ETX USER FEEDBACK - OCTOBER 1998
If you have any comments, suggestions, or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.
Subject: Request for help Sent: Saturday, October 31, 1998 5:20:24 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kritsada Supaviruchbuncha) I'm a undergraduate student and also a youth camp leader. So in November and December Ill join the kid camp star parties. There we ll have many activities and games. But now Im looking for reward for the winner.But There is no reward about astronomy in Thailand .So I need your help ,I want ,may be ,T-shirt , poster,book,etc. about astronomy. And I have T-shirt about "Amazing Thailand 1998-1999" and "Asian game" to exchange. Thank you very much Kritsada S. 55/22 Charunsanitwong 9-11Rd.,Wat Thapra, Bangkok Yai,Bangkok 10600.Thailand. Kritsada@email.ksc.net
Subject: R.A. adjustment problem Sent: Saturday, October 31, 1998 4:44:45 From: email@example.com (Panos) I have recently purchased a Meade ETX telescope. My problem is that I cannot set the R.A. setting circle to find new objects as the time passes during the night. I have polar aligned the telescope so that I can track any object for up to 30 mins or more with the motor drive on. The astronomical program I use gives the same R.A. for a specific star from its rise to its set on the horizon. So does the star map which has the same coordinates for every star for the entire season. But when I track it with my telescope the arrow's indication changes as the time passes. So even if I set the setting circle to match the Right Ascension given from the star map, after a while I can no longer use the R.A. setting circle to read another star from the map. What should I do ? Panos
Mike here: It sounds like the RA circle is not moving with the upper portion of the base as it should. It must be catching on the lower portion of the base. Can you easily slide it completely around the base? When you move the ETX in R.A. using the R.A. knob, does the circle move with the upper base? If not, see if you can determine where it is catching.
Subject: Finderscope hell Sent: Friday, October 30, 1998 21:29:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul Scheifer) Let me join everyone else in commending you on a great site. This is exactly what the internet should be doing, allowing people like you to provide such an excellent service and source of info. My question: I am trying to solve the finderscope problem but the various missives in that section do not sem to offer a solution. The right angle finders apparently do not focus to infinity (I checked out the JMI one at a store and your correspondents are correct, it does not focus to infinity, at least not for my eye. JMI should be ashamed; all it would have taken to avoid this is a few more threads. What a waste. Also, incredibly overpriced. It's a plastic tube with a little mirror in it.) The rifle scopes do not solve the problem of getting your head in the right place when polar aligning or when looking straight up. The one suggested by the guy from Detroit (I forget the name of this one) sounds good, but it is far too expensive for a scope that itself only costs $600. The Orion might be a solution to all of the above, except one will still have to crane one's neck, but the e-mail fails to even mention a rather important item: how to mount it. I don't want to drill holes, so that I can maintain reesale value, and I don't want to do something funky and juryrigged like rubber bands or double stick tape. The other suggestions (like the one that sticks up away from the OTA at the front of the scope) all call for funky mounting. Sooooo, I'm frustrated. The page is great in telling me what not to do, and VERY valuable for this because it has led me away from making mistakes, which I appreciate greatly, but nowhere is there a real solution. What do YOU suggest? I'd be happy with the right angle conversions, even though they maintain the small aperature and excessive magnification of the original, but the focus is apparently a problem. Is there a fix for this? Can JMI be pursuaded (perhaps you have their ear) to cut more threads? This would cost them nothing and make it functional. Why aren't they doing this? Why are they selling simething that they must know by now is disfunstional? I don't get iT Thanks again for a great site (which you actually MAINTAIN and update!) and for your time. Oh, by the way, thanks for posting Steve's offset plate doohicky for the Bogen. Very nice of him. I've ordered one and can't wait to get it. A great idea. ______________________ Paul Scheifer
Mike here: I'm actually considering going back to the Meade-supplied finderscope. I've been using Shutan 90-degree one for some months now but I find that pointing the ETX in the direction of the object and then having to move my whole body to look down through the finder is just too much work. It is easier to eyeball the alignment on the object and then refine with the straight-through finder. I've also considered permanently mounting the QuickFinder to assist in the eyeballing alignment but haven't yet. Finders are like computer operating systems: you find one you like and stay with it.
Thanks for your quick reply. I'm sure you receive lot of e-mail, so I appreciate your attention. One last question. Is the Shutan 90 degree finder different from the JMI or Apogee? If so, I might give it a try. I assume you didn't have any problem screwing the objective on far enough to focus to infinity. By the way, if you are going back to a straight through setup, those rifle scope setups sound good. More eye relief and field of view, you can use the existing mount, inexpensive, and it looks like you can mount them so they stick far enough back from the tube that maybe they're even usable in the awkward polar aligning/straight up angles. Just a thought. Lemmeno about the Shutan if you get a moment. I saw this reference on their site but I just assumed it was the JMI they wree referring to. (They don't specify.) Thanks again for a great service. Also, consider this legally acceptable permission to use my e-mail and name in any promotion you might like to do for your site. Here's a quote for you: Mike Weasner's ETX website is absolutely great. If you use an ETX, are considering buying an ETX, or want to learn more about astronomy and astrophotography using relatively inexpensive equipment, visit this site. It is also a site you can revisit often because it is constantly being updated with new information and new tips from the ETX community. A superb website designed for real usefulness by real people.
Mike here: I believe that many of the 90-degree finderscope mods are from Apogee. With the Shutan one I had a problem with the locking ring; the lens would focus OK (for me) but the lens would not lock down. You can read the full review from the Showcase Products page.
Subject: ETX and Alternative Mounts Sent: Friday, October 30, 1998 20:24:08 From: email@example.com (Ray and Jeanie) If there is any website I have to keep up-to-date on, it's this one. Don't know why a 90mm Mak generates so much interest (it must be good). At any rate, I enjoy your web-site and staying in touch with other ETXphiles. Keep the ETX mill running! Ray
Subject: My new ETX Sent: Friday, October 30, 1998 0:10:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Guillaume Dubos) I've bought my ETX two days ago and was able to test it last night from my flat in Paris. As I can only look towards East-SE from my flat, I missed Jupiter and the Moon but I did get Saturn. At x48 (26mm EP) it's great. Cassidi div ain't visible (maybe due to the heavy light pollution of the area) but the rings are great well separated from the planet. No detail visible on the planet. But I was able to see Titan and Rhea (mag 8 and 9). A very positive test. I'll surely buy a barlow and a 9.7mm ep. Regards, Guillaume
Subject: Saturn with a Binoviewer Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 14:07:26 From: JaePbond@aol.com I thought I'd share a post with you on an observation I made during a night of good seeing in Ct. I think one should keep in mind that I have larger telescopes and have seen planetary detail that an ETX cannot resolve or just barely resolve, the point being that many beginners may find this very difficult. I'm shocked at how much more I can see now that I'm using a binoviewer. Saturn was sharp as a tack, the rings were well defined all the way around with a dark shadow of the planet on the rings. Cassini division was easy, I thought I could occasionally see it on the thin portion of the rings across the planet. Can this be? Wait......you can call me a liar but believe me, I'm sure I was seeing the Crepe Ring. The shading on the planet near the part of the ring with the shadow was darker at the top and became gradually lighter as it approached the pole. I'm still blown away by the detail I saw....I think I saw more tonight than I did with my C102 flourite used without a binoviewer. Even the seeing conditions are improved. For dedicated planetary observers....... Binoviewer...never leave home without it. 12:50 am EST 9/11/98 ETX w/TV binoviewer, 17mm TV, 12.5 Ultima, 7 nagler
Subject: Apogee right angle eyepiece Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 11:42:38 From: MahlonH189@aol.com My right angle eyepiece was easy to install but I find that when I align it for my 45 degree eye piece that the top eye piece is slightly out of vertical alignment. Has anyone experienced a similar problem?
Mike here: If things are out of alignment you can always use the mounting screws to change the alignment of the finderscope.
Subject: ETX contrast... Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 9:21:24 From: email@example.com (Jose Manuel Fernandez) Hi, first of all, let me thank you for an excellent site. This site was most influential in my decision to buy the ETX. I have no telescoping experience, but I do have some advanced photograph expertise, and even though the ETX has impressed me in general as a great value, I am somewhat concerned with the contrast ratio of the observed images. I expected it to be a little better. I am curious, would a 3" apo perform better contrast-wise? Thanks for your feedback. Manolo.
Subject: FWD: More Questions From Canada Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 8:59:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Stankiewicz) Thanks for getting back to me so quick last time. I have a few other questions. 1. Do you have an address for JMI and Pocono Mtn. Optics? 2. Why have I not read anything about the use of Manfrotto Tripods for use with the ETX. They are a great system! If you are interested I could give you details. This is a system that I use and it is one of the best, I think. 3. I have read the few reviews about filters, but did not see anything about the #11 Yellow, #80A Light Blue or Broadband Nebular filters. Have you done these earlier or not? I am debating which to get, the #8 or #11 Yellow, the #80A or 82 Blue, the Narrow or Broadband filters? Can you help? 4. Can you tell me how the T-Adapter in the short tube mode attached to the ETX and the camera? By disconnecting the tube, you loose the connection between the two. 5. What is the main difference between the Basic Camera Adapter and the Variable Adapter? Besides price. Thanks for your time and help. You are doing a great service to everyone that owns ETX's. Rick Peterborough, Ontario
Mike here: From their ads in the astronomy magazines:
Jim's Mobile Inc. (JMI)
810 Quail St, Unit E
Lakewood, CO 80215
ph#: 303-233-5353 (info) 800-247-0304 (orders)
Pocono Mt. Optics
104 502 Plaza
Moscow, PA 18444
ph#: 717-842-1500 (info) 800-569-4323 (orders)
Please send a review of the Manfrotto tripod and I'll post it. There are reviews on the Accessories - Filters page. Perhaps someone has used these other filters and would care to submit a review. I'll post your inquiry on the next Feedback page update. The T-Mount ring still attaches to the one piece with the ETX mounting ring. The Variable Adapter allows for adjusting the distance of the camera focal plane from the eyepiece.
Subject: piggyback astrophotography Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 7:09:59 From: email@example.com (j.bosmans) Hello, I've been searching for information on piggyback astrophotography and I haven't found anything yet so could you please explain this to me and also tell me what the advantages and disadvantages are. How much do alluminated reticle eyepieces cost and how does one use them? Could you give a bit of information on the NGC-miniMAX because you don't mention this in your web page.Thank you very much.Please email me back as fast as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jan Bosmans.
Mike here: Piggyback astrophotography: I have some information and examples on the Astrophotography Gallery - Sky and Guest Astrophotography - Sky pages and on the Accessories - Showcase Products page. Basically, piggyback astrophotography is easier and still rewarding for wide-angle shots of the night sky. You can capture Milky Way star fields, constellations, planetary configurations, and comets. Using the built-in drive you will get tolerable pictures with short exposures. Using an illuminated reticle eyepiece (see the review on the Accessories - Eyepieces page) you can manual track the sky motion better than the drive. I have no experience with the NGC-miniMAX but there are reviews of the JMI NGC-microMAX/NGC-MAX on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.
Subject: Sharing the ETX Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 6:32:26 From: email@example.com (Willsman) I just want to commend the creators of this site. It has been a wonderful help in getting my ETX up and running. My wife purchased it for me as a birthday gift after I had outgrown my previous scope. The salesman did an excellent job in detailing her about the scope. My main problem with doing amateur astronomy was when I actually found a planet, by time I got the family out to look at it was gone, never to be tracked again, until they had all gone inside and lost interest. The ETX has changed all that, not only can I consistently view Jupiter and Saturn, with great clarity I might add. I was able to share these celestial wonders with two nine year olds, and a 5 year old all during one observation setting. Those of you with younger children will know that this is no mean feat. The real joy is in sharing the wonders that are displayed before us each night , is in showing the young ones that these images are not just pictures in a book, but lie just outside their door every night. Willsman
Subject: Great Page !!!! Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 6:49:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Huber) Your page is an island of ETX information that is soooooo good that I went out and bought an ETX. I only had a few hours to use it as the clouds (they know when I get a scope or accessory) rolled in and I have been socked-in for 2 days now. Anyway, Jupiter, Saturn and the moon were fantastic. Excellent sharpness and contrast. I plan on using your page as my ETX reference guide for tips and product recommendations. BTW, I am curious as to whether or not anyone has tried a real CCD imager (Meade or others) with the ETX. I have had my eyes on the Meade 216XT and wonder how it would fair with the scope. In the future, I plan on doing some piggyback work (provided the skies ever clear) and I'll send you some images. Again, thanks for a great website. Scott email@example.com
Mike here: There have been some submittals taken with a CCD device. Search the site for "CCD" and you'll find them.
Subject: VISION Autotracker Sent: Monday, October 26, 1998 23:07:45 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (dedousis) i am sorry for being so late to your request for details about the autotracker that i used in the piggy photo of Sag.I was traveling a lot since then.Well, the hole story goes like this: From the first day of purchasing this wonderful ETX i realised that something was definitely wrong with the tracking system. After hours of alignment nothing used to stay long enough in the field of view even at 80X. What a disappointment !. After contacting Han i decided to try the modification he proposed.The result was promising but not reliable.You should always stay alerted for sudden changes in the motor speed or something else e.g. friction changes. I did spend many hours of detailed study in the construction of the R.A. turntable and also made some progress with the pre-tension hanger bolt by combining it with a ball bearing.The only thing that couldn't be changed was the silly teflon bearing surfaces, a great disaster for the Mead designers. Talking with a friend gave me an idea.He is working for an electronic's company named Vision and had developed a microprocessor controlled corrector for a specific tracking system with demands on high accuracy in speed but also in total of travel of a dc motor drive (with out the need of a separate encoder unit but using the same motor for feedback (sensorless vector control)). I was excited with the thought of using such a unit on my ETX !!. After a lot of talking, i persuaded him to modify the device for this use, and soon enough i had a prototype working on my ETX. I realised from the first night that i could actually center and have something in my field of view ( 98X ) for hours !!! What a relief ! I could spend my time changing eyepieces and filters instead of chasing the lost planet!. Having such a stable drive, exposed the terrible base friction problems arising from the possible unbalance of a camera attached in prime focus position or piggy backed on the tube. I have tried many ways of dealing with this problem with no great results. After many minutes of perfect tracking, the celestial object starts wondering in the field of view as the base sticks and the motor movement is translated to strain in the plastic parts sometimes resulting to a small elevation of the image.When the accumulated strain has the needed energy, the base moves fast enough like a little jump resulting to a 4 - 8 sizes of saturn uncertainty of position. A little tricky for astrophoto in high powers but not so much for 28-50mm piggy-back photos. You can always make corrections of your own from the keypad, but this is not the issue; something should also be done with the teflon pads. Anyway, with careful balance i had the opportunity of taking some nice photos of our galaxy also of andromeda with a 50mm canon lens and enjoyed many hours of visual observation having on the same keypad declination and focus electronic controls for the JMI motors i have installed ( the original control box uses an elementary electrical circuit which is incapable of small movements and makes focus an IQ test). It came to my knowledge that Vision is going to release a universal model (for motors 2...12V) soon for the European market in a very competitive price.For the time being they finalise the product and are making tests with other eq heads (i think LX500). I surely hope i had a better base like LX10,LX50 which uses the same motor or LXD500b.I could utilise my new autotracker and have a better chance in high power, long exposure photography. I dont know if i was informative enough but do not hesitate to make an e-mail with any questions. Best Regards Yiannis
Subject: Moon Maps Sent: Sunday, October 25, 1998 18:18:42 From: email@example.com Any tips for finding a moon map that is printed the way the moon looks through the ETX? Surely with all the SC scopes out there, someone must make a map? Many thanks - Richard
Mike here: I believe Sky Publishing Corp (the Sky & Telescope people) still sell a lunar map. Check out their web site (link on the Links page).
Subject: ETX tech tips Sent: Sunday, October 25, 1998 8:50:11 From: Stardave13@webtv.net I've just spent about 9 hours reading your web site and 1 1/2 hours working on my ETX. The scope works great now. How about adding a new category in your index, "Tech Tips"? JC Penney has another excellent scope in their catalog, a Celestron CG102HD refractor. I bought one about 3 weeks ago for $563 total! I bought a couple of tube rings from Parallax for the Celestron so I can piggyback the ETX ota. I enjoy sharing the skies with others and this set-up will allow simultaneous viewing of the same object. I mostly use my ETX on a table on my front porch. After a little adjustment I found a near perfect position for the scope to be polar aligned. Using a 1/2 inch drill bit , I made shallow indentations on the table where the legs of the ETX fit. A few nights ago, while viewing Saturn with a 10mm eyepiece, I went inside to answer a phone call. I forgot about the scope and 4 hours later I went back to get it. Saturn was still CENTERED in the field! The ETX is a great first scope and your website really helped overcome some of the problems. Are there any fixes that won't void the warranty? Does Meade ever respond to common problems on this web site? In my never-to-be-humble opinion, this web site should be included with the scope. Thank you for providing an excellent service.
Mike here: Great idea about a Tech Tips page. The Guest Contributions page has some technical tips but other things as well. I'm still working on a redesign of the site and your idea is now on the drawing board.
Subject: solar filters Sent: Sunday, October 25, 1998 8:12:27 From: AstroFrk69@aol.com Its been a while since I have done any astronomy...but I have recently been rekindling my passion. I haven't written to your page in a while, but I have been coming back to it and I must say this page keeps getting better and better so I want to commend you on this great page. I have the etx and love it to death. I also have a 10 inch dob and a 17.5 inch truss and a lot of my friends think I'm wierd because the etx is my favorite scope out of all of them. :-) I have the thousand oaks solar filter for my etx and I use it constantly...it was definitely the best and the "coolest" thing I could have gotten :-) Viewing the sun through the etx is an experience like no other. (especially when there is a partial/full solar eclipse like in february of this year) I was wondering if it would be worth while to get another solar filter for my 10 inch scope? If anyone knows please email me or post it on mike's great page :-) Is there any substantial difference in viewing the sun? thank you for any info Dave
Mike here: About the only reason for adding a solar filter to a larger scope would be to see more details. BUT atmospheric turbulence and convection currents around and in the telescope would probably limit the amount of increased resolution. So, the gains might be modest, at best.
Subject: Vignetting Sent: Saturday, October 24, 1998 22:38:05 From: BiddleCo@aol.com I recently purchased the Meade ETX and will be using it for both terrestrial viewing and photographing as well as star and moon viewing. I took some photos of birds, etc. at the river and had some vignetting (darkening of the corners of the picture). Do you have any suggestions on how to correct for and/or minimize this? Do you think adding +1/2 or +1 stops would help (i.e., overexposing my central image to correctly expose the edges)? I tried this and don't believe I saw much improvement. Any suggestions? Dan Biddle P.S. -- Your web site is great!
Mike here: Some vignetting is normal, especially if you use the partial Meade T-Adapter to mount your camera at prime focus. Vignettting is less a problem using the full Adapter. You can always crop the image later, either manually in the frame or electronically if the pictures are digitized. By the way, search the site for "bird" and you find some other users interesting bird photography.
Subject: Eyepiece covers Sent: Saturday, October 24, 1998 20:49:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dennis Wardell) I have to add my congratulations on a site well built. This is the type of page all of us aspire to. Again, well done. I like to leave my ETX out and setup for quick viewing, which means leaving the 26mm eyepiece on the scope at all times. However this subjects it to possibility of dust accumulation as well as any other foreign objects that may land on the unprotected EP. Also the objective end of the finder scope was subject to the same risks as the EP. What was a guy ( or gal) to do. I at first covered them with the EP case that the 26mm came in, but it is not a tight fit and whenever I moved the scope they would fall off. I read about using 35mm film canisters, but they are a shy to small to fit over the lens. So I started searching around the house for something that would work. I finally ended up in the medicine cabinet and started trying different prescription bottles. No dice. Then I spotted my bottle of generic antihistamine. The neck of the bottle was to small to fit over the 26mm EP, but after cutting the neck off I found that the rest of the bottle fits around the EP as snug as a bug in a rug. As to the finderscope it turns out that the snap-on lid snaps firmly onto it. So I solved both problems with an item that I usually through out. The bottle in question is the HealthLine brand of 100 tablets of Antihistamine available at any Eckerd's Drugs. There are sometimes 2 type of tablets, these are the smaller ones. The only downside is that it is made out of white plastic so stands out against the black of the ETX; but then again when you are outside ready to pack up they are easier to find. Dennis
Subject: eye pieces Sent: Saturday, October 24, 1998 20:10:08 From: Jayn12@aol.com just got the etx yesterday and I must say this little scope has balls!!!! I was tired of carrying out my dobsonian scope so I thought I would buy one. It was a good choice.I have one question. I have plossels made by sirus I have a 10mm and a 7.5mm that I use for the other scope are they as good as the meade plossels recommended for the etx or does it really not matter.they seem to work fine thanks,
Mike here: Eyepiece quality is sometimes subjective. If you like them, why replace them?
Subject: ETX Protective Filter? Sent: Saturday, October 24, 1998 11:47:29 From: email@example.com (Dave DiGirolamo) First off, thank you for maintaining such a useful site. It has already helped me greatly. My ETX problem is that I would like to use my ETX as a spotting scope as well as a telescope. As a spotting scope my ETX will find itself in some inhospitable areas and be subject to ocean spray, blowing dust, etc. With a camera, you typically put a UV (or similar) filter on the lense so that the expensive lens stays clean and only the (relatively cheap) filter gets dirty. I haven't been able to find a 90 mm filter for the front of the scope. Are you aware of any similar accessory (or trick) to keep the front lens of the ETX clean? Thanks! Dave
Mike here: I've never seen a Skylight or UV filter for such large lenses but they could definitely be useful, especially, as you've noted, in terrestrial usage.
Subject: Re: magnification on stars Sent: Thursday, October 22, 1998 15:31:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Susan Davis) On bright stars, however, you should see a bullseye-shaped diffraction pattern at high powers. The point will expand to a small circle (the "Airy disk"), surrounded by little rings. The first ring will be fairly bright, thanks to the ETX's central obstruction; the rest will be much fainter. You need a night of steady seeing to see the full pattern. Faint stars will continue to look like points at all magnifications. There are plenty of close double stars that you can split into two (or more) separate points; a good star chart and observing guide can help to find these. Albireo (Beta Cygni) and Epsilon Lyrae are famous examples. -- Susan Davis email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org URL:http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/6768
Subject: Case for ETX Sent: Thursday, October 22, 1998 15:31:43 From: email@example.com (rgrp) First let me thank you, along with everyone else, for an excellent site. I was very reassured to find out I was not the only one to have problems looking overhead and North with my new ETX. I bought it in July and in early August I had it up in the mountains on a beautiful clear night. I decided to try and look at Cygnus and surrounding area. Needless to say I was very unhappy for awhile. I have been reading the reviews of cases for the ETX and have to mention that, after looking at the soft case by Meade, I decided to wait and see what I could find. When I got home I realized that I had my old camcorder (full size vhs) in a cheap Ambico vinyl bag. I got it out and guess what? A nearly perfect fit with a good bottom, reasonable padding and lots of pockets including one on the front which hold the legs and a level comfortably. I am still using it and have been very pleased so far. I think I paid around $35 for it a couple of years ago. I haven't seen the large bags around lately, but it might be worth keeping in mind as a possibility. Thanks again and keep up the good work. Roger Peterson
Subject: ETX Listserve Sent: Thursday, October 22, 1998 14:23:55 From: smile@smilesRus.com (Glen D. Blanchard) What a great site you have. It has become my single most frequently used resource regarding my (recently purchased) ETX and accessories. I have not been able to find an ETX listserve. Does one exist to your knowledge? How about a good astronomy listserve dedicated to the beginner? Keep up the great work on the website!! TIA. BTW, I spoke with Jim at JMI yesterday, and he told me that he will soon be distributing a combination "Motofocus, Motodec, & MotoRA". Will be watching your site for updates/reviews. -- Glen D. Blanchard Plano, Texas Office Website - http://www.smilesRus.com Blanchard Family Website - http://web.nstar.net/~gdb/
Mike here: There is a web-based discussion group at www.dejanews.com/rg_enter.xp. There is also the Meade Advanced Product User Group. See the Buyer/New User Tips here.
Subject: Barlows Sent: Thursday, October 22, 1998 09:02:30 From: ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman) I'm about to purchase a barlow for my ETX. I've noticed that Orion sells a "Shorty" Barlow that appears similar to Meade's. Orion's price ($44.50) is also close to Meade's. Do you know if there is any quality or performance difference between Meade's made in Taiwan and Orion's made in Japan Barlows? Thanks, Reagan Herman
Subject: Trying To Help (from Canada) Sent: Thursday, October 22, 1998 07:06:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Stankiewicz) I just discovered your site this week and am really enjoying the reading. I just got my ETX last Christmas. A dream come true! I did notice in your write up under "accessories", that when reviewing the 45-Degree Erecting Prism you were looking for a cover for the eyepiece holder? The answer is to use an empty (spare) plastic film container. It is the perfect size and there is no extra weight or cost. I have found that they work great for covering my Barlow lense when not in use. On another note, I've designed a dew cover for the ETX too. Unlike the one you reviewed, mine is rubber outer, felt lined (no internal glare and moisture absorbent) and velcro attached. It stores flat when not in use and it light weight. It can not damage the ETX tube and does not interfere with anything operationally. It works great too. I've been out in conditions from -18 degrees Celsius to dewy where me feet were soaked at the end of the sessions. Never a speck of dew on the ETX in any condition that I've tried yet. Do you think there is an interest out there for such an item? I don't think the cost would be more than $10 or $15 (U.S). I may go into production soon if warranted. I would be glad to hear from you. Hope this helps. Keep up the good site. Rick Stankiewicz 3301 University Hts. Blvd. Peterborough, Ontario K9L 1T3 (e-mail at; email@example.com)
Subject: ETX JMI wedgepod - import into UK Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 1998 14:05:00 From: PDoveLosG@aol.com I don't know how many ETX owners in the UK access your site regularly but they may be interested that I have just imported a JMI Wedgepod into the UK with minimum fuss at a total price of £186.57. This is made up of £148.11 for the Wedgepod and postage, packing etc ($189 for the wedge, plus $55 P&P at the present rate) and £38.40 import duty, ie VAT, duty and handling charge. I paid by credit card (Master Card) and the duty is collected on delivery by the Post Office. The unit took 19 days to arrive from order. The unit (as reported) is very well made, and I am very pleased. The unit (or at least mine) now adjusts through a full 90 degrees covering all altitudes and the price has been reduced from the original. I understand that Broadhurst, Clarkson (the UK agents for Meade) will handle the JMI wedgepod, but I don't know how much they charge. Hope this is useful. Patrick Dove Sandbach Cheshire Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: new meade etx tripod Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 1998 14:17:23 From: ECH006@email.mot.com (Chris Henning-ECH006) any information on the new tripod by meade made specifically for the etx? would like to know how it compares with the JMI tripod with wedge.. many regards, +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ L.Christopher Henning Internet: email@example.com Lead RF Electrical Engineer X400 mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Motorola, Inc. Phone: (954) 723-6568 Land Mobile Products Sector Pager: (954) 723-4567 (7957) 8000 West Sunrise Blvd. emailpage: email@example.com Plantation, Florida 33322 Fax: (954) 423-0120 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mike here: See the Accessories - Tripods page. There is a user review of the Meade tripod. I'm expecting one any day now and will post my comments as soon as I have a chance to work with it. There is a review of the JMI tripod and wedge on the Showcase Products page.
Subject: Mac Software Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 1998 16:05:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ryan Hecox) Using your advice I invested in an ETX and love it. The protability really does make a big difference. I was wondering if you knew of any starchart programs for the macintosh that are free or inexpensive. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Ryan Hecox Ryanhecox@earthlink.net
Mike here: There is (or was) a free or shareware version of Starry Night and SkyChart 2000. Check the Links page.
Subject: new etx owner Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 1998 21:48:54 From: elchae@Compuserve.com (Lawrence Knopp) Hi - thanks for all the great info. You sealed the deal on my telescope purchase. I was not sure what I wanted until I started accessing your web site. I'm looking forward to my 1st "dark skies" later this month to see what this telescope can do. One small thing that I did that I have not read about in your archives...the "arrowheads" on the R.A. and Declination dials are very hard to see, especially at night. I dabbed some flourescent paint (available at most hobby stores) on the arrows with a toothpick. They stand out nicely now. Thanks, Larry Knopp
Subject: Fist look through a ETX Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 1998 2:13:47 From: email@example.com (Guillaume Dubos) Last saturday, I ask one of my friend to bring its ETX to test it. First look at saturn with the 26mm standard eyepiece. Very good ! The picture is sharp, the eq bands are very impressive, the "polar belts" are also visible. I think, the ETX has a bit more contrast than a 8" sc tlescope. Then saturn, the rings' shadow is visible on saturn, I could'nt see the Cassini division unfortunately . Then a test on mizar. Pin point stars, with the 26mm, Mizar is easily slit (the two stars are very). With a barlow nothing changes. The light is still correct... Unfortunately, the ETX was on a camping table... not very stable, so I couldn't push the magnification to the limits. I didn't wait for the moon. I'll buy my ETX this week-end ! Sure Regards, Guillaume
Subject: ETX problems solved!? Sent: Monday, October 19, 1998 17:12:10 From: DaveNDee@webtv.net (David Muth) Great web site! I know now that I'm not alone in having some difficulties with my ETX. Armed with the knowledge I've gotten from "user comments", I took my scope apart last night and found absolutely no lubrication between any of the parts. Dry as a bone in there! Is this how it's supposed to be? I got busy with some Finish Line Teflon Grease. I put the scope back together and it works very smoothly. I could not find an 8-32 hanger bolt to repair the situation with the sheet metal screw that holds the base on. The smallest I can find is a 10-24 hanger bolt. Is Meade cranking out these scopes a little faster than they should? I'd like to get a 12" LX200 some day, but my experience with the ETX is giving me doubts. Thanks again.
Mike here: Based upon what I've seen from user comments on the ETX (posted here) and LX-200 comments on the MAPUG Mailing List, both are fine telescopes. Yes, some glitches have occurred but Meade has always corrected them when asked to.
Subject: help Sent: Monday, October 19, 1998 17:38:53 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Danny Arshed) hi i just got the etx every time i look at a star it look the same and not magnified grately it look like a cell.what do i do??
Mike here: You will not see any magnification on stars as they are "point objects". Extended objects like planets, nebulae, sun, moon, comets, etc. will magnify.
Subject: sky wizard Sent: Sunday, October 18, 1998 21:46:20 From: email@example.com (Michael ROCHFORT) My 9.7mm Super Plossl also shows a halo around bright images, as a few other contributors have noted. However, this did not stop me from spotting the Cassini division on Saturn's rings during a recent extremely still night in the Sydney light dome. I have also modified my ETX with the Microstar Dual Axis drive corrector, and am really happy with it. I think that the ETX should have been designed with this built in. Michael Rochfort members.netro.com.au/~michael/astro/astro.htm
Subject: sky wizard Sent: Sunday, October 18, 1998 06:10:42 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Roger J. Plourde) What do you think about the sky wizard from orion, will it work with the etx, or is there something better out there. Also would like to control the etx through my pc, do you have any suggestions for this. thanks, Roger
Subject: Great deals on ETX/Comments Sent: Friday, October 16, 1998 11:49:43 From: David_Stone@cca-int.com First, let me just add my own kudos for a great site. The information here has been extremely helpful to me, and the pictures are wonderful. I talked with Meade before I bought my scope and asked if they knew of anywhere I could see pictures taken through the ETX before I bought one. Customer support told me that they didn't know of any. Then I discovered this site and that made up my mind about purchasing the ETX. That brings me to the topic at hand. I also bought my ETX through JC Penny (to be more exact, my wife bought it for me as an early Xmas present). JC Penny occasionally sends out discount cards to people who have one of their credit cards or who order through their catalog. We ended up with a 30% one-day sale discount card. The cards specify particular items not on sale, as well as ranges of pages in the catalog of items not included. This discount excluded all of the electronics, most small appliances, and the cameras. Turn the page, and there's the ETX on a page that was included in the sale. I got my scope for $400 (this is not a typo). Considering that the manager of a local Meade Authorized Seller store told me that his cost for the scope is about $500, this is a pretty good deal. The short of it is if someone is looking for the ETX at a great price, get on the JC Penny mailing list and wait for a sale. Unless (or until) they catch up with what they're selling, this is one of the few places you can find the scope for less than $599. Dave Stone email@example.com P.s. As of yesterday, 10/15/98, the LearningSmith stores in Massachusetts were selling off all of their telescope floor models. The store in the Burlington Mall, Burlington MA still had the ETX. The sale price is $519. DS.
Subject: Unstable Base Sent: Friday, October 16, 1998 02:01:49 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kelly & Laura Biggs) Any suggestions of how to repair an unstable base? I have had my ETX for several months and have had no great difficulty. Tonight I had great trouble finding Saturn on high power, and I soon discovered the reason was a wobbly base. I first thought that the legs must be on unstable ground, but after further inspection I learned that the base of the scope (the half of the base below the RA setting circle, was not firmly connected to the upper half). Thus I have as much as 1/4 inch wobble in the scope whenever I touch it, which makes it nearly unusable. Any advice is appreciated. -Kelly
Mike here: Search the site for "teflon". I believe you'll find the cause and possible solutions there.
Subject: Trading in your ETX for a Celestron G5? Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 1998 21:52:42 From: email@example.com (Todd Squarek) Like your site. I've read about the new G-5's from Celestron and I'm considering trading in my ETX for one because of the G-5's ... 1. equatorial mount (which could be much steadier than my wobbly Manfrotto tripod setup with my ETX). 2. RA and DEC slow motion controls 3. greater light gathering capability What have you heard/read? Best regards, Todd Squarek
Mike here: There has been some interest in the new G-3 and G-5 scopes from Celestron. The Meade ETX apparently gave them some competition they felt they had to address. I'm keeping my ETX.
Subject: Cool Site! Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 1998 21:13:03 From: Tomuphigh@aol.com Just wanted to tell your site is great and add a few of my experiences. First of all, Meade seems to be very proud of their soft case for the ETX. I was looking at one and could not believe they thought that thing was worth $45. It has almost no storage and less than adequate pading. For $18 + tax I purchased a soft sided ice chest from Jumbo Sports. It is just the right size for the ETX, has 3 pockets (as opposed to Meade's one pocket) and is thickly padded with insulation. It also has both hand and shoulder straps! All for less than half the price! The second thing that I had to correct was that it is very easy to put it away with the tracking motor still running, as this thing is nearly silent. When I checked out the little circuit board, I discovered that is has provisions for an LED power indicator. So I purchased from Radio Shack the LED (RS part #276-310, low current type), an LED holder (RS part #276-079) and a dropping resistor (RS part #271-1321 1kohm.) I soldered the dropping resistor onto the circuit board in the empty place labled R2, and soldered some leads onto the LED, which I soldered onto the circuit board at the spot clearly marked for an LED paying careful attention to get the polarity correct. Then I drilled a 1/4" hole in the side of the base just under the circuit board, inserted the holder from the outside, and then the LED into the holder from the inside. It took a little doing to get the LED into the holder but with a little patience, it worked out just fine. Now I have a nice red LED to tell me when the thing is powered up so I don't go out gazing and find dead batteries where my good ones were and/or a damaged tracking mechanism! All for $2.23 in parts and about an hour in labor! Keep up the good work.
Subject: Re: Prime-focus and quickcam? Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 1998 16:35:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Liem Bahneman) Well I actually managed to test this myself and got some wonderful results (non-astronomical) http://www.asteroid.org/liem/focus.html (or via index.html) The results are stunning. I'm going to purchase a tele-extender and a T-adapter soon to make a better mount for the quickcam. - liem ============================================================================ Liem Bahneman email@example.com Senior Systems Administrator http://www.cobaltgroup.com/~roland The Cobalt Group (206) 269-6363 x300 Seattle, Washington F(206) 269-6350
Subject: another eyepiece halo Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 1998 15:21:10 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (sfe) I too noticed the "halo" with a recently purchased 4.7 mm uwa ep. As everything is ok with a 6.7 mm uwa ep. + barlow which is equivalent to a 3.35 mm ep., I'm sure that my ota is quite all right. I brought the ep. back to the dealer who will check it with its own 12" sct. Unfortunately we haven't seen any blue sky over Paris for one month. Ugh ! I will report asap. In a very recent french guide, whose title could be translated into "astronomical stuff review", they explained that Meade was removing production from Japan to Taiwan. Maybe taiwanese factory has not yet reached its best level ... Best regards - Bruno Najac
Subject: Eyepieces Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 1998 13:48:15 From: Michael.A.Amisano@abnamro.com Being new to the whole Astronomy thing, can someone explain to me the differences in eyepieces. Mainly the difference between Super Ploessl, Ultra Wide Angle and Super Ultra Wide Angle. I just purchased a 9.7 Super Ploessl, and I am wondering if I should have purchased an UWA or SUWA instead. Also, the employees at the Nature Store didn't know anything about UWA or SUWA eyepieces....I just got what they had (S.P.) because I was leaving that day for a trip up-state (NewYork). Thanks Michael Amisano
Mike here: Check out the Orion Telescopes and Binoculars information library on their web site: http://www.oriontel.com/web_site/infoLib.htm Then click the "Type of Eyepieces" link.
Subject: Meade Tripod Sent: Monday, October 12, 1998 07:51:25 From: email@example.com (Guillaume Dubos) I don't own a ETX yet but the more I read your pages, the more I want to buy one even if there is some problems with it... but your readers can fix any of them !( I cross the fingers). Here is the question : do you know when meade will release the ETX tripod? I phoned to a astronomy shop but they told me that it isn't yet imported in France (I live in Paris) because of its price ( I think it's a BIG lie) !! Thanks again for your great web site. It must be a hard work to update it and to keep it alive! Regards, Guillaume
Mike here: The Meade tripod is now shipping in the USA. There is a review of it on the Accessories - Tripods page.
Subject: ETX eyepiece holder plugs Sent: Sunday, October 11, 1998 19:59:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (bob) i checked out your page... very nice... i have a question, as a recent owner of an ETX, i need a some plastic plugs to cover the 1.25" eyepiece holder next to the finder (for protection), when using the 45-Degree Erecting Prism from the rear of the ETX. do you know of someone who sells such items... thanx --bobf
Mike here: If you have a 35mm camera, use an empty film can. If you don't have a camera, ask a friend or check out your local camera store (they probably throw tons of these away). They were very nicely.
Subject: Eyepiece problem(?) (New ETX user) Sent: Sunday, October 11, 1998 10:34:26 From: email@example.com ([SSC]) First i wish to congratulate you for constracting the best ETX related site on the internet, I recently bought my first telescope the meade ETX 90 with accessories: 9.7mm SP 2X barlow Light Yellow Filter Prism I am very pleased with the telescope and its optics but i think the 9.7mm eyepiece has a problem it appears to show a small white transparent ring (faint) at the center of the field of view especially when i use it with the barlow leens (or jupiter flies by) Is this an optics problem inside the eyepiece or its a normal side effect??? on the 26mm the field of view is clear.... and the other accessories and telescope seems to work without any noticable problems. Dimos Kaniouras firstname.lastname@example.org PS: at 256X the picture looks very fuzzy and dark... is this normal? (I think this magnification push the etx optics and also it depends on the seeing)
Mike here: You are the second person to report something like a "halo" with the 9.7mm. I don't see a problem with my 9.7mm. And yes, 256x is pushing it, so dark and a little fuzzy is to be expected.
Subject: Screamer Deal on E T X Sent: Saturday, October 10, 1998 18:36:37 From: email@example.com@psln.com (Lisa and Jim Scott) Another kudo for a great site!! The info provided helped me make a very comfortable decision to go with the E T X as my first scope. I couldn't be happier with the purchase!! Which brings me to the point, that the E T X seems to be a "fair-trade" item, which sells for the same price no matter who the seller may be. Hmmmm.. I recently came across the E T X in the J.C.Penny's catalogue for $599.00, but noticed a sale was in effect on many items listed. I checked with the local store, and although the scope is a "catalogue only" item, the sale applied to the incredible ETX, and I purchased mine for 25% off, or about $450.00 !! Since Penney's has so frequent sales, at least one a month, I suggest any wishing to glom onto one would be wise to check with them before paying more. I recieved mine in only three days after placing the order, and it arrived unscathed, having been double packed in an additional box. Again, it is a catalogue item, so you must wait for the mail, but the savings go a long way towards additional eye-pieces and accessories. Thanks again for a great site.. Jim Scott
Subject: New ETX owner Sent: Friday, October 9, 1998 10:36:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Larry J. Gorell) Must thank-you for your site and all the information it contains. I have just bought a ETX and would not have been able to make an informed decision without it. The scope is just magnificant. Have already purchased several additional eye pieces and barlow. Will be upgrading the finderscope as it really is poor. The information and comments on the site will be my guide. Thanks again! LJG
Subject: ETX Sent: Friday, October 9, 1998 07:17:33 From: email@example.com (Ken George) I just wanted to say that I am thrilled to find a site dedicated to the ETX! I just picked one up with some eye pieces (26mm, 9.6mm, and a 2X Barlow). I plan on doing some photography so I also got a T-Connector. The only problem that I seem to be having with the scope is looking at objects in the Upper-Northern part of the sky. When the scope is aimed at that direction, the finder scope is very near to the ground and close to the drive base. I can move the scope around - but that defeats the purpose of polar-alignment. Any suggestions?
Mike here: You can rotate the fork to orient the tube differently. Of course, there may be some interference between the base and finder in this position as well.
Subject: Prime-focus and quickcam? Sent: Thursday, October 8, 1998 23:32:46 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Liem Bahneman) I'm a relative newbie to quality scopes so I'm wondering: Can you use a Connectix Quickcam at the ETX's prime focus? The field of view using the stock qcam lense is so small, and I've seen people use quickcams on the prime focus of newtonian reflectors. Does this work on an ETX? What is the ETX's power without an eyepiece? By the by, here's some images that I've taken with my ETX (I've only had it a week) www.cobaltgroup.com/~roland/astro/index.html Also, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for focusing the quickcam when mounted on a normal eyepiece? Its like trial and error! thanks, - liem ============================================================================ Liem Bahneman email@example.com Senior Systems Administrator http://www.cobaltgroup.com/~roland The Cobalt Group (206) 269-6363 x300 Seattle, Washington F(206) 269-6350
Mike here: I believe most people have attached the QC at an eyepiece. Search the site for "QuickCam"; you will get lots of hits. As to the magnification at prime focus, it is like having a 1250mm telephoto lens. I don't know how that would translate to the QC.
Subject: daisy sight Sent: Wednesday, October 7, 1998 20:37:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ivan Harris) Thanks for all the effort in our behalf. As a beginner the site has been most educational for me. I want to second what Paul has said about a finder. I installed a Daisy red dot finder and it works great. I added a pot per his instructions to dim the led and I only wish I had done it sooner. With the windage and elevation adjustments it is a snap to align with the scope. I actually set Jupiter in the center of the scope and then tweaked the finder to be centered. The red dot finder is so small I put it on the right side of the scope and left the finder scope on the right. A couple of weeks ago we went to a star party put on by the local astronomy club. It was fun and we learned quite a bit. A lot of people came around and looked through the ETX and most had read about it. Clear skies. Ivan Harris email@example.com
Subject: ETX and 5X Powermate Sent: Wednesday, October 7, 1998 20:15:09 From: Mosher@ecr.net Just a note to thank you for your site. I have been a regular visitor for months. I first started watching your site before I purchased my ETX (as a way of helping me decide which scope to get). I bought the ETX and it has been the perfect scope for me - I have not yet had any of the problems described others. I use it about half time as a daytime spotting scope and about half time in astronomy.
Subject: etx and 9.7 SP lens Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 1998 15:49:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Chau) Just wanted say you have a great site. I recently purchased an ETX and a 9.7SP lens. I noticed that you can see the outline of the secondary mirror while viewing with the 9.7 lens. It appears dead center in your field of view as a semi-transparent circle surrounded by a halo.....kind of reminds my of the focusing center on a 35 mm SLR camera.
Mike here: I'm not seeing any halo with my Meade 9.7mm eyepiece.
Subject: ETX field tripod from Meade Sent: Monday, October 5, 1998 15:14:06 From: email@example.com (Jeff Cohen) Just a quick note to let you know it's shipping. I just received mine direct from Meade via UPS a few hours ago (special ordered from The Nature Company, $179, shipping included). Will try it out tonight weather permitting. No assembly required of the tripod itself, but the instructions on using the various knobs are not very good. It took me a few minutes before I finally figured out how the fine adjustment knobs worked.
Mike here: I hoping to receive one for review in a few days.
Subject: Meade ETX on a tripod? Sent: Sunday, October 4, 1998 18:28:58 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave DiGirolamo) Sorry to bug you but I saw your ETX site (nice!) and thought you might be willing to help me out. I am thinking of buying an ETX for astronomy and nature observation and have three questions: 1. What do I need to mount an ETX on a standard tripod - is there something I must buy? 2. How important is the equatorial fork mount? I can save over $150 by buying the terrestrial version without the mount and motor drive (and use a standard tripod). One the one hand, I save $150 and don't have a less clumsy scope for terrestrial use. One the other hand I could regret this every night I bring it out... 3. What's a good eyepiece to add? I was thinking of buying the a 2x Barlow and an additional eyepiece. If you have the time I would appreciate any advice you can offer. If you get too many ETX e-mails and don't have time, I fully understand. Happy star gazing! Dave
Mike here: Check out the Accessories - Tripods page and the Buyer/New User Tips page. I believe your questions are answered there. The simple answers are: 1. You need a sturdy tripod to mount the ETX, with or without its drive base and fork mount. The camera attachment screw holes for the tripod are in both the ETX tube and the drive base. 2. 2X Barlow is a good choice. Check the Accessories - Eyepieces page. Also, search the site for "barlow" and you'll find lots of comments.
Subject: Thanks Sent: Sunday, October 4, 1998 19:13:01 From: email@example.com (Eric Porterfield) I just happen to stumble onto your page and must say it's very inspiring. I am hoping to purchase an ETX next year, but will have to settle for a Meade 4422 which has yet to arrive. I hope it provides a decent experience. From there, I will save my lunch money to procure the ETX. Thanks.
Subject: etx Sent: Sunday, October 4, 1998 17:45:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Me) Just curious: When looking Jupiter/Saturn with the ETX, is what you see with your eye better than what your pictures that you have posted reveal?
Mike here: Absolutely better. The Casio and other digital cameras don't do that well with astrophotography and the ETX is not well suited to normal astrophotography of the planets. But it can be done as long as you don't expect Hubble Space Telescope results. But the ETX is a fine visual instrument.
Subject: filters Sent: Saturday, October 3, 1998 07:39:21 From: OwlsTalon1@aol.com When i first used a wide band neb filter in my ETX i noticed the filter made contact with the flip mirror. Ocourse this only happens when im not using the barlow, has anyone else said something about this problem and how to correct? Thank you Pat Denning
Mike here: Simple suggestion: can you not insert the eyepiece all the way and still focus? If so, add a spacer around the eyepiece tube to keep it from going all the way into the holder. Many people have suggested cutting a portion of a plastic 35mm film can for this spacer.
Subject: Re: Meade ETX Sent: Saturday, October 3, 1998 08:21:50 From: JThompson@hsi.magmutual.com (Jeff Thompson) I couldn't stand it any longer. After a trip to Fernbank science center and a look through some of their telescopes, I had to go out and buy one. So I broke out the credit card and went and purchased an ETX. The only extra accessory that I bought was the Barlow lens. I had a chance to use it last night. I was quite happy with the view of the moon and of Jupiter. Looks to like this is the beginning of a long, beautiful relationship. Have you any suggestions on star charts or maps for a beginner? Keep your eyes to the sky, Jeff Thompson
Mike here: Since you have a computer you might want to check out the free, shareware, and commercial star charting programs (check the Links and the Guest Contributions pages).
Subject: ETX Sent: Friday, October 2, 1998 09:15:20 From: Mark.Banks@digital.com (Mark Banks) I bought an ETX a couple of months ago and it's great. I bought a monster Bogen tripod with a tilt panhead. The only problem was when I put the scope on the panhead the North South switch would protrude from the base and, if the scope was not perfectly on there, the switch would not allow the scope to sit flat on the panhead. My solution was to take the base plate off and with a pair of wire cutters, snip off the protruding tip of the switch, about 1/8" to 1/4"; it works well. I figure this is not a big deal since the only time the switch is used is when transversing the equator, not something I do on a regular basis. I also modified the finder scope with a rifle scope from Bushnell. I got a scope mount and expoxied it to the scope, using the flat edge of the rear (i.e. the end nearest the eyepiece) of the scope and the flat edge of the mount as my first guide. I then put the scope in and glued the forward mount on the barrel of the ETX. One problem I encountered was the bottom of the mount is flat (as it's meant to be mounted on a rifle). I solved that by slowly applying multiple layers of epoxy that filled in the difference between the roundness of the tube and the flatness of the mount. The other problem was that I did that in too much of a hurry and got some epoxy on the tube of the scope. Not a big deal, it only cosmetic. It ain't pretty but it's a far sight better than the original finderscope; I now use it as a pocket scope for bird watching, and it works well. I bought a large Doskocil Seal-Tight case and it's incredible.
Subject: TELESCOPES Sent: Thursday, October 1, 1998 18:25:07 From: email@example.com (Rick Utt) Just a note to say I am planning to buy my first real telescope and I really appreciate your web site. It has been very helpful . Thank you. A very new star gazer , Rick Utt firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: TeleWrap/Dew Cap Sent: Thursday, October 1, 1998 17:50:01 From: email@example.com (Barry Craig) Thank you for having the TeleWrap/Dew Cap featured on your web site. Almost all my business has come directly from your write up. I wanted you to know that htere has been a price increase from 16.95 + 3.00 ship to 21.95 + 3.00 ship. I had to increase the amount to cover future design and images. I been told that I will still be competitive with other dew caps. I also wanted to inform you of the modifications that I did to my ETX. I added two (2) stepper motors and control them with a DOB Driver II from Tech 2000. I operate in the more stable alt/azmith mode with the ETX attached to a Celestron Super Polaris tripod with extension column. Dob Driver II allows me to PAN in both axis (at 10 degrees per second), TRACK, SPIRAL SEARCH, and more without touching the scope. To TRACK all I have to do is PAN to an object and TRACK the object in both axis for 45 seconds before the Dob Driver II takes over auto tracking in both Axis. It's GREAT! stable, and highly portable. If it weren't for the great optics I would not have even begun the project. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the digital setting circle that I added to help find objects of interest. I got the idea from your site and thought about also adding the Dob Driver II. I also have a new product called the TeleDome Portable Observatory. Feel free to visit my new web site at home.earthlink.net/~barrycnp. It's something I feel many amatuer astronomers would like to have access to in their backyard and/or at their observing site. Let me know what you think. Agian Thank You for being so kind and having a GREAT site. Sincerely, Barry A. Craig (248)547-2315 firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Info for chose the bogen tripod and head for my ETX Sent: Thursday, October 1, 1998 08:02:12 From: email@example.com (Saatchi & Saatchi) Please help me to chose bogen tripod and head, since I don't know the model number for both. Iam from Macedonia - Skopje my E- Mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you in advance, Dusan Tosanov - Dino
Mike here: Search the site for "bogen" and maybe "bogan" (to catch any misspellings). You'll find many references.
Subject: Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 1998 19:44:58 From: email@example.com (MHP & DFP) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Just wanted to thank you for your great site and add a few comments on my ETX experiences. The ETX is my second scope, the first was a Coulter Oddessy 8. These two make a very good 'team', as one scope does well what the other doesn't. The ETX is perfect for high power, motor tracked views of the planets and the Oddessy for low power views the dim stuff. I think all ETX only owners should give serious thought to adding a inexpensive Dob telescope to their collection. As to accessories I have used: Edmund RKE eyepieces - I have been using the Edmund RKE eyepieces and am very happy with them. At $50 apiece, the price is right, and they have longer eye relief than plossels. Telrad - I consider it a must on the Oddessy, kinda big for the ETX. Right Angle Finder adapter - the original equipment finder is all but useless without this, and very usable with it. Not as easy to use as a Telrad, but until they bring out a mini-Telrad for the ETX, it works. Moon Filter - Thier only $15 and make a huge improvement on viewing while reducing eyestrain, get one. Meade's Erect Image Adapter - If you want to use your ETX for a spotting scope and it makes a good one, your will want this. The ETX works best in this role when removed from the fork mount and put on a tripod. Thanks Again, Mark Peterson
Subject: Hnsky in Sky & telescope Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 1998 13:09:50 From: Han_Kleijn@compuserve.com (han kleijn) News flash: The magazine Sky & Telescope has an (small ?) article covering Hnsky in there November issue.(Software showcase). I haven't received the issue till now but I will keep an eye on my mailbox. Clear Skies, Han
Mike here: Congrats to Han! You can read more about his software on the Guest Contributions page.
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 1998 04:50:40 From: JThompson@hsi.magmutual.com (Jeff Thompson) I recently saw an add for a Meade ETX telescope in a local magazine and it sparked an interest that has always been with me to stargaze. So the first thing I did was get on the internet to find out more info about the telescope in question. This is how I came to find your website. I must say that it is a spectacular site with much information as well as many superb photos. This brings me to the root of my e-mail. I am wanting to purchase my first telescope and was hoping to get some pointers from you. Obviously I have no experience at this so it would be silly to go out and purchase one of the large 12" scopes. I have been to the Meade, Orion, and Celestron websites and done some comparison. I am looking for (and if you will excuse the expression) a good entry level telescope to begin looking at stars, planets, and hopefully some deep space objects. What kind of advice or comments could you supply that might lead me in the right direction? Keep up the good work, Jeffrey Thompson
Mike here: Check out the Buyer/New User Tips page on my web site for some info on the ETX as a first scope. Also, see Ron McCafferty's comments on the further down this Feedback page about why the ETX makes a good scope for many users.
Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Feedback page.
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