Last updated: 31 October 1999

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and applicable to users of both the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA), the ETX-90EC, and the ETX-125EC. Items specific to the ETX-90EC are posted on the ETX-90EC User Feedback page. Items specific to the ETX-125EC are posted on the ETX-125EC User Feedback page. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Mike here: As we approach the year 2000, there is a lot of public confusion about the end of the century/millennium. I'd like to refer everyone to the USNO Millennium Program web page for the proper definition of "millennium" and The 21st Century and the 3rd Millennium - When Will They Begin?.

Subject:	 hi
Sent:	Saturday, October 30, 1999 19:43:27
From:	walter@psg.com (Walter Morales)
Nice page...
I am kind of novice on this, I am about to purchase, or want to purchase
a Meade ETX-90EC or the 125? the other model more advanced, but I have
been looking for places where there are pictures taken with it so I can
really see if it is worth it? I think that yours do, but not sure if the
pictures were taken with the etx90? do you know of any sites with
pictures? Also, do you know where I could buy it for the lowest price?

Just one more question, what other amatour  telescope would allow us to
see images like they show at Meades site:

Sorry about my ignorance, but I am just trying to get something decent
around the $500 bucks that the etx 90 costs.

thanks a lot
This message came to you from Walter T. Morales walter@psg.com 
 From Aloha, No, it has nothing to do with Hawaii, I am in Aloha, OREGON 
USA. Rain! (http://www.kgw.com), Don't forget to visit BRAZIL: 

call my toll-free phone number or send a fax to: 1-888-Excite2 extension 

Favor use este servico para publicar os eventos Brasileiros em sua regiao
Mike here: The ETX-125EC will cost you more than the ETX-90EC obviously. There are some recent photos taken using the ETX-125EC on the Guest Astrophotography - Moon and Guest Astrophotography - Planets pages. All the other photos were done with either the ETX-90RA (the original ETX) or the ETX-90EC models. As to lowest price, check the dealer sites listed on the Astronomy Links page. To get the really nice photos shown on Meade's site, especially the really long duration ones, you'll need something larger with a better drive and mount. You'll also need a larger wallet!

Subject:	 Scopetronix FlexiFocus - $34.95
Sent:	Saturday, October 30, 1999 08:49:11
From:	parkmoy@rocketmail.com (David Parker)
I can thoroughly recommend this item, makes focusing so easy and so
cheap compared to electric focusing.

Subject:	 ETX site
Sent:	Friday, October 29, 1999 18:48:20
From:	jerrya@cyberhighway.net (r r)
Great job!!!!!!

Subject:	DEC fine tuning control seems very loose
Sent:	Friday, October 29, 1999 15:45:42
From:	ChrisP747@aol.com
I've been using the original ETX 90 ( now the ETX90-RA!!) for some time
now. Ive been experimenting on higher mags  ( 200 +) and have become fed
up with the DEC fine screw control- it seems very loose /slack to me
compared with that on the RA.

This may possibly be due to using a camera sometime back on the direct
focus where I may have overtightened the main DEC screw control.

Any ideas on this ?
Mike here: Go to the excellent ScopeTronix web site and click on the ETX Hints and Tips link. Scroll down that page until you see the link about DEC binding. This might help you.

Subject:	 Visual Back/Wide Field Adapter
Sent:	Friday, October 29, 1999 09:43:28
From:	jah@helix.nih.gov (John Hanover)
I frequent your site and thank you for providing this resource.  I had a
quick question or two about your review of the Shutan (Apogee)
wide-field adapter/1.25" visual back.

Does the 1.25" adapter strike the base of the 90 or 125 EC base if left
on the scope?

Do lower power eyepieces show increased vignetting (eg. 40mm).

Can you access the zenith with the WFA attached after polar alignment?

If you attach the WFA to the top port (as one of the photos shows) does
it work with a 40mm eyepiece to further lower magnification or does it
simply vignette?

Have you tried using the basic camera adapter with the WFA in the top

Sorry about the large number of questions, but the WFA seems like a
great product that might make my f/15 125 more versatile.

Thanks again for the great site!


John A. Hanover
Chief, Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry and Biology
National Institutes of Health
Bldg 8 Rm 402
8 Center Dr MSC 0850
NIH Bethesda MD 20892-0850
Ph: (301) 496-0943
FAX : (301) 496-9431
e mail: jah@helix.nih.gov
Mike here: Adding any eyepiece to the Visual Adapter will limit vertical movement as the base will get in the way at some latitudes (if polar aligned). I haven't tried the 40mm with the Visual Back but suspect there will be increased vignetting. With the Wide Field Adapter you will also be limited in vertical movement, again depending upon orientation of the ETX. I've not tried the 40mm with the WFA in the top position. It will still lower the magnification in that position. Haven't tried using the Basic Camera Adapter with the WFA in either position. And note that I've only used the Visual Back and WFA on the ETX-90RA, not the ETX-125EC (yet).

Subject:	 Degree conversions
Sent:	Friday, October 29, 1999 08:14:29
From:	todd_mail@tir.com (Todd)
Any idea where i can find the degrees of my local in hours , min,sec  
instead of degrees?
keep up the good work!
Mike here: You can convert this yourself. If you have something like 33.25 degrees you convert this to 33 degrees, 15 minutes; the "15 minutes" being a fourth (.25) of a degree. Since there are 60 minutes per degree and 60 seconds per minute, it is easy to do the math. If you need to find your location, see the Astronomy Links page; there are links to sites that provide latitude and longitude info shown there.

Subject:	 Let's (Try to) Do Science--and Enjoy!
Sent:	Thursday, October 28, 1999 21:32:52
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
Just checked back into your website--wow! You've been getting some
grief! Can't we all just look at the sky?

Had a very enjoyable evening. Finally clear in North Yorkshire, so I
took my "classic" ETX-90 out and plopped it down on the garden wall,
after using my daughters geometry protractor to make sure I had my
latitude correct. Pointed it at Jupiter. Most excellent--four moons
stretched WAY out to the East. Pretty neat. Left it to watch some sat.
tv inside with the family.

Came back out about an hour later. Io was edging in to transit across
the planet's disk, bands and swirls in evidence. Couldn't wait. Popped
back inside for some astro vino (Hungarian Bull's Blood).

Rambled back out about 30 minutes later to find MIST!. I could still see
Jupiter, but my scope was almost literally hosed. Disappointing, no
chance of seeing the transit. Guess that's the price you pay for living
in the land of Shakespeare and green fields. Beautiful evening, though.
I'll try to scan my sketches and post them.

One question: I'm interested in tracking, viewing and photographing Mir
and the ISS. Will the 90-EC do this? Has anyone tried it? Have any good
images or sightings been made? What level of detail can be made out?
This is a personal project, and I really don't want to buy an LX200--
what are my ETX options here? I've got some software from NASA (STSPlus)
that lets me predict passes to the second, but can an ETX make the grade
as far as tracking/resolving? Let me know what you think.

Okay, I guess that was quite a few questions.

In closing, let me say that I have the utmost respect for you, not just
as an amateur astronomer, but also as a Webmeister Extraordinaire. Your
information is relevant, valuable, and most importantly, always up to
date. My hat's off to you. Keep the faith, baby.

Bob Ostergaard, BA, BSci, MA
"Ostergaard's Forbidden Planetoid"
Mike here: On Meade's Autostar Updates page there are elements for the International Space Station. So I would suspect that you could track Mir as well once you have the elements in the Autostar. As to photographing it with an ETX-90EC, you'll get a nice small dot of light (if that). I doubt that you'll capture any details.

Subject:	 Capitalism at its finest
Sent:	Thursday, October 28, 1999 11:38:18
From:	Jeff.Huston@infoUSA.com (Huston, Jeff)
It's been a while since I've visited here (a long while)...it's
astonishing to see the debate which has gone on (by the way...the site
looks fantastic). It's amazing what has happened over these few short
years (especially the past year).

- Meade introduces ETX Astro...high quality Maksutov optics, very
reasonably priced.
- Meade introduces ETX 90EC...dual axis, high-torque drives, at same
price as old ETX (people got mad, but if you think about it, what's the
difference between this and that 386 processor you paid so much for?).
- Autostar offers decent GOTO capability at a previously unheard of
- Meade announces ETX 125..perhaps pushes release a little earlier than
they should have...why?
- Celestron releases Nexstar 5...an incredible response to the success
of the ETX.

What's next??

I KNOW!  It's JMI's NGT 6!  

Isn't competition great?!

WE are the beneficiaries.

Perhaps Mike, you SHOULD consider becoming THE small telescope web
site...but if you do, make sure you start selling advertising space,
because you'll probably need to quit your day job to keep this growing,
unruly crowd happy.

Jeff Huston

Subject:	 My web site.
Sent:	Thursday, October 28, 1999 09:54:40
From:	jim@emmgraphics.com (Jim Berry)
I've gotten a few questions about the images of Jupiter and Saturn that
I sent to you, so I put some information up on my web site at:



-jim berry

Subject:	 focus problem
Sent:	Wednesday, October 27, 1999 21:49:48
From:	bcrane1@home.com (William Crane)
yep, it worked out ok and thanks for the info. really like your site,
been there about a dozen times at least.  i'm thinking of getting a good
tripod other than a camera head type. which one would you recommend and
Mike here: See the Accessories - Tripods page for some reviews. Also, search the site for "tripods"; you'll find lots of recommendations.

Subject:	 Love Affair with the ETX90RA
Sent:	Wednesday, October 27, 1999 20:11:48
From:	blue_iris_sangha@csi.com (Dewain Belgard and/or Danny Smith)
I gave up on my ETX90EC and replaced it with the classic ETX90RA model.
Since my last email to you on October 12, I continued to have problems
with the EC's tracking drive running away.  The last time it happened I
was using one of the very slow motion modes trying to center Epsilon
Lyra in the e.p. when suddenly the scope took off at high speed to the
West.  The high pitched whine it made as it did this bothered me as much
as the fact that it shouldn't be doing it! I took it back inside, put it
in the box and took it back to JCPenny where I bought it.

But I was so in love with the optical performance of the little
instrument I was determined to get another one, but I decided I would
like to try the original ETX90RA.  I discovered that JCPenny still
stocks them.  But incredibly, they want the exact price ($599) for them
that they sell the EC for!  I ordered it anyway and went to the store a
few days later to pick it up.  Fortunately there was an "End of October
Sale" on and I got the ETX90 RA for 25% off -- just under $450.  I went
prepared to pay the full price though.

Anyway I have used the ETX90RA for about 10 days or so nearly every
night and most mornings -- I get up early -- about 5 AM -- and find
seeing sometimes a little better then in our murky New Orleans
atmosphere. Mechanically I've had none of the problems with it that I
have read about from other users on this site. I find the ETX Classic
more to my taste than the EC.  I missed having manual slow motion
controls.  I didn't like the way the clamps worked.  I was irritated by
the noisy whine of the little motors.

I can't even hear the Classic's motor running unless I put my ear to the
mount -- I LOVE the quietness.  I find it's clamps more to my liking. 
The RA slow motion takes a little getting used to.  I learned to hold it
with one finger while unlocking the clamp with another and then making
my adjustment.  This avoided the backlash problem.

Even though I prefer the Classic model, please understand I'm not
knocking the EC -- most people will probably prefer it for the GOTO
function.  But the GOTO function wasn't important to me since a part of
what I enjoy is finding the object myself. Being able to move the EC
electronically with the hand control was convenient at times though, so
I may eventually add the electronic control available from Scopetronix
to my RA model.  I've ordered from them before and find them prompt, and
the quality of their merchandise is superb.

But that will have to wait until I get the scope back from Meade.  Yes,
I had to send it to Meade for some repair and recollimation work.  This
had to do with the secondary baffle having slipped so that it was no
longer concentric with the silvered part of the correcting lens that
serves as the secondary mirror.  Nothing to do but return it for
exchange or send it back for repair. This is not something I could fix
without voiding the warranty and possibly damaging the correcting lens.

Of course the optical performance of the scope is so good that it's
performance still exceeded that of other instruments of similar size I
have used that were in perfect condition!

It's obvious I guess that there is a quality control problem with the
ETX 90.  I think prospective buyers should be prepared to return the
scope for adjustments or go through some period of making small
adjustments or repairs themselves.  But even so, the scope is a great
bargain. And I recommend either model whole-heartedly.  With a little
patience and around $600 you can end up with an instrument that equals
or rivals the performance of far more expensive instruments!

One further word about tripods:  I tired four or five including the
Bogen that Nature Company usually sells as an alternative to the Meade
ETX tripod. I ended up with the Meade.  There are pluses and minuses to
both the Meade and the Bogen in my opinion.  But I found the clamping
mechanism's of the Meade to be superior.  The weak point of the Meade is
in the tripod leg clamps and the flimsy "struts."  There are ways to
compensate for both of these weaknesses as other people have noted on
this site already.   At my relatively low 30 degree latitude, the scope
hangs at such an angle that it puts a lot of torque on the altitude
clamp.  I often visit Belize and likely will have a retirement home
there in a few years.  The little lot I own there is at 18 degrees!  The
Meade tripod only adjusts down to a latitude of 20 degrees, so I will
have to think of some way to obtain polar alignment with it there.  But
that's day-after-tomorrow's problem.  Today I'm waiting for the return
of my baby!

Thanks again, Mike,  for your work in maintaining this site.  It's THE
place for ETX users and prospective users to go for information and


Subject:	 Zoom E.P.
Sent:	Wednesday, October 27, 1999 12:52:11
From:	KB3CNY@intergrafix.net (John Boyle)
Hello all,

Can anyone comment on the Orion Ultrazoom and/or the Vixen Lanthanum
Zoom e.p.'s?  I would appreciate hearing about your experiences with
these lenses used with an ETX-90.

Mike here: The Lanthanum 8-24mm Zoom eyepiece is discussed on the Accessories - Eyepieces page. You can also search the site for "zoom"; you'll get some other hits on zoom eyepieces, including the Ultrazoom.

Subject:	 ...Spotting scopes
Sent:	Wednesday, October 27, 1999 04:53:11
From:	kretschk@tcd.ie (Kevin P. Kretsch)
Re: Ron Silver's question (Feedback pages, 25th October 1999)

For terrestrial viewing, atmospheric turbulence will destroy high
magnification images. Much more so than astro viewing, as you are
looking through the thickest and most turbulent layer of the atmosphere
at ground level. With my ETX-90EC, anything over 1/4 - 1/2 mile distant
is only of use at low magnification (<50X), particularly in late
afternoon. Larger apertures are even more susceptible to this

For terrestrial viewing, my ten cents worth is to go for the ETX-90.
Terrestrial viewing approaching 100X with ANY telescope is difficult at
best, so the advantage of aperture is lost again.

Best regards, and clear skies,


- - - - -
Kevin P. Kretsch
Photonic Materials Group,
Department of Physics,
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.

Tel:  +353 1 608 1324
Fax:  +353 1 671 1759
E-Mail:  kretschk@tcd.ie

Some day I'll write a short scentence.

Subject:	 etx90 model m
Sent:	Tuesday, October 26, 1999 22:13:50
From:	bcrane1@home.com (William Crane)
when using an eyepiece with a filter ( into the glued 90 degree angle
holder on top of the unit ) i can"t get focus. the knob runs all the way
in.  inside, there is a lip that starts about 1 inch down from the top. 
to get it to work properly, i would need about 1/4 inch more.  have you
had any problems similar to this?  if so, how did you solve it?
Mike here: You can loosen the set screw on the focus knob and slide the knob further out on the shaft. Retighten the screw and you should be OK. Others have experienced this and this fix solved the focus problem.

Subject:	 Teflon
Sent:	Tuesday, October 26, 1999 08:22:42
From:	wmbrady@olg.com (Bill Brady)
Those who are looking for teflon should check out places that supply
wood workers. They sell UHMW for making power saw jigs and fixtures. It
looks like teflon, is slick like teflon but I believe that it wears
better than teflon, and don't "creep".

Woodcraft (1-800-225-1153) sells 1/8 to 3/4 inch thick 4x48 inch bars.
The 1/8 is #124225 at $6.99. They also have adhesive backed rolls.

I'd check Home Despot and Lowes m'self.

Subject:	 Feedback to Ron Silver - 90 v. 125 v. N5 as spotting scope
Sent:	Tuesday, October 26, 1999 05:46:20
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
In reply to Ron's post, I would imagine for spotting he'd actually be
better off with the 90 - don't know how much magnification he would need
in the daytime, but the 90 is more portable than the 125, and as you
mentioned, light gathering is wasted in the daytime (though perhaps
useful at dusk?)  Also, the 90 (or 125) do permit manual slewing, which
might be useful to follow a target, and then use the controller to fine
tune....just my 2 cents...

Subject:	 A meade question
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 22:02:56
From:	tstuart@netpartners.com (Terry Stuart)
I have been to your site and I have found it extremely valuable for a
novice like myself.  I have recently purchased one of the newly released
ETX-125's. My family and I have enjoyed it immensely.  I'm sure once I
have mastered it a bit better I will write you in greater detail about
my experiences.

However, I have a question that has nagged me and a friend of mine.  Do
you have any insite on when Meade is going to update their site to
include information regarding the 125. I find it quite disturbing that
they haven't posted anything about this new model.

Thanks for any response you may have.


Terry Stuart
Mike here: I don't know when Meade's site will be updated.

Subject:	 ETX90 vs ETX125 vs NexStar5 as SPOTTING SCOPE
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 09:03:53
From:	ronsilver@erols.com (Ron Silver)
I am planning to purchase either an ETX-90EC, ETX-125EC or NexStar5 to
use for recreational viewing.  I'll be using it mostly from my home as a
spotting scope (approx 65% of time) and for astronomy (approx 35%).

I've been following with great interest the lively and diverse opinions
about the assets and liabilities of these telescopes when used for
astronomy, but very little is said about their terrestrial pros+cons
(Daytime magnification limits, weights, portability, terrestrial
benefits of 3.5' or 5" for daylight, dusk, etc.)

I have been a (very) amateur/casual astronomer and have had a small
reflecting astronomical/terrestrial telescope of much lesser quality for
10 years. These new telescopes are likely to raise my percentage of
star-gazing time!

Opinions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,   -   Ron Silver
Mike here: The larger the aperture the more the light gathering power. Unless you live in a dark rain forest, light gathering power is wasted in the daytime. However, you will be able to use a higher magnification with a larger aperture.

Subject:	 ETX-90RA fixes
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 09:03:11
From:	jk.saggese@prodigy.net (JK Saggese)
My ETX RA finally had its teflon pads pop out after a good eighteen
months of use.  I've searched through the archives of your site and
discovered several fixes for the pads (and found the "hanger bolt fix,"
which I've decided to implement while I've got the telescope apart).  My
question is that I've been unable to find any actual teflon to perform
the fix.  I was wondering if you or anyone who's performed this fix
could give some tips where to find teflon (or if it's better to call
Meade and ask for some replacement pads, but my ETX is obviously way out
of warranty).  Any help is appreciated.
JK Saggese
Mike here: I don't have a source for replacement pads other than Meade. My teflon pads are still inplace after 3+ years (unless Meade replaced them in June 99 when I took the ETX in for collimation).

Subject:	 Super Wide Angle eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, October 25, 1999 05:21:21
From:	andrewj@netvigator.com (Andrew Jackson)
When looking through my ETX using any SWA Eyepiece (for example the
Meade 13.8 or 18) I get distortion at the edge of the field of view.
This looks like pin cushion type distortion. The image is all sharp no
colour problems only the moon starts to look considerably distorted at
the edge of the FOV. Stars diffraction rings are also distorted at the
edge of view. A normal star would look similar to (((.))). At the edge
of my FOV (by edge I mean a quarter of the radius of the FOV) the stars
look (((((.)

Is this normal with these eyepieces/scope ?

Andrew Jackson
Mike here: Could either be a collimation problem, with the ETX or the eyepiece. Or it could be normal for those eyepieces. I don't have a Super Wide Angle EP so I can't say.

Subject:	 Re: Meade ETX Astro
Sent:	Sunday, October 24, 1999 18:56:07
From:	aussies@us.ibm.com
Thankyou, and yes I meant Astronomy.  Since sending my question I read a
lot of the feedback on the site and it helped me understand the
differences in models.

Regards,  Dianne

Subject:	 Meade ETX Astro
Sent:	Sunday, October 24, 1999 16:21:46
From:	aussies@us.ibm.com (Dianne C. Schultz Smith)
I have two teenagers who have taken a great interest in Astrology.  I
just purchased  MEADE ETX Astro - Model M for Christmas. I have been
unable to find anything about Model M on any of the sites. Is this an
old model or another version of the ETX-90EC?.  The specifications are:
D = 90mm
F = 1250mm

Thank you for any information you can provide.
Mike here: I hope you mean "astronomy"! After the release of the ETX-90EC in January 1999, the original ETX model was renamed to "ETX-90RA". Apparently, in some circles, the original ETX is also known as the "ETX Astro Model M".

Subject:	 Your ETX page: a question
Sent:	Sunday, October 24, 1999 09:27:02
From:	demillo@mediaone.net (Rob DeMillo)
Nice page...been reading it for quite a while now.

I have a question: I have one of the original ETX 90mm, and I am going
to get a newer one for the purpose of getting the computer interface to
play with...

...which leaves me with my old one: Do you have a spot on your ETX page
for people that want to sell equipment?

If you are interested, I did put a posting on eBay:

Thanks in advance.

- Rob DeMillo

Sent:	Friday, October 22, 1999 22:52:48
From:	albaugh@geetel.net (albaugh)
is there an off axis guider that will fit etx
Mike here: Using the rear port and the SCT Accessory Adapter (see the Accessories - Misecellaneous), you can attach most any off-axis guider. But watch out for the balance; you'll like have to attach a counterweight to the ETX.

Subject:	 Thinking about getting the ETX
Sent:	Thursday, October 21, 1999 21:00:09
From:	jim_datec@yahoo.com (Jim D)
Like your site. I have been trying tonight without success to acccess
www.skypub.com to look for more info on the DS models. But something I
read in a S & T article, about the ETX90/EC was that the scope does not
track stars in ALT/AZ mode. Did I read that right?? The article talks
about locating but not tracking in ALT-AZ mode - which is the mode I
would most like top use. Also has the focuser problem mentioned here
gotten much attention?? Is the JMI focuser a good alternative? ( I have
one for my C-5).

But can you point me in the right direction here on the Meade DS

Thanks for any advice you may have.
Mike here: The Sky and Telescope site unreachable for several hours Thursday and Friday. The EC models will track in alt/az IF you use the optional Autostar controller. The JMI focuser is a nice product. I have one on my original ETX. Right now we don't have any DS info on my ETX site. The only DS related items are about using the DS mount with an original ETX-90RA (on the Tech Tips page).

Added later:

Thanks for the feedback - I know you must be pretty busy with your
website. I was also surprised to find so many websites for the Meade

First I must carry my C-5 back home (I live in Northern Brazil these
days) , look for a buyer there to get funds for my next scope.

The ETX 125 first came to my attention a few days ago - I haven't been
following new products so all this is new to me - great stuff. I will be
consulting your pages further in the future.

I would like to establish a live telescope webcam, which is also
controllable from remote locations, without spending a fortune to do so.
I figure that my location would be pretty unique ( 4 degrees south of
the equator ) to generate some interest. Also equatorial and the wedge
type scopes present unique "challenges" on the equator. Hence my
interest in the DS Alt/Az line of Meade scopes.

Good luck and much thanks again.

Subject:	 Love your web page,
Sent:	Wednesday, October 20, 1999 13:48:38
From:	sailorboy@techniserve.com (Ken Schmidt)
Hi Mike, You are a real gentleman  and don't let those guys on ssa beat
you up. I read most of the posts and feel it's better to lurk than
putting ones foot into ones mouth. I have always enjoyed your posts and
you have always been helpful wneh needed.
   Ken Schmidt

Kenneth Schmidt                                        /|    ^
sailorboy@techniserve.com                           ^ / |)
http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/8214              \=====/
   May the wind fill my sails.                  ^^^^^^   ^^^^

Subject:	 What's wrong with you guy's
Sent:	Wednesday, October 20, 1999 12:13:10
From:	packer@tams.com (Phil Acker)
Wow Mike, did you strike a nerve with the Nexstar group out there, or
what! I haven't seen this much hate Email directed towards anyone sense
the Sky & Telescope review of the ETX125. I would like to apologize for
all of those rude people out there that have attacked your character,
and accused you of whoring yourself to Meade. When I read your review,
what I got out of it was: "this is just a quick first look". Hey guy's,
this was 4 scopes with only 3 hours. He looked through the scopes &
wrote what he saw. I don't remember you slamming the Nexstar in your
review (except for the word "clunky"). Not like some of these so called
non-biased reviews I've seen on others web sites that tear your review
down sentence by sentence, and slam the ETX125 every chance it can. Hey,
I don't own the Meade ETX125, or the Celestron Nexstar scope, so maybe
that's why I didn't take it so personal. Lets calm down guys.

Mike is the creator of the "Mighty ETX Site". Not the Mighty Small Scope
Site, not the Mighty Nexstar Site, or any other site. So main focus is
on the ETX line of scopes (just like the main focus of the Nexstar 5
site is the Nexstar). With that in mind, I'm sure Mike would like to
create a relationship with the manufactures of the ETX product line
(Meade). Does this mean he is a puppet of Meade? Of course not. Hey
Mike, what was the size of the last check Meade sent you??? Did Meade
ever send you any moneyc or even a new scope for free?????
So,.............Did Meade stack the deck during the review, wellcc maybe
a little? I'm sure all of the ETX's were in top condition, and the
Nexstar was straight out of the box. Would Meade sabotage the Celestron
scope???? If things were reversed, would Celestron sabotage the Meade
scope????? I THINK NOT!!!! These scopes have too much going for them to
have a need of sabotaging one to make the other look good.

Soc.. what's the point of this lengthy, insignificant, pontificating
entry into the Mighty ETX journals? It's not to get Mike to like me, or
work my way onto the Meade payroll, or not even to encourage the verbal
blasting that I most likely will receive for writing this. But, to ask
all of you, when something is written about your scope of choice, and
you do not agree with it. Don't take it so damn personal!!!!

Subject:	 ETX-EC or RA w/Microstar?
Sent:	Wednesday, October 20, 1999 11:44:17
From:	McDowellJ@darden.virginia.edu (McDowell, John)
Recently, I purchases a Meade ETX-M (New name for ETX-RA) from Sam's
Club. I had been into astronomy as a kid and young adult. However, a
wife, two kids and two dogs somehow got in the way of my free time. I am
looking forward to getting back into amateur astronomy. I like the ETX90
for all its features, especially as something to re-introduce me to the
field of astronomy. I have read numerous comments on the ETX-RA and
ETX-EC by both yourself, and other members of the "Web Ring." I plan on
using the ETX for visual observation and astrophotography (both piggy
back and through the lens). I am not really interested in "GOTO"
capability. I would rather find what I am looking for the old way. I am
interested in a drive corrector on whichever of the two telescopes I
select (Either the EC or RA with a Microstar II+ attached). I've read
numerous things about backlash, quality and size of the motors, etc...,
but it seems like much of it is dated material. I have not taken the
ETX-M out of the box yet and can easily return it. My fundamental
question is: for what I want to do (based on the quality of the EC and
RA as you now know it), would I be better to exchange the RA for an EC,
or just upgrade the RA with a external drive corrector.
John McDowell
Mike here: By the time you add the Microstar you'll be getting into the price range of the ETX-90EC. So, something you need to consider is whether you really WILL NEVER want to use the Autostar's capabilities (guided tours, object information, altazimuth tracking capability, etc.). I'm quite happy with my old ETX with the Microstar II+ (and JMI MotoFocus). But I were purchasing today I'd going for the current model. However, the original ETX, with or without the Microstar, is still an excellent telescope that will provide a lot of viewing pleasure.

Subject:	 Back to the Heavens
Sent:	Tuesday, October 19, 1999 23:08:45
From:	dschmitz@onramp.net (Dan Schmitz)
Allstate gave me a pile of money for my stolen ETX,,and
accesories,,,could have bought anything, thought for about 10
seconds,,,scampered down to Natural Wonders,,Great place,,went through 3
scopes,,,some skipped,,,they are always professional,,,bought the same
90 ETX,,,Autostar,etc,,theres are few times when you can grab a brass
ring,,Already called the OEM supply guys,,,rareley has anyones toys had
such a following of people making a great scope even better,,bought a
second one,,,and enough toys to keep my furture grandkids wondering
about the skies,,,as a techie I've apriciated this site for a long

Subject:	 just one of the great unwashed supporters of weasner's ETX site...
Sent:	Tuesday, October 19, 1999 22:49:08
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
so i logged in tonight (after taking the ETX90/EC to a friend's house to
give them and their kid a quicky "star party"... the ETC performed in
its usual quirky fashion... until i told it it was in "seattle", not
"home" (which had worked the previous evening!).  After that the tours
were their usual magnificent (for a 3" scope). Anyway... what do my
surfing eyes see but a lot of flak and anti-flak about your Nexstar
review... and then your Editorial mentioning the DNS outage... which i
saw happen as i was browsing your site on the weekend (and sent you

*i* think your review was perfectly balanced, with any self-recognized
"slants" openly admitted to.  You -did- state that Meade supplied the
'scopes,  that you were unfamiliar with the Celestron's handset, and
that you may have had ingrained warm-and-fuzzies about Meades (due to
experience). Given all of that as "warnings", i felt that the review
gave as good a description of any experienced "first nighter's" analysis
of the scopes.  Well done.

I've had the luck to play with an A.C. Gilbert 3" reflector, Questars,
orange tube C-8's, 13" and 8" Dobs, and the ETX. They -all- have their
particular joys and limitations. The ETX, for example, has the annoying
habit of slightly tilting the eyepiece if the lock-screw is tightened
enough to securely hold it.  (the Televue eyepiece avoids this by having
a groove around the barrel... the screw doesn't  have to even -touch-
the barrel, but the eyepiece is safely captured.) A questar requires
110vac. (so did the C-8).  The Dobs televue-like sights and my lousy
vision were an aiming battle... so nothing's perfect (for me)(that i've
seen yet). Keep up the good work (please?)... from your comments i think
your skin is thick enough to slough off the brickbats, but that you
appreciate the bouquets... this is one of the latter.. Your site has
allowed a stunningly fast "ramp up" in techniques and avoidance of
pitfalls in ETX operation... i've showed pages to folks whom i've
discovered have ETX RA's sitting idle at home...and they're getting
excited about the little beasties again.. (i suspect a future "run" on
DS-60's)(and a large "used DS-60 OTA" offloading on Ebay..)

You're a treasure, your site's great, the review was (if anything) too
short... Just convince Meade (and/or Celestron) to let you keep one long
enough to wear out the batteries.. (and read the manual).  Oh heck..try
for both a 125ETX -and- a Nexstar... (why not a C-11? an LX-200?...
let's hear Mike's views on "how much is 'too much' aperture")

Clear skies (and reasonable readers)...
--dick seymour, seattle
Added later:
In the name of Due Diligence (or morbid curiosity) i visited John's N5
site. It (as almost any astro site is) is an interesting site to read
thru, and i'm happy for the N5 owners whom all seem pleased with their
'scopes.  Other than a mild case of aperture-envy, i'm still satisfied
with my etx90/ec (and the ~$500 still in my pocket... maybe i could
create a binocular etx/90 for the cost of an N5?) His own "comparison
review" has a few errors, and i've sent along a polite note with updates
(such as using SYNC and/or High Precision to achieve the "third
alignment star" effect.)

Subject:	 Thank you for the inspiration...
Sent:	Tuesday, October 19, 1999 20:58:17
From:	lreap@connected.bc.ca (Lorne Reap)
Thanks for the site it has been an inspiration to many other ETX users.
I purchased my old ETX at about the same time that you did but never
figured that I would have my own pages that were devoted to this neat
little instrument. I guess that I am the newest member of the ETX
Webring and I feel that this little club is just a great idea.

Thank-you again,
Lorne L. Reap

Subject:	 tripod mod-collapse prevention
Sent:	Tuesday, October 19, 1999 10:58:38
From:	isochronos@yahoo.com (Eric Jacobsen)
After reading the post about the collapsed tripod, I stopped using my
scope until I could make a very simple modification to the lower tripod
leg.  I drilled a hole though each of the bottom legs and placed a 1/4
inch bolt through the leg, fastened with a wing nut.  Should the leg
start to collapse the bold will stop it befor it moves very far.  The
wingnut allows for removal of the bolt without tools to facilitate
dissasembly.  Thank you for the wonderful website.  Information such as
the tripod problem is very useful and may have saved my scope from
future damage.  I am apalled by the tone of the some of the responses to
your report on your experience with the NextStar.  Yet I am not
suprised.  There are those with defective personalities or impaired
reading comprehension who cannot understand the context of a report. 
They seek only to tear down others to compsensate for their insecurity.
This is obvious to normal people and they have no credibility.  Keep up
the good work!

Subject:	 RE: Editorial
Sent:	Tuesday, October 19, 1999 07:56:23
From:	Hale@aol.com
Just finished reading the new postings, looks like the majority of folks
still really support your efforts and hope you carry on.  You can't
satisfy everyone all the time but I think you are doing a great job.

Subject:	 Editorial
Sent:	Tuesday, October 19, 1999 06:43:20
From:	ron@data2.com (Ron McCafferty)
I want to thank you for your hard work on Weasner's Mighty ETX site.

Ron McCafferty

Subject:	Dueling telescopes
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 23:14:21
From:	PaulW81200@aol.com
Just read your report, spec sheet comparison, editorial, resulting
e-mail, and Steinberg's page. There will always be people who expect the
worst. Quess you need to put in stronger caveats in your introductions.
I understood that the report and spec sheet were just your observations
being put out for discussion and feedback, but obviously, others read
more into it than that. I think one of the problems is that some of your
readers see you as "the expert" and consequently, anything you put out
carries an "authoritative" weight. These readers may have felt that the
favoring of Meade in the report and spec sheet were an "authoritative"
put-down of the Celestron scope that reflected an "official" site policy
of supporting Meade. That seems to be a problem in general with Web
Sites - people read into them more than is really there as if the fact
that this is a high tech media makes it more "official" and "formal",
even though the site author is just doing it as a hobby or as an
informal service. You should see some of the weird stuff that we get
forwarded to us by friends, particularly about medical things, that they
think are absolute fact because they got it on the Web. Perhaps now
would be a good time to expand the "scope" (no pun intended) of your ETX
site to all brands of small astronomical telescopes.

I will say that the spec sheet did seem to highly favor Meade, but then
you did ask for corrections. The report and "telescope party" seemed
rather ad hoc and poorly planned. You needed a "test plan" that would
have stepped through some meaningful "apples to apples" comparisons and
also that would have checked for quality control problems that might
affect the tests. If the Celestron scope did have a quality control
problem, that would invalidate the comparison. Part of the problem would
appear to be your unfamiliarity with the Celestron scope. Perhaps you
can get someone to loan you one for a week or so to get acquainted with
it and then make another side by side test and update your report.
Sounds like a repeat comparison test would be a good idea. I think
Steinberg would have better served everybody if he had merely enumerated
areas that should be done better in such a repeat test instead of
reading dire "sell-outs" to Meade commercialism into your report. The
bottom line is that for future such efforts, it's better to do it well
or to not do it at all.

In reading the e-mail, it sounds like both Meade and Celestron have
quality control problems with some people getting problem scopes and
others getting scopes that are perfectly OK. But then, this is a rather
common problem. A lot of companies seem to depend on the consumer to be
their final QC inspector.

Do you really think someone hacked into the ISP?

Don't let the turkeys get you down.


Subject:	 comparison aftermath
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 22:38:11
From:	jk.saggese@prodigy.net (JK Saggese)
I wanted to offer you a short note of encouragement regarding the
aftermath of your 125-N5 comparison, even at the risk of prolonging the
surprisingly sharp debate over this matter.  The vast, vast majority of
those of us who read and contribute to your site appreciate your work
and consider it a quite invaluable resource to furthering our enjoyment
of amateur astronomy.  I recognize the time involved in maintaining this
site and realize that it must significantly reduce your own observing
time for the sake of enriching ours.  Please continue the fine work.
Best regards,
JK Saggese

Subject:	Trade-in
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 22:26:27
From:	PBeddi9767@aol.com
I bought a 90ETX about a year ago.  I would like to trade it in for a
125 ETX or sell it for about 300 dollars.  Do you know were I can
possibly use it to trade up to a 125 ETX?

Best regards,

Mike here: Some dealers (like Shutan Camera and Video) used to offer trade-ups. Check around.

Subject:	 Editorial
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 15:14:13
From:	Hale@aol.com.WAYNE.T.HALE@saic.com
Just caught up on reading some of the posts to your site, really enjoyed
your Editorial.  Some people just have to cause problems or act like
idiots. Enjoyed the comparison between the ETX and N5, interestingly
enough, either S&T or Astronomy reviewed the N5 recently and they seemed
to be pretty favorable toward the N5.  I'm going to investigate the DS
Mount, sounds like a possible alternative to buying another scope.  A
lot more light pollution here than in Denver it seems, perhaps with the
cooler weather, we'll have clearer skies.  Thinking about getting a
narrow band filter to try and suppress some of the sky glow but not sure
how much that might help.

Keep up the good work with your ETX site, know it must take a lot of
your free time and at times I'm sure you wonder whether it is all worth
it when people start questioning your motives and whether or not Meade
is paying you to skew things more favorably in their direction.

Take care,

Subject:	 question from dutch etx owners
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 12:39:34
From:	R.Suurling@zap.A2000.nl (rene en ditte)
at first our compliments for your really great mighty etx site
we visit it very often,and learned a lot already
but there is something we don't quite understand about astrophotography
when we atach the camera on the eyepiece-adaptor,there is so much loose
of light,that we can't even see the object we like to take pictures of
anymore(except the moon)
so we like to know if you can help us out with this problem by
telling us the solution
we use the canon eos500 for the astrophotography
we sure would appriciate if you could give us some tips
well,mike thank you for all the things we already learned from your site
and hope to hear from you!
kindly regards from holland     rene&ditte
Mike here: One of the challenges of astrophotography is that many times you can't see the object being photographed on the camera viewscreen. Some cameras can accept replacement screens that work better in low light situations. But focusing can still be a challenge. Some tips:

1. Focus on the Moon and mark the positions on the telescope.
2. Try to have your finderscope as perfectly aligned as possible.
3. Expect to use a lot of film.

Subject:	 Regarding your first editorial...
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 12:28:28
From:	david.kaufman@railinc.com

Regarding your first editorial...


My fear is that the personal attacks on your integrity will make you say
'the hell with it', and pull the site offline.

I am sure that maintaining the site takes a great deal of time and
effort. It is very appreciated.  Too many people take for granted the
work involved.

Your fast response to emails is amazing, and the wealth of knowledge
contained in your site is fantastic.


David K
Mike here: I have no plans to abandon the ETX users who have come to rely upon this site. I hope all future editorials will be more along the lines of something astronomical.

Subject:	 Information about ETX and ship to Brazil - Great News!
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 10:52:08
From:	edgard@nautilus.com.br (edgard)
Ok...I have some news..I found some persons that could ship me the
ETX125 direct, one guy in Canada, other in Portugual and other in Spain.
But I have a much more important news!!! I have a friend that is going
to Miami next Thusday (10/21) and he'll came back on Tuesday (10/26)!!!
My question is..Dou you know any store or Meade dealer in Miami?
Please...answer this email as fast as you can. I've short time. In
onther hand, I'll start to look right now in the web for Meade stores or
dealers too. Please...I'm waiting your answer. Thank you very much Mike.

Edgard Faciola
Mike here: Go to Meade's web site, click on Dealer Referral, and search the state of Florida. You'll find several dealers listed.

Subject:	 Agita Unlmited
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 10:48:30
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I just had a chance to read the volumnuous e-mails posted on your site,
particularly in the 125 section - your review ruffled quite a few
feathers.  I think I'm with the majority of readers who GREATLY
APPRECIATE your efforts, support, and labors of love which went into
(and go into) the site.  I can only imagine the aggravation of the last
few days dealing with the negative (and accusatory) letters, and
cerainly hope you won't get so frustrated that you "pack it in and call
it a day" - I know my viewing sessions would greatly suffer for it.  I
will admit, however, the comparison chart did make the hairs on the back
of my neck stand up - it "felt" like it had a meade bias.

Again, on behalf of the MANY greatful readers of your site - Many
Very truly yours,
Gary Garland

Subject:	 Your Editorial
Sent:	Monday, October 18, 1999 10:33:39
From:	gibbonsc@mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA (Clive Gibbons)
I just read your Editorial. As always, thought provoking...

If you're interested in my comments, here goes;

What's the point of discussing CONSPIRACY THEORIES? Perhaps some of your
readers have brought these up, but rehashing them in an editorial piece
can only make the writer seem more neurotic than he might wish. No, this
shouldn't be about ulterior motives or groundless accusations. Let's
focus on objectivity, critical thinking and facts. The fact is, you were
a guest of Meade Instruments, examined scopes which were all provided by
them and wrote a "comparison" article which neglected to mention these
points. Let's pretend that someone wrote a short comparison piece in Sky
and Telescope, extolling the virtues of the NexStar 5 over the Meade
ETX-125... without mentioning that all the scopes were provided by
Celestron and the event happened at a Celestron guy's residence? Would
you, personally, just shrug that off and happily accept the omission,
once you learned the whole story? Really, now...

You keep mentioning that "the whole thing is a matter of TRUST". I agree
that trust is vital, but NOT to exclusion of everything else. If trust
is your ONLY guide, and you wish to ignore objectivity, critical
thinking, good sense and the sincere advice of others who might know
otherwise, you're taking a very treacherous path, Mike. Whatever you
decide, I wish you well.

	Clive Gibbons                                           
	Technician, McMaster University, 
	School of Geography and Geology.         

Subject:	 Thank you
Sent:	Sunday, October 17, 1999 22:27:17
From:	andrewj@netvigator.com (Andrew Jackson)
Having read some recent posts on your site (and some others) I thought I
would offer you some words of encouragement. I remember not that long
ago many people thought that Meade should give you an ETX 90EC for you
hard work. Indeed you deserved one and much more. The trouble is that
you are now a victim of your own success. Many people look to your site
and your advice/reports for guidance, people are putting you on a
pedestal. This is a hobby for you and people should not forget that. You
can say what you want on your website, if people choose to act on it
then that is their choice. It saddens me to see you get flamed or just
downright insulted, you have given so much and always been polite. You
have never attacked anyone else, you have been courteous in your replies
and comments even when you have been 'attacked'.

I hope people finally realise that your comments and observations are
your own, if people want a top notch objective review of the scopes,
then they should go organise it themselves. In the mean time I welcome
your comments, both those I agree and disagree with.

Thanks for all your hard work and patience.

Andrew Jackson

Subject:	 Re: The Comedy Channel presents Scope Reviews!
Sent:	Sunday, October 17, 1999 11:36:20
From:	eflaspo@aol.com (EFLASPO)
Congratulations on becoming a bashee on SAA. Been there, been that! Some
of the denizens of that group like to beat on the small guys while they
worship the big guys.

I have added a link to your ETX site from the Links Page of the American
Association of Amateur Astronomers, in the category of Astronomy
Resources. Can you give us a return link?


Ed Flaspoehler, Vice President
American Association of Amateur Astronomers
Mike here: This is a great site. Lots of useful information on astronomy, links to many other resources, and more. Check it out.

Subject:	 ETX
Sent:	Sunday, October 17, 1999 09:42:16
From:	george.hodges@msfc.nasa.gov (George Hodges)
I just visited your site. Sam's (Walmart) has the ETX for $399.95. Based
on the info that I found on your site I think I will buy one.
George Hodges
redwood@airnet.net or

Subject:	 Disappointing...
Sent:	Sunday, October 17, 1999 08:51:09
From:	timsted@raex.com (Tim Stedman)
Hi Mike,  just finished reading all the backlash from your 125 vs
Nexstar review.  I must say I found a lot of it very disappointing. I've
only recently joined the astronomy community,  but so far I've found
fellow buffs to be very open,  friendly and anxious to share their
knowledge and experience.  Some of the things I've just read really go
against that spirit.  Nexstar owners,  if you're happy with your scope,
great!  Why not just say that?  Why take things personally and attack
someone?  If you get enjoyment out of using the scope,  then why should
it matter what anyone else says?  I enjoy using my ETX-90EC.  I don't
care what anyone else says about it. The only people who should be
really interested in other's opinions on scopes are those who have yet
to purchase.  If you've taken the plunge,  then be secure in your
decision and enjoy the instrument.  It's like Mike said,  you're never
going to have the biggest and the best and this bashing and "my scope is
better than yours" goes against everything that astronomy is about in my

My girlfriend and I went to a local park this weekend to use my ETX.  A
park policeman came over to see what we we doing.  He ended up looking
at Jupiter and Saturn.  Then he told us that they had an observatory
there at the park so we went and checked it out.  They had a big 16 inch
scope there.  The guy that was running it was happy to give us a tour of
the sky.  Seeing Saturn through that thing made me want to throw my ETX
away.  Stunning.  Then he asked me what kind of scope I had.  I told him
I just bought an ETX-90EC.  This guy had 3-4 scopes himself in addition
to being in charge of that 16 inch monster so I didn't expect him to say
much but he said "That's a great little scope.  It's so portable.  This
thing (the 16 inch) is awesome,  but it doesn't go anywhere".  He was
right.  Astronomy is about reflection, sharing and discovery.  Not who
makes/owns a better scope.  There's enough scopes out there to satisfy
the needs of everyone and it doesn't matter who's name is on it.  If it
works for you,  then it's a good scope and no scope is perfect for
everything. They all have pluses and minuses like anything else.

Hang in there Mike,  I guess when you ruffle some feathers (albeit
unintentionally),  you're going to hear some squawking.


Subject:	 altitude
Sent:	Sunday, October 17, 1999 03:02:10
From:	todd_mail@tir.com (todd)
ive got the latitude and longitude, any idea where
i can get the altitude where i reside(for my software)?

new to ETX
Mike here: Call your local library or airport. That will get you close enough more than likely. There is also a great software package from Wildflower (www.topo.com) that provides USGS maps (for the USA).

Subject:	 Keep it up!
Sent:	Saturday, October 16, 1999 23:07:52
From:	bnakata@cybcon.com (Brian Nakata)
You haven't heard from me in a while, as my ETX/EC has been getting less
use due to my acquisition of a used 10" LX200.  I'm keeping the ETX and
used it to look at the moon a few weeks ago since it's so easy to take
outside and setup.

Enough of that, though.  Frankly, I cannot believe the level of passion
some people have shown with respect to the 125/N5 shootout you posted (I
haven't read it yet).  In particular, I'd tell Clive Gibbons to shut the
hell up and just enjoy his N5!  I saw one today for the first time and
it seems like a nice scope (this was during the day so I didn't look
through it).

I've been hearing a lot of negative about Meade lately, and
unfortunately, some of it is well founded.  I've had to do a fair amount
of tweaking on my LX200 to make the drive perform as I think it should,
but the end result is that it is a magnificent instrument.  Celestron is
clearly playing catchup with Meade on a technological basis, but seem to
have a good following and good support.

What I'm trying to say here is that I'm happy that you appear to be
willing to forge ahead through all the garbage E-mail being sent to you
over this controversy.  I think you have a great site (I've said it a
few times before) and again, IT'S _YOUR_ SITE!  If someone doesn't agree
with you, nothing is stopping them from putting up their own site.  One
thing you might want to say on this topic is that in addition to not
allowing Meade bashing to be presented on your site, you also don't
allow Celestron bashing to take place.

Carry on!

Brian Nakata
Mike here: As I contemplate evolving the site to a "small telescope" site, one of the guidelines to users would be that bashing of any company would not be condoned.

Subject:	 "SOS" Sirius ASK asks !
Sent:	Saturday, October 16, 1999 04:01:47
From:	mkhodayari@yahoo.com (Mohammad Ali Khodayari)
In the name of Maker

Dear Manager

I am Mohammad Ali,a 32 y/o Iranian who is involved in medicine as a
general practitioner.I head the Sirius Astronomical Society of
Kermanshah(Sirius ASK).My wife,Banafshah is 27.She teaches biology in
high school and is interested in astronomy.We have two daughters Zahra,5
and Nargges,1.My fellow astronomical and oldest friend,Afshin,32 years
old is an electronic engineer.We both direct the Sirius ASK.

Kermanshah is situated in the west of Iran with longitude of 47 deg.and
5 min. east; latitude of 34 deg.and 19 min. north;altitude of 1200
m.above the sea level.The city is the center of Kermanshahan, a
mountainous province containing many historic and ancient artifacts
together with several beautiful and spectacular landscapes.

My favorites subjects are astronomy,literature and art (classic
music,painting and calligraphy).My interest in astronomy started in
childhood,chiefly in my high school years.

Sirius ASK was founded in late September 1996 by Afshin and I.At first
we discussed about astronomy for our friends and then the first class
was held in February 14,1997 with 12 persons.Up to now we have passed
more than 122 sessions each Friday and about 58 observational classes.
More than half of the members are females(3/5) and about 240 persons
have enrolled .They are active, sincere and serious.we are good friends
with each other.Our members are involved in other activities e.g.
painting,social and religious article writing, composing poems and so
on.There are several groups in the society such as Observing
group,Artistic Group Social Affairs Group,Green Paradise Group(GPG)
which helps in preserving of natural resources and environment.

Astronomy is one of the rare sciences that could also be a
hobby.Astronomy is holy but astrology is religiously prohibited. Islamic
astronomers including many Iranians contributed in promoting astronomy
in the past and as you know most names of the famous stars are
Islamic.Arabic is the language of Islam and has a lot words in common
with Persian we speak now.

In my opinion astronomy is the best way of understanding how great and
glorious is the Maker (although we could not do it compeletely at
all).Astronomy brings about tranquility for our spirits.The technology
and science advancement has kept us at a distance from the nature.It
sounds that we are going out of the home,thus our souls are
wandering.Astronomy shows us the way of coming back.I believe we must
have direct and close association with nature,otherwise we are not
really healthy. please do not forget that I am a doctor ! Nature is the
scene of God's theatre and all the things are the actors of it ! As I
mentioned we are a cultural nation and would like to talk with others
about useful object such as religion and culture. The United Nation
approved The Iran's proposal for the 2001-year motto.It is '' The Dialog
Among Civilizations '' and this may proves that I am right in my words.
Our society has 240 members ( 3/5 female and 2/5 male ) and I have told
them about you and they want to know more.Please send your information
by mail.My mentioned friend and I teach English and astronomy free of
charge to the young .Is it possible for to give us a free copy of
them for teaching. I myself get about 130$ each month and my friend who
is an electronic engineer gets 100$ monthly as salaries and if we had
the required dollars we could not send them out. In fact we try to
popularize astronomy. Really '' In God We Trust ''. We want to be
connected with other societies.We are quite serious and sincere.Please
help us.Although we have not a good telescope or an observatory,still we
have two nice eyes ! sometimes we use binoculars. We will have them in
future,God Willing ! We invite you to come to our nice and ancient city
, Kermanshah in west of Iran with kind people.Iran.

And finally I ask how is my English?
Pardon me please for such a long letter !             
   My address is as follows :                   
 Mohammad Ali Khodayari M.D. , Post Box 67145-1416
 Kermanshah , Iran  

Thank you                    
Yours Faithfully               
M.A.Khodayari M.D.

E-mail : mkhodayari@yahoo.com 
Phone : 0098-831-722444
Fax :  0098-831-760863

Do You Yahoo!?
Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com

----------------------- Headers --------------------------------
Return-Path: <mkhodayari@yahoo.com>
Received: from  rly-yb01.mx.aol.com (rly-yb01.mail.aol.com []) by air-yb01.mail.aol.com (v62.10) with ESMTP; Sat, 16 Oct 1999 07:01:47 -0400
Received: from  web505.yahoomail.com (web505.mail.yahoo.com []) by rly-yb01.mx.aol.com (v62.10) with ESMTP; Sat, 16 Oct 1999 07:01:41 -0400
Message-ID: <19991016110149.13468.rocketmail@web505.yahoomail.com>
Received: from [] by web505.mail.yahoo.com; Sat, 16 Oct 1999 04:01:49 PDT
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 04:01:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mohammad Ali Khodayari <mkhodayari@yahoo.com>
Subject: "SOS" Sirius ASK asks !
To: etx@me.com
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Mike here: Thanks for the email. Hopefully readers will take it in the spirit in which it is offered, coming on the heals of my editorial...

Subject:	 Problems with the ETX
Sent:	Friday, October 15, 1999 14:22:23
From:	cuda340@asan.com (Stephen J. Goldberger)
I purchased the Meade ETX 90EC a week or so ago from Discovery Channel
Online Store. Last night I was using the scope and as I was manually
focusing the knob actually came off. I heard it jingling around inside
and got nervous. I took the front lens off and I also pulled out the
mirror. I am concerned I may have damaged the mirror by doing this. I
called Meade today and they told me to return it. Is this a common
problem or was it a defect? What do you think Meade will do? They kind
of gave me the impression they will just replace it.


S. Goldberger
Mike here: If just the focus knob came off then you just have to put it back on and tighten the setscrew on the side of the knob. On the other hand, if the shaft slipped inside the telescope tube then you have a problem. Depending upon exactly what happened and what damage may have occurred, Meade will either repair or replace the scope.

Subject:	eyepieces
Sent:	Friday, October 15, 1999 09:56:14
From:	RSDKIRK2@aol.com
I have a question about eyepieces. I was wondering if you could tell me
the difference between the Meade 3000 plossl, or the super plossl. And,
is it worth the extra cash to go with the 4000 series eyepieces? Any
help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
 Thank you very much			
 R. Scott  Davis

Subject:	 Re:  
Sent:	Friday, October 15, 1999 08:49:31
From:	parallax@vgernet.net
Thank you for your timely reply to my recent questions.

I thought i would offer my initial impression of the Meade DS-60/EC
Mount for use with the ETX90/RA OTA, as originaly proposed by
Paul's (strburst@mindspring.com) recent posting.

Paul's idea to mount the ETX90/RA with the DS-60/EC is
revolutionary...to say the least. In fact, i'm sure i'm one of many whom
after reading Mikes timely posting of his e-mail, saw his method as
"just the thing we were looking for". I'm a proud ETX90/RA owner since
early 99'. However, i've always wanted to upgrade To full motorized
"Go-To" ability, On a modest budget. Seeing the ETX90/EC and now the
ETX125/EC available so soon after my initial ETX/RA purchase has been
heartbreaking. That heartbreak had, until my "enlightenment", forced me
to start saving for the ETX125/EC. I've searched for the perfect balance
of... above average tripod stability, light weight, quality contruction,
motorized computer control and low cost, in a mount & tripod. And think
i've finaly found it...Thank you!!

My local wal-mart had the DS-60/EC For $229, Which i purchased on the
spot yesterday morning. I also purched the "#495 Autostar" for $88 as
they had no "#497 Autostars" in stock at that time(i did have them order
a #497 Autostar for me with the understanding that i would return the
#495 as soon as the better one arrived).

Glowing like a child on christmas morning, i raced home and began the
DS-60/EC assembly process. The Assembly took about 30 minutes. And
proved to be quite simple dispite not-so-good text directions.
Fortunately, Meade included thorough diagrams for easy reference. When i
completed assembly, I powered up with the standard #493 hand controller
to test my workmanship. all seemed fine, very little backlash, so i then
re-powered up with the #495 Autostar and began learning the autostar
Control interface. The Autostar is a godsend. It is most certianly
everything i could want in computer control...and a breeze to master. It
does seem to have a few small quirks such as: Cold weather can mildly
effect the resolution of the Led display, making it hard to read quickly
scrolling text. And also, several essential menus are burried many
levels deep. but Overall, it is in my opinion, the best and most
complete telescope computer system on the market. The Autostar
controlled the DS-60/EC mount flawlessy in all directions. And as i
stated, i noticed very little backlash. The construction of the Tripod
and Mount suprised me. Both are made of high quality materials with
precision tolerances. I found the Tripod to dissapate vibration very
efficiently. And in the field last night, the mount proved to be quite
stable. I am confident the mount can easily handle scopes up to 5"+,
with enough beef for all the extras as well.

As i am Awaiting his "ETX90/RA to DS-60/EC Mounting Bracket" posting, i
have yet to mount my ETX90/RA. Although, From what i've seen, The Meade
DS60/EC mount is ideal for any ETX or similar telescope, even perhaps
better than the fork mounts included with the stock ETX family.

Thanks for the great idea Paul.

Alex Zarvis
Interstellar Medium

Subject:	 Meade ETX
Sent:	Friday, October 15, 1999 04:53:06
From:	yigalherstein@hotmail.com (yigal Herstein)
I have got the Meade ETX, and I'm photographing with it. But the field
of view is rather small. I heard there are some piggyback mounts for the
ETX. Do you know a site where I can order one?

By the way, I know a rather easy way to make an eyepiece projection with
the ETX. Do it the following way:
1.  Unscrew the "rear cell cap"
2.  Unscrew the metal ring under the ocular which normally goes into the
eyepiece bracket.
3.  Remove the rubber ring of the (Super Plossl) ocular.
4.  Screw the lens system part of the ocular in the rear cell, yes there
is a screwthread in there.
5.  Put you camera adaptor in the normal way, you normally do.
6.  Put you camerabody on top of the camera-adaptor.
7.  Et voila, you now have got a ocular-projection.


Yigal Herstein (The Netherlands)
Mike here: Many of the mail order sites sell the JMI Piggyback Adapter or other adapters. Shutan, Pocono, Scopetronix are some that come to mind.

Subject:	 Meade DS/Autostar scopes
Sent:	Friday, October 15, 1999 02:14:28
From:	wmbrady@olg.com (Bill Brady)
Is there a site similar to yours for the DS series?

I have a DS/Autostar and have some early setup/info to share. Perhaps
you will consider expanding your site to include the DS series?

Thanks for a great site.

Bill Brady
1503-I Flanders Lane
Harwood MD 20776-9718
fax 410/741-9508
wmbrady@olg.com (main email)
wmbrady@aol.com (spammers heaven)
Mike here: I have not heard of a DS site. At the urging of many readers over many months, I have been contemplating expanding the site to be a "small telescope" web site. For a lot of reasons, I'm not certain how I would do that. One concern is that the site could be overrun by comments on the truly "department store" telescopes. Another concern is the impact on my time to maintain such an expanded site (I already seem to spend more time answering email and updating the site than I do observing). I do believe that such a site could provide a valuable service to potential buyers and users of other small telescopes just as it has for ETX users. So maybe we could start an experiment using your information on your DS/Autostar. I am willing to create a separate page for it and we'll see how it goes.

Subject:	 MEADE
Sent:	Thursday, October 14, 1999 08:12:14
From:	krefeld@tir.com (Sandra Krefeld)
Just some info. for people who read the list.   http://www.NETMARKET.COM
has the E/C  for under $600 and the R/a for $449.00. They are brand
new.  There is a membership fee, but the first three months are free,
and you can cancel before that and pay no fee.  You also get $10 off
your first order.  They have the auto star for $150, and other things
like the camera adapter for about $20.  It's worth a look.  Go to the
page and search
"meade telescope"       
about 5 different pages will come up.   They also have a big selection
of bogen and other tripods for a GOOD price.

Subject:	 Questions
Sent:	Wednesday, October 13, 1999 23:04:57
From:	parallax@vgernet.net
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

I'm sure i speak for all visitors to this site when i say THANK YOU, for
the vast cornucopia of invaluable information located within these
pages. It is obvious that you should recieve some sort of "royalty" (and
a travesty that you don't)from Meade for the sales increase they have
seen as a direct result of the consise, non-biased, enlightening
information found here.

I'm sure i am among thousands of amature astronomers who also "live for"
the hands-on, engineering aspect of astronomy...the thing that truly
defines "Amature Astronomer". Your in-depth Technical analysis of all
aspects of the ETX telescope family, accessories, add-on products...and
more recently the addition of comparisons between competing Meade &
Celestron 5"ers, is the determining factor for my decision to buy a
Meade ETX125/EC w/autostar.

I purchased a Meade ETX90/RA(which incidently, has always performed
flawlessly) in early 99' from Oceanside Photo & Telescope(OPT). Soon
after that purchase, i came across your page. I've been a loyal "Weasner
Watcher" ever since. This is my first letter to you, although i've
though of writing to express my gratitude many times in the past.

On this cloudy night, having just read your most recent ETX125/Nexstar
review...and fortunately reloading the page to see tonights update: "The
ETX125/Nexstar comparison chart"...(You rule Mike!!!)...i honestly feel
confident that i'm making an exceptional choice in the ETX125.

A couple quick questions:

First, is the ETX125/EC Accessory mount(the straight through viewing
hole used with the flip-mirror) the same size as the ETX90/RA accessory
mount? I would like to use my T-adapters and accessories on both.

Second, Have you had any experience with controlling an ETX/EC from a PC
using Starry Night?(siennasoft.com) They do offer an LX200 interface(via
serial/RS232 port), and i am curious as to the usability and accuracy of
the interface?

Third, is Meade shipping Autostars with the most recent Firmware
upgrade(V1.3) or will i have to upgrade?

Fourth, will the Mini Autostar(for the ETX70/AT) work with either of the
ETX/EC models?

Thanks again for all your effort...

Alex Zarvis
Interstellar Medium   
Mike here: The port at the rear of the ETX-125EC is the same as on the ETX-90EC (and ETX-90RA). I have not controlled the ETX from a computer. But it is possible. I don't know which version of the software is shipping from Meade in the Autostars. Dealers probably still have older versions. You will probably want to upgrade at some point. Both versions of the Autostar work in the EC models.

Subject:	 cute ad...
Sent:	Wednesday, October 13, 1999 19:54:08
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Dick Seymour)
In the Nov 1999 issue of MacWorld, page 70.

Titled "The Ultimate Search Engine"

"Take a guided tour of the heavens at the push of a button with the
Meade ETX-90EC Astro Telescope."

It's a cooperative ad: placed by Meade, with Natural Wonders and Ritz
Camera's logos and phone numbers. (circle 79 on the bingo card, or visit


Sent:	Wednesday, October 13, 1999 16:40:07
From:	krefeld@tir.com (Sandra Krefeld)
Ican't see myself shelling out $200 for a tripod, whrn i just spent over
$700 on the scope.
Are there any requirements for a tripod?
I found a Vivitar Deluxe tripod that weighs in at  5 lbs?
Is this type of thing ok?
Is there a minimum weight, or do you have and recommendations?

Any other readers of this, please help.
Email me directly, or we'll talk on an instant messenger program if 
you have one.
Mike here: The heavier the item you want to mount on a tripod, the more heavy duty the tripod will need to be. This sometimes translates to tripod weight but design also has a lot to do with it. Stability is your key factor. If the tripod wobbles when you put weight on it, you'll get poor results looking through a telescope, especially as you go to higher magnifications. Check the Accessories - Tripods page. Also, search the site for "tripod"; you'll find lots of recommendations.

Subject:	 Where are the teflon pads?
Sent:	Tuesday, October 12, 1999 18:52:04
From:	dbjarnas@toronto.cbc.ca
Just where are these teflon pads everyone is referring to? I'd like to
check mine, but I've looked at the manual and I can't figure out where
they are.
Mike here: They are not mentioned in the manual. Search the site for "teflon". You'll find lots of references.

Subject:	      North alignment aid
Sent:	Monday, October 11, 1999 15:32:30
From:	RPB@pobox.com (Rodger Bagnall)
Please check out
I'd be grateful for any comments and corrections.
Mike here: This is a cool site and a neat idea!

Subject:	 Mail order purchase of ETX 90/EC
Sent:	Monday, October 11, 1999 13:09:58
From:	parag.sanghvi@sabre.com (Parag Sanghvi)
Thank you for your excellent site.  Any thoughts on a first time buyer
purchasing from a mail order company such as Camera World of Oregon vs.
going to a local retailer?  The prices seem to be much better but I'm
concerned the ETX 90/ EC may develop problems resulting from all the
extra shipping involved.  Please advise.

Thanks, and clear skies....

Parag Sanghvi
Arlington, Texas
Mike here: Certainly there is something to be said for doing some quality checks in a store and then walking out with a product you're happy with. On the other hand, the better mail order dealers (I can't speak about Camera World from personal knowledge) will work with you if shipping damage occurs.

Subject:	 ETX at BJ's/Sam's Club
Sent:	Monday, October 11, 1999 10:46:31
From:	jh@zappa.brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
In responding to Roy Appleton's queries regarding the ETXes at these
discount clubs, he mentioned that the eyepieces being included are not
the 26mm 4000 SP, but Meade's 25mm and 9mm MA eyepieces.  While not
junk, these are not nearly as good as the Super Plossls usually used on
the ETX.

I understand why Meade does this - why include your best EP in a product
being end-of-lifed? - and the inclusion of the second 9mm is a nice way
to make up the shortcoming.

Tim Stedman expressed some dismay at having his scope mistaken for a
bargain-basement scope.  It's worth noting that the only ETX model going
to the discount stores is the RA (or Astro) model.  So it lacks the sexy
goto capability and motorised slewing of the EC.  So what?  Optically
it's the same gem of a 90mm Mak as ever.  The slewing can be added with
the Scopetronix MicroStar kit (highly recommended!) for those who want

Besides, if Tim's looks anything like mine (see http://etx.brainiac.com
for pictures), it's hard to see the scope under everything else anyway!

      Joe Hartley - Technical Director - Frosty Drew Observatory
        12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - 401.782.9042
            joe@frostydrew.org - http://www.frostydrew.org
Added later:
I wanted to mention that my two astronomical sites are now on a much
faster connection, now that a local ISP has allowed me to co-locate my
server for free!  You should now see much faster responses from:


Subject:	 National Geographic  October 99
Sent:	Monday, October 11, 1999 09:12:22
From:	scameron@ohiohills.com (Scott Cameron)
The October 1999 National Geographic (available on newstands...has a pig
on the cover) has an article on "the universe"....an overview of the
latest scientific work, new big telescopes, and so on.

They also include a map that has the universe on one side (organized in
views ranging from our solar system to our galactic supercluster) and
the Milky Way Galaxy on the other. You won't be able to use it to find
M57, but it's a good overview and might be good for educators. The only
drawback is that it's folded in standard roadmap style.

Subject:	 Blinking leds
Sent:	Sunday, October 10, 1999 12:36:19
From:	wombat@realns.com (wombat)
See other people are using "blinkers" for warning.  For those that are
interested, the blinkers I used are 40mm dia, automatic blinking on 3
volts.  They come from All Electronics (allelectronics.com) and are
quite cheap.


Subject:	 Where's the serial number?
Sent:	Sunday, October 10, 1999 11:56:49
From:	lschor@home.com (Leslie Schor)
I've looked all over the thing!  We're getting renter's insurance and
I'd like to have this info.  Its an ETX-90 classic ( no EC ).


Jim Bresnahan
Mike here: There is no serial number on the original ETX. You could probably get a number that would satisfy the insurance company off the circuit board in the base.

Subject:	 About your site
Sent:	Sunday, October 10, 1999 08:25:51
From:	galaxy@donet.com (galaxy)
I have a meade etx90/ec and was looking for some answers about certain
things. So I hopped over to the newsgroup and saw some of your comments.
You have left your website with your comments and I went to check it
out.  Man, those are some great shots!  All of those through the ETX? 
If that is true I have a lot to look forward to   you are doing exactly
what I wanna do and that is boss!

I didn't see a guestbook, did I miss it?   I was going to sign it but
didn't see one At any rate  that is a very nice informational site

Chris foote
A.K.A The Galaxy
             *     *


                *                                        *
                                    *                        *
                                        *                     *
                               *                           *
                       *                                 *

Mike here: Glad you like the site. There is no guestbook. I just repost email messages in the various Feedback sections. All (with a few exceptions) of the astrophotography on the site was done with the ETX, either through the ETX or by using the ETX as a guidescope.

Subject:	 ETX-90RA at BJ's
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 20:08:15
From:	timsted@raex.com (Tim Stedman)
I wanted to verify something you said in response to Roy Appleton's
message regarding the "ETX Astro" he saw at Sams's club.  I was in a
BJ's today (same concept as Sam's club) looking to buy some AA batteries
in bulk (I seem to go through them pretty fast!)  and saw the scope Roy
was talking about.  It is in fact the RA-90 (although they don't call it
that).  They wanted $399 for it as well.  All they had was an empty
display box so I couldn't open it up and get my hands on it. I'd be
curious to know what the quality is like.  I would assume the optics are
the same as a ETX-90EC and the RA of old. I was kind of surprised to see
it.  I've heard about the ETX-70 being at Walmart or wherever,  but I
never thought I'd see a 90 at a place where you'd expect to see "toy"
scopes.  What's next,  the ETX-125 at K-Mart?  It kind of gives me a
sinking feeling to picture having a little star party for my friends and
having one of them look at my 90EC and it's hundreds of $$$'s worth of
accessories I've already accumulated  and say "Did you get that at
BJ's?"......UGH! Say it ain't so!

Keep up the good work!


Subject:	 Sky report
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 18:32:30
From:	emosser@gte.net (E Mosser)
After a couple of weeks of moonlit nights, I returned outside twice this
week and turned the etx toward the queen of the sky - Cassiopeia.  The
first night out, October 4th was chilly and crisp, by 8:30 it was
already down to 39 degrees.

My first object was eta Cas, a nice double, easily resolved with the
26mm.  The 2x barlow was a great view.  Next, I went to M103.  I had
better luck at 96x (26mm with 2x barlow).  I searched for TR-1, but was
unable to locate it.  Later in the week, I easily found it.  The area
around delta Cas is very interesting, with M103, TR - 1, NCG 436 and
457.  NGC 457 is in the same FOV as the visable phi Cas. I counted 21
stars.  There are actually 80 stars in the 13 arc minute cluster.  It is
one of the finest in the sky.

Next, the clusters NCG 133 and 146 were located.  Both are in the same
FOV as kappa Cas.  Both are small clusters with a magnitude in the 9.1

NCG 129 was spotted and contained two distinguishable groupings.  The
bottom group resembled a "W", sort of a minature Casseopia.

NCG 869 and 884, the double cluster, was the final item for the night.

Last night, I observed NCG 7789, 7790, and TR-1, plus others listed
above.  NCG7789 is reputed to be a wonderful cluster, but I don't get
much from it.  It is easy to find, between rho and sigma Cas, but I
think a larger scope would be better.  TR-1 provided some satisfaction,
as I had not located it previously.  From Delta Cas, sweep one degree
down to M103, then continue in the same line to TR1.

As stated previously, this scope provides incredible views for objects. 
It is challenging to use on deep sky objects, but not impossible.  Many
objects are within the grasp of this fine scope.

Ed Mosser   emosser@gte.net

Subject:	 Eyepieces
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 16:50:59
From:	Thumbies@email.msn.com (thumbies)
I've found a lot of information on a few different eyepieces, especially
wide and ultra-wide view(ie Panoptic, Radian, Nagler Type 2, ....), but
I still haven't found much comparing some of the different types such as
kelners vs orthoscopics vs Naglers. .... I'm interested in finding a
good sharp 9mm eyepiece. Are orthos just as clear and crisp or better
than the wide FOV eyepieces or are the newer eyepieces better(forget eye
relief and FOV for this comparison)?

Thanks for having the best telescope web site; I'm sure a lot of people
are using the ETX because of the support they find here.

       					Thanks Again,

						Karl Bolser
PS Have you heard anything about Speers-Waler eyepieces
Mike here: The Orion and Binoculars web site has a description of several types of eyepieces. Visit their Guide to Eyepieces page.

Subject:	 Unscrewing the corrector plate
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 14:45:59
From:	Meade Instruments Corporation
Saw a note a few days back by someone suggesting that turning the
corrector plate holder had improved his optical quality (this was the
customer that moved his slipping baffle).  This is not a good idea since
it may destroy his collimation.

Subject:	I could use your opinion.
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 15:26:05
From:	Frameaca@aol.com
Contained in your Guest Planetary Astrophotography section, a gentleman
by the name of Michael Rochfort submitted some shots of Jupiter.  I
would like for you to refer to those images to get a better
understanding of what I am talking about.

I have purchased an ETX-90/EC myself.  I have two 4000 Super Plossl
lenses - one 9.7mm and one 26mm.  When looking at Jupiter with my 26mm,
I observed the same type of image that Mr.  Rochfort submitted which
showed Jupiter with its satellites (small image).  I then decided to go
out and purchase my 9.7mm, thinking that it may create an image that was
closer to the larger image he submitted.  Unfortunately, the image that
I got was the same size as when I used my 26mm, but it was not as clear
and not as bright.  But the size of Jupiter did not change.  Do you have
any suggestions of how I could get a larger image with my scope.  Do you
think I purchased a faulty lens?

I had hoped that I could at least see some of the details of Jupiter's
surface.  I could barely distinguish that there were any bands on it.  I
am becoming discouraged with my purchase.  HELP!!!!

Ameteur Astronomer Jeremy
Mike here: In the example you mentioned, Mr. Rochfort says that the righthand image was done using a 9.7mm eyepiece but that it approximated a 6mm visual view. With that said, if your 26mm and your 9.7mm eyepieces are showing the same magnification when each is focused, one of them is incorrectly labeled. Jupiter's image should appear slightly more than two and half times larger in the 9.7mm eyepiece. If you add a 2X Barlow Lens to your 26mm eyepiece you'll get the equivalent of a 13mm eyepiece. Also, you won't be seeing Jupiter's surface but the clouds in its atmosphere. The only planets where you'll see the surface are Mercury and Mars.

Added later:

Thank you for replying so quickly, Mr.   Weasner.  I think I will have
to return my 9.7, because it is not increasing the magnification

Subject:	 long astrophoto exposure times and ETX mount
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 13:54:57
From:	isochronos@yahoo.com (Eric Jacobsen)
I have been told that the ETX mount and drive is not accurate enough for
long exposure times for deep space objects.  The people have said that
there is not a way to make corrections in the drive speed.  Yet I notice
that both the standard controller and Autostar have a method of making
changes to the tracking rate speed as well as making position
adjustment.  I have not tried any astrophotography yet so maybe I just
don't understand the situation but with all the Meade Bashing going on I
wonder if poeple are not familiar with the drive speed adjustment
feature.  So the questions are:  1)Can the Tracking rate be adjusted
during an exposure and 2) if i have a small guide scope attached is it
acurate enough for long esposures, i.e. more that an few minutes? 3) can
the Ra and Dec position adjustments be used with a guide scope make
error corrections during an exposure?  Thanks
Mike here: The ETX-90EC (and -125EC) and the ETX-90RA with a Scopetronix Microstar II+ do have the capability of manually correcting for tracking errors during an exposure when using a guide star. This is how I've done the piggyback exposures up to 15 minutes (see the Astrophotography Gallery - Sky page, and even the Astrophotography Gallery - Deep Sky page). A small attached guidescope, unless of high magnification, will likely not be accurate enough for prime focus or eyepiece projection astrophotography.

Subject:	 ETX Flip Mirror Help
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 13:25:05
From:	steadman.watson@promail.com (Steadman Watson)
My flip mirror came off of the mount.  Are you aware of a way to fix
this without sending the unit to Meade for service?  Perhaps there is a
diagram of the ETX 90 on your site, but I can't find it via the search
function.  Obviously, I am a new user of a second hand ETX.


  Steadman Watson
  email: steadman.watson@promail.com
Mike here: On the Tech Tips page there is a link to "Doc Greiner's ETX Info site". Check that out. It *might* help. But if you are not mechanically minded I don't recommend making your own repair.

Subject:	 Re: Meade Model M ETX Astro Telescope
Sent:	Friday, October 8, 1999 05:15:27
From:	appleton@airmail.net (Roy Appleton)
Mike, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to reply to and
answer my questions concerning the Meade telescope.  I have tried to
read a lot of the user entries on your site and discussions on some of
the newsgroups but I know so little about astronomy or telescopes that I
was just plain lost and so your simple answers have made me confident
enough to go out and spend the $400 on this telescope.  Thank you again
for your time and patience.

Mike here: Glad to help. Let us all know what you think when you get it.

Subject:	 Which magazine to subscribe to?
Sent:	Thursday, October 7, 1999 08:29:10
From:	david.kaufman@railinc.com
As a newcomer to amateur astronomy,  I have purchased several copies of
Astronomy and Sky&Telescope, and I want to subscribe to one of them.  Is
one of them better regarded or more recommended for newbies? I do not
want to get both, and was curious what your thoughts are.  I am leaning
towards S&T, but I'm not sure.


David K
Mike here: I've never subscribed to Astronomy but have read one or maybe two issues over the years. I've been a Sky and Telescope subscriber for nearly 40 years; which must say something, and I don't mean about my age since I wasn't even a teenager when my subscription started!

Subject:	 Meade Model M ETX Astro Telescope
Sent:	Thursday, October 7, 1999 05:47:14
From:	appleton@airmail.net (Roy Appleton)
Good morning, I found your Meade telescope web site and was wondering if
I could ask you a couple of questions concerning a telescope I found at
our local Sams store.  It looks like what you and the other folks on
your site refer to as the Meade ETX 90 series but I know anything about
telescopes and though you might be able to tell me if they are one and
the same.  The information on the box states. . . "Meade ETX Astro Model
M, D=90 F=1250 f/13.8, with MA25mm(50X), MA9mm(139X) modified Achromatic
eyepieces, with StarNavigator Astro Software.  The reason this telescope
caught my eye is the price. . . $399.99!  As compared to up to $600
other places.  Is this the same telescope?  Would this be a reasonable
first telescope for a beginner such as myself?  Thank you for any
assistance you can provide me.

Mike here: From your description this is the original model ETX Astro, now known as the ETX-90RA. But it appears there have been some substitutions; originally the telescope came only with a 26mm eyepiece (not a 25mm) and no other accessories. But other than that it does appear to be what many of us purchased when the ETX first came out. The newer EC models have computer control capabilities (which is nice for some beginners but not necessary). If you are like most of us you'll get years of pleasure from the original model ETX. Someday you can go for something else if you find that you really enjoy observational astronomy or you want to get into astrophotography in a big way. Please check the Buyer/New User Tips page for additional comments.

Subject:	 etx90/not etx90ec
Sent:	Thursday, October 7, 1999 00:13:55
From:	joe_lyman444@hotmail.com (Joe Lyman)
Hey....My name is Joe, and tonight I saw an etx90 telescope in a store
for 250 dollars. It was discounted 50% on top of an existing 20%
discount. I was wondering if there is a difference between the etx
spotting scope and the etx90. I have been investigating this on the
computer tonight and I cant seem to find a simple etx90 advertised or
mentioned. I am pretty sure the only difference between the etx90 and
the etx90ec is the computer attachment. Is that correct? Well I stumbled
across your site and I am very hopeful that you can help me out in my
decision to buy it or not. I was also wondering if it is very simple to
attach a regular 35 millimeter camera to the scope. The cameras I would
use would be either a pentax k1000 or a nikkon 5005. I hope to hear from
you soon, as the sale ends on Monday. By the way...I really liked the
way you present the photographs and other information on your site.
Thank you for your help.

Mike here: The ETX Spotting Scope does not include the drive base, which allows for tracking objects in Right Ascension. And since it does not include the ETX-90EC base (not available separately either) you can't add the Autostar computer. If the model you saw was the original ETX Astro (now known as the ETX-90RA) it does include the drive base but that model won't accept the Autostar computer either.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC - what accessories to get for the beginner?
Sent:	Wednesday, October 6, 1999 23:46:22
From:	conatore@teleport.com (Michael Conatore)
First, let me tell you what a great resource your web pages are! Thank
you! I know they will be invaluable as we get started with our

My Grandmother has VERY GENEROUSLY offered to get the ETX-90EC as a gift
to my family. I have always wanted a telescope, but so far it hasn't
risen up on my list high enough. Now, with this opportunity, and the
fact that my son is a 6th grader and interested, and so is my wife, we
are planning to accept the extreme generousity and enjoy some
first-class stargazing! I am curious what accessories you would consider
to be "must haves". I don't think photography will be very important to
us to start with, but we will want to take it with us on trips. I have a
laptop PC, so may want to try computer control if it is particularly
useful. We will be getting the Autostar, so is PC control redundant for
casual use?

Anyway, I just thought I would "pick your brain" to see if you had any
comments "off the top". Thanks again.

Michael R. Conatore
Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some suggestions.

Subject:	 Great Astronomical Sites
Sent:	Wednesday, October 6, 1999 07:08:21
From:	montylee@usa.net (Monty Lee)
Two great astronomical sites


This is a great Astronomical site.

From the site:
Table of contents
Solar Eclipse Exploring Mars Comets, meteors, and asteroids
Extrasolar planets Astronomical images Space exploration programs
The Solar System Astronomy magazines Hypermedia textbooks
History of Astronomy Astronomy organizations Other astronomy sites

The Nine Planets

From the site:
The Nine Planets is an overview of the history, mythology, and current
scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar
system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, most
provide references to additional related information.

Interplanetary spacecraft have revolutionized planetary science. Very
little of this document would have been possible without the space


Subject:	 I Enjoy Your Site
Sent:	Wednesday, October 6, 1999 01:58:28
From:	1arizona@ionet.net (Lewis)
I really enjoy your site!  It really has a lot of information and some
great pictures. I have a couple of questions that maybe you might know
the answers.

I recently purchased a Meade ETX and am thinking about hooking a CCD
camera to it. Can this be done? If so, I have the money for the Meade
Pictor 416XT. Would this be overkill on this small scope? I was thinking
that maybe this unit over the lesser sized one might help with the small
size of the telescope.

Also, would the Autostar be worth investing in? What basically can/does
it to?

Any reply will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much (now back to your
site).  Lewis
Mike here: Glad you like the site. Search it for "CCD" and you'll see that indeed one can be used with the ETX. A high-end CCD is not necessarily overkill for the ETX. You'll want the greatest sensitivity or largest field-of-view that you can avoid. There is a LOT of info on the Autostar on the site (search for "Autostar"). It has its pluses and minuses. Depends on what you want/need.

Subject:	 Cameras
Sent:	Tuesday, October 5, 1999 21:43:14
From:	T.Torgerson@prodigy.net (Tim Torgerson)
Just bought my ETX-90/EC. Would like to get a good camera for it. Could
you give me just one or two good suggestions? Price range isn't a huge
concern. I'm confined to a wheelchair so getting a great picture is
better than trying to position myself for any length of time. Your input
would be greatly appreciated...Thankyou....Tim Torgerson
Mike here: Any 35mm with a removable lens should work as long as you can adjust the exposure duration. Also, many digital cameras will also work on brighter objects like the Moon and planets. Film cameras will require a lot of experimentation (i.e., film use) to get good photos. You'll also need appropriate adapters (see the Accessories - Astrophotography page). Digital cameras can be used to get amazing photos (many are on my ETX site). And you can easily throw away the bad shots. Bottom line: used 35mm camera plus the accessories or a low end digital camera plus the Scopetronix mount can be used and likely result in good photos.

Subject:	 Help please
Sent:	Tuesday, October 5, 1999 20:38:44
From:	szaldin@home.com (Steve Zaldin)
I just bought the ETX-90 and have the eyepiece that came with it and a
Barlow lense.  Is it true that the views with the scope will not be of
great clarity in magnifications past 200X approximately.  I've been
reading about this and am new to the hobby. I want to buy some more
lenses, but I don't want to throw away money on lenses that will have
limited value.  Any suggestions?
Mike here: The standard answer is max 50-60x per inch of aperture. So the ETX-90 would be 175-210x. However, many users, including myself, have exceeded this, especially on bright objects like the Moon and brighter planets. Added later:
Thanks so much ... I am very new and need all the advise I can get. As
of now I have the lense that comes with the Scope and I bought the
Barlow lense as well.  If you were me, and you wanted to buy 2 or 3
other lenses, which ones would they be to get the maximum benefit out of
the scope? I appreciate any advise.
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page; several suggestions on eyepieces. Also see the Accessories - Eyepieces page.

Subject:	Collimation
Sent:	Tuesday, October 5, 1999 15:13:11
From:	LooneyRoo@aol.com
It has been a while since I've sent you a letter. I am back up at
college (University of Florida) and the skies here have not been all
that observable. On the nights that I have been out, my corrector has
been plagued with due. Even my little dew cap is no match for the humid
swamp that I live in. Anyway, there is something that I noticed the last
time I was out. When I bring a bright object out of focus, the donut
shaped ring is not symmetrical. It is not bad, but it is quite
noticeable. It hasn't affected my optics so I'm not too concerned.
However, I was wondering if this is an indication that my scope needs to
be re-collimated? I also ordered some colored filters from Orion and am
awaiting their arrival. I'll let you know how they work on Saturn and
Jupiter once it is cold enough to observe. Thanks again for your hard

Mike here: Sounds like an optical tune-up is in order. Check the mirror attached to the corrector lens (see next message).

Subject:	 mirror slipping
Sent:	Tuesday, October 5, 1999 14:11:03
From:	palladin@iquest.net (Richard Fried)
I haven't used my ETX much this summer, the humidity makes seeing tough.
Anyway, when I dusted it off a few weeks ago I noticed that the mirror
attached to the inside of the front lens seems to be off center.  It
looks like it has slipped down about an 1/8" or so.  I don't remember it
being off center before.  The scope seems to work OK but I'm wondering
if this is something that needs to be checked out.  Is there a way to
test if the mirror is centered or not? Do you think I should send it
back to Meade? Your advice would be appreciated.

Mike here: My original ETX also experienced the mirror slippage (see my comment from my Meade tour on the "Just for Fun" page). If it is like mine (and the amount sounds similar) you should send it to Meade to be corrected.

Subject:	 meade
Sent:	Monday, October 4, 1999 12:39:29
From:	krefeld@tir.com (Sandra Krefeld)
Where do feel the Best place to buy and have shipped a FIRST QUALITY    
         ETX-90R/A telescope.

Thanks -todd
Flint, MI
Mike here: Shutan Camera and Video used to have used ones. Check with them. Other dealers may also have them, new or used. See the Astronomy Links page, dealers section.

Subject:	 Question on Eyepieces
Sent:	Saturday, October 2, 1999 16:08:55
From:	edrodri2@vt.edu (Edgar Rodriguez)
What is the difference between the 6.4mm (195X) and Super Plssl 9.7mm
(129X) Super Plssl eyepiece?  I can't figure why they both have the same
prices even though the 6.4mm has higher magnification.

Which one is better?



  e-mail: edrodri2@vt.edu
  Homepage: http://www.cslab.vt.edu/~edrodriz/
  P.S. Check out my new homepage. :o)
Mike here: You didn't say who the manufacturers were. But as to eyepiece types, check the Orion Telescopes and Binoculars site and click on "Types of Eyepieces" for some info. Price is not always an indicator of magnification; it is more an indicator of quality, number of glass elements, name, coatings, etc.

Subject:	 Planetarium HNSKY V2.00 has been released
Sent:	Saturday, October 2, 1999 16:31:45
From:	Han_Kleijn@compuserve.com (han kleijn)
HNSKY v2.00 (ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/han_kleijn/software.htm) has been finally released. This version will work
with windows 95, 98 and windows NT 4.0 5.0.

Most important  new features:

1) It can handle more then 10.000 asteroids and comets. The latest files
with the orbital elements can be download from the internet.
2) Supplements in ASCII format.  With these you can extend the program
databases yourself.
3) Adjustable colors.
4) Improved printing in 600 DPI quality.

In case you have a permanent or a very fast internet connection, you
could download the GSC, Hubble guide star catalog. 1300 Mbyte compressed
in less then 300 Mbyte. See help file.

That's all for this time. Thanks for all the replies and comments.
Without those, this program would never be expanded to this state.

====Happy computing and clear skies, Han Kleijn, Bruehl Germany.====

Subject:	 ETX90
Sent:	Saturday, October 2, 1999 07:14:52
From:	mike_deb@compuserve.com (Michael Flake)
Thanks for all your hard work! I have a quick question for you if you
have the time. I was wondering if it is possible to polar align my ETX90
set the R.A. and use a star chart to find objects in the sky? I keep
ending up 3 to 4 degrees off on my declination.

Mike here: Any telescope can be polar aligned (depending upon the mount), including the ETX. Just adjust the tilt for your latitude. Also, check that when the ETX base and OTA (optical tube assembly) are level that the DEC scale shows 0 degrees. If not, loosen the knob holding the scale in place and rotate the scale until it reads exactly 0 degrees at the pointer.

Added later:

I found that the OTA was not level at 0 degrees, and the bubble level
on the field tripod is not correct!! I assumed the factor set my
instruments correctly.

Subject:	great
Sent:	Friday, October 1, 1999 19:56:18
From:	Jcurran2@aol.com
I have sold meade for the last 10 years (chriscamera.com) but your site
is wonderful just wanted to let you know. Jim

Subject:	 A little Meade bashing
Sent:	Friday, October 1, 1999 18:32:56
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I've had nothing but bad luck with my ETX 90s (I understand I'm not
necessarily alone) and even after upgrading to 1.3b, haven't had goto
success.  Usually, I'll check your site, then check meade's, and a few
others as part of my morning ritual, including seeing whether there's a
new version of autostar software.  I skimmed upon the customer support
statement, while re-reading the 125's delays over and over....the
support implied they cared about their customers....(i knew better) but
after getting anxious about my 3rd scope not working as advertised, i
sent them a fax outlining my history, asking for at least some idea
about the 125 delivery dates (so i can upgrade rather than just keep
exchanging 90s), etc.  Of course, there was no response.  So i sent it
again.  And again, no response.  I had been reading some of the NexStar
sites (none as good as yours mike, but they're trying!) and although the
NexStar has had a few problems (runaway slewing, particularly when using
an external power source), the users are relatively happy, and there
don't seem to be any goto issues.

Regardless, I find that I am unable to get any help from meade, and
their products (for me) have not worked as advertised.  I put a veiled
threat of a class action lawsuit in my fax, hoping that would at least
get a response (even if from the legendary Amy!) but unfortunately it
was business as usual at meade - no response.

I find that I'm most likely going to have to return my 90 (to the
chagrin of my local natural wonders) which I hate to do - the manager is
a nice guy, and although i'm sure this won't completely destroy his
profit/loss statement for the month, it won't help him any...natural
wonders doesn't sell celestron, so i can't even pay the difference to

Per those who have used the etx (90 or 125) and the NexStar, they say
the NexStar is much more substantial, much less slop in the motors, etc.
- and that choosing a NexStar over an ETX is a no-brainer.  Should I
make the jump (after giving my 90 one last shot this weekend, supposed
to be clear skies) I'll advise what happens next in this (poorly rated)
soap opera.  As one of your post-ers said in march or april, "I'm sure
this whole experience will make me a better person..."  Boo Hoo, I'd
rather be the same cruddy person with a working goto scope!

Warm regards,
Mike here: Sorry to hear about your experiences. Not everyone has problems with either the scope itself or the Autostar. Neither are perfect (nor is the NexStar) and users do have to understand the capabilities and usage of their purchases. If you are unhappy and Meade is not responding to your requests then go elsewhere. It's your money and time. On the other hand, last night I had an opportunity to experience the ETX-125EC and NexStar5 side-by-side. I'll be putting my report online in a few days.

Subject:	Check out Peoria Astronomical Society Frames Page
Sent:	Friday, October 1, 1999 15:17:05
From:	Chyraven@aol.com
Click here: Peoria Astronomical Society Frames Page (Keyword to:

This is an excellent site with lots of tips for beginners on up.  It has
helped me almost as much as your site has.


Subject:	 Broadband/Narrowband Filters
Sent:	Friday, October 1, 1999 08:10:22
From:	berg@ans.net (Kevin Berg)
Can anyone tell me whether a narrowband or broadband filter would be
best for observing nebula using the ETX/90-EC? I read that it depends on
the amount of light pollution in the area, using a narrowband for
greater light pollution, but how do either of these types of filters
perform with the ETX/90-EC? Is too much light cut out by these filters
to get the desired effect? If not, which is the best filter to purchase?


Mike here: Search the site for "narrowband" and "broadband" and you'll find lots of info about using these with the ETX.

Subject:	 Star test surprise on the ETX
Sent:	Friday, October 1, 1999 00:46:12
From:	grussell@odyssey.on.ca (Graham Russell)
A few months ago I bought an ETX 90EC and have been generally happy with
it. However, I initially experienced a couple problems which I
fortunately was able to resolve. I also made a couple alterations which
may have voided the warranty but have enhanced its utility.

When I first unpacked the scope and closely inspected it I noticed that
its secondary mirror baffle was placed slightly off central axis and
impinged the light path, causing a slight uneven vignetting of the field
when a 35 mm ocular was used. Very carefully applying pressure to the
baffle can shift it a fraction of an inch and bring the baffle to the
exact center of the meniscus and surround the aluminised spot perfectly.
The adhesive securing the baffle is a very viscous 'goo', allowing the
baffle to be moved slightly. The whole procedure nearly solved the
vignetting problem.

This procedure indirectly alerted me to another problem. Unlike Meade's
large SCT's, The miniscus lens cell is threaded and screws conveniently
onto and off of the tube. However, after I did the baffle adjustment
procedure I screwed the front lens assembly tightly onto the tube.  On a
night with steady seeing I did an in focus star test, and was dismayed
to find that a 3rd mag. star revealed several semi-circular arcs around
the airy disc (star), instead of the 2 or 3 concentric rings that should
be present in an ideal scope. I was considering returning my ETX to the
store when I had a (rare) spark of intuition. Why not rotate the
miniscus lens and see what effect rotation had on the in-focus star
image? I was very startled to find that loosening the front lens
assembly (anti-clockwise, facing the front of tube) 120 degrees or so
improved the in focus star image tremendously, and I later found out
that out of focus star images also improved. An hour of experimenting
showed that if the lens was screwed snug (not quite tight) and then
anticlockwise (loosened) not quite 1/4 turn (90 deg.) the telescope
created the best in and out of focus star patterns. Close examination of
Saturn at 220 power in good conditions revealed a slight improvement in
contrast but not in sharpness when the meniscus was adjusted to be
slightly loose. Although the meniscus may be a weak lens, it seems that
its figure is deformed slightly when it is mounted tightly.

I am now using the ETX finder as a paperweight, a task for which it is
better suited. The Rigel Quickfinder I added works beautifully. The
'N,S' switch on the bottom of the base which controls the motor
direction was always in the way of the tripod shoe and a constant
irritation. I took the base off in the way I would if I were changing
the batteries, and with diagonal cutting pliers snipped 1/4 inch off the
plastic pole of the switch so it no longer projected out of the metal
base.(how often do most people cross the equator anyway?) And since the
little AA batteries were always dying during the worst moments, I did a
1 hour surgical operation and removing the AA battery holders, installed
battery cases for the larger 'c' batteries. They seem to last ages, and
my ETX looks and works the same, but is only a few ounces heavier.

Subject:	 Public Apology to Sky & Telescope Magazine
Sent:	Thursday, September 30, 1999 23:15:50
From:	wgats@gunnison.com (Wayne Gatschet)
I offer here to all and especially to Sky & Telescope Magazine, my
public apology for sending you the messages S&T sent to me in regard to
their review of the Meade ETX-125EC. Although nothing in them indicated
that they were for private use, I was sternly informed that they were
PRIVATE, and not to be posted, and that in the future the S&T
representative will no longer respond to my e-mail. If I had know or
they had indicated, they were not for public viewing, I would not have
passed them on. My only intent in passing them on was to help the fellow
ETX fans get past much of the confusion, (perhaps over-reaction) the S&T
article prompted. I found S&T response to my e-mail's to them, very
helpful to me in clarifying what their article was saying. I thought
their e-mail's and the info they provided would be of great help to them
and to all ETX fan's in making things a little clearer. My deepest and
sincere apology to SKY & TELESCOPE and to all reader's of this site for
this misunderstanding!

Wayne Gatschet
Mike here: I'm sorry that this happened. Serves as a reminder to all of us to always clear forwarded or included email messages with the original writer before passing it along to others.

Feedback Archives

Check the Feedback Archives for previous editions of the Feedback page.

Return to the top of this page.

Go to the ETX Home Page.

Copyright © 1999 Michael L. Weasner / etx@me.com
Submittals are Copyright © 1999 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/etx/archive/feedbackOct.html