Last updated: 30 November 1998

If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Mike here: On November 23, 1998, I mentioned that Voyager II 3.0 was coming out soon but that I couldn't say tell when. Well, it can now be told. The following has been posted on the CarinaSoft web site: "The New Voyager II, version 3.0, will be available at the upcoming MacWorld Show in January, 1999." I will be at the Expo in San Francisco. Anyone else planning to be there?

Subject:	 Orion Solar Filter
Sent:	Monday, November 30, 1998 13:45:08
From:	vhernand@americanisuzu.com (Victor Hernandez)
First off, let me state that your web site is great!  I just recently
purchased an ETX and the info I found in your website really helped me
in my decision.

I want to purchase a solar filter for my ETX and have been considering
the Full Aperture Glass Solar Filter from Orion.  It's the type that
fits over the end on the telescope.  Do you have any info regarding this
filter? Good/bad?  If you can suggest another make of filter please do

Thanks for the help.......


Victor Hernandez
Mike here: There are some comments on solar filters on the Accessories - Filters page.

Subject:	 Barlow
Sent:	Sunday, November 29, 1998 18:16:23
From:	gbass@taconic.net
It seems like the clouds have rolled in for the duration of the year in
the northeast.  Then, two nights ago, when I was sans ETX, I got a
beautiful eyeful of Jupiter and the Moon.  Don't think both would have
fit in the 26mm, from southern PA, but it sure must have been a fine
sight through the scope.  Made me recall an early morning last April, I
think, when I got Venus and Jupiter and four moons in the 26mm.

Regarding a recent question on the #140 Barlow.  I purchased that one
before I went to the #126.  I could not get the #140 to focus, so I
guess Meade recommends it for a good reason.  I'm still very satisfied
with the #126 and also with my 12.4SWA that I often use with the Barlow
when seeing is extra good.  Otherwise, I find myself using the 12.4
almost exclusively once I've sighted in with the 26mm.

Still very happy with my Microstar1.  It has made observing much, much
more rewarding.  Also, I finally purchased an AirChair from TeleVue
which, along with the Microstar and lots of layers might fool me into
thinking that I can stay out all night.  Finding a comfortable viewing
position was, for me, a real problem worth solving.  These two devices
have helped enormously.  I do notice that the chair is not rated for
continuous duty below 20 degrees - which might be an issue I'll have to
tackle soon.  But for now, it has worked beautifully.

Best regards.


Subject:	 Good Prices from J C Penney
Sent:	Sunday, November 29, 1998 12:39:56
From:	zaxxon07@bellatlantic.net (zaxxon07)
I just wanted everyone to know that JC Penneys sale is going on now.
Call 1-800-222-6161 and ask for operator R25 for this sale price.
Catalog number is as follows:


I received this coupon and all you have to do is call the 1-800 number
and refer to that number above. This offer ends december 5th.

If you have the coupon Service Merchandise will honor it with a price

Thanks (a really great site by the way)


Subject:	Price Update
Sent:	Sunday, November 29, 1998 10:43:46
From:	TAndr42624@aol.com
First off, thank you for all of the info on your site. Based on your
experiences as well as those shared by others via your site I purchased
my first telescope. Three guesses which one...

Anyway on to the good stuff. Mastercard has a pretty good deal going on
through the holidays. If you use your MC to make purchases at certain
retailers you get 20% off the price. The Discovery Channel Store is one
of those retailers. I used mine to buy my ETX and a few accessories and 
just sent MC a check immediately. Not a bad deal in my book.

Again, thanks for the great site.

Subject:	 ETX Tripod Polar Alignment
Sent:	Sunday, November 29, 1998 6:06:20
From:	gswilder@mindspring.com (Greg Wilder)
I just purchased a "floor model" ETX tripod (since it was the last one
they had), and unfortunately the store did not have the instructions.
Can you give me some information on how to do the polar alignment with
the tripod and the ETX. Thanks very much in advance, and I love your web
site. I decided on an ETX after finding your site.
Mike here: See the Polar Aligning Techniques on the Buyer/New User Tips page. This will work with any mount.

Subject:	 ETX cover / eyepiece choices
Sent:	Sunday, November 29, 1998 5:44:08
From:	rbaines@usa.net (Rich Baines)
Well... I got an ETX a week ago and a couple of questions come to mind:

1. Does anyone sell a plastic (or whatever) cover that can keep the dust
off when it's not in use?

2. I have the standard 26mm eyepiece and #126 Barlow.  I'm trying to
make the best decision on  higher magnification.  The SP9.7mm will give
me 129x (around 30% more than the 26mm + Barlow).  Adding the Barlow to
that brings the power up to 258x.  I know that is beyond the usual
50x-60x per inch of aperture.  The  SP6.4mm gives 195x which falls right
in the maximum range, as does the 12.4mm + Barlow, at 202x.

I'm looking for opinions on the best choice from the ones mentioned, or
any others.  What is the real magnification limit that I can expect to
be able to use? I live in a Chicago suburb, so there is some light
pollution.  I probably won't be taking the scope to really "dark:"

Mike here: I had a cloth cover made that works well to cover the ETX when not in use. Large plastic trash bags will also work well. I've not seen any commercial covers like what are available for computers (although some of these would work). See the Buyer/New User Tips page for some thoughts on eyepieces. You can also search the site on "eyepiece" and get more suggestions.

Subject:	 #140 Barlow
Sent:	Saturday, November 28, 1998 23:12:31
From:	bnakata@cybcon.com (Brian Nakata)
Regarding Erik Keup's question about the #140, I have it and it focuses
just fine.  Optically, it is very good, although it dims the view
somewhat and appears to have slightly more than a 2X multiplication of
the eyepiece power.  Oh, it is quite long and may look "funny" to some
when in use. I like it although I primarily use it for bright objects
like the planets.


Subject:	 Newbie to all this !!!
Sent:	Saturday, November 28, 1998 16:56:04
From:	moebius@erols.com (Moebius)
Hello there.  Just wanted to say that you have a great site here.  I
forget how I accidentally found it, but I'm glad I did!

I'm a Newbie to Astronomy and tho I know nothing about it, I have always
wanted a telescope to view the heavens.  I just bought an ETX a couple
of weeks ago.  Along with it, I purchased a 9.7mm lens, a 2X Barlow, a
45 degree erecting prism and a Meade tripod.  I am wondering if there
would be other lenses that you would think would compliment my unit?

One thing that bothers me about Meades advertising, is that in the
brochures and on the box they show great pictures of Jupiter and Saturn
in color and with all their bands and rings, and clouds of nebulae!!!
Other than the Moon which comes in clear as a bell, I think I've seen
Jupiter.... a small white circle, with what appears to be 2 dark bands
crossing it.  Is this it?!?!?!?!  Maybe I expected too much, but with
the money that this cost, I'm wondering if I would not have been better
off buying a less expensive model.

Another thing, is it normal, that every time you touch the telescope
that the image jiggles like crazy?  It seems to be almost impossible to
focus in on a space object without causing tremors.  Do you have any
hints on how to cut some of this disturbance down?

Also, while using the 9.7mm + barlow while looking at the moon or
jupiter, I thought that I would "see more" of the objects and they would
be much clearer.  Do you think I'm doing anything wrong?

I hope you don't mind, I have a thousand and one questions, but I won't
ask them all my first time!

I just want to be able to enjoy my ETX and get the best viewing possible
with few headaches.  I'm trying to stick with Meade products so that
everything is compatible.

Thanks for you help, and I will be visiting your site often !!!!!!!

Steve Gomez
Mike here: As you use your ETX you will discover much to like about it and a few things that will drive you crazy. But as many users have noted here, the positives far outweigh the negatives. And yes, the ads are misleading in the planetary photos. You can see Saturn's rings and cloud bands on Jupiter but not as clear as those photos indicate. As you increase magnification, you will find the image less clear than it was at a lower magnification. You are not only magnifying the object but all the atmospheric disturbances along your line of sight. And as you increase magnification you are generally reducing the apparent field so, while you see a magnified image, you'll see less area on the object. For now you should probably stick with those eyepieces and the Barlow lens. That is how I started out. You might want to check out the JMI MotoFocus review on the Showcase Products page. Jordan Blessing (of Microstar 1 fame) is also developing one. A motorized focuser helps reduce the jiggles. As you have questions about using your ETX, feel free to search the site or check the various topical pages. You'll probably find the answers here someplace!

Subject:	 Re: Making a selection
Sent:	Saturday, November 28, 1998 12:39:19
From:	jimross@umr.edu (Jim Ross)
First let me say, that I greatly enjoy and appreciate your site. It has
greatly lessened my learning curve for this hobby.

I plan to purchase an ETX next week from a retailer in Springfield,MO. I
believe the name of the place is Merchandise Outlet. Yep, I know, they
aren't an astronomy shop, but what the heck, I know what I want and they
have this scope package for $565.00. Can't pass it up. They also assured
me that if there is a problem I can exchange it for another. Ok, my
question. They have four of these scopes. I may or may not be able to
take it outside. Even if I can it will probably be daytime. Besides the
obvious stuff, check mechanics, drive etc., can you suggest any manner
of checking the optics so that I can chose a good performer or weed out
a lemon?

Thank you for your time. Have a save and enjoyable holiday.

Jim Ross


  Jim Ross 

  Jim Ross
    Netscape Conference Address
    Netscape Conference DLS Server
  Additional Information:
  Last Name       Ross
  First Name      Jim
  Version         2.1
Mike here: Check the cleanliness of the optics (and the whole scope). Look for obvious signs of prior use (or abuse) such as scratches, smears, dings in the metal and plastics. Beyond that you'll have a harder time checking the optics inside, even if you can point it out a window (which distorts the image quality). If you can find a point light source someplace you can possibly perform the collimation check descrbed on the TechTips page. Good luck.

Subject:	 Barrow lens?
Sent:	Saturday, November 28, 1998 10:09:17
From:	ekeup@prodigy.net (Erik Keup)
I just ordered my ETX and while it's on it's way I'm trying to decide
which barrow lens to get.  I saw somewhere that Meade recommends the
#126 for the ETX, but would the #140 be better for the ETX? Just for
your info I'm planning on using the following eyepieces (I haven't
bought them yet, so if you think I should reconsider something PLEASE
tell me): SP 4000 9.7mm, SP 4000 12.4mm, and SWA 18mm.  If I get the
#126 would that degrade the guality of the images I see with these
eyepieces?  I can afford the difference in price between the #126 and
#140, but can you explain to me the differences?


Erik Keup

- ekeup@utk.edu
- http://pages.prodigy.net/ekeup
Mike here: I don't have the #140 but I would wonder if you could focus with it on the ETX. It is a higher quality Barlow than the #126 but the #126 focuses OK with the ETX.

Subject:	jc penney sale
Sent:	Friday, November 27, 1998 17:30:57
From:	Ssimon1016@aol.com
Thought your readers might like to know JC Penney's catalogue sale in on
till Dec 2. The Meade ETX  is discounted 20%. Just purchased my first
scope for my son's Christmas present. Thanks for the great web site.

Do the Barlow 2x and the Televue 5x powermate serve the same purpose and
or function?  Thanks in advance
Mike here: Thanks for the update on the JCPenney Sale. As to the 2X Barlow and 5X Powermate, yes, they both increase the magnification of an eyepiece. But you may find the 5X too powerful for the ETX.

Subject:	 ETX and webcam video camera
Sent:	Friday, November 27, 1998 15:09:21
From:	Han_Kleijn@compuserve.com (han kleijn)
I just want to inform you, that I added a new page to my web site. It
contains some experiences and pictures made with a PC video camera. I
bought the Video Blaster webcam II a few weeks ago. This is a camera
simular like the Quickcam. I could not find the quickcam so I bought the
Video Blaster. This type of cameras it connected directly to the
parallel port. Combined with the ETX, I made some nice shots.  See page:


Clear skies Han

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Friday, November 27, 1998 13:35:21
From:	mfoulks1@san.rr.com (Michael Foulks)
I might buy an ETX as my first ever telescope. Bein in a wheelchair, it
seems tough to beat the portability. I'm frustrated that I have an old
ad that prices it at $495! Any hints where I might get a better deal
than $595?  I doubt people sell them as used huh?

Mike here: Check JCPenney and Service Merchandise. There have been reports of good deals on ETXes there.

Subject:	 Sale at JCPenney
Sent:	Friday, November 27, 1998 9:13:37
From:	hakamakd@up.lib.mi.us (Dave Hakamaki)
I saved $150.00 on my ETX purchase by buying at 25% off from JC Penney. 
I suggest that people looking for a deal check out JC Penney for the
Christmas sales and maybe save a few bucks for the extras.

My next purchase will be a solar filter and a low power eyepiece.  Will
update on their performance.  Thanks for your site.  It makes it much
easier to trade ideas among responders.


Subject:	 ETX Web page
Sent:	Friday, November 27, 1998 5:53:00
From:	jerw@usa.net (Jerry Wang)
I am a total idiot when it comes to astronomy.  I played around with
cheap telescopes as a kid, just looking at the moon.  I found your web
page on Yahoo and the ETX sounds like a great telescope because of its
size. One thing that I did not find on your web page is what the ETX
costs and places online where I can buy it. I don't plan on buying it
for the time being, but it's always nice to be able to shop around and
compare prices.

All in all, you have a very informative web page.
Jerry Wang
Mike here: The price ($595) is mentioned on my My First Impressions comments on the "Buyer/New User Tips" page. Several dealer sites are listed on the "Astronomy Links" page. But you won't much difference in prices. The ETX remains in high demand -- this site may be contributing to that! ;-)

Subject:	 archive references; a possible link
Sent:	Thursday, November 26, 1998 23:56:55
From:	scheifer@earthlink.net (Paul Scheifer)
From what I've read on your site, I won't be able to use the Apogee or
JMI right angle conversion because it won't focus to infinity for my eye
(I tried a JMI in a store and it would not focus; it was one or two
turns to short).

In looking further into the problem on your site, I found the messages
below in your archives.

Regarding #1: Did the review you mention ever materialize? Do you know
anything about the Tuthill conversion?

Regarding #2: Do you know anything about this particular fix? I notice
that the sender, Paul Boudreaux, also reviews the JMI conversion on your
Finder page, but alas does not mention the Edmund fix. I'll see if i can
find the relevant issue of Astronomy magazine, but you might be able to
save me a bit of driving around to libraries with your answer.

Thanks again for a tremendous site and a great service to all of us
novice astronomers and new ETX users.

BTW: I also found the following link mentioned in your archive
somewhere. You might want to include it on your Miscellaneous page
because it appears to be a more elegant way to set up the ETX with
encoder/computer capability than the JMI oriented approaches currently
mentioned on the Misc page. (It is cheaper than the JMI-NGC/Micro set
up, and it might be more convenient for many people since the JMI set up
seems to require a laptop but the one on the following link uses the
Magellan DOB controller.) See what you think. It seems at least as good
a way to go as the one you currently have presented. Link is:


    Sent:   Sunday, December 28, 1997 06:42:02
     From:   velensky@nbnet.nb.ca (Velensky, Lenard)
     As I see is the case with many other ETX owners, there is much
     dissatisfaction with the finderscope's usefulness with respect to
     polar alignment, general usefulness and 8x21 specification. After
     considering the alternatives I am looking into replacing the
     finder scope with a right angled finder scope. I have checked the
     finder scope section of your site but do not see any mention of
     Tuthill's 6x30 right angle finder scope for the ETX. I posted a
     message to an amateur astronomy newsgroup but received no reply.
     Are you, or any of your site readers, aware of Tuthill's
     replacement? If so how well does it work? Is it there own

     Thanks for the excellent site,

     Mike here: There are several reviews of Finderscope replacements
     on the Accessories - Finderscopes page. A review of one from
     Tuthill is forthcoming.


     Sent:   Tuesday, December 30, 1997 14:46:22
     From:   boudreau@eng.umd.edu (Paul J. Boudreaux)
     Just got my Feb 98 Astronomy magazine. Check out the idea of
     Frank Tabrah on page 17. He used a  25mm x 25mm x 35mm right
     angle prism and a cut off plastic film canister to make a jury
     rig adapter for the finder scope. It looks like a clever (and
     cheap - $8.25 from Edmund Scientific) idea to add a "right angle
     finder" to slip over the eyepiece end of the ETX finder scope.
     Paul Boudreaux
Mike here: No review of the Tuthill finderscope ever materialized. Nor I have explored the fix mentioned in #2.

Subject:	 Need some help! TRIPOD
Sent:	Thursday, November 26, 1998 20:25:41
Sukun here from Bangkok, Thailand (where the 13th Asian Game will take
place). After reading through the info. on Tripods, I think, for my
latitude 13-15  N, I have only two choices; 1) JMI Wedgepod ($189; There
is no picture of the wedgepod.  What does it look like?) or 2) JMI/Bogen
Tripod ($85/$119) plus JMI Wedge ($119).  From your review, the ETX
field tripod will go from slightly less than 20 degree to 90 degree
which means that it will not work at my latitude. (Am I correct?).  Of
the two options, what would you recommend?

Next, I need to locate some US dealers which support international sale
of the items. Can you suggest a few names for me, preferably with E-mail
address for fast communication. I also plan to get a solar filter Type
II + (Thousand oaks) & Meade #8 Light yellow.

A good view for the Leonids meteors on the night of Nov 17. The average
rate is 3-5 min/meteor. But it's not a STORM as expected.  I'll try the
Geminids on 12-14 Dec. Anybody interested can visit Thai Astronomy page

Thanks in advance for your kind assistance.  Hope you have a wonderful

Best regards,
Sukun T. 
Mike here: I have added a picture of the Wedgepod scanned from the JMI ad in the December 1998 Sky & Telescope magazine on the Accessories - Tripods page. The Wedgepod is the only commercial solution that I'm aware of that will go to low latitudes.

Subject:	 ETX Astrophotography Contest!
Sent:	Thursday, November 26, 1998 12:13:01
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
I hope everyone is having/had a great Thanksgiving. As it gets closer to
the holidays and I get in a giving mood I was wondering what I could do
for fellow ETX'ers. I looked up and saw my old winter friend Orion
dominating the sky and got an idea. I want to introduce the First GREAT
ETX Astrophotography contest. This contest is sponsored by myself, and
MicroStar / Scopetronix. We have put up $300 in great prizes with 7
chances to win. Grand Prize, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 3 runners up will all
win prizes. It will be fun, everyone grab a camera and your ETX and get
out there! All winners will be posted on my website on Christmas Day!
Please see http://web.archive.org/web/20100105230338/http://home.att.net/%7Ejblessin/etx.htm for full details and
rules. The subject will be Orion or the Orion Nebula (where ever
possible, other subjects will be announced as needed). Some of the
prizes include $100 off MicroStar, FREE focuser upgrade, 1 year
subscription to Sky & Telescope or Astronomy Magazine,  LED flashlights,
blinky lites, and you may even be chosen to have your submission placed
in one of my ads in the above magazines! The weather is clear, Orion is
looming large, and your ETX is begging for a little attention, get out
there and most of all have fun!!
Jordan Blessing L1 Master Tech
Maker of LX-50 Dec Fix Kits & 
ETX Dual Axis Drive Correctors 

  LX-50 & ETX Owners Come Take a Look:
[LX-50 Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products]

Subject:	ETX eyepieces
Sent:	Thursday, November 26, 1998 12:21:01
From:	Mclaughs@aol.com
Great site! I've been looking for ETX info since I got mine in May.

My ETX came with the standard 26mm lens @ 48X. I decided the SP 26mm was
not enough so I purchased a Celestron 2x Barlow Ultima which worked
great with the 26mm.

A problem developed when I purchased the 9.7mm. The 9.7mm performs great
by itself at 126X, but when used with the Celestron 2x Barlow Ultima
objects are dim and unfocused. Any ideas?


       Gary McLaughlin
Mike here: I suspect you may be experiencing the problem with the 9.7mm + Barlow due to exceeding the theorectical max magnification of the ETX (3.5" aperture times 60x per inch equals 210x). Not all users will see too much degradation in image quality at this magnification but others will. Depends on the optical quality and cleanliness of all the optical components, collimation, sky conditions, and object brightness. I've been pleased with the results when using my Meade 9.7mm plus Meade 2X Barlow.

Subject:	 eyepiece question and great Colour Quickcam deals
Sent:	Wednesday, November 25, 1998 18:39:13
G'day Mike,
I hope you are well and all readers are getting some clear skies for
their ETX's to show how great they are.

I picked up a 12.5 mm eyepiece the other day from a local comera store
that sell Meade bits and pieces. I think it is a Modifed Apochromatic
but I thought that the eyepiece  would normally have  something like MA
12.5mm engraved in the top or side. Instead it has MH 12.5mm. Do any of
the readers have any idea what the MH means? It only cost $39.95 Aus
which is about $25US. I think the store is Camera Action 217 Elizabeth
St, Melbourne, Victoria,  Australia. But this mod were also selling a
9.7mm Super Plossl for $254.00 ........ I let everyone stop coughing for
a minute..... Details would be easily found from the Yellowpages  on the
net for Australia. I have no affiliation etc but I though it might be a
good deal(12.5 mm that is ) . If others can find a better price , great,
spread the word. Please excuse me if I have offended anyone as  I
understand that you don't want your site to be a great advertising

Anyway  have lashed out and purchased a Doskocil XL case from BHPHOTO
etc. I wasn't able to find comparable quality for the same cost. I also
found that the Colour quickcams are going for $187 US from Cyberian
Outpost but you get an $80 rebate for USA customers. Luckily I have some
contacts to cash in the rebate. Santa's coming early for me this year.

By the way an ETX costs about $1100-$1200 Aus = $700-770 US Anyway take
it easy and hope Winter isn't to bad.
31 C and Sunny today


Subject:	 Re: JMI ETX Case
Sent:	Wednesday, November 25, 1998 12:08:59
From:	dashmanc@idt.net (carl)
On the cases: the Pelican 1500 is just slightly smaller than JMI's and
the 1550 is just slightly bigger. Discount prices seem to be $98.50 and
$121.50--very competitive.

As for tripods, I'm sticking with the Bogen--it's pretty stable but it
does have its own compromises.

Again, thanks for the great web site and Happy Thanksgiving!


Subject:	 Removing the ETX OTA from the mount.
Sent:	Wednesday, November 25, 1998 10:05:55
From:	jwhit28@ibm.net (John G White)
This is in response to several questions about removing the OTA from the
fork mount.  I use my ETX both for astronomy and wildlife
viewing/photography and remove the OTA whenever I want to take the
'scope to a wildlife reserve. Although you can keep it on the fork
mount, it is a LOT lighter without it.   Based on ideas from your page,
I made a wedge from plywood that I can adjust from 0 to 90 degrees.
Generally I keep the wedge on my Bogen 3221 tripod and just take the OTA
(and a lighter tripod) out when I will be walking around with it..

The only caution I can think of is that the arms that attach the OTA to
the forks are only plastic. After removing the 4 bolts that hold it in
place, you slip the OTA backwards to remove it. I have to hold the
plastic arms apart a little bit to slide the OTA out.  I haven't had any
problem doing this, but you don't want to hold them open too far.

Subject:	 Letter from Switzerland
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 23:34:00
From:	Peter
I am a user and owner of two Teleskopes. First I designed a polished by
my self a 8" Newtonian using a Mead Starfinder German-Mount. Some years
later I had to buy  a Meade ETX for traveling and short backyard
sessions. I found your exiting Mighty ETX Site because I was searching
information about the shutan wide-field-adaptor (Shaply-lens). This
Morning I readed in my newspaper about the contract between AOL,
Netscape and Sun. From Your Website I know you are a Macintosh Guru and
I own my self one of the best looking, comfortable and stablest
microcomputer ever built, the Mac Quadra 610 (equipped with plenty of
RAM great performance for Internet, VoyagerII and so on). So I was that
lucky about this news this Morning nI had to write You. Sorry about my
non perfect english, normally I speek and write german and french. As a
membor of the swiss astronomical society I would like to lead Your
attention to our website: http://www.astroinfo.org

Clear skies and best wishes from Switzerland       Peter

Subject:	 Tac' N Stik in lieu of rubber bands to mount Rigel QuikFinder 
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 20:44:50
From:	stephens@ieway.com (Mike Stephens, Mil-Key Corp.)
I join a multitude of others who greatly appreciate being able to
frequent your site every time ETX related questions arise.

I came across an idea that seems to work well to semi-permanently  mount
the Rigel Systems QuikFinder. Here in Spokane, Office Depot has a
reusable adhesive pad called Tac' N Stik that sells for $1.30. It is
3/16" thick and just slightly bigger than the QuikFinder's base
dimensions. I placed temporary masking tape guide strips in the area I
wanted to affix the base.Then after removing one of the thin peel off
covers on one side of the Tac' N Stik, I pressed it in place between the
tape strips, then removed them. Then removed the other peel off cover on
the Tac' N Stik and pressed down the base mount on to it. The QuikFinder
is held rigidly in place & always dead on each time it is clipped back
into the base. The beauty is the Tac' N Stik can be peeled off anytime &
does not leave any tell tales on the scope.

Regards & again thanks for all your efforts creating & maintaining
"Weasner's Mighty ETX Site".

Mike Stephens, Spokane 
Added later:

Do you still like the ETX after all this time & do you have other scopes also?
Mike here: You bet I still like the ETX. Even if I had a 12" LX200 I'd still use the ETX for its ease of setup and portability. The only other telescope I have is my 37 year-old Edmund 3" Reflector, which can be seen on the Just for Fun! page.

Subject:	 2x Meade Barlow eyepiece
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 16:34:35
From:	rookie49@idt.net (Gary Milligan)
You reference the barlow in your eyepiece section for a price of $53.00,
but you don't tell the source! Help!  I don't think I can purchasse this
eyepiece from the Service Merchandise where I bought my ETX and it
doesn't appear that Meade has a catalog.  Edmund Scientific lists the
barlow for about $76.00 and the local mall-located Meade retailer is
equally expensive.  If I can find a source to purchase the barlow for
$53.00 I would great appreciate it.  Love your page! Please Help!
Incidentally, I've already purchased some eyepieces from Paul Rini . . .
Thanks for that great lead!
Mike here: I purchased the Meade Barlow at my local The Nature Company store. Many dealers sell the Meade or similar Barlows. Meade does have a catalog. Call them and they will send one to you.

Subject:	 JMI ETX Case
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 15:16:35
From:	dashmanc@idt.net (carl)
What a wonderful web site!  I was referred to you by Mike at Pocono
Mountain Optics.  The only problem:  slow loading--probably a function
of AOL.

I have bought a bunch of accessories for my ETX--which I just love!  I
have a 10" but it is a backbreaker to move and I can pull out the ETX in
minutes especially if I don't need to polar allign it.

I bought the JMI ETX case and have been rather disappointed with it.  I
had hoped to be able to travel with it on planes but cannot.  This is
due to the case being too big for carry-on luggage (unlike Meade's own
case, which I also have), but I wouldn't dare check it because the locks
are totally inadequate and there is no way to padlock the case.  Last
February, I took the ETX to work so I could photograph the eclipse.  But
I forgot the key to the case!  It took less than five minutes to break
into it with a Leatherman tool--and I didn't even damage the lock. Since
I am neither a locksmith nor a professional (or amateur) thief, it is
clear the lock isn't safe for travel.  I also found I had to carve a
number of additional holes in the foam for other items because the space
wasn't utilized particularly well.

On our last vacation, I ended up using my Meade ETX bag because it fits
under the seat.  I carved a lot of photographer's foam to help protect
it--what else could I do?  To make matters worse, I now see that B&H is
selling a Pelican case that is slightly larger than the JMI for less
than the JMI.  Of course, it has pluck-out foam rather than being
pre-cut, but I will gladly endure that in order to have solid hinges and
two padlock hasps.

I am currently struggling with the wedge issue for the ETX.  I use a
very nice Bogen tripod with a 3-way adjustable head.  It's not a bad
solution, but there is no level, nor an adequate angle measurement.
There also is no fine adjustment, so getting the angle right for polar
alignment is repeated iterations of lock-let go-see how much it drops.
Time consuming. I have looked into some of the other alternatives but
this is what I have found: 1) Meade's ETX tripod does not go below 20
degrees--if you go to the Caribbean on vacation everything is about 15
degrees.  Many users have complained the tripod's legs slip and shake. 
Also, collapsed, the tripod is a bit long and just as inconvenient that
way as my Bogen 2) JMI's Wedgepod:  This has a reputation for being
wobbly, although it adjusts from 0 to 90 degrees.  The accessory tray
doesn't seem to fold out of the way for storage, negating the advantage
of collapsing to a very small size.  And the case really defeats that
and has all the problems I described above. There is no fine micrometer
adjustment (unlike the Meade) 3) JMI's ETX Wedge: Again, only 20 to 60
degrees.  People have complained that it wobbles on the sheet metal 
when it is attached to the Bogen tripod.  There don't seem to be holes
for the switches, nor fine adjustment. 4) Homemade Wood and Brass, or
single latitude wedges:  These are bulky and limited beyond your home
area.  Bulk is less of a problem when you are driving, but a major
headache when flying. 5) Other Commercial Wedges: They all seem to be
similar to JMI's.

I know I seem to be all over JMI. JMI is a fine company, staffed by
great people, with lots of great ideas. But fit and finish are always a
bit of the Radio-Shack accessory type.  I have their focuser for my 10"
and it's fine.  I have the focuser/declination combo for the ETX and
while they work nicely, they could have been better thought out,
especially the focuser. If the plug and motor were at right angles,
there would be more room to fold the scope and it wouldn't interfere
with polar aligning.

I have the Vixen zoom and just love it!  I wish it would stay in focus
as you change power, but I really appreciate that I only need one
eyepiece for most everything. I still like the Meade 26mm for alignment,
and you can't do projection photography with it, but it's as close to
the swiss army knife of eyepieces as we are going to get.  The viewing
quality is so high that Televue re-badges the Vixen rather than make
their own--and I have found Televue stuff to be exquisite.

Other items:  The Apogee image projection adaptor would be a lot nicer
if you didn't need to use a shim to get your camera horizontal to the
ground.  Also, Apogee had a bad batch of ETX LAR adapters.  They've been
very happy to make good on them.  I sent mine back to Pocono, who had
never heard of it.  Pocono talked to Apogee and sent me new one and that
was that.  I like good companies and both of these qualify.  In fact, I
now prefer only to buy from Pocono for mail order.  Others are OK, but
the personal service has been fantastic.  Kendrick now has a focuser for
the ETX.  How he got 3 holes in a cover that small is beyond me but it
works really well. Beware:  it bends very, very easily so treat it with

Now that I've let off all this hot air,  I'll say so-long.

Carl Dashman
Mike here: Sorry about the site download speed. Probably AOL but somedays are good and some not so good. Tripods and wedges continue to be a challenge for the ETX if you want everything. So far, the existing systems have made various compromises. One assumes that was to keep costs reasonable.

Subject:	 ETX eyepiece quality
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 13:07:59
From:	sjacobs@ainet.com (Stephen E. Jacobs)
Here's a new user question whose answer I didn't see on your excellent

I've just bought an ETX and can see that I'll need another eyepiece (and
probably a barlow lens-per your suggestion). I know that the ETX comes
with a good quality eyepiece. I was just at my local telescope store
where the owner told me that there wasn't the need to buy equivalent
quality eyepieces (I was thinking of Meade 4000 or Tele-vue) at about
$80 and that a $40 eyepiece was ok for the quality of the ETX.

Somehow I am suspicious; if there wasn't a significat advantage to the
"super" plossl's why would Meade include one... most of us newcomers
wouldn't know the difference. Unless the extra cost is worth it. I
suspect that he wanted to sell what he had in stock; nonetheless, I'm

Thanks again for your excellent site!

Steve jacobs
Mike here: I agree that Pentax (~$250) eyepieces are probably overkill for the ETX. But that doesn't mean that are not excellent eyepieces for $20 (see the Rini eyepieces comments on the Accessories - Eyepieces page). But spending money inbetween is probably reasonable. The ETX is of excellent optical quality and you don't want to lose anything with lousy eyepieces.

Subject:	 ETX motor replacement
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 7:50:52
From:	jonesdavid@earthlink.net (David Jones)
THANKS for your ETX site.

Question:  Where can I buy a new motor?

I loaned my ETX out and it came back with a dead motor (makes a noise
but doesn't engage).

I haven't been able to get through to ETX for several days.  Any
suppliers/distributors that you know of that sell such parts?

Thanks again.

Mike here: You'll likely have to work this directly through Meade. You can reach them at their fax number (714-756-1450) or via their voice phone number (800-626-3233 or 714-756-2291).

Subject:	 Dew Problem
Sent:	Tuesday, November 24, 1998 4:38:18
From:	aturner@netunlimited.net (Alex Turner)
I just had my first episode with dew. Could you please tell me how to
handle this problem. I know I should get a dew cap,but in the meantime
do I wipe the lens clear or should I use a portable drier that I have to
clear it. Thanks very much for the site.

Alex Turner
Mike here: Normally, just let dew air dry once you bring the scope back inside your home.

Added later:

Thanks for the response, Mike, but what do I do as I'm trying to use the
scope. Very blurry.
Mike here: Well, you can use a low-heat hair dryer. Try to not blow directly onto the surfaces but across them. Use the lowest setting you can. Keep the heat away from any plastics or you might melt something. USE CAUTION.

Subject:	 ETX durability
Sent:	Monday, November 23, 1998 21:59:11
From:	KJ5FS@flash.net (Joseph Lively)
Greetings!  I have been into amateur astronomy for 35 years and have had
several telescopes.  I now have a Celestron 8 which is a good scope, but
I need (want!) something small that I can take on motorcycle vacation
trips.  I always go to places in the Rockies where the sky is great.  I
just wondered if the ETX would be a prime candidate for this.  My
motorcycle is not much of a vibrator and has hard saddlebags which would
probably contain an ETX easily enough.  I just wondered how delicate the
ETX is, and whether it is significantly better than the C-90.

Joe Lively
Mike here: I took my ETX on a plane trip (vibrations from takeoff, turbulence) and had no problems with it. Optically, the ETX is a good choice.

Subject:	 RE: ETX Tripods
Sent:	Monday, November 23, 1998 16:33:17
From:	tim@tqgroup.com (Tim Ranieri)
Thanks for the speedy response.

I've seen the Meade live and in person, so I think I'll try and find the
JMI to take a look. The new version of the JMI seems better than the old
and is only $18 more than the Meade.

On another note, being a Mac-man, an suggestions on "star software"?
I've had the demo versions of SkyChart 2000 and SkyChart III and was
thinking of purchasing the CD.

Thanks again,
Mike here: The Wedgepod is a good combination of the JMI tripod and wedge but I don't think you can remove the wedge and use the tripod for anything else. As to Mac s/w, I use Voyager II 2.0. Version 3.0 is due out soon (I know when but can't say). Starry Night looks pretty nice. I started out with SkyChart 2000 but purchased Voyager II pretty quickly.

Mike here: This was posted on the MAPUG Mailing List:

engineer@meade.com has been down for about 2 weeks due to a server and email system problem. It should be up by about Thanksgiving. Someone sympathetic to MAPUG's interests reads every piece of mail that gets sent there. People can use it for feature requests, etc. but it is a one-way street for communications, as they are prohibited from replying. Ranting and raving will be read and deleted. If there is a reasonable request in the email, it will be filed as "to be considered"

Subject:	 ETX Tripods
Sent:	Monday, November 23, 1998 13:02:47
From:	tim@ego.com (tim)
First let me say, I love your ETX website. It was a major part of my
decision to buy an ETX last winter. I have been nothing but pleased with
my scope and the few eyepieces I purchased originally. Thanks for your

I am now looking at buying, actually my hope is that Santa-girlfriend
will buy, a tripod for the scope. I've been using an old battered camera
tripod and it's begining to be a bother. My biggest problem is Polar
alignment and the lack of stability.

I've read the info on your site and others about all of the tripod
possibilities but am still undecided. I've narrowed it down to two, but
the way I see it neither the Meade nor the JMI WedgePod (or Wedge/Tripod
combo) is a clear choice.

My fears with the Meade are the latitude scale (minor), the leg bolts
and the stability in wind or when focusing. My worries about the JMI are
switch access, overall construction quality and stability in wind or
when focusing.

Do you have any further insite? Or dare I ask, which would you recommend
of the two?

Any help would be great.

Thanks in advance and thanks again for having such a great website.

Mike here: Of the two, since I have both, personally I prefer the JMI over the Meade tripod. However, many users LOVE their Bogen tripods. Depends on how much money you want to spend. Of course, you could build your own; lots of suggestions on the Guest Contributions pages (now on the Tech Tips page).

Sent:	Monday, November 23, 1998 8:08:30
I'd like to first thank you and all the contributors to your GREAT ETX
site! I've wanted a telescope since I was a kid (a long time ago!) and
your site clinched the decision to get an ETX.  I bought one yesterday -
it is just a jewel.  It has the simple elegance of design that makes it
a classic.  Sort of like the original VW Bug or MG Midget - and both
have dedicated and "tinkering" owners.

For some reason the skies stayed clear last night (the Overcast God of
Rain must have been plaguing another new telescope owner) and I towed
the ETX around the backyard on my kid's wagon.  Even though I had no
idea what I was doing, I blundered into Jupiter (watched one of it's
moons disappear behind the planet), Saturn (like some magical gem), the
Orion Nebula (and Trapezium), and the neon sign for the Marriot 5 miles
down the road (we're not exactly in Dark Skysville).  The views were
spectacular and I stayed out until frostbite threatened.  I have to say
if you spend the night chasing objects through the trees, having the ETX
on a wagon (we've got big knobby all terrain tires on ours) is the way
to go.

I'm off to tinker - building a stand for the wagon.  Thanks again for
the great site!

Kelvin Lee
Bethesda, MD

Subject:	 Quick help question
Sent:	Monday, November 23, 1998 5:18:59
From:	kvgeorge@hotmail.com (Kenneth George)
Mike, since you have had an ETX for so long, I feel that you would be
the best to answer this. I have been trying to see nebulae from the
fringes of the city (Not alot of light there, but much more than the
surrounding rual areas) with my ETX, but cannot see any of the dust
clouds that make up the nebula. For example, I tried looking at the
nebula in Orion, only to see the stars in the nebula, but not the nebula
itself. Also tried to see the North American nebula just to the left of
Deneb only to have the same experience. Is this because of the amount of
light that is surrounding the area I am in?
Mike here: The Orion Nebula should show some nebulosity at 48x. The North America Nebula won't. So, for M42 I suspect the bright sky is the problem.

Subject:	ETX
Sent:	Sunday, November 22, 1998 19:13:29
From:	Azeaka2@aol.com
I am considering purchase of my first really good telescope.  The two I
am looking at are the Orion 6" EQ reflector (f/5) and the ETX.  As with
many amateur astronomers, portability is important to me, and I guess
you can't beat the ETX in that regard.  However, I am leaning toward the
Orion reflector because it seems the larger aperture would be better for
deep-sky objects, and, with a 27" tube length, it too is reasonably
portable, though of course not quite so much as the ETX.  Basically, I
just need to get the scope in my car where I want it; I wouldn't be
taking it on airplanes.

I realize you may have no experience with the Orion 6", but, in general,
how does the ETX stack up against a 6" reflector?  According to the
standard calculation, a telescope should be able to magnify 50 or 60
times its aperture in inches under ideal conditions, so a 6" should be
able to magnify 300-360X if seeing conditions are just right.  In the
Meade catalog, the "maximum practical visual power" is given as 325X. 
Isn't that just a little inflated for a scope with only 3.5" of
aperture?  Are they holding forth the ETX as some sort of super-scope,
with optics so good that it can achieve such high maganification in
spite of a small aperture?  Or are they just exaggerating?  What has
been your experience with the ETX?  Can it really go that high in
magnification?  If it can, it seems it would be just as effective as a
6" reflector, at least in magnifying power.  What is the maximum you
normally take the ETX to?

Of course, magnification isn't everything.  The most important attribute
of any scope is light-gathering power, and it seems to me this is where
a 6" reflector would easily beat the ETX.  Aren't deep-sky objects under
low magnification going to appear significantly brighter with six
inches, as opposed to the 3.5 in an ETX?  I realize that with an f/5
scope, I will be sacrificing some performance on the planets that would
be better with a longer focal ratio, but that's not a problem for me. 
Again, I would ask what your experience has been.  Is the ETX a good
performer for deep-sky?

     Any insight would be appreciated.  Thanks.....        
Mike here: In general, your reasons for going with a 6" are valid. There have been user reports (on my web site) of exceeding 300x with the ETX. I've only tried 256x and that works on bright objects.

Subject:	 Meade ETX info
Sent:	Saturday, November 21, 1998 22:05:44
From:	macjohn@worldnet.att.net (John Szymanski)
I just saw your site on the web and it is very interesting. I'm very
interested in purchasing the ETX scope and your site is making that
journey very enjoyable, an added bonus is that you are a Macintosh user,
as am I.  Do you know if they make a CCD device that connects to the ETX
scope so I can use a laptop to snapshot the images? Thank you for your
very knowledgeable site!

John Szymanski
Mike here: Search the site for "CCD". You'll find some references to using CCDs with the ETX. But the cost of regular CCD cameras is usually more than the ETX so many users have attached the QuickCam video camera with the ETX. Search for "QuickCam".

Subject:	The ETX
Sent:	Saturday, November 21, 1998 8:03:45
From:	Dogbot003@aol.com
Hi my name is Keith Evanouskas I am looking to buy the Meade ETX Astro
Telescope and also want to buy a eyepiece. Now the thing is I would like
a eyepiece that would let my see Juipter well and Saturn but would also
let me see deep-space nebulas & galaxies, etc. I would appreciate your
oppinion on which eyepeice i should get for my ETX.

	Thank you very much
				Keith Evanouskas

Mike here: The ETX comes with a 26mm eyepiece, which provides 48x magnification. With this eyepiece you'll be able to easily see cloud bands on Jupiter, Jupiter's four brightest moons, Saturn and the rings, phases of Venus, many nebulae, some galaxies (as faint smudges), and of course, our Moon. If you get a 2X Barlow Lens, you'll double that magnification to 96x. Later you can decide on more eyepieces, which will be doubled using the Barlow. Just my personal opinion. Check the Buyer/New User Tips and Accessories - Eyepieces pages for more info on eyepieces.

Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Friday, November 20, 1998 16:16:12
From:	guhler@chesco.com (GU)
You have a great website.  Thanks for your work.  I am thinking about
getting an ETX, but was wondering about its usefulness as a spotting
scope.  How easy is it to get it out of the yoke?  Is this a practical
Mike here: I've never taken the ETX out of the fork mount but it is possible. The instructions for doing this are on page 7 of the ETX manual. But it could be unnecessary to remove the scope from the mount. You can mount the drive base directly on a sturdy tripod. Cumbersome perhaps, but doable.

Subject:	 Build it yourself focus / declination motors?
Sent:	Friday, November 20, 1998 7:38:24
From:	tjdonovan@worldnet.att.net (Tim Donovan)
THANK YOU FOR THIS SITE! I have learned a great deal here, and
appreciate it so much.

I just read the spot on Tech Tips page from 11-19-98 update regarding
the drive modifications. Very intriguing, (will I risk my warranty yet?
hmmmm...) After reading this, it occured to me, has anyone come up with
a design to "Build-Your-Own" motor for focus or declination? I have
looked at the JMI products and wish I could afford them at present, but
for the next year or so any funds will probably go toward optical;
eyepiece/filters. If anyone has any details on a low cost alternative I
can build until I can buy the JMI products, I would really appreciate

Clear Skies!

Mike here: I'm sure it is possible to build your own. But it takes time to design the proper fittings, mounting, electronics, etc. Or you can purchase the Blessing Microstar1 (for both DEC and RA) or the JMI MotoDec (DEC only). But if someone has done and will send me the details, I'll post them. But those of us who are lazy should stick with the Microstar1 for complete control.

Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Thursday, November 19, 1998 19:46:38
From:	dragon48@webtv.net
i just picked up a etx. but i can't open it till christmas because it's
a gift. but after all these bad things i'm reading about is still worth
buying. or should i just take it back.
HELP. i'm scared tom.
Mike here: Congrats on the new ETX. If you read the entirety of this site, you'll find many more very positive comments than negative. Yes, there are things that it would be nice if they were better (the finder, the drive, the mounting) but those add costs and they can be overcome with add-on products if you desire. The ETX optical quality far outweighs any concerns you should have. I'd recommend trying it out. If after the first night out you don't like it, I'm sure you'll be able to return it (depending on where it came from) or sell it. ETX scopes remain in high demand. If you do decide to keep it, let us know your reactions after you use it.

Subject:	ETX Base Wobble
Sent:	Wednesday, November 18, 1998 22:43:12
From:	Mwebbber@aol.com
Thanks for all the info in your awesome site.  It's very helpful for
people like me who know almost nothing about telescopes!

I just bought this ETX for my wife for her birthday.  I think I made a
wise choice for a first telescope, after checking out all the feedback. 
But we are having a few problems.  First, how are you supposed to find
Polaris if you can't even look thru the viewfinder?  It seems it should
be mounted higher or something... Secondly, if we even touch the scope
it wiggles radically when looking thru the eyepiece.  I noticed there is
considerable play between the points where the base and top assembly
come together.  I do realize that at higher magnifications that bumps
will be exagerated, but it jitters so much that it's hard to focus; even
focusing it shakes it around tremendously.  Is this normal?  Should this
play be there?  Also, I forgot to mention, It's mounted on a Meade ETX
tripod.  Any help would be appreciated, and again, thanks for such a
great site!!!
Mike here: Search the site for "teflon". The comments there should help. The finderscope issue has been widely commented on here. Search for "finder" for more info or read the Accessories - Finderscopes page.

Subject:	 Astronomy Books
Sent:	Wednesday, November 18, 1998 17:02:46
From:	davesil@erols.com (Dave)
I am an amateur astronomer who also runs a discount on-line bookstore
specializing in astronomy books for all ages.  I have enjoyed examining
your excellent site and thought that you might want to include a link to
the Global Bookstore's Astronomy Books Page.   The selections are
somewhat limited at the moment but will be increasing over time.   I
think your web page visitors will find it a very worthwhile site which
will increase the value of your site.       The URL is:

Once again, let me congratulate you on an extremely well done and
thorough web site on a wonderful hobby.

Clear Skies,
Mike here: Book descriptions and categorizations (beginner, etc.) are available here.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, November 18, 1998 16:31:47
From:	w1828@erols.com (Harold L. Williams)
I have a problem with my ETX I hope you can help me with. The knob that
manually controls right ascension turns freely. I don't think it's the
set screw in the knob. The knob won't come off when I pull up on it.
There is a little play up and down when I tug on the knob. I don't
remember it being like that before when it worked correctly. I think
it's something inside like a belt that has slipped off a shaft. I'd like
to have some idea of how to fix it before I go digging around inside the
scope. Can you help me?


Harold Williams
Mike here: Two sites with ETX guts info may help:
Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products
www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/etxguider.html (Doc Greiner's ETX Info site)

Subject:	 ETX Question
Sent:	Tuesday, November 17, 1998 11:55:52
From:	ghart@intraware.com (Gregg Hart)
I am very new to astonomy (but not Physics) and am interested in a
telescope. With the help of you site and other reviews, the ETX is the
one I want. I'm used to ordering mail-order for everything. Usually I
can find 15- 30% retail through mail-order companies. I've called a few
places yet they stick to the suggested retail price of $595 for the ETX.
Am I  going to the wrong sites or do telescope mail-order companies not
lower prices much like computer, electonics, etc. If I can't save money
through mail-order companies, whats the point of having them? The
provide no advantage over the local mom-pop shop. Do you have any
suggestions? Good mail-order places to buy? What could I expect to get
as a discount?  Thanks for any help and thanks for the infomation off
your site.


p.s. I noticed you had some shots of the recent shuttle launch from
merrit island. I grew up 1/2 mile from the Merrit Island Causeway. Seen
many a space shot from my back yard.

Gregg Hart                     mailto:ghart@intraware.com
Database Warehouse Analyst            Voice: 925-253-4549
Intraware, Inc.                       Fax:   925-253-4599
Mike here: The ETX is so popular that discounting just doesn't occur normally. However, some users have purchased the ETX from JC Penney and Service Merchandise for a discount. The Nature Company, Natural Wonders, Shutan, Astromart, and Pocono are mail order and non-mail order companies that many users have reported good dealings with.

Subject:	 brave but not dumb
Sent:	Monday, November 16, 1998 7:54:06
From:	palladin@iquest.net (Richard Fried)
Last month I found the ring nebula,  now I'm trying to pick up the
triangulum galaxy but the seeing isn't great.

Thank for the help, I'm really amazed at the interesting stuff on your
site.  I got a BB gun sight and I'm going to use it for a quick
alignment tool.  I haven't decided what to do about the spotting scope.
One with a 90deg. eyepiece would be handy, but I'm not impressed with
the articles adapting the stock 'scope.

Thanks again,

Subject:	 Suggestion for a link
Sent:	Sunday, November 15, 1998 23:01:12
From:	scheifer@earthlink.net (Paul Scheifer)
It may be there already, but if not may I suggest Astromart as a link
for your links page. It's a great classifieds website for astronomy.
Lots of stuff there for the ETX. Anyone buying astonomy equipment should
check it out.

http://www.astromart.com (click on "Browse Ads")

Also links to auctions, dealers, etc.

Paul Scheifer

Subject:	 ETX at JCPenney
Sent:	Sunday, November 15, 1998 14:04:03
From:	greispe@csi.com (Peter Greis)
Just to provide more update on ETX deals. JC Penney was having a 30% off
sale from their catalog (if you spent over $150). (Fri 11/13 - Sat
11/14). So I decided to get the family their first Christmas present ...
an ETX for $420... not bad and now I have some $ left over for

Keep up the good work...I'm hoping to contribute to your efforts for the
site once I starting working with the ETX.

Peter Greis

Subject:	 JMI's ETX Wedge
Sent:	Sunday, November 15, 1998 13:45:55
From:	rkcamper@intergate.com (Roddy C. Camper)
I recently bought the JMI Wedge, following a review of the comments,
etc., in your page on ETX tripods.

Both the base flexing problem and the loss of a few degree of latitude
appear to be centered on a common problem.

The bottom of the ETX has several rubber anti-skid button that protrude
slightly beyond the metal outer circle of the base.  The wedge nose does
not reach all the way across the bottom of the ETX.  Therefore, when you
tighten the two locking studs, the ETX literally tips forward (down)
slightly.  I had a package of similar anti-skid buttons, so I added one
on either side of mounting slot, at about the mid-point of the ETX base.

Results, considerably more rigidity to the mount and, since this
likewise raised the line of focus, the ETX gained a couple of degrees of

Please share with others, if you confirm and concur with the above.

I would also appreciate some help in locating a good 90 deg. finder
conversion.  The Apogee unit is made of plastic, which I find
unacceptable for the application.  In addition, after numerous tries, I
could not get the front lens and tightening ring from the Meade finder
scope to thread onto the Apogee unit.  Rather than try to force the
metal to plastic connection, and possible ruining the Apogee unit, I
returned it to the store.

Any recommendations?  JMI, others?

Rod Camper (novice, but learning)
Mike here: I have the Apogee one but I also have the QuickFinder. See my comments to the Feedback item of Friday, November 13, 1998 9:44:36 (below).

Subject:	 Wedgepod/Bogen Tripod
Sent:	Sunday, November 15, 1998 9:58:48
From:	john.s.myers@gte.net (John S. Myers)
I have a Bogen tripod with a 3126 fluid head.  This arrangement works
for the ETX, but it somewhat less than sturdy for the astrophotos I've
been taking.  The biggest problem is the slight "give" between the fluid
head and the ETX.

I understand I can remove the head and mount the Wedgepod.  Do you
believe this will be more satisfactory?

Maybe I'd be better off just buying the Meade ETX tripod.


Steve Myers

Subject:	 RA Question
Sent:	Saturday, November 14, 1998 13:37:58
From:	gventuro@netup.cl (Gustavo Venturo Rivera)
Hi, I have the follow  problem, after I've aligned the ETX  and turned
on the motor drive,  I focus an star (which i know its RA and Dec
coordinates) I check the Dec value with the Dec setting circle, i put
R.A. setting circle with the value of the star i focused, but after a
few minutes when i'm going to check the value of RA circle, the value i
put has gone, How can i mantain the same RA value in the time ( the
motor drive is turn on, the scope is aligned)

Mike here: There is a similar question about this near the top of the Feedback Archive for October 1998 page and a good response near the bottom of this Feedback page.

Subject:	 Tips
Sent:	Saturday, November 14, 1998 12:10:48
From:	mcrc@fortwayne.infi.net (Mick Chidester)
Shutan Camera and Video sells a nice eyepiece holder dust cap for $.99.
Order two and use one for the eyepiece holder and the other for the open
end on your barlow lens.

I've been looking for a case for my Meade field tripod and have finally
found one.  I got a soft, compound bow case for $12 at K-Mart.  The
tripod fits perfectly.  The only drawback to this is that the case is

Luke Chidester

Subject:	 Thank you
Sent:	Saturday, November 14, 1998 11:56:07
From:	ericball@globalnet.co.uk (Eric Ball)
I almost purchased an ETX last Christmas after originally visiting your
excellent site, only other more pressing demands on my finances stopped
me. I have continued to visit your site regularly and am constantly both
impressed and delighted by the wonderful images you and your
contributors are capable of capturing with the ETX. Thank you for
sharing your hobby and interest, it's certainly made me determined to
eventually own one of these wonderful devices as soon as possible.

Best regards,

Eric Ball 

Subject:	 Pictor 208XT on the ETX
Sent:	Friday, November 13, 1998 21:14:22
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
Hi Mike, the site updates look great!

Just wanted to reply to the question from signsgalore@ccgnv.net about
how to connect the Pictor 208XT to the ETX. Just use the Meade #64
T-Adapter on the rear port of the ETX. Remove the 1.25" Barrel adapter
from the Pictor and the #64 screws right into it!
Jordan Blessing L1 Master Tech
Maker of LX-50 Dec Fix Kits & 
ETX Dual Axis Drive Correctors 

  LX-50 & ETX Owners Come Take a Look:
[LX-50 Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products]

Subject:	(no subject)
Sent:	Friday, November 13, 1998 21:10:59
From:	Giggshome@aol.com
I'm just starting out, having done some reading and spoken to a few
astronomers, and I still don't know if I should purchase a refractor or
reflector(Meade 4500 (4.5").  I know about the need to do some minor
maintenance on a reflector but should this be a consideration?  After
all,  I really just want the "best view" of the moon, planets and nearby
stars; galaxies would be nice but I guess you can't see everything with
a $500-600 telescope. Should I narrow my choice to an ETX or a Meade 395
refractor (3.5") with or without a motor drive. I've spoken with Meade
and they say they sell far more ETX's than anything else in this price
range.  But should I just be a sheep and follow the crowd or are there
really significant differences?  I'm aware of the convenience and
portability of the ETX, but I would still have to get a tripod.  And are
the manual controls on the 395 easier to handle than the motor drive on
the ETX?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Alan Schaffer
Mike here: I have no experience with the Meade refractors. For the objective size and focal length, the ETX will provide the better views. And it is more portable.

Subject:	 Solar filters
Sent:	Friday, November 13, 1998 17:03:22
From:	RonMcCafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty)
My wife went to buy me an ETX solar filter today.  According to the
local Nature Company Meade has stopped making solar filters due to
pending lawsuits.  Evidently people are damaging their eyes from
non-detectable defects in the filter.

Have you heard anything about this?

Ron McCafferty

P.S.  Can't send you email without mentioning what a great website
you've made.
Mike here: Someone else mentioned that Meade wasn't doing solar filters but many others are. Check the Accessories - Filters page for some reviews.

Subject:	 etx and ccd camera
Sent:	Friday, November 13, 1998 11:31:27
From:	signsgalore@ccgnv.net (Signs Galore)
I just bought a pictor 208xt ccd. How do I attach it to the back photo
port on the ETX? Do I use a standard SC t-adapter?
Mike here: You'll probably need the Shutan SCT Accessory Adapter.

Subject:	 Finder
Sent:	Friday, November 13, 1998 9:44:36
From:	gisela@tiac.net (Joe Dickson)
I'm hoping that you can help me. 
I'm 69 years old, not to many years from "the home".  I bought an ETX,
along with an additional eyepiece, right angle finder adaptor.  I
purchased the ETX tripod.  Can still manage the additional weight, but
not much more.

My problem?  I cannot for the life of me find what I want to view thru
the finder.  During the day, I can find what I want - everything is
lined up properly.  The crosshairs finally point exactly to the subject
I'm viewing.

When I take it out at night - There is Jupiter bright as all get out.  I
position the ETX - do my best to align it in the direction of Jupiter
but I CANNOT FIND IT IN THE FINDER.  I have gone out for three nights,
spend a half an hour trying to get Jupiter in the finder and then have
to give up.  IS THERE A SECRET that I don't know of on how to use this
finder?.  I go to bed at night depressed because all the money I have
poured into this thing has yielded a black blank sky.  I am willing at
this point to spend more money if I have to to be able to use it.  I am
a strict amateur and not very adept at machinery and certainly do not
want to mar my instrument by drilling holes into it but I am open to any
suggestions.  PLEASE HELP  -  I just want to see Jupiter - Saturn, Mars
and possibly Andromeda before the eyes dim for good. - Thanks

Joe Dickson, Burlington, Massachusetts   e-mail:  gisela@tiac.net
Mike here: Your problems are similar to the problems I've seen when using a right-angle or 90-degree finder. You are trying to locate an object, not by looking in the direction of the object with your eyes, but perpendicular to that direction. And that is unnatural. When using the straight-through finderscopes you don't have this problem. But sometimes, even the straight-through finders are a problem if they magnify the image. Hence the 1x finders like the Telrad and Rigel Systems QuickFinder work out better for some users. Search the site for Telrad and QuickFinder, you'll find lots of user comments. There are also reviews on the Accessories - Finders page. But if you want to continue to use the right angle finder, you'll have to learn to sight along the side of the ETX to get it pointed in the general direction of the object you want to view. Using the finder mounting bracket front and rear screws can help (if you can see them in the dark). Once you have the ETX roughly pointed in the right direction, use the view through the finder to refine the object's position. Use SMALL adjustments in the scope position.

Subject:	 Keep the deep-sky object reports coming!
Sent:	Friday, November 13, 1998 5:37:52
From:	mark.ledingham@ub.uit.no (Mark Ledingham)
We ETX owners are quick to comment on the more technical aspects of our
scopes and, hoping to maximize our seeing potentials, our relentless
enquiries of this kind never cease to broaden the number of "new" topics
which we seem to find of some interest. Our curiosity, of course, is
what makes this site fascinating. And our ability to be fascinated would
be somewhat limited without Mike's hardy maintenance of this site!

What would be nice to see, however, are more deep-sky reports from
ETX-ies out there. There must be more of you who could think of giving
some feedback on objects that you have recently observed? I know that
there have been some accounts of this kind, but I do think that it makes
this site all the more interesting to read when I am able to compare my
own observations with those of others throughout the world. Our little
scope gives us opportunities to see things that the great majority of
people never even bother looking into, so if I have any kind of
encouragement to give others, it must be to keep your deep-sky reports

Maybe I should begin myself by telling how I was out on Tuesday (24
November), at 00:30 UT, in the light of a half-moon, and observed what I
thought to be the outline of the California Nebula (with a nebula
filter, rightfully so!) and the Rosette Nebula. I don't know how likely
this is, with an ETX, but considering that the night sky was partly
washed out by the moon's bright glare made this feat all the more
intriguing. These were observed from a small urban area in northern
Norway, at a latitude of nearly 70 degrees north. But, to tie this in
with my initial plea - is something like this possible with the ETX?
Have others observed similar things? And what do most of us enjoy
observing most? Come on, you guys, let's hear from you!

Clear and aurora-free skies,
Mark Ledingham

Subject:	 ETX Resolution
Sent:	Thursday, November 12, 1998 19:07:30
From:	jladd@altavista.net (John Crockett)
After looking over your site I am beginning to wonder if my ETX is
performing as it should. Following on the review of the ETX in Astronomy
magazine, I have been trying for days now to resolve the doubles of
epsilon Lyra. I have the 26mm and an 11mm TelVue and I can't see any
doubling at all. Not a trace. I admit I'm new to this game. Do I need
higher power to resolve those doubles? One of your commenters talks
about easily resolving them at 96x. I don't know what to do. I hate to
think I'm not getting the quality I should. Any thoughts on how else to
check the resolving power of my ETX?

Thanks for your site. It's great.

John Crockett
Mike here: There are a lot of factors in attempting to resolve double stars or even see details on the Moon's surface. Not only are the optics alignment and cleaniness involved (both the ETX itself and the eyepieces used), but also the seeing (atmospheric stability), thermal equilibrium in the telescope itself (has it cooled down inside?), and of course, your own visual acuity. In general, the reports here are accurate for all users but sometimes only for that user's combination of factors. And of course, you have to know to some degree what you expect to see. For some double stars, you may be seeing both stars and just not recognize them because you expected them to be closer or further apart, depending upon the magnification used. If you can look at Saturn, even with the 26mm eyepiece and not see the rings distinctly then something is wrong. But which of the above factors is causing the problem will have to be investigated. For example, if you just took the ETX outside on a cold winter night, don't expect a perfectly stable image for 20-30 minutes while the air in the scope cools down. Similarly, if you are looking across a heated rooftop (interior heat or just daytime heating from the sun) or a parking lot, don't expect stable views. If all the non-optics factors are OK, then you can wonder about the optics.

Subject:	 etx case
Sent:	Thursday, November 12, 1998 19:01:44
From:	mintaka@webtv.net
anyone looking for a sturdy low cost case for their etx should check out
a costco outlet. they are selling a small real oak wood tool box with
chrome hinges and latches. the box measures 18" x 9" x 8" which makes a
snug fit for an etx. by removing the top shelf and the moulding that
supports it i was able to include some foam to support the etx. i find
that i can get the tripod legs and extra eyepieces+ in the case as well.
a handy chap could purchase these boxes and do a standard refit and
offer them at a profit. just send me a small royality. the best is the
price - $19.95 for a handsone all wood box strong enough to stand on.


Subject:	 ETX alignment
Sent:	Thursday, November 12, 1998 9:37:53
From:	palladin@iquest.net (Richard Fried)
I bought an ETX about a month ago while on vacation in Tuscon, AZ.  I
like its' portability.  Anyway, back home again in Indiana I have been
using it on those few clear nights we have.  The other day I was
watching a deer which was about 1000 yds away.  I was standing on a
stool looking through the 90 eyepiece (I have the ETX on a tripod and
didn't want to disturb the settings for night work), it occurred to me
to pull the back cap off and just have a look.  I held the 26mm eyepiece
over the opening and moved back and forth to focus (this was only a
test).  Then I just took a peek into the scope w/o an eyepiece.  I was
surprised to find that the object mirror wasn't centered (colliminated?)
 I used to have a cheapo 3" reflector and this was something I had to
keep an eye on. First, should I be concerned with this, and second, if
so is it adjustable? Your feed back will be greatly appreciated.

Mike here: You probably don't want try the collimation yourself. If it is required it should go back to Meade. If you are brave and want to try it, you can search the site for "collimation" and you'll get some hits. As to whether it needs it or not is not easily determined just by looking at the mirror. You'd have to perform some tests to determine if things are off and how badly they are off. I know I saw a reference to some straight forward collimation tests that can be performed but I have lost the reference. I'll post your message on the next Feedback page update (hopefully Friday evening). Perhaps someone will have a good web reference; then I'll add that to the Tech Tips page.

Subject:	 ETX question
Sent:	Wednesday, November 11, 1998 22:20:09
From:	goat@netcom.com (Gary)
I have been looking around at all the various ETX sites and was
wondering if there is a source for just plain old UV haze filters that
will fit the ETX.  The idea is, of course, to protect the ETX's front
lens. Any ideas?


Subject:	 Re:  EyePieces and Suggestions -Reply
Sent:	Wednesday, November 11, 1998 14:19:13
From:	DNEAT@allstate.com (Dain Neater)
Thanks for your help, I managed to clean my eyepiece (I think). I am
going to try it out as soon as the weather stabilizes around here.  The
first clear night in weeks and the wind was blowing about 30 m.p.h. As
too my 9.7 mm meade 4000 super plossl.

I too thought it might just be some other light source, but if I don't
tighten the screw and then rotate the eye piece while looking through
it, the out of focus light seems to follow with my rotation exactly.  I
am just a beginner at this, so I am not too sure, but if the cause was
another light source, wouldn't this out of focus light be stationary.

Just a thought....

Thanks a million

Dain Neater

Subject:	 Eye Piece cleaning...
Sent:	Tuesday, November 10, 1998 12:16:57
From:	jose.manuel.fernandez@sap-ag.de (Jose Manuel Fernandez)
Hi, I've read some mails on your site, but I haven't found a definitive
answer to my question: What is the best way to clean an eyepiece? Being
our ETX a family scope, it has to undergo certain stress namely my
daughter sneezing right on the eyepiece. Now the piece shows dry drops
of sneeze and it does interfere with the quality of the images. Being
soiled as it is, what would be the best way to get it clean without
damaging the coatings?

Thanks, and once again congratulations on your site.
Jose Manuel Fernandez
Mexico City, Mexico
Mike here: Search the site for clean", you'll find some suggestions on various pages. Bottom line: First, be certain there are no dust particles on the surface (use a hand-blower, available from camera stores) to blow off any dust before applying any pressure with a cloth or tissue. Then use ONE small drop (or less) of camera lens cleaner (not laundry detergent!) and a lint-free cloth or tissue.

Subject:	 Thanks and an RA Question
Sent:	Monday, November 9, 1998 11:54:24
From:	cdumas@capecod.net (Chris Dumas)
I just wanted to thank you for a great site!  The information you have
here really helped me decide to go with the ETX as my first scope.  So
far, I have been very pleased with its simplicity and optical quality.
One qustion though, after aligning the mount do I need to turn off the
motor drive when manually moving the scope, or is unlocking the RA knob
enough (while leaving the motor on).  I don't want to cause any internal
gear damage. Thanks again for your efforts with this page!   Chris.
Mike here: You can leave the motor running with the RA lock unlocked and while moving the ETX manually or with the RA knob.

Subject:	 New page format
Sent:	Monday, November 9, 1998 7:55:49
From:	seppo_pietikainen@hp.com (Seppo Pietikainen)
Your 'old' pages were not bad at all. These new ones show that even very
good can be made even better!

Thanks Mike,

Seppo P.

|Seppo Pietikainen              e-mail:    seppo_pietikainen@hp.com |
|HP-Consulting                  Telephone: 358-9-88722537           |
|Hewlett-Packard Oy             Switch:    358-9-88721              |
|Piispankalliontie 7            Assistant: 358-9-88722484           |
|02200 ESPOO                    TELNET:    872-2537                 |
|FINLAND                        Fax:       358-9-8872277            |
Mike here: Thanks. Most of the changes were behind the scenes to allow for more improvements. I brought everything into CyberStudio, a web design package, and made the visible and invisible changes. I have many more improvements in mind.

Subject:	 Places to buy
Sent:	Sunday, November 8, 1998 18:50:43
From:	jeddins@mail.bcpl.net (Joseph M. Eddins Jr.)
Was hoping that you might know of a web site or catalog with favorable
pricing on the ETX. The only place I have found it is The Nature Company
for $595 US. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
Joseph M. Eddins Jr.
3111 N. Calvert Street
Apt. 3
Baltimore, MD 21218
email - jeddins@mail.bcpl.net
website - http://www.bcpl.net/~jeddins
Mike here: Most dealers sell for retail price, with no discounts. But if you've read that recent Feedbacks, JC Penney and Service Merchandise have (or had) some good discounts.

Subject:	 More goodies needed for my ETX
Sent:	Saturday, November 7, 1998 13:40:51
From:	hakamakd@up.lib.mi.us (Dave Hakamaki)
I just purchased my ETX through the Penney's 25% sale.  It came
to $468.00 with shipping and tax.  Now, by saving about $150.00,
I want to pick up a few eyepieces.  I've read the section on
eyepieces and have a few ideas, but want to make the most of my
money.  I would appreciate any suggestions on the best eyepiece
(power and field of view) for viewing the planets.  Also, what is
the max. power eyepiece the ETX should utilize?  What Barlow lens
should be purchased (2X, 3X or 5X)?
Keep up the good work.  I've learned more about my ETX by this
site than I could have by trial and error in a year's time.


Mike here: Something in the neighborhood of 7-10mm is a good choice. That is about one-third to one-fourth of the 26mm that comes with the ETX. Then a 2X Barlow gives you a good range of magnifications. The "accepted" max mag is 60x per inch of aperture. So, with the ETX being about 3.5 inches, that means 210x is the theoretical max. But on bright extended objects you can do much higher. So users have even reported exceeding 300x with good seeing.

Subject:	 ETX tripod?
Sent:	Saturday, November 7, 1998 11:26:23
From:	sjacobs@ainet.com (Steve Jacobs)
I'm a prospective ETX buyer and I wonder if there is any useful
way to use the included table top tripod. It seems to me that
most tables one might drag outside would be wobbly and on the
ground the scope would be far too low. How about the hood of my
Chevy Suburban? Should I just figure on getting a real tripod?
thanks... steve jacobs

Mike here: Some users do use their car and truck hoods. Seems to work OK once the engine cools off. I used to use an old but sturdy microwave table on wheels. It worked pretty good. Plus had lots of room to spreadout charts and shelf space for accessories. There is a photo on the Buyer/New User Tips page.

Subject:	 Doskocil Case & Plano Box
Sent:	Saturday, November 7, 1998 9:49:53
From:	DaveNDee@webtv.net (David Muth)
After reading your product reviews of cases for the ETX, I
ordered an extra large Doskocil Seal Tight case from B&H Photo.
It's perfect! It's very heavy duty and just the right size. I
used the ETX box insert as a pattern for removing the foam
squares and got a great fit on the first try. I'll probably buy
another Seal Tight case for the equatorial head, weights and 8 by
50 finderscope for my Celeston C102 HD. There's probably enough
room in there for the drive corrector and battery too.
This morning, while looking for the Plano accessory box at K-Mart, 
I found a Plano tackle box, Model# 5257, $19.99, that has a
partitioned upper compartment that can be used for eyepieces,
filters, etc. and a lower compartment for bulkier items such as
Astro Goggles, tools and most anything else that wont fit in the
top part. Both upper and lower compartments have adjustable
dividers. This box is much more convenient than the traditional
style tackle box I've been using.

In conclusion, I'd like to say, Mike your ETX site is MIGHTY
indeed! Thanks for all the invaluable advice and information you
provide to us newby astronomers. : )

Subject:	 Barlow question
Sent:	Saturday, November 7, 1998 8:41:43
From:	jgragle@abcs.com (John G. Ragle)
I have purchased an ETX for my father for Christmas (his second
telescope).  Various family members are wanting to get him some
accessories and I have been charged with the research (I'm
ignorant).  I have already used your very informative site to
choose a couple of additional eyepieces, a case and a tripod.  I
want to get him a Barlow and had pretty well decided on the Meade
when I read some positive info on the TeleVue 2x, which is twice
the price.  Have you or any of your contributors had any
experience with this Barlow, and could it be worth twice the

Mike here: I see nothing wrong with the Meade Barlow (discussed on the Accessories - Eyepieces page). I don't have any experience with the Televue Barlow.

Subject:	 Thanks!
Sent:	Friday, November 6, 1998 21:57:22
From:	kboudre@iamerica.net (Kurt Boudreaux)
Thanks for the quick response to "tripod?" which I sent the other
day.  I apologize for not thoroughly checking out your site
enough to see the assorted tripod solutions for the ETX.  I HAVE
done so since, however, and now feel confident about providing my
budding astronomy-bent family[not to mention my SELF] with an ETX
as a first scope.  So thanks for you response, and your
cyber-presence with regard to the ETX.  Best of luck in all your
pursuits.  Later,       Kurt

Subject:	 EyePieces and Suggestions
Sent:	Friday, November 6, 1998 7:30:05
From:	DNEAT@allstate.com (Dain Neater)
First a question:
In August I bought my ETX from  The Nature Company and I have
been nothing but pleased, a while ago(before I really knew
anything...before I found this site) I noticed there was
particles and even a finger print on my 26mm plossl eyepiece.  I
of course thought no problem I will just wipe it off.  I did and
I tried to be careful, but now if I look at the lens in light I
can tell that while most of the surface is a greenish tint(I am
assuming this is the coating) there are discolorations all over
the lens and if I focus on a light(I haven't seen a star in weeks
around here)  there seems to be a kind of halo around the light. 
I am assuming that this is coming from my mistreatment of my
eyepiece.  My question is, Is there anything that can be done
about this.  Can these coatings be re done, or do I just have to
go out and spend another 79.95?  I haven't really had the chance
to use it much on the night sky , but I do remember, the last
time I took the ETX out and looked at Jupiter and I assumed I was
just having bad seeing conditions(still could have been).   I
would much rather spend on a tripod or another eyepiece.  If my
only route is buying a new piece, will I see that much difference
between a series 3000 plossl and the series 4000 plossl?
Another eyepiece question.
I just purchased a 9.7mm Meade 4000 super plossl and when I
looked through it(on the light again) I noticed a small ring of
light (similar to being out of focus on a star point) off center
of the in focus image.  It doesn't show up on my 26mm at all, and
if I rotate the eyepiece the ring seems to follow my rotations. 
I assume that this is a defective eyepiece and it should be
returned.  (Is this correct?)

Any help is appreciated.  Your site is one of the most
informative and helpful sites I've ever seen.  You should be

Dain Neater

Mike here: I doubt you have damaged the coating but you may have some residual oil on the surface. That would account for the discolorations you see. If you use lens cleaning solution and a good clean cloth or soft tissue, you may be able to remove the oil. Use a SMALL amount of fluid, less than one drop if you can manage it, and don't push down hard on the lens surface while cleaning. If you are nervous about this, take the eyepiece back to The Nature Company store and ask them (nicely) to clean it. If they screw it up, they can replace it! On my 9.7mm eyepiece I see a flat bright area (light out of focus) when I look at a light through just the eyepiece. Could you be seeing a reflection inside the eyepiece tube from another light source? I don't have any series 3000 eyepieces but I doubt you'll see much difference with either the 3000 or 4000 series when used on the ETX.

Subject:	 f/6.3 Reducer-Corrector
Sent:	Thursday, November 5, 1998 19:20:38
From:	john.s.myers@gte.net (John S. Myers)
Celestron sell as f/6.3 Reducer-Corrector which reduces the focal
length of SCT scopes.  Have you any experience with this?
Steve Myers

Mike here: I have no experience with the Celestron but you can read about the Wide-Field Adapter from Shutan Camera & Video on the Showcase Products page.

Subject:	ETX red dot sight
Sent:	Thursday, November 5, 1998 18:22:30
From:	SeaOttrz@aol.com
I wrote you last week about the Daisy sight I modified for my
ETX... I should have surfed around more, there was an excellent
article at jblessin site!  I'll follow his lead about removing
the coating... I tried mine for the first time tonight and it
worked perfectly... but my intensity is not adjustable... I'll
fix that!  And he's right, the coating is in the way... dims the
stars too much.

Subject:	 Yet another new ETX user.
Sent:	Thursday, November 5, 1998 15:00:02
From:	mcrc@fortwayne.infi.net (Mick Chidester)
Thanks for the great page!  The info on this site has allowed me
to get an ETX for $449 at the JC Penny's 25% off sale.  Thanks
again!  My biggest concern so far is the accumulation of dust and
dew marks on the lens.  Is there any way to clean the lens
WITHOUT doing ANY damage?  I haven't tried anything yet but I was
thinking of using a spray bottle with distilled water to clean
the optics....do you think this would work?  Thanks again,
Luke Chidester

Mike here: I hope you haven't accumulated that much dust since you just got the scope. Most people over clean their optics, which can damage the coatings and even scratch the surfaces. So, unless you can detect degradation in images, don't do anything yet. But if you must clean, search the site for "clean"; you will some tips.

Subject:	 First Telescope
Sent:	Thursday, November 5, 1998 13:11:39
From:	snowdawg@infomagic.com (Michael L. Cummings)
I am hoping that you can help me. I am trying to decide which
telescope to purchase for my first one. I have narrowed it down
to three, all of which are MEADE products, but the one I seem to
really be leaning to is the ETX. Your comments would be greatly
Thanks again for your help.


Mike here: My comments are all over this ETX web site. And since I've devoted some much time and effort to a web site on the ETX, you can probably guess I think it is an excellent scope!

Subject:	 personal query
Sent:	Thursday, November 5, 1998 10:08:36
From:	fuziface@webtv.net (melanie jordan)
LOVE YOUR SITE!!!  I have been wanting to purchase the Meade ETX,
for quite some time, I am ready to purchase one, but I need to
know ballpark about how much they cost!  Could you please help
    Thank You very, very much!
  Have a wonderful day!!!!!!!

Mike here: $595 retail. Check the further down this Feedback page and the October 1998 Feedback page in the Feedback archives for some special deals at some retailers.

Subject:	 Solar observing
Sent:	Thursday, November 5, 1998 7:49:45
From:	jgwhite@us.ibm.com (John G White)
One of the contributors to your ETX page said he had to scan the
sky to find the sun with the finder scope covered.  An easy (and
safe) way to do this is to look at the shadow of your scope when
you aim at the sun.  The optical tube is pointed directly at the
sun when the shadow is as small (and round) as possible.  It is
easier with a longer tube, but still workes fine with the ETX.
John White
Phone:   (303) 939-3505  (t/l 263)
e-mail:  jgwhite@us.ibm.com           PROFS: IBMUSM50(JGWHITE)
IBM Global Services, Network Services. Service Delivery Center - West

Mike here: I also use the shadow method but I align the shadows of the front and back screw heads on the Finderscope mounting.

Subject:	 Experience with the ETX
Sent:	Wednesday, November 4, 1998 19:44:15
It's me SUKUN from Bangkok, Thailand. I wrote to your site some
time in July asking about info. on the ETX.? Now, I have a friend
purchase the ETX from the Nature Wonders shop in Oregon. It is
much cheaper than getting from Meade Regional Dealer in Malaysia
and I hope that the ETX won't cause a lot of trouble as returning
it to USA for repair is not fun.
I got the scope about 3 weeks ago and have tried on the MOON as
it is the most easy object.? I found it very satisfactory. Next,
I looked at Jupiter and was able to see two cloud belts and its
4-5 moons.? The view at 48X with the supplied 26 mm eyepiece is
very clear.? Saturn is my next object and the rings are great.?
At 48X the cassini division is not quite visible, but I put in
the 2X barlow lens and the cassini division came into the field.?
I powered up to 258X using the barlow & 9.7 mm eyepiece and the
image is still clear for both Jupiter and Saturn.??

On the Halloween midnight  (31 Oct - Thailand : GMT +7).  I set
up the scope to witness the Lunar Occultation on Jupiter.  I was
lucky to be able to 'see' the event as most part of Bangkok was
covered with clouds. It was fuzzy as there were some thin clouds
keep moving around.  All four Jupiter's large moons were
invisible during the Lunar occultation.  Not so lucky to see the
Jupiter coming out from behind the moon. Weather in Bangkok
should be clearing very soon, maybe by mid Nov. for the Leonid
meteor shower on the night of Nov. 17.

On polar alignment at my latitude, nothing much can be done
without making a wedge or mounting on a field tripod.  However, I
just tried to extend the middle leg to its full length and put it
in the lower hole.  The scope seems not very stable so I put some
weight (big books) on the end of the middle leg to 'stabilize'
it.  I 'aligned' the tube pointing north and turned on the drive.
To my surprise, I found the tracking working just 'OK'.  At 48X,
the moon/Jupiter/Saturn are in the observing field even up to
half an hour.  But I have to adjust the Dec. knob to bring the
object into the middle of the field.

One question, I feel that, when using the Dec. adjustment knob,
it makes about quarter or half free turn before engaging the
internal gear to tilt the tube up/down.  This is especially when
changing the turning direction (e.g. from clockwise to
counterclockwise).  Is this normal? If not, what can be done?

Finally, the info. in your sites is very useful for ETX users. 
Next, I am thinking of getting a Solar filter,  Lunar filter, a
UWA 6.7 mm eyepiece to enjoy more of the ETX. (By the way, is
there any obstruction from the finderscope with the UWA 6.7 mm


Best regards,
Sukun T.

Mike here: I suggest you check Jordon Blessing's ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products page for info on the DEC control. I don't know about the UWA 6.7mm interfering with the finderscope. Several people have this eyepiece and I don't recall any complaints.

Subject:	 Re: thank you
Sent:	Wednesday, November 4, 1998 13:29:44
From:	j.bosmans@ping.be (j.bosmans)
Would one be able to use a CCD camera on a ETX?
I'm sorry I keep bothering you with all these questions but I'm
new at this and I'm learning.

Thank you very much.

				Jan Bosmans.

Mike here: Some users are using CCD cameras with the ETX. Search the site for "CCD".

Subject:	 2 "reviews" for ETX toys
Sent:	Wednesday, November 4, 1998 12:23:39
From:	jgwhite@us.ibm.com (John G White)
I have used Celestron's MicroGuide Eyepiece for several years. 
The only problem I had with it was that the light was too bright
to follow faint guide stars.  There is a rheostat on it, but even
at the lowest setting, the light was too bright.  I fixed this by
unscrewing the rheostat and put a small piece of red plastic over
the LED.   It dimmed the light enough that the dim setting really
is fairly dim, but the bright setting is still plenty bright. 
This isn't as dangerous as it sounds - you have to unscrew it to
change the batteries anyway.  You aren't interfering with the
optics at all.
Thanks again,
Phone:   (303) 939-3505  (t/l 263)
e-mail:  jgwhite@us.ibm.com           PROFS: IBMUSM50(JGWHITE)
IBM Global Services, Network Services. Service Delivery Center - West

Subject:	 ETX & Cold Weather!
Sent:	Wednesday, November 4, 1998 12:00:11
From:	jsdailey@indy.net (Jim Dailey)
First and foremost, you should receive royalties from Meade for
your site! I have not yet purchase my scope, but am pretty sure I
will, however, I was wondering if this is the time of year to
I know nothing about astronomy, but do know that the winter skies
are crisp and clear,  which would lead me to believe that
astronomy would be prime. . . .  yes? no? maybe?

What adverse effects does the cold weather have on these scopes?
I am certain the batteries for the motor drive will suffer the
same fate as my camera batteries, but what about the optics? Did
I miss it on your page, or are there any AC adapters for the
motor drives? Are there any procedures that one should follow
when bring a warm scope into the cold night air? How about bring
the cold scope into the warmth of the house?

Any assistance would be appreciated.

Jim Dailey

Mike here: Regarding cold weather use of the ETX, reports from other users indicate no problems. However, as you note, battery life will be reduced. Adding an AC adapter would seem to be a simple mod. Any takers? When going from inside out, you'll want to let the scope reach temperature equilibrium for the best possible viewing. Coming back inside, if dew was a problem, let the scope air-dry before covering the optics.

Subject:	 tripod?
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 21:14:59
From:	kboudre@iamerica.net (Kurt Boudreaux)
I'm totally new to astronomy. I talked with a local "expert"
about the ETX. He expressed serious reservations about a
"tabletop" unit. Are they significant in my case? Something tells
me that bumping into the "table" would jiggle the ETX badly, with
regard to the celestial image.  I will buy something within the
next few weeks, and I'm trying to make an educated, unbiased
purchase [if that's possible]. Any reply would be greatly
Thanks,         Kurt

Mike here: As you can tell by looking through this ETX site, there are many tripod solutions for the ETX if you don't want to set it on a table. On the other hand, "table" is misleading. Any flat surface will do. Of course, any telescope not on a sturdy mounting will vibrate when bumped. So the ETX is no different in that regard. If you want excellent optical quality in a lightweight, relatively inexpensive, portable, and very capable (as seen by all the various reports on this ETX site) telescope, the ETX is an excellent choice.

Subject:	 Manfrotto tripods
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 17:33:05
From:	davidthi@lava.net (David Takamiya)
Regarding Rick Stankiewicz's (stankiri@epo.gov.on.ca) question on
why nobody mentions Manfrotto tripods:They certainly ARE
mentioned on your site, Mike, but they are most frequently
referred to as "Bogen" tripods. Manfrotto is the manufacturer (in
Italy, I believe), but in the United States the tripods are
distributed by the Bogen Photo Company in New Jersey; hence,
"Bogens". Same thing. Anyone interested should search for both
"Bogen" and "Bogan" (for misspellings) in the Feedback Archives
to find references to these tripods.
I was about to get the 410 Compact Gear Head for my Bogen to make
polar aligning simpler, but I'll wait for the reviews of Meade's
ETX tripod, especially since I can buy Meade's tripod for less
than the geared head costs by itself (unless I buy it cheap from
B&H Photo in New York). I'm anxious to see your personal review
of the Meade ETX tripod, Mike.
Thanks again for a great site.

David T. of Hawaii

Mike here: My Meade Tripod review should go online sometime this weekend (7-8 November).

Subject:	 fyi - ETX for $565 at Service Merchandise
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 13:57:03
From:	peter.khor@worldnet.att.net (Peter Khor)
Just got a Service Merchandise flyer in the mail; says that all
telescopes on sale (mostly overpriced Meade Junk).  But  there's
one that stands out - ETX for $565!  In addition, if you're
disciplined in making monthly payments, they're offering 6 months
zero interest - making it about $100 a month.
Peter Khor

Subject:	 ETX page
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 12:24:05
From:	jgwhite@us.ibm.com (John G White)
I really like your ETX web page and have referred to it often.
Do you know of anyone who has used the Bright Sky Wedge for the
ETX?  It allows you to set it for any angle between 0 and 90
degrees, so I could use it for terrestrial viewing and when
traveling further south than JMI's wedge will allow. The brace is
on one side instead of in the middle (as with JMI's), so I am
curious about its stability.

Thanks - John White
Phone:   (303) 939-3505  (t/l 263)
e-mail:  jgwhite@us.ibm.com           PROFS: IBMUSM50(JGWHITE)
IBM Global Services, Network Services. Service Delivery Center - West

Subject:	 Choices
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 12:09:47
From:	rms@ustek.com (Robert M Simon)
I have not used a telescope for 30 years.  Am considering both
the ETX and the Celestron G5 or C5+.  Can you enlighten me with a
Robert M. Simon
Columbus, OH

Subject:	 Bright Sky wedge & 45 degree erecting prism
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 8:57:45
From:	bayliff@spot.colorado.edu (C. Bayliff)
Has anyone used the Bright Sky wedge for the ETX?  Since it can
go from 0 to 90 degrees, I can use it further south than JMI's
wedge and could use it for terrestrial observing.  Having a
single support to one side makes me nervous about its stability.
John White   (jgwhite@us.ibm.com)

Mike here: According to their new ads, the JMI Wedgepod now goes from 0 to 90 degrees latitude.

Subject:	  Information for Multi coated optics
Sent:	Tuesday, November 3, 1998 4:50:26
From:	saatchi@nic.mpt.com.mk (saatchi)
Please inform me, were I can find more information for : What is
coated optics or Multi coated optics.
Also I have one Question: Please tell me when I must RE coated
the optics of my ETX.

Thank you in Advance.

Best Regards,


Mike here: Recoating your ETX optics: hopefully never if you take reasonable care of your system.

Subject:	 New ETX toys
Sent:	Monday, November 2, 1998 23:05:43
From:	bnakata@cybcon.com (Brian Nakata)
My compliments on the website!  I look at it just about every
night to see if anything new has been posted.
I'm a recent ETX owner (have had the scope for a couple of weeks)
and got to test out some new accessories tonight as the clouds
parted enough here in the Portland, OR sky long enough to look at
the moon and Jupiter.

Mike here: Normally I get updates posted every 3-4 days. Sometimes more frequently but that is rare in comparison to the 3-4 day updates. Of course, you can always register with NetMinder (on the ETX Home Page) to get automatic notifications of page updates (ie, when I update the menu page). Brian's reviews are available on the Accessories - Finderscopes and and on the new (available this weekend) Accessories - Tripods pages.

Subject:	 Collimation Tools
Sent:	Monday, November 2, 1998 12:39:46
From:	TSpina@sr.csg.com (Spina, Tony)
I would first like to start off and say that this site has been
very useful to me since I decided to buy an ETX, keep up the
great work!
The question I had was in regards to collimation tools. Do any
exist for the ETX? I have a slight concern that my scope may have
a collimation problem, and I would like to verify it. Are there
also any online documents that talk out this problem and how to
visually test for collimation, in what you should see / not see
when testing? (i.e. Star Test).

Thanks Again

Subject:	 J. C. Penney catalog sales
Sent:	Monday, November 2, 1998 12:24:50
From:	MBurnett@fmax.com (Burnett, Mark (FMAC Century City))
The information on getting an ETX through the Penney catalog was
great. Except I just missed the 25% off catalog sale.  Does
anyone know when the next catalog sale will be?

Subject:	 My Finderscope solution
Sent:	Monday, November 2, 1998 11:52:39
From:	ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman)
My name is Reagan Herman. I saw your letter on Mike Weasner's web
site. My solution to finder scope problems was getting a Telrad.
Most people probably think it's too big for the ETX. But, I
already had it and I've had reasonably good luck with it. The
only problem I've had was one of balance when looking at
something near the horizon. Of course when looking at anything
near the north celestial pole you still have to be a Gymnast to
get under the scope. Sorry can't help you there. To mount the
Telrad I took off the existing finder scope and mount. And then
used zip ties (those plastic locking straps they use to tie wire
bundles) to mount the Telrad base plate to the tube. No holes and
no sticky stuff on the tube. Zip ties rank right up there with
baling wire and duct tape! Since I'm right eyed, I mounted it
slightly to the right side of the eyepiece. But, not far enough
to get in the way of the fork mount.
Good luck and clear skies.
Reagan Herman

P.S. I chickened out on getting the Orion Barlow and got
the Meade instead. No one at Orion could tell me if it was
compatible with the ETX so I spent the extra $3.

Subject:	 Bravo ETX; Pedestal mount; Binoviewer
Sent:	Monday, November 2, 1998 9:21:15
From:	dave.hodny@lawson.com (Dave Hodny)
I've had an interest in astronomy for decades - since early in
high school. I had owned a Celestron C8 many years ago and used
it in the dark skies of a North Dakota country night. I sold that
scope years ago once I had a family and my priorities /
responsibilities changed. Now my children are older and have the
same interest in astronomy I had. We just purchased an ETX
telescope (for the portability, ease of use, etc.) and I am
amazed at how great the optics perform. The sharp, crisp images
compare favoably to the much larger C8. It is truly an oustanding
scope for its size.
I have not read anything about a pedestal base for the telescope,
but only tripods and tables. I had a pedestal base for my C8 and
it worked great. So I built one for the ETX. (Actually I built a
prototype from wood and a friend who is a welder built the real
one from steel). I used 3" O.D. Steel pipe; 1" square tubing for
the 3 legs; and 1/4" flat steel for a mount plate to bolt on to
the ETX bottom plate (including access to the on/off switch). The
Latitude setting is accomplished the same way as a tripod with a
tongue descending from the mount plate between two tongues coming
up from the tube, then held in position by a bolt and wing nut.
It is a solid, rigid mount with no vibration, yet very portable,
and the small pedestal legs at the bottom are much less in the
way than tripod legs. I'd like to send a picture but don't have a
way - yet.

Many years ago I had ordered a binoviewer for my C8 scope but
returned it because the scope couldn't focus to infinity with it.
But I am intrigued by the comments from JaePbond on 10/28. I
believe it would make quite a difference. Do you have any info
about where one can purchase a binoviewer for less than the mid,
upper $200's that I've seen? That is a very costly investment
considering you also need to purchase matching eyepieces.

I look forward to many years of enjoyment with the ETX. Its
outstanding optical capability combined with its portability make
it a truly great telescope for the casual and hobby astronomer.
Thank you for your fantastic web site. It was your site where I
found out about the J.C. Penney sale and saved over $100 on the

David Hodny

Subject:	 ETX Question
Sent:	Sunday, November 1, 1998 19:27:19
From:	dn15236@navix.net (Dain Neater)
First of all, your site is a great help.  Keep up the good work.
I have had my etx since mid August and have used it many times
and have had no problems.  Recently though I have noticed when I
look through the eyepiece there seems to be some slack in the
declination.  If I put any pressure on the eyepiece will shift
view of the scope up slightly.  It's seems like something is
loose inside.  I was just wondering if anyone has had similar
problems and if this can be fixed without major hassle.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Dain Neater

an otherwise satisfied etx owner

As to the sloppiness in the DEC, it sounds like the DEC lock is not engaging. I've not seen this problem. Check Jordan Blessing's ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products page. There might be something there that helps.

Subject:	 thank you
Sent:	Sunday, November 1, 1998 15:13:08
From:	j.bosmans@ping.be (j.bosmans)
Thank you very much for answering so quickly and givingme some
information.I immediately went to see the astrophotography page.
In it you mentioned Color Quickcam a couple of times.What is it?
Please answer me at the same address j.bosmans@ping.be. 
Again thank you very much.

Mike here: The Quickcam is a small billiard ball sized camera formerly from Connectix, now from Logitech I believe. Costs about $99 and hooks to Macs, iMacs, and PCs.

Subject:	 Re: R.A. adjustment problem
Sent:	Sunday, November 1, 1998 13:48:19
From:	neurobio@ath.forthnet.gr (Panos)
The R.A. circle moves easily, and it moves with the upper base.
Please tell me if you agree with this solution that Luke sent me:
I think I know what you were asking on Weasner's ETX site.  After
polar aligning your scope, center a known object in your scope. 
For example, center the star "Markab" of Pegasus in your
eyepiece.  The coordinates are 230515.  If "Markab" is in your
view, the declination should already be at or around 15 degrees. 
Now turn your RA circle so that it's at 23 hours 5 minutes.  Now
your scope is set.  Now to your question:  The best way that I
have found to keep the setting circles accurate for hours on end
is to reset the RA circle to the object you are looking at before
moving on.  Say that I'm looking at "Betelguese" (055507)  I look
at Betelguese for 20 minutes and my RA circle no longer reads 05
hours 55 minutes.  Well all you have to do is set your RA circle
back to 05 hours 55 minutes before moving on to another object. 
Simple!  I hope this solves your problem!
Luke Chidester

Subject:	 Thanks
Sent:	Sunday, November 1, 1998 12:55:50
From:	lstein@fapo.com (Larry Stein)
I just wanted to thank you for all the great information you
provide and all the work it takes to maintain such a great page. 
I sold my 8" Celestron last month and bought an ETX.  Your page
has been a great source of information.
I have one tip that I received from Scope City when I bought the
ETX.  Fine focusing is a bit difficult due to the vibration
whenever you touch the knob.  I bought a soft plastic cap that
fits over the focusing knob and added a paper clip for leverage. 
I've attached a photo for you to see.

Thanks again,

Larry A. Stein	Warp Nine Engineering
Ph. 619/292-2742	3645 Ruffin Road, Suite 330
Fax 619/292-8020	San Diego, CA 92123

Subject:	 R.A. adjustment problem (clarification)
Sent:	Sunday, November 1, 1998 8:04:16
From:	neurobio@ath.forthnet.gr (Panos)
I have recently purchased a Meade ETX telescope. My problem is
that I cannot set the R.A. setting circle to find new objects as
the time passes during the night. I have polar aligned the
telescope so that I can track any object for up to 30 mins or
more with the motor drive on. The astronomical program I use
gives the same R.A. for a specific star from its rise to its set
on the horizon. So does the star map which has the same
coordinates for every star for the entire season. But when I
track it with my telescope the arrow's indication changes as the
time passes. So even if I set the setting circle to match the
Right Ascension given from the star map, after a while I can no
longer use the R.A. setting circle to read another star from the
map. What should I do ? Do I have to add my current time to R.A.
or to compute the relative coordinates for the second object
(i.e. Saturn is +2h33m from Jupiter) ?

Mike here: No math is required if you set the circle correctly the first time AND leave the drive engaged. Remember that if you spend a lot of time with the RA lock unlocked, tracking is not occurring and the circle will get progressively inaccurate.

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