ETX USER FEEDBACK - 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.
Subject: hi Sent: Saturday, October 30, 1999 19:43:27 From: email@example.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: www.meade.com/gallery/index.html. 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 walter ===================================================================== This message came to you from Walter T. Morales firstname.lastname@example.org http://psg.com/~walter 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: http://www.vivabrazil.com call my toll-free phone number or send a fax to: 1-888-Excite2 extension 291-303-4630 IF THIS IS A SOUND MESSAGE GO GET/SE ESTA FOR UMA MENSAGEM COM VOZ PEGUE: http://www.eudora.com/eudorapro/purevoice.html Favor use este servico para publicar os eventos Brasileiros em sua regiao http://www.briefcase.com/visto/groups/vivabrazil.wmorales&grouppw=vivabrazilMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (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 position? 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 John A. Hanover Chief, Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry and Biology NIDDK National Institutes of Health Bldg 8 Rm 402 8 Center Dr MSC 0850 NIH Bethesda MD 20892-0850 Ph: (301) 496-0943 FAX : (301) 496-9431 e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.niddk.nih.gov/intram/people/jhanover.htmMike 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: email@example.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! -toddMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com www.birstwith.demon.co.uk "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 price. - 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 www.OmahaAstro.com
Subject: My web site. Sent: Thursday, October 28, 1999 09:54:40 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: www.emmgraphics.com/pilot Thanks, -jim berry
Subject: focus problem Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 21:49:48 From: email@example.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 why.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 inspiration. Dewain email@example.com
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. Thanks, JohnMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 turbulence. 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, Kev. - - - - - 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: email@example.com Some day I'll write a short scentence.
Subject: etx90 model m Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 22:13:50 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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... Gary
Subject: A meade question Sent: Monday, October 25, 1999 22:02:56 From: email@example.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. Regards, Terry StuartMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 SilverMike 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: email@example.com (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. Thanks, JK SaggeseMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 JacksonMike 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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 f/13.8 Thank you for any information you can provide. DianneMike 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: email@example.com (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: cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=186955467 Thanks in advance. - Rob DeMillo
Subject: Sent: Friday, October 22, 1999 22:52:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (albaugh) is there an off axis guider that will fit etxMike 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: email@example.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 scopes??? 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).
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 scopes. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks, Ken Schmidt Cleveland,Ohio -- Kenneth Schmidt /| ^ email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks! John McDowell email@example.comMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 time,,,thanks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Subject: just one of the great unwashed supporters of weasner's ETX site... Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 22:49:08 From: email@example.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 Email). *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, seattleAdded 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com
Subject: tripod mod-collapse prevention Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 10:58:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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: email@example.com (Ron McCafferty) I want to thank you for your hard work on Weasner's Mighty ETX site. Thanks, 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. TTFN
Subject: comparison aftermath Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 22:38:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, PaulMike 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, Wayne
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&ditteMike 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: email@example.com Mike, Regarding your first editorial... Bravo. 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. Thanks, David KMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 FaciolaMike 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: email@example.com (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 thanks! Very truly yours, Gary Garland
Subject: Your Editorial Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 10:33:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org.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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: The Comedy Channel presents Scope Reviews! Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 11:36:20 From: email@example.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? Thanks, Ed Flaspoehler, Vice President American Association of Amateur Astronomers http://www.corvus.comMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Thanks George Hodges email@example.com or Http://airnet.net/redwood
Subject: Disappointing... Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 08:51:09 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 opinion. 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. Tim
Subject: altitude Sent: Sunday, October 17, 1999 03:02:10 From: email@example.com (todd) ive got the latitude and longitude, any idea where i can get the altitude where i reside(for my software)? -todd new to ETXMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 NakataMike 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: email@example.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 TELESCOPE,ASTRONOMICAL MATERIALS,BOOKS AND/OR CD-ROMs ,IMAGES ETC.I need 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 : firstname.lastname@example.org Phone : 0098-831-722444 Fax : 0098-831-760863 ===== __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com ----------------------- Headers -------------------------------- Return-Path: <email@example.com> Received: from rly-yb01.mx.aol.com (rly-yb01.mail.aol.com [172.18.146.1]) 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 [220.127.116.11]) by rly-yb01.mx.aol.com (v62.10) with ESMTP; Sat, 16 Oct 1999 07:01:41 -0400 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Received: from [18.104.22.168] 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 <email@example.com> Subject: "SOS" Sirius ASK asks ! To: firstname.lastname@example.org MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-asciiMike 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: email@example.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. Thanks, S. GoldbergerMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org Interstellar Medium
Subject: Meade ETX Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 04:53:06 From: email@example.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. Greetings, Yigal Herstein (The Netherlands) firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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: email@example.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 410/741-1917 fax 410/741-9508 firstname.lastname@example.org (main email) email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. -todd
Subject: Questions Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 23:04:57 From: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Interstellar MediumMike 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: email@example.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 www.macworld.com/getinfo) --dick
Subject: Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 1999 16:40:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? -todd 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: email@example.com 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. thanks DanMike 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 http://pobox.com/~rpb/finder.html 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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, TexasMike 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: email@example.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 it. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.frostydrew.orgAdded 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: http://etx.brainiac.com/ and http://www.frostydrew.org/ Thanks!
Subject: National Geographic October 99 Sent: Monday, October 11, 1999 09:12:22 From: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. Wombat
Subject: Where's the serial number? Sent: Sunday, October 10, 1999 11:56:49 From: email@example.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 ). thanks, Jim BresnahanMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 Thanks 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: email@example.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! Tim
Subject: Sky report Sent: Friday, October 8, 1999 18:32:30 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 range. 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 email@example.com
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 (www.imagen.net/mm/index.html)?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 JeremyMike 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.
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 whatsoever.
Subject: long astrophoto exposure times and ETX mount Sent: Friday, October 8, 1999 13:54:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? ThanksMike 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: email@example.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. -- Regards, Steadman Watson email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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: email@example.com (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. RoyMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Thanks, David KMike 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: email@example.com (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. RoyMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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. JoeMike 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: email@example.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 telescope. 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. Regards, Mike -- Michael R. Conatore K7NT firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.comMike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some suggestions.
Subject: Great Astronomical Sites Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 07:08:21 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Monty Lee) Two great astronomical sites WebStars URL: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/www_info/webstars.html 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 Astrobiology The Nine Planets URL: seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/nineplanets/nineplanets.html 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 program. Monty http://www.TheLeeFamily.org
Subject: I Enjoy Your Site Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 01:58:28 From: email@example.com (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). LewisMike 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 TorgersonMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 work. ~NoahMike 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: email@example.com (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. Thanks, RFMike 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sandra Krefeld) Where do feel the Best place to buy and have shipped a FIRST QUALITY ETX-90R/A telescope. Thanks -todd Flint, MIMike 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: email@example.com (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? Thanks Edgar ()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()() E.A.R. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.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. firstname.lastname@example.orgMike 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.
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: email@example.com (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 upgrade! 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, GaryMike 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: www.astronomical.org/framemain.htm This is an excellent site with lots of tips for beginners on up. It has helped me almost as much as your site has. Thanks Cheryl
Subject: Broadband/Narrowband Filters Sent: Friday, October 1, 1999 08:10:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (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? Thx, KMBMike 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: email@example.com (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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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! Sincerely, Wayne GatschetMike 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.
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