ETX USER FEEDBACK - OCTOBER 1997
Many ETX users have written to me with comments or questions. If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, please e-mail them to me and I'll post them.
See the ETX Feedback Page for current comments.
Sent: Friday, October 31, 1997 17:16:37 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Neal McIlvaine) Do you know if anyone is using or is it possible to use an EpsonPhotoPC500 Digital Camera with the ETX. Thanks, Neal email@example.com
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 1997 16:37:06 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick S Happoldt) Would the ETX give better images of Jupiter and Saturn than, say, a Celestron 80EQ or 6" Meade Dobsonian?
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 1997 12:15:01 From: LTHUEDK@aol.com All ETX owners readily acknowledge their instruments' strengths and shortcomings, and after all is said, we lovingly embrace our special toy like an appendage connected to our bodies. The little scope gives pleasure and excitement to lives grown bored with well-trodden interests. It has for me, reawakened the sense of wonder about things distant and unfamiliar, and ended a four decade absence by connecting me to everything else-always out there-but so casually ignored. The little glass, metal and plastic scope has brought me back to a place I frequented as a child and dearly miss as an adult. _____________________________________________________________________ I took the advice of a fellow who suggested purchasing a Black and Decker Workmate for a stable and transportable viewing table, then made some small modifications to secure the ETX. I do believe the small tripod legs are the epitome of engineering elegance, and give the most stable support available, but only if their support surface is stable. So, I inletted into the tables' surface, three elliptically shaped cutouts of equal depth to accept the tripod legs. Through the center latitude leg cutout a 1/4" hole was drilled. Corresponding to that hole, I epoxy'd a 1/4" X 20 nut within the leg, flush to the surface. Now, when set up, the scope nestles firmly into the leg sockets, with the center leg secured by bolt. This arrangement is quite solid. Additionally, I inletted a compass and bi-directional carpenters bubble into the table surface, which facilitates rapid polar alignment. The space between the "jaws" of the B and D workmate provide an area for installing a plastic tray (via velcro) to hold viewing goodies. ____________________________________________________________________ I enjoy visiting this site, Mike. Clear skies to you.
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 1997 16:57:58 From: email@example.com (Hector Acosta) My name is Hector Mario Acosta, I'm from Uruguay (SouthAmerica, between Brazil and Argentina), I'm a student and I'm member of our local astronomy club called 'Asociacn de Aficionados a la Astronoma'. I'm very interested in buying an ETX, but here in my country the local dealer its a little bit crazy because he's selling the ETX at a prize of U$S 900 !!!!. I would like to know how can I buy one in the USA and bring it to my country. Is a private courrier like DHL safe enough to send one ETX and some accesories? I will be very pleased to recivce your reply, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much.. And congratilations your page is EXELENT I printed it all!!!!!!!! Hector Mario Acosta
Mike here: Check out the Sky&Telescope web page; they have a page of dealers. You could then start making phone calls. Some dealers also have web pages. You could also send an email to email@example.com and see what they say. Good luck.
Sent: Monday, October 27, 1997 19:27:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John) I am considering getting the Orion SkyView equatorial mount and tripod for my ETX and 4.25"f4 Newtonian scopes. I was wondering if anyone else has used this mout for their ETX and how it functions for them? If so, how is the RA DC motor drive for the mount? Although the ETX fork mount DOES work, I find the scope hard to "point" with anything that's more than 35 degrees or so from the equator. I would appreciate any response. I do like the scope, I am beginning to feel a better mount might help. Thanks, John email@example.com
Sent: Monday, October 27, 1997 04:57:14 From: Zeta1@aol.com Thanks again for your web page, it is a wealth of information for any ETX or prospective ETX owner. I'm getting closer "making the plunge". Getting info from all over here is what i have arrived at...... to purchase: ETX # 932 45 degree Image Erecting Prism 12.4 mm Meade Series 4000 Super Wide Angle 4.7 mm Meade Series 4000 Ultra Wide Angle ( 266x sounds good to me, but might as well really forget the barlow as 532x is not even remotely possible <grin>) and is part # 07035 the long leg for 26 degrees latitude, i need that also. No barlow (too much loss of light) No Motofocus (only really needed if photography is involved) No Motodec (only really needed if photography is involved) Being somewhat of a newbie (going from flea market scopes to something good) i like the idea of Motodec and Motofocus as i keep bumping my 4 1/2" dob, but don't want to throw my money away (watcha think?). I'm going to build a wedge and save $125, but i'm still looking for a tripod, any suggestions. I usually research something well enough that i have only a few questions after i buy it, but being relatively new, i would like to see and check out a ETX before i buy one. I have ran some ads, and was hoping to find someone nearby ( 0 to 3 hours away) so i could look before i leap <grin>. I looked at all the astromart ads in the last 2 or 3 months that mentioned ETX and the savings was from about $64 to $300 on a used ETX with extra goodies. To me, might as well buy a new one with the 2 year and 10 year warranty (don't know if is transferable or not) if i'm going to save $100 or less. Then the ones with more extra goodies, weren't necessarily the goodies that i wanted, ( bigger savings though) then again being a newbie, possibly later on i would want those items.... at this point i don't understand all i know about astronomy and the ETX. So who is your favorite Astronomy Store (and why) and do they all stick to Meade's suggested discount retail price or to some of them knock off some extra $$$ when you place the order. (( I found some computer goodie suppliers that usually will knock off a little more, even over the already low catalog price)) Yes, i know stores must make a reasonable profit to stay in business, but then again. If your out go exceeds your income then your up keep is your down fall. Please Mike and everyone one else, please give me some e-mail feedback comments on my questions. It is my understanding that the Meade Company (at least the ETX part) has moved and many dealers are waiting on shipments, so i have s week or two to wait if i go "new". Years ago i worked for a large company with some pretty smart people. It was real easy to get a consensus of opinion on almost any subject. With more information you can make better decisions. ETX and prospective ETX owners have to be the smartest people with the most knowledge on the ETX..... Possibly, we could all get together and figure out the best combination of usefull extra "goodies" and call it the "Weasner Package", simply because anyone with a ETX and Computer who is online should be reading and getting info from: http://www.weasner.com/etx/index.html the best ETX url. Thanks, Z (Tim)
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 1997 03:14:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anthony N. Speca) I enjoyed reading Carlos Leal's posting (Oct 14, 1997 07:52:59) about modifying a C5 mount for use of the ETX. I wonder if other readers have been successful in adapting this or other mounts for upgrading ETX tracking. Perhaps they can add a posting or contact me privately. BTW the site is one of my favorites. Thank you for taking the time needed to keep it going. Tony email@example.com
Sent: Friday, October 24, 1997 16:38:16 From: MORRISR@RJRT.com (Morrison, Bob A.) Thanks again for the great job you are doing with the ETX site. We got our ETX from the Nature Co. and found everything to be in order, i.e. - working properly. Per several suggestions, we got the #126 Barlow and the 9.7mm Super Plossl. All excellent quality. Also sent to B&H Photo for the Doskocil Seal-Tight Case, extra-large( it comes gray or black for about $75 including shipping). It inspires confidence that nothing will damage the ETX inside. I put the ETX at the top (nearest the handle) and made smaller niches for the legs, eyepieces, etc. below it, nearer the hinge. The case is a bit large and heavy, but not so bad that I would not want to take it traveling. On Oct. 22, I made my first observation of Saturn, rings and one moon (I think). For a real beginner, there is nothing quite like seeing the real thing, instead of a picture. Jupiter and the four Gallilean moons, Venus, Mars and the moon are all great thrills. Even with an approximate polar alignment by just eyeballing the scope on the table which is aligned N-S, Saturn, Jupiter or Venus stayed in view with the 9.7mm for at least 10 minutes. The view does not seem to improve much at all when changing from 26mm to Barlow or to 9.7mm. The higher the magnification the harder it was to focus. Finding the exact focus is very difficult; I tend to overshoot with the focus knob having just a little play before engaging. The JMI Moto-Focus might be the answer here. When trying the focus test with a star in view, both directions from the in-focus point result in identical rings. The images are crisp and clear. It looks like a winner. Have you identified Neptune or Uranus in your ETX yet? I don't have the skills yet, but wondered, since they are supposed to be just West of Jupiter. I encourage everyone to contribute their findings and suggestions to your site. It sure helps us all. Thanks again, Rob Morrison also at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: I did see Uranus last year but have been unsuccessful this year for some reason. Still trying. Since I haven't been able to see Uranus I haven't yet tried for Neptune.
Sent: Friday, October 24, 1997 13:13:30 From: email@example.com (Gil Torbeck) I like your ETX page very much although I do not (yet?) have an ETX. I'm sure it is very useful as a clearinghouse of information on this telescope. Perhaps you can tell me something. I have heard that Astronomy Magazine published a review of the ETX not too long ago. Would you know in what issue that was ? Thanks in advance. Gil Torbeck firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, October 24, 1997 08:52:53 From: email@example.com (elrond) is it possible to get a focal reducer for the ETX?
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 14:24:59 From: NebM42@aol.com I finally got the chance to try out both the Meade etx astro, and the old version Meade 2045. The first test was on deep sky objects. In the ETX M57 was clearly visible at 16.7mm. Then off to the Meade 2045. M57 was allso clearly visible, but much brighter this time. I could even see the circle in the middle of M57. Looked more like a ring this time. The etx showed M57 but it look more like a round Blur. Off to Planets! I observed Saturn first with the Meade Etx. I was using a 12.5mm eyepiece with a 2x barlow lens on Saturn. Seeing was nice, i could pick out the hole ring structure and even the Cassini Division if you looked close. Then off to the Meade 2045. I used the same eyepieces as i did with the ETX on Saturn. When I compaired the Images ,the 4" Meade 2045 it had a little bite more contrast than the ETX. I picked out 2 of it's moons and even a Brownish Cloudband on the Top of Saturn. Using a filter, brought out even more detail. I used a #12 yellow filter. I picked the Cassini Division No problem, not like siting there and waiting for it to pop in with the etx. I allso noticed the Dark Spacing of the rings near the inner part of Saturn. They looked more like ears. The next planet was Jupiter. Using the 12.5mm and the 2x Barlow the Meade 2045 and the ETX gave off somenice views . They both showed the 2 maincloud bands all 4 moons. I would say that this time it was a draw. The Meade 2045 might of had a small bite more contrast but this would of been noticed more with a trained eye. Both scope were Ultra Portable. This is great if you have a small car and don't have room for a big scope and allso If you go on Buisness trips you can bring it right allong. I find that my 4" SCT is great because I don't have to drive 30 miles to my Dark observing spot I could just walk with it in my backpack to a school FootBall Field, witch was inpossible to enter with my 8" Dob. After examining both scopes , I would have to say that the Meade 2045 was better. But since they don't preduce them any more, you could buy one used for about 500-600 in good condition. The ETX is allso a great scope. This scope is an alternative to buying the Meade 2045. But if your looking into Observing Planets with great detail along with Deep sky objects buy a 6"-10" Dob. I have some questions about the meade 2045 if anyone has one out there. Is it possible to use a f/6.3 Focal Reducer on the scope? If it is possible then the meade 2045 Will out preform the ETX by ALLOT!. It will give the scope a wider filed of view.Allso is it possible to use a 2" Diaginal on the 2045? E-mail me at NebM42@juno.com for some questions or coments. Clear skies! Adrian Lozinski Amateur Astronomer from Long Island
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 10:55:02 From: LMArnold@aol.com Great web page!! The finest I've found on ALL telescopes!! I am thinking about buying myself an ETX for ET-Xmas. It seems that you're genuinely pleased with yours. Can you please answer some questions? 1. What's the longest exposure time you've ever taken? (I'm familiar with the "heavy camera/slow motor" problem) 2. Would you consider the ETX "tripod ready"?? I've got a great photographic tripod I'd like to use to take along with me since I live near a big city. --Larry Arnold
Mike here: As you can see from the tracking tests on the ETX Gallery page and the Deep Sky astrophotography page, exposures longer than 30-60 seconds will trail due the torque problem. The tripod has to be a sturdy one, especially when the pan head is tilted for your latitude. Afterall, you don't want the ETX/tripod to fall over! And thanks for the praise. These pages are a combined effort of myself and many other ETX users.
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 10:32:44 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barry A. Craig) I recently won a Meade ETX at our local Star Party (Island Lake Star Party near Brighton, Michigan). It was supplied by the Nature Company. Imagine my surprise! I wouldn't have bought one on my own new, for I have many bigger scopes. The optics are GREAT! It's small size with a built-in drive makes it hard to miss a clear night. I hate the finder and immediately started to look for a solution. I bought a Quick Finder from Rigel System http://pw2.netcom/~rigelsys/Rigelsys.html. It works great and didn't cost very much. Barry C.
Mike here: There is a short review of the QuikFinder on the ETX Accessories - Finders page.
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 08:56:17 Currently i have a 60 mm refractor and a 4 1/2" reflector dob, both are little more than toys, possibly a little less <grin>, i look at the moon but everything else unless i use low power is fuzzy.... I looked at a 8" Celestron Star Hopper with homemade motor drive and regular dob base, but it was just too big. So now i told my buddy who has the Meade 12.5" Dob that i had looked at a Starhopper and he said "Have i got a deal for you'", so even if i don't end up with the 12.5" and even if i do. I'm still interested in a small motor drive scope. LIke the Questar (which i will need save for <grin>) or the ETX. I have noticed by using my flea market scopes that while i can see the moon or planets on low power that high power on planets makes them look fuzzy. I guess they call that the ability to resolve (i'm a newbie, remember). I was thrilled to look at Saturn at 320x on the Starhopper and am hoping to find something (with motor drive (( saturn quickly went out of the ep <grin>)) that will present a image of that size in the ep. I have searched and looked over the web in the newsgroups and web sites (yours is the best ETX sight i might add). I have printed out about 2" of telescope information. I have seen several maximum powers mentionied for the ETX (90mm x 2 = 180x, is that the max?) Actually what is the maximum power that the ETX can reslove ( i guess that means not fuzzy) a star or planet. Does it make much of a difference if you use a barlow? Or what is the smallest ep i can use (1250mm/5mm = 250) or with a 2x then (1250 / 2.5 = 500 ?) I have read part of your feedback and printed out part also, and will go back and read it all, but if you have the time please let me know what max power is and if i can expect Saturn to look as good and be as big as it was in the 8" Starhopper that i am not going to get. I realize their will be differences as they are two different sizes and types of scopes, but this will help me understand if i am heading in the right direction this time..... Sincerely, Thanks, Z (Tim)
Mike here: Thanks for the comment. As to magnification, yes, there is a limit which is normally stated as "50-60x times the objective diameter in inches". So, the ETX is 3.5" which gives 175-210. Obviously an 8" or 12" will give much higher numbers. But that is not the whole story. Quality of all the optics, number of optical surfaces, the quality of the seeing (how turbulent the air is), and how temperature stabilized your scope is, that is, how bad the air currents within the scope are as it changes from room temperature (assuming it was inside) to the night time observing temperature. Optically, the ETX is a superior scope but adding a Barlow lens will add more surfaces and so degrade the image somewhat. If you purchase one of the really high quality eyepieces (that can cost almost as much as the ETX itself) then you can stretch that theoretical limit. On a good night, with normal eyepieces, and a temperature stabilized ETX, you can also stretch that limit. So it comes down to what you want to trade off for what. Portability for magnification, ease of set-up for no drive, etc. Only you can make that decision. Hopefully there is enough information on the ETX pages to help; there is certainly a lot of information thanks to the support of many ETX users worldwide.
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 1997 21:47:18 From: email@example.com (Jonathan Maier) I recently acquired a used 8x50mm Meade finder scope and compared to the standard finder, it's a dream come true, however I have no good way of mounting it to the ETX. Once I removed the ETX's standard finder, I tried several schemes of velcro and double-stick tape to attach the 50mm finder, but none were sturdy enough. So eventually I just had to strap it on with duct tape and insert a small piece of stryofoam underneath the end to align it properly. As you might imagine, it looks really ugly, but it works great! Anyway, I was wondering if you knew of anything like a dovetail mount or accessory rings that were available for the ETX; that would really make things more elegant. Thanks. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Jonathan Maier firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 1997 02:50:47 From: email@example.com (Michael & Lori Nicholas) Have been an ETX user for about four months now. I have returned to interest in astronomy from my adolescent years. Observed the Aldeberan occultation on the morning of 10/19. It was spectacular and I was able to get some good timing data (I think !!!). I have also had good success on many deep sky objects. I continue to be amazed by the optical performance of the instrument. I have a question regarding a dew cap for the 8x20mm finder. Has anyone tried constructing one? My flexible dew cap from Orion Telescopes works very well but the finder gets dewed over rather too easily. Does anyone have any ideas? Mike Nicholas Paducah, Kentucky
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 1997 22:26:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Randy Rubis) I just dropped by your excellent web site to mention that I have found a great thing to do with your ETX during the daylight hours. I recently purchased a solar filter (full aperture) for the ETX and I have had a wonderful time viewing the Sun. The Sun is very dynamic and it's very interesting to view the progress of sunspots from day to day. I would highly recommend ETX owners to invest in a full aperture (the only safe way to view the Sun) and enjoy daylight observations. I paid under $60.00US for the glass solar filter. Remember, when viewing the Sun you MUST be careful and cover your finder. Only attempt to view the Sun with a FULL APERTURE filter. Good Luck and Clear Skies Point your browser to: www.look-inc.com/rrubis/etx3.jpg If you would like to see the ETX with a solar filter. Drop by web site if you would like to see actual solar images using the Orion Solar Filter. Randy-Michigan -- Randy Rubis Saint Clair Shores, Michigan, USA "We Who Dare....Win!" Home Page http://www.look-inc.com/rrubis/randy1.htm
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 1997 17:56:40 From: email@example.com (Eric Philipp) I bought my ETX, last week. And already I have been having alot of fun with it. I have gotten some very beautiful views of Jupiter. Crystal clear, the thing is amazing.. Venus has also been a target.. M45 also has been an everynight object.. I am having trouble finding Saturn.. Where do I look... I live in Minnesota.. Jupiter is due south, but I can't find Saturn.. I am still a beginner but I am reading alot.. But sometimes I can't follow those books, they are alittle heavy for me.. Can you help with my quest to find Saturn... Thanks much... Eric Internet E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Glad you like the ETX for viewing heavenly objects! As to where to find Saturn, you should check out some astronomy software such as Voyager II (commercial) and SkyChart 2000 (shareware). Both have links from my Other Astronomy Links Page. But right now you'll find it low in the East shortly after it gets dark. It will be approximately due south about midnight.
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 1997 13:48:30 From: email@example.com (Michael McGarvey) After getting chased in by the dew a couple times I got the dew cap suggested in the guest feedback section. With the flat black paint and velcro it looks great and works wonderfully. Those considering this should get the 4" styrene drain connector (not schedule 40 PVC) which is quite light and just the right size. Despite my collimation problem I've been having lots of fun. The nebulosity in the Pleades is really startling. Looking in the center of the field of the 26mm eyepiece I thought my dewshield was failing me. When I looked directly at Merope and the bluish haze disappeared it dawned on me that I was seeing the reflection nebulosity with averted vision. Clear skies, Mike McGarvey
Sent: Monday, October 20, 1997 15:51:04 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul S. Walsh) Herein my promised report on our trip to the Pyrenees with the ETX... The good news is that the scope travelled beautifully in the JMI hardcase. The case fit well on the overhead shelf or trunk cavity of every subway, 777, TGV, taxi cab and commuter train we piled into from Huntingdon, England to St. John de Luz on the Cote Basque. The bad news is that the Pyrenees look beautiful in the snow and gale force winds we encountered but the "etoiles" we're only visible on one night - that was, however, enough to give our French hosts a dazzling view of cassini's division (4.8mm Nagler) and Jupiter's 4 dancing showgirls (18mm Celestron Ultima). It was a gift very well received and the set up time was a lightning 2 minutes flat from a locked case to "Bien Venue de Saturn!" (please pardon my French - our host's eldest son said I spoke it with a Russian Accent! Go figure. In all respects except meteorologically this was a dream vacation for us. For it's part, the ETX performed like the most talented of bit players - always prepared, quick to improvise, and brilliant in it's all too brief moment on stage. The Ian Holm of travel scopes. Nice new additions to your page, by the way - still the the best ETX resource anywhere. All the best - Paul and Valarie.
Sent: Monday, October 20, 1997 10:47:42 From: Lorne@rand.org (Lorne Teitelbaum) Hello, I have a question about the ETX. Under specifications, you list that the maximum practical visual power is 325X. Is this the same as maximum practical magnification? I am only a beginner at amateur astronomy but I thought that the limit on magnification was 50 times the diameter in inches, or 2 times the diameter in mm, which is approximately 180X. Did I get it wrong or am I misinterpreting the specs? I am interested in buying an ETX and would appreciate your help. Thanks. LT Lorne@rand.org
Mike here: The normal maximum magnification is indeed 50-60x per inch of aperture. You can exceed that with high quality optics (like in the ETX) but the image does deteriorate with higher magnifications. Brighter objects will do better at the higher magnifications.
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 1997 21:57:32 From: email@example.com (Clay Lingo) Thanks for a really great site. I just got my ETX yesterday. It's my first telescope, tonight was my first night of viewing, and at this point I know next to nothing about using the equipment so your site's gonna be a big help. If you have any time could you give me your opinion on what I might be doing wrong with respect to the following: I used a series 3000 6.7 mm eyepiece to observe Jupiter this evening. I could see Jupiter fine with the supplied 26 mm eyepiece, but with the 6.7 mm I couldn't acquire anything at all. Any suggestions? Should I be using the SP 4000 series instead? Thanks Again, Clay Lingo (S.F. Bay Area)
Mike here: I presume you refocused when changing eyepieces. If so, then the next culprit that comes to mind is that Jupiter was slightly outside of the 6.7mm eyepiece's field-of-view. If neither of the above, have you tried it on terrestrial objects?
Sent: Friday, October 17, 1997 12:17:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael McGarvey) I thought I'd thank you for your page as it really helped me in deciding to buy an ETX. I got a running start on getting used to the scope after reading through the archived feedback sections. I guess I'd direct anyone else considering the ETX to do the same. It was nice to start off with the benifit of tricks like the clothspin focuser, film can port cap, etc. Like others, I am astonished by this scope. I had access to a school owned Meade 4" SCT a couple of years ago and it really put me off the idea of a small cat. Its resolution, contrast and even color were poor; the secondary constantly needed collimation and the mechanics were really cheesy. I gave up any notion of buying a scope and even stopped working on a small Dall/Kirkham scope I was three quarters done with. Now after years of naked eye/binocular astronomy I finally have a scope and I'm loving it. I had my first telescopic views of Saturn the lasst two nights. The Cassini division was clearly evident as were gold cloud belts and two satellites all in the wash of hazy clouds illuminated by the very near moon. It simply defies words. I'll be running short on sleep for a while. I bought the scope used; its in great shape but has what I believe to be a collimation problem: the diffraction rings are not evenly illuminated on both sides of the airy disk. In the S&T review of the ETX the reviewer mention this abberation and attributes it to the flip mirror. The orientation of illumination shift is different from the direction of mirror flip and slightly flipping the mirror (enough to cause significant image shift) dosn't seem to alter the image. I am communicating with Bryan Biggers regarding collimating the primary (courtesy July feedback archives) but wondered if you might have any other ideas. I'm going to try to test the image through the camera port and try rotating the lens cell to see if I can empirically identify the source of the mis-collimation. I don't think it seriously degrades the views obtained, it easily splits the epsilon lyra doubles; they just sit in lopsided diffraction rings. It is clearly performing well for planetary observations but it bugs me just the same. Thanks for you input and keep up the great work! Mike McGarvey
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 1997 21:03:14 From: email@example.com (al winger) re:45 deg prism- my star shop has reviewed the unit and they conclude that bcoz i do not use my glasses to view, the 45 deg prism does not have enough travel for my eyesight. sounds logical, so i have to use glasses to use the 45. i'll probably stick with the 90 and no glasses as my lenses do not have enough eye relief. I'll reserve judgement on the JMI equatorial mount and tripod as you have had many more experienced responses. Rgds Al Winger
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 1997 07:52:59 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Carlos Leal) A recent low budget find of a Celestron C5 wedge, single mounting arm with electric drive, and the lightweight field tripod has turned into an excellent base for the ETX tube. The common point of contact for mounting purposes turned out to be the ETX's photo tripod mounting holes on the tube. The C5 uses a similar arrangement with a mounting block that in addition to being the point of attachment for the tube to photo tripods also serves as a the male part of a slide on and lock mechanism that attaches the C5's tube to the mount. Since the tube was missing I had to get a C5 mounting block through a dealer. I removed the ETX from it's drive per the instructions in the manual, then drilled two holes with countersinks for 1/4 inch hex bolts into the C5 mounting block so that the block could be attached to the ETX with the bolts flush to the surface. The ETX's original drive remains available for highly portable use but this arrangement proved a dream to use last night on my first clear night since the modification. The spotting scope was actually usable. The ETX can do a full 360 degree rotation around the DEC axis of the single mounting arm so an awkward viewing angle can be transformed into a useable one by flipping the scope over to the reciprocal side. The AC drive is strong enough to carry a piggyback 35mm camera so there are many other aspects left to explore. _________________________________________________________________________ Carlos Leal Retail Info Central (817) 249-4434 9120 Dove Ct. Fax(817) 249-5488 Fort Worth, TX 76126 http://www.retail-info.com _________________________________________________________________________
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 1997 19:02:04 From: Ralph_Libby@compuserve.com (Ralph Libby) In addition to the dewcap mentioned, I used styrene pipe coupling, and it is large enough to mount a Telrad base on it . The Telrad makes polar aligning a lot simpler. (wish they did something about that finder) Placing a piece of duct tape over the N-S switch has prvented inadvertent screwing up! I have been "outside telescope person" at the Lick Observatory visitors nights this last summer, and over 300 people (including the professional astronomers) have commented on the performance of the ETX. Great web page Ralph Libby San Jose CA
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 1997 11:22:37 From: email@example.com (Kenneth Vessels) First off let me offer my sincerest thanks for your ETX page. It was this page that made decide to purchase my ETX back in May. Do you have any idea where I can get a thumbscrew to lock my eyepiece in? I lost mine one dark night while observing. Or any ideas what to use as a replacement? Ken
Mike here: Glad you have found these pages helpful. As to a setscrew, I don't have any idea for a replacement. But many Meade customers have contacted Meade directly about lost parts and they have sent replacements free.
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 1997 06:31:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jame Foks) I've been experimenting with hand held casio photography and my results have been mixed. I find it difficult to get the object I'm trying to shoot (the moon) to show up in the casio viewfinder. The image "floats" across the screen and then dissapear, the screen goes black... then I get a low light level reading on the screen. After moving the camera into several different pos1tions, I finally get a shot, but this method takes a while and is quite frustrating. Any suggestions? thanks, jf :)
Mike here: I fully understand your frustration, which is why I attempted to make a mounting adapter. But after much experimentation with hand-held photography I have gotten pretty good at photographing the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mars. I still get some image blurring when I'm not careful but I just delete those from the camera. Here's my technique: place the left index finger along side of the Casio lens housing and feel the edge of the eyepiece as you hold the lens to the eyepiece. This lets you gauge both horizontal position as well as distance from the eyepiece. By the way, I also roll the rubber light guard on the eyepiece down so that I can get the Casio lens as close as possible. There is a photo on my ETX Astrophotography Gallery - Basics page that sort of shows how I hold the camera.
Sent: Friday, October 10, 1997 05:51:34 From: KIESCHEF@COWEN.COM (Kiesche III, Fred) Greetings All: Well the second hand ETX that I purchased arrived on Wednesday. Mr. Postman had left a note on Monday saying that he needed my signature, but did not redeliver until Wednesday. Of course Tuesday night was as clear as a bell. I unpacked the box, and looked things over and read the instruction book. It seemed pretty clear, but I did have one question (I'm guessing that if you set the scope to polar align as shown you can use magnetic north and get "close enough for government work"?...the problem is that Polaris is more often than not hiding behind trees!), but it wasn't a pressing question as I was just going to try a few prominent sights. I also skipped over the drive section, as it was pretty hazy and I didn't expect to be out too long. I installed the eypiece and the legs (the finder had been installed by the first owner) and brought it outside to the picnic table. First target was Jupiter. Even with the eypiece that came with the telescope, I was able to see all four satellites (three on one side, one on the other) and some banding. Beautiful! I was able to acquire the target using the finderscope and then use the slow motion controls to center it in the scope and keep track as it moved. Next up was the moon, peaking amont the backyard trees. Again, no problem getting it in the finderscope and then the eyepiece. While 48x is not super detail, I was impressed with the clarity of the picture given and the almost 3D feel of looking at the craters along the terminator. Good stuff! Next up was Saturn, fairly near the horizon and pretty much lost in the haze. The night was clear, but humid, so the haze was pretty thick. Even so, and even at 48x, I was able to discern clearly the yellow color of the planet and see the rings clear enough to tell their angle to the planet. Not good enough to see gaps, shepherd moons, etc., of course, but as good as I expected. I left the scope out on the deck (with the large cap and all small caps on!) and went into the house to make dinner. My wife came home at 8:30 from work and I brought her outside to show her the sights. The moon and Jupiter were lost in the backyard trees, but I was able to show her Saturn. Seeing had settled a bit more, so the picture was a bit clearer. After supper I went out again, but things had hazed over. Also, the scope had totally dewed over. Good thing I had capped everything! I brought it inside for the evening. I get up at 4:30 AM to walk the K9's, so after taking them out I brought the scope outside again. I was able to acquire Saturn again, much clearer than either of the two previous sightings. I also took a look at Sirius and the Orion Nebula. Stars seem fairly pinpoint sharp, and the same general pattern appears when its positively and negatively out of focus. The telescope looks to be in good shape, mint condition. There's a little dust on the correcting lens, but no big deal. The eyepiece appears to have a smear on it (fingerprint?), anybody have advice on cleaning that or should I leave it alone? I'm trying to find time to get over to either Focus Camera or Adorama, both in NYC (where I work). But it's Crazy Time in the office, so I may end up mail ordering (seems kind of silly when I'm so close, but travel time isn't office time!). A Barlow is a must first purchase, I may get a few other eyepieces as well as some filters and the like... Finally I can say: Clear Skies! Fred Kiesche (FKiesche@aol.com)
Sent: Thursday, October 9, 1997 08:31:30 From: email@example.com (Don Barbee) Just some comments on observing etc. All the Messier objects should be visable in an ETX. This is not to say you can see them all from the city of course. Messier used a 4 inch refractor finding all the M's. But that was in a time without enhanced coatings etc. Our ETX's should easily match or exceed the refractor he used. I recently purchased a Bogen 3025 tripod. Very sturdy. I'm currently fabricating a "wedge". When complete I'll send the details in case anyone else wants to try it. It should come in at around $20. Dew sheilds: I have Roger Tutthils dewsheild. Its very attractive rolled aluminum tubing lined with very thick velvety material. The tube has nice end rings and is decorated all over with moons and stars etc. It can be slid down over the ETX tube for storage much like the dew sheild of a Questar! Check it out guys. Roger also has a right angle finder which is supposed to be reviewed in Sky and Telescope. I had the opportunity to observe from 8500 feet up in the mountains of central New Mexico this summer. The sky was so transparent the stars were steady (no twinkles!!). The Califonia Nebula was easy in binoculars. Scanning with the ETX in Sagitarius and Scorpius was... there just aren't words. Oh well this is to long now. Up with ETX!! My 10 inch is gathering dust! Don Barbee
Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 1997 12:17:42 From: Ray_Wartinger@wb.xerox.com (Wartinger,Ray C) What can you tell me about "Observatory Techniques Magazine"? I see in issue #19 a couple of ETX articles on improving the RA and DEC of the ETX. Are these worth buying the backissue? Regarding the declination control, last nite I double-sticky taped a thin piece of plastic, with a curve filed in the edge, to the case above and against the top of the decl knob and this reduced the back and forth play in the decl lead screw significantly. The knob is a bit stiffer now so I don't know if I'm going to keep the mod. One of my biggest gripes now is the wobbling of the fork mount relative to the bottom half of the RA drive. This causes alot of image shift when you lock and unlock the RA drive. I f I try to tighten the screw the wobble goes away but the screw loosens itself when the scope is turned. Has anyone done anything to fix this? - - Ray
Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 1997 09:20:18 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jon Brewster) This really is a great web site. I have spent a good deal of time there. One question. It's not clear whether the Poconon Mtn right angle converter is different from or the same product as the JMI. Since Pocono Mtn is a reseller these COULD be the same. Do you know? Jon B
Sent: Wednesday, October 8, 1997 09:06:18 From: Ray_Wartinger@wb.xerox.com (Wartinger,Ray C) I occasionally read (with some dismay) about someone who buys a telescope, somehow decides that the optics are no good, returns the 'scope, gets a replacement, and then declares that this one has excellent optics. This is very troubling to me. It sounds like a crapshoot -- keep returning them until you get one you like. The problem being that you are comparing the new one against one you looked through some number of weeks ago. How does one do an objective (no pun intended) evaluation of a telescope? How does one know when what they are seeing is as good as it gets for this particular 'scope? I have two 'scopes, a 20 year old Edmund Scientific 6" reflector and a new Meade ETX. The reflector is a pretty simple device, if the mirror is good and the 'scope is collimated, it looks good. The ETX on the other hand is a more mysterious beast, at least to me. I know that it was adjusted at the factory because I can see the adjustment screws on the mirror mount and they have that orange "don't mess with this" paint on them. But how do I know if they did a good job on the initial adjustment? or that the adjustment didn't shift in transit? or if the primary mirror is good? or the corrector lens? or the secondary? Why am I concerned about this? Well I see some things that make me wonder how good my ETX is. Like slightly off-center diffraction rings. And a hint of chromatic abberation - at least that's what it looked like. I was trying to look at Venus last night and I saw red and blue "shadows" on the top and bottom fringes of the main image. When I look at Jupiter it looks fine but I gotta wonder if it should look even better. But then I look at the double-double in Lyra and see all four stars nicely split and think "how bad can it be"? I guess what I'm asking is are there any simple tests I could perform to test the quality of my ETX? Any help would be appreciated. - - Ray
Sent: Friday, October 3, 1997 23:00:25 From: email@example.com (Ed Conrad) I will be on the island of Antigua on 2/26/98 for the total eclipse. I am thinking about purchasing an ETX to use with my Minolta 600si to try to capture this on film. From reviewing the information on your webpage and other sources, this does look like a workable arrangement. An alternative would be to purchase a spotter scope like the Celestron C90. This has a shorter focal length, but a wider aperture (f11 vs. f13.8) You have done a fair amount of photography with your ETX. How well do you think it would work in my circumstances? Thanks for your thoughts. Ed Conrad firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Depending upon what type of solar eclipse photography you plan on doing, the ETX (or C90) may or may not work for you. If you want to photograph the far reaches of the corona, then even ETX prime focus may be too small a field of view on 35mm film. If you want close-ups of the Sun's limb, then the ETX could work perfectly.
Sent: Thursday, October 2, 1997 13:48:44 From: email@example.com (Jeffrey Metzger) Great page! I was just recently exposed for the first time to a view through a telescope. It was a rather small Meade refractor, with no slow motion stuff. But we found Jupiter and the four moons! (Four, right?....) It was an epiphany for me. So now I am off on a search for a "beginner" (translated inexpensive) scope to start with. As usual, I want as much as possible as cheaply as possible. The good people at Dover Photo in Dover, NJ, pointed me toward the ETX. I am also interested in photography and might like to try a hand at some images through the scope. Finally my question: I know that I'll be able to see the moon and some planets and stars. But what else will an ETX be able to pull in? For instance, will I be able to see the horsehead nebula (sp.?) or spiral galaxies? I just want my expectations to be set properly as to the limits or lack thereof of the instrument. If I can't see the nebulae or galaxies with the ETX, what is needed to do so? Thanks, Jeff
Mike here: Planets, Moon, and brighter nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters will be fine with any telescope. But to "see" dimmer stuff like the HorseHead Nebula will require long duration astrophotography. That's true of any telescope. If you want to really deep sky astrophotos you'll need a larger scope with a more accurate drive. For visual purposes, the ETX is great. Drive tracking is OK. But when you hang a camera off it, the drive loses its ability to accurately track.
Sent: Thursday, October 2, 1997 09:20:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steven Jaynes (jaynes)) I got the $595 price from our local Nature CO. Store. They said if I don't like the performance, exchange or refund. Can't beat that. Steve
Sent: Wednesday, October 1, 1997 11:20:15 From: email@example.com I've seen your web page several times lately and I was hoping you could answer some of my questions. I have just received an etx astro telescope, and I wanted to know what types of deep space objects you've been able to see, and with which eyepieces? I am very interested in my new hobby and I have only started recently so i hope I dont take up too much of your time. so far, with the standard eyepiece that came with the telescope, I've observed capella in the auriga constellation and the stars in the cassiopiae constellation, but without seeing too much detail. Are there any particular objects that I should look at first? thank you for your time. Phil firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike here: Obviously Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon are great objects in the ETX. M42 in Orion is pretty nice (especially the Trapezium), and just looking around the Milky Way is a nice way to spend an evening. Other objects become more of a challenge; you will need a good astronomy charting program or printed charts from some magazine or book.
Sent: Wednesday, October 1, 1997 00:05:25 From: email@example.com (Mark Stratton) Hi! I have really enjoyed your Web page on the ETX. It is a great source of information. I bought my ETX at the Nature Company a month ago. This is a great scope! The images are cyrstal clear and I appear to have lucked out as far as the drive is concerned. No tracking problems at all. Thought I would give you my feedback on a few accesories I have purchased... I picked up the Apogee right angle conversion kit from Pocono Mountain Optics (based on the feedback I read on your page). It is definitely a great improvement and the installation was a snap. I do find however that when using shorter eyepieces (such as the 9.7) that the finder and eyepiece are WAY too close to each other. The 26mm has no problems and the barlow works fine because the eyepiece is then higher than the finder. Any ideas on alternative mounting schemes for the (improved) finder? If it could be shifted either forward or back an inch I believe the problem would be much less severe. I also picked up the Bogen 3211 tripod with the 3275 mini geared head from B&H photo (best price I could find). This is a GREAT tripod! Very steady and the geared head makes polar alignment much easier. Worth the money if you dont want to haul a table around (or crawl around on the ground). I also picked up the JMI Motofocus/Motodec (again from Pocono Mountain Optics). I found it to be very handy, particularly when switching eyepieces or when switching in and out the Barlow. Previously I had tried the clothespin technique but it only works for fine focus adjustments, not the suprisingly large adjustments needed for the eyepiece changes. I do have a couple of caviats though. Only one of the 2 set screws supplied with the unit actually fit into the motor shaft (weak quality control I guess). It still seems to work pretty well using just one screw. Also I found that the unit wasnt always responsive... this might have been the batteries (which were supplied with the unit). I'll change them tomorrow night and report back. Also the motofocus unit can get in the way when setting up the scope for polar alignment. Still, all in all its a nice addition to the scope. No focus vibration even at high powers. Installation was a snap by the way. I am awaiting my last accessory which should arrive tomorrow: The NGC max from JMI. I'll be send in a full report once I install it and check it out.
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