETX 125 arrives tomorrow) and I was wondering how the Focuser connects to the telescope. My confusion arises from the small focuser handset and the fact that you can use the focuser via the Autostar controller or the focuser handset itself. Does this mean that you have to have both handsets connected to the telescope? Or can you just plug in the focuser cable and control it with ONLY the autostar handset plugged in? Hope this makes sense. Sorry if I have confused you, if you have any questions please shout. Best regards! Jason. PS I Love the site!Mike here: You can use either to focus. Your choice. You can use the Autostar without the smaller controller or you can use the Autostar for Autostar functions and the focuser controller for focusing.
Many thanks for the prompt reply! Are you saying you can use the electric focus via the autostar without the focus controller being plugged in? Sorry for the confusion.Mike here: Yes.
Subject: re: etx 125 vs Orion Shortube 120 Sent: Saturday, November 1, 2003 16:46:08 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org When comparing telescopes, you do have to juggle things to produce valid comparisons. Using the same -eyepiece- in two vastly different focal length situations, given your choice of targets, will lead to skewed results. For the same -eyepiece-, i'd suggest M31 or the North American Nebula. Nice wide targets. Then the Orion would shine a little brighter in the tests. (oh? you can't -fit- M31 into the ETX's field of view? My point exactly. Different scopes for different uses. Collect 'em all...) For the same -target-, i'd shuffle eyepieces to gain the equivalent magnification. That would help the M13 and Mars example. The short focal length scope -will- be harder to focus at the same magnification as the ETX, but the Orion should produce better wide-field views, since it can hit -lower- magnifaction than you can usably hit with the ETX. (you'll start to "see" the central obstruction dimming the middle of the views) Only after getting the 10" LX200gps did i start considering my ETX90 as a "wide field" scope... have fun --dickAnd:
The coatings of the ETX are very high quality... and the long focal length (higher f/stop) tends to provide a feeling of a darker background (yet another reason i find the ETX90 a spectacular in-city scope) > I did contact Orion today and they said I should not be able > to focus on Mars or the Moon. Every so often a vendor's support system leaves one speechless, doen't it? I'd have been dumb-struck, too. On the -second- call i've have laughed sarcastically at them... > That, to me doesn't make sense, since the > scope is not impressing me on deep sky objects either. > I think it has bad optics. I agree... does it have a built-in barlow at the base of the eyepiece holder? (many "short tubes" do).. that can add/subtract to/from the problem. I'm assuming you're well-collimated. have fun --dick
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