Last updated: 30 September 2001

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all ETX and DS models. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX and DS 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:	Removing the tube
Sent:	Sunday, September 30, 2001 0:00:04
From:	mark@economic.com (Mark Dickson)
I found your ETX site and have really enjoyed it. I recently moved to a
location in the Santa Cruz Mtns above the Monterey Bay and can see Santa
Cruz surfing spots and harbor about 9 miles away, as well as
Monterey/Pacific Grove across the bay. Binoculars have been
dissapointing, and I have been considering an etx-90 spotting scope. It
looks like it is lightweight and can change locations quickly by hand.
However, with the fairly minor price difference between the etx-90ec and
the spotting scope, I would like to pick your brain for ideas which I
found no answers for, Specificly:

If I buy an ETX-90 EC how hard is it to remove the forks and mount the
barrel diorectly on a tripod for spotting puposes? Conversly, how
difficult is it to rebuild the unit again when the stars beckon me? Has
anyon had any great ideas on this?

Thanks for your time
Mark Dickson
Mike here: To remove the ETX-90EC (and ETX-125EC) from the forks you loosen 4 small screws (two on each side of the tube). Then you gently pry the telescope out by carefully spreading the forks apart. That is fairly easy. To remount you just do the reverse, being certain that the plastic tube adapters seat securely. With the telescope removed you can mount it on a stable tripod using one of the tripod-mounting holes in the bottom of the tube. For terrestrial use you may want to get the "Meade 45-Degree Erecting Prism" (see the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page).


Wow. Thanks for your consideration and for taking the time to respond. I
spent hours looking for the advice you gave me in a few lines. The net
is a wonderful source of information...so much that it can take weeks to
wade through. The bottom line is that the best resource the internet has
to offer is access to caring, intelligent people willing to take time to
share their knowledge.
Thanks for your good work.

Subject:	Stargazing and Amateur Astronomy Online Resource Guide - FinderScope.com
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 21:59:06
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
Thought that you might like this link.  It's a very informative general
astronomy site and could help any amateur astronomer as a reference.
Let me know what you think.


Subject:	f/ ratio
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 18:22:03
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
what does f/2.8 mean when someone is talking about taking pictures
Mike here: f/ratio is the ratio of the optics focal length to the aperture. So, for example, the ETX-90, which has a focal length of 1250mm and an aperture of 90mm, is f/14. The smaller the number the more light that passes through to the focal plane (generalized statement; also depends upon the optical design and size of the aperture).


so waht does that all meanthe stuff u just wrote at the bottom
Mike here: For a complete explanation see a good photography book (or web site). But basically it means you (or the camera) can "see" fainter objects the smaller the f/number and/or the larger the optics main aperture is.


what about if the apature is small but the focal ration is ver small or
visa versa...i have the etx 125
Mike here: The larger the aperture the greater the "light gathering" power. But for the same size aperture, the larger the f/ ratio the less light that will get through. This is simplified of course. For a more thorough coverage of the topic, probably with diagrams, see a photography book or search the web.

Subject:	Iridium flares
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 18:17:33
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
what is a Iridium flare
Mike here: Iridium flares are caused by sunlight reflected off the Iridium satellites. See the Heavens-Above web site (www.heavens-above.com) for visibility predictions.

Subject:	Barlow Lens
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 17:19:40
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
is it worth it to get a barlow lense...Which one the apochromatic barlow
or the short barlow

also is the barlow lense better then just buying the real lense like
26mm = barlow = 13mm   is it better to hav that or the 13 mm eye peice
Mike here: Barlow Lenses are useful if you get a high quality one. Remember that you are inserting extra optics into the light path. For the best views don't use one but for most viewing they are perfectly acceptable.

Subject:	ETX90RA
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 15:14:55
From:	kellyhart1@netzero.net (Kelly Hart)
Thanks for providing a great site for the ETX owners. I purchased one of
the original ETX90RA's when it first became available (waiting over 7
months to purchase mail order). When the goto models appeared later, I
contacted Meade directly to ask about "upgrading" my ETX90RA to a
"goto". I was willing to pay the cost of the base and all supporting
hardware. As you might expect, Meade declined and instead suggested that
I purchase a new model. I'm sure I'm not alone out there feeling
somewhat put off by Meade. After all, it was the original ETX purchasers
that led to the popularity of ETX's now enjoyed by Meade. My question:
I've been waiting for some time for ANYBODY to develop a "goto"
solution, which is reasonably priced so that I may enjoy the same
benefit as NEW ETX owners do. Is there any reasonably priced alternative
out there. I've been searching consistently on the internet but no luck
so far. Also, I especially enjoy you tips; they're great.


Jim Hart
Mike here: As to a GOTO for the original ETX, see the "JMI NGC-microMAX/NGC-MAX" on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page. As to upgrading, yes, it would have been nice if Meade had offered an upgrade but they didn't. And neither did Casio when they replaced the original QV-10 digital camera with the next model(s). The same with many manufacturers. So, Meade is not alone in this practice.

Subject:	Meade 14mm uwa
Sent:	Saturday, September 29, 2001 13:22:02
From:	jean.ancell@xtra.co.nz (Trevor Ancell)
Do you know the correct assembly of the lenses in the Meade 14mm uwa.
The barrel unscrewd slightly when try to remove it from a telescope (not
a Meade).As there was a rattle I decided to check and ended up with
lenses everywhere (I know!!). I have it back together, it seems to work
ok but it would be nice to know if  I have orientated the less obvious
lenses the correct way around. The Meade drawing of the eyepiece on
there web site is not helpful.
Kind Regards
Trevor Ancell
New Zealand  

Subject:	Uncomfortable Polar Alignment
Sent:	Thursday, September 27, 2001 22:47:51
From:	JACTHEO@aol.com
Sorry I was unable to make the 1st annual star party.  Hopefully there
will be many more opportunities.  Have been viewing with my 125 in
Alt-Az for the past year and tried Polar for the first time last night
in anticipation of doing some Piggy-back photography (just got the
scopetronix mount).  I found myself viewing from some very awkward and
unconfortable positions with the scope Polar aligned.  I think
everything was correct since the GOTO and tracking were right on all
night.  I felt like I was underneath the scope looking up into the
eypiece most of the time.  Did I do something wrong, or does it just
take some getting used to.
John Theodossy
Mike here: There are "uncomfortable" (and comfortable) viewing positions in both mounting modes. You'll get used to it. Changing the tripod height can help.

Sent:	Thursday, September 27, 2001 17:56:14
From:	imbox@pacbell.net (PB&D)
Mike here: Define "compatible". If you mean: can you remove the -60 OTA and just insert the -90 OTA; nope.


Thanks for your quick response. Like your web page. So much info to

Subject:	etx-90ec telescope
Sent:	Thursday, September 27, 2001 14:30:36
From:	thiruvanmiyur@hotmail.com (Ramachandran S)
I visited your web site and found it very informative

I am from the south Indian city of Chennai(formerly Madras)at prsent
holidaying in USA and staying with my son here.

I have an ETX-90EC meade telescope. The latitude of my city is 13
degrees north and I require a deluxe field tripod which will take this
telescope - the Meade model is suitable upto 20 degrees. Could you
please recommend a web site?

I also find the view finder to be awkward for locating objects and I
want to know about your experience in this regard and whether the 90
degree one will be useful

What is the handy levelling instrument for keeping the telescope level
for altazimuth setting - I wish they had provided a built in level in
the scope for this purpose!

Coming from a low latitude it is indeed a great sight to see Cassiopeia
and Ursa Major at the same time circumpolar and the pole star at 39
degrees alttude( I am at present at Fremont, California)


Mike here: I believe JMI (www.jimsmobile.com) has some tripods that will go to lower latitudes. See the Accessory Reviews - Finderscopes for more on replacement finders. As to leveling, any spirit (bubble) level will do the job but I don't go overboard on this. Normally I just "eyeball it" when using the Autostar.

Subject:	Digital Camera Astrophotography
Sent:	Thursday, September 27, 2001 11:59:05
From:	Briguy730@msn.com (Brian Gaines)
hey mike i was wondering im pretty new at this telescope (etx 125) and i
was wondering which type of camera is best for astrophotagraphy...i have
a non gigital one but the film gets expensive....i would like to know
about the digital cameras...if u can get back to me iwth some
information that would be great....

Mike here: See the various astrophotography sections on the ETX Site for some info on digital cameras. Right now I don't believe there is a "best" digital camera for all astrophotography uses but some will come closer than others to achieving what YOU want to accomplish.

Subject:	Eyepiece Question
Sent:	Wednesday, September 26, 2001 21:38:14
From:	Dralff@aol.com
I have an EXT125EC and enjoy it very much.  The other day at a local
store here in Orlando, a clerk wanted to sell me a Celestron 1.25
eyepiece, saying it should be compatable with Meade as long as the 1.25
size was involved.  However, other folks have told me that eyepieces are
not compatable; that is to say a Celestron eyepiece will not work so
well on Meade scopes.  Have you any experience in crossing manufacturers
as far as eyepieces are concerned?  I am interested because the
Celestron eyepiece was more reasonably priced then Meade.
Mike here: The name on the eyepiece is less important than the design and original manufacturer (which you probably can't learn). "All" 1.25 inch eyepieces are compatible with telescopes that accept 1.25 inch eyepieces. However, the design, weight, and length of an eyepiece can affect whether it is usable or not with a specific telescope. These can affect field of view, balance, and focusability.


Thanks very much for the info.  I overlooked trying to consider the
obvious regarding eyepieces.  I will do more research, but will probably
not try to use a Celestron with my ETX 125.

Subject:	Dealer Question  Help
Sent:	Wednesday, September 26, 2001 14:15:18
From:	slp2001@home.com (Scott Pierce)
I'm new to all of this and have been looking for a Telescope.
Can you tell me if anyone has had any problems with a company in New
York, New York by the name of  Cameraland? They are selling the ETX 90
ec at a really good price. Any advice would be nice.
Scott Pierce

Subject:	Re: big Goto on a small budget... (was: Help with choices)
Sent:	Wednesday, September 26, 2001 12:42:24
From:	hpwallner@aon.at (hpwallner)
I wonder if you have noticed it already: the pictures on MEADE`s website
about their new LXD55 mounts are confusing.  

It seems that the engineers from meade haven`t decided yet if they
should mount the control-panel or the R.A motor below the upper bearing
of the polar axis.

At the moment they have mounted both at the same place! (reminds me of
drawings from M.C.Escher)

Do you have any information if the software for the LXD55 GEM`s will
work with the "old" DS-motors?  I`m afraid it will refuse recognizing

hans peter wallner 
Mike here: I don't have any details on the "old" DS motors. But the Autostar is the same as the #497.


From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
They're probably continuing their fine tradition of arranging the
system to look photogeninc, not accurate... a number of the ETX
photos show the system with the Polar Axis pointed -south-, if
you rely upon the power-panel pointing West.

As far as i can tell by squinting at my screen, the power panel
is where they say it is, and that the RA motor is integral in the
same plastic housing.

If you look at a 4504's arrangement... it doesn't -have- a power panel.
The battery pack plugs into the lower motor (RA?), a coil cord joins the
two motors, and the Starfinder/Autostar plugs into the upper motor.
No Aux jacks in a 4504, but the programming's there, so adding a 
home-made Aux jack achieves focus control.  Or rs232 via a 506.

I merely have faith (based upon history) that  they'll add the new 
scopes to the controllable list, and retain the old ones too.


Subject:	ETX 90 EC tripod question
Sent:	Tuesday, September 25, 2001 8:42:04
From:	jpems+@pitt.edu (Jeffrey & Karen Pelkofer)
I am writting you in the hopes of your being able to answer a seemingly
simple question for me.  I have looked over all of the articles listed
on your web page, however was not able to find the answer to my

I recently purchase a Meade ETX 90 EC telescope to supplement my other
two telescopes (8" Meade LX50 SCT and a Meade Model 395 Refractor. Along
with the telescope I purchased Meades deluxe field tripod.  Having read
the manual several times, I am at a loss on how to properly position the

The manual states that one of the legs on the deluxe tripod is marked
"N".  It goes onto say that this leg should be pointed north.  What it
doesn't say is if this leg goes in front of, or behind the other two
tripod legs.  The illustration in the manual shows it both ways.

When I purchased my 8" LX-50 I had a similar problem.  The manual wasn't
clear on how the tripod legs should be positioned.  Additionally, there
are no "N" markings on the LX-50 tripod.  After 20 minutes of trial and
error someone from the astronomy club I belong to took pity on me and
showed me the correct way to set-up the tripod.  In this case two of the
legs are in front of the third.  Unfortunately I'm not sure if this is
the case with the ETX 90.

I can appreciate how stupid this questions seems to be, however no one
that I have spoken to knows the answer. Thank you in advance for your

Mike here: The "N" on the leg goes on the North side of the tripod. But it really only matters if you are going to use the ETX with it in Polar mode. In this mode you have to tilt the tripod head for your latitude to make the Right Ascension axis parallel to the Earth's rotational axis. If you are going to use the ETX in Alt/Az mode (using an Autostar) then the N-S orientation of the tripod "N" doesn't matter. The direction that becomes important is that the ETX control panel should be on the west side of the tripod. Hope this helps.

Subject:	Eyepiece Suggestions
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 23:27:18
From:	jp_60173@yahoo.com (j p)
I recently purchased an ETX90EC and would like to know if you have any
suggestions on the most useful eyepieces.  Do you thing that I should
consider the wide view Radian and SMC XL or should I stick to the Super
Plossls?  What is your opinion on the TeleVue Radian 14 mm and 4 mm or
the Pentax SMC XL 14 and 5.2. Is it possible that the Pentax may be too
large and heavy for the ETX90EC?

What is the max. you would recommend for magnification on this scope?  I
have tried the Meade Plossl 9.7 with a 2x barlow with mixed results -
good magnification but a somewhat blurry image.  I believe that I would
be better off with a quality eyepiece in the 4-6 mm range instead of the
barlow, do you agree?

Thanks in advance for your input,
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips and the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces pages for some info on eyepieces. Keep in mind the maximum theorectical magnification for any telescope (twice the aperture in millimeters, or 180x for the ETX-90). Short focal length eyepieces like a 4-6mm will exceed that maximum. Heavy eyepieces should be avoided but can be used with caution.


Mike, thanks for the quick response.

Subject:	Re: Field Rotation
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 14:41:44
From:	cmason@shentel.net (Chris Mason)
Thanks again for your site.  Just a note. I was using polar alignment,
and the alignment was good enough that microfine corrections were needed
only about every five or six minutes during the 55 minute exposure. That
is why I don't really understand the apparent field rotation effect in
my Cassiopeia shot.  If you have any other Ideas please let me know, or
maybe someone else will see the pic and know what caused it. I'd like to
figure it out so I can prevent it in the future and get better pics...

Weasners Mighty ETX Site Rocks!

----- Original Message -----
From: etx@me.com
> The field rotation is most likely due to have the telescope mounted in
> Alt/Az mode.  As the scope tracks the sky it is moving in two directions;
> you have to mount in Polar mode to avoid field rotation in long duration
> exposures.
Mike here: Base not precisely level, wrong latitude on the mounting, Polar axis not precisely parallel to the Earth's axis, slightly off Polar alignment with the Autostar? Those are several causes.

Subject:	big Goto on a small budget... (was: Help with choices)
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 12:32:59
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	RDAVIS24@carolina.rr.com
I saw your note on Mike's site.

If you "were not happy" with the 5" Orion, you will not be happy
with the ETX-90.  But you did not say *why* you were not happy.
We can only guess it was due to the lower light-gathering capabilities
of the smaller mirror... The ETX90 gathers far less than the 5" did.

But there is hope...

Just to add to the choices, check out Meade's website for their
new LXD- line of telescopes.

Pricing is found by following links on the astronomics
site... http://www.astronomics.com:80/main/news.asp?id=52

The 10" Schmidt-Newtonian f/4 -with- Autostar... $879 + $95 shipping.


..no, i didn't leave off a leading "1".

The 8" is $729 + $85.
The 6" is $599 + $75

The 6" *refractor* is $895 + $95.
The 5" refractor is $599 + $85

So you can have aperture -and- GoTo, on a price level similar to
an ETX125.  And far less than an LX-90.

good luck

Subject:	tripod parts
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 10:06:37
From:	marelb@cstone-tech.com (Shelley Howes)

I read your page about restoring an old wooden tripod.  I have received
a gift, but alas the friction bracket on 2 / 3 legs are shot.  Do you
know of any hardware suppliers for these items located n the US?


Mark Elbert
Mike here: You could try "hose clamps".

Subject:	Spotty Optics
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 9:54:21
From:	AnvilGB@aol.com
I've recently bought a used ETX125 and have not yet had the chance to
use it "in the dark".  In checking various aspects of the scope's
condition, I notice that looking through the eyepeice hole (without
eypeice in position) I can see that the optics seem to be mottled with
spots.   What am I seeing?  Is this nornal?  If not, what should I do
about it?  The scope is about a year old and appears to be in generally
good condition.  Any comments please.  

Thanks for a very usefull website.

Egabeva in England

Mike here: From your description I'm not certain what you are seeing. Something being reflected (like wallpaper?). If you look directly into the front of the telescope (do not use a flashlight or torch) do you see anything like a lot of smearing or dirt?


I see dust and tiny hair strands, possibly reflected/enlarged from the
inside of the corrector lens.  Strangely, I can't repeat the original
problem today!  Would it be safe to try cleaning with a camera syringe? 
Or am I being a bit too fussy?  You'll appreciate I'm new to this class
of scope.  Thanks Mike.
Mike here: For now I wouldn't worry about it. If you do want to clean things, search the Site for "clean"; you'll find several comments.

Subject:	Fw: My Supercharged ETX 90
Sent:	Sunday, September 23, 2001 4:16:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)

----- Original Message -----
> Clay,
> Scope arrived Friday afternoon.  A few frustrating moments tonight before I
> realized I needed to reset for polar mode. Then off I went.  Moments to polar
> align.  Successful.  Alignment stars in FOV every time, and for the first
> time since I've had the scope.  Then off to tour Cassiopeia, Lyra and Cygnus
> (a favorite), and all from downtown Sacramento.  Astronomical dance of
> delight. Go-to apparently functioning as intended.  Again, a first for me.
> Cloud cover moving in as we speak, but I'm off tomorrow for a week of dark
> skies in northern California/southern Oregon.  I'll report in on scope and
> personal performance when I get back to Sacramento at the beginning of
> October.  Thanks so much for the TLC obviously lavished on my 90.  Maybe
> there's hope for the two of us yet!
> Kris

Sent:	Saturday, September 22, 2001 20:21:37
From:	rrgala@med.wayne.edu (Richard R. Gala)
After over a year of struggling with my ETX125 and the help of you and
your MIGHTY site and local friends I have been finally been able to get
the "BEAST" to work for me, mostly.  It is most frustrating, however,
when you finally have a good night in Michigan combined with the "Beast"
working properly and then to be blown out by DEW!  I have a dew shield,
and that seems to help a bit, and I have changed my viewing area from
the grassy outfield to the hard packed dirt of the infield which I think
also helps.  My question is this:   what is the best way to prevent
condensation from building up on eyepieces and lenses.  I have a little
12 volt hair dryer but it kills my battery pack in a few minutes.  What
about these units that you wrap around the lenses and eye pieces and
connect to your battery pack?  Do they work?       Thanks for all your
help in the past.
                Dick Gala 
Mike here: I have no direct experience with the dew heaters but they do work.

Subject:	Help with choices?
Sent:	Saturday, September 22, 2001 2:07:56
From:	RDAVIS24@carolina.rr.com (Ronald Davis)
First thing I want to say is the website is great! I have really enjoyed
reading about the scopes and viewing the pictures. Now here is my
problem. I bought an Orion 8" Newt on the SVD mount and enjoy the scope
but I want GOTO and a more portable package. I have sold several items
to get enough money to purchase an LX-90 but im afraid to invest that
much money right now into a scope. I have emailed Dr. Clay and he
convinces me that I would be happy with an LX-90 but my budget is very
tight. I have saw some package deals from Science and Hobby that are
very good on the ETX-90 and the ETX-105. I can buy the ETX-90 package
with the tripod, hard case and autostar plus a new laptop for the cost
of an LX-90. I am wanting to try my hand at taking pictures and im not
sure if I will be able to invest all that I would need to with the
LX-90. With the small scope and hard case I feel like I would use it
more and that is a big plus for me. Also I have a 3" pier mounted in the
yard that I would use the ETX-90 on instead of the tripod, but I dont
have a wedge for the pier. Do you think since im used to the views of
the 8" newt that the ETX-90 would be a let down for me? I recently
bought one of Orions new 5" Maks that they come out with and I was not
happy with it and shipped it back under their 30 day deal. I am very
cautious about spending money and dont want to make another mistake, I
feel like the ETX-90 would be a great starting point to let me know
whether I would stay in the hobby or not, plus it would be easier to go
portable than the LX-90. My main goal is not taking pictures, it is just
viewing all the Messier objects, Planets and studying the Moon. I plan
on taking pictures of the planets, moon and bright Messier objects later
as my funds get better. I am just confused? After seeing some of the
pictures on your website taken with the ETX-90 I feel like that would be
all I need at this time, and with the extra money I could buy other
things needed. I have an old IBM pentium 75 mhz with 40 megs of ram with
win95 on it but it does not have a USB port for the cheap CCD cameras. I
can buy a pcmia card for the usb for around $60 and try and make the old
laptop work or just invest in a new one and get the camera later. I have
a manual SLR camera now that would work with the adapters that I plan on
using first. I am sorry for the long email but I trust your ideas for
the best outfit for me. I feel like the GOTO of the ETX-90 will get me
to see far more than I have been able to find with the newt and that is
a big plus for me. One more thing that I have right now is a HP Jornada
with PocketSky on it that I could use also with either scope. With the
portable ETX-90 and the cheaper cost I feel like it would be a great
place to start, and I could always use it to guide the LX-90 if I need
more of a light bucket later. My only fear is that I would be
disappointed in the views since I have the 8" Newt, the newt is a f/4
and a little hard to keep colimated and thats another reason I want a
ETX-90. The ETX-90 is the way I was planning on going in the beginning
but got side tracked when I sold a few items and come up with almost
enough money to buy a LX-90. Please help me with the choices at hand and
be honest. I am a poor man and cant afford to make a wrong choice.
Thank you very much
Ronnie Davis
Mike here: The ETX-90EC and Autostar make a fine system, as you've noted. You can do and see a lot with it. However, you obviously won't get the same views as with the 8" so you might be disappointed. You might want to consider the ETX-105EC. I used one at the Mighty ETX Star Party and it seems like a good step up from the -90 without going all the way to the larger ETX-125EC. Plus, mechanically, it is more solid.

Subject:	ETX-90 Vibration
Sent:	Friday, September 21, 2001 16:48:35
From:	gallstone@telocity.com (Drew Siegel)
My scope is plagued by fine vibrations that make observation nearly
impossible unless I turn of the tracking. Clearly, the vibration is
coming from the motors and is not a tripod problem. any suggestions on
how to fix this?
Mike here: Well, actually, the mount can be a cause of vibrations. You didn't indicate whether you are mounted in Polar or Alt/Az; Alt/Az is more stable from a vibration dampening standpoint but more prone to some drive-induced vibrations since two drives are running instead of one. Also, you didn't indicate what type of tripod you are using. Some users have placed extra weight on accessory trays or suspended a weight from the tripod head. Others use vibration dampening pads. Myself; I just don't have the tripod legs extended to their full height, in fact, they may be at their lowest height. Anyway, if none of this is helpful, give me some more info on your setup.


Thanks for your reply-I was not expecting such personal attention. The
vibration occurs in the Alt-Az using the Meade field tripod. I am going
to try adding weight. Also, I am going to do the ETX tuneup, see if it
Mike here: Do you have the tripod extended to its full height? If so, try lowering it to its lowest level.

Subject:	New Meade Products
Sent:	Friday, September 21, 2001 13:14:05
From:	brians@mdbs.com (Brian Straight)
I see in my latest copy of S&T that Meade has some interesting additions
to its product lines.  Especially tempting for me is the LXD55 10 inch
Schmidt-Newtonian with Autostar.  At a tad over $800, it seems a little
too good to be true.  These scopes are not released yet, and I have not
read any reviews.  They use the LXD55 equatrorial mount, which seems a
little flimsy to me.  Have you had any experience with this mounting
yourself?  I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts you might have, or
any rumours you have heard concerning this scope.

Thanks for the great service your page provides,

Mike here: I have no experience with the new models, other than the new ETX-105EC.

Subject:	RE: Question about 2 specific eyepieces
Sent:	Thursday, September 20, 2001 11:26:56
From:	MFRiesco@directvla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
Thanks very much for your reply, Mike.  I actually got the Discovery
Store people to extend my gift certificate by a couple of weeks, so I
have a little more time to decide what to do.  I hear what you say about
the electric focuser, and am leaning in that direction. The thing I
wanted to know is:  what's the "seeing difference" between, say, a
Barlow-ed 26mm (the standard ETX eyepiece) and a straight 13.8mm SWA? 
Both will yield essentially the same magnification (about 95X or so). 
So what is "better" about having the wider field of view?  And, is the
fact that you're not using a Barlow with the 13.8mm (hence one less
thing in the path of the light) very significant?  Or are both of these
cases essentially identical, hence it's not worth springing $$'s for the

If you have time (and patience!), I'd appreciate your follow-up
thoughts.  Otherwise, I'll probably just take your earlier advice and go
with the focuser.

Hope you are doing well, with all that's happened in our country...


Mike Riesco  (mfriesco@directvla.com)
Mike here: The less optics you have in the light path the better the views can be. When adding a Barlow Lens you will deteoriate the image slightly (or a lot, depending upon the eyepiece and Barlow Lens quality). And it will decrease the field-of-view so if you want to retain a wide field of view then you should go with a specific type of wide angle eyepiece.

Subject:	ETX90 & Apple
Sent:	Thursday, September 20, 2001 8:19:03
From:	juanma@iberdrola.neo.es (Juanma)
I'm Spanish guy who is thinking about buying the ETX90 and I have a
couple of questions for you:

I'm an iBook user and I was wondering if I would have any problems
connecting the telescope with it..how do you do it?.

What kind of software do you use to control the telescope??

Your site is one of the best I have found in the Internet!! :)

Mike here: See "Update Autostar using a Mac" on the Autostar Information page. It describes what you need to update the Autostar. You need the same stuff to control the telescope from software. As to the software itself, see the Accessory Reviews - Software for some info.

Subject:	Dew shield for ETX-70
Sent:	Thursday, September 20, 2001 0:58:41
From:	soehnk@cableregina.com (Keith Soehn)
I came across some good material that makes a great dew shield for the
ETX-70,60 (or even the 90).  It is matte black craft foam that comes in
various sheet sizes (I used a 12 x 18 x 2mm sheet).  It is easy to cut
and accepts stick-on velcro and shouldn't scratch the surface of the

For my ETX-70, I cut the sheet down to 9 x 13.  I don't know the
specific product name of this foam but it should be available at any
craft store.

Clear skies,

Subject:	supercharge service...
Sent:	Tuesday, September 18, 2001 8:28:29
From:	joefish@amerytel.net (Joe Fisher)
I am the proud owner of a new, Supercharged-ETX-125.  I have been an
astronomy enthusiast since I was 7 years old.  After borrowing time on
other people's telescopes and saving several hundred dollars I purchased
my first telescope in the mid-70's- a Cave 8" f4.5 Newtonian- it was,
and still is a beauty!  But it is not very portable and have recently
had problems with the electric drive system.

I have been eyeing the GOTO telescopes for sometime and was in the
Madison Wisconsin area recently and stepped into a store.  And there it
was and as you say- the Mighty ETX!  Before I purchased though I went
back and did some research on the Internet and came across your
web-site.  I went through just about every web-page you have devoted to
the ETX; knowing that there is a place which supports the use and
handling of these scopes provided me with much confidence in knowing
what I would be getting into.

I especially noticed the Supercharge service offered by Dr. P. Clay
Sherrod and decided then that if I purchased an ETX that it would be
sent immediately to him to be serviced.

And that is exactly what I did- I went back to the store and purchased
an ETX-125 and turned around and sent it to Dr. Sherrod- he happened to
have a slot in his busy schedule to take a look at it immediately if I
got it to him right away- I did this even though I was having some
difficulty in letting the scope go as it was already growing on me!!

I cannot say enough good things about the Supercharge service and the
personal attention that Dr. Sherrod gives- once he received the scope we
were in constant contact with each other via e-mail.  He would inform me
as to his progress and what he is finding- this particular ETX's
declination stop was compromised and two of the three screws holding a
worm gear in place were repaired (these 'screw' problems are common with
ETX's it seems.)

I have now received the Supercharged-ETX (it is no longer just a ETX!)
back from Dr. Sherrod. I have not had a chance to do any night sky
viewing with it as it has since been cloudy here in northwestern
Wisconsin.  I have had a chance to do some terrestrial viewing and just
some general getting use to the scope operation- I have noticed that the
S-ETX runs considerably quieter and smoother.  In the meantime I feel
confident that I am going to get the most out of this system since it
has been through Dr. Sherrod's service.

You have a great site and have gained a new ETX member- thank you.

Joe Fisher
Amery, Wisconsin
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Joe!  Thank you so much....how nice!  I appreciate it so much and hope
that the Mighty scope will give you wonderful nights of astronomical
discovery and relaxation.  It should fill your mind with wonder and

You have the wonderful and deep clear skies of winter awaiting!

Clay Sherrod

Subject:	A thought to help you Mike...
Sent:	Monday, September 17, 2001 18:40:34
From:	Faegre@Maine.rr.com (Dirk S. Faegre)
All these people asking "which telescope do you recommend?" and you
responding "It depends...  what do you want it to do?".

Here's site you could point them to that would answer all those
questions without any vendor spin.  I think it would save you a lot of
time and give them the info they're looking for.

Just a thought.      http://howstuffworks.lycos.com/telescope.htm Maybe you
could have a link right on your home page attached to that endless
Question:  Which one do you recomm....?

Keep up the good work.

    -- Dirk

Dirk Faegre
Westbrook, ME 04092
Mike here: Wow! Many thanks! I will link to it from the "Buyer/New User Tips" page.

Subject:	Thanks
Sent:	Monday, September 17, 2001 16:56:38
From:	BOBCATH28@msn.com (BOBCATH28)
Thanks for your help!Hope you enjoyed the ETX star party.Would like to
hear about it sometime!!                   Bob D.
Mike here: As noted on last night's site update (the General Feedback page), I will be posting a report on the Mighty ETX Star Party once I get time and energy.

Subject:	ETX Star Party
Sent:	Monday, September 17, 2001 12:46:33
From:	jjacobso@lainet.com (James Jacobson)
Just wanted to thank you and your lovely wife for organizing the ETX
Star Party. It was some of the best deep sky viewing I have had with the
DS-90, and also a lot of fun to meet fellow Meade Autostar users.  Also
very helpful to discuss Autostar issues, etc with others in person.

I also wanted to let you know, in case you hadn't seen, the new line of
Meade Autostar telescopes.  Basically, Meade is making it's LXD Series
into equatorial Gotos.  Sounds interesting, even though I am not quite
sure what a Schmidt-Newtonian is.  They nonetheless look very
interesting.  The link is :

Thanks again -

-Jake J.

Subject:	Question about 2 specific eyepieces
Sent:	Monday, September 17, 2001 6:24:24
From:	MFRiesco@directvla.com (Riesco, Michael F)
I'd like to ask you for some advice.  I have at ETX-90EC, and own a
26mm, a 9.7mm, and a 2X Barlow.  I'm considering adding to my eyepiece
collection by purchasing one of the Super Wide Angle eyepieces from
Meade -- specifically, either the 13.8mm SWA or the 18mm SWA.  My
question to you is -- is one of these necessarily preferable to the
other, given the eyepieces I already own?

I understand the range of magnification that each of them would give me
(with and without Barlow) -- the 13.8mm would yield 90X/180X, and the
18mm would yield 70X/140X.   Assuming that this is somewhat of a
"toss-up", magnification-wise, is there some other parameter associated
with these SWA eyepieces that would make one, in any way, preferable
over the other?  (for example, is the "SWA-ness" lost as one goes to
higher magnifications, and therefore the Barlow-ed 13.8mm would be less
desirable than the Barlow-ed 18mm?).

I'm in somewhat of a time crunch, since I have about $50 worth of gift
certificates for the Discovery Store that expire tomorrow (9/18), and I
want to put this money towards the purchase of a telescope accessory. 
Would you recommend either of these eyepieces for me instead of, say, an
electric focuser?  That's another thing I could spend the money on,
which may be a more useful accessory...

If you get this e-mail today, and can respond by tomorrow, I'd really
appreciate it!  I'd just basically  like to know if I should even be
thinking of these SWA eyepieces, or are my trusty 26mm and 9.7mm, plus
Barlow, plenty good enough??

Thanks so much, Mike!!

Mike Riesco  (mfriesco@directvla.com)
Mike here: Wide angle eyepieces have usefulness, especially for observing large star fields. But if you don't do that very often, then something else could be more useful to you. An electric focuser is very handy, especially if you swap eyepieces a lot. It can really make it easy to refocus, and could therefore be a more useful accessory. There are probably a lot of things you could use the gift certificate for but given the choices you've indicated I would go with the focuser.

Subject:	Death Valley Star Party
Sent:	Sunday, September 16, 2001 19:01:29
From:	rwbraddy@lvcm.com (Robert Braddy)
Our next excursion is Death Valley in 19th and 20th 0f October with
public star parties at the airport on Friday and Saturday night and a
slide show on Saturday afternoon.

Once again we have special rates at the Ranch at $99 per night. There is
a campground adjacent and folks can make other arangements if they
choose. Not that the are holding rooms for us at this rate until the
19th of Sept. After that it's on a space available basis. Phone is 
(760) 786-3353  for reservations. The Ranch is nice.


Mike here: I have begun to block receipt of email from those users who continue to send out SirCam virus generated email. Apologies for having to take this action but the extent of this problem has made it necessary.

Subject:	11 Sept 2001 events
Sent:	Sunday, September 16, 2001 15:15:20
From:	teb1013@hotmail.com (Thomas Brown)
September 11, 2001  began as it did for most people with the realization
that history had changed.  By the evening, I was numbed by images of
horror and by a growing realization of a loss of human life which is
hard to comprehend.  Angered and bewildered by this demonstration of
contempt for life, supposedly in the name of a ?god? which seems to have
no relation to the God, whose message of love I was always taught
[friends of mine who are followers of Islam point out that the
bloodthirsty god of the terrorists has no true relation to Allah

I wandered outside to find the first truly clear night in months [at
least in the NE even the best summer nights were pretty poor].  Here
were the waning summer stars and the new autumn stars which have looked
down, largely unchanged on the best and worst of humanity since the
earliest times.  And so I spent the night of the tragedy, getting my
best looks at the stars at the change of the seasons, and, perhaps
getting some perspective on the events.  Since then I have had two more
beautifully clear nights [Sept 14 and 15] and while I could not be
present at your event, Mike at least I was able to share the same stars
with all of  you.  Great views of the Saggitarius objects on Sept 11 [by
the 13th and 14th they were too low to see: especially M-22, M-16 and
17. Spectacular views of M-11, splitting zet Aquarius, as well as views
of the Summer Triangle objects. On this night eps Lyrae was easy and my
ETX 125 was providing stable images even with my 9.5mm eyepiece coupled
with the #126 Barlow.  The Ring nebula was easily resolved as a ?smoke
ring.?  I also had a last good look at M-13 and M-92 [both resolvable
virtually to the center].  The next two clear nights I spent working
with Cassiopea clusters, doubles like Eta Cas and del Ceph, and
exploring M-31 and viewing M-32 nearby [M-110 is apparently too dim to
resolve]. Finally finished with the marvelous triple, Iota Cas and the
Double Cluster.  Saturn was very low in the sky late on Sept 15 and 16
but on the second night I glimpsed the Cassini division and two of the
planet?s moons.  Sorry I missed your Star Party, but had some great
viewing anyway [even my antiquated 2.0 Autostar was working well (using
high precision)]. There may be some who would find such pursuits
?trivial? at such times of tragedy, but I?m sure most of us agree that
the beauty of the infinite is a great comfort at such difficult times.

Clear skies to all

Tom Brown
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Tom -
Thank you so much for your words and insights.  I too spent many hours
out with the telescope with no particular purpose in mind, clearing my
thoughts from the seeming clutter of the world and the actions of the
seemingly insane.

There is a reason that we find solace in what you describe.

I have often likened observing casually and taking time to really enjoy
the great gifts of God in these heavens that we peer upon.....to
watching a major league baseball game.

Sound odd?  Where else can you devote hours of unmoving
attention....undying devotion.....headstrong belief, and absolutely
NOTHING else outside of that ballgame.....or telescopic
view.....mattered in the least.

Within these realms we are total captives of something that absolutely
has nothing going on that we can do anything about....yet we are
involved, deeply.

Yet, the minute we leave the ballfield, the moment the telescope is
capped in finality from revealing those wondrous sights that we have
been given the privilege to behold......

.....the world returns.

Thanks for sharing.

P. Clay Sherrod

Subject:	U-212 tripod assistance
Sent:	Sunday, September 16, 2001 07:56:25
From:	brianchew@worldnet.att.net (Brian)
I am new to astronomy and recently purchased the ETX-90EC based on
excellent advice from amateur astronomy friends and comfort I recieved
from your EXCELLENT site.  I am considering using my older SLIK U-212
phot tripod with a Scoptronics adapter but am unsure if it will support
the ETX-90 and which Scopetronix adapter, since I only guessing the
quick release post is 1/4". Can't find specs on this tripod, other than
it will support 5lbs 8 ounces.

Would appreciate any feedback.  Apologize in advance if this is out of
range for you.


Mike here: The mounting adapter should work however the tripod sounds like it may not be really sturdy enough to perform well with the ETX-90. If the tripod is not sturdy enough you will see a lot of vibrations in the eyepiece, getting worse as you increase the magnification. Further, if you extend the legs, you run the risk of the tripod collapsing, potentially damaging the ETX. A photographic tripod can be used but it really needs to be at least a moderately heavy duty one.

Subject:	Meade Telescope ETX-70AT
Sent:	Friday, September 14, 2001 14:47:36
From:	csularry@yahoo.com (Larry Chu)
Your website loads with lots of information. Everybody loves it. Me too,
though I don't have a telescope yet. By browsing through their emails, I
have learned a lot both from you and them.

Now your guys get me excited. I am looking for a telescope. It seems to
me that the Meade ETX-60AT or ETX-70AT is a good one. I missed the
COSTCO sale with $30 off for the ETX-60AT.

What do you recommend the 60AT, 70AT, or 90EC?

I just browse the Amazon.com. The price for the 70AT Telescope with 882
Tripod is $299.99. The used Price is $149.99. Is it worthy to get the
used one at half the price?

Have a nice day. Thanks,

Larry Chu 
Mike here: My apologies for the delay in getting back to; I'm at the First Annual Mighty ETX Star Party and so not checking email as frequently as I normally do. As I tell everyone looking to buy a telescope, which telescope is right for you depends upon WHAT you want to do with it and WHAT your expectations are. The ETX-70AT (and -60AT) is a fine telescope, for its intended purpose (wide field, low magnification). The ETX-90EC makes a more general usage telescope but that may still not be the scope for you if you want to see fainter objects and more details. Perhaps you need something larger. Look through the Feedback pages, see my reports on the various models, look at the User Observations pages, as well as the Buyer/New User Tips pages. Tons of info to help you make an informed decision.

Subject:	Dew - an advanced solution.
Sent:	Friday, September 14, 2001 2:27:14
From:	m.coward@react.org.uk (Monty Coward)
As a Management Consultant ... I have the unique opportunity to see very
innovative products and processes.  A client of mine has developed a
very unique product that has a host of applications.  I spoke to him a
few days ago about a possible solution w.r.t. controlling dew.  Let me
tell you about this product.  Imagine a strip of material, about 8
inches long and the width of a ETX 70 dew cap.  Now imagine this piece
of woven cloth ( very thin ) has two wires popping out of the side and
attached to a 9v battery .... and that the cloth can be heated for a
very long time .. at a specific temperature ... just above dew point. 
Well, this sample is being made for me at the moment.  Samples can be
made up to any length and width ... powered off a 9v battery and at a
specific temperature.  If anyone of you would like try something like
this .. give me a call in the UK at +(44) 1142-452897 after 8.00pm or
+(44) 7904-208518, else send me a email, or write me at 2 St Michaels
Close, Ecclesfield, Sheffield, S.Y. England. S35 9YG.  This product is
so energy efficient and ... I can imagine will work very, very well for
the following reasons:

1. Very light .. that is  .. thin cloth.
2. Maintain an EVEN temperature (can be set at any temperature -  over
the entire surface of the material),  for an extended period.
3. Very easy to install (simply wrap around dew cap).
4. Will be cheap to purchase.

This is a really nice product, that has patented technology .. but may
be afforded benefit to the Astronomy community.


Lewis Coward

Mike here: I am still receiving numerous emails from Windows users whose computer has been infected by the SirCam virus. Windows users who do not already have virus protection installed should go to the Symantec Anti-Virus web site and follow the instructions on this page:
Please note that you can not get this virus from this ETX Site nor from email you receive from me.

Subject:	Further adventures with my ETX90 
Sent:	Thursday, September 13, 2001 8:49:21
From:	jahorsley@hotmail.com (John Horsley)
It's been awhile since I've e-mailed you and I thought that I'd catch up
with you and let you know what I have been up too. As you know I had
been using my ETX-90 with a 201XT autoguider as a guide scope for my 8"
LX200 and getting pretty good results. I have since, just acquired a new
telescope, mount, and ccd autoguider which I am also guiding with the
ETX-90. The scope is a Tele Vue 102, the mount a Losmandy GM-8 and I am
now using a S-Big ST-4 CCD for my autoguider. Using a dual scope mount
plate on the GM-8 I have a side by side scope set up which I really like
much better than a piggyback set up. It allows better utilization and
access to the main scope, as the guide scope and ccd cords always seems
to get in the way with the piggyback set up.

I have been able to finally get some preliminary photos shot and am
really excited with the first results. This is my first long exposure
taken with this set up, and I thought you might like to see it. This is
a 55 minute exposure shot on Ektachrome E200 pushed processed 1X. I had
a print made from the slide which I scanned and cropped. There is a
little image degradation from going through the slide, to print, to
digital image. I am soon getting a Slide/Film scanner so my future
digital images will be much better without loss of detail. I have some
more exposures in my camera and as soon as I get them processed I'll be
sure to share them with you as well.

Talk to you later,
John Horsley
photo photo

Subject:	Greetings Mr Weasner.
Sent:	Thursday, September 13, 2001 2:38:26
From:	m.coward@react.org.uk (Monty Coward)
First of all, our thoughts are with you in your time of tragedy ... It
is my hope that neither family or friends were caught up in either New
York or Washington.

If I may address a question to you. I have an ETX 70 and would like to

(a) The horizontal lock ... do we push it all the way to the left, or
only until it 'bites'.

(b) I have read much on your site and it seems that there is a lot of
maintenance undertaken by more knowledgeable people ... that is
stripping down to gear level etc, replacing grease etc. This concerns me
inasmuch that I  did not realise that these little scopes give so much
trouble I am not that way inclined.  Is there anything type of regular
maintenance that has to be undertaken, assuming that the scope works

Yours truly,

Rev L M Coward
Mike here: Thanks. No direct impacts from the events of 11 September 2001.
Tighten both axis locks to a "firm feel". See the current "General Feedback" page for more on "firm feel". And most telescopes DO NOT need to be adjusted or modified in any way to perform suitably for most users. I have not made any of these types of mechanical modifications on any of mine and they work just fine. That's not to say that these mods are not helpful for some users who want more perfection from their scopes than they were originally designed to provide for their cost.

Subject:	ETX 90EC Lens Cover
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 21:15:58
From:	robert@sphereboy.com (Robert Meireles)
Sorry to bother you. I was wondering if you can help me find someone
that sells a replacement cover for the primary lens of the etx 90 lens.

See i dropped the lens cap and it dented the groove on the lens cap and
it does not screw in smoothly.

Thanks for the help.
Mike here: Contact Meade. They should be able to handle the request.

Subject:	telescope java calculator
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 17:30:46
From:	rs@stepperequipment.com (bob sharpe)
I came across this today. A Java calculator that gives you a report on
your scope and eyepieces!



Subject:	Re: Star Charts
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 15:16:18
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	John
The problem you encounter is common and the fix to it I believe we can
thank Mike Weasner for.

It had always been my intentions to have the reader:

1) click on the image on the Mighty ETX web page;
2) or RIGHT CLICK to "Save as"
3) save it on your desktop or to file on your computer;
4) bring that file up and RESIZE it to fit your page;
5) then save again at the "normal size" and print!

For the larger charts, please take the time to do it that way; I very
much appreciate the fact that you are using them....plenty more to

Bright stars and dark skies!

P. Clay Sherrod
----- Original Message -----
> Dr. Sherrod,
> I have been printing-out and enjoying your
> constellation series filed on Mike Weasner's site.
> I've had some trouble with the star charts on some of
> your older files.  When I click to enlarge them, they
> get very large!, and the printer will only reproduce
> part of them (the part on the screen).  Your more
> recent files enlarge nicely and pretty well fit the
> printer on one letter size page.  Any suggestions?
> I spent several hours on Sagittarius last night, and
> really enjoyed the tour.
> Thanks,
> John
Mike here: I keep the Star Charts at the largest resolution that I get them from Clay. That way, they will print at the best resolution for almost any printer. Yes, you do have to size them in a graphics program on your Mac/PC/Unix box.

Subject:	Building an ETX Power Supply
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 13:48:52
From:	akr@value.net (Art Kapoor)
For those of you thinking of building a power supply for your ETX please
heed the following:

I purchased an off-the-shelf 12V 1.3A plug-in supply to power my
ETX/Autostar.  Being a cautious engineer I measured the output voltage.
To my surprise I measured 18V no load and 16V @ 500ma.  I then went and
measured all the various plug-in supplies I have been collecting from
discarded equipment - not one was close to its marked output voltage
under no load and loaded conditions.  I haven't torn one of these apart
to see if they use use a linear or some other type of regulator.   I
used a 7812 linear regulator to get the 12V I desired.  I have read
elsewhere on this site that 15V is the absolute tops for the

Best Regards,

Subject:	ETX Comments
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 13:40:35
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
You are correct that it is very important to assure that the voltage
being supplied to the ETX is NOT more than 15.7V.  It does love to
operate at between 14v and 15.2v however, and the Meade AC adapter
(#541) does put out consistently about 15.3V average without load.

However, the 17V output you mention is way too much and you were very
wise to check that to make sure.

You may not be aware of it yet, but the latest (and greatest) version of
the Meade Autostar Update program "ASU 3.0" allows you to save ALL your
settings that you normally would have to key in after an upload.  This

1) locations
2) time zone
3) training value (you don't have to retrain!)
4) calibration
5) observer/user information
6) personal preferences (i.e., "display options, etc.)

You also can retain all of your emphemeride (comet, asteroid, satellite,
tour, user object, landmark) data as well!  This is a version of
uploader we have been waiting for.  If you have not yet downloaded this
latest from Meade, it is dated "09-06-2001" and is located on their
Autostar Update page at: http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html . It
takes just about 30 minutes and about 3.9 megs to load it and it
autoloads for you without any hassle at all.  Use the HELP file by topic
to walk you through the drastically changed format for uploading and
transferring data.  It is very nice once you get used to it.

Since your comments and questions are so pertinent and important I am
taking the liberty to send this response with your original post to Mike
Weasner; you have offered information that is important to all ETX

Thanks, Art!

P. Clay Sherrod
----- Original Message -----
  I've been having a great time with my "supercharged" ETX 90.  Goto
  works so much better.  The virtual elimination of the mechanical
  backlash is amazing.  The tracking is fantastic.

  Couple of things I'd like to mention even though you probably know
  them already.  I built a battery replacement unit for my telescope.  I
  purchased a unit marked 12V and 1.3A max load.  Being a good if
  cautious engineer I never take markings for granted and measeured the
  output voltage of the supply.  18V at no load!  So I connected up a
  set of resistor to simulate a 500ma load and measured the output
  voltage. 16V!  I finally connected up a 7812 linear regulator chip to
  get 12V at any load.  I checked my collection of leftover plug-in
  supplies pulled from various thrown away pieces of euipment - not one
  was close to its listed output voltage at no load and with load. 
  Please warn others that if they are building a battery eliminator to
  use a regulator chip like the 7812 - it will guarantee (assuming that
  you maintain the proper polarity) that you will not fry the Autostar
  or the scope.

  I alos built a 505 cable set type cable from a DB9 plug and a
  telephone headset cord.  Figured I shouldn't let two years pass before
  updating the Autostar software.  I haven't download anything yet into
  my Autostar (since you just set it up) and probably won't until I find
  some good reason to do so.  However,  I thought it would be useful to
  load my current Autostar software setup back into my computer for
  security.  In this way if I am not happy with any future setup I can
  go back.  I haven't looked in to this deeply - have any ideas on how
  this can be done?

  Thanks for all, Art

Subject:	Response to DR Clay's recent Suprecharge Offer!!
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 12:26:05
From:	peterrossi@lucent.com (Rossi, Peter (Peter))
I have just finished reading the latest offering from DR ETX/Clay titled:
Subject: NEW Autostar Ephemeris Object Database Files
Now Offered with Supercharge!
Sent: Saturday, September 8, 2001 7:19:45
From: sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Beginning October 15, 2001
Why doesn't Clay make these updates available on Floppy Disks or CD's to
everyone??  He could offer them in a downloadable form on this Web Site.
He could also offer updates and charge for either an ongoing
subscription or individual versions.  I know I would subscribe!!  Just
something to think about.
Peter Rossi

Subject:	Re: hi again
Sent:	Monday, September 10, 2001 1:59:15
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
1)  the moon and planets must be computed for the Autostar as they are
not fixed coordinates like the stars; thus the pointing accuracy will be
best if you are perfectly set up, the mount level, and your time and
observing location entered extremely close to perfect.  I have found
that the moon is probably the worst Go TO object that the scope can
attempt to find.  Mine is always off.....I would not worry too much with

2) do NOT get a variable Barlow lens; they are not very good; always
stick with the 2x only; all others are merely gimmicks and very poor for
nice detailed work;  the Meade short Barlow or the Televue 2x is the
very best in my opinion for your scope.

3) you should not clean the optics after each observing session in case
there is a bit of moisture on the lens which will streak and might
scratch the surface;  overcleaning is worse than not cleaning at all;
wait until it is really dirty to the eye (don't use a flashlight to
determine, use bright daylight indoors, or a reflected fluorescent light
bulb).  You should clean only when necessary; in the meantime keep dust
and pollen off with a 1" camel hair brush used very gently to sweep off

4) for visual work, try these filters:

MOON AND JUPITER: #58 green (excellent detail)
MARS:  #21 Orange - super for very low contrast detail)
SATURN:  #12 yellow or #80A blue (also good for Mars)

Do NOT invest in "Nebula Filters" nor "moon filters" as these are not
really worth the money in most observing situations.

I hope this helps.  Good to hear from you!

Clay Sherrod

----- Original Message -----
> Hi Mr Sherrod,
> I wish everything is ok there. I have some questions:
> 1) I am using Autostar 1.2 (99 firmware). It works
> very well on deepsky objects but not so well on solar
> system objects like Moon. Why is it so? Do i need to
> upgrade Autostar? Is it right that new versions are
> more accurate then old versions? How can i upgrade it?
> I am so far from nearest Meade dealer.
> 2) After each observation session i clean my front
> lens with soft tissue. Is it dangerous?
> 3) I am planning to buy barlow. Do you suggest to buy
> 2X or 2X-3X Variable barlow? 2X-3X Variable barlow
> seems to be more useful.
> 4) What about filters? Which ones do i have to prefer?
> I am not photographing.
> Thanks

Subject:	ETX-125 or STARFINDER 10" what do you think?
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 18:13:01
From:	mike3049@adelphia.net (mike)
i would like to know what you think, i'm going to be buying a new
telescope soon and i can't decide which one to get.

i like the size and ease of the ETX-125 but on the other hand, i'll be
able to see alot more with the     STARFINDER 10" or will i ??  i want
to see mostly deep space object, will the ETX-125 give me a compatible
view? i know it's half the size but with the way the  lens are designed
is it at least close to the 10"?

hope to hear from you soon.

thanks,  mike
Mike here: You will be able to see fainter objects with the 10" Dob _once_ you find them. If you are comfortable with the night sky, star charts, and "star hopping", and you are OK with moving a large telescope, then the 10" Dob could be the right choice for you. If you are not comfortable with the night sky and don't want to spend the time to learn how to navigate your way around to locate objects, then having a GOTO telescope will mean you will actually see more objects than you would be fumbling around the sky. As I have frequently said, the best telescope for any user is one that actually gets used.

Subject:	CCD or digital camera
Sent:	Sunday, September 9, 2001 15:53:27
From:	tdziebarth@home.com (Timothy D. Ziebarth)
I am considering purchase of a Meade 125EC and want to do digital
photography.  I see no references on quick scan that you can use a color
CCD on this model.  Can you?  What is the best bang for the buck on
color CCDs? Second question:  I see no reference to people simply
coupling a good 2.1 or better digital camera to the objective - why
wouldn't that work?
Tim Z
Mike here: Many of the astrophotographs on my ETX site were done with digital cameras (and have been for 5 years!) and some with CCD imagers. Check the Astrophotography Gallery pages. Also, see the Astrophotography page as well as the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page. Finally, take a look at the SAC CCD system (Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page).


I saw those, but would like some clarification if you can supply it. 
Does the CCD on a 2.1 Megapixel camera equal the pixel density on CCDs,
or does the latter have greater resolution?
Mike here: Doing some research for you, I came across this page on the SBIG (famous astro-CCD manufacturer):
If you look down through the page you'll see the size and # of pixels for each of their CCD models. You'll see that most of their CCDs have far fewer pixels than most digital cameras today. However, pixel count is not the only parameter to consider when doing CCD imaging. Cooling, software, sensitivity, etc, are factors to be considered.

Subject:	ETX observations Part 2
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 21:30:15
From:	cpiso@rcn.com (Charles Piso)
The little scope that could never ceases to amaze me.  Being up at all
hours now affords me many quick opportunities to use the ETX while
forsaking my larger scopes.  Here is a brief list of what I've seen over
the last couple of nights from my fairly light polluted back yard in
suburban Boston.

The double cluster in Perseus an all time favorite of mine looking like
diamonds on black velvet some might say no big deal but the
doublecluster represents a good look at a huge advantage to the ETX its
inherent field of view which far out shines larger aperture scopes.  I
am mainly writing to let you know that early Monday morning I must have
had exceptional skies because when I observed Jupiter with my ETX 90 I
saw six moons and tracked their movements for about an hour and a half
also to the north west (south being at the top of the FOV) of Venus
their was something that looked very much like a moon.  Saturn's casini
division was visible for the first time from my yard as well.

As always the perennial favorites were spectacular M-42 with for stars
of trapezium clearly visible and alot of filamentary structure with out
the aid of my ultra block filter , Alberio stunningly contrasted
brilliant topaz and orange.  I don't mean to ramble but for anyone who
has doubts as to the capabilities of this great little scope take it
from an armature with a little over twenty years of observing with many
different instruments MEADE'S ETX line up can't be beat I would even go
so far as to say my lust for the 90mm Questar has been satisfied with my
ETX for a budget scope I put my ETX through its paces far more regularly
then I do my other larger scopes.

Mike here: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Pocono Mountain Optics has closed down.

Subject:	Question on adjustable eyepiece
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 12:24:23
From:	Trentonent@mac.com (Brad Mitchell)
GTO offers an adjustable eyepiece that ranges from 7.4mm to 22mm.  Do
adjustable eyepieces work very well?  I use an ETX90EC.  Is there a
significant difference, other than double the cost, between the 4000
series eyepieces and the MA Series?

Mike here: Have you searched the site for "GTO"? There are some user comments on the pages that come up from the search. As zoom eyepieces, some are reviewed on the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page. As to eyepieces, the higher the quality (and sometimes cost) the better the views with the ETX (or almost any telescope of reasonable optics). But whether you will see much difference depends upon your observing techniques, location, etc. I have all kinds of eyepieces and use most of them.

Subject:	Observations with ETX
Sent:	Saturday, September 8, 2001 9:06:50
From:	cpiso@rcn.com (Charles Piso)
Hi Mike welcome back!

Just a quick note since the recent birth of my my daughter Angela
(08/25/01) I have had the opportunity to use my ETX quite frequently
between feedings.  Ilive in suburban Boston about 17 miles west of
thecity so light polution can be a problem.  I own several telescopes
and as you so frequently say the best one to buy is the one that will
get used.  My ETX 90 EC never ceases to amaze me by preforming close to
perfection every time ...many thanks to you and Dr. sherrod

Subject:	adjusting declination setting circle on ETX-60AT
Sent:	Friday, September 7, 2001 20:36:32
From:	swartout@ict.usc.edu (Bill Swartout)
Like many others I just got the ETX-60 from Costco.  One thing I've
noticed is that the declination setting circle on my scope seems to be
about 5 degrees off.  I looked at the FAQ on your web site and found a
procedure for adjusting setting circles, but I'm wondering if perhaps
that applies to a different model.  On the ETX-60, only the setting
circle on the left side has markings, but the declination lock is on the
right side.  Loosening the declination lock on the right side does allow
the unmarked setting circle on the right to be moved, but the circle on
the left cannot be moved.  I've seen floor models of the scope in
several stores with the setting circle way out of adjustment, so I know
the circle can get out of adjustment somehow, my question is how to get
it back into adjustment....   Thanks for any help!   (By the way, this
is a great site.)
Mike here: Oops! You've caught an error on the FAQ! After the tube is level, it should say to loosen the knob on the fork arm with the DEC scale, not the DEC axis lock. Thanks. I'll fix it!


Yup!  That works.  BTW, I found that the knob on the scale side is put
on pretty tight....I was a little afraid of breaking things but it all
worked out.    -Bill

Subject:	Uranus Puts on a Show!
Sent:	Friday, September 7, 2001 20:10:03
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Pardon the subject line....

For a very nice and unexpected view for the next coming weeks, check out
the planet Uranus right now, high in the southern sky at 21h 38.3m / DEC
-14 degrees 54'.

There will be no mistaking this as the planet, even with the ETX 90
scope and medium high magnification;  the planet is IMMEDIATELY east (to
the right in your eyepiece) of the 7th magnitude star identified as HIP
106829 on your Starry Night Pro sky program.  This is an incredible
sight, with Uranus appearing a dusky grayish blue in stark contrast to
the VERY reddish star only 40" arc to its west!

Views such as this actually provide a sense of 3-D to your viewing, with
the far distant planet in the foreground far closer (about 19 A.U.) than
the distant star at 558 light years!

P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	BBS Board
Sent:	Friday, September 7, 2001 11:33:57
From:	wbehrens@steakco.com
Have you ever thought about a BBS Board for your site. UBB from infopop
is a great BBS and would really help you with the updates. It is easy to
manage and would give you the ability for example to have Dr Sherrod
moderate a TecTip site. This would get you out of the daily update stuff
as the updates would be on the fly and would allow the ETX/DS community
to carry on active discussions. I know there are other sites which have
BBS facilities but for the ETX/DS folks you are the center of the
universe so it would make sense to have it here.

William Behrens
Mike here: There are many ETX related discussion groups and mailing lists mentioned on the Buyer/New User Tips page. So, for now, no reason to add another one.

Subject:	Light pollution filter advice?
Sent:	Friday, September 7, 2001 5:39:22
From:	mike.cutts@bt.com
I was hoping you could find a little bit of time to give me some filter
advice. I'm currently observing in a highly light polluted area, aren't
we all? The infamous UK orange street lights practically surround my
garden which may be deemed great for security but doesn't help me and my
observing. Although I only have the tiny ETX90 (that's not meant to
really suffer too much from light pollution) my curiosity is beginning
to get the better of me. As I've yet to even see a Messier object
through the scope, I just can't seem to see them I was wondering whether
or not a light pollution/broadband/narrow band filter would help? I have
no idea if it would or whether I'm still to new to the hobby and expect
too much? Perhaps you could let me know the price and availability of
them? As I said, I'm just itching to be able to pick out some galaxies
but alas I just don't seem to be able to see them. I use the 26mm when
ever searching but I've never made anything out other than the planets
and bright stars? Are galaxies just too far away for the little ETX to
see if it's located in a light polluted area?

Hope you can shed some light (pardon the pun) on the filters, their
effectiveness, cost and ultimately value for money?

Thanks again, kind regards,

Mike here: See the reviews of some of these filters on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. However, be aware that the small aperture of the ETX-90 limits the use of these filters since they reduce the incoming light. That means faint objects may be even fainter when using a filter. As I note in the LPR review, contrast can be increased which can make some faint objects standout better. There is a fairly good description of these types of filtes on the Orion Telescopes and Binoculars filters page.

Subject:	What's a good first scope?
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 22:53:02
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	trakker01@home.com
ooohhh... that's a tough question...

you said:
>I'm worried that my first telescope won't be enough to satisfy my
> curiousity. It comes down to money as it seems that the next model
> up is quite a bit more.

How much -can- you spend?

For good value, i'd recommend a 4.5" or 6" newtonian.
Do you -require- a "GoTo" scope (like a Nexstar or Autostar model)
or are you willing to point it at the sky?

Calibrated setting circles (RA and Declination markings) are -very-
handy for finding things, but again not essential.

A Dobsonian (newtonian telescope in VERY cheap mount) gives you the
most light-gathering (aperture) for the buck.  Bar none.

Mounting the same telescope on an equatorial mount (usually a 
German Equatorial Mount, or GEM) adds about $200 to the price,
but then gives you a system which -will- have calibrated markings,
so you can just point it at a set of RA/Dec coordinates.
After setting it up pointed exactly at the pole, and have set the
RA disk to tonight's value (usually by pointing at a bright known

The Meade 4500 (4.5" mirror, GEM mount, no Autostar, no motors)
 is a very good starter, although a -little- rickety.
The MEade 4504 adds Autostar motors and a "starfinder" controller
 (an Autostar 494 programmed for the GEM mount) to that telescope.

They're in the $399 range. (i think... check it yourself, since i
haven't chased their prices at all... i have an ETX90)

The 4500 gives -good- views of stuff, especially if you call Meade
and get their free 1.25" eyepiece adapter.  Then you can start buying
better eyepieces.  The 4500 gathers more light than my ETX90.
In my ETX90 the Andromeda Galaxy is a fuzzy blob.
In a 4500 it has a discernable -shape- of an oval.

A 6" mirror would even be better....

Check meade and orion's GEM-mounted 4.5 and 6" mirrored scopes...
for the price of the ETX70 you'll get more than twice the light
gathering, hence the capability of magnifying further before hitting
the scope's limits.

My first scope was a 3" reflector with horrid eyepiece...
   80 power magnification. It didn't "satisfy" my curiousity...
 it enflamed it and led me to a lifetime of happy sky-looking...
   but it was my only scope for 25 years...

A LOT depends upon what -you- bring to the hobby... imagination,
willingness to learn and read, and perserverence...

have fun

Subject:	re: definition of a Firm Feel
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 22:37:31
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	Steve_Haughton@S4C.co.uk
As the repairman at Rivers Camera explained it to me:

"Just tight enough so that the barrel really goes up when you 
 press the slew key.  Anything beyond that is unnecessary."

If you have an Autostar, lean on the [mode] key for 3 seconds,
release.  You're now seeing the Status display.
Scroll down to the  ALT=  AZ=  display.

Now, look at the DEC scale on the non-clamp fork.
Note the angle it's reporting.

Note what the ALT=  display says (full points if they agree).

Now slew UP.  For at least 45 degrees.  Stop.

Note the two readings (metal scale disk and ALT= readout) again.
Do they still agree?  If they didn't agree in the first place,
did they both (at least) change by the same amount?

If so, it's tight enough.

On the older model ETX's the Azimuth (base) clamp was more forgiving.
It was very difficult to overtighten.  The Dec/Alt/Fork clamp. on the
other hand, can easily be overtightend to the extent you'd break
the inner plastic pieces.

have fun...

Subject:	ETX-90EC
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 19:25:47
From:	wsmith@sutv.com (Howard Smith)
I must say I really enjoy your site. I had been looking at purchasing a
telescope for about a year or so when I stumbled onto you webpage about
6 months ago. I had thought about the ETX-90 as a purchase but the
information I got off your page is wonderful. I  purchased my ETX-90 EC
last June and have been enjoying it since.

The first time I had it out I hooked up the autostar controller to have
some fun. It seemed that I couldn't get the controller to work so I went
to get the instruction manual. OOPPPSS I left it at home. Oh well I will
just use the original controller. I still had a wonderful time. My next
trip out I didn't forget the instructions. I got the Autostar controller
hooked up and still couldn't get it to work.

I called Meade the next day and told them the problem. The person I was
dealing with took my name and address and said they would send me a new
Autostar controller out the next day and ship the other one back to
them. WOW wonderful coustomer service. Very fast and friendly. I am
awaiting my new controller and will go out have a wonderful time. Keep
the site going and Thank You for your hard work on it.

Wes Smith
Wellington, KS
Mike here: Your experience just highlights the need to PRACTICE indoors, before taking the telescope outside the first time. Hard to learn how to use a new system and where all the controls are when using a flashlight. Simplifies matters if there is a problem.

Subject:	Re: question re ETX power source modification
Sent:	Thursday, September 6, 2001 16:44:07
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
To:	Jay
You can make an external power source with a Radio Shack "project box"
velcroed to the side of the scope base;  merely run leads into the
battery compartment and solder those onto the existing leads (red and
black) that are already there; then there is no reason to disconnect or
re-route the battery box whatsoever!  Just make sure that you tie onto
the leads coming OUT of the battery holder that go directly to the small
RA motor.

Good luck!

Clay Sherrod
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  Have enjoyed your writing.
  Do you know if anyone does the following modification, or if there is
  a pre-existing product out there. I recently got an etx-90 ra-m on
  sale, primarily because of the optics (cheaper than getting the
  spotter!) Anyway, it is a pain having to remove the base to change
  batteries. Not even no-tool bolts! I'd like to have the
  battery/circ-board external to base, with a simple case protecting it,
  access to the battery area with out using a screw driver, and a little
  plug that would connect it to the base/ra motor.


Subject:	Expanding bushing
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 20:07:47
From:	jrtorrent@earthlink.net (Juan Rodriguez-Torrent)
Mike, hope I'm not abusing of your e-hospitality with a deluge of e-mail
but when a resource like you is openly available there is a tendency to
over-use it. I try not to abuse but that's a subjective feeling and
varies from individual to individual. Anyway here is my

I saw the review of the expanding bushing by Celestron to convert from
0.965 to 1.25 and tried to locate it but it is nowhere to be found at
Celestron Web site. I'm I missing something or they discontinued it? I
tried to ask Celestron but they have such a lousy web site that unless
you have purchase their product you cannot sent an inquiry. Talk about
customer support: no email for contacting customer service!


Mike here: Well, I just received the new Orion Telescopes and Binoculars catalog; page 71 has these adapters. I suspect you'll find them on their web site (www.telescope.com) as well. Also, your favorite telescope accessories dealer should be able to get one for you.

Subject:	thanks...
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 14:52:22
From:	mshore@optonline.net (Mike Shore)
that is an unbelievably awesome site u have and i would think i could
get all the info i need there.  what would u buy along with the
telescope if u were me? i bookmarked your site as it is so rich in info
that i prob could not ever get thru it all :)

thanks and if u have the time, just tell me what u think i need.

have a great day, mike shore :)
Mike here: What you need depends upon what you want to do with a telescope. So, decide upon your requirements and expectations; then you can better match a telescope to that.


Not sure what you mean.  I want to be able to see planets, stars, and
whatever. I want to learn what is out there, and once i see it, learn
more about it. This along with my youngest son, 11 yrs old who has an
insatiable appetite for all knowledge.  Being a 'newbie' at this, i just
want to be able to see as clearly as possible.  Not really sure what
else you mean by what i want to do so again, if u have the time, could u
clarify or if u understand where i am now, let me know what i might need
to get started with this telescope. thanks, mike :)
Mike here: Telescopes are designed for many purposes: visual astronomy, astrophotography, planetary work, deep sky work, etc. Some telescopes do some of these better than others. That's not to say that telescope like the ETX-90, ETX-105, or ETX-125 (or their competitors) can't do all of them; it just depends upon your expectations. The larger the aperture the fainter the objects you'll be able to see, use higher magnifications, and see more details. But larger aperture typically means more costs (except for Dobsonian telescopes, which like all telescopes, have their pluses and minuses). If you just want a "starter scope" to begin, the ETX-90 or ETX-105 should make an excellent choice; again, depending upon your expectations.


thanks, and that is where i am.  do i need the 2x barlow lens that i
have been reading about, and the autostar? any other lens i would need
to get started? thanks so much for your interest in others less
mike :)
Mike here: Start with what comes with the telescope. A 2X Barlow is useful. The Autostar is useful, especially helping you locate fainter objects from light-polluted areas. However, neither of these are required to get started. If you want to read more, see the Buyer/New User Tips page for some suggestions.

Subject:	organization of astrophotography
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 10:14:21
From:	SchmidWR@utrc.utc.com (Schmidt, Wayde R.         UTRC)
Are there any plans to organize the astrophoto categories by scope?  It
might be convenient, for example, to look through scope subcategories
within the existing Moon, planets and Sun categories - since an ETX 60
is likely to produce very different images than a 125...


W. Schmidt
Mike here: Nice idea. Only requires time... Maybe when I retire (not soon) I can go back through them all.

Subject:	Etx-70 - What is the correct definition of firm feel?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 5, 2001 3:11:27
From:	Steve_Haughton@S4C.co.uk
I have recently been trying to setup my new ETX-70 using the various
easy options.

After having several problems in obtaining even a decent alignment am
concerned over what is the correct definition of a firm feel when
tightening the horizontal and vertical locks.

What are the implications of over or under tightneing these locks and
can any permanent damage be done as a result of over-tightening?

> Steve.
Mike here: I agree that this is a somewhat nebulous (no pun intended) state. Overtightening can damage the components (break, strip threads, etc.). Undertightening will result in slippage. So you want something inbetween. I just tighten until it stiffens up and would take more effort to tighten more.

Subject:	ETXpert ...
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 19:59:13
From:	jrtorrent@earthlink.net (Juan Rodriguez-Torrent)
Did anyone has ever reviewed John Marion's ETXpert mounting plate for


Mike here: I will be soon.

Subject:	Hey Mike!
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 14:48:27
From:	Misterjingle@aol.com
I hope you can help me out...I have a ETX 90 and I want to use it for
viewing wildlife..I want to use it as a spotting scope not for stars...
is there something out there that will let me view through the telscope
like a spotting scope?

Thanks in Advance!

Mike here: You bet! See the "Meade 45-Degree Erecting Prism" discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Miscellaneous page.

Subject:	Meade Dewcaps are Available
Sent:	Tuesday, September 4, 2001 13:48:22
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Meade dew caps are available now; they are not the metal blue kind like
for the 8" and larger, but are a somewhat tapered black threaded unit
that will fit into the screw threads of your lens cap.

When done observing, to put the lens cap back on, you must unscrew the
dew shield first, so that is one drawback to them.

Astronomics has them in stock, as I am sure does OPT and the other
largest Meade dealers.  The prices are (all are in stock for all size
ETX scopes):

ETX 90 - $24.95
ETX 105 - $27.95
ETX 125 - $29.95

I have seen the one for the ETX 125 and they are very well made and very
classy looking (and of course, functional!) on the Meade scopes!

P. Clay Sherrod
Arkansas Sky Observatory

Subject:	Runaway focus
Sent:	Monday, September 3, 2001 15:39:49
From:	woodjc@netcom.ca (John Wood)
Twice now I have experienced the runaway focus problem described by
Michael Lang.  Like Michael, my setup consists of an ETX125, #1247
Electric Focuser, and an Autostar 497.  Each time I had used the mode
key to invoke focus control and once started the focus adjustment could
not be stopped without powering down.  Before I could do that, the gear
inside the focuser could be heard grating against the plastic cover.  I
do not think that I had pressed multiple keys but each time I was making
an extended coarse focus adjustment.

And this response:
From:	Lang.Michael@Orbital.COM (Michael Lang)
Since my one time experience with run-away-focuser - I have been very
careful when moding the Autostar to focus (using both the mode key hold
for 3 seconds, and the menu select methods).

I have not experienced a repeat of the frightening R.A.F. - more
frightening now because of recent warnings that the primary mirror will
fall off it's mount (mine won't - the focuser is correctly aligned).

But as any good Star Pilot know's, always have in the back of your mind,
where the ETX emergency power kill switch is located, and how to reach
it quickly in the dark (next to the red light) !


Subject:	Borrego Springs
Sent:	Monday, September 3, 2001 13:57:33
From:	bbauer@scripps.edu (William Bauer)
I've already Emailed you that I would be attending with two friends.  My
question regards the event.  I am planning on camping in the desert, but
I'd like to know if you are aware if many others will be doing this? I'm
trying to figure out how to both camp & set up my telescope to share
with others in Borrego Springs.

I know the area well (I live in San Diego), but I am unfamiliar with how
the Nightfall or your ETX Star Party will be set up.  Where to bring
telescopes (for those staying in other hotels) and so on.  Could you
offer some ideas or information?


Mike here: I've not been to Nightfall either. But I gather they set up telescopes near or at the main hotel (who installs red lights for the event). I do seem to recall one or two other ETX Star Party attendees indicating they planned to camp; can't speak for the Nightfall attendees however.

Subject:	clay sherrods exellent super chargeservice
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 20:05:28
From:	Dwa644@cs.com
i just wanted to drop a note and say how glad i am to have had clay
sherrods super charge service done to my scope. i am the proud owner of
a nexstar 8 and etx70 at , telescopes. i had my nexstar 8 super charged
and cant believe the differance in it. i thought it was great before but
it is fantastic now. dr. sherrod checks every aspect of the scope for
problems and if he finds any he fixes them and makes the scopes better
than new. my gotos at 426x where perfect and the information clay gives
you on your scope is very useful. he doucuments every aspect of your
scope and also allthat he does to it. as i said i did 20 gotos at 426x
and all were dead center in the field of view. i would recomend this
fine service to anyone who owns a nexstar, etx , or lx 90 . thanks again
for posting this outstanding service on your site
                                            daryl averill
                   proud nexstar8 and etx70at owner

Subject:	Your site
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 10:43:29
From:	KAR120CPR@aol.com
Thanks for producing an excellent site.

I am interested in astronomy and would like to get into it in a big way
over the coming year.  I already own a Japanese Astronomical Reflector. 
D = 100m/m F = 100m/m.. not that good I think.  My question is what
scope do you recommend for me.. i would like to get into astro
photography, both planets and deep space. ?

I have considered a large Helios Refractor but have been put off by
size, weight and that chromatic problem with purple haze around objects.
I would like a LX90 but they are costly.  What sort of powers can you
get from an ETX 125?  Do you consider a ETX125 to be less able than the
LX90 in terms of performance per pound / buck. ?

I have a Sony Hi 8 video camera, can I take pictures using it and my
current telescope and a Meade telecope, ie pointing the video camera
down the lens, how does it work.

thanks in advance.

Paul (UK)
Mike here: The LX90 and ETX-125EC are capable telescopes, for their intended purposes. Yes, you do astrophotography with the ETX models (as seen on my ETX Site) but the LX90 will be even better for astrophotography. The theoretical maximum magnification is twice the telescope's aperture in millimeters (or 50-60X per inch of aperture). I can't speak for the LX90 (since I don't have one) but the ETX models will frequently exceed their max magnifications on brighter extended objects. See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page for some adapters that will work with digital cameras.

Subject:	Jupiter and Saturn
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 07:39:39
Well, after 2 months of owning my ETX125 and good weather; I got pulled
myself out of bed to observe the outer planets. First, I looked at Venus
and it looked like about 1/4 was gone.(Phases?) Then I found Jupiter and
it was magnificent! I could see the belts and three moons...the color
was a shade of gray...kid of like the color of a B&W TV set picture.
Then I looked at Saturn and it was amazing to see it's Rings! Saturn to
was a gray color. It was so early I forgot to bring my filters. Are
these colors of gray normal? I am in Schaumburg,IL and was using my 10mm
Radian. I tried the 6.7mm but it seemed to strong and the image was not
sharp. Take care Mike.

Mike here: You won't see a lot of color on most planets with your eye. Photos tend to have the colors exaggerated. And yes, Venus (and Mercury) does exhibit phases since the orbit is inside the Earth's orbit.

Subject:	re: Hard Stops
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 00:30:51
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	Carlmon@email.msn.com
I must disagree with Clay.

He said: (abstracting)
Start due north.  Power Panel West.
Rotate CW about 120 degrees, you'll hit a stop a bit south of west.

(here's the disagreement:)(quoting now)

2) now, from that point, rotate the telescope (clockwise) BACK aimed at
north and then proceed to continue rotating clockwise until the scope is
aimed almost DUE WEST again....that is hard stop #2.

Er, not in my scope... that should be rotate 360 degrees CW
 (W->N->E->S->W) and **then another 180 degrees** ->N->East
NOW a little futher will hit the second hard stop.

The ETX90 and ETX125 have about 540 degrees (360+180) plus about
 ten more on each end, of free travel between stops.
The CCW stop is just south of West, the CW stop is just south of EAST.

other than that, lucky you for getting a surplus base...
From:	sherrodc@ipa.net (Clay Sherrod)
Dick -  that is entirely correct; I was thinking and typing from two
different brains....my CW brain was not operating at full
capacity..thanks for the correction!


Subject:	re: EXT-125EC wake-up
Sent:	Sunday, September 2, 2001 00:20:12
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (richard seymour)
To:	dmc@starstream.net
On Mike's site you asked if Meade was redesigning the ETX125.
Yes.  Slightly.
The ETX105 manual (at Meade's site) for the ETX90/ETX105/ETX125 claims
 that 125's "now" has ball bearings on both Alt/Dec and RA/Az axes!

However, i have *no* idea when that design change will get 
through the manufacturing chain and actually into the stores.

good luck
--dick (plastic bearings on a ETX90... and loving it)

Subject:	Questar1
Sent:	Saturday, September 1, 2001 21:52:35
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
I guess the highest compliment you can be payed is recognition from a
competitor.  The following link is a web page that touts the Questar
telescope (the one that started it all fifty years ago) and is actually
fascinating reading.  Please note the reference to the ETX on his FAQ's
and particularly the link (ETX) to YOUR site.  It isn't all that
complimentary of the ETX and I wouldn't expect it to be but a link to
your site is impressive.  The price of the Questar seems to be getting
more and more out of our reach.  Thank God for the ETX and what it's
done for the amateur astronomy community.


Mike here: Many of us have wished for a Questar. I did 40 years ago when the 3" model was (only) $995. But now that it is over $3000, I'm happy with my choice of an ETX-90 five years ago ($495).

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