ETX USER FEEDBACK
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: email@example.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? Dave
Subject: etx Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 1999 14:46:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Neidigk) Reply-to: email@example.com (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. ScottMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 information!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.
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: email@example.com (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. Thanks. Bob -- Bob Ostergaard firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: trouble entering site Sent: Monday, November 29, 1999 05:42:48 From: email@example.com (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, GaryMike here: For some reason, there has been a DNS problem. If you can't reach weasner.com try: http://188.8.131.52/etx/index.html. 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. Sel
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil G.) Just a quick comment to the post regarding the Scopetronix tripod clamps. 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: email@example.com (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 GarmonMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: etxtu.htm 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-- --dick
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 PatMike 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: email@example.com (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 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.planet-reef.comMike 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.
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: email@example.com (Dan and Lynn Snyder) Once again, great site!.... But it is time for another fresh editorial. Any ideas? Dan in SeattleMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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! www.adas.u-net.com/adasnews.htm 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! Gav
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 possible? Thanks Astro NewbieMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 construction. 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! Gary
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 place. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: cc: of a message sent to shiz at bellsouth re: backlash Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 21:53:21 From: email@example.com (Dick Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: re: delay when reversing an ETX/EC Hi... 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 hallmarks. 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.
Thanks--your site has been a great help.
Subject: reviews and questions Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 11:23:34 From: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Messiers! 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 (email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Isaac Hassoun) Mike, 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, SDMike 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: email@example.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 HymanMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks, Greg Sloan Tampa, FloridaMike 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 Thanks,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: email@example.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, LanceMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. RodriguezMike 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 email@example.comMike 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".
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 WilkinsMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. John email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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: email@example.com (Don Barbee) Mike, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 ? Thanks, Jay Johnston Seattle email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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: email@example.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! Don
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' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: Mercury transit photos.. Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 06:21:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Regards, Tom Randall Tom Randall -- email@example.com (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 quality. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? Thanks, GaryMike 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/ me. 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. SaegaertMike 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: email@example.com (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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 constantly. 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 cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=201082235. 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 enthusiasts. Best regards, Evan Sirof ============================================== Marketing Communications/Public Relations For Technology Companies Evan Sirof Phone: +1 718 225 9225 Fax: +1 718 225-9226 Email: email@example.com ==============================================
Subject: Zoom Eyepiece, Double stars catalog Sent: Sunday, November 14, 1999 17:44:25 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 MosserMike 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 PatrickMike 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: email@example.com (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? http://www.deepsky2000.com/ Thx, Kevin
Subject: Eyepiece selections Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 09:24:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 John www.telescopes.uk.com email@example.com
Subject: Editorial Comment Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 06:49:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks Gary
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. -JPMike 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: email@example.com (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 objects. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=198371533 Thanks again, Briar Richard
Subject: UniWedge Sent: Thursday, November 11, 1999 07:47:28 From: email@example.com (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. pridpro.com Would you consider adding a link to our site from your Weasner's Mighty ETX site? Kelly
Subject: ETX-90 Sent: Thursday, November 11, 1999 04:36:32 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 work. Bill
Subject: Daisy Red Dot Finder Scope Sent: Thursday, November 11, 1999 01:24:30 From: email@example.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 fine! 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. HarrisonMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks. Mark Banks Compaq Computer Corporation Y2k WW Customer Escalation Center DIGITAL Brand ProductsMike 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: email@example.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? Jason
Subject: camera adapters Sent: Tuesday, November 9, 1999 17:42:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 t-adapter. 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. ChrisMike 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: email@example.com (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 richardMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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! Stéphane FORJONEL 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 email@example.com
Subject: Astronomy Software (ETX User Feedback) Sent: Monday, November 8, 1999 04:02:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 (http://indigo.ie/~gnugent/JupSat95). 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 pages) Regards, Gary Nugent Dublin Night Sky Observer (http://indigo.ie/~gnugent/dnso)
Subject: Jupiter Sent: Saturday, November 6, 1999 08:43:01 From: email@example.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? Thanks, RonMike here: According to Sky & Telescope's web site:
Subject: Whoa! Sent: Friday, November 5, 1999 20:19:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. www.emmgraphics.com/pilot/astro/gallery/g991104.html Thought you might enjoy it. -Paul S. Walsh http://www.seanet.com/~filmdos/m111Mike 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. http://www.fourmilab.com/homeplanet/homeplanet.html You may like to include it in you link page. Regards, 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.COMMike 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.
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: email@example.com (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: cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=193942827 For anyone mentioning they saw this post on your site, I'll pay for the shipping costs (within the continental states). Andrew Ebaugh firstname.lastname@example.org
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. ThanksMike 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 John A. Hanover Chief, Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry and Biology NIDDK 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: email@example.com http://www.niddk.nih.gov/intram/people/jhanover.htm
Subject: base Sent: Sunday, October 31, 1999 20:54:56 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks, Ron
Subject: Newbie Concerns... Sent: Monday, November 1, 1999 06:27:16 From: email@example.com (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 "out-of-the-box") 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 money? 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. Thanks!!!! ArtMike 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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