Last updated: 30 September 2003
This page is for user comments and information specific to the Meade ETX-60AT and ETX-70AT. Additional information on these models is available on the ETX-60AT & ETX-70AT Announcements page. Comments on accessories and feedback items appropriate to other ETX models are posted on other pages. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Subject:	no subject
Sent:	Sunday, September 28, 2003 05:49:18
From: (Thomas Fioriglio)
I am new to astronomy and I have done my research.  The Meade ETX-70AT
seems perfect for me - a novice on a limited budget.  I have one
question for you.  I see that the ETX-70 was introduced in 1996,  how
often has it been updated since then?  And when was the last update for
it?  I guess I am thinking in terms of other technical equipment like
computers whose hardware and software are updated fairly frequently. Do
telescopes fall into that catagory as well or is there very little to
change once they have the design down.  Thanks for the help.

Thomas Fioriglio
Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette page; your email was initially deleted from the incoming mail list because it looked like SPAM.
The ETX-70 came out in May 2000. There have been some slight changes; mostly to include the Autostar #494 as standard and some minor updates to the Autostar #494 software. In general, when a design works telescopes don't change much. However, software (like for the Autostar #497 can change more rapidly).
Subject:	two questions about my etx-70 if you do not mind
Sent:	Friday, September 26, 2003 02:58:55
From: (hisham d)
1- What is the need for filters and what is the best filter i could use
for my etx-70 ?

2-what is the best Accessory or eyepieces i could use for the wide field
so i can see big part of the sky ? i have the 25mm eyepiece but i think
that there are Accessories that gives me a wide and big field
Mike here: One of the "blue fringe eliminator" filters would be a good choice for the ETX-70, as well as a Moon filter. You could add a wide field eyepiece but the ETX-70 is already a pretty wide field telescope; I suspect you'd not gain much from the use of one.



But what is need the for filters and how can they help me?

And how could I add a wide field eyepiece and what is the eyepiece I
should add? and what accessory would help me with the wide field???

i am sorry about the many questions i asked you about...
Mike here: If you have looked through a refractor telescope (like the ETX-70) you may have noticed a color fringing around bright objects. The blue fringe type filter eliminates that. A Moon filter acts like sunglasses for viewing the Moon when it is bright. As to a wide field eyepiece, personally I don't recommend that you spend the money on one for the ETX-70.
Subject:	Another WTX question...
Sent:	Thursday, September 25, 2003 04:33:19
From: (Joltz)
Sorry to bother you again Mike, but I forgot to ask you 1 more question,
I hope you don't mind.

As I said previously I own a etx70AT, my friend is going to give me his
ETX90 M/RA as he has upgraded to a lx or something model. This specific
etx90 model doesn't have the autostar controller, but looking at
everything else the way it moves around its basically identical. I was
wondering if i was to get the etx90 and remove the basically the whole
scope from the pitchforks, will it fit into the ETX70's pitchforks so i
could use the autostar to move it around?

Thanks for your help.
Mike here: Check the Telescope Tech Tips page.
Subject:	heavy eyepieces on the etx 60/70
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 11:59:35
I have a 13mm nagler, and was wondering if the etx motor would have any
problems working on this load. I was also intending on getting a
binoviewer, probably similar weight, but may be a bit more.

Mike here: In some orientations the extra weight could be a drag. You could add a counterweight; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for some ideas.
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 00:05:50
Is there any procedure to align when no north visibility is available
because of building obstruction?
Mike here: You can use a magnetic compass if you correct for your local Magnetic Variation. You can also use street maps to help point the way to True North. Lacking these you can always set up in what you believe is the correct position, then let the Autostar slew to the first alignment star. Physically pick up the telescope/tripod and rotate it horizontally to point the telescope as close as possible to the star. Then complete the centering of the first star using the Autostar. When the second star is slewed to, use only the Autostar to center it.
Sent:	Tuesday, September 23, 2003 07:08:30
Most of the year I stargaze from a balcony sited in the middle of the
town with streetlights, homeligths surrounding, ... Would a LPR filter
Mike here: See my report of using one with the ETX-90 on the Accessory Reviews - Filters page. Objects will appear even dimmer on the ETX-70.
Subject:	ETX70 eyepieces and barlow lenses
Sent:	Tuesday, September 23, 2003 03:47:24
What is your opinion of using a 3X barlow with both 9 and 4 mm
Mike here: Keep in mind the maximum magnification for the ETX-70 (140X) when pushing magnification. And the difference in tripled 9mm (= effective 3mm) and a 4mm eyepiece is not that much. But adding any Barlow Lens affects the image quality so using a 4mm eyepiece would be preferred if you already have one.


In case I already have the 9mm + 3x barlow, should I buy the 4mm?
Mike here: Do the math. Would you benefit from the magnification difference between the 4mm vs 3mm? Or could you use the money elsewhere?
Subject:	Trouble with ETX70A
Sent:	Thursday, September 18, 2003 03:42:16
Hi. I was having a little bit of difficulty with my ETX 70A. I have
straightened the OTA so it is pointed vertical, but the dial (dec) reads
83, not 90 as it is supposed to. How do I go about fixing this problem.
I cannot unscrew the one that has numbers on the dial.

Thanks, Matt Kidd. 
Mike here: See the FAQ page. If you can't turn the knob use a rubber "jar-lid" opener or rubber gloves.
Subject:	ETX-70AT eyepiece selection/alternative
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 09:46:47
I recently purchased an ETX-70, and my knowledge of telescopes and
astronomy is slim to none, so please excuse me if you've already covered
this subject. I see many choices of eyepieces out there, and because of
the cost, I hesite making random selections.  I have an old telescope
with a pretty good selection of .965" diameter eyepieces and was
wondering if there is an adapter to allow me to use these in my 1.25"
diameter eyepiece recepticle, or would I be diminishing the quality of
my viewing?  I have seen some 2" to 1.25" reducing adapters out there,
but none for the .985" eyepieces.  I have the ability to fabricate one
because I have a machine shop at my disposal, but I think I would have
to calculate the distance from the lens to the mirror to avoid more
unnecessary focusing.

About Barlow lenses (2X) - I see several different model numbers in the
1.25".  This telescope appears to use the #124. Is there a difference in
this one and other models?

In the ETX-70 manual in the optional accessories section, they list the
PL4, 5 & 6mm and the WA18mm. Would this be a good choice?  One of the
on-line retailers have a "special purchase" including a 4 & 6mm Plossl
and a #124 2x Barlow for $39.  This looks like an even better choice.

I am also new to your web site, and it looks great from what I've seen
so far.  Your opinion on the eyepiece issues would be appreciated.

Chuck J.
Mike here: See the Accessory Reviews - Eyepieces page for the adapter (called a "bushing"). If they are reasonable quality eyepieces you should be OK. The #124 is ideally suited to the ETX-70; you can use higher quality ones (ie, more expensive) but you likely won't notice any significant difference. And yes, those eyepieces could make a nice addition if you don't have those focal lengths already. However, keep in mind that if you get a 2X Barlow Lens and you already have a 9mm eyepiece, then you'd have the same as a 4.5mm eyepiece when doubled.
Subject:	Need assistance "fixing" flip mirror on ETX-70
Sent:	Saturday, September 13, 2003 15:37:32
From: (Dennis Swindle)
I just purchased a ETX-70. I discovered that after flipping the mirror
up for visual observing, the mirror ended up going past the correct
alignment point by 6-10 degrees. Trying to "bring it back" a few degrees
and keeping it there is an exercise in frustration. While this may not
have a great bearing on image quality, it sure bothers me to look
straight down the eyepiece tube and see only 75% of
the mirror. Can you help me correct this?

Dennis S.
Mike here: There are some articles on flip mirrors on the Telescope Tech Tips page; perhaps something there will help. But if you just purchased it new you might want to consider an exchange.
Subject:	#933 Erecting Prism
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 07:22:28
Did you ever use this erecting prism for ETX70 astronomical
observations? What was the feeling? Does it fit properly without quality
degradation within the whole range of eyepieces and barlow lenses?
Mike here: Sorry, I have only used the #932 on the ETX-90.
Subject:	MARS ON AN ETX70
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 07:11:53
What can I see of Mars with a 4mm +2x or 3x barlow? How full moon
proximity will affect the quality of the observation?
Mike here: See my article "Mars 2003 - What should you expect to see?" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. No effect on planet observing, unless both are in the same field of view.
Sent:	Wednesday, September 10, 2003 06:17:23
Can you give any insights of stargazing under nearly full moon
conditions? What effects can we expect in a ETX70 scope? Thanks
Mike here: Please read the Email Etiqutte page linked from the ETX Site home page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAM.
The full moon will cause the sky to be bright, hiding all but the brighter stars and the brightest nebulae (like M42 in Orion). No effect on planet observing though.
Subject:	RE: EXT70AT - Horizontal Motorskips now after power supply cord wrapped on tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, September 9, 2003 08:21:04
From: (Robert Stojkovic)
I calibrated and trained the drives again. Still get a hesitation every
10 to 15 Degrees of movement. Below 64x it just stalls for a few seconds
and then starts to move. Any ideas. Thanks.

Robert Stojkovic
Providing Rocking Innovative Collaboration Every Day
Mike here: Unlock the axis and move the telescope by hand several times back and forth several times through complete rotations. Maybe the grease needs to be distributed.
Subject:	An ETX question from a New User
Sent:	Monday, September 8, 2003 22:46:48
From: (Zero Fenix)
My name is Zach Levine and recently I bought a Meade ETX-70EC Telescope
for my birthday. I'm a physics major at San Francisco State University
and ironically I've had very little hands on telescope experience. I
stumbled upon your site hoping you could answer a question I desperately
am looking for an answer to. So, if you would be so kind to listen and
offer any advice I would very much appreciate it :) here goes...

After assembling my scope, I set up all of the alignment electronically
and such and started free viewing across the sky. At first I didn't see
much so I thought I could always try my luck with the moon as I'm sure
most do for their first view. So, I blindly (and using the remote for
small adjustments) navigated my way to the moon and finally found it
except...that it was blurry - horribly blurry. I thought at first it was
the focus so I adjusted it both ways - no luck. I realized after a
couple minutes that it wasn't particularly blurry, but had an odd halo
surrounding the moon that was solid (almost like a bad case of glare).
Confused I put the scope back and blamed the error on a number of things
(fog particularly even though I was sure there wasn't any). So, next
night I tried again. This time I'm sure theres no fog. Headed back up
for the moon and alas, the same odd encompassing white glare surrounding
the moon. Odd. Since mars was so close to the moon I again navigated to
mars only to see that it too had a halo surrounding it (proportional to
the shape exactly which ruled out the possibility that I smudged the
lens or got fingerprints on it). Hmm...back to the moon. I realized this
time that if I stood back from the scope entirely the moon was clear,
then as I got in closer to the lens it started to glare more. I finally
figured out that this solid halo is the projection of light (from the
reflecting mirror up to the viewing glass I was looking through). This
was the case for both lenses that came stock with the scope, so I doubt
it was an eyepeice defect.

So, since I'm 90% sure it's something I didn't do, I wonder if you could
help me figure out whats wrong. Is this common in new scopes or
inexperienced amateurs to have the light glare shoot back up in the lens
and blur the image? is there something I can do? (focusing makes no
difference considering the halo always covers the image.) If it's need
of something specific I have some experienced users on campus that would
most likely help but hopefully you can help me out before I resort to
them and lug it out on a night trip. Any advice would be appreciated as
well as any time answering. All the best and thanks for the long read.

Clear skies Mike -

						Sincerely - Zach Levine
Mike here: Could you be viewing a reflection of the Moon instead of the primary image? This has been known to happen, usually when people view the Sun (using the proper protections, of course). Also, what about dew? Do you see any condensation on the objective? Lastly, are you SURE you have the image properly focused? A common new user error is to use the focus knob to change the size of the object being viewed instead of making it a crisp image. On the Moon do you clearly see the craters? Does Mars appear as a SMALL dot? Remember, with planets, the infocus image will be the smallest image possible.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Question
Sent:	Monday, September 8, 2003 21:53:36
From: (Jason Stromback)
Well i think i found some of my questions in my last email on your
website. But the one thing i still can't figure out is how the heck do i
do a RESET? I took out the batteries, and the thing kept everything in
the memory!  What the heck...  IS there a button i have to push or is it
stashed somewhere in the controller?  Currently i am still having a
problem with the Scope having a mind of its own, spinning around during
the alignment and not stopping.  I am thinking i need to RESET,
Calibrate drives, and train drives, but i cant find the RESET button.. 
I need help.. arghhhh ive had this scope for 1 week now, and i still
havent been able to fully use the controller!  Ive spent almost 2 hours
every night trying to figure it out.

Thanks for any info you can give me

Jason S.
Mike here: Select SETUP and Scroll until you see RESET, then press ENTER.
Subject:	Would upgrading from an ETX70-AT to an ETX90 make it easier to get some eye relief? 
Sent:	Monday, September 8, 2003 12:10:28
From: (Eric Renger)
I was recently hypnotized by Mars Mania and purchased an ETX70-AT. It
came with the 25mm and 9mm MA eyepieces, and I also bought some
additional Meade eyepieces that were offered as a set at a special price
(4mm Plossl, 6mm Plossl, and 2x Barlow). Because I live in the city, and
many of the deep sky objects are difficult to see at home, the thing
that I have enjoyed most has been looking at the Moon. I've tried all
the eyepieces alone and in combination with the Barlow, and I am
impressed with what I can see with the Plossl eyepieces and the Barlow
(although I understand I am probably over-magnifying the telescope with
the 4mm and the Barlow). The problem is that, with my severe
astigmatism, I really need to use my eyeglasses, and I can't keep them
on and use the Plossl eyepieces. I have to take them off and jam my
eyeball right up against the eyepiece to see anything. Even then, I feel
like I am peeking through a keyhole. The 25mm and 9mm are a lot more
comfortable, but I don't get the magnification I would like.

So, I've started reading about some of the Super Wide-Angle and Ultra
Wide-Angle eyepieces that have some better eye relief. I see that these
are not usually recommended as accessories to the ETX70. Is that because
they are kind of economically out of whack with the less expensive
telescope, or is there a technical reason they are not recommended?

Also, I've read that one of the ways to get better eye relief is to use
a Barlow to increase the effective focal length of the scope,  and then
use a longer focal length eyepiece to get the same magnification you
would with the shorter focal length eyepiece. I understand the longer
focal length eyepiece will generally have better eye relief. So that got
me thinking that what I really may need is a longer focal length scope
like the ETX90. The wider angle eyepieces are recommended accessories
for the 90, and you would not need as short a focal length eyepiece to
get up to the maximum practical magnification anyway.

I have only had the 70 for a short time, and I can probably still
exchange it for a 90. So I'm wondering if that is likely to get me
closer to what I really want, which is to be able to comfortably wear my
glasses and observe the Moon at close to the maximum magnification for
the scope. Am I on the right track, or is there something else you would
recommend? I estimate it will cost me more than twice what it cost for
the 70 to upgrade to the 90 and buy the Autostar and carrying case that
were included with the 70. So I want to make sure I know what I'm doing
before I decide. If I do stick with the 70, what combination of
eyepieces and Barlows would you recommend to get eye relief at high
magnification? If I go with the 90, what eyepieces and Barlows should I


Eric Renger
Mike here: You might want to upgrade to the ETX-90 but if you don't need or want the Autostar you can get an ETX-90RA for a lot less than the ETX-90AT. But then you would still have to add the tripod, unless you can use the tabletop legs. And from your description I suspect you would be happier with the -90. With many wide angle eyepieces the ETX-70 would likely show some significant vignetting, which would be reduced on the ETX-90. Plus you would still have the benefit of the longer focal length of the ETX-90.


Thanks for the reply. I think I will try to exchange the -70 and upgrade
to the -90 if the store will allow it. I would still like to have the
Autostar, even if it is not really necessary for my moon gazing. When I
get a chance to go to an area with a darker sky, I think I will want it.

I really wish that the people at the shop that sold me the scope had
been able to explain the issues to me. I looked at the ETXs at a
Discovery store (which is where I bought it), and at a Ritz and a Wolf
Camera. Those people seemed to know next to nothing about the
telescopes, and I could not find any other shops within reasonable
distance. They basically said that the -90 is bigger than the -70 and
gathers more light --- didn't discuss focal length and what that would
mean. And it seemed like a lot of stuff that came packaged with the -70
did not come with the -90 (the Autostar and the hard case). I guess it's
hard to commit $600-$700 to a hobby you are not sure you will enjoy,
especially when there is a $300 alternative, but if I had understood the
focal length issue better, I think I would have just bought the -90.

Thanks again for the info.


Subject:	ETX Star Navigator software
Sent:	Sunday, September 7, 2003 12:50:00
From: (Doug Scott)
I just purchased an ETX70 from Ebay and the only thing that was missing
is the navigator software. How can I get a copy of that and do I need it

Doug Scott
Mike here: Do you need it? No. Could you use it? Perhaps. But there are alternatives. See the Accessory Reviews - Software page for some software that will control the ETX. For the ETX-70 you will need a #506 cable (which can not be homemade). Alternatively you could purchase a #495 (which can be upgraded to a #497) or a #497 and then make (details on the Autostar Information page) or buy a #505 cable. You need Windows and a serial port to do the Autostar upgrades but there is control software for Mac and Windows.
Subject:	ETX-70AT Alignment problems
Sent:	Sunday, September 7, 2003 09:51:28
From: (Jason Stromback)
First I am glad I found your website, there is a lot of things I learned
from it.  Also, ill tell you right now, a newbie to telescopes.  I just
bought the ETX-70AT about a week ago.  I have looked at mars and the
moon quite a bit, and I am just in love with the scope but I can't seem
to get the alignment correct.(Autostar alignment that is)  I have some
questions, and I was hoping you could help me out.  I am trying to do
the EASY 2 star alignment.

1.  During alignment, I know the telescope has to sit, North, be at 0
vertically, and I am guessing horizontally.  Do I need to level the
tripod or the telescope when doing this?  I haven't so far.  Also,
exactly where at north should the scope be pointing?  I just have a $4
Wal-Mart compass to aim it north?  Do I need to like point it more
accurately then that?

2.  When the scope makes its first move to line up with the stars, and I
have to center it.  I am looking for basically the brightest star in the
area correct?  Do you use the handbox to move it or do you manually move
the scope where it should be?

3  Do you think its worth buy both a 2x barlow and 3x barlow or is that
probably a waste of money?  I currently have on order the 2x barlow with
a 4 pl, and a 6pl.

Getting these questions answered would help me out a lot.  I think I
have to train the drives now.  I believe the scope doesnt even want to
find the first star anymore.  Last night it just kept going around and

Thank you for reading this email.

Jason S.
Mike here: See the alignment tips articles on the Autostar Information. Generally, the more precise you make the HOME position the better the alignment and the more accurate the initial pointing to the alignment stars. Yes, you need the tube level and the ETX base level (but I just normally "eyeball" it). True North (which is here you point the telescope) and Magnetic North (where your compass points) can be up to about 20 degrees different, depending upon where you live. Use Polaris if you can see it; otherwise see the Astronomy Links page for site that provide Magnetic Variation values. Normally you use the Autostar to center the alignment stars but on the first star (and only the first one) you can physically pick up the entire telescope and tripod and rotate them horizontally to get them as close as possible to the alignment star. Then fine-tune it with the handcontroller. If you got the right initial star centered, this corrects for an error in North pointing. Generally, there is no need to purchase both Barlow Lens; keep in mind the maximum usable magnification for your telescope (see the FAQ page if you don't know how to calculate magnification and the max). Lastly, see the Email Etiquette page; it does help to limit questions per email.
Subject:	Meade ETX-70AT Problem...Defective Telescope, or Defective Operator?
Sent:	Saturday, September 6, 2003 23:45:55
From: (Steve Smith)
My brother and I just got a Meade ETX-70AT this week, and I am having
some problems.  Setting aside for the moment that I have been unable to
configure AutoStar, I'm not sure what I am seeing, when I look at Mars.
To make sure that light was actually coming through the scope, we
started with the moon.  I was surprised at how much I had to turn the
focus knob to get it into focus.  I have no lunar filter as yet, so it
was quite brilliant.  After successfully focusing in on the moon with
the 25mm eyepiece, we manually moved to Mars.  We were able to center it
in the scope, but it was extremely small.  I got the 9 mm and the 4 mm
eyepieces, and we saw a disk, but there were odd shadows that reminded
me of looking at bacteria through a microscope.  So I'm not sure if we
were seeing extremely large surface features of Mars, or crud on one of
the lenses in the telescope.

Please let me know what you think as I am contemplating sending the
telescope back and just looking at images on the web.

Also, I noticed that the moon's image was reversed (right to left) in
the telescope.  I thought the ETX-70AT was a refracting telescope and
that there would be no reversal of image.

Any insights or advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
Steve Smith
Corpus Christi, TX
Mike here: Try using sunglasses when viewing a bright moon; really helps. And yes, the focus knob has to be turned quite a bit when changing eyepieces. You can make some eyepieces more "parfocal" by only inserting them part way. Experiment with your eyepieces and then add a band (label maker plastic works well) around the tube to get the eyepiece from going into the hole too far. As to what you could have been seeing, yes, you could have seen some dark markings on Mars. See my article "Mars 2003 - What should you expect to see?" on the Buyer/New User Tips page. The ETX-70 is a refractor but there is a mirror at the end to direct light 90 degrees up through the eyepiece hole.
Subject:	Meade ETX-60AT
Sent:	Saturday, September 6, 2003 13:03:31
Please see if you can help.  I need to reset the city and state for the
telescope and can not find in the Instruction manual how to reset. 
Could you please advise?  I would really be thankful as we have not used
the telescope as of yet.  You may also return the answer to our other
email address

Donna Verd
Mike here: From the SETUP menu, select RESET. You can also select the location from the Site menu.
Subject:	ETX AT-70
Sent:	Saturday, September 6, 2003 07:08:07
From: (David Linville)
Has anyone had problems with the AutoStar powering down during use. 
Mine completely powers down and will not repower for sometimes hours. 
The manual states that it will go into a sleep mode and will reactivate
by depressing one of the control buttons.  Mine does not respond to
depressing any button.

Mike here: I presume you have the #494. There is a sleep mode (turns off the display) but you should still be able to slew even if the screen doesn't reappear. Have you tried changing to new batteries? If so, try a RESET. Then do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES.
Subject:	New Meade ETX-70AT
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 08:27:33
From: (Mike Oh)
Hi, Just came across your website, and I appreciate it very much.

I just bought a Meade ETX-70AT, and haven't had a chance to see anything
yet.  However, I noticed that there are some dust particles from packing
material on the 'inside' of the lense.  They must've gotten in thru the
eyepiece hole, 'cause the cap was off when I unpacked it.

Do you happen to know how to clean it out?

I'm sure I'll have more questions, but this is all for now.


Mike here: Are these large particles or just small and only a few? They may or may not noticely affect the view you see. If they are large, I would contact the dealer. Trying to remove the foam from the inside of the tube could create more problems.
Subject:	ETX 60 AT problems
Sent:	Friday, September 5, 2003 08:26:44
From: (Joe Alberti)
I have an ETX 60 AT that I have had for over a year, and it has a
problem.  I bought the scope brand new from a dealer on eBay, and have
never taken it out of the box until last week.  When I try to use the
AutoStar, it says Motor Unit Fault and then goes blank.  I've tried
three sets of brand new batteries, and no luck.  Once in a while, the
scope will move up and down, on power up, but that is rare.

Any idea what could be wrong and how to fix it?

Thanks for any help.

Mike here: Well, it is now out of warranty (that's the danger of not trying out a new product until the warranty expires). Could you be overtightening the axis locks? At what stage do you see the Motor Fault? Is it during initialization or do you get a complete alignment and then you see the error when GOTOing an object?


Thanks for the reply.  It happens as soon as I power on the telescope.
As soon as I hit the switch, it says 'Motor Unit Fault'.  I tried
loosening the locks, and it does the same thing. Tried yet another fresh
set of batteries, and still the same.  Do you have any other thoughts?

Thanks for the help.

Mike here: When you get the Motor Fault, can you still use the Autostar to select a menu item? If so, do a RESET. If not and there is a Meade dealer near where you live you could go there and ask to try a different Autostar. Alternatively, there are several articles in the Other Tips section of the Autostar Information page that might help you test and/or repair the Autostar, if indeed the Autostar is the problem.
Subject:	Re: Angry ETX-70AT (New) User
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 02:49:23
From: (Midwest Analog Products)
Hello Mike,

Your comments to the chap expressing disappointment in Mars through an
ETX-70AT are more or less accurate.

However, there is another factor: observing is a learned art.  A
newcomer's eyes might be physically as good as (or even better) than a
seasoned pro's, and yet the eye-brain connection might not be as well
rehearsed.  In other words, the same amount of light more-or-less hits
all of our retinas in more-or-less the same way.  And yet someone who
has spent more nights than another looking at faint or small objects
will be able detect more detail.

For example, I have a nephew with perfect vision who was sorely
disappointed in M13 through the scope; he claimed he couldn't see
anything. Yet his father and I (who both have lousy vision due to age)
were enthralled with the detail of the globular.  But, unlike my nephew,
both of us have spent some 40-odd years learning the heavens with naked
eye, binocs and cheap homemade scopes; a view through something like an
ETX-70AT was a quantum leap (as it surely would have been for Galileo
who has "seen" even more than I ever have).

My point then: be patient, "learn" how to look, use averted vision,
dark-adapt your eyes, and practice, practice, practice.  A person can
actually see the "continents" and one polar ice cap on Mars with just a
9mm and 2X Barlow---I know I have, and I've been waiting all my life for
this experience!  (I will admit, though, it looks better with a 6mm and
the 2X Barlow).

Anyway, while most of the questions on your site have been about
eyepieces, Barlows, filters, etc., as improvements for viewing through
the ETX-70AT, I contend that racking up some experience observing (with
and without a scope) is just as important.  In short, we see with our

Best wishes,

Thomas Henry
Mike here: Excellent point! And absolutely correct.
Subject:	The Use of Deepsky filters for the ETX-70AT
Sent:	Tuesday, September 2, 2003 02:14:12
From: (Jim)
I was enquiring to the use of deep-sky filters on such a small aperture.
I live in well built up area with masses of light pollution, if I
venture into the rich tapestry of the countryside the sky is still
bathed in the urban glow. I have read various reviews regarding the use
of these filters, in particular the Lumicon (Oxygen III) and the Orion
(Ultra-Block) and am concerned to the effectiveness of the filter on
this scope. Will it create too dark a sky for suitable viewing and are
there other suitable filters that are more suited to the 70 AT?

Cheers J Knowles (UK)
Mike here: Except for bright objects like M31, M42, and perhaps M57, their effectiveness on the ETX-70 will be very limited due to the small aperture.
Subject:	EXT 70AT Parts List
Sent:	Monday, September 1, 2003 18:59:42
Is a parts list or schematic drawing available for the EXT 70 ?

The focus adjustment was turned past its limits and is missing a small
part or two.  Dick
Mike here: Not publicly available. You could contact Meade; they might send you the part you need.
Subject:	Mars, Meade and advertising hype
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 10:02:08
From:	FINNR@BOT.KU.DK (Finn N. Rasmussen)
"Angry new user Wyckoff Gerry" quoted Meade for this about what you can
see in the ETX70:  "All of the major planets except Pluto are easily
observable through the ETX-70AT.  Study Saturn and its ring system; the
primary cloud belts of Jupiter as well as its four major satellites; the
Moonlike phases of Mercury and Venus; prominent features on Mars; the
starlike images of the distant planets Uranus and Neptune."

Actually, this is all true. You can see that these objects are really
there, but they will not look very impressive, and you may have problems
with glare and colour fringing. On Mars, you should be able to see the
southern ice cap. It is at the bottom of the tiny reddish ball, sort of
tilted towards the left.  It helps to increase magnification (at least 9
mm+ Barlow),  and it may also help to filter. On nights with good seeing
I can barely make out a darker rim between the icecap and the rest of
the planet, that is the icecap melting I have been told. Mars will
usually appear mottled, but I have not been able to make out any real
surface details. I use a 6.4 mm eyepiece and the 2x barlow, sometimes
also Meade's "planetary filters" or the Astronomik light pollution
filter, which shifts the colour fringing so it is less disturbing. -
Mars observations require some patience. Let your scope stay out and
cool down for a while before you start observing. Do not expect to see
subtle details the first 15 minutes - your eyes must adapt. If the
seeing is bad (air movement, stars twinkle) you must wait for moments of
steady air. Be happy that autostar will keep Mars in the field of view
all the time!

Do not forget to look at Uranus and Neptune when your are in this region
of the sky. They are indeed starlike and difficult to distinguish from
all the real stars of the same size. A good planetary program like CdC
(freeware!) helps a lot. When you return to them after some days, you
will see that they have moved a little bit relative to the real stars -
that is how they were revealed as planets in the first place!

Happy Mars observing!  Finn Rasmussen, Copenhagen

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