ETX USER FEEDBACK - 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.
Subject: Orion Solar Filter Sent: Monday, November 30, 1998 13:45:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 so..... Thanks for the help....... Victor ________________________________ Victor Hernandez email@example.comMike here: There are some comments on solar filters on the Accessories - Filters page.
Subject: Barlow Sent: Sunday, November 29, 1998 18:16:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. alan
Subject: Good Prices from J C Penney Sent: Sunday, November 29, 1998 12:39:56 From: email@example.com (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: R8831158A REGULAR PRICE IS $599.99 WITH THIS COUPON YOU GET 25% OFF FOR APRICE OF $449.99. NEW PENNEY'S CUTOMERS WHO OPEN A CHARGE ALSO GET 10% MORE. YOUR CALL ON THAT ONE. 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 match. Thanks (a really great site by the way) Larry
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. Tim
Subject: ETX Tripod Polar Alignment Sent: Sunday, November 29, 1998 6:06:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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:" areas. RichMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Brian
Subject: Newbie to all this !!! Sent: Saturday, November 28, 1998 16:56:04 From: email@example.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 GomezMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 RossMike 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.
Jim Ross (email@example.com) Netscape Conference Address Netscape Conference DLS Server Additional Information: Last Name Ross First Name Jim Version 2.1
Subject: Barrow lens? Sent: Saturday, November 28, 1998 10:09:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? Sincerey, Erik Keup - email@example.com - http://pages.prodigy.net/ekeupMike 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 advanceMike 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: ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/han_kleijn/webcam.htm Clear skies Han
Subject: ETX Sent: Friday, November 27, 1998 13:35:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? MichaelMike 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: email@example.com (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. Dave
Subject: ETX Web page Sent: Friday, November 27, 1998 5:53:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks, Jerry WangMike 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: email@example.com (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: www.gti.net/pryczek/etx/toc.html #1 Sent: Sunday, December 28, 1997 06:42:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 manufacture? Thanks for the excellent site, Lenard Mike here: There are several reviews of Finderscope replacements on the Accessories - Finderscopes page. A review of one from Tuthill is forthcoming. #2 Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 1997 14:46:22 From: email@example.com (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 BoudreauxMike 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 From: SUKUN.TANTICHAROENKIAT@MSMAIL.HMA3.shlthaiban.simis.com 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 http://thaiastro.nectec.or.th. Thanks in advance for your kind assistance. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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] home.att.net/~jblessin/
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? Thanks Gary McLaughlinMike 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 From: LNAUHUB.BZ9Y5D@eds.com (SCOTT PATTEN) 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 billboard... 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 Regards Scott
Subject: Re: JMI ETX Case Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 1998 12:08:59 From: email@example.com (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! ATB, Carl
Subject: Removing the ETX OTA from the mount. Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 1998 10:05:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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, SpokaneAdded 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 care. Now that I've let off all this hot air, I'll say so-long. ATB, Carl DashmanMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen E. Jacobs) Here's a new user question whose answer I didn't see on your excellent site: 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 curious.... Thanks again for your excellent site! Steve jacobsMike 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: email@example.com (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. djMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 TurnerMike here: Normally, just let dew air dry once you bring the scope back inside your home.
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 LivelyMike 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: email@example.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, TimMike 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:
firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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 help. 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. Tim firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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).
Subject: Sent: Monday, November 23, 1998 8:08:30 From: LeeK@NMRIPO.NMRI.NNMC.NAVY.MIL (Lee, Kelvin) 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 "MacDaddy"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 EvanouskasMike 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: email@example.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 idea?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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 it. Clear Skies! TimMike 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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: www.grc1.com/books/astronom.htm Once again, let me congratulate you on an extremely well done and thorough web site on a wonderful hobby. Clear Skies, DaveMike here: Book descriptions and categorizations (beginner, etc.) are available here.
Subject: ETX Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 1998 16:31:47 From: email@example.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? Thanks, Harold WilliamsMike here: Two sites with ETX guts info may help:
Subject: ETX Question Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 11:55:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Gregg 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:email@example.com Database Warehouse Analyst Voice: 925-253-4549 Intraware, Inc. Fax: 925-253-4599 http://www.intraware.comMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, RF
Subject: Suggestion for a link Sent: Sunday, November 15, 1998 23:01:12 From: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 accessories! 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: email@example.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 latitude. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanx Steve Myers email@example.com http://wwp.mirabilis.com/6986937
Subject: RA Question Sent: Saturday, November 14, 1998 13:37:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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) Thanks GustavoMike 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: email@example.com (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 camoflauge. Luke Chidester firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Thank you Sent: Saturday, November 14, 1998 11:56:07 From: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jordan Blessing) Hi Mike, the site updates look great! Just wanted to reply to the question from email@example.com 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] http://home.att.net/~jblessin/
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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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? Thanks, 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: email@example.com (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? ThanksMike here: You'll probably need the Shutan SCT Accessory Adapter.
Subject: Finder Sent: Friday, November 13, 1998 9:44:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.comMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 coming! 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: email@example.com (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 CrockettMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Shep
Subject: ETX alignment Sent: Thursday, November 12, 1998 9:37:53 From: email@example.com (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. RFMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? Thanks, Gary
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: email@example.com (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, MexicoMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org | |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: email@example.com (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. Photojournalist 3111 N. Calvert Street Apt. 3 Baltimore, MD 21218 410-235-7376 email - firstname.lastname@example.org website - http://www.bcpl.net/~jeddinsMike 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: email@example.com (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. Dave
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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 price? JGRagle
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 proud! Thanks, 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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.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 appreciated. Thanks again for your help. Mike
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 me??? 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 From: SUKUN.TANTICHAROENKIAT@MSMAIL.HMA3.shlthaiban.simis.com 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 eyepiece?) Thanks 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, John Phone: (303) 939-3505 (t/l 263) e-mail: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 buy! 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: email@example.com (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 appreciated! 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Takamiya) Regarding Rick Stankiewicz's (email@example.com) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org PROFS: IBMUSM50(JGWHITE) IBM Global Services, Network Services. Service Delivery Center - West ----------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------
Subject: Choices Sent: Tuesday, November 3, 1998 12:09:47 From: email@example.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 comparison? Robert M. Simon Columbus, OH
Subject: Bright Sky wedge & 45 degree erecting prism Sent: Tuesday, November 3, 1998 8:57:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 (email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, Dino
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: email@example.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) Paul, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 purchase. Sincerely David Hodny email@example.com
Subject: ETX Question Sent: Sunday, November 1, 1998 19:27:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks, 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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Thanks Sent: Sunday, November 1, 1998 12:55:50 From: email@example.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 -------------------- ****************************************************************** Larry A. Stein Warp Nine Engineering Ph. 619/292-2742 3645 Ruffin Road, Suite 330 Fax 619/292-8020 San Diego, CA 92123 http://www.fapo.com ******************************************************************
Subject: R.A. adjustment problem (clarification) Sent: Sunday, November 1, 1998 8:04:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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) ? Panos
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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