Last updated: 29 September 2000

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature and specific items applicable to the original ETX model (now known as the ETX-90RA). Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. 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:	 new website launched  : www.astrosurf.com/lombry
Sent:	Friday, September 29, 2000 07:09:10
From:	lombry@excite.com (Thierry Lombry)
Hi everybody,

Good news, my astronomy website is freshly opened for the week-end !


This is a nonprofit website devoted to amateur astronomy in wich most of
you (and many others as you will see) have participated by sending me
pictures, comments or have accepted I publish your worksarts to
illustrate some pages.

Currently Luxorion, such is the title of this website, is optimized for
MS-Explorer and 17" display, so sorry for netscape users and Apple ones
who can encounter some trouble...

Being given the site is very young -a few hours old-, do no hesitate to
send me your commentaries (good or bad) about its display, dead links,
errors, and suggestions to improve its ergonomy knowing I'm not a

Of course the site will be "under construction" - or better, updated -
for a long time as they are still many pages and pictures to insert in
the research and educational pages. So come back regularly and check the
"news" column to know what changed since your last connexion.

Feel free to speak about my site around you and share the material with
others while there is no copyright on it...

Next subjects will be completed (illustrated mainly) in the nexts weeks
: bioastronomie (in french), meteors study, variable star, sun study and
Compendium du systeme solaire (in french too).

Next subjects will be integrated in the future (few months) :
astrophysique, relativite, physique quantique, and more.

Of course any help to translate french pages in english is welcome...

I hope you will find this website useful.

Thierry LOMBRY
Roeser, Luxembourg
Mike here: I didn't have any problem with my Macintosh G4/450 with Netscape 4.7.

Subject:	 daisy red dot
Sent:	Thursday, September 28, 2000 05:15:57
From:	afrisina@yahoo.com (Tony Frisina)
I found a different daisy red dot scope called a MAX VIEW at KMART for
$13.95. It is larger with a bigger apature than the other one. It also
has a pot built in for turn on and brightness adjustment. Not sure if
there is the same coating on the lens. I don't want to mess with the
lens if it's not necessary. Don't understand how you can successfully
center the dot at night as the cross hairs are not visible. Moving your
head moves the dot quite a bit. Perhaps this is a case of bigger IS NOT
better !! Will try mounting it on my ETX90 and let you know..

Subject:	 Tweaking SAC images
Sent:	Thursday, September 28, 2000 00:35:47
From:	soehnk@cableregina.com (soehnk)
Visit your site almost daily.  Am thinking of purchasing my first 
telescope and Meade looks good.  Your website has a lot of very useful 
info and comments by other ETX owners.  As I am a Mac user at home and at 
work, I especially like your webpage showing the iBook connected to the 

As I was looking at the moon images that you captured with the SAC IV, I 
decided to see if I could tweak one of them using my graphics program 
Canvas 7.  How I processed the attached image is that I first converted 
the RGB channels to grayscale channels, discarded the blue and green 
channels of the image, adjusted the brightness curve and added a bit of 
unsharp mask.  Hope you like.

From clear skies Regina, Saskatchewan,

Keith Soehn
SAC CCD image
Mike here: Good job improving the photo. Just shows what a little extra time spent doing some digital editing can accomplish.

Subject:	 EXT Tutorial
Sent:	Wednesday, September 27, 2000 16:22:45
From:	gdial@lausd.k12.ca.us (gdial)
Help! My is GUY and I just purchase the EXT 90 from ScopeCity. The
salesman turn me onto your web site and it's great. However I'm having
trouble lauching the tutorial ( ext01N.exe.) I'm using netscape and
netzip classic.When I double click ext01N.exe the program lauches the
EXT screen that says can not find Xtra.

Please help me this is my first telescope and I'm being cautious about


Mike here: First report of this problem but since I recently changed server hosts it could have gotten corrupted. But I asked one of the PC ETX users to try it out and he reports it works fine on his Windows95 system. Anything else you can add to the problem?

Subject:	 Camera recommendation
Sent:	Wednesday, September 27, 2000 15:46:03
From:	rmarchionna@voyager.net (Ray Marchionna)
Chris asked for a camera to use for astrophotography. Recently I
purchased a used Olympus OM-1 from http://www.keh.com that has
drastically improved my success. I also bought a new focus screen for it
from Orion, that really helps. The best feature of the OM-1 is the
mirror lockup, it stops the assembly from shaking when you release the

Good luck


Subject:	 books?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 27, 2000 10:41:22
From:	mvgazy@hotmail.com (gfjyhgkjjg l,klnkjh)
Can someone recomend a good beginner book for astrophotography? Do
someone know if "astrophotography for the amateur" - by Michael A.
Covington or "Practical astrophotography" - by Jeffrey R. Charles is any
god for the novice (Thats me...)?

Hope someone can help , Christian
Mike here: If you haven't already, check the Book Reviews page.

Subject:	 Olympus OM-1 series of cameras
Sent:	Wednesday, September 27, 2000 09:05:47
From:	rmoore5@ix.netcom.com (Rob Moore)
I'd recommend the Olympus OM-1 (OM-2 etc) Series of cameras.  They're
frequently on Ebay for $75-$175 depending on condition and also can be
found in used Camera stores.  T-rings are readily available, and it's a
small, light, camera with a mechanical shutter that seems to be favored
by the Astrophotography crowd.


Subject:	 Stuck RA -strip
Sent:	Wednesday, September 27, 2000 08:16:00
From:	seppo_pietikainen@hp.com (Seppo Pietikšinen)
Up here in the North you don't get to do much stargazing during the
summer months.

(Still , a *wonderful* photogrphic tool during summers!)

So, now that the skies are again getting darker I'd like to point my
ETX-90 at certain coordinates at the sky. Unfortunately, I found out
that the RA-strip is completely stuck! I don't want to use any more
force to try to unstick the damn thing than absolutely necessary. So,
right now I'm stuck with a stuck RA-strip.

(I *suspect* spruce-juice..., with major doubts, though. I tend to be
rather careful with my ETX).

I haven't tried any solvents yet, and I try not to use any, until I know
what to expect.

I'd be *most* grateful of any pointers you, or anyone could provide me
to get me out of this predicament!

Thanks for a great site!

Best regards and all that
Seppo P.

|Seppo Pietikainen  e-mail:    seppo_pietikainen@hp.com
|HP-Consulting                  Telephone: 358-9-88722537
|Hewlett-Packard Oyj            Switch:    358-9-88721
|Piispankalliontie 7            Assistant: 358-9-88722530
|02200 ESPOO                    TELNET:    872-2537
|FINLAND                        Fax:       358-9-8872277
Mike here: Somewhere way back in the archives I recall someone reporting that they used a pencil eraser to push on the strip. That was able to free it up. The RA strip is just a flat ribbon that normally has its ends glued together. Try just working it back and forth from several locations around the base.

Subject:	 ETX Site
Sent:	Wednesday, September 27, 2000 05:34:09
From:	OSullivan_Des@emc.com
Greetings from Ireland. I have just found your ETX site and WOW! It is a
fantasic source. I have just purchased an ETX-125EC and am an absolute
beginner, but am very keen to learn. I am reading a lot right now to
learn the key points and have yet to power it up! Maybe tonight!

What I have bought is the the scope itself, the 45 degree erecting
prism, the darkest moon filter, the autostar controller, the meade delux
tripod and the hard carry case.

From where I am right now i.e. absolute beginner, what do you think
would be the next pieces to add once I get up an running? Barlow lens?
Other specific eye-pieces? Any advice would be welcome and thanks again
for your brilliant site.

Mike here: Check the Buyer/New User Tips page for some comments on what accessories to consider.

Subject:	 please help
Sent:	Tuesday, September 26, 2000 13:00:42
From:	bryan@thomas-sign.com (Bryan Warner)
i own a etx 125, ive read all your stuff on your web page, it helped me
a great deal in making my decisson to buy a new telescope, thanks

i need to know what to buy for photography, day and night using a
standard 35mm camera

i would like to be able to change the mag if possible, the t adapter, i
dont think will do that

please help

bryan warner
st. pete , fl
Mike here: See the Accessories - Astrophotography page for what you'll need.

Subject:	 Answering Kyaw's questions about adapting a Nikon Coolpix to scope use
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2000 15:33:47
From:	rmoore5@ix.netcom.com (Rob Moore)
This is easily solved, see the www.photosolve.com url for many specific
adapters (For Olympus and others too...).  You might also take a look at
http://www.ckcpower.com/ for lenses and other add-ons and
bhphotovideo.com for many other optical filters, lenses,
telescopes etc.


Subject:	 Camera
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2000 12:31:16
From:	mvgazy@hotmail.com (gfjyhgkjjg l,klnkjh)
Can someone recomande a camera for astro photography? I realy like to
start this new "hobby" , but there`s no "good old" cameras out in the
stores any more - they all got automatic functions and no manual

Please help me...Chris
Mike here: Many camera stores sell used/refurbished cameras that have manual settings and a removable lens. I use a Pentax Spotmatic (purchased in 1968) for film astrophotography.

Subject:	 Astrophotography with the Meade ETX-125-EC?
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2000 10:39:13
From:	Rtayloe@Phelpsd.com (Tayloe, Robert)
Hello, just bought a Meade ETX-125EC from a shop that had 'em on sale.
Spur of the moment buy, altho' I've been desiring a scope for years...
Anyhows, was -not- aware, according to the manual, that I will not be
able to do any astrophotography with this scope, or can I???  CCD???  I
am an amateur photographer [used to have my own darkroom...], and would
love to shoot photos of deep space, not just the planets. Advice?  Since
this Meade has a f/15, just too 'slow' for regular film?  But, can this
scope be adapted for CCD? If so, what is involved, how much? Thanks MUCH
for any and all help.

Mike here: Well, almost any telescope can be used for some types of astrophotography (film and CCD), just not necessarily long duration (hours) exposures. Browse through the Gallery pages on my ETX site and you will see many examples of what you can do with the ETX. Then check out the Accessories - Astrophotography page.

Subject:	 re:astrophotography
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2000 09:23:00
From:	Goodshot@email.msn.com (goodshot)
This is a letter in response to Kyaw Naing in user's feedback. I do
astrophotography with Canon S-10 and I also know that some Nikon CP
950/990 owners do astrophotography with a great success. Go to
dpreview,the world's most popular digital camera site.


In there,you'll find forums and click on Nikon forum. Type in "ETX" or
"astrophotography" in the search box and you'll find many threads
regarding to that subject posted in the past.

Tom at ckcpower.com has just finished the project of universal telescope
adapter and that the prototype is coming this week. I'm sure it'll work
with my camera Canon S-10 and Nikon CP 950/990. So, check his site later
on this week. As son as it became available, I'll buy it.

Best Rgards,
Hide Takahashi

Subject:	Re: Astrophotography using ETX-90EC and Nikon Coolpix 990
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2000 08:26:35
From:	Naingk@aol.com
Thanks for helping me out!  By the way, from your website, I was able to
contact Scopetronix.com and got helpful technical assitance from Mr.
Blessing.  He is recommending threaded adapter (RNG 28) and eyepiece
projection camera adapter (CAM1) for my Nikon Coolpix 990. I would like
to order those items but would like to find out first from ETX 90EC
users about their experience with it.  Truely enjoy visitng your web
site for evrything about ETX!
K. Naing

Subject:	 focal reducer
Sent:	Monday, September 25, 2000 04:36:11
From:	xrr@altern.org (xrr)
Back for some help again :-)

I'd like to buy a focal reducer for an ETX 90. It seems that none exist for 
ETX models but only for scopes with a 2" thread...
I Think that I have three options :
* Buy a 2" thread Adapter (I saw one sold at shutan) and a 2" focal reducer 
(Meade has a f/3.3 and a f/6.3)...
* Buy the Wide Field Adapter from shutan you've been reviewing...
* Make a home made reducer with the etx finder as seen here 

I don't know much in optics (Well... "nothing" would be more accurate) so 
I'm just wondering :
Is there any technical impossibility with the f/3.3 or f/6.3 reducer ?
I've heard that the central obstruction could become apparent if the focal 
is too reduced ?

What are the difference in the optical design between the WFA and a reducer 
? Would the result be the same ?
I guess that the first solution would be for photography or ccd imaging 
only and that the WFA from shutan would also allow visual usage.

Thanks for your help,

Mike here: Yes, the central obstruction can become visible if you reduce too much. I can just notice it with the Wide Field Adapter when used with the Scopetronix 40mm eyepiece. A wide field adapter is just that; it increases the field, and reducing the focal length. A focal reducer does not necessarily have to widen the field. There may be other differences as well.

Subject:	 Various
Sent:	Sunday, September 24, 2000 14:49:21
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty Jr)
I just discovered battery corrosion in my ETX.  I've taken the bottom
unit apart and am starting the cleanup process.  Do you or readers of
the site have a recommendation on how to effectively clean up the
corrosion so it doesn't return?

I just got back from a camping trip where Sagitarious was in perfectly
located for easy viewing.  It was wonderful.  The ring nebula and
dumbell nebula still elude me.  I'm confident I'm looking in the right
part of the sky.  How dark does it have to be to see those objects? 
Does anyone have any tips?

Ron McCafferty
Mike here: There was a report of corrosion from a batch of bad batteries (I forget the brand name) on the ETX Mailing List a couple of months ago. I've never tried to clean it up such corrosion (never had it myself). I'll post your message on the next site update. As for the Ring Nebula, you can see it but will need reasonably dark skies. Until you know that you can see it, use the 26mm eyepiece.Ć

Subject:	 Problems with new eyepiece (9.7mm Super Plossl)
Sent:	Sunday, September 24, 2000 14:08:36
From:	wiener-y@inter.net.il (Wiener)

I have just bought a new meade 9.7mm eyepiece during my last summer
vacation in the US. When I came back home and tried it I have found that
the eyepiece does not fit into the ETX (the diameter is a bit (fractions
of millimeters) too big). If I change the metal base with the one
supplied with the 26mm eyepiece it fits well. Have you encountered the
same problem before ?
Thanks in advance,

Yair Wiener
Mike here: I believe there was a similar report sometime back. I think the problem was found to be a small metal burr on the eyepiece case. If the eyepiece is a 1.25" eyepiece, then it should fit.

Subject:	 just a question.....
Sent:	Sunday, September 24, 2000 09:24:07
From:	luca@toth.it (Luca)
I recently bought myself an ETX90/EC and I need some help regarding
Astrophotography- I live in the city uf Turin, Northern Italy, but I
also have another house in the mountains (Italy) and I have the chances
of taking some really cool photos up there because there are so many
stars that it's actually hard to find a black spot!!!

I have to decide whether i should get the standard T-Adapter or the
Basic Camera Adapter-

1: If I use the T-Adapter, I don't know what zooming range I have in the
telescope, other than it's own-! Is there something you can add to
increase magnification?

2: Instead, if I use the Basic Adapter, I could use the 9.7 Viewfinder
and take pictures of Saturn (Or any other planet) using the 129X
Magnification!!! That should be nice!

What would you suggest? I use Nikon (F90X) and Minolta (7XI) cameras,
both fully automatic.

Thanx for you suggestions, and keep up the great work on your site,
which I visit daily!!!!!

Mike here: Using the Basic Camera Adapter allows you to do eyepiece projection. However, you'll have to work at getting really good results and typically with the ETX-90 models you'll only get good eyepiece projection photos on bright objects (short exposures). Putting the ETX at prime focus you get one magnification (like having a 1250mm telephoto lens on your camera). Finally, using automatic cameras will be a challenge as well. It can be done but having full control over the exposure is best.

Subject:	 True North...
Sent:	Saturday, September 23, 2000 22:36:02
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	polulach@mixcom.com

I saw your question on Mike's site, and thought i'd toss in a note.
Make that two notes. Three..  Four... (will i ever shut up?)

(0) reply with your address.  If i have the data, i'll return your
 magnetic variation, and you can go from there with a compass.
  Simply the City is enough (it doesn't change -that- rapidly)

(1) ask around...any private or commercial pilot can tell you
 your magnetic variation... (and give you a map) 
  it's on all aviation VFR charts.  It's published in their books.
  Call any local airport or "learn-to-fly" operation.

(2) Since today is -very- near the Equinox... if you have a clear 
eastern or western horizon, make careful note of where the sun 
sets/rises.  That's (pretty much) due east/west.  North is 90 
degrees (6 hours on the ETX base scale) from there.  Done.

(3) You can use your Autostar and ETX to "backwardsly" locate true
    north.  I frequently do this when out in the woods.

It -does- require that you know enough of the sky to locate one 
brightish star, preferably at least half-way down towards the east
or west horizon. (for maximum effect on precision)

I'm assuming an Alt/Az mounting, not polar, with an Autostar.

Set the ETX up on a LEVEL surface (within a degree of level).
Point the "control panel" pretty much west. (plus or minus a 
few degrees won't hurt). 
Level the barrel (i use a short carpender's level)
Tighten (not too hard!) the clamps.

Locate the star you're going to use (by eye and/or star chart).  
Arcturus is fairly low in the west after sunset, 
Capella is rising near Cassiopia, Altair's a little southwest
 of overhead (that's Deneb and Vega straight overhead.. they won't do)
Antares may be available (i'm too far north in Seattle)

Turn on the Autostar/ETX... tell it the date, time, answer Daylight.
Under "Align", use the scroll down key (lower rightmost key) to 
 see "One Star".  You'll be given a star's name.  Use the scroll
 up/down keys to locate the chosen-bright-star.  (Altair?).
Press [enter].  The scope will slew to near that star (we hope).
Now... simply grab the entire base of the ETX and rotate it to get
the barrel in line (base-rotate-wise) with that star.
 Don't unclamp anything.
Now use the slew up/down keys to aim the barrel -at- the star.
Press [enter].
The ETX sould report "align successful".

Now: under Object, choose Star.  Choose Named.  Choose Polaris.
press [goto].  The ETX will now point exceedingly close to due north.

At this point, i usually lower the barrel and see what local landmark
appears in the eyepiece.
I note that target.  It's due/true north.

On following nights, i first aim -there- (by unclamping, before
power-up).  That -really- gets you rolling with a good "home" position.

have fun

Subject:	 got a solar filter? (silly question)
Sent:	Saturday, September 23, 2000 21:55:13
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Git yer butt outside and look... 
there's a HUGE sunspot cluster (reportedly the largest of the
current cycle) dead center (saturday).

Easy Naked-eye object thru the filter.  It's BIG.

--dick (ol' spotty)
Mike here: Solar filters do add enjoyment to using a telescope. Of course, good weather helps; it has been cloudy where I live since I took the photo on 20 September.

Subject:	Astrophotography using ETX-90EC and Nikon Coolpix 990
Sent:	Saturday, September 23, 2000 18:26:23
From:	Naingk@aol.com
After waiting patiently for 2 years I finally purchased a Nikon Coolpix
990 digital camera with the main purpose of doing some astrophotography
using ETX-90EC. I would like any technical advice from ETX-90EC owners
who are already doing astrophotography using (specifically) nikon
coolpix 990.  I would like to know how to setup the coolpix on the ETX
and also what accessories I should purchase for astrophotography.  Any
technical advice regarding coolpix 990 setting will also be helpful for
Kyaw Naing

Subject:	 Shutan Wide Field Adaptor
Sent:	Friday, September 22, 2000 02:38:24
From:	berjac@southwest.com.au (Bert Denovan)
G'day Mike,
Last June you told me that the diagonal prism on the rear of your ETX in
the photograph was a Shutan Wide Field Adaptor.  Since then we have had
nothing but cloudy skies here in Western Australia so the ETX has had
almost no use.  At the moment, now that we get the odd clear night, I
have put on the 45 Deg. erecting prism, but understand that this will
not provide the clarity of a normal diagonal prism, as on my 8" LX50.
The ETX belongs to my vertically challenged wife. No-one in Perth (the
most isolated City on Earth), has this Shutan, so I contacted a retailer
in Sydney who had never heard of the adaptor but knows of Shutan as
being a company in the USA. Before I go blundering into something that I
do not know enough about, could you tell me if the adaptor is anything
else than a diagonal prism to adapt for use on the ETX or, as the name
implies is there more to it?

Is there a great deal of difference in the WFA and the erecting prism?
What is the advantage, if any of using the WFA? I have to be careful
about buying anything from overseas especially the USA because of the
abysmal rate of exchange for the A$.  When I bought the ETX in April,
and the exchange rate was not too bad, it cost A$1800 with the Autostar.
Yet I see that it is less than US$700 in the USA. Now I shudder to
think what it would cost! Do you or any of your contributors know of a
cheaper alternative to give me a 'normal' diagonal prism for the ETX?
Incidentally I have used the tip from one of your contributors and cut
the finderscope holder and inserted the 6x30 finderscope that came with
the LX50.  (I now have the 8x50 for the LX50 and love it)!
Thanks for the tip, mate!
See ya later.
Bert Denovan
Mike here: The 45 degree erecting prism does not appreciably change the focal length of the ETX whereas the Wide Field Adapter does (it reduces the focal length).

Added later:

Thanks Mike.  I will think about this later as the weather has closed in

Subject:	 ETX Depression
Sent:	Friday, September 22, 2000 00:25:01
From:	hemphill1@home.com (Kevin Hemphill)
I have been following your webpage for about 8-9 months now and I
finally have to write to ask a question.  I received an ETX125 for
Christmas from my wife and have since went out and bought a Meade
carrier, tripod, auto-focuser and a multitude of EP's.  My question is
the setup has begun to be a chore.  I no longer treasure those few times
that my family asks to go skysurfing.

The trouble is this.

1.  I can't seem to keep the viewfinder in alignment with the scope.
putting the scope in the packing foam seems to jar the viewfinder
thereby increasing the difficulty in Polar alignment (and setup time).

2.  The viewfinder fell apart the last time I took the scope to a dark
site. Now I am afraid to even touch it especially since the lens hit the
ground bare.  Some say to just superglue it back together, others say
NEVER... the fumes from the glue would ruin the lens.

3.  I dropped my golf clubs on the tripod and it just isn't as stable as
it once was

I noticed that you use a plate and EQ mode.  Do you recommend these??
How about the vibration dampers and tripod leg stiffeners? As far as the
broken viewfinder should I glue it back together or attempt to get Meade
to repair?

I am considering upgrading to LX-200 for simpler setup and accuracy but
my experience with Meade product has me thinking maybe I should consider
another manufacturer?

Anyway what do you think?

Mike here: Has anyone ever said you were "accident prone"? But seriously, sometimes you have to be careful with precision instruments and sometimes things will just get messed up. Many telescopes will have a problem with finderscope alignment when placed inside a case. There are ways around this (like cutting out the area in the foam where the finderscope sits). You can glue the dropped finderscope back together but outgassing is a possibility. A better solution might be to just replace it. One suggestion for everyone is to "preflight" your equipment before moving it to insure that all items are secure. Things can get unscrewed or lose over time. As to dropping something on the tripod and then noting that it is not as stable as before, did I ask you about being accident prone? I have used plates in both equatorial mode and alt/az. They work to help stability but not on a damaged tripod. Same for vibration suppression pads.

Subject:	 TRUE NORTH
Sent:	Thursday, September 21, 2000 21:09:43
From:	polulach@mixcom.com (Linda & John Polulach)
What is the easiest or best way to determine true north?
Mike here: Well, depending upon your location there may be one or more best ways. If you have an accurate street map (and live on a street that is marked), most maps have true north at the top. You can then line up your telescope parallel to the street; may not be precise but close. If you can see Polaris at night, you can obviously use that. If neither of these work for you, you can use a magnetic compass but you'll need to know your local "magnetic variation", which is the difference between magnetic north and true north. This can be determined by calling your local library or airport or from some web sites (see the Astronomy Links page).

Subject:	 focus problems
Sent:	Thursday, September 21, 2000 09:53:08
From:	afrisina@yahoo.com (Tony Frisina)
Hi and thanks for a really great website !
I have just received my etx 90ec and have only done some basic stuff
(like learning what it's all about) I did the alignment thing on a
telephone pole about 3/4 mile away and have to pull the eyepiece out
till it's almost past the set screw. Also I got an erect image prism and
cannot get the eyepiece to focus on the pole. Is there any kind of
extension for the eyepiece?
Added later:
Know that saying about real men don't read directions (or ask for them)?
Well, I read my manual a bit more carefully and lo and behold, there was
the focus Knob !!! Thanks anyway. I'm sure you will be hearing from me
again !!

Subject:	 etx 70 or 90
Sent:	Wednesday, September 20, 2000 17:09:56
From:	mew180@psu.edu (Marcus)
Hey Mike, you have a great website. I had a question for you. I have an
8" LX50 and I would like to purchase a portable scope too, for dragging
up to college and taking on trips. I am deciding between the ETX70AT and
the ETX90EC....is the 90 really worth the extra $250?? As far as i can
tell they are about the same size and weight...the only real difference
is aperture(and autostar). So is the aperture difference really all that
significant?? I am leaning towards the 70, but i don't want to regret
not getting the 90 a year down the road, know what I mean??

Thanks for your help.

Marcus Windrich
Mike here: See my brief comparison of the ETX-70AT and ETX-90EC online at: etx-nexstar.html

Subject:	 Meade Etx 90 or 125 EC.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 19, 2000 14:40:21
From:	Neil.Profitt@btinternet.com (Neil Profitt)
I have been given your site by a Gentleman in a newsgroup who said "It
was the only place to go" as regards to the Meade scopes...

And I must say what a truly Awesome site...   It needs people like
yourself to spread the Word about this fascinating Hobby..

I live in the U.K. , and have only just started taking up Astronomy, and
I am Looking at purchasing a Meade ETX (or equivalent), but I am unsure
as to whether It is worth paying out the extra money for the 125 as
everyone seems to say the 90 is more than enough for a beginner. The
thing is that I dont want to purchase the ETX90 and then In a few months
time feel deep regret that I didnt purchase the 125.

I have enough money to just about purchase a 125, or a 90 with some
additional equipment.......

Please can I Tap your Infinite wisdom on this subject, and have you
guide me in the Right direction.....

Thanks very much for any advise that you can give me....

Neil Profitt

Mike here: As to which is better for your needs, that depends upon how you intend to use the scope and what your expectations are. Yes, the larger aperture of the ETX-125EC will allow you to see fainter objects, more details, and use higher magnifications than with the ETX-90EC. On the other hand, many users prefer the greater portability of the smaller scope. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Subject:	 Asteroid Detection & Tracking
Sent:	Tuesday, September 19, 2000 07:17:08
From:	cmarino@erols.com (Charles Marino)
Love the site.

I'm retiring shortly and am planning to take my photography hobby and
turn it full time towards the skys - specifically asteroid detection &

Which of the ETX models would you recommend for this kind of work? Also,
if you can recommend or have heard of others using specific CCD or
computer mapping/tracking devices, please feel free to pass the info on.
I'm outfitting from skratch & money is no object.

Mike here: All the info you seek is probably on the site. Feel free to use the search page to locate lots of info. As to which ETX model is best for photography, that would be the -125. HOWEVER, you need to ask yourself if the ETX is the best model for your purposes. You may to consider something like the LX200 series from Meade or a comparable high-end model from Celestron.

Subject:	 Power fluctuations with standard controller
Sent:	Monday, September 18, 2000 19:06:12
From:	storm@visi.net (Doug & Patty)
Chris Davis on Sept. 12th noted erratic behavior of the ETX90 EC using
the standard hand held controller.  I've noticed that as the batteries
begin to run down (and not by much) all sorts of weird things happen. 
Seems the ETX can be pretty picky about a slight drop in voltage.  New
batteries cure the problems.

One other note on Polar alignment -- Maybe I'm just slower than everyone
else, but using the setting circles to find objects without compensating
for magnetic deviation in your area will drive you insane!  I realize
now that when everyone says "true north" that is what they are talking
about, but it took me 3 months to realize it!  For my area I have to add
10 degrees to compass north!

Great site!  I really appreciate your work!

Subject:	 qv-10
Sent:	Monday, September 18, 2000 11:26:30
From:	gazcrisp@trackside.co.uk (gazcrisp@freenetname.co.uk)
just loged on to your site and was wondering if you could help me as I
am after a gadget to use the casio Qv-10 on my ETX125 scopes any idea
where I can get such an adaptor


Gary also www.trackside.co.uk 
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Astrophotography page; the "Digital Camera Adapter" from Scopetronix adapter will probably work bet for the QV-10.

Subject:	 New Meade w/ Autostar
Sent:	Thursday, September 14, 2000 20:14:22
From:	lfk@ecentral.com (Lawrence King)
Mike, you will know what I am talking about, but I understand there will
be (or is?) a new "bigger still" autostar controlled scope for about
$1899. Will you post info about this on your site or will this be
considered offtopic?

By the way, I am just now using my ETX after 6 months of skylearning and
intimidation.  I go to your site first for everything (today, it was:;
how the hell do I use the Rigel Quickfinder I just bought? and sure
enough tons of info). THANKS, your efforts are SO appreciated.  Indeed,
your site was about 60% of the reason I chose the Meade product over

E-mail:  lfk@ecentral.com
Mike here: Regarding the larger Autostar GOTO telescope, yes, there is one. LX90 8-inch for $1,699.95. Details on Meade's web site (www.meade.com/catalog/lx90/index.html).

Subject:	 help with taking pictures
Sent:	Wednesday, September 13, 2000 06:48:02
From:	rlj1266@email.msn.com (rjlohn1266)
My son is trying to take pictures of the moon with his Minolta 35 camera
and our Meade telescope.  We can't get the shutter to move enabling us
to take any pictures!  Can you offer us some basic instructions....

Thanks much!  (By the way, your web site is great!)
Mike here: If the shutter won't move, do you mean there is an obstruction preventing it from moving or that the light meter (assuming there is one) is not allowing the exposure to be made? If the latter, can you put the camera into a manual mode and select the shutter speed yourself?

Subject:	Re: Astronomy software for children
Sent:	Wednesday, September 13, 2000 04:23:02
From:	CAIGY@aol.com
Thanks! I'll try the newsgroup and watch your site for suggestions from
other readers of your website. By the way, I enjoy your website a lot
and, as a newbie to telescope ownership (but I used to love going to the
Hayden Planetarium as a kid),I find the information and links you
provide to be very helpful.

Jason Myers

Subject:	 Where Do I get A Cheap ETX-90?
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2000 21:08:03
From:	wopr@neteze.com (steve)
Could anyone tell me where a store sells discounted ETX -90s?  Every
store wants to sell it to you at $595.  Its frustrating to see such
price control.


Mike here: It is not price control so much as supply and demand, I guess. You may find some deals at sales.

Added later:

thanks for the help, and all your work.

Subject:	Astronomy software for children
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2000 17:40:59
From:	CAIGY@aol.com
Can you recommend any software appropriate for my 8 year old daughter?
She's very bright, has read a few books from Kennedy Space Center about
the solar system, and wants to use the ETX with me. Is there any
educational software out there that will be "fun" enough to keep an 8
year old's interest?

Jason Myers

Subject:	 Now it can be shown!
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 22:57:30
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Photos of my ETX Torture Test beds are now
available at  


Showing the messy desk (it's an old picture... now the PC
is lying on its side since it won't work standing up),

The C-clamped-to-a-railing dead-level platform (with polar wedgie)

And (if you look closely) the lights of Seattle which manage to 
intrude into flash-pictures taken at night.

The page referenced above has thumbnails... the full images
can be fetched by clicking on them.


Subject:	 FOR SALE: ETX-125EC Astrophotography System 
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 21:43:16
From:	GrumpaBob@hotmail.com (Bob Fandrich)
I don't know what your policy is about announcing ETX's being sold, but
I have to sell my ETX-125EC based astrophotography system.  It's will
expire on Thursday on eBay at :Meade ETX-125EC Telescope Telephoto
      Item #432123521 

I will continue to watch this site and hopefully get another ETX in the

Bob Fandrich

Subject:	 Great Images!
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 20:40:11
From:	csmith@photoshopuser.com (Chris Smith)
Great Images! What clarity and an iBook!


Chris Smith          
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
National Association of Photoshop Professionals
Photoshop User Magazine
1042 Main Street, Suite 201
Dunedin, Florida 34698
800.738.8513 ext. 103
727.733.1370 Fax
727.641.4535 Mobile

Subject:	 Re: Great Images!
Sent:	Tuesday, September 12, 2000 07:45:49
From:	csmith@mactoday.com (Chris Smith)
Many of the images of the moon were really great shots and the one of
Saturn at the end of the page that you worked on was really amazing. I
have lost the page that I had gone to but have looked at some of the
other images that are at the etx site that are truly amazing!

keep up the great work!

Subject:	 Accessories - Cases
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 19:01:15
From:	pol@alaska.net (Paul Loughman)
I made the following mistake (I didn't read carefully enough) about the
Pelican Carrying Case referred to at the subject link on your site. May
I suggest a cautionary statement at the beginning of the report that
states: "Caution: The ETX scope referred to in this case commentary is
the ETX-90, not the ETX-125. The ETX-125 telescope will not fit in the
Pelican Model 1550 case."

I read the commentary about the model 1550, as well as the one
immediately following (Deluxe Hardcase). I ended up ordering the model
1550, and realized after receiving it, that it was to small for the
ETX-125EC. I now have to wait for the model 1650, which is what I

Anyway, if I can make this mistake, I'm sure others can/might also. The
added caution statement to the link may save other the frustration I


Paul O. Loughman
Mike here: Sorry about the confusion. I added a caution at the top of the Accessories - Cases page on the 6 September 2000 update. Someone else got caught too.

Added later:

No apology on your part required (or expected). The commentary was
provided by the submitted. Hindsight is (as always) 20/20.

I felt rather foolish when I discovered my error. But no harm done. I've
contacted the company I purchased the case from, and explained what
happened. I'm ordering the model 1650, and will be returning the other.
Just means I have to wait a bit longer. Oh well, as they say, 'good
things come to those who wait.'

Subject:	 Observer's Inn in Julian, CA...
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 16:20:01
From:	stantstk@pacbell.net (Stan Glaser)
Just thought I'd pass this along.

I had read about the Observer's Inn located about 1.5 miles outside of
Julian a couple of years ago and had told my wife about it. We filed the
article away in the garage for future reference, and surprise, surprise,
in honor of my birthday she made reservations (unbeknownst to me) for
two nights this last weekend.

The Inn has only two rooms (named Orion and Andromeda), and everything
is clean, quiet, and quaint. Breakfasts are "continental," consisting of
coffee/tea, juice, fruit, cereals, bagels, muffins, breads, etc., and
everything in abundance.

The real attraction, though, is the "observatory." Mike Leigh, the owner
and also a Meade Technical Service Advisor and Rep, has built a 19 x 20
foot rectangular observatory out on his property with a retractable
roof, allowing for viewing of the night sky through his 4 research-grade
telescopes. He also poured 3 concrete slabs a few yards from the
observatory for anyone who wishes to bring his own scope and set it up.
Besides Mike, there were only 4 of us on his nightly 8:00 pm "Sky Tour"
($20/person if you aren't staying at the Inn, but included in the cost
if you do). His son and wife, Caroline, were there, also -- she brings
in hot coffee and tea and cookies to make the night a little warmer
(although the evenings of Sept 8/9 were quite comfortable). The
observatory is decked out with a lazy-boy recliner and a large couch,
just in case you get tired of standing, and they are currently building
a "warming room" for the winter months. And all the while some very
relaxing new-age music is playing softly over the CD/stereo, and photos
and posters deck the walls. It truly is decadent.

As I recall, his scopes (all Schmidt-Cassegrain) included a Celestron
14", a  Meade 14", a 12" (unsure of the brand -- we didn't use it), and
a Meade 16". The Meades are all GOTO scopes, whereas the Celestron was
not. The nightly "Sky Tour" is advertised as a 1-hour event, but on both
nights it seemed to stretch to almost 2 hours. I was sort of
disappointed even at the 2-hour duration -- I would have liked to have
stayed up all night. Mike does all the GOTO'ing, the guests only get to
do the viewing (and the focusing!!). The sky was crystal clear, and even
with the moon almost 3/4 full, we still were able to have some great
seeing, but even 2 hours isn't enough to view some of the great objects
in the sky. Among other things, we saw M13 (in Hercules), M31/M32
(Andromeda), M57 (the Ring Nebula -- fantastic in a 16" scope!!), M18,
Alberio (of course), Neptune, Uranus, The Swan Nebula, The Dumbbell
Nebula, and the moon (viewed through a binocular eyepiece!). It was
really enjoyable, and Mike is very knowledgeable at discussing the
objects that we were looking at.

Saturday morning I awoke about 3:30 am and took a walk outside of our
room. The moon had gone down by then, and the sky was incredibly rich
with stars, with Jupiter, Saturn, and the Orion Nebula just begging to
be viewed, and the Milky Way stretching all the way across the sky. It
was slightly windy, but I decided to set up my ETX-90EC anyway and take
a look. Incredible!!! Jupiter's bands just popped out, and I could even
see the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings. It didn't take much to wake
my wife and get her outside, too. So the two of us viewed the early
morning sky through my ETX for about 2 hours until we started to see the
morning light just begin to wash out the eastern sky. We went back to
bed, fell asleep, and awoke in time for breakfast at 9:00 am.

I would recommend to anyone who is interested in astronomy (and even
those who aren't!!) to consider staying at the Observer's Inn for a few
nights. Apparently, Mike and his wife have welcomed astronomers from all
over the world since they opened about 3 years ago. And even if you
don't stay there, I would suggest that no matter how well versed you are
in telescopes, astronomy, or the night sky, that you consider taking his
"Sky Tour" observing session if you happen to be in town.

The Observer's Inn is located at 3535 Hwy 79 in Julian, CA 92036. Phone:
(760)765-0088. Web address: www.observersinn.com

Stan Glaser

Subject:	 in response to Bob Zimmerman (Guest Opinion page)
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 10:41:20
From:	Goodshot@email.msn.com (goodshot)

I have an ETX-90EC and I also noticed many problems in my ETX 90 that
you mentioned. I just keep telling myself "you got what you paid for"
and most of the time the ETX does the job for me.

But like you,I'm also thinking about upgrading the scope. I taked to the
owner of a reputable scope site about a bigger aperture scope. I
mentioned about the Mead LX-90 and Celestron Nexstar 8 for my possible
future scope. He said that he would never buy Mead ad hype because he
had been stung not only once but twice. His site sells telescopes/scopes
and many useful accessaries and he owns Nexstar 8 and ETX. He recommend
the Nexstar 8 for an upgrade.

Best Rehards,
Hide Takahashi

Subject:	 tripods
Sent:	Monday, September 11, 2000 10:12:33
From:	ttimpfjr@engin.umd.umich.edu (Thomas Timpf Jr)
I was wondering and i read the reivews for the tripods.  what do u think
is the best field tripod?? i was thinking maybe the advanced tripod by
meade looks the best and looks more stable then the others in polar.

Mike here: I have no direct experience with the new Meade #887 Advanced Field Tripod (for the ETX-125EC) but it does look like a good one.

Added later:

what about the jmi tripod wedge..  is it any good and do u think it
would be better then the #887
Mike here: I have no direct experience with the #887 so can't compare it. I do like the JMI tripod/wedge I have my ETX-90RA mounted on however.

Subject:	  ETX  site ?
Sent:	Sunday, September 10, 2000 01:04:47
Hi, I really enjoy your etx webtsite. I just has a quck? about it. It
seems everytime I hit the the back button on your site; instead of
taking me back 1 page, it takes me back 2 pages and I have to start all
over again. Is this just because your site is not fully compatable with
webtv? or perhaps some other reason?

Was just wondering, 

Mike here: Don't know why you are going back 2 pages; could be a problem with WebTV as it doesn't happen with Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator. What happens when you click the little ETX in the upper righthand corner of most pages? It should take you back to the Menu page.

Subject:	 re: gray spots at high power
Sent:	Saturday, September 9, 2000 21:19:41
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Neal in Cincinnati wrote about seeing a gray spot in the center of
bright objects (like the Moon) when using a 9.7mm eyepiece with a 2x

I haven't seen it/them (but i'll look if the sky ever clears), but you
may be seeing the effect of using a Cassegrainian or Newtonian design.
i.e. you're seeing the optical effect of the secondary mirror blocking
the center of the main mirror's light path.

This is one major reason why people use refractors or off-axis
reflectors for lunar and planetary observation.

With faint point objects (like stars) you don't see it, because there's
not a wide bright area to show variations in brightness. With broad
bright targets, you'll see it.

This also shows up if you use a 500mm "mirror lens" for conventional
photography... you'll see a "softness" in the center of the final image.
A distant bird's feathers won't be as sharp in the center.

You can see the obstruction by focusing on a star, and then turning the
focus knob either way to fall out of focus... and there the center black
spot appears.

He wondered "just some dirt on the lens?"
Yes... a BIG coin-sized chunk of "dirt".


Subject:	 ETX90 at lower latitudes
Sent:	Friday, September 8, 2000 14:04:04
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
Subject:         20.5deg latitude

I saw your note on Mike's site, and would like to add a few comments.
First, if you have an Autostar, try using the ETX in Alt/Az mode.
I find it much easier than Polar.
If you do not have an Autostar:

> i tried the alternate leg positioning as outlined in the
> manual, but not only does it tip over in this position,
I have seen pictures of the lower-hole mountng... and they included
a *counterweight* attached to the leg to fight the "tip over".
You might try putting a kilo or so of weight (a sand bag?)
across the foot of that leg.

> its still like 2.5deg off or so 
Put a small shim (a thin book?) under that extended foot to
raise it that last little bit.

>and in order to align with polaris, i need to put
>the dec almost all the way at 90deg which makes polaris almost
>impossible to spot using the viewfinder. Seems like nothing works!
Well... putting the DEC to 90 degrees (or 89) is -exactly- where it
should be for looking at Polaris (in Polar mounting).
That's what the "89.xx" in Polaris's coordinates means.

The viewfinder problem is why Meade sells a right-angle viewfinder
as an option (and makes it part of the ETX-125's normal package).
With a straight-through viewfinder, there are some places where you
simply cannot use it.  I have the straight-through, but i also have
an Autostar, so it is less of a problem (except for aligning on 
Polaris for a Polar mounting.).

One way around the problem is to put the telescope in Alt/Az postion
(namely: place the base flat on a table).
Set the Altitude (Dec) angle to your latitude (20.5 degrees).
You should have no trouble seeing through the viewfinder.
Now locate Polaris and point the ETX at it.  Center it.
Take a note of the DEC scale reading.
Turn off the motor drive.
Now, without turning the base, lower the barrel to point at
a local fixed landmark. (i use a chimney on a nearby house).
Make a careful note of the DEC scale reading.
Subtract that from the reading you saw when pointing at Polaris.
(let us call this the "difference")

Now: set up the polar mounting legs.  Add the weight to avoid
tipping, and the shim to lift the leg the extra 2 degrees.
Point the ETX at the landmark.
Note the DEC scale.
Now lift the barrel the number of degrees of "difference".
You should now be pointed at Polaris.
The DEC scale -should- be reading 90 (or 89) but that number scale
sometimes is not properly aligned.
The barrel -should- be pointed parallel with the forks,
straight up from the base.
The viewfinder is, of course, useless in this position.
But the ETX is now Polar aligned.

Anchor the feet!

An easy alternative to the three legs is to build a quick polar
mount out of two pieces of plywood, a hinge, and two turnbuckles.
Here is a "side view"

      \  ETX here
   t   \h

I hope to post a picture of mine on the web in a few days.
There are photos of similar ones on Mike's site,
look under the "mounts" links at

The drawing above shows a long pice of wood, which extends out 
underneath the ETX.  The "h" is looking along the "pin" of a
"piano" hinge (a continuous hinge which can be cut to length).
The "t" is where the turnbuckles connect the hinged plank ("\")
to the base plank (---).
The ETX base attaches to the hinged plank (\) with two 1/4"-20
one-inch-long thumbscrews. (how long the screws are depends upon
the thickness of your wood).
My mount can travel from 90 degrees to zero degrees.
North/South Pole to Equator.
The base plank is 18 inches long, 7 or 8 inches wide.
The hinged plank is 8 inches long, the same 7 to 8 inches wide.
The hinge is in the middle of the plank.
(That actually makes the ETX-side end of the base plank longer
than it needs to be. even to avoid tipping over at the equator.
AND it gets in the way of seeing through the viewfinder at some
angles... but i have been too lazy to cut it off.)
The turnbuckles attach to the outside edges of the planks.
Where you put the screws, and the length of the turnbuckles,
varies depending upon what you want the "polar angle" (your
latitude) to be.  I move the screws if my turnbuckles will not
reach the angle i want.
I recommend Plywood (instead of a "plank") since it will not warp
over time.

Good luck
Subject:	 wooden "wedge" telescope mount (follow up)
Sent:	Friday, September 8, 2000 17:07:34
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)

A very good example of the simple Polar telescope mount is at


The side adjustments he uses are available in almost
any US hardware store as casement (or swinging) window 
guides.  They're made by Stanley.
Some chest-lid supports or guides will work, too.
That's where i used turnbuckles.

good luck

Subject:	 Update on 883 tripod return to Meade
Sent:	Friday, September 8, 2000 07:35:26
From:	BBYRD@pcmh.com (Bob Byrd)
Last month i mentioned a problem with a new 883 tripod. Mount screw
slots not cut the same. Meade customer support came thru and shipped a
new replacement, no cost to me. I then returned (at my expense) the
defective 883. Just wanted to pass along my Meade customer support
experience. I'm happy!

Bob Byrd
Pitt County Memorial
(252) 816-5154
(252) 816-0385 (fax)

Subject:	 University of Chicago, Yerkes Observatory
Sent:	Thursday, September 7, 2000 20:50:27
From:	polulach@mixcom.com (Linda & John Polulach)
I grew up in (and still frequently visit) the area of Yerkes
Observatory.  I thought you might want to add this link to your site. 
The history of Yerkes Observatory is very interesting.  If you're ever
in southern Wisconsin (or the Chicago area) I recommend a visit to
Milwaukee, WI


Subject:	 Eyepieces for Etx 90 ex
Sent:	Thursday, September 7, 2000 13:53:30
From:	n.rothchild@worldnet.att.net (N Rothchild)
I've had my etx for about 9 mos.  It came with the standard super plossl
26mm eyepiece.  In addition, I bought a meade 9.7 mm and a 2x barlow

When I use the 9.7mm eyepiece with the 2x barlow, I see sort of a
greyish dot in the center.  I noticed this particularly when viewing
something bright, such as the moon.  Is this normal, a bad eyepiece, or
just some dirt on the lens?

Also, I viewed the Andomeda Galaxy last nite. I think that is what is
was.  All I saw was sort of a haze.  Is this the best I can expect, or
is their some other eyepiece, other that what I have mentioned above, or
some sort of "filter", that might just provide more light.
Neal in Cincinnati
Mike here: You may be seeing some internal reflections. This could be due to dirty optics or a collimation problem. As to the M31, the eye will usually just see a small fuzzy blob. The best view I've had of M31 was with a pair of 7x50 binoculars a few decades ago from a very dark location. The second best was with the ETX-125EC from a dark location. Galaxies and nebulae will usually appear best with a minimum of light reduction, meaning low power and/or wide field.

Subject:	 RE: ETX90EC mounting screws
Sent:	Thursday, September 7, 2000 01:29:25
From:	Bob.Sandy@icl.com
Another small tip you (and others) may find useful. Paint the heads of
the two fixing screws with Tippex so WHEN you drop one in the grass in
the dark, they'll show up in a flashlight beam. They can be quite
difficult to get aligned on a cold dark night and are easily dropped.
I'd say they suffered from fridge-suck(a technical term!) if there were
any fridges in the fields!

Tippex is a white correcting fluid sold in the uk in a small bottle with
a lid/brush. Other brands were Snopaque but basically its typist
correction fluid.

Bob Sandy

Subject:	New Scope
Sent:	Wednesday, September 6, 2000 17:57:33
From:	WGilb25896@aol.com Greetings Mike!!!  I wrote to you last month
about some issues I was having with some eyepieces that I had recently
purchased, The feedback and information you provided was timely and well
received.  I just wanted to let you know that I just purchased a Meade
LX 10 8" Schmidt Cassegrain, and I must say that the problems I was
experiencing with the eyepieces have for the most part evaporated.  I
was viewing the Orion Nebula last night and the image was crisp, not to
mention breathtaking.  I have come to the realization that size does
matter... I will keep my Mighty ETX to use as a portable system as the
LX 10 is rather large, and does not travel as well as the ETX,
additionally, the optics on the ETX are still in my opinion some of the
best for the price.  In conclusion, please keep up the good work, the
information on your web site is priceless, and a boon to all that enjoy
looking at the stars.  take care!!

Bill Gilbert.

Subject:	 tripod trouble
Sent:	Wednesday, September 6, 2000 16:08:07
From:	spinerock@home.com (damien roohr)
Finally splurged for an etx tripod. Here's the issue: when setting up
according to instructions, N-leg to North, declination angle set, I
cannot raise the scope high enough to even see Polaris. Movement is
limited by the finder scope hitting the fork. When I turn the whole
thing around, point the N-leg to the South, it works fine. I may be
instructionally-challenged, but in this case the directions are pretty
clear. In most of the photos I have seen of the etx in use with the
tripod, it clearly shows the declination scale on the left side of the
tripod when in use - mine is on the right side. Presuming most of these
photos are taken of etx's set for Northern Hemisphere, mine seems
backward. Have you ever heard of these tripods shipping with the mount
Any thoughts?
Mike here: Lets consider things logically. You want the ETX RA axis to be parallel to the Earth's rotational axis (to compensate for the Earth's rotation). So, in the Northern Hemisphere this results in the ETX RA axis being pointed towards (approximately) Polaris. With the ETX now pointed at Polaris (which would be perpendicular to the ETX base or to 90 degrees Declination), there is no way the finderscope can hit the fork. Does this help?

Subject:	 20.5deg latitude
Sent:	Wednesday, September 6, 2000 00:33:39
From:	long@mpsnet.com.mx
hello, i have an ETX and recently moved to the central highlands of
mexico and it appears that my scope simply isnt designed to be used at
this lattitude! i tried the alternate leg positioning as outlined in the
manual (sticking the adjustable leg in the lowermost hole and exending
all the way), but not only does it tip over in this position, its still
like 2.5deg off or so and in order to align with polaris, i need to put
the dec almost all the way at 90deg which makes polaris almost
impossible to spot using the viewfinder. Seems like nothing works!


B Long

Cheri and Michael Long, Allison Long de Aguilera, Polo Aguilera, Ben
Send mail from outside Mexico to: PMB 141A, 521 Logan Ave, Laredo,
TX 78040-6633 Correo: Apdo 640, San Miguel de Allende, 37700 GTO;
St. Paul's matters should be sent to 
Mike here: Yes, using the ETX at low latitudes is a challenge (unless you have an Autostar capable ETX), as with many telescopes. However, solutions exist. Check the Accessories - Tripods page for and the Tech Tips page for things that include wedges.

Subject:	 Top 10
Sent:	Tuesday, September 5, 2000 16:14:57
From:	Andrew.Topper@weyerhaeuser.com (Topper, A.J. (Andrew) (Contractor)) 
I'm new to the ETX90, just wanted to know if you could recommend a top
10 list of objects to observe this fall? I know you get a "quick tour"
depending on the date and place. However, there's nothing like knowing
by experience.

Mike here: Lots of nice objects in Sagittarius. M13, M57, and M31 are nice. Of course, Uranus and Neptune are visible (you'll need charts), and later Jupiter and Saturn. And many others as well.

Subject:	 [ETX] ScopeTronix - RTA Update
Sent:	Tuesday, September 5, 2000 12:34:14
From:	jblessin@worldnet.att.net (Jordan Blessing)
Greetings ETX lovers ; )
I just wanted to give the list an update on our machined aluminum "Right
Tube Adapter" replacement for the ETX90-EC. For those of you not
familiar with this please see:

The machining operations are complete and the side plates are back from
the powder coaters. Today they are being assembled and boxed. The
instructions will be complete tomorrow and most units will ship tomorrow
or Thursday. We currently have less than 10 units still available for
purchase. If you are interested please see the page above to order one.
If there is continued demand after the current supply is depleted we
will probably take pre-orders for another possible run in a couple of
months or so. The finished product came out quite nice and I think you
will be happy with them.....for a long time ; )

PS - I also wanted to announce that we have just become an authorized
Meade dealer and have already received our first shipments. We have most
ETX accessories, Super Plossls, SWAs, etc in stock. We also have ETX70s
and ETX90s on the way. We don't have all this stuff on our website yet
so just ask if you need something. Commercial over....Thanks.
Jordan Blessing

       ScopeTronix Astronomy Products

Subject:	 Comment on an Interesting Moon Information Site
Sent:	Monday, September 4, 2000 11:35:06
From:	fgoldner@worldnet.att.net (Frank Goldner)
The July 2000 issue of Popular Science noted a wonderful Moon
information web site at:		www.inconstantmoon.com

This site lets you click on any day of interest and then gives info of
the status of the moon on that day as well as noting and showing
interesting features visible at that time.

If you agree you might consider listing, or linking, to this site from
the header section of the Moon gallery part of you great site.

As always, my thanks and best wishes to you and your family.

Frank Goldner, Bethesda Md.

P.S. I'm still having great fun and enjoyment with my ETX125

Subject:	 Viewfinder
Sent:	Sunday, September 3, 2000 14:07:09
From:	mvgazy@hotmail.com (gfjyhgkjjg l,klnkjh)
I live in a area with alot of light-pollution , and I need a good
viewfinder to find anything at all. If im lucky I may see the andromeda
galaxy in my 8x30 binocular. So how big viewfinder should I get on my
scope? A 8x50 or a 10x50 or maby a rifle scope? Not much help from the
dealers eithter... Can some one help me pick a GOOD one (not Meade! -
becouse none of there finders will focus...)? Please help me!!!
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Finderscopes page for some ideas. Obviously the red-dot or 1X finderscopes won't help you. It sounds like you could use something in the 8x30-50 range.

Subject:	 First Scope
Sent:	Saturday, September 2, 2000 23:28:11
From:	mrx1@earthlink.net (Blake Slutz)
I am in the process of deciding on our first scope. For the past month I
have vaselated between refractors, dobsonians,newtonians , refractors,
dobsonians, etc......but upon finding your superb ETX site I think that
I just might of found our answer for a truly portable, quality first
scope. This is a wonderful site and an offel lot of work has gone into
it. You sure are making my research a lot more fun and informed. Thanks
again for such a great web site. Blake in Seattle

Subject:	 the Mighty ETX site
Sent:	Saturday, September 2, 2000 17:43:51
From:	bsgore@bellatlantic.net (Bill Gore)
Just wanted to drop you a line thanking you for your helpful site. It
was the reason I decided to go with the ETX. Also, because you're a Mac
person using it despite seeing so many products geared towards Windows
and Astronomy. It was refreshing seeing the shot of the ETX and the

As a long time Mac user (1985), artist, and consultant, it really made a
difference to me to see such helpful information in one place. Truly,
you are an evangelist without really trying.

I sent a little show of my support through your Kagi link. If there's
anything I can do to help, please let me know.


Bill Gore
Hey Mac!
listmom, the Macintosh Epson Users list

Subject:	 ETX 90 visual back/prism
Sent:	Friday, September 1, 2000 17:24:27
From:	freybears@email.msn.com (Stevens Frey)
With my LX 200, the visual back allowed me to insert a mirror or prism
diagonal and rotate it when I needed to for more comfortable observing
position.  With the ETX, the eyepiece is of course fixed in position.  I
note that Shutan makes a visual back for the ETX - is it possible to use
a standard prism or mirror diagonal with this visual back, which would
then allow me to have rotating eyepiece flexibility with my ETX?  This
would really be a boon to observing with the ETX, I should think...

Steve F.
Mike here: Shutan also sells an SCT adapter. See the "SCT Accessory Adapter" comments on the Accessories - Miscellaneous page.

Subject:	 Focal Reducing
Sent:	Friday, September 1, 2000 11:32:39
From:	jahorsley@hotmail.com (John A.Horsley)
Say I was wondering if you or anyone you know has tired a 6.3 focal
reducer on an ETX90mm? I am wanting to shoot M31 and want to get the
whole galaxy in the shot. Pro's, Cons?
Mike here: As to a focal reducer, I talk about the Shutan Wide-Angle Adapter (essentially a focal reducer) on the Showcase Products page.

Added later:

N.A. Nebula with my 8" LX200 at f/6.3 on RG ISO 1000 autoguided with a
ETX 90mm and a Meade 201xt. Exposed for 1 hour 20 minutes.

I have a LAR on the ETX at prime and am wondering what would happen if I
used my 6.3 focal reducer. Would it work? Have you ever come across
anyone who has tried it? If not I guess I'll give it a go as soon as we
came get the smoke out the these Montana skies.

Clear Skies -n- Keep Lookin UP.... John
If you can focus, it should work.

Subject:	 Bubble Levels
Sent:	Thursday, August 31, 2000 20:29:01
From:	tpmiles@bellsouth.net (Tony Miles)
Here's a little gadget I use to level my ETX's Optical Tube to it's
ATL/AZ home position. It's a called the 'Little Strapper'. It's a fence
post bubble level. I picked it up from Home Depot about 7 years ago when
I was installing a chain-link fence in my backyard. I don't know if they
still sell this particular brand of level, but I'm sure they sell
something similiar. When I realized I could use it with my ETX, I had to
go out and buy some extra length of Velcro straps for it to fit onto the
OTA. Once I get the tube leveled, I simply remove the 'Little Strapper'
from the telescope.

(also pictured with the Little Strapper is a bubble level that I use in
addition to my 883's bubble level. It's easier to see in the dark with a
[Home] [Home]

Subject:	Which Meade Barlow should I use with my ETX 90EC?
Sent:	Wednesday, August 30, 2000 21:01:16
From:	Mengja@aol.com
I recently purchased an ETX 90EC with the Autostar controller and I
think it is a phenomenal combination?  My question relates to which
Barlow lenses to use with the 90EC.  When I asked to purchase a Barlow,
I was given the #124 2x telenegative Barlow and the #128 3x telenegative
Barlow.  But as started to read the 90EC manual it referred only to the
#126 Barlow.  What is the difference between the the 2 Barlows I have
and the #126?  Should I return the other 2 and ask to purchase a #126?

Thank you

Mike here: About the only problem you may have is focusing. With some eyepieces you might not be able to focus. I only have the #126 so can't comment on the others. You can search the site for "Barlow" and will likely find lots of references to other models.

Subject:	CCD SAC IV
Sent:	Wednesday, August 30, 2000 14:40:12
From:	Etxstargazer@aol.com
I ordered my camera 2 days ago (I ordered the new SAC-IVc) and I would
like to know what orientation you used the telescope in to take the
images you posted on the page, Alt-Az or Equatorial. When I ordered
multiple accessories from Scopetronix, I ordered the Autostar Extension
cord, thinking that I would use the telescope inside the house (after
focusing and aligning the Autostar was done). I would have to use the
scope in Alt-Az when doing remote imaging (its really too bad that no
one gets good results when using the Autostar in Polar Mode). Would
tracking be a problem in alt-az when using the camera. Thanks.

Taylor Chonis
Mike here: For the short movies I made, field rotation would not have been a problem so I used Alt/Az on the ETX-125EC (as shown in those photos). The ETX-90RA was equatorial mounted (as shown in the photos).

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