Last updated: 31 October 2003
Subject: considering a second "pipe" Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 11:14:30 From: JRUA@miamidade.gov (Rua, Jose (DHS)) My spouse and I have had great success with our ETX 125 UHTC since buying it last Christmas. Your book and site have been a great help, thanks! We are currently considering a complimentary scope to the 125 that has a wide field of view, is photographically fast, is portable and has large aperture. We are considering the Meade LXD 55, 10" with UHTC. Any feedback or recommendations? Thanks, Jose RuaMike here: Check my LXD55 web site (www.weasner.com/lxd). The LXD55-10"SN is a nice telescope but some reports say it is slightly too large for the LXD55 mount. Reports are more positive on the 8"SN model (and of course, the 8"SC too).
Thanks for the feedback. How can the "slightly too large scope for the mount" affect the use of the scope? Can it make it difficult to track? Does it make the scope unstable? Can it cause the scope to be easily damaged? Thanks for your help. We are armature-"armature" sky gazers. Jose and Drusilla RuaMike here: The weight of the 10"SN has been reported to be slightly too much for the mount. Tracking problems, vibrations, etc.
Do you think these would be serious considerations to dissuade casual observers like us from purchasing such a scope. We have easy access to very dark skies- Fl. Everglades but want a second scope which has a large aperture yet is easy to transport. Can you recommend something else also?Mike here:You could consider the LXD55-8"SN. On the other hand, you could have no problems with the 10"SN; many users are happy with it.
Subject: An article that might be of interest Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2003 11:11:29 From: email@example.com (Jay Moynihan) I have written an article (that is bound for Cloudy Nights) that may be of interest to etx 125 users. it is at: http://www.jayware.com/makfranken2article.html Jay Moynihan Ashland, WI
Subject: RE: #884 Tripod Thread Size Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 10:06:47 From: Gareth@GDEvans.org.uk (Gareth Evans) Further to my email on 20th October, I can now confirm that the thread on the bottom of the #884 tripod is indeed a non-standard M12 with a 1.5mm pitch. After hunting around various garages and car accessory shops in the UK, I was directed to an agricultural machinery workshop. They produced the correct nut in seconds! It appears that a lot of the Japanese tractors use these bolts. Many thanks Gareth
Subject: Happy (Belated) 7th Birthday! Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 15:42:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ben) Congratulations on an excellent site! I regularly visit your site, clear skies or cloudy. It's been nearly 2 years since I bought my ETX90 and your site has been fantastic. Informative, helpful, clear and easy to use. You've helped me directly by E-mail (thanks for that!) as well as through reading other peoples problems and advice. I'm still finding new information that makes me itch to get outside. I've had an enforced break from the telescope over the summer. The kids are too young and the skies to bright too late in the night for me to stay up into the wee small hours and then be up at the crack of dawn the next morning. Now we're out of daylight saving I'm hoping for some clear skies. I'm still a novice and it's taken this long for me to get to grips with the basics. I'm now discovering Dr Clay's Guided Tours - Splendid! Anyway, a few thoughts...... I've NEVER had any problems aligning my ETX, just lucky maybe, but here's what I did/do. Read the manual from cover to cover several times and played with the 'scope indoors before even venturing outside. I used an OS map to get my co-ordinates as accurate as possible. I calibrate and retrain the 'scope on a regular basis and reset from time to time. I use rechargeable batteries and recharge them after every use. I set the 'scope in home position as level as possible using a spirit level and (heaven forbid!) a compass (magnetic north doesn't seem to make any difference!). Then it's easy align and away we go. I've fairly recently started using High Precision mode from the autostar menu (select item-setup-telescope-high precision) and that just makes it easier still. The ETX is a fabulous piece of kit. As long as you're aware of it's limitations in terms of aperture, you can't go wrong for ease of use and portability. I've never been disappointed in what I've seen using it. AND finally, I wear glasses and am not happy with the difference with and without them, despite what my optician says about being able to compensate with the focus knob (with Scoptronics Flexifocus). I can't get to grips with folding back the rubber cup and the poor field of view/eye relief. So, bought some contact lenses! Only for the one eye that I use. It's been great and only 60p a throw here in the UK! Cheers, Ben.
Subject: RE: power vs binary splitting Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 09:32:02 From: email@example.com (EMILIO DELTORO) To: firstname.lastname@example.org ('email@example.com') Regarding your email that Mike posted in his great ETX site, here is part of an S&T article about double stars that may help answer your question: "I've found that doubles look their best at a magnification that is approximately 750 divided by the separation in arcseconds. For example, Eta Cassiopeiae's components are separated by 12.5" - 750/12.5 yields an optimum magnification of 60x. Similarly, since the unaided eye can resolve stars as close as about 300", the minimum magnification for a split is 300 divided by the separation. In the case of Eta, that would be around 24x (300/12.5)" The website http://www.carbonar.es/s33/ is dedicated to double stars and almost all observational notes mention the magnification required to split the doubles. You'll see that expensive APOs need much less magnification. I have found that my ETX-105 needs an extra 50X to achieve the split :( Clear skies.
Subject: ETX125 - viewing through a laptop Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 06:35:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Webster) I recently bought an ETX125 and I absolutely love it. My family also loves looking at the stars, planets and other deep-space object. The problem is that we're always crowded around the eyepiece. Question - Is there a way to hook up a digital camera using the T-Adapter and then view the images on a laptop screen so that many people can look at once? I've thought about a CCD on the telescope, but don't have the funds for something that expensive and I know I could get more use out of a digital camera for obvious reasons. Do you know if anyone makes a camera that can be hooked up to the telescope AND to the computer at the same time so that we can view items on the laptop screen? Thanks much, Rick WebsterMike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page as well as the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. You'll find lots of info on adapters and cameras. Webcams can work well for this. Also, see the Sonfest SAC imager (Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products as well as the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page).
Thanks Mike. Great web site!!! Rick
Subject: ETX 125 Hard stops, continued Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 16:21:09 From: RLibby@aol.com Well, after removing the bottom plate, I can see nothing amiss...No wires where they shouldnt be, etc. But where are the hard stops, and how to I get to them? Or is this a job for Meade to attack? Ralph LibbyAnd from our resident hardware expert:
From: email@example.com (P. Clay Sherrod) The hard stops in the ETX are in no man's land....do not go there. They are amidst a tangle of wires and other goodies that are surely to become stripped and torn getting to them within the innards of the turntable. Once in there, the stops are not clearly defined either and your can do way more damage than good just getting to them. This is purely a job for Meade; I do not even attempt to repair or replace RA hard stops any more; too much sweat and worry involved. Dr. Clay Arkansas Sky Observatory 10 Observatory Hill Drive, Petit Jean Mt. firstname.lastname@example.org MPC/cbat Obs. H41 / Petit Jean Mountain MPC/cbat Obs. H43 / Conway MPC/cbat Obs. H44 / Cascade Mountain
Thanks for the quick response...A call to the Meade people is scheduled for the AM.
Subject: Dubhe Ursae Majoris Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 15:06:16 From: ElisesilE@aol.com My son's science class is studying stars. I'm trying to find out specific information on Dubhe - its distance from the sun. Do you know where I can find this? I'd appreciate any help you can give me. EliseMike here: Have you done a web search? I did (in Sherlock on Mac OS X) and came up with several excellent pages.
Yes, I have been doing a web search, but all the information I found does not indicate how far the star is from the sun. I don't have a mac.Mike here: The 2nd one in my Sherlock search results list:
Subject: Tripod Question - Meade ETX 105 Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 09:19:58 From: email@example.com (paul&steph) I have just purchased a new 105 Meade deal, I have a problem with their instructions about connecting the scope to the 884 tripod. It says in their book to line up the mounting hole on the base of the telescope marked high latitude leg with the attachment knob that is closest to the latitude control bar, which is fine and I have done, when I turn the scope clockwise until it hits the hardstop and then turn it back again so the fork arm with numbers is above the on/off switch the scope is not pointing North it is pointing South, but in their book it says to have the tripod latitude control bar pointing North. Am I doing something wrong? Or has Meade printed it wrong? Although this is easily rectified by picking up the whole scope and tripod and turning it all round to point North, I just can't help thinking i'm missing something? Other than that all seems fine and i'm really happy with it. Kind Regards PaulMike here: I don't have the #884 so can't speak to the instructions. But if you are in Alt/Az mode the mounting doesn't really matter. The control panel should be on the West side and the OTA pointed North when in the Home position. In Polar mounting the fork arms will point towards the North Celestial Pole but the control panel will still be on the West.
Subject: RE: ETX-90 Motors don't work Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 04:22:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ali Maleki) To: email@example.com ('Richard Seymour') Richard, Thanks for the suggestions. I opened up the base and discovered that one of the 4 thin wires (red) that goes to "the metal thing with teeth, in the center of the base" (RA clamp screw ?) was caught in the teeth and frayed. The saleswoman at the Discovery Channel store exchanged the scope for a new one, since I had had this one for a month. Mike, Thanks for the great site. I don't know what I would do without this valuable resource. AliAnd:
Well, it's unfortunate that it happened, but i'm happy to hear the Discovery Store exchanged it for a new one. good luck --dick
Subject: A question for Clay Sherrod Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 23:44:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Vanzo) Again, thanks for the site and forum. I wish to have Clay Sherrod qualify a statement he made in his EXT-125EC EXPERIENCES article entitled "A complete Review and Field Test of the ETX 125". He claims that the EXT-125 "put the 7" Questar to shame". I am a novice, but I have read many superb descriptions/reviews of both Questar optics and mechanical assembly to doubt or at least call into question the knowledgeable Doctor's rather vague statement. Perhaps he can elaborate? Regards, Scott Vanzo Los AngelesAnd Dr. Clay's response:
From: email@example.com (P. Clay Sherrod) My evaluation was concerning the optical performance of my ETX 125; it is absolutely perfect in every respect and except for less resolution due to aperture, it exceeds the optical quality in my opinion of the Questar 7 that I used for two years and finally returned to Questar. When properly tweaked, the optics of the ETX 125 are among the very best I have seen. Mechanically, there is much to be desired and you are well aware of the mechanical excellence of the Questar; but there again, it is NOT a GO TO telescope! Imagine the price tag if it were..... Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: RE: etx125 at Discovery On-line Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 23:22:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jack Tu) You guys are great. When I saw that COMDIG message, I immediately placed my order thru Discovery.com. Order went thru. I could buy the ETX-125EC at the local Discovery store without paying shipping fee but I would not get that 15% discount at the store. So I am still paying less with COMDIG after paying shipping. Thanks! Jack
Subject: your eyepiece collection Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 14:14:29 From: EddieDTS@aol.com I wrote to you before about my high power meade 4000 eyepieces having bad abberation for single or double stars, could i ask what eyepieces you use for your telescopes so that you can view these stars without fear of image breakdown, as i am getting a bigger scope to go with my etx and would like various respected peoples opinions on good eyepieces for etx90 and a scope like your LDX8 i know your choices cant reflect my choices but its a start. tnx for your time, eddieMike here: I tend to use the Scopetronix 40mm (combined with the Shutan Wide Field Adapter at the rear port of the ETX-90), the Meade 26mm and 9.7mm with the ETX-90, the same for the ETX-125 plus at times the Meade 2X Barlow Lens (#126), and the 26mm, 12.4, 9.7, 6.4 and the TeleVue 32mm Panoptic 2" eyepiece with the LXD-8"SC.
Subject: Your Site Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 12:35:17 From: email@example.com (frank mercurio) I just found your site by Google. It is too great! I can't believe all the information that is on it. I just purchased an ETX-90 and so far everything works fine. But then there are always those questions that are not too clear from the manuals - your website is clearing up a lot for me. Thanks, Frank Mercurio
Subject: ETX 125 Focus Problems Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 07:04:09 From: N2MWE@msn.com (kieran OHagan) I've been reading about people having problems with image shift in the ETX 125. One thing I noticed...I had the problem for one night, and I figured out why. If you do not give the scope enough time to cool down, there will be big time image shift. It was just this one night that I didn't let the scope cool down to air temperature. Every night afterwards, no problem. Clear skies Kieran O'Hagan
Subject: Re: Help ID'ing Autostar controller Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 23:44:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (david lee hawkins) Thanks for the info, a tech a Meade confirmed that it was a 494 when I told him the part number. However, I'm still going to try to get the telescope even though the 494 will be useless. With those plans in mind, I bid on and won a brand new 497 on eBay today for $107.50. The telescope comes with the 883 field tripod, the feedback I've read on your site seems to indicate this tripod is understrength for the ETX125. Hopefully I'll be able to sell that 494 and tripod back through eBay and upgrade to a stronger tripod. I'm new to astronomy, I guess a bug bite me. If you don't mind, can you advise me on what a good package should consist of for a beginner? I don't want to go out and get accessory crazy and buy up stuff that isn't necessary. Thanks for your help, and the website is great!!Mike here: The #883 will work fine (I use mine with the -125) if you don't extend the legs anywhere close to full height. I keep mine short. There are alternatives (such as adding weight and using the telescope on a soft surface (I use a small carpet on my concrete patio) to reduce vibrations. As to accessories, first decide HOW you want to use the telescope; then you'll be able to decide which accessories would be best for you. One item that will come in handy is a focus extender or electric one. See the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page for some comments as well as the Telescope Tech Tips page if you want make you own.
Subject: RE: How to get image from ETX-120 realtime Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 22:41:15 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Meade's Lunar Planetary Imager (a part of the Autostar Suite package) operates in real time, to a maximum of two frames per second. (and a minimum of one frame per 15 seconds). It's now being shipped. (mine arrived) Baby's first frame attached. Before people see that image and decide the LPI is lousy, let me add the details: That's a single frame, no enhancement, from the 10" LX200gps, taken directly over Seattle's central urban area, on a night with -horrible- seeing (even stars straight up were fuzzballs), low elevation, haze, heat ripples. Frame time: 0.12 seconds. The combined image on the screen was clearer. The LPI pretty much captured what my eyeball saw: Blob. have fun --dick
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Motor trouble with the etx 90-ec Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 11:34:07 From: email@example.com (Kvikkstad Tor Arne) sorry to once again disturb you and i am sorry for my stupidity. i meant of course (allthough i admit i wrote the opposite) that both axes were locked when i tried to move the telescope with the autostar hand controller. it works to slew it both to the left and right and also downwards, but not upwards when the axis are locked. it was only in the beginning i tried to move the telescope with the axis unlocked. and then the telescope of course did not move, but after i unlocked it, it worked, also in the upwards direction. but now it does not work to move the telescope upwards when both axis are locked and my original question was wheter or not the fact that i tried to move the telescope when the axis were unlocked in the beginning is the reason for the problem i now have. and whether or not i have ruined the warranty in that case? i thank you for your patience so far and hope for a last answer. greetings from scandinavia once againMike here: Trying to slew with an axis unlocked will not damage anything. If the tube will not slew upwards but slews down OK, check the batteries. They could be too low.
Subject: Meade ETX EC-AT Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 07:41:59 From: DOCCUS@aol.com Is there a difference between the EC and AT scopes? Thanks JohnMike here: See the Announcements - Meade page.
Subject: power vs binary splitting Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 01:56:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Is there any way (formula) to know in advance the power needed to split a binary in fonction of its separation?Mike here: There probably is but I don't know it off the top of my head (and it is too early in the morning to do the calcs in my head!).
Subject: Specs for 12V power plug for ETX-125 Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 01:34:35 From: email@example.com (Jonathan Edwards) Does anybody know what size jack fits the 12V DC input? I've got a 5.5mm OD 2.1mm ID plug and the ID appears to be too small...Mike here: See the Telescope Tech Tips page; lots of power info.
Subject: Thanks Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 06:23:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Day, Mike) To: email@example.com ('firstname.lastname@example.org') I would like to thank you for maintaining such a great site. I spend most of my lunch hours hunched in front of the computer looking at the pictures on your site. I've had an ETX-125 for about 18 months. I haven't gotten into astrophotography yet, but I'm hoping there is a webcam or Meade LPI in my future. I'm hoping I can produce pictures like Job in the Netherlands. WOW! I recently did an overhaul on my ETX per recommendations in your book and on the website. May I say its made quite a difference. I was having an impossible time doing goto's prior to the overhaul. Things are working much better now. Keep up the good work, and glad I could help support the site. Mike Michael R. Day, P.E. Longmont, CO 80503
Subject: Movement of Hard stop on ETX 125 Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 17:48:40 From: RLibby@aol.com The hard stop on my ETX has migrated from its former position of SW to approximately NE. This is while turning CCW, as usual. Anyone else have this problem, and more importantly, anyone know how to fix it (and prevent it from happening again) Ralph LibbyMike here: Hard stops should not move. I suspect something else is catching, like a wire. Check for some obstruction but don't force the rotation since if it is a wire you could cut it.
Subject: How to get image from ETX-120 realtime Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 16:30:49 From: email@example.com ( ) How can I get image from ETX-120 in realtime into PC? Thanks! James LiMike here: With the proper equipment, yes. You can use a digital camera (some, anyway), a video camera (some), or a webcam. You can also use one of the imagers like the Sonfest SAC. Whatever you choose just has to have a connection (USB or serial) to a computer. See the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for info.
Subject: ETX70 Eyepiece Question Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 09:40:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Greg) I believe I read somewhere that there is an eyepiece (or filter) with cross hairs that makes centering objects during alignment easier. Do you have any recommendations for this type of accessory? I couldn't locate it on the site. Thanks, GregMike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for the items on the "Celestron Guide Eyepiece" and the "Rigel Systems PulsGuide". Also, see further down this General Feedback page for a comment about crosshair eyepieces. HOWEVER, you may not need to use a cross or illuminated reticle eyepiece. You can use a higher power eyepiece and just center the star in the FOV. As you get experience this can work out well.
Subject: ETX Feedback General Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 03:34:00 From: Dieter.Wolf@DNSint.com want to give an answer for Ali Maleki's problem 'slewing does not start'. I know the problem Ali described from my ETX-125EC too. Especially if ... - it's cold outside - the batteries are low - the OTA is unbalanced it may happen that the scope does not start slewing. I don't care about it if it happens and just switch off power, redistribute grease and move the OTA into a different position. I never had to do this more than twice to start slewing even with old batteries or low temperatures. Clear skies, Dieter
Subject: Re:Your ETX book in Sydney Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 23:29:05 From: email@example.com (B F) I bought my copy from Dymocks in George St. You can check online for availability via their web-site. Regards Bill Farmakidis
Subject: Choice Between ETX and Nexstar Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 21:38:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tim and Rhonda) My name is Tim Neely. I was the novice who introduced himself to you after your recent presentation to the Orange County Astronomers club. Since your presentation hooked me on astrophotography, I have begun looking for a telescope. I visited Scope City in Costa Mesa and compared the Meade ETX and Celestron Nexstar products. They only had the ETX 70 in stock and said that the 90 and 125 models were on three month back order. I also looked at the Celestron Nexstar 4 that they had in stock and was impressed with how solid it was on its tripod compared to the ETX. I understand that the Meade allows manual adjustments whereas the Celestron requires the electronic motor drive to slew to targets. Also, during your presentation you lauded the ETX motor drive for being so quiet that you weren't sure it was working. The Celestron drive is certainly louder than the ETX. The reviews I have seen on the internet suggest that the Mak/Cas optics on the Celestron are high quality. I'm not sure if there is any significance between the ETX refractor versus the Celestron Mak/Cas. I also read some reviews of Autostar on the internet that indicated there had been or are some problems with the ETX 105's ability to interface properly. Is the Celestron GoTo software more or less free from user problems? I would appreciate your thoughts on whether or not to hold our for the Meade or to go with the Celestron. At this point I haven't formed a strong preference and could probably be satisfied with either scope. Would it be a big mistake to select the Celestron? Thanks again for the wonderful presentation. TimMike here: I have only limited experience with the Celestron NexStar models (as reported in my comparison linked from the top of the ETX-125 Feedback page. But depending upon the source, you'll get different opinions of the NexStar vs ETX/Autostar systems. BUT you should not compare a short focal length refractor to a non-refractor telescope. There are sites and Yahoo groups devoted to Celestron models. You should visit them as well as ETX ones.
Subject: re: ETX-90 Motors don't work Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 21:33:08 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Other possibilities include: A bad Autostar cable. Wiggle its ends, or simply reverse it end-for-end. If that changes the symptoms, get a new cable, or visit a telephone or computer network store and have them "squeeze" the ends of the cable to improve the connections. The other is that a plug has pulled loose inside the base. You can open the base by: (a) remove batteries (b) remove rubber feet. The screws are under the feet. (c) unscrew the three screws and -CAREFULLY- remove the base plate. (the battery wires are very short and FRAGILE) Inspect for a loose connector. If you see one: DO NOT PLUG IT IN until you can determine the correct orientation. If you get it backwards you WILL destroy the telescope. Meade does NOT always follow a convention of "red wire is positive"... they frequently reverse it or use other colors. If you browse through Mike's Telescope Tech Tips page, there are many articles with photos of opened ETX90's... inspect them carefully to determine cable colors, or call Meade or your dealer. good luck --dick
Subject: YEEAAA HAA I got My ETX 90 Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 19:47:45 From: email@example.com (Tom Hutchins) Well actually I got 2 of them now 1 on Ebay and 1 from Vanns site (Long story)... Any way I checked and In case anyone wants to also know You can't get the 99.00 Lens set with the ETX90RA scope from Meade. Darn. O'well I went outside with the 26mm and started looking around I saw Mars. Wild thing was as I was looking at Mars I saw a flicker go by and My guess it was a satellite because I followed it across the Horizon . So now what lens should I get First I want to see M57 and Saturn . I already ordered a Barlow 2X . Do I need to get the 6mm ? I also will be hooking up a digital camera to the etx90 . Any recommendation on where to buy my Lens from.. Also One more question I want to look at the sun I want to make sure its safe what is the name of the filter you would use to look at the sun ? Thanks Again HutchMike here: Congrats! See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for some ideas. See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page for camera adapters (the Scopetronix products are nice) as well as the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page for info on solar filters.
Thanks Mike , I think Ill start out with the recommendations of the Scoptronics site
Subject: Your ETX book Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2003 07:27:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joltz) Any idea who in Sydney sells your book? Ive looked everywhere in the past week and cant seem to find it. Cant buy from amazon etc either as I don't have a credit card. Thx for any help.Mike here: Sorry, I don't handle distribution so don't know how would have it. Maybe the ABC stores?
Subject: ETX "AT" Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2003 20:52:55 From: email@example.com (Jay Moynihan) What is the difference between ETX 105 & 125 "AT"'s and the EC's? Do the AT's have metal forks? how about the bases? Please email answers if possible, may not get back to site for awhile thanks jay Jay Moynihan Ashland, WIMike here: See the Announcements - Meade page for the 15 June 2003 item. There is no difference other than the Autostar and #884 tripod being included with the AT model.
Subject: Mars Viewing on a ETX90, ETX60 Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2003 17:35:55 From: MICROFAB@aol.com I have tried serveral times with my ETX90 and ETX 60 to view Mars. I have used a 12.4 mm (100x) and 9.9 mm (128x) on the ETX90 which according to Meade should make Mars appear the size of the moon viewing by eye. My view is much smaller, with Mars being about 4mm diameter in the eyepiece. It appears as a white disc with no details discernible. I thought it was perhaps the ETX90 so I switched to my ETX60 with about the same result. Is Mars just that much smaller now (as compared to the comments made by Meade in August), or am I just doing something wrong. All I can figure there is to change is to drop in an eyepiece and focus to the sharpest circle possible. JimMike here: Mars has gotten considerably smaller since August so it will appear small in your eyepiece. It is still fairly bright so using a Moon filter can help (try sunglasses if you don't have a Moon filter) to reduce the glare and let some details become visible. For a given eyepiece, the image in the ETX-90 will appear larger than in the ETX-70 due to the significant difference in focal length between the two telescopes. You might find the image comparisons on my Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets useful.
Thank you for the comparison, I will keep working at it...
Subject: ETX-90 Motors don't work Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 20:06:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ali Maleki) I was wondering if you've heard of this problem: My one month old ETX-90 doesn't move in either direction. The telescope and Autostar lights come on. The Autostar functions normally and thinks it's slewing but there is no movement or sound. I have tried using the regular controller with the same results. I was slewing horizontally when the scope hit (or I thought it hit) a dead stop. I turned the power off and rotated the scope counter-clockwise. I turned the power on and attempted to do an easy alignment. The Autostar thought it was slewing but nothing was moving. Thanks, AliMike here: Obvious questions: Are you tightening the axis locks? Have you overtightened them?
No. It doesn't matter how loose or tight they are: no sound or movement. Btw NEITHER motor works.Mike here: One other test. Lock each axis. Can you move the telescope tube by hand or does the tube stay in place? Don't push hard; just see if the locks are actually locking.
Subject: Mirror Position for Transport Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 13:01:30 From: email@example.com (Don Sutherland) When transporting an ETX, should the focus knob be turned fully CW or CCW or left in the last focusing position? What is the best orientation for the optical tube, level, pointing up or pointing down? The Meade manual doesn't cover this. Does Meade realize how much money your website has saved them? I guess we all benefit since they don't have to allow much for customer service when they price their telescopes. Thanks for your great site. Don SutherlandMike here: To avoid potential problems I usually just leave the focus shaft in the mid-position. As to the tube, if you expects bumbs, I believe that horizontal is best.
Subject: Re: Re: Motor trouble with the etx 90-ec Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 11:41:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kvikkstad Tor Arne) sry, i dont mean to be pushy, but judging out of your answer it is clear to me that i was very unprecise in my question. What i meant with the "unlock the vertical and horizontal lock before i used the autostar controller to move the telescope" was that i only forgot this the first 2-3 times i used the telescope. i never forget it now, and i unlcok both the axis before i use the autostar controller. and the motor drives work both left, right and down. the problem is that when i try to move the telescope upwards with the autostar controller (with still both axis unlocked) the telescope wont move allthough i hear the enignes running. my question was if the reason for this malfunction could be due to the fact that i tried to move the telescope with the autostar controller while the axis were locked the 2-3 first times i used the telescope. and, if thats the reason, wheter or not i have ruined the warranty?Mike here: As I said before, you need to LOCK each axis before the handcontroller will move the telescope. You've indicated you are trying to use the Autostar to slew the telescope with the axes UNLOCKED.
Subject: question about tripod for ETX Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 08:23:00 From: email@example.com (Clay) Hi, my name is Clay. I have a question for you, I found your great website and feel that you would be a good person to ask. I bought a meade ETX90 about four or five years ago, it's the older model without the electronic drive. Anyway, lately I have been pricing tripods for it, and the only one I've found is the #884 made by Meade which costs around 200 bucks. I'm a poor college student, and really don't have this much money right now. I was wondering if their would be any alternative, perhaps a used one or maybe a cheaper one by some other maufacturer. Any ideas? any help is greatly appreciated, Clay; St. Charles, MOMike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Tripods page for some ideas. Alternatively you could make something; see the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject: #884 Tripod Thread Size Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 08:18:20 From: GEvans@mjgleeson.com (Gareth Evans) Do you know what the size of thread is on the bar protruding from the centre of the #884 deluxe field tripod? This is the bar onto which the shelf / leg stiffener attaches. I have measured it, and it appears to be an M12 with a 1.5mm pitch. However, the standard for M12 is 1.75mm pitch. Also I thought you guys in the USA were still using imperial measurements, so it suprised me that none of the imperial sizes fit! I want to hand a small 5" TV from it to plug into my electronic eyepiece. Many thanks Gareth Evans
Subject: Re: Meades QC sucks Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 07:32:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jay Ward) Just an update on the ETX125 saga. I got the scope back finally. And it seems to be in fine shape. It was too early in my light polluted skys to get a decent two star alignment so I lined up on Mars, did a synchronize once I had it centered, and everything worked great. I picked up 6 new Messiers (only 59 more to go). Thanks again for the moral support and the great website. Jay Ward S. Florida
Subject: computer control of ETX 105 Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 20:52:57 From: email@example.com (christopher shaw) Do you have any experience in using planetarium type software like 'TheSky' or 'Starry Night Pro' to control the ETX 105? Which program do you recommend in using to control the ETX 105? What cables do you need to hookup your ETX to a laptop computer? Best regards, ChrisMike here: I have used Scopedriver and AstroPlanner (see the Accessory Reviews - Software page for my reviews). You need a #505 serial cable to connect the Autostar to the computer.
I currently have an Autostar Serial Interface Cable, but my laptop accepts only USB. DO I need to buy a Serial to USB adapter?Mike here: See the Autostar Information page article "PCs and USB".
Subject: Polar alignment Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 18:46:17 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MARVIN NIgh) Recently I sold my Celestron C8 because it was too heavy to move each time I used it. I had used the C8 for about 20 years but now I am 79 years old and don't have the muscle to keep moving it. To replace it I bought the Meade ETX 125 and have been very interested in the material found on your website. Until now I have always used polar alignment and have found the bar with the latitude marks on the 884 tripod to be less than satisfactory in setting up the telescope. While looking through your site, I happened to see a company that sold a replacement latitude rod which was threaded and would be a safer way to adjust for latitude. My problem is that I failed to bookmark that site and have looked for it for hours without success. Would you happen to know the site I am looking for? Thanks, Marvin Nigh Hudson, FLMike here: I don't recall the reference. Have you tried searching the Site for various keywords that would lead you to a #884 tripod reference?
Not yet, but the 884 tripod reference may work. There was a picture of the rod with the wing nut adjustment. Thanks for the tip. MarvinAnd an update:
Thanks for the tip. I found it easily. The web site is http://www.atozastro.com/Products/884/884_mod_kit.asp
Subject: meade high power eyepieces Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 17:38:23 From: EddieDTS@aol.com i recently got my full set of meade plossl eye pieces, i have noticed that when i use from 12mm 9.7 & 6.4mm on my etx90 and look at a single bright star or a double star that its not a precision point of light but there seems to be a little flare to it as if you are looking through less than perfect atmosphere yet when i view saturn through even the 6.4 this dosentappear to happen and the image is fine, i was viewing in my garden on a clear cold night in england, could this be actually the steadyness of the skies, atmosphere, interference from nearby buildings, or could it be not so perfect eye pieces? do you have the same thing happen to your high power eyepieces? all the other eye pieces show the points of light as sharp points with no distortion/flare whatever u might call it, this is not real bad problem but it would be nice to view double stars like castor or alberio or mizar with sharp points of pinpoint light rather than in castor's case the flares from the double overflowing into each other, even when viewing the ring nebula with the 12mm piece the image was clean, maybe its just the way it is with single or double bright stars and high power??? hope u can shed some light, tnx for your time, eddieMike here: Since you say other eyepieces don't exhibit this I suspect the "problem" eyepieces may either be slightly out of alignment or perhaps slightly coated with something. If you shake them, can you hear any rattling sound? You shouldn't. You didn't mention where in the field of view the problem appears but if near the edge, this can occur.
in a follow up to your reply about my highest power eyepieces, i checked what u said and there is no sound of any rattling or any sound and nothing is loose, and the flare problem is right at the centre of the fov as well as anyother part, would u recommend looking again on a steadier night or do you suspect i have some faulty eyepieces, (only this dosent explain why saturn or the ring nebula wasnt flared) what i find strange tho is that its only the high power ones and not random pieces from my set, could it simply be that the smaller the object (1star) combined with possibly an unsteady night would cause this ?Mike here: Extended sources like nebulae and planets may not show the "flaring" since the light is spread out over a larger area than with a point source like a star. Did you let the telescope cool down after taking it outside. It can take up to one or two hours for "thermal equilibrium" to be reached.
tnx for reply, i was out about an hour or 2 but as you mentioned thermal equilibream could this be my problem, i keep my eye pieces in there little greyish holder and in the aluminium meade case, so when i put a new eye piece on its really come from the warm case and used immediatley, or does thermal equilibream only apply to letting the telescope adapt to the temperature? yet again i apply this to my lower power pieces too and they are ok,Mike here: Well, if the air inside the eyepiece was really warm, it could take some time to stabilize but I doubt that's the problem.
Subject: Random Slewing EXT 90 Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2003 07:23:44 From: email@example.com (Margaret Cain) I bought my ETX 90 a couple of months ago and at first all was fine. But during the last few times of use I have encountered a random slewing problem with the dec axis. I align the scope successfully using easy align,then use the GOTO which normally works fine, but then after about 15 mins the scope develops a mind of its own and slews way off target. It only seems to be on the dec axis and seems to be worse when trying to observe Mars. I have tried re training the scope but this has'nt helped. Has anyone else encountered this problem. I'd be grateful for any ideas. Thanks for the great site, I'd be lost without it. Margaret Cain Lancashire EnglandMike here: Some thoughts: CALIBRATE and RETRAIN. Change the batteries (if using batteries). Use a different power source (if using AC). Check the cable connections. If all this doesn't help, RESET the Autostar. If that doesn't help, get or make a #505 cable and upgrade to the latest Autostar software from Meade's site.
Subject: Thanks Sent: Saturday, October 18, 2003 19:55:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gerald Jenny) Thanks for a great site if I known that Mead and especial 90 ETX were so much problems I would not have bought one but alias I did and your web site has saved my butt Thanks Jerry Ps why does not Meade have good customer relations ther e-mail and phone service stinks !!!!!!! Gerald JennyMike here: Meade believes in more "personal" service than they think email provides. When people call they get into the "20 questions" type of Q&A. I see the same thing in responding to emails. Someone says "why doesn't this work?". I ask about their setup and what they are doing. They respond with some comment that leads to another question. And so on. Sometimes a phone call just works better.
Subject: Barlow help Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 23:07:35 From: email@example.com Bought a 125 and the Meade eyepiece special. I want a Barlow, but I'm confused. Scopetronix, Televue, Meade and 2x, 3x, variable, long barrel and short barrel?? $ not an issue and I want to take pictures as well as observe. I'm learning that this hobby has no shortage of "accessories." Can you help? Chris NutterMike here: The ETX line works best with a "shorty" style Barlow Lens. This ensures that all eyepieces used with the Barlow Lens will focus. 2X, 3X, or variable depends upon what you are trying to accomplish. Personally I like 2X. But since you have the eyepiece special you already have a good selection of eyepiece focal lengths so you probably don't even need to get a Barlow Lens.
Subject: Problems with new ETX-125 Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 11:03:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Erik Andresen) I'm having two problems with my new ETX-125. I have asked on the ETXASTRO Yahoo Group and I would greatly enjoy you comments on my problems. 1. When I use my power adapter (#541) and my AutoStar together (with the batteries in), the telescope will not turn on. It works fine with the AutoStar working on just the batteries. I started wondering, I then tried my original Electronic Controller with the power adapter and it works fine. I also tried the AutoStar and the power adapter without the batteries in, it still would not work. Some of the guys on the Yahoo Group said something about the AutoStar software. I'm using Ver. 26Ec. I know that it is over a year old, but I don't want to spend a lot of unnecessary time on it if it needs to be returned to be fixed. What do you think my problem is? 2. Next, when I rotate the Azimuth (the lock loosen) it seem to hit, like, a bump every 90 degrees. I went to setup the telescope, pointed the controls towards the west, went to the hard stop counterclockwise (just short of south), and turned it about clockwise 120 degrees to face north (hit two of the bumps along the way). Lock down the Azimuth, turned the telescope on, and during the alignment, when it move from star to star it hits those same bumps every 90 degrees. It seems to stop the motor for a split second and then continues on its way. It doesn't make any difference if i run it at different speeds, it still does it every 90 degrees. What do you think my problem is? I just bought the telescope a week ago from Discovery.com and I can return it (I hope it doesn't come to that). If you have and idea to fix it myself, I'm up for that, as long as it doesn't void my factor warranty. I my need it down the road. Thanks a lot, Erik AndresenMike here: I'd recommend exchanging it. The "bumps" could be an obstruction (perhaps a misplaced wired just waiting to be cut?). There is a "cut-off" switch that disables the batteries when external power is supplied. It sounds like something is messed up there. Although it is odd that it works with the standard handcontroller connected.
Subject: ETX 105 Problem - Collimation? Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 03:10:51 From: email@example.com I purchased an ETX 125 a few months ago, and have been delighted with it's performance. However, recently I've noticed that it's hard to achieve a sharp focus with a star, and pinpoint images, even of Mag. 2 stars, are eluding me. With the moon as a target, it is still very easy to achieve a sharp image. However, it's not possible to see any surface detail on an object like Mars - At best, all I get is a defocussed red ball (and It's not dust storms!). I've not done anything to the scope - It is VERY well looked after and stored in a proper ETX hard case. I've tested the collimation with a de-focussed star image, and get a perfect 'doughnut' both inside and outside of focus. I'm using a low power eyepiece, have good seeing conditions, and my optics are clean. Any ideas? Also, last night - for the first time, I suffered the fate of many ETX users - The metal end-cap became stuck! As I tried to unscrew it, the entire front section started to turn (the 1" black end to the blue tube) I assume this has rotated the entire Maksutov plate and the secondary mirror, which brings me to another question - How can Meade provide accurately aligned 'scopes if the entire Mak plate and secondary mirror is just screwed in at some stage? Although I returned it to it's original tightness, I'm hoping it's not affected the alignment of the optical train (or my warranty)... Any help you guys can provide is MUCH appreciated. Congratulations, Mike, on having the best - as well as the most longstanding - ETX site! Andy S - Edinburgh, UKMike here: In most cases, loosening and then retightening the corrector lens housing will not noticeably affect collimation as long as it was fully tighten back down. As to your focusing problem, since the star tests look good I wonder if you are really getting focused on Mars. You say you get a "defocussed red ball" but the Moon appears sharp. It sounds like either you are trying to make the image of Mars as large as possible rather than as small and sharp as possible. If you focus on the Moon the focus will not change for other astronomical objects. (However, some focus shift may occur as the telescope tube is repositioned.) Seeing conditions will also affect clarity, especially on dimmer objects.
I've tried to avoid any focus-shift by testing the scope in Alt-Az and observing stars on the same Dec setting as the moon, avoiding any mirror movement. Strangely, I've noticed that when I focus on the moon, I have to re-focus to get a sharper star image. Although the collimation test looks good, the 2nd. Mag. star images are still not pin-point. I've even tried focussing on stars at the Zenith to give me the minimum amount of atmospheric turbulence... Have you come across this kind of thing before? Thanks for such a speedy reply, AndyAnd from Dr. Clay:
The rotating corrector lens will not affect collimation seriously on a MAK; you would have to nearly completely unscrew it loosely to achieve a problem there. 1) what was the seeing like when you tried to focus? 2) what magnification were you using; on nights of poor seeing, high magnification just enhances an unsteady image. 3) are the 2nd mag. stars overhead or are they low in the dense atmosphere? 4) are you allowing the telescope to cool down before using; a Mak requires about 1.5 hours before using and sometimes will never reach thermal equilibrium on some nights. I strongly suspect a combination of all of the above. Bet on an excellent still night the telescope will achieve a sharp focus. NOTE that Mars looks like a round orange fuzz ball right now in ALL telescopes....it is small, low in the sky (particularly from your location) and very much affected by poor seeing; what little detail is visible is very vague and of extremely low contrast at this time. Best of luck... Dr. Clay -------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/And an update:
Bingo! I'm not giving it time to reach thermal equilibrium. Although I always used to do this with my old Refractor, I don't know why I forgot about doing it with the Mak - It's so obvious! I'm a city observer - with no garden - so my observing consists of storing the 'scope in my warm house, driving to a dark site in my warm car, setting up and becoming increasingly disappointed. The Mak was purchased back in summer, where higher outdoor ambient temperatures would have meant the thermal imbalance was less apparent. Now winter is on it's way, the problem is more obvious Last night I set the 'scope up and gave it over an hour to cool - Immediately, the brighter stars were perfect Airy disks, and the Mag. 4-5 ones were pin-sharp. Thanks guys for this one! As a techie I should know to "check the fuse before dismantling the unit" - You've saved me from possibly doing something stupid (I'll not go into detail :o) Also, good news about the Mak plate... Clear Skies, Andy
Subject: Re: ETX105 (maximum magnification) Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 03:51:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin Colfer) I`m sure you could help to clear up this question, once and for all. What`s the maximum magnification for an ETX105? I have been told the rule of thumb is a bit less than twice the opening of the telescope, in this case 105mm x 2 = x210, so around x200. I bought my ETX105 in Germany, and it came with two sets of instructions, one in German and the other in English. One set says x420 and the other x210. I would be interested to know, so I don`t go out and buy an eyepiece that`s no good to me. Many thanks Kevin Colfer GermanyMike here: See the FAQ page for info on max magnification. It is possible to exceed this and get usable views on bright objects.
Subject: Repairs and parts Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 20:41:37 From: email@example.com (JM) I have recently purchased a used EXT 60 from ebay for my daughter The pan motor does not engage the large lower gear? If I push the Worn gear against the gear using a thin screwdriver through the mounting hole this will temporally resolve it?? Any advice, a web sight and a place to possibly buy parts would be appreciated. Thank you, JohnMike here: Check Telescope Warehouse linked on the Astronomy Links page.
Subject: "Light Pollution" Filters for ETX-125 Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 11:11:50 From: Bill.Hebenstreit@ElPaso.com (Hebenstreit, Gary W (Bill)) Do you have any suggestions for a light pollution filter(s) for my ETX-125? I live in the northern Houston suburbs and have a street light right next to my house. Any ideas would be appreciated! Thanks again, Bill Hebenstreit Conroe, TexasMike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page.
Subject: ETX-125 not tracking smoothly intermittently Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 08:28:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pepper, Mike) First of all thanks for a great site, with tons of information. I have a ETX-125 that I am starting to get concerned with. The scope is not tracking smoothly all of the time. Some times it tracks just fine, others, it lags behind, then jumps to get caught up. It can do this as rapidly as every 5 seconds or so. It won't let the object get out of the FOV even at high magnification, but it gets to be quite frustrating when attempting to study an object. I have noticed it more on the Planets, (Mars, Saturn, even the Moon) from what I can recall, I don't recall putting up with it while observing DSO's. I set the scope up in Alt Az mode. I happen to live in a town that is in the Autostars Database, (Columbia, Missouri) and am somewhat anal about getting the scope level, and pointed North during set-up. I have recalibrated and trained the drives on Polaris. That may have helped for a little bit, but again it is intermittent. I have not noticed the jumping in alt, just azimuth. A possibly related problem that I have not attempted to recreate for a while is that when I was attempting to observe Polaris, and even Mizar, that I got a Motor Unit fault. I could reinitialize the Autostar, realign, and observe in a different part of the sky (Eastern sector) without any problem. But if I attempted to slew back to Mizar, it would go there, and attempt to track, that is when I would get the motor unit failure. I checked to make sure that nothing was binding, the path was clear. The only thing that could have gotten in the way was the focuser shaft. I made sure that it was out of the way. I called Meade, and he told me to recalibrate and retrain the drive. I have not called back since, and thought that I would ask you if had heard experienced this, or knew of someone who has. Thanks in advance, and again great job on the site. A little about the equipment... ETX-125 UHTC Astrozap Slide-on Dew Shield, Scopetronix flexible focus shaft Scopetronix accessory tray with holder for the Autostar, (screws into the holes for the optional polar legs) Meade #884 mount w/wedge Meade #497 Autostar with 26e firmware Mike PepperMike here: Some thoughts: change to new batteries, update to the current Autostar version (3.0Ed), or at the very least, loosen the grease. If the telescope has set unused for a long period of time it may be necessary to just loosen up (or redistribute) the grease. Unlock the azimuth axis and rotate the telescope from hardstop to hardstop, back and forth, several times.
Mike, thanks for the reply. I forgot to tell you that I use one of the 300 Amp Everstart batteries from Wal-Mart and run it off of DC. After the jumping started, I put in 8 fresh AA's. That was no help. As far as the scope sitting, about the longest that it ever sits is around 2 weeks, at the most 3 weeks. But I will rotate it back and forth attempting to redistribute the grease. Yesterday after send you the message, I upgraded to 3.0Ed. Of course the rains set in so I was unable to test it, and properly train the drives. Hopefully, I'll be able to that tonight. Thanks again. Mike
Subject: How To Question Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 05:07:09 From: LBIKAT@aol.com I am considering 2" EPs for my low power viewing with my 125, I am not happy with the FOVs with my TV 40 & 32 Plossls. I understand that I have to change the rear cell to accommodate a 2" diagonal. What should I be looking for and what manufacturers would you consider for this? Also, will I be able to observe at Zenith with this kind of set up? Need your expertise. Thanks, Al Koff PS I use some Panis and a Nagler for my higher power viewing and love the FOVs they offer.Mike here: You might consider a Wide Field Adapter. See the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page. To attach a 2" star diagonal, you would need a "SCT Adapter"; see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page. But you would need to Polar Mount the ETX in order to use such accessories at the Zenith.
Once again, I thank you for your quick and accurate response. I do polar align so the SCT adapter ring with the 2" diagonal is a possibility. I will also look into the field widener option. Regards, Al KoffMike here: Keep in mind the image quality will likely deteriorate towards the edge of the FOV.
Subject: Difficult to focus DS90 AT Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 19:57:23 From: email@example.com ( J & C Dycus) I'm new to this fascinating subject and have recently purchased my first telescope, a Meade DS90 AT. In addition, I bought some 1.25 Plossl eyepieces and a #937 diagonal. I've tried several times to view Mars but cannot seem to get the telescope focused. The knob seems very difficult to turn and this causes the telescope to shake, sometimes moving off of the object sighted. Is the focus something I need to "feather" in or should I be able to just turn the knob and easily see the object come into focus? I've put the telescope outside at times more than an hour before trying to use it and I've tried a 6mm, 9mm and 15mm Plossl (I used a 2x Barlow with the 9mm & 15mm). Also, I've tried several different filters. I was able to focus on the moon. Any suggestions would be appreciated. JohnMike here: If you can focus on the Moon you should be able to see other objects clearly. The focus position won't change as you move from one astronomical object to another. It sounds like you are trying to make Mars appear as large as possible rather than as small as possible (for a given eyepiece). Stars should appear as near pinpoints of light; planets should show a disk but in a small telescope will not fill the eyepiece field of view. Check My Astrophotography Gallery - Planets page for some examples.
Subject: crosshair eyepiece Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 19:51:55 From: firstname.lastname@example.org this is in response to the query about add-on crosshairs for eyepieces.. there is a guy selling them on ebay and they're great... he takes a brand new series 4000 26mm plossl and adds wire crosshairs.. the crosshairs are sharp and foucused.. they are also very easy to see when aligning on a star (at least using my 10" lx200gps).. i think they're about 45 bucks plus shipping.. i've had mine for a few months now and love it.. if you search ebay using "crosshair eyepiece" you should find them.. tomAnd this:
From: email@example.com (Kit) I had exactly the same problem (high price of Meade cross-hair eyepieces) so a couple of weeks ago I consulted it with a colleague in the office who used to be a professional astronomer and got me into this ETX thing... He says that there IS a place in every eyepiece that will be in focus, it is a place where there is a kind of mask around the perimeter of the barrel, it's function is to give us that sharp edge of field. Now in most eyepieces that mask is between some lenses and thus hard to get to without taking the thing apart. But some older types of eyepieces (I think he mentioned Kellner) have the mask on one side of the set of lenses and you can actually get at it without taking the eyepiece apart. If you find an old eyepiece like that, what you need to do is glue on two strands of a spider's web onto it. Nothing else will be both strong enough and thin enough, for the spider's web is the strongest substance on this planet (the US Army has even been experimenting with "milking" the spiders to obtain enough strands to use it in some prototypes of a super-light bullet vest). Of course this would require great precision and may be too difficult to pull off in the end, but other materials like an extremely thin wire or human hairs may work out. This got me very interested, so last week I tried to harvest some of my wife's hairs only to find out that they are very thick - she's Chinese and Asian hair tends to be thicker than Europeans'. In the end I managed to obtain several hair samples from my co-workers, focusing on blondes in the office in the belief that blond hair will be more visible against the night sky. Of course most of my co-workers must now think me a loony, but then isn't that the general society's opinion of most of us, sky-gazers? Anyway, I selected the thinnest samples and now I'm looking for an old Kellner eyepiece on the 2nd hand market. When one comes along, I'll report to you on the results of my homemade cross-hair eyepiece project. Best Regards, Marcin Bruczkowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Meade Electronic Focuser Wiring Diagram Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 07:56:49 From: Chris.Brown@zf.com (Brown Chris NAO F-Duncan Systems) My electronic focuser for my ETX 125 recently quit working and after some troubleshooting I found that the little card in the motor box had gone bad. I drew a wiring diagram, took the card out (by cutting the wires) and ordered another card from Meade. The problem I have is that I lost my hand drawn wiring diagram. I called Meade to see if they would give me one but they said they were not allowed to send out wiring diagrams and they referred me to your site. Anyway, just wanted to see if you might have what I need here. Thanks, Chris BrownAnd:
I actually found the diagram on your site a while after I e-mailed you. Here is a link to it, just for your information. http://www.weasner.com/etx/techtips/elec_focuser_mod.html Thanks, Chris Brown
Subject: ETX90 - strange effects Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2003 01:16:54 From: email@example.com (Joachim Seibert) First to say: Very nice page of yours! Recently I obtained a used ETX90EC. Two rather strange observations: 1) It shows a reflex of the primary mirror in the middle of the view field when observing large and bright objects (see attached eyepiece projection of the sun, taken with an Identiview filter). With smaller objects, I am getting "nice" psychodelic interference effects at the same position. Infra- and extrafocal diffraction pattern showing collimation. Do you have any idea what this could be caused by or what a possible cure could be? 2) This instrument appears to be extremely sensitive to stray light.The cone in which stray light received is disturbing the view completely is rather large (moon tested, when looking towards deep sky objects). For me it appears that the "light absorbing" groovings on the tube's inner surface rather reflect the light than absorb it. I know that a dew shield could help to reduce the angle affectted... Are there experiences using black felt inside the tube? Both "effects" could not be seen in my ETX125, thus I was thinking that both effects might not be flaws of Meade's Maksutov design, but curable maladies of this specific instrument. Best regards, Joachim PS: The image of the sun does not appear in it's best shape seen, my digital camera insists calculating a focus based on some pattern computations, causing this lack of focus and thereby hiding several sun spots visible in the scope.Mike here: With long focal length eyepieces you may see a faint image of the secondary with bright objects. As to stray light, covering the tripod mounting holes on the bottom of the OTA may help. And yes, you could recoat the interior if you want to run the risk of messing up the collimation.
Subject: Screw on crosshairs for eyepiece? Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2003 05:00:19 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Please excuse my ignorance on the subject, but I was wondering if you or one of your readers has come across a screw on accessory that will place cross hairs in the eyepiece of a standard 1.25 inch eyepiece. I have tried to play with an old screw on filter, but have only achieved very limited success! I have even taken apart a very old finderscope! I find myself unable to run to the price of the Meade Reticule units, but would find a simple cross hair or even centre cross extremely useful.Any comments you might have ref purchase or projects would be most helpful. Many thanks for taking the time to read this Best Regards AndyMike here: The problem with trying this is that the crosshair won't be in focus.
Subject: old but important ETX trick Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 17:58:04 From: email@example.com I want to say to all the ETX users that to get the desired object right in the middle of your FOV , always set the High Precision mode to ON.(under setup/telescope) Even with not the best allignment this option works very good. The ETX first goes to a star in the neigbourhood, centre in the middle, enter...et voila. Very useful for webcam exposures. It's an old 'trick' but I doubt if every ETX user knows about this option. Greetings, Job Geheniau The Netherlands
Subject: Motor trouble with the etx 90-ec Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 12:20:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kvikkstad Tor Arne) Because you seem like a very busy man, maintaining your large website (which helped me choose the right telescope by the way, thank you) i shall try to be brief. I got my first telescope, a meade etx 90-ec, a few months ago. It has been my dream to have my own telescope for many years. But already i have experienced some trouble with the motor drive(s). Both the horizontal drives work, and the "down"-drive. but when i try to use the autostar control to slew the telescope upwards, the telescope does not move at all, allthoug i hear the engines running. i have tried to callibrate the motors and also to reset the system, but it does not help. the first two-three times i used the telescope i forgot to unlock the vertical and horizontal lock before i used the autostar controller to move the telescope (it took a few seconds before i understood the fault and then unlocked). I was just wondering if that could be the source to the problems i am now experiencing? have i in that case ruined the warranty? if you have the time to answer that would be very nice. thank you anyway for a good site. Regards from Tor-Arne from Scandinavia ps: forgive my poor englishMike here: You need to LOCK each axis before the handcontroller will move the telescope. But don't overtighten the axis locks.
Subject: Webcam astrophotography Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 00:25:00 From: LOGIACCO_MICHELE@LILLY.COM Thanks for your reply, Mike. But I'd like to know what follows: Where can I see my thread in your website ? How can I write in the website ? Thanks a lot, Mike. Regards MicheleMike here: Questions and hopefully answers to questions may get posted in one of two places, depending upon the nature and scope (no pun intended) of the question. Feedback (general or telescope specific) or on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. If the latter, on the Astrophotography tips page or one a camera specific page. As noted many places on the Site, email to me gets posted.
Subject: hi :-) Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2003 15:56:40 From: email@example.com (james.jefferson) Im thinking of Upgrading my ETX70 to a ETX90EC ... is this recommended ? or should I go futher up ? How much different is it really ? i'd appreciate a honest answer as I know you would :-) Great Site BTW, learn so much from it ! James(UK)Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette; your message was nearly DELETED UNREAD as SPAM.
Subject: How to Verify UHTC Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2003 09:25:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Larry ALtman) Just purchased a ETX125EC with UHTC. The outside packing has a sticker Indicating it is UHTC. However, the actual telescope packaging itself does not indicate UHTC. How can I verify I received one with UHTC. Also regarding the bearings, the box indicates the Declination Bearings are nylon, and the Right Ascension are Ball Bearings. Searching through your threads, I have seen several comments about the older models not having Ball Bearings and wondering if I have received one of those older models.Mike here: Check under the OTA for a sticker. That's where it is on my LXD55-8"SC. You can visually check the bearings but you might invalidate the warranty if you and I don't recommend doing that.
Subject: Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 19:57:07 From: email@example.com (Hisham Al-Dhukair) I'm sorry about the many question i asked you but i have one more question if you don't mind... I observed The orion from my backyard (in the city) with my ETX-70 AT but I was not able to see the orion nebula or the horshead nebula from my telescope what was the problem? is there something wrong with my telescope? or the ETX-70 so small that i can't observe them at all? or I should observe theme out of the city (in desert)? thanks BEST REGARDSMike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site; your message was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM since it did not have a SUBJECT.
Subject: re: FOV Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 18:50:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com I just tried http://www.csgnetwork.com/telefov.html with Netscape v4.79 (java active enough to operate Yahoo ads) and also see a blank screen. There simply are some sites (usually written with "Publisher" or "Front Page") which older Netscapes cannot display (try "View Page Source") I see that this page was written with "CoffeeCup". With Internet Explorer 5.0 it operates properly. good luck --dickMike here: Works OK with Safari as well.
Subject: re: Idea for your ETX website Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 18:45:02 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com Although he's too modest to admit it, Mike Weasner is an active member of the Yahoo ETXASTRO forum, (and probably others). http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ETXASTRO (yes, it has ads, but it's effortless...) have fun --dickAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joltz) that wouldn't surprise me :) has a legend and wealth of knowledge when it comes to the ETX
Subject: etx-60 azimuth encoder LED gets no power Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 21:43:58 From: email@example.com (Lisa & Matt Schaefer) Cool ETX site! I just got my first GOTO scope, a used ETX-60 with a 494 Autostar. It always gets a motor unit fault when beginning alignment. I searched your site and tried the various suggestions - new batteries, reset, retrain, recalibrate - nothing helped. I also noticed that while the Alt. motor would obey the slew speed setting, the Az. motor would slew at max speed no matter what the setting. I couldn't find much about that problem on your site. Thinking the problems might be related, and being the curious type, I took the scope apart and started probing around the motor control circuit board with an oscilloscope while I ran the motors. I got a nice waveform off the Alt. motor shaft encoder phototransistor, but flatline on the Az. encoder output. I pulled the Alt. phototransistor out, and the Alt. motor would now too only run at max speed. Aha! I pulled both encoder IR LEDs out, got out my camcorder (to "see" the IR light) and saw that only the Alt. encoder LED was lit up. I put the Alt. LED into the Az. encoder and the Az. motor would now obey the slew speed setting. Double Aha! I measured on the circuit board and found only the Alt. LED was getting power. The Az. LED gets no power. I tried to trace the circuit, but after fumbling around the surface mount components with a flashlight and magnifying glass, I gave up. Is there a solution other than getting a new motor circuit board? Are any schematics available? I thought about just driving both LEDs with the Alt. circuit, but I don't want to risk overloading anything in the circuit. Thanks! Matt Schaefer
Subject: Please could you add my site to your list of links.... Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 03:54:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (skyshed) I have been an avid fan of your site for an age, and was hoping you would look at my site and possibly add it to your site link... Thanks Lee Harris www.skyshed.btinternet.co.uk/
Subject: Motor Unit fault Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 02:47:56 From: email@example.com My problem with motor unit faults is realy bugging me,i have tried calibrating the motors,and training them and have even removed and checked them,the only thing i can think now is that there may be a problem with the Circuit board.The problem is when i slew left or right using either Autostar or normal hand paddle after about 10 deg the motor stalls,if using the Autostar i get a motor unit fault alarm,when using the handpaddle repressing the slew button starts the process again.it would seem as if the feedback does not know where it is,any ideas would be appreciated,do you know where i could purchase a replacement board,apart from Meade as i live in the UK. Regards Mike CookMike here: Since you say the problem occurs with both the Autostar and the standard handcontroller, could you be overtightening the azimuth axis lock? Or the telescope be hitting one of the hardstops? What about batteries? Have you replaced them? Typically Meade doesn't supply replacement boards to end users.
Yes i have tried all you suggest but still getting the same problem.Mike here: Sounds like a call to Meade is in order.
Subject: Meades QC sucks Sent: Thursday, October 9, 2003 22:08:28 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jay Ward) Just an update on my continuing ETX125 woes. I bought an ETX125EC UHTC in mid June from B&H in NY. When I got it there was a minor problem with the setting circle band that runs around the base. It was too large and would not fit in the track. I thought this was minor and was thrilled to have found a scope after waiting 4-6 weeks so I kept it. 16 days later (2 days after the B&H return policy expired) the Dec motor gear box stripped out. Back it went to Meade AT MY EXPENSE. They refused to send a pick up tag claiming it was my responsibility to pay for the return. I got it back five weeks later on August 26th. I was Thrilled. Setting circle was fixed, dec motor was fixed, even some of the slop I had noticed in the fork had been fixed. One week later while observing, I noticed it seemed to be taking a long time to slew to a new object. Turns out the Alt/Az motor had completely quit. Back It goes to Meade, at least this time they paid the shipping. Of course they paid for the cheapest form of shipping they could get away with. It took from Sept 17 to the 30 before they showed it as received in their repair process. It apparantly set on their dock for 6 days. Now they tell me it will take 3 - 4 weeks in service before it's shipped back from repair (again, slowest way possible). When I asked to speak to a manager, I got shuffled to a voice mail recording, promising me a response within 24 hours. That was a week ago, guess what NO CALL BACK. I bought the scope on 6/17 I returned it the first time on 7/18 I got it back on 8/26 It went back again on 9/17 Here it is 10/10 and I've had the scope in my posession 53 days since I bought it 122 days ago and have been told not to expect to see it for another 4-5 weeks. Caveat emptor Jay (pi##ed of in Florida) WardMike here: Sorry to hear about the problems. I suggest you document it in a letter to Meade. Include all the return authorization numbers. Fax it.
I've wanted to do that but can find no email address's listed on their website, other than for HR job postings. Can you suggest names to address this to? Just writting or calling tech support has gotten me nowhere.Mike here: They don't use email for support, only bug reports (although some people have had success using the email@example.com; just don't count on that method for support). Fax to the Manager, Customer Support. The right person will get it.
And an update:
You know, a funny thing happened. I sent an email similar to the one I sent you, to four addresses at meade. I noticed they tend to use firstname.lastname@example.org for their corporate addresses. I looked up their CFO and CEO, and VP of sales and marketing's names., Their HR department contact was actually listed on the site. Two names bounced, the others went through, at least they did not bounce back. Within 12 hours there was a message on my answering machine saying my scope was done and shipped today (Friday). This is really strange, since I was told on Tuesday it would be 3-4 weeks. Amazing what a little squaking will get you. Jay
Subject: Dew on ETX-70 Sent: Thursday, October 9, 2003 14:53:49 From: email@example.com (Tim Haller) Quick question concerning the long term effect of dew on the scope (ETX-70). Two nights ago after a three hour session, the scope was drenched with dew. I use a dew shield so the problem is not with the optics as much as the scope is covered with dew. I leave the scope on the porch after the session and wait until everything warms up before I bring it in and wipe down the exterior. I never touch the objective, I just let it warm up and air dry on its own. This has happened 30+ times in the last six months and I'm wondering what the long term effect might be on the scope. I know this is a common question so if you can steer me to the proper section on the web site I would appreciate it. I also have an ETX-105 with UHTC, anything special about the long term effects of dewing on this scope? I thank you again for your expertise and tireless dedication to amateur astronomy and especially the ETX crowd. Sincerely, Tim Haller...electra188 Clear SkiesMike here: Any moisture can obviously create some problems for the ETX electronics and metal parts. It may take months, years, or decades for any problem to affect the operation of the telescope. Heavy dewing should obviously be avoided; afterall you (hopefully) wouldn't leave the telescope outside in a rainstorm.
Thanks for the quick response Mike. It's as I expected with the heavy dew. I'll try to limit the exposure but that can be difficult at times. I observe from the mountains of West Virginia and middle Tennessee. These places are conducive to dew formation most times of the year. Hopefully my scope won't give up the ghost to quickly. If it does, I'll have to invest in a 10" LXD-55 SN or something like that...lol. The only problem with that scenario is the mobility issue. It's tough to beat that ETX-70 and 105 for portability. Thanks again Mike, take care of yourself. Sincerely, Tim Haller...electra188 Clear Skies
Subject: ETX 90 Question Sent: Thursday, October 9, 2003 14:13:57 From: Rick.Foster@tusd.k12.az.us (Foster, Rick) I visited your site, but did not readily see the answer to this question. I asked my wife to take off the dust cover to a 90ETX EC. She complained that she still could not see anything through the eye piece, I was busy imaging with my Lx200 and told her to use our Celestron until I could look at it. When I did, I saw that instead of unscrewing the dust shield she had unscrewed the whole top glass corrector assembly. I screwed it back in but did not see any index marks to stop at, at least obvious enough to see in semi-darkness (red light), so I just tighten it up. Are there any index marks that I should look for? Are the corrector's and subsequently the secondary matched to the primary mirror? If so, do you have instructions on how to re-match them? Thanks, Rick Foster in TucsonMike here: There are no "marks" to assist in realigning the corrector lens housing. If you turn it until it stops you should be OK. You could do a "star test" to check the collimation.
Subject: Solar viewing Sent: Thursday, October 9, 2003 11:49:32 From: HANDLIN@comcast.net If I use a reputable full-aperture solar filter for my ETX, is it safe for me to hook up the Meade Electronic Eyepiece to the telescope to show a group of people the sun? Could this possibly cause any damage to the eyepiece or the scope?Mike here: Using a good quality solar filter will be safe. Just remember to cover the finderscope. Also, be certain that neither the filter nor the cover can come off while in use.
Subject: ETX 90 and 125 available at Wal-Mart stores & Walmart.com Sent: Thursday, October 9, 2003 10:02:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul) I have been following your site since the beginning and it just keeps growing and growing. You are providing an excellent service to the astronomical community and I as well as many others thank you. . . . . I Walked into Wal-Mart last weekend and saw an ETX90 complete with autostar 497 and field tripod neatly packaged for $549. I would have bought it if I didn't already own one. Looking thru their telescope display I had also found an ETX-125ATC complete with deluxe field tripod, Autostar 497, UHTC coatings!!, tripod duffle bag and 2 Meade MA eyepieces (25mm & 9mm). I purchased it for $938.00 plus tax. This store only had one and had just received it in. Wal-Mart's web site is now selling both 90 & 125s as regular stock. Low cost shipping plus excellent return policy (return to your local store) and of course the price makes this a very viable alternative to the usual mail order houses. Check your local store for availability first since some selected stores will carry them as they become available saving you on shipping. Meade will also honor the $99 eyepiece special with this purchase as per a phone conversation with their customer service. Simply send in the warranty card with a note requesting the eyepiece special and a check for $99. I disassembled parts of the base to verify the newer design (full bearings ect.) to be sure that these are not left over first generation models. They are current, including the current version 30e software. Note that the UHTC coatings are not mentioned anywhere on the packaging (surprising) but is indicated by a tag on the bottom side of the OTA. The Wal-Mart web site does indicate the addition of UHTC in the product description. Star tests proved nearly perfect optics and collimation. Even with an almost full moon being about 5 degrees from mars there was no glare or reflection in the image. At 200X, mars was clearly visible showing the ice cap and surface markings like I have never seen (twenty years observing). The object was much larger then in my ETX 90 and much clearer than in my 6" Celestron Newtonian. After loosening the RA bearing slightly do to what I felt was an over tight condition, the GOTO's were consistently centered and tracking was dead on for almost 2 hours. This is better than I had expected for a scope under $1000. Hope this will be of use, Paul
Subject: re: gps reciever upgrade for etx, lxd55, lx90 Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 17:32:52 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: NICKELSONS@peoplepc.com The GPS receiver you see from Scopetronics is **NOT** an Official Meade Product. It is a totally independent development by another hobbiest. The home page for it is http://www.stargps.ca ( <-- ca not com ) (unless, of course, Meade came out with one while i blinked... but i doubt it) have fun --dick
Subject: Scopetronix Thread On Solar Filter For ETX 125 Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 12:49:33 From: LBIKAT@aol.com Just tried this new thread-on Scopetronix class A solar filter and the results were very nice. Two very fine sunspots were clearly evident in my 125 using a Panoptic 24 EP, our star was just a tad less than the observable field. I do like the safety of this thread-on design and would give this item two thumbs up. $99 for a 125. Clear skies, Al Koff
Subject: How can I tell if my ETX is damaged? Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 12:37:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ryder) I just got a new ETX and accidentally loosened the declination lock, which caused the scope tube to suddenly drop down onto the base. Checked out the scope on the outside and it looks OK, and checked that night whether I could see the objects in the sky, and that seemed OK as well. I'm pretty new to telescopes and stuff and I'm worried that perhaps some minor damage was caused that I'm not seeing right now (such as lenses slightly out of alignment or other minor damage) because I'm not using the full potential of the scope yet (the damage may be more obvious when looking at deep space objects, for instance...if I would only know where to find them---like I said, I'm pretty new to all this). Is there some sort of way to determine if my clumsiness caused any damage at all? Some kind calibration test perhaps that's not too difficult to pull off?? Reason why I am asking is that if any damage exist, I rather return the scope to the store I bought it from and exchange it before it's too late. Thanks for your time.Mike here: I doubt that you did any damage. But you can do a "star test" to check. Let the telescope cool down for a couple of hours. Focus on a bright star in the center of the eyepiece. Turn the focus knob in and out of focus, crossing on both sides of infocus. You should see some essentially concentric rings of light. As long as they are pretty much concentric you don't have any problem.
Subject: Idea for your ETX website Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 08:14:32 From: email@example.com (Joltz) Ive become a frequent user of your ETX site, basically been going there every day, checking out the photos and reading tips etc. It then sprung to me, you obviously must receive alot of email in regards to questions, tips, photos and general feedback, so... why not make it abit easier and throw a forum on your website where everyone can interact in real time post they're photos themselves, ask questions and be answered by people who may know etc etc, I have a real great forum on my site at www.joltz.org they're very easy to setup. You then could have a few people or yourself moderate any posts through the administration panel. Ive been thinking of adding my own astronomy section to my site not 100% definite yet. If you wanted to, I could create the forums, you could link them from your site, Ill give you moderator access and we could do it together if that makes it any easier, that's totally up to you though. If you want to create your own and your not sure how to, ill be glad to help you, just let me know. Anyway, take care. IgnatiusMike here: I have considered a "forum" but I like being able to moderate the postings. Avoids problems. Since I use a Macintosh, many of the steps of posting items is automated for me.
Subject: ETX 125 Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 07:57:05 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Arturo J. Guzmn) I have just purchased an ETX 125 with the AutoStar and I am new to the technology. When the alignment instructions refer to the "home position" they indicate the tube must be level and pointing North. Do they mean that you must adjust the tripod legs to make the entire telescope level if as in my case I place it in sloping terrain, or do they mean that only the tube must be level? Your help will be appreciated. Regards, ArturoMike here: For Altitude/Azimuth mounting the ETX base and tube should be as level as possible. How you set the tripod is not important, except for stability.
Thank you very much for your help. Congratulations on your site! Regards, Arturo
Subject: RE: New 125 and Autostar trouble Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 2003 00:15:20 From: email@example.com (Calley Wilkinson) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) Hi Both. Update on new 125 & autostar trouble. I received the replacement scope last week and tried the 360 degree test!!!!!! GREAT, spot on. Finally got a clear sky last night and aligned perfectly. After which I had a great time, grand tour/ goto. Skyview Optics have been absolutly great in there service and assistance in this problem, and I cannot praise them enough.Of course without yourselves I would have struggled on for a lot longer getting more frustrated and annoyed with Meade. Great site,Great help, and best regards to you both.Heres' to the future of clear skies and next step astrophotography. Calley Wilkinson. Leicestershire.UK
Subject: Heartfelt Congratulations!!! Sent: Tuesday, October 7, 2003 18:56:53 From: email@example.com (ROBERT Derouin) Hi Mike!, I've been takin' it easy since the Martian close approach last August!!I'll be back soon with more stuff/images!!I would be thrilled to take this moment to congratulate you on the awesome success of your ETX website...for the last 7 years!!!You've really helped me out and have even given me a little much needed confidence in getting some of my astro-images posted on the web!!Thanks to you,Mike!!I really appreciate the patience you've displayed with my "so-so" photos!!You sure know how to make a 'budding'astrophotographer feel wanted!!!Thanks again, Mike and best wishes on your site for another great seven years!!! Bob Derouin,Johnston,RI
Subject: etx125ec Sent: Tuesday, October 7, 2003 17:59:28 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kevin And Sara Brown) I just found a 15% off coupon code for the Discovery Store (sorry I didn't find it a little sooner Rtpilk@aol.com) it is "COMDIG" and is suppose to be good until 10-27-03. I just used it on my order, and have a etx125 with uhtc on it's way! Kevin
Subject: Galileo Illuminated Finder Sent: Tuesday, October 7, 2003 10:28:28 From: ThurberHK@Npt.NUWC.Navy.Mil (Thurber Hiroshi K NPRI) Anyone familiar with the Galileo Circular Illuminated Reticle Finder offered by Apogee? Hiroshi Kevin Thurber
Subject: Sent: Tuesday, October 7, 2003 06:41:21 From: email@example.com (Billington, Gavin (UK)) Very quick question which i am sure has been covered a thousand times before, I have just got a ETX125 UHTC which has 2 finger marks on the lens, not over big but enough to big the hell out of me.... Should i try and remove em and maybe make a mess of the coatings or just leave em alone as i have no idea how long they have been on either.... ? Mr Gavin Billington Lancashire UKMike here: Your email was almost deleted UNREAD as SPAM since it had no subject - please see the Email Etiquette page.
Subject: Focusing movement on the ETX Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 17:23:16 From: AnthonyRukcic@aol.com I noticed last night, that when I focus in or out, the image I'm centered on moves a little to the left or the right. Like there is a little play in the focus mechanism. Its not bad to where I have to recenter the image. Just curious why it does that. I'm just using the orginal focus knob. Also that was with about 144X anything around 75X and you cant tell. My Orginal ETX 90 RA did it also. Any Ideas? By the way the scope is 125ETX Thanks AnthonyMike here: Some slight image shift is normal with the Maksutov-Cassegrain design.
Subject: Meade LPI Imager Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 11:45:20 From: David.Gasch@goldsmithgroup.com (David L. Gasch) Just was wondering if you have heard anything about Meade's new LPI (Lunar Planetary Imager)Software Suite? Cost is $149.00, and it looks simple enough to use and install. Has anyone used this new suite for making images and if so have they sent you any results? Thanks for a great site, I've received more info from your web site than all others put together, keep up the good work Mike. David GaschMike here: Nothing reported yet as I don't think it is quite shipping yet.
Subject: Autostar Suite and LPI Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 23:59:18 From: KlaraColli@aol.com Has anyone tried the new Lunar Planetary Imager and Autostar Suite? Does the tracking feature just rely on Autostar or does it work like a guider and control the drives? It looks like it could give rewarding results on a budget. Tom ChatsworthMike here: I don't think it is quite shipping yet. No reports anyway.
Subject: change from altaz to polar mode Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 11:38:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (thebostons) My 105 works so perfectly in altaz I hate to switch. Everything I GoTo lands in my 26mm EP. But, I want to try astrophotog. Is there a simple way to switch to polar? Or, can it be explained briefly & simply? A friend set my scope up for me so I'm not as familiarized with the procedures as the normal user. Thanks for everything past & future.Mike here: What type of astrophotography did you have in mind? For short duration photography, field rotation (which occurs when not in polar mode) may not be a problem. But for more on Polar Alignments see the Autostar Information page.
I plan to use a Cannon SLR and try to take photos of everything from luna &r, plainatary to deep space objects which will require extended exposures. I understand the placement of the scope and the adjustments that have to be made to it. The only thing I think I need to know are the changes necessary on the Autostar.Mike here: Set the mounting mode to Polar.
Subject: FOV Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 08:08:19 From: email@example.com What is the formula to calculate fov in fonction of aperture and focal length of the eyepiece?Mike here: Try this Site: http://www.csgnetwork.com/telefov.html
Subject: Meade eyepiece problem Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 06:23:16 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike PearlmanMike) My 40 mm eyepiece that came with the Meade offer seems to have something wrong with it. All of the other eyepieces are fine with my ETX-90, they give sharp images and round concentric star test circles on both sides of focus. However, when you look in the 40mm, if you move your eye a tiny bit, the whole field of view becomes black, and it is very hard to position your eye to see the image as opposed to having it disappear. Also, if you look in the eyepiece from certain angles, it almost looks like you can see that round donut type image you would see with the eyepiece removed. Can eyepieces be misadjusted or is this a quality control problem with the glass? I don't have this type of issue with any other one. Thanks, Mike Pearlman Largo, FLMike here: What you are experiencing is typical of some long focal length eyepieces with a long eye relief. So I expect nothing is wrong.
OK, it was probably my viewing position then. Thanks, good news. Thanks again for the great web site. Mike
Subject: New ETX! Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 04:01:38 From: email@example.com (Joltz) Well ive finally decided to buy my new etx125 and sell the etx70. All thanks to a nice windfall from a poker machine win on the weekend which should fund the total price of the new telescope $2100 here in downunder. Im really looking forward to the upgrade and hope it will make a much better difference compared to the 70mm, which im sure it would. Cant wait for more late night star gazing in the now warm summer nights. Could you tell me, the etx125 uses the 1.25mm plossl's like the etx70 right? Im hoping to keep all my other lens ive bought for the 70 and just use them with the 125. Take care champ!Mike here: Enjoy! And yes, the ETX telescopes all use the same 1.25" eyepieces.
Subject: gps reciever upgrade for etx, lxd55, lx90 Sent: Monday, October 6, 2003 00:48:16 From: NICKELSONS@peoplepc.com (jason Hughes) I enjoy the sight very much and thanks for all your hard work in providing info on etx scopes. I own the etx125ec. I'm impressed what this scope can do. But anyway to the point scoptronics and meade have a new gps reciever available for $170. for etx, lxd55, and lx90 series scopes. thought you would like to know, if you hadn't heard. thanks again for the website. mike nickelson. firstname.lastname@example.org.Mike here: There are some comments about the GPS receiver on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: #825 Finderscope Alternative? Sent: Sunday, October 5, 2003 14:04:03 From: email@example.com (Rick J.) The stock finderscope on my ETX-90-EC is a backbreaker. The Meade #825 seems a bit pricey to me. Are there other companies that sell a compatible scope or must I pony up the $47 for the Meade one? Thanks, RickMike here: There are other options if you don't mind not using the existing bracket. Or you could use a Right-Angle Conversion Kit. See the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes and the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products pages.
Subject: Mars-Lightning on Spaceweather.com Sent: Sunday, October 5, 2003 09:05:00 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (divenuts) Hi all, I justed wanted to toot my own horn a little
I just had my first photo 'published' on Space weather.com. It's on the lower right of the front page. http://spaceweather.com/ Thanks for looking, Chuck
Subject: ETX-125EC Newbie Question Sent: Saturday, October 4, 2003 23:54:45 From: Anonymous I just purchased a brand new Meade ETX-125EC from a local Discovery store here in Houston, Texas. Immediately after I came home from the store I wanted to try it out and perhaps in all my excitement and anticipation of viewing heavenly objects, I didn't read the manual thoroughly before setting up the scope and for one reason or another, loosened the knob on the side which accidentally made the tube swing down from a normal straight 0 degrees and instantly hit the plastic base of the scope. Of course I was freaked out at first but after a cursory look on the outside of the scope and tube in particular, everything looked OK. OK, to make a long story short, after I took the scope outside to view the first object in the sky (I picked the moon since it's hard to miss), I was able to center it in the eye piece without problems. However, and here comes my problem, it's just VERY FUZZY! I have tried to play with the focus knob on the back of the scope (up to about 6-8 revolutions counter-clockwise from fully tightened) but the moon just appears as a big fuzzy ball. I'm using the standard 26mm eye piece. I also let the scope climatize to the outdoor conditions but again, still fuzzy. Am I doing something really wrong here, or is the scope (or eye piece) potentially at fault? What about the little accident of the tube swinging down--might this have hurt the scope and cause the focus problem? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!Mike here: Yes, reading the manual before using the telescope is a good idea. I recommend reading telescope manuals THREE times and then play with the telescope indoors to learn how to use it. That makes things less frustrating when you actually go outside and start using a telescope in the dark for the first time. As to the focus problem, did you try any objects, even a star? When you were focusing, did the image change at all, from more blurry to less blurry? Try focusing on a building at a distance during the daytime. Can you get it to focus?
Subject: re: An alien inside my EXT-90? Sent: Saturday, October 4, 2003 16:22:59 From: email@example.com (Richard Seymour) To: POLLOCKB@aol.com Since it is in the area between the main mirror and the corrector, your only chance is to "simply" remove the front corrector. Before you unscrew it, put a scratch mark on the dark metal ring holding the corrector, and the blue barrel... when you put it back together you want to stop the screw-down at that exact point. Now put the front cover on, grab onto the exposed corrector plate retaining ring, and unscrew it from the barrel. (you may have seen "HELP!" postings on Mike's site from folks who accidently unscrewed this because the lens cap was stuck. You -want- to unscrew it). Once it's off, dump out the moth and screw it back on. You do want to stop shaking the moth around in there, since the moth will shed wing-flakes which will get on the optics. Resist the temptation to BLOW into the scope to remove dust. You WILL do more damage from your breath's moisture (ok, SPIT) than any dust would ever do. have fun --dick (Comments about moth-eaten scope omitted)
Subject: MARS PHOTOGRAPHY ETX90EC CANON EOS Sent: Friday, October 3, 2003 06:04:41 From: Clivemorris@gwynedd.gov.uk (Morris Clive TRY/TRE) On 3 September,2003 at 22.00 UT(Universal Time) I observed Mars using my ETX90EC. The magnification used was x129 and the C.M. of Mars was 237.4 degrees. A dark marking was observed on the upper left hand portion of the disc.This marking was slanted 8am to 2pm as it would be seen on a clockface.My wife,Rita,confirmed the dark marking. The polar cap was reduced in size from my obsevation of 12 August,2003. I have identified the marking as the Mare Cimmerium. Mike,I have one question please. I have a CANON EOS 500N camera and a tripod,and I would like to attempt a photograph. Reading Astronomy Now(which the U.K.'s main Astronomy magazine) an article in the September issue says turn the Autofocus off,after mounting the camera on the tripod,and then focus the camera lens on the eyepiece image. Do you have any advice for me please. Finally,I would like to say thank you very much for your website,which is inspirational! Diolch yn fawr(Thank you very much in the welsh language), Clive Morris,Caernarfon,North Wales,U.K.Mike here: Thanks for the Mars report. As to the camera, set the camera lens manually to focus at infinity. Focus the eyepiece to your eye and then mount the camera. If your vision is normal (corrected or uncorrected) your eye focuses to infinity when looking through an eyepiece so this technique works pretty well. You can also use a "Hartmann Mask" to assist in focusing through the camera; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page.
Subject: Re: Constellation guide "GoTo"...Gemini ? Sent: Friday, October 3, 2003 05:55:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (P. Clay Sherrod) To: Ian Hello Ian and thanks for writing.... One of my priorities this winter is to finish all of the northern constellations AND Gemini - being one of my favorites - will be first; as a matter of fact, it is on the drawing board at this time and should be done before Christmas. Hope that this helps and thanks for the kind words; I know that a lot of folks are using the constellation Guides and the Tours that go with them. Thanks for writing. Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/ ----- Original Message ----- From: Ian > comments: Dear Clay, > First off I would like to thankyou for the time & effort you have put into creating the constellation guides. I have nearly managed to print them all to use at the telescope, and have really enjoyed the tours that I have done so far. > I recently realised that there is no guide for Gemini and humbly ask if you could apply you're knowledge and exprience to creating one (if there is any time in between working,supercharging and generally helping telescope owners!). I apologise if this is the 100th time you've been asked obout it. > Thankyou and clear skies > > Ian
Subject: An alien inside my EXT-90? Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2003 20:45:57 From: POLLOCKB@aol.com A week ago, I just happened to look inside the lense of my EXT-90 and discovered what appears to be the body of a "miller" moth. Could this moth have followed the light from Mars down and into my telescope? Another possibility is that during the summer we had a large infestation of these moths. When I bring my telescope in from a night's viewing, I remove the eyepieces and cover the scope by a table lamp. I supsect the moth flew inside the open eyepiece mount during the few seconds to put the eyepiece in the case. Can I remove this myself? Or, better to send it to Mead? I do not see it then looking through an eyepiece. But it's there----- Bill Pollock Santa Fe, NMMike here: Maybe it wants to be an astronomer! It liked all that extra starlight inside the tube. When you covered the telescope you turned off the lights and it died of loneliness. Shame on you! ;)
I tried that, but no luck. I can see it through the eypiece holder, but I can't seem to get it shake out. It will bounce around.Mike here: Could you reach it with a popsicle stick? if so, use two like a pair of tweezers and try to grab it. Or glue a straightpin to the end of the stick and "spear it".
Thanks for the suggestion. I will see if I can access it. Looking rom the aperature, the moth apears to rest on a mirror and will slide around as I jiggle the telescope. I can see it through the eyepiece opening but cannot access it. I have opened the port for a camera mounting and turned the mirror, but cannot get it to fallout. It appears to be trapped inside. Not being an expert on nomenclature, there appears to be a post etween the miorror and the glass. I guess there is no major prolem, since it is not seen when looking at stars. By the way, last weekend I attended a star party at White Sands. Most had large Meade 200s and various Dobsinians. But I thought my EXT-90 came off quite well. The sky was so great that one could see Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. I looked thorugh some of the Dobsinians and the Meade 200s. But I was still pleased with what I saw. When the general public was present the second night, I focused on perspective and showed the Butterfly Cluster and later the Pleiades, both of which were welcomed by visitors who were tiring of Andromeda. Thank you for your response. I regret that I no longer live in Orange County, as I would like to have attended your presentation there next week. But since moving to Santa Fe 2 years ago, i just step outside my door and the whole sky is available for viewing--much better than what I could see in Yorba Linda. I enjoy your website and your book.
Subject: RE: Would upgrading from an ETX70-AT to an ETX90 make it easier t o ge t some eye relief? Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2003 17:09:19 From: ERenger@harlandfs.com (Eric Renger) I thought I would give you an update on this. I ended up getting an ETX-125EC with UHTC. I had actually decided that the ETX-105 would be the right combination of features and price for me, but the Discovery Store does not carry the ETX-105, only the ETX-90 and ETX-125. They had agreed to take the ETX-70 back as an exchange, but not as a return. And if I was going to do it, they wanted me to do it within a short time frame. So I was faced with choosing between the ETX-90 and ETX-125, or trying to get my money out of the ETX-70 some other way and buying the ETX-105 somewhere else. Honestly, I can't really say I am all that sad about being forced to trade up. This scope was more than I wanted to spend, but I think I am really going to like having it. The weather has been poor since I made the swap, but I have had it out a few times under less-than-ideal conditions. I was able to make out the polar cap on Mars, and that was through a light haze. I was not able to do so with the 70, even under fairly good conditions. I also got good views of the moon and a few items on the guided tour before the weather got impossible. Aside from the aperture and focal length, which are of course the major differences, there are other features that make a world of difference between the ETX-70 and the ETX-125. Just having the finder scope is a huge advantage. The tripod is a lot steadier. The motors seem to move a lot more smoothly. The focuser is a lot easier to work. The one thing that sort of irritated me, however, is the design of the 26mm eyepiece that came with the telescope. The whole idea of exchanging the ETX-70 was to be able to get a telescope that would support some decent magnification with eyepieces that would have some eye relief. The 26mm Meade Super Plossl that comes with the telescope is described as having 18mm of eye relief. That sounded great to me. The 25mm MA that came with the ETX-70 had less than that, and I could use it with my glasses. However the design of this eyepiece is such that the lens that is closest to your eye is actually about 3/4 of an inch down inside the metal housing. It might have 18mm of eye relief, but all 18mm of that is down inside the housing! What is the idea? I can't use this eyepiece with my glasses. Even when I take off my glasses, I find I can really see the entire field only by actually folding back the rubber eyecup and getting so close that my eye seems to be inside the housing. It's a nice view from in there, but I wish I could bring my glasses with me. At least it's not as bad as it was trying to use the 6mm and 4mm cheapo Plossls with the ETX-70 --- with those I felt like my eye was just short of actually touching the lens. This eyepiece is a lot more comfortable than those were. With this eyepiece, there is no chance of touching the lens because you would have to crawl a mile down the tube of the housing to even get within arm's reach of the lens. Anyway, I am making do with this eyepiece for now, and I have ordered some long-relief eyepieces today. I called OPT and described the situation, and they were able to suggest several brands of long-relief eyepieces. They had some fantastic-sounding Pentaxes ($340), some really nice TeleVues ($240), Vixen LVs ($105 - $115), and Celestron X-Cel EDs ($65). All of these brands have 20mm of eye relief, but they all have different fields of view and I assume varying levels of quality. I can't afford to go crazy with this stuff, so the Pentax and TeleVue eyepieces were out. The guy I spoke to said that I probably would not notice a difference between the Celestrons and the Vixens, so I went with the Celestrons. I ordered a 25mm to replace the 26mm that came with the telescope, an 8mm for high magnification on nights with good seeing, and a 12.5mm for medium power on not-so-good nights. The whole line is parfocal, which should be nice. I am really looking forward to trying them out! Talk to you later, and thanks again for the advice. Eric
Subject: ETX90 allen keys Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2003 16:54:16 From: email@example.com (Paul Bradley) First of all I know everyone who writes in seems to say this, but what a great site, the internet is often a great resource for hobby info but I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so exhaustive as your coverage of these great little scopes, so thanks for helping me get acquainted with mine. I just brought a used 90mm and just about the only information I've not been able to find on your site is the sizes of the allen keys required to do a stripdown on this. I had the OTA off the other day with an ever-so slightly ill-fitting metric wrench and seem to have done no damage, but I don't really want to do it like that too often and it may be coming off with regularity for use as a guide scope. I guess given that I saw a mention on your site of the etx-125 ota retaining bolts being imperial sizes the ones on the 90mm are too? Also there's a very small allen bolt in the AZ/RA azis locking lever which I haven't been able to find the size of. Are there any others I should also be aware of if I'm going to strip the scope right down to do a clean/tune up? Anyway, thanks again for the site and hopefully you'll be able to enlighten me on these allen keys... -- firstname.lastname@example.org "At the age of 6 I wanted to be a chef, at the age of 7 I wanted to be Napoleon, and my ambition has been growing steadily ever since" - Salvador DaliMike here: I hope to have a complete list of sizes online soon.
Subject: Meade Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2003 12:19:06 From: Leenjudi@olympus.net (Lee Leader) I hope that this is not an imposition, as I really like your site and do not want to cause you any agravation but, I need some help. My ETX 90 (about three years old) now has a broker Optical Tube support. You have several articles describing this problem. I contacted Meade to order a reeplacement part, but was advised that I had to return it along with $75.00 plus parts to them. I contacted several dealers. None could help, but several were shocked to learn Meade's policy considering it is a problem piece and they use to sell a replacement. I followed up to Meade's customer service with a letter, better then two weeks ago, but still have not heard a reply. I also tried Scopetronix, which use to make a replacement part, but no longer makes them. Do you have any suggestions or do I just shell out the ransom Meade is demanding? Thank you for your time and considerations - you sure have a neat site. Lee LeaderMike here: I'm surprised that they are charging for the Right Tube Adapter. Are you sure the Tech Support person understood that that is the problem (assuming it is indeed the part that has failed)?
Thanks for the rapid response. I surely tried to explain the part I needed, both on the phone and in my letter. Of course it would be nice if somewhere there was a parts diagram to refer to, But!!! I will call them again and see if I can get a better reply. Mnm, Many thanks for all you do. Lee Leader
Subject: RE: RE: ETX-105 rotates more than 360 degrees! Sent: Wednesday, October 1, 2003 10:35:12 From: email@example.com (Kelleher) Thanks again. So does a Reset restore ALL settings to default please?Mike here: Yes, RESET puts the Autostar back into a Factory Default condition.
Thanks for your help - I've just spent another few hours enjoying the night sky and am really starting to like this new telescope. Thanks again...
Subject: re: temperture and etx Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 21:19:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Seymour) To: email@example.com I have used my ETX90 down to about 20F, and i would've tried colder, but Seattle didn't cooperate. The telescope will not be -hurt- by being cold (within reason), but operation will gradually degrade until you decide it's not worth it. The first thing to degrade is the Autostar's display... liquid crystals cannot "flip" rapidly as their liquid gets cold and dense (not too far below freezing). If you keep your Autostar in a mitten or pocket (or buy it a "handwarmer") it will keep operating happily. The grease starts to bog down below about 15F, and if you are using internal batteries, their capacity plummets, too. So you have the double-whammy of higher drag (cold grease) and weaker batteries trying to overcome it. The telescope will tell you when it's had enough.. but be sure to put on the front cover and keep the eyepiece hole closed when you bring it back indooors... otherwise the cold glass and metal will -instantly- suffer a severe "dew" problem. have fun, dress warm, --dickAnd:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (W.Sumner Davis) BUT>>>> would it be safe to leave the ext in the observatory? In Maine tempertures can fall to -30FAnd:
Yes, i am aware from having visited a number of outhouses in mid-Maine in the dead of winter (and mountaintops, but the outhouses were colder) The usual approach is to put a 25watt light bulb (or a Golden Rod heater stick) next to the telescope under a shared blanket in the observatory to keep the equipment happy. You can replace the grease with a better grade of aircraft mechanic's grease which will handle that temperature range a bit better. You -will- have to take the Autostar itself to a warmer environment, the liquid crystal display -will- freeze and damage itself. Many of the ETX parts are only "consumer"-rated, so operation below 0 F is dicey, at best. I would suspect that some of the plastic parts would become quite brittle if cold-soaked. have fun (stay warm?) --dick
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