Last updated: 1 December 1999

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and specific items applicable to the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA). Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	 B&L Criterion 4000
Sent:	Tuesday, November 30, 1999 20:11:27
From:	dbev@net1plus.com (David W Beverly)
Great site! It's not just for ETX users anymore. I stumbled onto your
site from the Sky & Telescope site... not exactly sure how, anyway the
information I found seems to fit the B&L 4000 as well. Your site got me
to get the old B&L out and looking at the sky again. The information on
tripods was very useful as I bought a Bogen 3011 with a 3410 head to
replace the shaky old tripod I had. The 3410 head was'nt mentioned on
the site but I think it should be checked out by anyone looking for this
kind of setup it seems just a little nicer than the 3030.

I'm working on a design for an adapter plate/wedge that will put the
dec. pivots over the center of the tripod, even though the Bogen is
solid it seems like a good thing to do. If it works out for the B&L
(which is heavier all cast parts) it should work for the ETX90. It seems
like the B&L has a lot of the same problems as the ETX. The finder scope
is useless to try and polar align with as supplied. I made a new mount
for it that spaced it off the main tube about 3.5" which makes polar
alignment pretty easy. By the way the B&L tracks very good. I setup the
other night aligned it, got saturn in center of view went in the hous
for 45 min. came back and saturn had only moved half way to the edge.

I wonder if there are anymore B&L owners out there?


Subject:	 etx
Sent:	Tuesday, November 30, 1999 14:46:36
From:	san2bme@quixnet.net (Scott Neidigk)
Reply-to:	san2bme@quixnet.net (Scott Neidigk)
I have an ETX 90 but it does not have the computer controlled functions.
Is there any way I can upgrade my ETX or do I have to purchase a whole
new unit.  Thanks.   I've been surfing your site for over a year now and
rely on it for many of my accessory purchases.

Mike here: As noted several times over the last many months, there is no upgrade for the original ETX to an EC model. You can either sell the old one and buy a new one, or contact one of the dealers that accept trade-ins on the new model.

Subject:	 ETX-90RA
Sent:	Monday, November 29, 1999 20:51:29
From:	brendan_oldham@hotmail.com (Brendan Oldham)
I recently came across what seems to be a good deal on a ETX-90RA
($399). I was wondering if the EC model provides any benefit other than
convenience. Would one be better for astrophotography? Thanks for any
Mike here: That's a good price if it is in good condition. The EC model adds the dual axis motorized control (which is nice, especially for piggyback astrophotography) and the optional Autostar computer control capability. For short duration exposures (seconds or less) there really isn't any difference in the EC and RA models.

Added later:

Thanks Mike! By the way, that price is for a new telescope.

Subject:	 Dodging the Clouds
Sent:	Monday, November 29, 1999 15:16:22
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
My ETX-90RA proved its worth again tonight, here in the wilds of North
Yorkshire, U.K. I was able to dodge the clouds, plop the ETX down on the
garden wall, and enjoy about 15 minutes of extremely clear viewing of
Jupiter and Saturn.

Saturn in particular was about as clear as I've ever seen it. With my
9mm eyepiece in the scope the ring's shadow was razor sharp, and there
were MULTIPLE bands visible on the planet's atmospheric surface. What a
rush. It looked like a Hubble photograph.

Shortly thereafter I had to RUSH, as another storm cloud drifted over
and big, fat rain drops splattered lazily down. Picked up the ETX,
drifted inside, sat down by the fire. The ETX has made it easy for me to
indulge my viewing habits; your site has immeasurably increased my
knowledge and skill in using it.

After three years of experience with the ETX, I want to move on to a
bigger scope, and I've thought about selling this one several times
during the past few months. But I've still got it, and tonight's
experience explains why. Now all I need is a decent finder scope.


Bob Ostergaard 

Subject:	 trouble entering site
Sent:	Monday, November 29, 1999 05:42:48
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I've noticed over the last couple of weeks that I've had a lot of
trouble entering your site - thinking it was possibly a cache problem, i
tried with different browsers - don't know if anyone else has been
experiencing this - just wanted to keep you advised - for instance, this
a.m. (8:30 eastern) your site "could not be found"  - numerous
"refreshes" have not helped...this is fairly typical of the last few
times i've tried to log in over the past 2 weeks (this is my first
attempt since last wednesday).
Hope you had a happy turkey,
Mike here: For some reason, there has been a DNS problem. If you can't reach weasner.com try: That is the same server.

Subject:	Stellafane
Sent:	Sunday, November 28, 1999 17:36:28
From:	SMalin1@aol.com
Picture enclosed taken at the Stellafane convention of ATMs in
Springfield Vermont. I have been going there for many years. My only
gripe with them is their refusal to allow any of the manufacturers to
display their newest products since they feel the accent must be on
building scopes. Now how many people are building scopes today. I know
there are people who do, but I see nothing wrong with allowing us to see
the latest greatest in equipment. Years ago I went to Riverside and
thought it was terrific. I bought a finder scope for my C8 and got it at
a bargain price from the Celestron tent. All the majors were there so
that gave us a chance to see and feel all that was new. Now I live in
the Florida Keys where we have the Winter Star Party and that is a
splendid get together with lots of marvelous equipment. Great being able
to observe at latitude 24 degrees. So much to see.


Added later:

I also did the Texas Star party for a few years and thought it was a
wonderful event also. I lived in New York so going to Stellafane was an
easy trip. It was started by Russell Porter who did the design of the
Palomar Telescope Mount I believe. It is now on the National landmark
list so it is a permanent place. However from an observers point of view
being only 2 nights a Friday and Saturday doesn't allow much room for
bad weather which this past event had nothing but. I guess you must live
in California so for you Riverside is also an easy to get to place.

BTW I think that the ETX optically is superb but does leave room for
mechanical improvements.
Mike here: Yep, do live near Los Angeles. Getting to RTMC is a challenge though. The site is way up in the mountains and the road is NOT what you would call "improved".

Subject:	 Tripod bags and Scopetronix clamps.
Sent:	Sunday, November 28, 1999 08:31:21
From:	cphilg@ix.netcom.com (Phil G.)
Just a quick comment to the post regarding the Scopetronix tripod

I just got mine from JB and I use an Edmund Scientific bag for my ETX
tripod as my Bogens are too small.

While reading the instructions I realized the clamps would stick out
slightly *if* they were installed according to the instructions. I could
see that this would cause a problem in a few years (ripping the bag).

What *I* did was to flip the lower leg around so that the attaching
screw is on the outside and mount the clamps that way.

To me this is a *cleaner* installation and the tripod still fits the
bag, even though the collapsed height is a bit longer due to the clamps
hitting the top leg bolts (which would happen either way)...

Thanks again for the effort you put into this site. My highly modified
ETX "classic" just wouldn't be the same without all the tips and tricks
found here and on Jordan's site! I've e-mailed him my suggestion BTW...

Phil G

Subject:	 eye pieces
Sent:	Sunday, November 28, 1999 05:53:07
From:	garmon@totalaccess.net (K Garmon)
Came across your web site because we are thinking about a 90 EC. We
currently have a 4.5 in. Meade 4420 we got in a pawn shop for $100. Best
money we ever spent for the value! We had one of the little Jason scopes
that we could never see anything except the moon through. The point of
this email is that we are relatively new to amateur astronomy and don't
know some of the basics, namely, how and with what do you clean lenses?
I know the objects is to not get them dirty to begin with but we just
bought a Series 4000 9.7mm Super Plossi and I think there is a smudge on
part of it as the edges of the FOV are not clear. I think you have a
great site and will be back often.

Kelly Garmon
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for cleaning info. You can search the site for "clean" and you'll find lots of tips.

Subject:	 correction for link
Sent:	Saturday, November 27, 1999 13:26:18
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
in the Nov 23rd CC:'d note of mine you posted on your User Feedback
page, i mentioned a website which described tuning/shimming the ETX's
geartrain. The [truly dead] link i provided was not the right site.
Digging thru your Tech Info links  revealed the correct one:


highly recommended for all, and vital for the brave few (or crowds
driven by necessity), if nothing else for a better understanding of
what's going on inside that mild-mannered exterior. (myself? i've
merrily torn into the Autostar and 492 default handle, but haven't
broached the ETX's base... yet...)

wishing you a clear-skies weekend--

Subject:	Secondary slippage
Sent:	Friday, November 26, 1999 09:27:40
From:	Jackal9208@aol.com
Happy Thanks Giving Mike,

I was doing a general inspection of my ETX-RA and noticed the baffle
around the secondary mirror appears to have shifted slightly.  Is this a
sign of a bigger future problem ? Has there been a report of the
secondary comming loose ? Do i have to worry about the baffle or the
mirror falling off ?

Thanks for your web sight Mike it is truly an information resource I
visit regulary .

   Clear Skies 
Mike here: Yes, to all your questions. Contact Meade; it needs to be repaired. After nearly three years, my ETX-90RA suffered the same problem. But once it is done, the ETX will have better "eyesight".

Subject:	 ETX 90 EC and astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, November 25, 1999 16:43:07
From:	rose8@idt.net (Luis Mercado)
I happened upon your site recently as was very impressed with it detail.
Congratulations on a fine site. I recently purchased an ETX 90 EC with
the Autostar computer. I like the scope very much although I live in an
apartment in NY and clear dark skies are not easy to come by. I have a
few questions about using the scope for astrophotography.

Is the new ETX scope with Autostar better for deep sky photos than its
older models? I would like to do both piggy back photos as well as prime
focus photgraphy amd realize that this is hard with a  slow scope such
as the etx but is it impossible? IS the drive accurate enough for lets
say a twenty to thirty minute exposure piggy back syle with a 79-250mm
zoom lens? Would prime focus photos this long be a problem or should I
mount the scope on another EQ mount such as the one I have on the
Xelestron Firstscope 114?

Any help would be appreciated as recently got back into astronomy since
early childhood. I also am an advanced marine reef aquarist. You can
check out my website at the address below my signature. Thank you for
any help you can offer.

Luis Mercado
Mike here: For short exposures (less than a minute) you can get excellent piggyback shots. But why stop at a few seconds? Use an eyepiece and guide the telescope using the drive controls. If you get a good alignment (polar, that is) you'll have to very little correcting and as you can see on my Astrophotography Gallery - Deep Sky page, the piggyback shots with my 230mm telephoto worked out fine (I used the Microstar on my original ETX but using the EC model will likely produce similar results). Long duration prime focus exposures are more challenging with the ETX or actually ANY telescope. You'll want to use an off-axis guider for best results.

Added later:

Thankyou so much for the wuick reply! I am glad you liked my site also.
I am adding an astronomy section soon and I will add you site to the
links section as I enjoyed it very much. Thankyou for the advice and
when I get some good shots I will email them to you, Thanks again

Subject:	 It's Time for Another Editorial
Sent:	Thursday, November 25, 1999 12:36:09
From:	snyderld@earthlink.net (Dan and Lynn Snyder)
Once again,  great site!....  But it is time for another fresh
editorial.  Any ideas?

Dan in Seattle
Mike here: Thanks. Editorials are random events. They may be triggered by events in the Astronomical Community or activities on this site, or neither. Stay tuned...

Subject:	 Your ETX Site
Sent:	Wednesday, November 24, 1999 13:23:59
From:	gavin.critchley@ac.com
Your site is fantastic. I don't own an ETX, but bought one for my old
Astronomical society as a gift earlier this year. They raved about it so
much, that I've been seriously considering buying one myself. I think
your site has converted me.

Take a look at their site..they're mad about it!


I've pointed them to your site, and promised them I'll buy another when
the first ETX is worn out.

Great stuff Mike....your making people happy!


Subject:	 Video to my PC
Sent:	Wednesday, November 24, 1999 11:12:36
From:	GLaform@txhc.com (LaForm, Greg)
I have an ETX 90 and would like to hook a camcorder to my scope, feed
the video to my PC for general viewing and do screen caps.  Is this
Astro Newbie
Mike here: Well, it is sort of possible. The weight of a camcorder will cause problems but you can put it on a tripod and aim it at the eyepiece. See the Guest Astrophotography Gallery - Moon page; a little past halfway down is the setup and a movie clip from Bill Hardin.

Subject:	 Having fun
Sent:	Wednesday, November 24, 1999 07:48:08
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
Even with the moon washing out the sky I had a wonderful viewing
experience last night.  Recently my 8 year daughter has been requesting
that we set up the telescope and look around.  With the ETX it is easy
to say yes and be viewing in a couple of minutes.  Last night in
particular we looked at the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.  This is a
wonderful opportunity to spend one on one time with my daughter and get
her interested in science.  Last night she started using the ETX
herself.  I can only imagine how much harder it would be for her to use
a larger telescope.

Ron McCafferty

P.S.  As always thanks for the great site.

Subject:	 tripod bag and trashing the 90 degree finder
Sent:	Wednesday, November 24, 1999 05:51:07
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
In response to David Kaufman's query, I bought a tripod bag from B&H
when I bought my Doskocil Extra Large Case (he mentioned he got one
too!) - anyway, I believe the bag is from Bogen, and it was a snug fit
though worked well - for about $30.  Two caveats - The bag has a SMALL
outside pocket, but does not lend itselt to carrying the tripod eyepiece
tray, and the second, is now that I have added the scopetronix tripod
clamps (a necessity!!!), the bag doesn't close anymore near the top - I
still recommend the bag - not sure if it's on the web, my bag is sort of
navy blue, and has inside padding on both ends - very durable

Incidentally, I had tried to order the 90 degree finder for my 90 EC,
but it wasn't released by meade at the time - am I glad it never came! 
I DO NOT use my 90 degree finder with the 125; i don't even see how it
can be used well - instead I use a scopetronix lightsight (a daisy type
of red dot sight) - using the 90 degree finder, I try to bring the scope
near an object, and spend many minutes playing needle in the haystack,
as opposed to the 2 open eye method for the red dot finder, waiting for
the dot to superimpose over object as viewed with both eyes open.

Happy Turkey!

Subject:	 RE: Thanksgiving
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 1999 23:41:06
From:	OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz)
You are quite welcome Mike. It has been a pleasure to participate, to be
able to make useful contributions, and to be able to have access to the
repository of information you have gathered together in one dedicated

Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery
Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place'

Subject:	 cc: of a message sent to shiz at bellsouth re: backlash
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 1999 21:53:21
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
To: shiz@bellsouth.net, weasner@aol.com
Subject: re: delay when reversing an ETX/EC

i saw your question on Mike's site, and thought i'd try to expand on his
answer. If you prowl his archives, you'll see -lots- of comments
complaining about the (engineering terms:) backlash, windage and
(everybody's term:) sloppiness of the drive gearing.  There's even
another site (hmmm... the link from Mike's ETX90/EC TechTIps page
appears broken) detailing tearing the base apart and
fixing/tinkering/shimming the motor assembly to help. [
www.engr.uvic.ca/~vhchan/etx.html    ...i think] There are three
basic sources for the symptoms: (1) backlash and windage: that's when
you have a gear train ("more than one gear") with any looseness, driving
something.  You then stop.  Then you go in the other direction... first
the motor has to unwind and rewind all of the accumulated looseness out
of the system before it actually starts moving the 'scope. Think of a
railroad train: (real, Lionel or wooden-block style).  If you're moving
forward, all of the cars are stretched apart and pulling through the
couplers. Then (gently) stop (so the cars remain stretched).  Now
reverse the engine... as you go backwards, first the engine goes a bit
before it finally takes up the slack and really starts moving the first
car, then the first car, in turn, takes up the slack between itself and
the second car.  And so on through the length of the train. You can
drive the engine quite a bit backwards before the last car (used to be
the caboose) hears about it. (European readers: this is why your trains
have big springs pushing the cars apart...it keeps the train stretched
at rest, so  starting-forward doesn't cause the abrupt lurches we North
Americans get to experience) This same thing happens between an
automobile and a trailer, gears in your car's transmission, etc.etc. 
The cost of a gear train goes (way) up as you try to design/build
looseness out of it. (2) worm end-play: one "gear" in the ETX is what's
called a worm: basically a screw sitting cross-wise to a normal gear. 
Spin the screw, the gear turns.  Try to spin the gear, the screw(worm)
blocks it.  With that you get very high gear ratios (motor turns a lot,
telescope hardly moves), and lots of power with only two parts.  Some
users have reported that the worm isn't held firmly enough, and can move
a little along its length. That's another potential source of backlash.
(3) actually mis-manufactured (or mounted) parts.  There are screws
holding the mess together. If any were too loose or missing, such that
the entire gear train could shift, you'd get worse backlash.

My ETX90/EC has about 2 or 3 seconds of backlash at speed 4 of the
Autostar controller.

If you TRAIN your drive, this backlash is *exactly* what they're
training the controller to comphensate for.  As another poster
mentioned, watch (memorize? note? i haven't) which way the training has
you move (right and up, i think).  If you always finish a motion in
those two directions, you'll always have the scope "leaning" against its
gears in the correct direction for maximum Autostar alignment.

Good luck
--dick (when using the original ETX/EC's handle, i got very good at
kicking up the speed, a "burp" of drive to take up the slack, then
knocking the speed back to where i wanted. Also very bored of haing to
-do- that.  ) Better gear trains are claimed to be one of the Nexstar5's

cc: mike

Subject:	 polar alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 1999 17:14:26
From:	CHRISX2@prodigy.net (christopher c lockhart)
I've been keeping my eye out for polar alignment scopes out there for
the ETX/90-EC but I have only seen the one from Shutan (I think it's
actually made by JMI) and the advertisement says it fits the old ETX
only.  Any suggestions?
Mike here: The JMI one is the only one I've heard of.

Added later:

Thanks--your site has been a great help.

Subject:	 reviews and questions
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 1999 11:23:34
From:	david.kaufman@railinc.com
I have a few comments/reviews and a few questions.

First, Jupiter and Saturn were fantastic!   It brought back a thrill of
my days as a boy with my alt/az Unitron.  I don't know why I gave up
Astronomy for 20 years!  I was quite impressed with the detail of
Saturns rings and the distinct bands on Jupiter. I am ready for the

My original setup (thanks to this site) from September 1999:

ETX90EC, Autostar, Meade right angle finder scope, Doskocil Extra Large
Hard case (from B&H), Meade Field tripod with Scott Cameron's
enhancement (see tech tips). Eye pieces:  40mm Unitron (from my first
scope),  9 and 15mm Apogee (bought on Ebay), 26mm Meade SP, Meade 2x
Barlow,  Meade moon filter and 45-Degree Erecting Prism & several
Scopetronics eyecaps and lens covers.

I am very impressed with the Doskocil Extra Large Hard case.  Thanks to
Mike W. and the reviewers who made me aware of  this fine product. (As
mentioned in other posts, it also works as a great foot stool).

For software, after trying several demos, Starry Night by Sienna
(www.siennasoft.com) was a clear winner.

After reading a recent post, I returned the $50 right angle finder scope
(thanks to Discovery Channel's generous return policy) and went to
Walmart and bought a Daisy Red Dot finder for $11. I was amazed at what
a great piece of equipment this Red Dot is. I used black electric tape
to mount it on the scope, just to the right of center. IT IS A MUST!   
The only difficulty I had was close to zenith finding M31. I may
repurchase the right angle finder one day, just for the zenith, but the
Red dot is my finder of choice. I'd love to know if any Meade engineers
actually use the standard finder scope.

While I had the black electric tape out, I took a hanging bubble level
out of my workshop and taped it to the top of the ETX tube.  This worked
out very well.  The level is about 2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide with a
hook on each end.  It is designed to have a piece of string attached to
each end, for leveling across open spaces.  I used it when building my
son's playground.  Costs about a $1 at the hardware store. Putting it on
the ETX was just an experiment, but it works so well that I am leaving
it on the ETX permanently.   Highly recommended!

Question 1: In the most convenient location (my back deck), I have no
view of North, and the suburban skies are not very dark. Can I still
align and  use the Autostar with most of the northern sky blocked off?  
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Question 2: Any suggestions for a carrying case for the Meade field
tripod? I envision some type of canvas dufflebag, but can't find one the
right size.

Question 3: What is a Dobsonian telescope?  I keep reading about them in
S&T. Is it different from a Newtonian reflector?  It sure looks like a
reflector with an alt/az mount.

Thanks for your great site,

David Kaufman  (y2kaufman@aol.com)
Mike here: You can align without an accurate north. You can use a magnetic compass for an approximate north position. You might want to check your "magnetic variation", which you can get from your local airport (if you ask nicely). Once you have told the Autostar where the alignment stars really are, then you'll be aligned. No suggestion for a tripod case from me but hopefully others will respond. A Dobsonian telescope is named for its inventor, John Dobson. As I recall he used this design for his sidewalk astronomy lectures in San Francisco (or there abouts). The telescope itself is a Newtonian (I think) but as you noted it is on an Alt/Az mount. What is unique about the Dobsonian is the location of the mount, at the rear of the telescope.

Subject:	 Thanksgiving
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 1999 07:25:58
From:	ikencindy@earthlink.net (Isaac Hassoun)

Without getting too "mushy" let me say Thanks to you.

Your dedication the Web site has been both informative and entertaining
during the past year. With your lucid comments and that of the rest of
the participants, amateurs and vendors alike ( thanks Jordan B.) I was
able to begin (at 54 mind you!) a new and most interesting hobby as a
more informed and capable beginner.

Thanks again to all and Happy Holidays.

Isaac Hassoun
Sioux Falls, SD
Mike here: Many thanks! I can't keep the site going without the dedication of its contributors from all over the world. So, during this time of a USA Thanksgiving, let me say a very public THANKS to all of you for all the support and encouragement, and the contributions of information, photos, tips, reviews, etc. over the last three years.

Subject:	 ETX Question
Sent:	Tuesday, November 23, 1999 03:58:41
From:	matthew.hyman@kvaerner.com
Firstly, let me just say that this is one of the most informative web
sites that I have come across.

My question is this -
I live on the outskirts of Sheffield in the UK and I wish to purchase an
ETX90. I do not have the budget to buy new so I have been looking at the
local / national ads. with not much luck. Do you know of anyone (or
places to look) Stateside or UK who is selling the ETX90 for a
reasonable price.

Many thanks
Matthew Hyman
Mike here: I've posted a few "4 SALE" listings on the Feedback pages. You can also check eBay. Some dealers sell original ETX models that they've received as trade-ins for the new models; suggest you check with places like Shutan Camera & Video.

Subject:	 What would you do?
Sent:	Monday, November 22, 1999 05:59:55
From:	gsloan@masterboard.com (Greg Sloan)
I just found your site a couple of weeks ago, love it.  I have a
question.  Based on performance which etx would you choose if you were
me?  I have been extremely interested in astronomy since I noticed the
stars as a young child many years ago. I have had verious telescopes,
the cheaper ones of course, almost all my life and never tired of using
them.  The problem has been not enough money to get a really descent
scope, and the time to learn to use them correctly.

I'll soon be 52 years old (young), our children are all grown and we are
moving out of town where the sky is much clearer very soon and I entend
to finally take up my hobby in real earnest.  I have been doing my
reaseach and come to the conclusion that the etx series is the one for
me.  I like the portability, I still do some traveling and would love to
take it with me to the west coast when I go.

So my question is, should I get the ETX90 or the ETX125.  Which gives
the best bang for the buck?  By the way it will not be collecting dust.

Greg Sloan
Tampa, Florida
Mike here: You'll have to decide whether portability or a larger aperture is more important to you. Both telescopes will provide a lot of enjoyment. The larger one will let you see more but it is more difficult to take on trips.

Subject:	 ext-90ec vs. ext-125ec
Sent:	Sunday, November 21, 1999 18:35:30
From:	SPP1112@email.msn.com (SPP)
Is there a substantial difference between the 90ec and the 125ec
regarding: 1)  ease to have autostar slew to center objects. 2)  Image
size and visual quality of objects  ie: Planets 

Mike here: The same Autostar works with both EC models. The larger scope can handle more magnification than the smaller one before the image gets fuzzy.

Subject:	 Great ETX Site
Sent:	Sunday, November 21, 1999 18:18:40
From:	lms_junk@hotmail.com (Lance Smith)
Fantasitic site.  I've only been shopping for one of the ETX's for about
a week or two, but your site just about answered all of my questions. 
I'm thinking of purchasing the ETX-90EC for my father and wanted to know
if you had any discounted sites you would recommend and what accessories
if any he would need to get started (etc. table tripod, additional
eyepieces, etc)

Thanks in advance for you help,

Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for info on suggested accessories. As to discounts, most dealers don't discount normally, only as part of sales.

Subject:	 What would you recommend?
Sent:	Sunday, November 21, 1999 13:13:07
From:	tub4jxr@hotmail.com (Jose Rodriguez)
First let me say that I was very glad to find your site.  Its been very
interesting reading.  My reason for contacting you is simple, my wife
loves astronomy and I would like to purchase for her a good quality
telescope for Christmas so that she can view the planets, stars, etc. 
Admittedly I am ignorant as to what types of telescopes do what best and
which type to purchase, that is why I am asking for your opinion as to
what to consider.  My wife is an amateur who enjoys to view the sky
periodically.  We have a very cheap refractor telescope that will
probably wind up as a target.  We live in the suburbs with some ambient
light in the neighborhood.  In terms of what she would like to see,
she'd love to see the planets better, see the nebulae patterns, look at
the constalations, etc.  I personally would like to have something that
is portable (even if it requires a little work) that can potentially be
used for photography.  I am confused as to whether to llok at purchasing
the -90EC or the -125EC or something else.  I have a strange feeling
that if she and I get a good telescope and start seeing celestial bodies
much better that we both will be engrossed into this hobby.  If we do
order an ETX model, what accessories would you recommend getting at the
same time?  So far we have looked at the Dobsonian type but I am
confused as to how the viewability compares to the ETX family. 
Moreover, what size Dosonian equates to what size ETX model?

If you can assist in any way with your opinions I would highly
appreciate it.

Thank you sir for your time and patience.

Jose A. Rodriguez
Mike here: Dobs make nice telescopes. Moderate sized ones are easy to set up and provide great views. But the down side is that they normally don't have motor drives to track objects as the earth rotates. Hence, one of the reasons for the popularity of the ETX which has a motor drive, combined with excellent optical quality. The 90mm model is more portable than the 125 which is larger and heavier. Yes, you'll see more with the larger scope but only if it is actually used and not stuck in a closet. As to accessories, check out the Buyer/New User Tips page; lots of good recommendations there.

Subject:	Need advice for digital cameras
Sent:	Sunday, November 21, 1999 08:25:01
From:	Naingk@aol.com
I own an original Meade ETX and I am interested in capturing digital
images of planets. I would appreciate any feedback regarding digital
cameras appropriate for ETX.  presently, I am looking into Olympus D-450
Zoom and Ricoh RDC-5300.  My budget for digital cameras is limited to
$600.  Thanks!

K Naing
Mike here: I have the Ricoh RDC-4200 and have used it with my ETX. You can see astrophotography examples on this site. You can also search the site for "Olympus" and "Ricoh".

Added later:

Thanks for your kind reply.  I am a great fan of yours.  I actually
bought myself a Meade ETX 3 years ago (also bought ETX deluxe tripod
recently) thanks to the info on your web page.  I regularly visits your
site and always find the info there very useful.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Sunday, November 21, 1999 05:20:52
From:	jwilkins@HiWAAY.net (Jeannette Wilkins)
Just found your site. Our son, 13 yrs, is really wanting a Meade ETX
telescope. I found one at a Sam's warehouse, but it is not the model
with the plug in module for aiming the telescope at a particular spot.
First off, is this the right telescope, and is this feature a show
stopper. It does come with software to highlight star formations. I have
never owned a telescope and don't know if this is the right one. Any advice?
David Wilkins
Mike here: There are several models of the Meade ETX. The one you describe sounds like the original model, originally called the "ETX Astro", now known as the "ETX-90RA" (or "ETX Astro Model M" in some stores). There are also the ETX-70AT, ETX-90EC, and ETX-125EC, all of which are the (optionally) computer controlled telescopes. Your son will be pleased with the views through the ETX. My first telescope (at 13 also!) was a 3" reflector (which can be seen on the Just for Fun page on my ETX site), which is similar in viewing capabilities to the ETX 90mm model. And learning the sky on his own can enhance the enjoyment of amateur astronomy.

Subject:	The Original ETX 90 RA
Sent:	Saturday, November 20, 1999 19:16:16
From:	MeteorMik@aol.com
I was just reading the latest updates to your site and thought I'd drop
a line about my ETX RA. I was one of the early buyers when it sold for
$495. Earlier this year I purchased the ETX 90 EC. After some initial
funkiness, I had it working perfectly. The optics were as good as
expected although I still believe my original ETX is a bit crisper. Just
recently I sold the ETX EC to purchase the 125 model. While waiting for
the 125 to come in, I started noticing the reviews on the Nexstar which
put a bit of a cog in my decision to buy the 125. Although I truly
believe the views in the 125 matsutov will probably surpass the Nexstar
optics, I'm sure they are both fine scopes. The bottom line is I
realized how much I love my original ETX and have decided to stay with
that right now and put any thoughts of buying either of the other two
aside. I love not having to download new versions every other day and
re-train scopes frequently. Most of all, I realize how much I love
finding objects the old fashion way of star hopping which has made me
rather knowledgeable og the skies since acquiring the ETX. Don't get me
wrong. I love the thought of goto scopes and probably will buy one of
them in the future but I'm glad I hung on to that original ETX. I'm
still overwhelmed every time I look through it. The other nice part of
owning the ETX is it brought me to your web site which is truly one of
the great joys of my internet experience. I look forward to your updates
with the terrific letters that come into it each week. Keep up the good
work and if that 125 ETX does happen, you'll be the first, actually
second after my wife, to know.
Best Wishes, Meteormik@aol.com 

Subject:	 Learningsmith offering 20% discount on Meade Scopes
Sent:	Saturday, November 20, 1999 13:03:04
From:	jsteve1@sprynet.com (John Stevenson)
Just recieved a mailing from Learningsmith where I bought my ETX125 EC.
They are offering a 20% discount on ALL Meade telescopes from November
18-24. Got the mailing late, but hope some folks out there might be able
to capitalize on this sale, since nobody I've seen discounte the ETX's.

Still waiting on my replacement 125 to come in. The original was
damaged, but Learningsmith has been one of the best retailers I've ever
dealt with, and I feel the wait will be worth it.

Thanks for your super site.


Subject:	Leonids
Sent:	Friday, November 19, 1999 12:29:39
From:	Stantastic@aol.com
Went to Anza Borrego -- light cloud layer from around 6:00 pm up until
10:30, when it started to just get bad!! Caught some shuteye and woke up
around 1:00 a.m -- sky cloudless and stayed that way until morning!!!!!!
Stayed up the entire time until sunrise, brought out the ETX, looked at
a bunch of stuff, and really enjoyed sharing viewing with someone near
us who had an LX100. But, not the kind of meteor shower I was hoping for
-- not a storm. I think most of the people camped around our area were
also somewhat disappointed in the action. We were all wishing for a
storm, but ended up with a trickle. Heard that Europe had a relatively
successful night (but very cloudy in a lot of places) -- oh, well --
maybe next year?

Stan Glaser
Mike here: I saw 2 (yes, two!) Leonids before the fog rolled in. I spent several hours outside but that's all I got. Bummer.

Subject:	 Mercury transit
Sent:	Friday, November 19, 1999 12:25:22
From:	thedbarbee@yahoo.com (Don Barbee)
Great pictures of the transit.  My son and I watched it  here in the
Dallas area as well.  I didn't photograph it but I did try out my new
Televue Radian 14mm Eyepiece.  If there was ever a great example of "You
get what you pay for" it has to be Televue. The image was tack sharp.  I
was using Roger Tuthill's 'Solar Screen'  You could just make out some
of the faculae on the photosphere.  The sunspots were spectacular with
the umbra/penumbra transitions showing very well.

Back to Mercury!  I missed first contact but got the rest.  Really
remarkable.  I didn't have a shortwave radio handy or I would have done
some timings.  I hope some observers were able to get some timings.  As
was explained in Sky and Tel. this was an important transit as it
occurred very near the solar north pole. Accurate timings could help
determine if the Sun is oblate (flattened at the poles) like Jupiter.

Don B

Subject:	 90 etxec for sale
Sent:	Friday, November 19, 1999 09:46:24
From:	albaugh@geetel.net (albaugh)
just thought I would let the readers know I have a 5 month old etx 90 ec
with autostar1.3 original handbox 26mm , 22mmwa 12.5mmwa eyepieces,
deluxe tripod class a full aperture solar filter dew clip dew shield
piggy back camera attachment electric focused  rt. angle viewfinder and
hardcase for sale on ebay I regret that I am forced to sell this do to
my shop burning down and I need the money to rebuild so I can get back
to work thanks for a great site that is so very useful to anyone who
loves tom star gaze.
 Dan Albaugh

Subject:	 Purchases
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 1999 18:17:16
From:	Jay.Johnston@PSS.Boeing.com (Johnston, Jay H)
I am about to buy a ETX 90 and accessories, and am pleased to find your
web page. But since the first thing is to acquire one, I am looking for
the best total price. Based on the Meade catalog, my price would be
about $1300 due to accessories.  After spending some time on the web,
the only vendors I find sell at "list" or above.  (to buy at this is
almost against my religion)  Any suggestions ?


Jay Johnston

Mike here: Unfortunately, except for sales, you won't find too much discounting. Too hot a product. But do check your local Nature Company, Discovery Store, Natural Wonders, Service Merchandise, Pennys, as well as the good mail order dealers like Shutan, Pocono, Oceanside, and others.

Subject:	 Re:  I'm a doofus
Sent:	Wednesday, November 17, 1999 05:00:40
From:	Marc.Saegaert@po.state.ct.us (Marc Saegaert)
Final communication...until my next brain seizure...  I have three rooms
in my house I don't use so I got this idea to set up 3 separate
observatories: tables, triplicate charts, different scopes, etc.  I have
always liked it cold in the house...but the night before last had the
heat turned to 58 degrees.

Last night, it dawned on me.  I took the ETX outside and the images were
crisp as could be.  Why the heat waves floating up from the register
didn't effect the 4.5 is a mystery...but that's the answer.  Still, I'm
going back and forth about which to bring to Aruba.  Since the vacation
alcohol will undoubtedly constrict my pupils, I should probably bring
the bigger aperture!

Thanks again.
Mike here: Duh, that'll do it!! The heat, that is.

Subject:	 Kudos...again...
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 1999 20:57:44
From:	ken@winograd.com (Ken Winograd)
I forget exactly where I saw it (sorry)...either it was a little news
tidbit on CNBC (which I watch almost all day) or a little tidbit on CNN
Headline News....anyway, they showed a quick picture for about 10
seconds or less of the Transit of Mercury.  Your pictures were better,
sharper, more colorful and quicker to be made public. Go get 'em Mike!

CU Ken

Subject:	A comment re: proper polar alignment
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 1999 19:13:25
From:	OSO2YOU@aol.com
I have had my ETX90 for about 3 months and think it is a great scope.  I
am building a 6" Dob just for fun but the ETX is great for ease of use.

I set up a small table in my back yard for use with the tripod legs.  It
is actually a steel legged router table with a thick formica top and has
adjustable legs.  I can't see polaris from my back yard so I found my
magnetic variation, aligned the table to true north and marked to
position of the legs.  I then aligned the scope on the table to true
north after setting my lattitude.

I drilled three shallow holes in the table top to correspond to the
tripod legs so the scope will not move when aligned.  To set up, I place
the scope on the table with the legs in the holes and I am ready to go. 
I don't know what could be easier.  This table works really well and can
be purchased at Sears for pretty cheap.

Keep up the great work!


Subject:	 Leonids
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 1999 13:56:11
From:	OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz)
Is there anyone in the Philadelphia area who is planning a Leonids
session, with or without any other group or organization, that I might
be able to join for Wednesday night?? Anyone in a club going to any dark
sky locations or anything like that? Any suggestions?

Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery
Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place'

Subject:	 Mercury transit photos..
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 1999 06:21:21
From:	trandall@idsi.net (Tom Randall)
Excellent photos of the transit! I was clouded out here in NY
unfortunately. Thanks for sharing them. Nice web site, even though I own
a Nexstar.   ;)

I use a Meade 2045 (13 years old!) for solar observing, been in the
AAVSO solar division for the past 6 1/2 years. I just recently bought a
Kodak DC-240 digital camera and yesterday I took my first solar shots
with it, first results weren't too bad. I'm going to take more today and
try to refine the technique.

Tom Randall

 Tom Randall -- tprandall@idsi.net (Remove the "P" to e-mail me)
Amateur Radio - KB2SMS
Mt. Beacon Amateur Radio Club / ARRL / 10-10 / QRP-L #1965
Member: AAVSO Solar Division

My Astronomy/Ham radio site: http://www1.mhv.net/~trandall/welcome.html

Subject:	 Re:  Fabulous photos and, well, one more thing...
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 1999 05:51:21
From:	Marc.Saegaert@po.state.ct.us (Marc Saegaert)
Thank you for your prompt and helpful response, especially since you
were obviously a busy gent yesterday with the Mercury transit.  Fabulous
photos.   Simply great!

Not long after I shot off my e-mail to you I found two 'picture' sites
by amateur astronomers w/ photos of NGC 253...one in Fla. and one in
Texas.  That answered my question.

Will admit to you that last night - clear here in Connecticut - I did a
comparison w/ my ETX 90 RA and my Bushnell 4.5" compact reflector. 
Since the Bushnell ran rings around the ETX, clarity of view,
resolving/pinpointiness of stars...I spent time moving around Orion -
stars and nebula.   I can only assume it's a collimation issue.  Just to
make sure it wasn't some other issue I'll put it through its paces a few
more times before contacting Meade.  (I moved to a different physical
site and pointed toward some marginally lit terrestrial objects -
bushes, tree limbs, some 500 to 1000 yards away) and would swear that
the images were razor sharp.)  I suppose it's also possible that the
nature of the optics combined w/ the atmosphere made for different

If there are any words of wisdom that pop out at you...I'd appreciate
hearing them.  I own a few other scopes, so I know fairly well what to
expect when zooming around eternity.  The ETX didn't get it done.  Not
last night anyway.  My image memory is bad...but I seem to recall better
images just last week with the little classic.

p.s., I published a small, fiction literary magazine for 10 years. 
Though it was the most enjoyable way I've found yet to lose money, it
was enormously time consuming.  I genuinely appreciate the quality of
your site.
Mike here: I suspect your ETX is out of collimation or the optics are dirty. Of course, the 4.5" scope should show more details than a 3.5" scope but the images should still be crisp.

Subject:	 Transit photos
Sent:	Tuesday, November 16, 1999 05:03:46
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I enjoyed viewing the transit photos (barely knew what I was looking
at!) - The faint "circles" on the sun - are they a product of the solar
filter, or is that the actual "fusion waves" or whatever they're called?
Mike here: The circles are dust in the optical path.

Subject: A celestial geography question...Aruba and the Small M.C. and the Large MC
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 1999 10:34:38
From:	Marc.Saegaert@po.state.ct.us (Marc Saegaert)
Very nice web site, indeed.  Thank you for the time, energy and quality
that obviously went into its making.

With the amenities done (something often forgotten in e-mail messages,
I've observed), I'm wondering if you can help me.  I'm scooting down to
Aruba on the 20th of November, with an earthly latitude somewhere in the
vacinity of 12 degrees, if I'm not mistaken.  I'm wondering if I'll be
able to get a gander of the SMC, LMC and, say, NGC 253...to say nothing
of a few 'different' constellations than those I've come to know in
light polluted New Britain, Connecticut.

I've been observing the skies for a little over a year now.   To date
I'm much more interested in discovering those elusive but grand sights
on my own rather than with the aid of computer assisted scopes.  My
geography skills are as lacking celestially as they are terrestrially. 
I couldn't find my way out of my Honda Civic if there were more than two
doors.  (Actually, I've found 42 of Messier's objects so far and a few
other NGC's as well.  Used everything from my 2.4 " store-bought
refractor - it got me interested, was a gift, and I'll always cherish it
no matter how miserable the optics  -  to my 8" Celestron Dob, which I
love.  Recently picked up an ETX 90 classic - fabulous little bugger it
is, but the view finder truly is a pain in the butt.  I've ordered a
right angle viewfinder and hope that helps.)

I've decided to bring along my 4.5 Bushnell compact reflector - similar
to the Edmund Scientific AstroCan and my  ETX , the optics of the little
ETX were well worth the 400 bucks and it deserves to make the trip w/

Anyhoo, whether I'm far enough south to witness southern constellations
is mostly a curiosity factor.  I'll find out, of course, after my first
18 holes of golf and once night falls.  But I am curious.  If you get
this and can find time to answer - no muss, no fuss required - I'd
appreciate the heads-up.  A yup or nope would surely suffice.  Thanks
for your time, in advance, and whomever it was that said, "If we're the
only intelligent life in the universe, it's a terrible waste of space,"
sure had that right.

(It was reading your archived comments that sold me on the ETX classic -
mine also had a model "M" on the box - some one had asked the difference
in one correspondence with you.  Clearly, it's the same as the classic
R/A version.)

Marc F. Saegaert
Mike here: I fired up Voyager II v2.0 (still waiting for version 3.0) and checked. (You might want to check out some of the astronomy charting programs listed on the Astronomy Links page. They do come in handy.) Both Magellanic Clouds will be very low in the south so you'll need a clear horizon that way. NGC 253 will be higher.

Subject:	 Orion Scenix 7x50 Binoculars
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 1999 09:41:17
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
Took the time to write all I wanted today---I recently bought the Orion
Scenix 7x50 Binoculars, on sale for $79.95 - www.telescope.com - I
bought this power/size after advise from several people, including you! 
These nice-feeling binocs are multi coated, come with a case (purse?)
and has 4 lens covers.  As with all decent quality binocs, there is a
tripod mounting hole (which I've never used) and separate focusing for
the main barrels, and alone for the right eye.  Daytime images were very
crisp and seemed ultra 3-dimensional (I don't have much binocular
experience, but views of trees, birds, etc. were very gratifying, clear
and bright).  At night, these binocs really strutted their stuff - I
could see at least 3 moons of jupiter, however even at only 7 power I
found the image jumping all over the place - I need more practice I
suppose, even though I was leaning on my car, holding my breath, etc. (I
suppose this would be the result with any other 7 power binoc without a
tripod).  Saturn looked like a bright dot - no signs of rings visible. 
Albireo did separate, however no colors were visible (contrast to the
125 - gorgeous colors, though the shaking did match that of the meade
tripod ;) The Orion Nebula showed as a faint glow, and my pal got a kick
out of it - he enjoyed it even more when he properly focused the unit! 
The Pleades were gorgeous and clear - of course, no sign of nebulosity.
I've read many places where it is recommended that a beginner's first
scope is a binocular - I highly recommend these - finding objects was a
breeze, the images were crisp (when I didn't shake too much), bright and
clear, and the portability can't be beat.  I was truly amazed at the
stars visible in the binocs but not in my naked eye.  I can easily see
myself doing "lawnchair astronomy" in the springtime,  and I believe 
for $80 these are a super value.
Mike here: If you have a dark site, check out M31 (the Great Galaxy in Andromeda). It is beautiful in 7x50 binoculars.

Added later:

thanks for the info mike - my skies are so bright, i have trouble seeing
the andromeda galaxy, with the 125!!!!  i think the binocs will really
shine (pun intended) on day trips to the 'burbs...

Subject:	 ETX opportunity
Sent:	Monday, November 15, 1999 07:34:23
From:	esirof@concentric.net (Evan Sirof)
First, I wanted to thank you for your terrific site. I am the type of
person who sweats long and hard over hobby purchases and the depth and
quality of info on your site closed the deal for me. I refer to it

Unfortunately, my ETX and I must part ways. This is killing me -- I was
buying accessories up until two weeks ago! Most recently I added
Shutan's deluxe wide field adapter - I highly recommend this accessory,
by the way. It really adds flexibility to the package. In all, the
package has 19 parts including Autostar, Electric Focuser, AC Adapter,
Hard Carry Case, Computer Cord, two additional Meade Super Plossls, a
Bogen tripod, etc. Plus, I've done all the work needed to get it working
nicely. No GoTo problems here!

Anyway, I'm clearly going to take a loss when I sell the package. I'd
love to see it go to someone who will put it to good use and will
appreciate the bargain. I figured that one of your visitors might be
able to give it a good home. I've listed the complete package on eBay at

I hope this email isn't out of line and I sincerely apologize if it is.
I really respect the effort you've put into creating a community of

Best regards,
Evan Sirof

Marketing Communications/Public Relations
                      For Technology Companies

                  Evan Sirof

Phone: +1 718 225 9225
Fax: +1 718 225-9226
Email: esirof@concentric.net

Subject:	 Zoom Eyepiece, Double stars catalog
Sent:	Sunday, November 14, 1999 17:44:25
From:	emosser@gte.net (E Mosser)
I see that Scopetronics has a new zoom eyepiece available.  The zoom is
from 7.4mm to 22mm and it is very reasonable priced (almost cheap).  Any
comments from anyone out there on it?

Also, I am looking for  an online catalog of double stars with info on
the magnitudes, position, color, separations, etc.  Can anyone help me
out on this?

Thanks and clear skys,

Ed Mosser
Mike here: I went to the Sky & Telescope web site, and from there I found the www.chara.gsu.edu/DoubleStars/intro.html Double Star Library.

Subject:	position angle
Sent:	Sunday, November 14, 1999 15:35:23
From:	DIVA714@aol.com
I brought my ETX to New Mexico to try to see the transit of mercury
tomorrow.  I've got an excellent Observer's guide to the event (by John
Westfall).  After reading it, I realize that I do not recall the meaning
of "position angle" which seems pretty crucial at aiming the scope at
the right area of the sun.  I'm asking on the off chance you can reply
before tomorrow and, perhaps, tell me how the "angle" should be used to
orient to the right portion of the sun.

Many thanks.  This is a great site!

Tom Patrick
Mike here: Position angle = the angle measured from North (0°) in an easternly direction.

Subject:	 Deepsky 99 (fwd)
Sent:	Friday, November 12, 1999 09:54:43
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
This is an excellent software package that runs the ETX-90 E/C - could
you put a link to it on your Astronomy Links page for the benefit of
other users?




Subject:	 Eyepiece selections
Sent:	Friday, November 12, 1999 09:24:57
From:	relgert@datanet.ab.ca (Rob\Karen Elgery)
Could you please post the following questions on the user feedback site
so that I may get some feed back from people with experience.  I would
like to hear from people who have used the Meade 13.8mm and 18mm
superwides with the ETX125.

Is it worth the extra loot or should I save my money and stick with the
20mm and 12.4mm super plossls. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Subject:	 Link from telescopes.uk.com
Sent:	Friday, November 12, 1999 07:16:11
From:	John_JFI_Franklin@compuserve.com (John Franklin)
Thought you'd like to know I put a link from my site for UK amateurs to
your site.
Keep up the good work !
Best regards



Subject:	 Editorial Comment
Sent:	Friday, November 12, 1999 06:49:22
From:	ggreaser@tscnet.com (Gary Greaser)
I just bought and ETX and I found your website through Meade, I just
wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your site. I happened to read
your editorial and I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with other
users. It's human nature for some to attack others for what ever their
reason, but to quit the site is just giving into them. There are lots of
us out here that enjoy hard your work and hope you keep it up.


Subject:	 Your shirt (on ETX web page)
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 1999 22:44:49
From:	JRuderman
Is that an Apple shirt you are wearing on the ETX Homepage?

I've noticed that you are an Apple fan.  When you get the time, you
might want to post information on how to connect an Autostar to a
Macintosh for those who are technologically challenged.

Great website.  I check it several times a week.

I have an ETX-125 and love it.  (Tripod stinks) I also finally got the
motor drive.  Its a blessing for the jiggles.

BTW:  I'm an Engineer at Apple.  Several of us have ETX's.  We wish
Meade would get their act together and make some quality software for
the Mac.

Best of luck on your website.

Mike here: Yep, that is an Apple shirt. Thanks for noticing! (Good eyes!!!!). I've done a lot of work with Apple over the years. I've been to WWDC many times and to MacWorld Expo in SF almost every year since 1990. I'll be there in January. There is some info on connecting to a Mac. See the Autostar Info page on my ETX site.

Subject:	 Field report
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 1999 18:34:41
From:	emosser@gte.net (E Mosser)
Another report from the Northwest Indiana skys.  I seem to have fallen
into a routine the past few months.  During the dark of the month I
spend quite a bit of time outside with the ETX 90 and take in as much of
the sky as possible.  Then, as the moon comes around I am usually a
little burned out so  I skip the viewing til the skys darken again.

Since November 1st, the moon and clear skys have allowed me to venture
outside for four sessions.  Here  is a recap:

It is always good to start with easy objects, just to get warmed up so I
turned to M103 and tried to resolve the triple star, as described by Sue
French in Sky and Telescope.  No luck.  Next was NCG 663, in which I was
able to see 25 stars in a 20 arc minute area.

Next was Iota Cass.  I resolved 2 stars @ 96x.  Stock 2 in Cassiopeia is
a huge open cluster taking up the entire FOV for the 26mm (48X)
eyepiece.  I estimated 75-90 stars in the cluster.  Mel 15 provided 27
stars in a 30 arc minute area @ 96x.  The 48x view was superior.

The double eta Persius was an orange 3 magnitude star with a blue come
that was 29" away.  The next double was Struve 331.  NGC 1528 is an open
cluster with the brightest star @ 8-9 mag.  I counted 35 stars in the
cluster.  The area around alpha Persius is just incredible to view with
binoculars or a low mag eyepiece.

The next session I revisited Struve 331 then went to NGC 1245, which I
sketched.  I described it as a twisted "Y".  I nexted turned my
attention to the gamma Persius region and searched for two open clusters
- NCG 1220 and King 5.  I cannot honestly state that I found them, but I
did find cluster like objects.  Epsilon Persius is a nice double for the
ETX - it features a 3mag and an 8 mag companion.  I resolved it @ 96x
and then was able to see it @ 48x.  The open cluster NGC 1746 in Taurus
provided a nice large cluster in which I resolved 40 stars in a 60 arc
minute area.  NGC 1647 is about 4 to 5 degreees NE of Aldebaron.  Look
for a string of 4 stars in the finder in a slight arc.  The cluster is
just off the brightest of the four stars.  I saw 30 stars in a 30 arc
minute area with no bright stars.  It does have a nice double near the
center with appx 20 arc second sep.

Found the Crab Nebula (M1) next.  This was my first look at it and I was
able to log my 58th Messier object.  I went to Zeta Tau and tehn went
west and north just a bit.  There is a 7th mag star in the FOV @ 48x.  I
saw no definate shape or structure, no doubt due to the suburban skys. 
M42 was just awesome.  I was able to notice far more than I did last
spring.  The dark nebula and the trapezium were nice.

One of my favorite multiple systems is Sigma Orion.  Check it out, it is
just below the eastern belt star.  I was able to detect nebulosity.  I
finished that session with Chi Taurus (5m and 8m with 15' separation @
30 degrees).

M37, 36, and 38 are really great open clusters for the ETX.  To me M37
is almost like an globular cluster.  I resolved 20 stars in a tight area
with lots of light (dimmer stars) @ 48x.  When I popped in the barlow
(96x) I was able to count 50 stars.

The constellation Persius is a great constellation for open clusters and
doubles.  I found NGC 1342 between Algol and rho Persius.  I was able to
resolve 15 stars in a 12 arc minute area.  Zeta Persius is a tought
double.  I still don't know if I resolved it.  I thought I spotted a 9m
companion @ 340 degrees.  NGC 1582 was next.  I thought it looked like a
serpent with several 8-9 mag stars.  NCG 1545 was an easy spot, in the
same FOV as B (not Beta) Persius.  Jupiter and Saturn provided the final

I recently purchased SkyAtlas 2000 and found it is great.  I use a
drafting tool with different sized drawing circles.  I found the 8.5mm
circle is close to the fov of the 26mm (about one degree).  It makes
star hopping pretty easy.

Well, the moon will be out for the next couple of weeks and I will be
recharging my batteries and researching for more objects.

Clear skys.

Ed Mosser

Subject:	 ETX 90-EC 
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 1999 15:13:11
From:	master_yoda@mindspring.com (Briar Richard)
Just want to let the ETX community know that I'm selling my 90-EC on
E-Bay.  Thanks for all the advice you've given us, Mike.  Here's the address:


Thanks again,
Briar Richard

Subject:	 UniWedge
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 1999 07:47:28
From:	kpridgen@dynasty.net (Kelly Pridgen)
My father and I have designed a tabletop wedge for the ETX that can also
be adapted to a tripod or post/rail mount. We feel it gives better
stability than the other wedges available for the ETX, at a very
competitive price. Please check out our web site.


Would you consider adding a link to our site from your Weasner's Mighty
ETX site?


Subject:	 ETX-90
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 1999 04:36:32
From:	wsnyder@gateway.net (wsnyder)
The ETX-90 is a great scope. Sure you can get better. Sure is has some
minor problems, most if not all can be fixed looking in Mike's tips. But
for a scope with great optics and portability it can't be matched for
near the price. And now with the "EC" model taking "go to" to a new
level it gets even better. The "RA" model is available now at great
discounts as reported on Mike's site for those on even more of a budget.
The biggest problem seems to be capturing images. A 35mm is really too
much weight at the end of the scope but works great piggy-back. A new
low cost CCD camera, the SACII is light weight and takes great images
through the eyepiece. The enclosed software allows you to stack and
process images. Camera and images can be viewed at
members.xoom.com/sonfest/SACII.htm .

Mike your site is the best on the web for the ETX. Keep up the good


Subject:	 Daisy Red Dot Finder Scope
Sent:	Thursday, November 11, 1999 01:24:30
From:	vosburgh@hardynet.com (Jeffrey K Vosburgh)
I just wanted to tell your web viewers that I took the advice that one
of your readers posted on your site for using the Daisy Red Dot sight as
a finderscope I purchased mine for about $13.95 at Wal-Mart.  It's
wonderful!!  I just taped it on to the scope barrel near the objective
end  with some electrical tape and lined it up on some distant trees
during the day.  There are a couple adjustment screws that can be used
for fine tuning, but I found them more bother than anything. Just
looking down the sight while applying the tape was enough to get the red
dot centered on the target.  I couldn't believe how easy it made lining
up the scope on stars and planets.  It doesn't have to be exactly dead
on to be accurate enough to bring the object within the low power field
of view. It saved me a lot of time and doesn't require nearly the bodily
contortions that are needed with the standard finderscope.  Don't spend
a lot of money on an expensive spotter if all you want to do is quickly
point the scope at something visible to the naked eye.  This thing works

Thanks for the wonderful site and keep up the good work!

Jeffrey Vosburgh, Arthur, WV.

Subject:	Telescope for Christmas??
Sent:	Wednesday, November 10, 1999 21:06:50
From:	FH1661@aol.com
I'm trying to discern just which telescope would be appropriate for my
husband for Christmas.  I just received a catalog from The Nature
company and they had listed the Meade ETX-90 E/C for $595.  This price
does not appear to include a tripod or any other accessory.  Is this not
a bit high priced???   Also, would this particular brand/model be a good
telescope for beginners?  I would so appreciate any information you
could share with me as to which direction I should go.

Best Regards,

G. Harrison   
Mike here: That price is the list price. You won't normally find a better deal except when combined with a store discount coupon. And actually you get a lot of telescope for the price as you can tell from the comments on this web site. It is a good beginner telescope. You may not need a tripod, just a flat surface to set it on, especially if you also purchase the Autostar controller ($149). If you don't get the controller you may wish to purchase the optional tripod legs.

Subject:	 Thanks
Sent:	Wednesday, November 10, 1999 13:13:34
From:	n5smj@horizon.hit.net (Ron Smith)
I just wanted to take a few minutes to send you a message thanking you
for making this tremendous site available for new users. I recently
purchased a refurb RA from Shutan Camera and the whole decisionn on
which scope to buy was made on the strength of the info you have
provided us.

I have been having a great time with the ETX and have referred to your
site at least every other day or more. I will send you some reports on
my activities sky watching from the city. I have found the ETX to be
everything you and others on your site said it would be. 

A big thank you again Mike.

Ron Smith
Winfield, KS

Subject:	 Autostar
Sent:	Wednesday, November 10, 1999 13:08:49
From:	Mark.Banks@compaq.com (Banks, Mark)
I have an ETX and can't seem to figure out if I can retrofit it with
Autostar.  Is this possible?  If so How do I do it.


Mark Banks
Compaq Computer Corporation
Y2k WW Customer Escalation Center
DIGITAL Brand Products
Mike here: There is no upgrade from the original ETX to the new EC model. You can either sell the old one or keep it (see the Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page for a use of a dual ETX).

Subject:	 ETX 90EC Electric Focuser
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 1999 17:48:29
From:	reachme@transtecint.com (Jason Garay)
I have noticed that for the past SEVERAL months, Meade has advertised
the availability of the electric focuser for the ETX 90EC that allows
you to use a hand controller to adjust the focuser. I have not heard
anything about this product ever being released, yet I continue to see
it advertised in every month's issue of Astronomy magazine and others.
Does anyone have any information as to when Meade plans to actually
market this accessory?

Subject:	 camera adapters
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 1999 17:42:45
From:	chris@megabits.net (Chris)
I have a Kodak DC210 plus Digital camera.   And just got my ETX 90ec, 
is there a way to connect the two?  I also have a Pentax ZX-10  35mmSLR 
 That I would like to connect to the rear of the 'scope with the

I also wanted to tell you that you have a great site, very informative.

Also where would you suggest to go to in order to get a good deal on
accessories for the ETX

Thank you for any help that you can offer me.
Mike here: See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for info on the camera adapters you need. Also check the Accessories - Showcase Products page for info on the Shutan Mini-Tele Extender. As to dealers, try the ones listed on the Astronomy Links page.

Subject:	 photos
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 1999 15:14:10
From:	winberryre@earthlink.net (Richard Winberry)
nice page you have here.....i have a meade ext also....and want to take
some photos of saturn and jupiter.....i got the adapters etc.....and put
a nikkon on the end of the barrel....i used 200 film and did every
setting from 1/125 through 1 and all the film came out blank....i know i
flipped the mirror...any idea what i'm doing wrong ?
thanks for any hel
Mike here: Did you see an image on the camera's viewscreen? Was it in focus? Remember, you'll have to change the focus when switching from using an eyepiece on the top to the camera at the rear. Also, vibrations from the camera's shutter/mirror movement can be a real pain. You'll likely have better luck using the "hat trick" method. Just cover the end of the telescope when a dark object (like a hat), open the shutter, flip the cover out of the way and then back in place, and then release the shutter.

Subject:	 barlow#140 with ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, November 9, 1999 11:40:09
From:	stephane.forjonel@wanadoo.fr (stephane.forjonel)
i would like to purchase this telescope in the beginning of 2000 and
would like to know if my barlow, the meade model #140 , can be used with
the ETX-90.

effectively, all your comments talk about the model #126, more smaller
than the #140

Congratulations for your great site!

from La Rochelle (France)
Mike here: Search the site for "140"; you'll find several references to it.

Subject:	 Feedback on Tasco RF 4x20 Scope
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 1999 10:11:22
From:	BradM@geoaccess.com (Brad McGehee)
Based on advice from this site, I purchased the Tasco RF 4x20 scope from
K-Mart for $14.95. I found this a great replacement for the finder scope
provided by Meade. It is much easier to align, it is easier to find
objects (it has much better eye relief), and it is very lightweight. The
only downside I found was that it is hard to use when pointing the scope
toward the zenith. Here, a right-angle finder would be more helpful.

Brad M. McGehee

Subject:	 Astronomy Software (ETX User Feedback)
Sent:	Monday, November 8, 1999 04:02:56
From:	gnugent@careworks.ie (Gary Nugent)
Having recently become the owner of an ETX 90/EC, I've been
concentrating my observations on the Moon and bright planets. I've done
some deep sky observing but, at my light-polluted suburban site, this
has proved difficult. The other problem is a bright near-full moon. My
astronomy cronies and I have gone out to a dark site on occassion only
to find a bright moon intereferes with the deep sky observations. So,
I've written some software which displays the current moon phase (in
realtime), lists times and dates of the major lunar phases, sun/moon
rise/set times and twilight times. It provides other information as well
and, if anyone's interested in finding out more about it, they can do so
at http://indigo.ie/~gnugent/LunarPhase.

For those interested in observing Jupiter and its satellites, I also
have an application for simulating the Jovian System

I'm getting into a bit of prime-focus astrophotgraphy (solar and lunar)
with a Pentax Spotmatic. This has a dark focussing screen which makes
pin-sharp focussing of both bodies (I AM using a solar filter!)
difficult. Anyone have any focussing tips? I've also managed to lay my
hands on a Starlight Xpress MX5C CCD camera. The barrel of this fits
neatly into the eyepiece holder but it makes visually centering an
object impossible (the finder is useless). Focussing has been a non
runner as well (I think it's becuase I haven't been able to centre a
bright object on the CCD). So, if anyone has any advice on this form of
imaging, I'd like to hear from them.

Keep up the good work, Mike. (I've added a link to your site to my


Gary Nugent
Dublin Night Sky Observer (http://indigo.ie/~gnugent/dnso)

Subject:	 Jupiter
Sent:	Saturday, November 6, 1999 08:43:01
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty Jr)
I was observing Jupiter last night, Nov 5, around 7:00 PM PST.  The
lower colored band, as observed through the eyepiece, had a distinct
oval disturbance.  Was it the red spot?

Mike here: According to Sky & Telescope's web site:
"Jupiter's Great Red Spot should cross Jupiter's central meridian (the imaginary line down the center of the planet's disk from pole to pole) around 9:50 p.m. EST. The "red" spot is currently very pale tan. It should be visible in a good 4- or 6-inch telescope if the atmospheric seeing is sharp and steady."
They have a list of predicted Red Spot transit times.

Subject:	 Whoa!
Sent:	Friday, November 5, 1999 20:19:56
From:	filmdos@seanet.com (Paul Walsh)
I just found this guy's work on s.a.a. Remarkable shots of Jupiter/Moon
transition with an ETX 90 and a color-cam.  Just amazingly well done.


Thought you might enjoy it.

-Paul S. Walsh
Mike here: He has sent me some of his photos. They are posted on the Guest Astrophotography - Planets page.

Subject:	 ETX site
Sent:	Thursday, November 4, 1999 23:57:40
From:	GERARD.MORRIS@chase.com
May I congratulate you on the excellent site.
I have only just bought my ETX and have found the various comments and
links on your site very useful.

I found the following site also of interest as it contains a download
for some freeware that shows the positions many stars along with deep
sky objects, planets etc.


You may like to include it in you link page.

Gerard Morris

Subject:	Which one to buy?
Sent:	Thursday, November 4, 1999 20:56:01
From:	BMac0713@aol.com
I've been interested in buying a telescope for some time and over the
last several months I've been looking around at what's out there. 
Unfortunately only until recently I was looking in all the wrong places.
 I finally found someone with some pretty good knowledge about
telescopes and he filled me in.  After all that he said his final advice
was 2 things; first get a book on astronomy and read up on it so when I
do get a telescope I have some idea of where to look, etc.  Second was
not to waste my money on any cheap department store telescope....he
said, "Get the Meade ETX-90EC.  Most people that buy something else end
up returning it and getting this one".

I was going to buy it at the time but didn't.  Now I see that Meade is
coming out with another model, the ETX-125EC.  After being on the
Internet for several hours last night I found a site that I was able to
compare the specs. for the two (90EC & 125EC) side by side.  It seems
that the only difference between the two is; The lens diameter
(90EC=90mm / 125EC=138mm) The focal length (90EC=1,250mm /
125EC=1,900mm) and the weight, which none of the 47 web sites that I
found listed.  I'm sure the 125EC weighs more since it's bigger but, I
don't know what either one weighs.

My questions are, what are the advantages of the 125EC over the 90EC. 
Clearer observations? Will I be able to see all that much farther out?
Do you think paying the extra money (about $300.00 average more) for the
125EC is worth it, over the 90EC. What accessories do you think are good
to have?  I was thinking of the hard case because I travel and plan to
take it with me.  The AutoStar Controller. The 45 Erecting Prism.  Maybe
the Electronic Focus?   How about Barlow lenses? Wedge? (what is it?)

Let me know what you think or if you know of someone else that may have
some good advice.   I've made up my mind to get one of the two but,
should I get the 90 now or wait for the 125 to come out and pay the
extra $$$

Do you know of any place that sells these any cheaper than everywhere
else. It seems like a local stores' price with tax is just about the
same as an out of state purchase with no tax but with shipping and
handling?  And I did hit about 45 of the 47 site that are listed on the
net that sell these telescopes.

My e-mail address is BMac0713@AOL.COM 
Mike here: There is a lot of info on both scopes on this ETX site. Specs for both are here. See the Buyer/New User Tips page for lots of suggestions on accessories. Spend some time going through the Accessories pages and the various Feedback pages. The bottom line when choosing a telescope is to pick one that you will USE. Larger scopes can let you see more and better (which may be wasted if you live in the middle of New York City) but they are less portable and so may end up NOT being used as much as a smaller scope.

Added later:

After I sent you the  e-mail I found all the spots you had referred to. 
The information is unbelievable.  Thanks for the help.  After I get the
one I want and use it for awhile I'll get back to you.

Thanks again,

Brian Mc

Subject:	 Re: Quick question
Sent:	Thursday, November 4, 1999 19:41:56
From:	aebaugh@uswest.net (Andrew Ebaugh)
I've listed my ETX-90RA for sale on ebay. It is in perfect condition and
under a year old.  Right now it is available for a steal; I hate to do
it, but I have to sell it.  If you could post this on your site, anyone
who is interested can check out my ebay listing at:

For anyone mentioning they saw this post on your site, I'll pay for the
shipping costs (within the continental states).

Andrew Ebaugh

Subject:	 ETX 90
Sent:	Wednesday, November 3, 1999 03:20:51
From:	Marc@phoenixsoftware.fsnet.co.uk (Marc)
Do you know of anywhere I can trade in or easily sell my ETX90 as I want
to get a ETX90/EC with Autostar.

Any info will be much appreciated.

Mike here: Some dealers accept trade-ins. Some users have used eBay (ebay.com).

Subject:	  post to ETX90RA
Sent:	Tuesday, November 2, 1999 13:10:47
From:	wsnyder@gateway.net (wsnyder)
you have a great site. I bought the ETX90RA  after visiting your site a
few times. Of course soon after I bought it they came out with the EC
model. Oh well, I still love the scope. A new inexpensive ccd camera is
on the market that works great with the ETX and any other scope. Pics
and information can be viewed at members.xoom.com/sonfest/
then click on SAC II. Thanks for all the great work and time you put
into your site. Bill

Subject:	 Re: wide field adapter
Sent:	Tuesday, November 2, 1999 07:45:07
From:	jah@helix.nih.gov (John Hanover)
Thanks for your comments on the wide field adapter.  The long focal
length of these scopes makes such an accessory attractive to me.  I am
also interested in the Apogee focal reducer in this regard.  It would be
great if they would get it out for review.

Thanks again.


John A. Hanover
Chief, Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry and Biology
National Institutes of Health
Bldg 8 Rm 402
8 Center Dr MSC 0850
NIH Bethesda MD 20892-0850
Ph: (301) 496-0943
FAX : (301) 496-9431
e mail: jah@helix.nih.gov

Subject:	 base
Sent:	Sunday, October 31, 1999 20:54:56
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty Jr)
Can anyone tell me how tight the main screw should be that holds the
base to the rest of the scope?  I had it apart to check the teflon pads
and I'm not sure how tight it should be.  The scope was slipping but
upon insepction the pads were fine.  I put everything back together and
it hasn't slipped since then.


Subject:	 Newbie Concerns...
Sent:	Monday, November 1, 1999 06:27:16
From:	pitt@h2net.net (Art and Michele)
I'm a newbie to the whole world of Astronomy and just purchased an
ETX90-EC. I was pretty thrilled to finally buy the "scope" then find
your site. But after reading some of the feedback and info, I'm a bit
concerned about the "scope".

Seems like there are problems with the "Dec" knob not locking after a
very short time that requires some repair.  It is really that prevelant?

I have noticed some slop when the RA or Dec motors engage, will this be
a problem when viewing objects further than Jupiter or Saturn? (First
time out with it last night, I was able to see both planets with the

One of your links took me to some website, where the guy totally opened
his scope to redo the RA and Dec gearing and drive, is the ETX that
poorly constructed in this area and will need a "rebuild" very quickly?

Two, final questions/comments.  I was about to purchase the Meade Field
Tripod, but based on feedback on your site, it appears not to be a very
well built unit.  Eventually, the legs start to slide up into the each
portion.  Is there a better Field Tripod for around the same amount of

Accessories - My scope is completely stock.  I read in the user's manual
that its a good idea to have a few different eye pieces and a Barlow
"lens".  As a newbie, which (I hope I get this term right) magnification
eye pieces should I get, which Barlow lens should I get?

Sorry for all the questions. But I appreciate any help.


Mike here: The ETX-90EC is a good telescope. If yours is recently purchased, it should not experience the problems that were reported in the initial units. If it is still one of the original shipments of the ETX-90EC, the DEC lock can be repaired easily should it fail. Just contact Meade for the Right Tube Adapter; see my ETX-90EC Comments for information and photos on doing the replacement. Yes, there are "tune-ups" that can be made. Many are described on the ScopeTronix web site and many are described on the Tech Tips page. But for many users they are not required. See the Accessories - Tripods page and search the site for "tripods"; you'll find lots of info on tripods. See the Buyer/New User Tips page and the Accessories - Eyepieces page for information on eyepieces and Barlow Lens accessories.

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