Last updated: 30 September 1999

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

Subject:	 tripod?
Sent:	Thursday, September 30, 1999 07:59:28
From:	taylorc34@coolmail.com
Hey, your site is so awesome. Its very ionformative. But I would like to
know what kind of tripod you would recomend for the ETX 90/EC that would
cost under 150 dollars. Please Email me an answer. my address is
Mike here: Check the Accessories - Tripods page on my ETX for user comments on several models. Search the site for "Bogen" and you will find lots of positive comments about their line.

Subject:	Suggestions?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 29, 1999 17:52:51
From:	Astronut36@aol.com
i just got the meade ext-90 and i have very little money, like $200.00.
what do you suggest?
Mike here: Depends upon what you want to do with the ETX. Do you need a tripod, do you want more or less magnification, do you want to do astrophotography, do you want to add computer control, etc? Check the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX for some suggestions. Lots of other info on the rest of my site.

Subject:	 Link demand
Sent:	Wednesday, September 29, 1999 13:26:22
From:	apose001@pophost.eunet.be (MT)
By these I kindly ask you to put a link to my site:
It's an information platform for astronomy and space travel. It's useful
as a quick entry during lessons, I give at the observatory. But to my
opinion, it can be of intrest for everyone interested in the field.

                                                   Kind Regards,
                                                 Trypsteen Marc, Belgium

                                                 still an ETX-90 fan !

Subject:	 Great Site!
Sent:	Wednesday, September 29, 1999 00:42:54
From:	eallain@bellsouth.net (Blanche & Earl Allain)
I just bought an ETX and was very pleased to find your site. I was
wondering if you have heard anything about JMI's MEGAPOD for the ETX. I
saw an ad for it in Sky & Telescope and it looked very interesting. Once
again thanks for taking the time to put up such a great site with so
much good information. It really helps us new users.
Earl Allain.
Mike here: No reports on the Megapod yet but there are several reports on the older JMI Tripod, Wedge, and Wedgepod. If those are any indication, the Megapod should be a nice product.

Subject:	 ETX 90/EC or something
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 1999 13:39:23
From:	eddiechoi@sprint.ca (Eddie)
Sorry to bother you, First, I would like to say that You have an
excellent site with excellent content and user feedback on the meade etx
product, I got all the info I need on the ETX products. I am a newbie to
astronomy, and I really need some advice on what type of telescope to
buy as my first telescope to astronomy.

I am currently looking into the
a Meade ETX 90EC,
a StoreBrand 6" F5 Equatorial Reflecting Telescopes, or
a Meade 4.5" Reflecting Telescope(EC).

1 CND or CAD "Canadian"$ = $ .6793478US

NexStar and ETX125 with Taxes are way out of my budget

The shop (the ONLY specialize store in my city "Montreal, Canada") only
carry their own brand Equatorial telescope, but carry Meade Dobsonian
Reflecting Telescopes, and some LX200 models, ETX and Nexstar5. My
budget is about $1500 CND ($1019 US),

ETX 90EC is $995CND ($675.85 US)NEW
AUTOSTAR is $250CND ($169.83 US)NEW
6" StoreBrand + Tripod(Brandname: La Maison de L'Astronomie)
		is $600CND for USED($407 US), $799CND for NEW($542 US)
Meade 114 4.5" Reflecting Telescope(EC) + tripod is about $500CND ($339.67 US)
Should i get the ETX with Autostar (995+250 +15% "Quebec TAX" =
$1431.75CND, $972US) or Store Brand (USED:600+tax=$690CND,
$468US)(NEW:799+tax=$918CND, $624.21US) or 114NT with Autostar
(500+250+tax=$862.5CND, $585.93US)

The people at store says the Used 6" give a clearier image then the New
one (old one with shorter tube), and that they don't recommand the 114
"I have no idea why? but the 114 is kinda hard if slew manually, i
doesn't have a good mount, the same on sale at www.discovery.com model
Meade DS 114-EC", if protability, tripod, and photography is not my
primary cocern now, which one should i go for?

Also, how much farther and clearly can i see with a 6" then the ETX
3.5"? Should i get 90EC even with all those problem rised up in your
site? or get a "STOREBRAND" 6"?

I live in a darker part in the City, on a good night at my house i can
see about 30+ stars, but no nebulas.... with gas clouds etc.., i would
get a better viewing location about 10 min from my house in a huge park
"street light far pretty far from the site", should i also bother with a
8" telescope or will it get too much external light?

P.s. I love the functions the Autostar has, because i am so new to
astronomy, i am just beginning to study how to look for the star with
naked eye, could the ETX be used for land viewing, and could the INVERSE
image of the 6" be reversed? Is it possible see some smiliar incredible
image of galaxies or nebula with the 90EC such as the ones shown at
meade website gallery?

Sorry i wrote so long and confusing, Thanks
Mike here: As to general recommendations, larger is not always better. If the scope is so large that it is not easily moved, it will tend to end up unused. Ease of use is also a consideration; the Autostar adds a lot of convenience, especially for new amateur astronomers. Don't expect to see with your eyes the same images as photographed. The camera is much more sensitive than your eye. Galaxies and nebulae will appear is fuzzy blobs (for the most part with some notable exceptions) no matter the size of the telescope. The Jupiter and Saturn will appear nice in small telescopes; just don't expect to see details on Mars or Jupiter's cloud bands. Terrestrial viewing can be done with almost any telescope and correcting the reversed image only requires adding the appropriate accessory to the eyepiece.

Subject:	 Focusing Aids
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 1999 09:39:54
From:	ed.kilner@sympatico.ca (Edward Kilner)
Great site, I've enjoyed it for about a year, and would like to
contribute the following:

Bought the Scopetronix flexible focus extention accessory. What a treat.
Now I can focus when doing a polar alignment. The claim of vastly
reduced vibrations when focusing is absolutely true. "Must buy" in my

Used the Kendrick Quick Focus accessory for the first time too.
Excellent aid to focus on the nearly full moon and the effective
aperature reduction made for better viewing. Used on bright stars, I
found my unaided focus ability to be better than I expected, but not
perfect. Another "Must buy".

I'm slowly moving towards astrophotography, and these aids are sure to
help reduce frustration.

Ed Kilner

Subject:	 Telescope
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 1999 09:37:53
From:	scgray@asbury.edu (Gray, Sandra)
Hello:  I want to purchase a telescope for my husband for his 50th
birthday and would like to correspond with you regarding your
Thanks --Sandra

Sandra C. Gray
Chair, Department of Business & Economics
Asbury College
1 Macklem Drive
Wilmore, KY   40390
Ph:  606-858-3511, X2206
Mike here: See the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX web site. Lots of tips there on the Meade ETX. As to general recommendations, larger is not always better. If the scope is so large that it is not easily moved, it will tend to end up unused.

Subject:	 ETX90
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 1999 08:54:32
From:	lyon@csd.com (James Lyon)
I purchased a used ETX90EC. I find that the RA axis is very stiff and
the scope takes several seconds to move, especially in counterclockwise
direction (sometimes it won't move at all until I apply a little
pressure by hand). Meade says they want at least $100 to look at it and
fix. Do you know if (1) this is at all typical, (2) can Meade really fix
it, and (3) can I open up the case and free the axial movement myself?
James Lyon
Mike here:
>(1) this is at all typical,
Depends upon the use/abuse the ETX has had.
>(2) can Meade really fix it,
Of course.
>and (3) can I open up the case and free the axial movement myself?
Check the "ETX Hints, Tips, Projects, & Products" link on the Tech Tips page on my ETX site.

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC Field Deluxe Tripod
Sent:	Tuesday, September 28, 1999 06:20:16
From:	bill.hey@dsia.com (Bill Hey)
Great site!  I'm all set to purchase an ETX-90/EC, and I'm concerned
about the Deluxe Field Tripod.

Reading your site I've come across several negative references, and few
if any positive ones, and I was wondering what the consensus really is?

The references from your sites archives include:

1. Telescope wobble
Fix - affix a base plate (either of metal or glued card)
2. Tripod leg slip
Fix - bolt on metal strips (!)

Here in the UK the tripod isn't cheap (160UKP = 250USD) so I'd like to
avoid making a purchasing mistake.  Any advice most welcome.

Keep up the excellent work, no doubt I'll be a frequent visitor from now


System Manager
+44 (0)1252 618 535, mailto:bill.hey@dsia.com
PGP Public Key Fingerprint:
1FE5 2406 42E4 82DB A04C C0A5 5369 9B84 FE84 BC90
Mike here: Glad you like the site. There are some negatives with the Meade tripod. Search the site for "Bogen" and you will find lots of positive comments about their line.

Subject:	 etx 90 tripod mount
Sent:	Monday, September 27, 1999 18:00:19
From:	bkaufman@erols.com (Bernard Kaufman)
Does anyone know of a tripod mount for the etx 90 that can be used on a
regular camera tripod.  I have a very stable tripod and would like to
securely mount the etx 90 on it.


B. Kaufman
Mike here: The ETX-90 (original model) can be mounted directly on a tripod using the central hole. The ETX-90EC can be mounted using the Scopetronix Photo Tripod Adapter.

Subject:	 doskocil extra-large seal tight case
Sent:	Monday, September 27, 1999 16:11:25
From:	mehresma@iquest.net (Martin Ehresman)
I bought the Doskocil case after seeing it on your web site, and I am
very happy with it. After an evening removing the foam blocks,
everything fits perfectly. The case is very sturdy, and it should
protect the scope very well. Thanks for all of the great information. I
really enjoy the ETX. I have the 90 EC. I haven't really used the
computer much, we live near Indianapolis, IN, and get alot of glare from
the city. I have gotten very good views of Mars,Venus,Jupiter,Saturn,
and the Moon. I was very impressed with how good the view of Jupiter was
the other morning. Thanks again for all the time you put into the site.
Great tip on the case!
Marty Ehresman

Subject:	 ETX-EC90 not level when declination scale set to zero
Sent:	Sunday, September 26, 1999 14:35:26
From:	Peter.McConnell@PA-Consulting.com (Peter McConnell)
What a wonderfully useful site you have.  I am new to Astronomy and
purchased my ETX-EC90 and Autostar last week.  I'm really enjoying it,
but have got confused by the declination scale on the fork arm (the arm
on the left as you stand behind the scope).

When I am levelling the telescope, I first make sure the base is level
then I set the 0 degree line on the declination scale so it is next to
the small arrow on the fork arm.  However, the result is the telescope
is not level. It points upwards at about 10 degrees.  Is this normal? I
was expecting the telescope to be level.  Is there any chance that the
declination scale has not been put on the telescope accurately?
Mike here: The DEC scale can be adjusted by loosening the knob on the DEC axis. As I noted in my review of the ETX-90EC: The manual describes how to correct this. (Tip: It helps to use a rubber bottle-top gripper to turn the cover plate if it is very tight.)

Subject:	 ETX-90/EC and FUJI MX-299Z digital camera
Sent:	Saturday, September 25, 1999 05:58:30
From:	Helmut.Niklas@t-online.de (Helmut Niklas)
thanks a lot for your great ETX site! Tons of mighty good infos!

I live in Germany, getting my ETX-90/EC from a friend of mine in
Delaware. I had to go this re-routing because MEADE strictly prohibits
their dealers to export the ETX outside U.S. It was a real mess with all
those shipping and toll problems, but finally I got my scope in July,
being able to observe the spectacular solar eclipse here in Germany on
August 11.

(Two of my photos and QuickTime 4 animations at:

Recently I purchased the brand new FUJI MX-2900Z digital camera,
constructed an eyepiece projection mounting for the ETX and made some
tests using a PowerMacintosh.

I guess there might be some other ETX freaks thinking about purchasing a
good digital camera of the newest generation. Therefor I have
established a special page with a lot of info, a drawing of the mounting
and my first sample shots:


Please publish the link above on your fantastic site. There will soon be
more sample shots available (I'm waiting for clear skies ...).

Thanks a lot!

Helmut Niklas, Bavaria, Germany

Subject:	 ETX90 gears
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 1999 12:52:47
From:	KB3CNY@intergrafix.net (John Boyle)
Recently I received an ETX125 which, for various reasons, I returned and
came home with an ETX90 and some change.  Fine little scope. Autostar
aligned and operated perfectly.  There was, of course, the much-griped
about gear-slop, but less than the 125.

Warranty be damned, I took the 90 to a machinist for a look at the
gears.  He cut me new gears, did the required fitting, and handed me a
bill for $170.  What a silky smooth joy to use!

I don't urge you to have the same thing done, as you will probably want
to preserve your warranties, but to me it was well worth it.

Clear skies,

 41* 16' 36" N
075* 51' 22" W
and lookin' up

Subject:	Slop; Noise; & Backlash
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 1999 11:52:19
From:	Aquilii@aol.com
Great site,  has answered many of my questions.

How much do the slop in the gears infuence the pointing accuracy of the
ETX.  If  sufficently enough,  has anyone thought about changing or
upgrading them to a different brand?  Are well machined gears available,
and if so, where.

I've seen the tune-up in the Scopetronics web page, but feel it is
beyond my limited mechanical abilities.  Are you aware of anyone in the
Las Vegas area that would be able to do it.

Lastly I have to say that as much as I love my ETX, it has never lived
up to Meade's  advertizements.  I can usually get it into the finder
scope, but have yet to make it into the 26mm EP.  And that's leveling
with a carpenters spirit level and centering north on polaris itself.

I've got to find someway to make it work.  Not because of the money
(although that's a factor, but because i'm physically disabled and the
ETX is about all that I can handle by myself.  I was reciently at
Pocono's West and saw the NextStar 5.  Upon examining it I was
disappointed to find it is just to heavy for me to use.

Any help would be sincerely appreciated,
Ed Jones
Mike here: Replacing gears is a likely to be a challenge, considering that you have to match the replacement gears to Meade's. As to pointing accuracy, a lot of factors influence that. See my response to the message "Objects drift out of eyepiece" on the current Autostar Feedback page.

Subject:	 More Messier Objects with the ETX
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 1999 10:52:34
From:	ReaganHerman@upr.com (Reagan Herman)
For everyone's benefit, here is an updated list of the Messier objects
I've found (so far) with my classic ETX from light polluted Arlington,
TX. I've got Dallas glowing to my Northeast, Fort Worth glowing to my
Northwest and the Texas Rangers Ballpark blaring to my North. We are
talking major sky glow! Not to mention my near-sightedness and
astigmatism! But I still find these objects.

Here's the list: M3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21,
22, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47,
48, 50, 57, 65, 66, 67, 79, 81, 82, 92, 93, 104, 107, IC4665, The Coma
Cluster, The Double cluster in Perseus (NGC 884 & 869), NGC 2244, Venus,
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune.

Armed with my trusty old ETX, a 40mm eyepiece, SkyAtlas 2000, Sky &
Telescope and Astronomy magazines, and a wire loop that is equal to 1
degree FOV, I think I'll have years of fun tracking down the rest of the
faint fuzzies out there.

The moral of the story is: don't let the light pollution spoil your fun.
You don't have to drive way out in the boonies to observe the sky. There
are plenty of things to be seen from suburbia. So enjoy what you've got.

Clear skies and happy hunting!
Reagan Herman

Subject:	 ETX 90-EC
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 1999 09:49:45
From:	morton.henderson@uk.wmmercer.com
Firstly, may I say how impressed I am with your website. I am currently
thinking about buying an ETX. However, I am slightly in two minds about
the new model and would appreciate your comments.

Basically, I want a small portable telescope to complement my Celestron
8" SCT. Originally (i.e. before the EC models were launched) my only
requirement was a small telescope that would also serve as a reasonable
platform for piggyback photography and the old ETX seemed pretty much
ideal. I live in the West of Scotland where a clear night is something
of a rarity and we are also so far north that I never see the summer
Milky Way properly from here. I hope that in future I'll be able to take
decent pictures of the Milky Way, etc. by taking a small 'scope on

With this in mind, I was delighted to see the adverts for the new EC
model as it seemed that here was a 'scope that fulfils all my
requirements AND has GOTO capability into the bargain. However, I am
concerned by some of the reports I have read which seem to cast doubts
on the stability of the mount and therefore it's suitability for my
purposes. I've read that there are/were problems with vibration,
particularly noticeable at high powers when observing double stars. The
S&T test of the 125 model says that Meade claim to have fixed this and I
wonder if it is no longer a problem with the 90-EC?

I have also been informed by the main Meade dealer in the UK that the
new mount is less stable than the original ETX. Do you have any
opinions/experience on the use of the 90-EC model for piggyback
photography? How long a lens can be used with reasonable results?

Also, I see significantly conflicting opinions on the Meade tripod. Any


Morton Henderson
Mike here: Glad you like the site. Check out my Astrophotography - Sky and Deep Sky for some examples of piggyback astrophotography with normal and telephoto lenses. These were done with the original model using the Scopetronix Microstar dual axis controller. Piggyback astrophotography may be more problematic with the EC and Autostar since the Autostar controls the drives and make result in some jerkiness (which may or may not be visible on piggyback photos). But the EC without the Autostar does not (in my experience) have the same jerkiness. I'm only commenting on the 90mm model and not the ETX-125EC, which is not that portable in comparison. The ETX-90RA and EC mounts are essentially the same for stability. The image in the eyepiece can vibrate due to wind or focusing the eyepiece. But for piggyback photography that may or may not be an issue considering the scale of the image on the film.

Subject:	 Binoculars and the ETX
Sent:	Friday, September 24, 1999 08:52:24
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
Thought I'd throw ETX into the title to show I wasn't completely lost
with this message - I want to go backwards in power to get an idea
what's around before i start slewing the scope - as I'm in very light
poluted skies, at times I have trouble seeing the EZ align stars! 
Anyway, I've been trying to go through some of the info on the web for
binoculars, and can't seem to find anything really relevant - I know
multicoated lenses are the way to go, and figure a 10x50 is probably the
desired power, although 7x might also do - I can always order from
Orion, but didn't know if anyone had suggestions where to learn more, or
about particular models?  I'd really like a zoom pair, but in Nightwatch
I think Mr. Dickinson mentioned that some zooms take away image clarity
- help!
Thanks again,
Mike here: If you are young (have a large dark-adapted pupil), the 7x50 make excellent binoculars. They make excellent night time binoculars. They are usually easy to hold (which can be a problem with larger ones) and the 50mm provides excellent light gathering. If you want a combination day and night pair, then a zoom might be better but I would shy away from them. Also, the higher the magnification the more difficult to get a steady view. I'll post your message on the next Feedback page update in case others have thoughts.

Subject:	 DS Scopes
Sent:	Thursday, September 23, 1999 21:19:30
From:	wgats@gunnison.com (Wayne Gatschet)
My local Wal-Mart has several of the DS series of scope, both the
refractors and the Newtonians. They didn't have the five inch DS-127EC,
but they did have the DS-114EC 4.5" reflector. All scopes can use the
Autostar, but with only 1,400 objects, verses the ETX Autostar with
15,000. All scopes Wal-Mart had used the 0.965 inch eyepieces, H12.5mm,
H25mm, SR4mm. The box said the scopes can also use 2" eyepieces. I
thought it strange it wasn't 1.25" All scopes came with tripod,
eyspieces, etc, but only the 60EC & 114EC had the hand motor controller.
Prices ranged from $268.88 for the DS-60EC to 368.88 for the DS-114EC.
At the low end they had a 60EC, and 80EC without motors, or hand
controller (both optional) for around 150.00.

Subject:	 Phase 2--how do I learn/find Messier objects?
Sent:	Wednesday, September 22, 1999 18:04:57
From:	jmurphy@touchnet.com (John Murphy)
I bought the ETX Classic (ETX90-RA) in May '99 as my first ever
telescope. It was on sale because it's not AutoStar upgradable. Love it
anyway, have logged 31 sessions so far and mostly observe planets and
Jupiter's moons. It has forced me to learn the sky.  My 8yr &5 yr old
kids can now point out Venus, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn by naked eye and
love looking at Rings of Saturn & Jupiter's moons.

So far, have bot:  Right Angle Finder, 2x Barlow, and an inexpensive
9.7MM--although I don't like the eye relief. I use my trusty Black &
Decker Workmate as the platform for my tripod legs.

Now, I'm ready for the next step in finding/observing Messier objects. 
I live in a relatively light poluted area but get to a wildly dark/rural
area in Iowa 4x per year. In fact, this past summer was first time I
ever noticed/observed the Milky Way -at first I thought there was some
huge thin clould stretching across the sky before I realized what I was
looking at. (I'm an astro-newbie...)

My backyard site has great view of eliptic and zenith, but poor north
view (house in way/streetlights) and poor south view. (trees in way) 
What interesting "M" objects/clusters/doublestars/sights are there along
the eliptic?  I am anticipating Orion Nebula & Pleadies later this
fall/winter. I own a Planisphere and own "Your Guide to the Stars" both
very good.

Any suggestions on where to learn more & how to hop manually vs punching
a few GOTO buttons?  I want to be ready for my next Rural trip....

Great site & clear skies!

John F. Murphy						15520 College Blvd.
Vice President						Lenexa, KS  66219
TouchNet Information Systems, Inc.			jmurphy@touchnet.com
913-599-6699						www.touchnet.com

	"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do."
                                                   -Henry Ford
Mike here: Check out the Book Reviews page on my ETX site, especially "Turn Left at Orion".

Subject:	 FW: ETX125EC vs DS127EC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 22, 1999 02:10:45
From:	levent.tumay@cibasc.com (LEVENT TUMAY)
DS 60, 70, 80 and 90EC are Achromatic refractors and DS 114 and 127EC
are Newtonians. Please refer to Sky & Telescope's September issue for
the test report or www.buytelescope.com for product info.

Subject:	 Mike, Mike, Mike
Sent:	Tuesday, September 21, 1999 21:46:20
From:	tabarr@home.com (Timothy Barr)
I just checked my copy of Sky and Telescope, and there is a DS-114EC
Newtonian (4.5") Reflector advertised, as well as the DS-90EC 80mm
refractor. I also though I saw a DS series 6" newtonian in a local
store, but I can't be sure. Of course none of the DS series is listed on
Meade's webpage so I can't verify the availability of the DS series
Mike here: Oops. My mistake!

Subject:	 Link request
Sent:	Tuesday, September 21, 1999 15:21:01
From:	sales@coscosci.com (Dave Anderson)
COSCO-Colorado Scientific Co. is a brick & mortar Meade Dealer serving
the Denver, Colorado area. For three years we have had a web site
<http://www.sciencecompany.com> for online purchasing of Meade scopes,
plus accessories. We sure would appreciate your taking a look and
possibly adding a link to us on your dealers section on the link page.


Dave Anderson, Marketing Mgr.

#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #
COSCO - Colorado Scientific Co.
The Science Company
95 Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80203
Ph: 303-777-3777	Fax: 303-777-3331
Email: danderson@sciencecompany.com
Online Catalog: http://www.sciencecompany.com

Subject:	 Orion Soft Case for Meade ETX-90EC
Sent:	Tuesday, September 21, 1999 12:44:38
From:	David.Lowe@PaeTec.com (Lowe, David)
Has anyone out there purchased the Soft Case for the ETX-90EC from
Orion? At $88 it seems expensive. Comments?


Subject:	 Bed & Breakfast
Sent:	Monday, September 20, 1999 14:36:00
From:	DonMcClelland@webtv.net (Donald McClelland)
Someone asked about Bed & Breakfasts on your site and I found and
excellent article in the August issue of S & T (page 84) called A Guide
to Astronomical Inns.  Hope it  helps.

Clear Skies, DON

Subject:	 ETX125EC vs DS127EC
Sent:	Monday, September 20, 1999 05:41:18
From:	levent.tumay@cibasc.com (LEVENT TUMAY)
I was considering to buy an ETX 125EC, but I am confused with the test
report of S&T. Although I know that a Maksutov has better optics than a
Newtonian, the favorable test report on S&T's September issue about the
new Meade DS series is about to change my mind. I am a novice amateur,
so it seems to be an economical alternative to ETX 125EC, and I don't
want to have all those problems experienced with ETX so far. Can someone
having experience with DS Newtonians (114EC or 127EC) comment on their

Clear skies,

Mike here: The DS line is a refractor telescope, not a reflector telescope.

Subject:	 Hawaii
Sent:	Sunday, September 19, 1999 12:24:09
From:	ronmccafferty@email.msn.com (Ron McCafferty)
I just got back from a family trip to Hawaii.  I took my ETX-RA90.  I've
now made 2 flights with the ETX and security still hasn't asked to look
inside the case.  I'm using the Meade soft case which has done well for
me. However with all the accessories I've accumulated I think it's time
for a larger hard case.

The skies clouded over almost every night.  However I did take the ETX
to the Volcano park where we used it at the rim to look at various
sights.  The ETX's portability shone through as the trail was about 1/2
mile.  No big deal for the ETX.

Thanks for all the work on the site,
Ron McCafferty
Mike here: We are going to Hawaii next Summer. We are trying to arrange a trip to the Observatory.

Subject:	 New ETX user impressions
Sent:	Sunday, September 19, 1999 08:07:49
From:	timsted@raex.com (Tim Stedman)
1st of all let me say thanks for this great web site.  I've spent hours
reading your site and still feel that I haven't even scratched the
surface. Thanks!

I am a new ETX user.  I got my ETX 90/EC 2 weeks ago. It is my 1st
scope.  I'd been drooling over one for months at my local Nature Wonders
store but just wasn't sure I wanted to spend $650 (after tax) on a 1st
scope. Anyway,  to make a long story short,  I got a brand new never
opened ETX 90/EC on Ebay for $500!  I was very pleased to say the least.
It arrived on a Friday and my girlfriend and I took it to the park that
night.  We took a towel and set the scope on the trunk of my car.  It
made for the steadiest tripod I've used so far! :)  Anyway, here are
some impressions/comments for brand new (newer than me) users and folks
who are considering an ETX.

-Make your 1st accessory the 2x barlow.  It's only $50 and it's WELL
worth it.  Once you get the barlow,  basically you get 2 eyepieces
everytime you buy 1.  If you want to add another piece along with the
barlow,  try the 9.7mm SP.  It's $89.  This,  the 26mm that comes with
the scope and the barlow will give you a nice range of views.

-Get a lenspen. $7 at any camera shop and will safely clean all your
optics. My eyepieces got "dirty" pretty quick,  probably not enough to
affect the view,  but it bugged my anyway.  This little item takes care
of that.

-Don't get the Autostar right away.  Take some time and learn the sky
and try finding things on your own.  There's nothing like the thrill of
trying to find an object manually and seeing it come to life in your

-The viewfinder.  Ouch!!  Usable,  but painful.  The right-angle finder
is on my list!

-If you're thinking about getting an ETX,  go for it.  I'd suggest
getting the ETX and the 2x barlow to start.  With this set-up,  I saw
Jupiter,  Saturn, the "Michigan Star" and more my 1st night out and all
were awesome.  Use it for a few weeks and see how well you like it
before you begin sinking big $$$ into accesories. There are so many cool
options you can get,  but they add up very quickly! I'm going to get the
field tripod,  autostar and the electronic focuser but you don't need
any of these to get a lot of enjoyment out of the scope.  Like I said, I
had an awesome 1st night with the scope and a barlow.

Well,  that's about it.  Overall I love my ETX.  I live near an airport
in a very light polluted area,  but I can still get great looks at a lot
of cool stuff.  The moon last night was awesome.  I barlowed my 9.7mm
and felt like I could reach out and touch the moon!  Anyway,  thanks
again for the great site Mike!  I will add more feedback as I get new
accessories and learn more about this awesome little scope!

God Bless,

Subject:	 Meade ETX  (of course)
Sent:	Saturday, September 18, 1999 23:32:02
From:	crumleys@earthlink.net (Larry  Crumley)
Just wanted to let you know, I just picked up a new ETX for $399 at
Sam's Club. Someone at the store said they had just gotten them in. This
is the original ETX not the EC model.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC-First Official Night!
Sent:	Saturday, September 18, 1999 14:04:14
From:	master_yoda@mindspring.com (Briar Richard)
Last night was my first as an amateur astronomer.  My tripod arrived
Thursday, but the attachment screws weren't included.  I contacted the
very apologetic Meade Corperation, and they shipped me a pair overnight.

The alignment process took 5 minutes, and I felt like a pro shortly
thereafter.  In three hours, with the help of the free SkyMap 5
software, I found Saturn, Jupiter, and my first double star. 
Constellations seem to be the key "skymarks", from alignment to
pinpointing random objects.

I've loved stargazing since childhood, and I'm happy to have found
affordable tools to get a much more organized and closer look.

Thanks for laboring to provide us with tips and new information.  You've
played a large part in transforming a childhood fascination into
something tangibly facinating.  Much appreciation, Mike.

Briar Richard
Mike here: Welcome to a WIDER universe!

Subject:	 Cleaning ETX Astro 90C
Sent:	Saturday, September 18, 1999 04:01:44
From:	mark@wrighty69.screaming.net (Screaming)
Please could you advise me on what is the best way to clean my ETX Astro
90C.  Are there any product you can buy to clean the lens or should I
send it away to be cleaned ?

Yours Sincerely


Mike here: See "Cleaning Optics" on the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX site. Also, you can search the site for "clean"; lots of tips.

Subject:	 Observations 17-18 Sept. 99
Sent:	Friday, September 17, 1999 16:28:08
From:	ostergaard@birstwith.demon.co.uk (ostergaard)
Finally, a clear night in the United Kingdom. Excellent observations of
Jupiter and it's four moons, and Saturn, tonight. Clear, cold and still.
My ETX Classic, mounted on my garden wall, gave me views of these
planets and their moons that made me feel like I could reach out and
touch them. All this, and a gin and tonic, too. I'm a long way from my
native New Jersey....

The true power of the ETX is not its magnification or resolution
(although those count!). The ETX excels in its ability to give us
access--access to a universe that few people ever see.

Clear skies, and make a lot of ice!


Bob Ostergaard 

Subject:	 ETX-70
Sent:	Thursday, September 16, 1999 11:11:30
From:	ammo_1@yahoo.com (Michael Amisano)
Not sure if you are aware of this, I was just looking through my Sears
Wishbook and they have both the ETX-90/EC and a NEW ETX-70/EC for Sale,
prices $599 and $399 respectively. There is also a special Autostar for
it that sells for $99.

Michael Amisano
Mike here: More info on the ETX-70EC further down the page.

Subject:	 Hello
Sent:	Wednesday, September 15, 1999 10:30:56
From:	ykida@yk.rim.or.jp (Yoshi. K.)
I'm sorry in the sentence not understood easily because it is weak in
English. Thank you because each other is had to be linked before. The
Jupiter and the Saturn were taken with the digital camera though it was
recent. I think that ETX-90EC is tolerable feeling. Please look if it is


Yoshikatsu Kida

Subject:	 Radian vs Lanthanum EPs
Sent:	Wednesday, September 15, 1999 10:03:35
From:	jahorsley@hotmail.com (John A.Horsley)
I am in the market for a premium EP and am looking at the 12mm Tele Vue
Radian, and the 13mm Lanthanum. Have you had any experience with either,
or know how the two EPs compare to each other? There is no dealership
where I live so all I have to go by is pretty pictures in catalogs.

Subject:	 Re: ETX-125EC
Sent:	Tuesday, September 14, 1999 05:47:27
From:	juliocolombo@hotmail.com (Julio Colombo)
I have been surfing through your site and reading a full house of Emails
since long. You are doing a great job.

After saving some money, I think I am in good conditions to buy my ETX

But..., I ve got a problem. I live in a country with NO MEADE official
dealer (Uruguay, SouthAmerica).

What can I do?

Shall I buy it directly from MEADE? (If so, how!?)

Thank you in advance for your continuous support.

Fabricio Cardoso Mazza
Mike here: I don't believe Meade sells direct. But you might check their web site for international dealers.

Subject:	 etx90-classic
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 19:18:58
From:	emosser@gte.net (E Mosser)
Your site has been an incredible source of information for me since I
purchased the etx last October 29th.  Since then, I have had 42
sessions, all but one from the backyard of my Northwest Indiana hometown
of 30,000+ population.  Needless to say light pollution is a challenge
to overcome.

Having been interested in astronomy since for 30 years, the etx provided
an excellent method of pursuing my hobby.  With a full schedule (44years
old, two active children, work travel, etc.) the scope allows me a
couple of hours outside to relax and to challenge the skys.

Last Friday was an incredible evening.  I have notched 52 Messier
objects and determined to complete the list within another 2 years.  I
have now began looking at more difficult objects.  Armed with a
Peterson's Guide,  a 2x Meade 126 barlow, the standard 26mm, plus 14mm
and 42mm Paul Rini eyepieces, I turned to the northeast and the
constellation Cephus.

I was unable to locate NGC 6939 and 6946, as described in Oct Sky and
Telescope.  Perhaps this was due to the amount of light.  I wandered
over to I1396 and explored the region.  Next was NGC 7235, which I
logged as 7' wide and 8 stars.  NCG 7261 and 7281 both could be seen in
the same FOV for both the 26mm and barely with the 2x.

Next, while in pursuit of M52, I stumbled across NGC 7635, the Bubble
Nebula.  Now, the momentum was swinging in my direction!  Suddenly the
disappointment over not locating the initial targets was behind.  M 52
was then logged as a new M object.  NGC 7789 was a bit of a
disappointment, but M34 was great.  I had not noticed the detail last
fall.  Now, I was able to comprehend five double stars near the center.

M31 has always been a disappointment for me.  It must be the great
photos in all the books.  But, tonight it was sure bright in the core. 
And for the first time, I really noticed M32 adjacent to it.

I searched over 30 minutes, and failed, to find M33.  I know it was
there, the surface brightness was just too dim for this scope in the
city conditions.  M39 was added to the M list.  Hard to believe I
couldn't find it last year!  I counted 25+ stars in a 30' minute area.

M57 is still up there and then M56 came into view.  It had been elusive
last year.  With all the practive with globular clusters this summer, it
was easy to spot.  I enjoyed the globular clusters, but would like to
resolve them into individual stars.

By now it was 1:15 am and the realities of tomorrow's activities were
hitting me.  Still, I couldn't pass up Jupiter.  Oh, my!  With the
barlow and 26mm, it was just stunning.  Three moons were nearby and
three bands were visable.  I powered up using the 14mm and 2x to about
180x but the image was not consistantly sharp.

M45, the Pleiades provided the last object, a quick glance with the 26mm
and 42mm eyepieces.

This scope is used in it's most basic form.  Aim and look.  I do not
have autostar, do not use the clock drive, don't even polar align.  I
use the Peterson guide to learn the skys.  It takes awhile to get there,
but hey, getting there is half the fun.

The moon is back and dark skys will be gone for a couple of weeks.  But,
the moon is interesting and double stars are always available for

I would ask that you set up a new category, to include reports from the
field.  I am looking forward to beginning my second season and
revisiting old objects and looking for new ones.  Any discussions from
others regarding what this scope can do is appreciated.

Thanks for a great site and a wealth of helpful information.

Ed Mosser   emosser@gte.net
Mike here: I have (unfortunately) scattered user reports on the Feedback pages and on Buyer/New User Tips page. Someday I'll have to clean that up!

Subject:	 Bed & breakfast for astronomy
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 19:03:53
From:	Dean@cwdi.com (Dean)
Do you have any links for Bed & Breakfasts that cater towards astronomy?
I have found only few using the normal search engines.  This might make
another interesting area under your links.
Thanks, Dean.
PS still waiting for my etx-125 to be returned form Meade.
Mike here: Don't know of any B&Bs.  There are a couple of ads in Sky & Telescope:

New Mexico Skies, Private Cabins and Apartments, Cloudcroft, New Mexico http://www.nmskies.com

Star Hill Inn, astronomy retreat, near Taos, New Mexico http://www.starhillinn.com

Subject:	 Some accessories I've found useful
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 12:03:14
From:	shearer@wcvt.com (Robert Shearer)
I discovered your site shortly after I purchased my ETX90 in June. I
wish I would have found it before! But, the site has proven to be a
mother-lode of info and advice. Hopefully, I can add a little info that
others will find useful. Thanks for putting this site together!

First of all, very early on I found myself wondering what to do with the
hand-controller (and the Autostar) when I wasn't using it to control the
telescope. I didn't like just letting it hang by the cord, and setting
it on the tripod tray was a bit tentative, and it tended to fall off
anyway. While poking around the automotive section of my local Ames
department store (similiar to Target and K-Mart stores) I found just the
item. I purchased a cell phone holder made by Rubber Queen for around
$9. This Made-In-The-USA product is designed with a flexible flap on
which the door of the glove box is closed, allowing a cell phone to be
put in the holder and held vertically. I don't like to drill holes if I
can avoid it; to secure the holder, I took a length of Velcro strip and
wrapped it around one leg of the tripod and over the flap which goes in
the glove box. Because the holder is open in the front, putting both the
hand controller and the Autostar in and taking out is very simple, with
the cord coming out of the bottom of the holder. This makes it a snap to
take in and out, even in the dark.

On the subject of cases, I printed out your page which listed cases,
particularly the low cost solutions. I went to K-Mart to look at the
cases suggested by Guy Duke and Roger Lange. After looking them both
over, I selected the 26" version of the Benchtop tool box reviewed by
Lange. This box (around $19) has three sections in the top with the poly
covers, which holds several eyepieces, the Barlow, the Autostar AND the
hand-controller, and a camera adapter. To pad the inside, I obtained
some 1" upholstery foam and cut it to fit in the bottom and sides. The
ETX90 sits snug inside this box, and is even tall enough that the
right-angle finder can remain on the scope. Inside, there is still
enough room to store a pair of 10x50 binoculars next to the telescope.

Finally, I have two eyepieces to rave about.

The first is a 35mm ERFLE made by Paul Rini and obtained from Surplus
Shed (http://www.surplusshed.com). For $24.95, this has become my go-to
eyepiece when searching for objects or using the Autostar's GOTO
feature. As has been mentioned about Rini's other eyepieces, the eye
relief on this lens is very long; you really do have to look *at* it
rather than *into* it. The packaging is very plain; a black upper tube
to hold the lenses and a smaller plastic 1.25" tube which goes into the

One problem I had with this eyepiece (and another Rini eyepiece I
haven't really used yet) is that the 1.25" tube is really too wide and
makes a very tight fit in the scope. To solve this, I plugged the
eyepiece tube with a plastic disk (to protect it) and used some
sandpaper to sand down the outer diameter of the eyepiece tube. All
kinds of little bits and pieces of some sort of silver coating or paint
came off the tube (as predicted, which is why I protected the glass!)
and it took a lot of sanding to get it down to where the eyepiece would
slip in and out of the scope easily. Once this was done, however, I had
no more problems. If someone was thinking of doing this sanding job, I
would advise being very careful about cleaning the tube with some sort
of rag to remove all of the plastic powder and shavings which come off
the eyepiece.

What's nice about this eyepiece is it can serve as an alternative to the
standard finder when the object to be observed is directly overhead (not
a problem with the right-angle finder). Once you've found the object,
you can go to higher magnification if desired.

The second eyepiece I'd like to tell you about is the 15mm from
Scopetronix (http://www.scopetronix.com). It costs $42.95, and I ordered
it from Scopetronix using the toll-free number on their website.This is
a Plossl eyepiece, it fits like a charm, and the eye relief is very
good. It was shipped in one of those "bolt" containers.

What can I say about this eyepiece? Images are sharp all the way to the
edges. I've found it to be parafocal with the 9.7 mm from Meade as well
as the Rini ERFLE eyepiece. It comes with the standard rubber eye
protector which can be flipped down for people who wear glasses (such as
my wife).

    Hope someone can find this info useful.


-Robert Shearer

Subject:	 RE: ETX-70EC
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 09:23:59
From:	Meade Instruments Corp.
The ETX-70EC is a wide field 350mm refractor.  The mount is essentially
the same size as a 90 but with taller fork arms.  It is electronically
similar to the other ETX and DS telescopes and can be controlled with an
EC or Autostar handbox.

Subject:	 ETX 70
Sent:	Monday, September 13, 1999 06:19:21
From:	gbgesq@earthlink.net (Gary)
I saw you reply to a new "post-er" that there is no ETX 70, but rather a
DS 70 - I saw the 70 EC in the Service Merchandise catalog - I'll check
it out when I get home and give you more details (if I didn't throw it
out already).  I don't remember the price, i think about $395, and it
looked like the 90 EC but the tube had a "lip," i.e. it looked like it
had a dew shield, which made me take a second look - we've all seen the
70 come up in the setup menu, looks like we'll soon be able to hold the
little guy!
Happy Seeing,

Subject:	 Spotmatic
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 1999 16:47:48
From:	GalenSteele@email.msn.com (GalenSteele)
Where did you find the T-mount adapter for the spotmatic??? I have one
also, vintage 1968 from viet-nam??  Want to use it with my etx90.

Mike here: Local camera store. My Spotmatic is also circa 1968.

Subject:	 tripod tips
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 1999 13:52:31
From:	scameron@ohiohills.com (Scott Cameron)
I just read the new tripod tips on your technical tips page.

Someone earlier suggested sliding quarters (or similar-sized coins) into
the slot on each tripod leg where the bolt contacts the leg...this would
prevent the bolt from chewing into the leg. Worked for me until the
quarters fell out and I lost them. The pop-riveted plate idea sounds
good (now...if only I knew how to do pop rivets!).

Scopetronix sells a set of clamps you can add to the legs, above the
original clamps. The clamps eliminate the single pivot-point structure
of the leg and really add stiffness. Kind of pricy, though.

I'd like to find a solution for the stiffener that runs between the legs
(where the eyepiece tray fits). Mine falls apart at the joints. I'm
thinking about making something a little more solid, and wonder if
anyone esle has done this.

Scott Cameron

Subject:	 ETX-70ec
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 1999 10:06:15
From:	formula1@primeline.com (charles gates)
I just received the new Sears wishbook and on page 112 is a Meade
ETX-70ec! It is a refractor with 350mm focal lengthand a 20mm
SuperPlossl eyepiece.  The mount is almost identical to the ETX mount.
The fork arms look slightly different. It also comes with a 9mm MA
eyepiece. Also has same electronic controller plugged into the base.
Sears describes it as a compact 70mm refractive optical system with
350mm focal length for razor sharp imaging. Price is $399.99. Just to
let you know this scope exists! Your site is great,it influenced my
decision to purchase my ETX-90 (old style) which i love and have had no
problems with.

Subject:	 help
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 1999 05:31:20
From:	rodrickse@mediaone.net
My name is Joseph Rodricks, I'm 15 years old from East Bridgewater Ma.
Now, living in New England, the weather and the sky are very
unpredictable. I sometimes get a night or two of perfect skies, other
times i'll go 2 weeks with out being able to use my scope. For example
it's been cloudy for 2 weeks, however, tonight does look promising.
Anyway, I have owned mt ETX for 2 months or so now. I have used it at
every available opportunity. I just started school last week, and i
regret that staying out all night with my scope doesn't go over all that
big with my parents. My High School has no interest in astronomy.
(though I did find an old, very old 10 Dob in a store closet in school)
So, I started talking with my Biochemistry teacher about my uncle (he
has a Ph.D.. in Biochemistry) then we got talking about my ETX. I told
her I had mine for 2 months and how i love it. I told her how I had
heard great things about the 125, and i told her about price, at witch
point she started to lose interest. Apparently she wants to buy one for
her husband. Then her and i started talking about accessories. After i
got home from school that day (yesterday) I started thinking about my
own accessories. I have the Auto star, the sp 9.7 ep, an orion solar
filter, and of course the sp 26 ep. I figured out my budget for
accessories, this including my  birthday, and long saved personal money.
I resolved a budget of $ 700. Can some one recommend what to buy with my
$700, I only have: the Auto star, the sp 9.7 ep, an orion solar filter,
and of course the sp 26 ep. Thank you for any help. (prices are good

  Joe Rodricks

PS I just bought the book NightWatch, A practical Guide To The Universe.
Written by Terence Dickinson. It's a great book, includes sky charts,
and a spiral, ring, binding. (it even makes references to the etx) it's
list price is $30, i got it for about 1/2, but i do strongly recommend
Mike here: There are several suggestions on eyepieces and accessories on the Buyer/New User Tips page.
Subject:	 Re: help
Sent:	Saturday, September 11, 1999 07:17:37
From:	Grizz2@prodigy.net (Craig)
As an avid ETX'er I would recommend a The Flexi-Focus($34.95) from
Scopetronics. It makes focusing in the Alt-Az mode a pleasure when
viewing anything near zenith,and lower depending on how fat your fingers
are............Also A dew shield ($14.95) is a very worthwhile purchase
and if dew conditions are terrible the Dew clip ($59.95) Scopetronics
would be worth every penny.

I am not affiliated with Scopetronics in any way. Jordan just makes some
wonderful products and I love to recommend them.

Also a 40mm Ep would give you some wider field views than you are
getting now with the Ep's you have. I would also purchase a 2x barlow
then you would double your ep collection.

With all the above you would only spend aprox. $200.00 of your $700.00
and would make your observing sessions more enjoyable.

Good luck to you and Clear skies


Subject:	 ETX90EC
Sent:	Friday, September 10, 1999 22:09:06
From:	cpiso@erols.com (Charles Piso)
Mike love your sight , I've been involved in amature astronomy for
almost two decades.  I am the proud owner of several meade telescopes
and the most frequently used is my newest edition an ETX90EC I was given
as a gift.  I have taken some prime focus photos and will forward them
to you as soon as I get them scanned. I would be very appreciative of
any info you may have on building a wedge for my scope I hope to make
one that I can adapt to the top of the equatorial pier I use for a
reflecting scope I also own. My review of the small wonder so far is,
for the money it is an outstanding unit, I use my ETX with a collection
of Tele-view lens ranging from 32mm to 9mm. To date I have viewed
Jupiter Saturn and countless double and variable stars.  At low power
the rings of saturn are crisp and visable the moons of jupiter are sharp
points of light and several bands are visable with the supplied 26mm
lens. and during my last observing session on Sept.1, '99 the moon
passed within 3 degrees of saturn even with this great amount of light
saturns disk and rings remained clear and in stunning contrast, also as
the moon sank below my field of vision I was able to observe the orion
nebula for the first time this season.  Again the optical quality of
this scope proved superb, I must admit the ETX has far exceeded my
expectations given my experience with larger apeture scopes. I am a firm
believer that this will prove to be my most used instrument for years to
Mike here: Check the TechTips page for info on building a wedge. There are also several on the Guest Contributions for 1998 (linked from the TechTips page).

Subject:	 Something to think about!
Sent:	Thursday, September 9, 1999 17:16:27
From:	jahorsley@uswest.net (John A. Horsley)
Glad to see you're back! Here is a little something to ponder:

The Size of Things. 
The stars within the Galaxy are separated from one another by a distance
of 30 trillion miles. In order to avoid the frequent repetition of such
awkwardly large numbers, astronomical distances are usually expressed in
units of the light year. A light year is defined as the distance covered
in one year by a ray of light, which travels at 186,000 miles per
second. This distance turns out to be six trillion miles; hence in these
units the average distance between stars in the Galaxy is five light
years, and the diameter of the Galaxy is 100,000 light years. In spite
of the enormous size of our galaxy, its boundaries do not mark the edge
of the observable universe. The 200-inch telescope on Mount Palomar has
within its range no less than 10 billion other galaxies, each comparable
to our own in size and containing a similar number of stars. The average
distance between these galaxies is one million light years. The extent
of the visible  universe, as it can be seen in the 200-inch telescope,
is 10 billion light years. An analogy will help to clarify the meaning
of these enormous distances. Let the sun be the size of an orange; on
that scale of sizes the earth is a grain of sand circling in orbit
around the sun at a distance of 30 feet; the giant planet Jupiter, 11
times larger than the earth, is a cherry pit revolving at a distance of
200 feet or one city block; Saturn is another cherry pit two blocks from
the sun; and Pluto, the outermost planet, is still another sand grain at
a distance of ten city blocks From the sun. On the same scale the
average distance between the stars is 2000 miles. The sun's nearest
neighbor, a star called Alpha Centauri, is 1300 miles away. In the space
between the sun and its neighbors there is nothing but a thin
distribution of hydrogen atoms, forming a vacuum far better than any
ever achieved on earth. The Galaxy, on this scale, is a cluster of
oranges separated by an average distance of 2000 miles, the entire
cluster being 20 million miles in diameter. An orange, a few grains of
sand some feet away, and then some cherry pits circling slowly around
the orange at a distance of a city block. Two thousand miles away is
another orange, perhaps with a few specks of planetary matter circling
around it. That is the void of space. (Robert Jastrow; Red Giants and
White Dwarfs.)

Clear Skies -n- Keep Lookin UP.... John

Subject:	 Offset plate
Sent:	Thursday, September 9, 1999 07:21:54
From:	Thumbies@email.msn.com (thumbies)
Your ETX site is absolutely the best site I've seen hands down. THANK

If you know of a different way of getting hold of Steve Stanford, as his
email is down, please let me know so I can by one of his offset plates.
I purchased the Scopetronix 40mm eyepiece based on the review on your
website, and it has quickly become my favorite eyepiece(even though I
also have the 4.8mm Nagler).

I've been surfing around looking at dew heaters and Kedrick seems to be
the gold standard, but I'm very curious to see how the new Scopetronix
works. I look forward to seeing the review.

		Thanks Again,

                               Karl Bolser

				A happy ETX owner

Subject:	 ETX 90
Sent:	Thursday, September 9, 1999 07:20:34
From:	david.kaufman@railinc.net
Thanks for the great site.  It was crucial in my choosing the ETX90EC.
(I just recently sold my 1979 Unitron refractor to make the jump).

FYI to new buyers:  I bought my ETX gear Aug 29th at Learningsmith at my
local mall. Their prices are identical to Discovery Zone store, but
offer a 90 money back guarantee and will match mail order prices on
accessories. (Discovery Zone does not take back Telescopes unless the
box is unopened).

I found out about Learningsmith's 20% off sale which started Sept 8th, I
stopped by with just my receipt.   With a smile, the clerk quickly
refunded me 20% off the scope, tripod and autostar!  $200 with a smile.

I thought others should know about Learningsmith excellent service.

As for my new scope, Hurricane Dennis has made viewing just about
impossible since I made my purchase, but I'm headed to the mountains
this weekend!

Thanks again.  I'm sure I will be posting with questions soon!

David K
Mike here: Back in the 1960s I used to drool over the Unitron ads on the back of the Sky and Telescope magazines. Never bought one though.

Added later:

I literally bought the Unitron when I was 12 with money from my
newspaper route.  I wished I could have afforded an equatorial mount
though.  A manual Alt Az mount is tough for finding objects... (I am
pysched for my  ETX90EC!)

Unitron made a great refractor.  The unihex system was the best.  You
plugged 6 eyepieces in, and just rotated to switch eyepieces while

By the way,  what  ever happened to the Unitron company?   I just
started getting into Astronomy again after a 15 year gap, and I don't
see Unitron anywhere in the magazines or on the internet.
Mike here: Unitron runs some SMALL ads in Sky and Telescope. (By the way, I'm trying to start a Unitron thread here!)

Subject:	 etx 70 ec 
Sent:	Wednesday, September 8, 1999 20:50:01
From:	rdickerson@pcisys.net (Rich Dickerson)
Thank you for the wonderful web site.  I own an old ETX 90 due to your

My question is what is an ETX 79 EC autostar adaptable, and is it worth
anything.  My father in law is looking at Telescopes and says he found a
70 EC autostar adaptable scope at JCPenneys for half price of a 90.  He
says it has a focal length of 350 ?mm.  Please help what is up with this
scope i have never heard of, probably for a good reason.

Rich Dickerson
Mike here: There is no ETX-70EC. There is a DS-70EC however that is a refractor and can use the Autostar.

Subject:	 Summer Triangle & UFO's
Sent:	Wednesday, September 8, 1999 19:05:21
From:	Sukun.Tanticharoenkiat@shell.co.th (HMA/3 (Sukun T.) .)
Vigorous discussion in the newsgroup on ETX 125 & N5...let's time prove

(Of course, I put in the word UFO's just to make it interesting..please
read on) Last night the sky in Bangkok was clear..may be the only one of
a few nights during the rainy tropical time till end of Oct.  I went out
around 9 p.m. to use the ETX 90 RA or Classic ETX 90 (sound better!) for
a small session. Looking up north to locate the famous summer triangle
Daneb in Cygnus, Vega in Lyra, and Altair in Aquila, a large triangle in
summer sky.  I started with the easy one the famous 'Albireo' (Head of
Cygnus) and under 48X the double showed up into two pretty stars, one
bluish white and the other kind of orange. Next I try to find M57, the
Ring Nebula in Lyra. I could not have succeeded without the aid of the
book 'Turn left at Orion', a very good guide for amateur trying to hop
for deep-sky objects (besides the 'GOTO' ETX EC with Autostar or N5!). 
M57 looks like a faint star under 48X, take some time to ascertain by
moving the slow motion Dec. knob back& forth to adjust my eye the faint
fuzzy object.  After that I switch to 9.7 mm eyepiece (as suggested by
the Book to observe at higher magnification) and the Ring Nebula is more
apparent in shape..but it's dimmer (may be I have to get the oxygen III
filter to make it more contrast). Turning a few pages in the book, I
tried to locate M27, the Dumbell nebula near the arrow of the Sagitta. 
This is not a hard object, and the fuzzy bow shape is quite impressive
at 48X. It's around 10 p.m. and I was about to pack up. Happen to look
at the east sky, I was caught by a very bright object.  At first, I
think it is a plane, and it seemed to move toward me.  I wait a while
and it's still there.  I looked through the binoculars and it's not
moving.. OK, I think it should be either UFO or Jupiter and I pointed
the scope to it and IT IS JUPITER..Very bright star.  I also experienced
this kind of thing a few days ago in early morning after looking at M31,
Andromeda galaxy, and looking at the east sky seeing a bright object.  I
thought it was a plane and, with that idea in mind, the object seemed to
move towards me. But at last I point my scope and found that it was NOT
UFO..it's the Morning Star..or Venus.(it's crescent but very bright).

I can now understand why Venus or Jupiter were mistaken by lots of
people to be UFO's.

That's all folks!

Best Regards,
Sukun T.
Bangkok, Thailand 100.2 E, 13.5 N

Subject:	 Ultrablock vs UHC Pollution filter
Sent:	Wednesday, September 8, 1999 04:28:04
From:	lombry@excite.com (Thierry Lombry)
Here is a note I received today about the 2 LPR filters Ultrablock from
Orion and UHC from Lumicon. To complete your Accessories column about
the test report on these 2 filters you published. These 2 reports (yours
and this one) are opposite.

Date: 	Tue, 07 Sep 1999 21:51 
From: 	"David W. Knisely" (KA0CZC@navix.net)
Subject: 	Re: Light Pollution Filters 

Hi there,

I did some extensive comparisons between the Ultrablock narrowband
filter and the Lumicon UHC, using both the Lumicon Multi-filter adapter
with my ten inch, as well as a spectroscope to see the bandwidth and
characteristics of both filters.  The Multi-filter adapter allows
instant comparison between sets of filters, so there is no ambiguity
caused by the time it takes to take one filter out and put another in.
Although both the UHC and the Ultrablock have very similar
characteristics and performance, the UHC was the better of the two
filters overall, as it has slightly higher in-band light transmission.
It consistently showed a slightly larger area of nebulosity in most
nebulae than the Ultrablock did, although the overall views looked
fairly similar.  In the spectroscope, the UHC shows an almost
flat-topped passband extending from just a little on the blue-side of
the H-beta line to just a little on the red side of the Oxygen III
emission lines.  The Ultrablock has a more gaussian (bell-curve) shaped
passband and a slightly lower in-band transmission.  This lower
transmission is why the Ultrablock yields a darker sky; its just not
letting as much light through.  This tends to yield an "apparent"
increase in contrast, when in fact there is little or none.  In
particular, the Ultrablock's light transmission at the H-beta line seems
to be somewhat less than the transmission at the OIII lines, which may
have an impact on objects with significant H-beta emissions.

Both filters work quite well on most emission nebulae, so other than
price, there isn't an enormous difference in performance, although
again, if you are pushing things to the limit, the UHC is probably the
filter of choice for an all-around nebulae enhancer.

As for the OIII and H-beta, the OIII tends to be the more useful of the
two, as it tends to give a more significant improvement on more objects
than the H-beta does.  The H-beta is definitely *not* a good filter for
the Veil, as it dims it significantly over the view in the OIII or UHC. 
Similarly, the North America Nebula is better in the UHC or OIII than it
is in the H-beta, although the view is still improved by the H-beta to
some degree over no filter at all.

The H-beta also tends to almost wipe out many planetary nebulae, so
again, the OIII or UHC would be better here.  The H-beta is best used on
the Horsehead Nebula, the California Nebula, and the Coccoon Nebula, but
does not offer the kind of performance improvement on other objects as
the UHC/OIII do. However, the H-beta is still somewhat useful for
examining some of the structural details in some of the larger emission

Larger planetary nebulae do benefit more from the OIII than the UHC, but
for most smaller planetaries, filters are not really needed (except when
trying to find the smaller ones in a crowded field).

Clear skies to you.  
David Knisely  KA0CZC@navix.net
Prairie Astronomy Club, Inc.  http://www.4w.com/pac

Mike here: I wonder if aperture makes any difference when using these types of filters. He used a 10" scope whereas the reports on the Accessories - Filters page were from users using the ETX.

Subject:	 Optical tests for the 125
Sent:	Tuesday, September 7, 1999 10:24:16
From:	brass@uconnvm.uconn.edu (Emory Braswell)
I have just received my 125 and had to return it because the RA drive
motor was bad.  But having read on your excellent site the comments
about possible optical problems, I am worried.  Will Meade test my scope
for other defects than the RA drive.  When I get it back how can I test
it for collimation etc.  I have read on the site the results of various
tests and would appreciate someone describing them in detail.  
E. Braswell --       braswell @uconn.edu
Mike here: I would assume that Meade will check it thoroughly. As to a collimation test, this "Christmas Tree Ornament Test" is probably the easiest. Do the following as described by Neil Reimer on the Feedback page for May 1998: "Place a sphere in the sun (i.e. Christmas ornament, but I used marbles). You then focus the scope on the sun's pinpoint reflection from about 75 feet away at high magnification and focus in and out. The shapes of the concentric rings gives you information on the status of your optics." Perfect circles indicates perfect collimation.

Added later:

Mike,  Thank you so much for the info!  Meade should be paying you for
all the help you and your site provide.  Emory Braswell

Subject:	 traveling with ETX
Sent:	Tuesday, September 7, 1999 08:26:49
From:	deneb@li.net (Mark Arnum)
Welcome back from your trip. In August I took my three-month old ETX
90EC to Bucharest, Romania for the solar eclipse. I did see it clearly,
yet with an hour to totality and some clouds building up in the hot
summer afternoon there, the group of locals I was with decided to head
south and east to ahead of the cloud bank - just to be sure. Now that
was quite a ride (we were lucky to have found a young, fast driver!) and
we made it to a farm about five minutes before totality. So I didn't
have enough time to set up the scope and photograph the eclipse - which
would have been my first attempt  - until after totality. I had
binoculars and a total solar eclipse is really a naked-eye spectacle.:)

The case I use for the ETX is the extra large Doskocil Seal-tight. What
was good is that I was actually able to carry it on-board the planes
with another, smaller bag that held my clothes and stuff. Only on
leaving New York (JFK) did the security check folks want me to open it -
and after checking out the eyepieces and such (the Thousand Oaks solar
filter) they actually were a bit curious about it! When I was returning
from Europe (Amsterdam) simply explaining to the check-in agent that it
was a telescope again allowed me to take it as carry-on. I'd say the
Seal-tight case is safe enough to check-in - it is slightly larger than
the sample 'frame' displayed in airports to indicate how large carry-on
luggage can be.  Of course I have no idea how well it will make it
through baggage handling/handlers. A couple 'fragile' stickers would
definitely be wise.

I look forward to traveling with the ETX again. I might scare up enough
funds to see the Mercury transit in November!:>

Mark Arnum

Subject:	 Baader AstroSolar Film
Sent:	Friday, September 3, 1999 16:27:27
From:	alexgibson@sympatico.ca (Alex Gibson)
I purchased a 7.9" x 11.4" sheet of this newly released solar film which
is distributed by Astro-Physics. With the film, I received an
instruction sheet on how to build a filter cell out of poster board. I
was apprehensive about using poster board and looked around for other
material to hold the film. What I ended up with was a 4" PVC coupling
available from any hardware store. It is very light, white in color and
fits the ETX 90mm tube with the use of a spacer or two to provide a snug
fit. The coupling has an interior ridge where two pipes would meet. I
used one side of the ridge to hold the filter cell which I made
according to Part I of the directions provided. This part of the
coupling also provides protection for the solar film since the film is
inserted about two inches inside the coupling. The other side of the
ridge provides a stop when placed onto the ETX tube.

This film is superb. The Sun is shown in white and sunspots and surface
texture are beautiful to view. Transmission is .00001 and density ND5
for visual use. Photographic film is also available.

Re: price. The sheet of solar film is $22.00 US although a larger 19.7"
x 39.4" sheet is about 2 1/2 the price. The PVC coupling was $1.88
Canadian at Home Depot which is about 1.25 US. I was able to make three
solar filters for the ETX plus 2 filters for my 10 x 50 binoculars and a
filter for my ETX finderscope all from the small sheet. I used the
supplied posterboard instructions for the binocular and finderscope

Alex Gibson

Subject:	 Meade 4000 SP 9.7 mm eyepiece
Sent:	Friday, September 3, 1999 13:40:20
From:	Donald.Phipps@kp.org (Donald Phipps)
It has been a while since I have been in contact with you, but regularly
go to your website to keep up on what is going on.  I recently purchased
the 9.7mm eyepiece to use in addition to the 26 mm and the 2x Barlow
tube. The difference was as phenomenal as I had anticipated (having a
smaller refractor with 6mm and 15mm  eyepieces).  My first objects for
viewing and testing this new lense were Saturn and Jupiter at 4:30 AM.
Even with the moon shining brightly,  Saturn was a creamy colored jewel
in the heavens.  I could not only see the two main bands in the rings,
but was able to detect three very faint moons.  When I looked at
Jupiter, with two moons on each side, the expanse of the exteme moons
just fit into the field of view.  The planet itself was clearer than I
had seen it in years!  I could clearly see three dark bands. I certainly
would have liked to had my camera attached to see the view, but alas,
all of these observations took place in a matter of 6 minutes before I
headed off to work.

I took the scope with me on vacation in Hawai'i this summer, and the
whole family enjoyed the stars almost more than the beaches and the
sights.  I purchased a backpack with wheels on it, which provides a
solid base on the bottom and a solid brace on the top.  I padded the
inside with foam rubber and slid the ETX in place.  I placed the lenses
and both the original handbox and the Autostar in the pocket of the
pack. There was still enough space to include a field guide to the
stars, a mini maglite with a red lense, sky charts and a notepad inside
with the scope.   It makes an easy way to carry it on the plane or
hiking in more remote places.

Thanks again for the great web site and the helpful information that you
provide to star-watching enthusiasts.

Happy Sky Watching,

Don Phipps 

Subject:	 ETX Right Ascension
Sent:	Friday, September 3, 1999 05:45:56
From:	aljones1@airmail.net (Alan Jones)
My question is that when I've polar aligned and than go to a bright star
and check my dec. and set my ra to that star. Then use that setting to
find my next object. When I turn it to the location of the object, the
right ascension readings on the lower row of numbers [northern] does not
read what it has in the chart. If I was using the upper numbers
{southern], it seems to come closer to the readings it should be. I know
this can't be right. What am I doing wrong?

I live in the Dallas Tx.area and there is quite a bit of light but I can
find objects if I am in the right spot. I was trying to use the setting
circles to get there, but everytime I go to the set-up star then turn it
to the ra on the chart it points at my foot or something, unless I use
the southern ring. Am I just looking at this thing wrong or something?

I hate to bother you with something that appears simple but it is
driving me NUTS and I can't seem to find an answer with all the search
engines in the world.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Alan. aljones1@airmail.net
Mike here: On many scopes the RA right is reversed. Just use the other one.

Subject:	 Further Nagler tests
Sent:	Thursday, September 2, 1999 18:34:46
From:	jh@brainiac.com (Joe Hartley)
I stopped by the observatory on my way home from work tonight and
borrowed the 12mm type 2 Nagler for further tests in the ETX.

I must have used it last before I got the MicroStar unit, because as
someone here predicted I had major problems slewing, especially in the
Dec axis.  There was so much weight there that the belt just slipped.

Maneuvering the scope manually was no fun either.  Most of the objects I
was looking at (Albireo, M13, M57) were rather close to the zenith. If I
wasn't holding the bottom of the OTA, it would immediately (and
quickly!) swing down.

The views were beautiful, but the expanded field of view just isn't
worth the aggravation.

       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

Subject:	mars 1999
Sent:	Thursday, September 2, 1999 13:59:27
From:	FGBIKE@aol.com
Thought I would send you one of my drawings of Mars made last may. 
Considering the condition of my eyes I would say that the ETX 90
(original model) did a fantastic job.  I was surprised to find the
seeing so good at sunset, I could see Mars quite well but no stars. 
Shortly after sunset the seeing went to pot as the earth radiates heat
into the night air at this location, which is normal I have found.  The
drawing is attached as a JPEG file called mars 5-23-99.

Subject:	 ETX-90EC Question
Sent:	Thursday, September 2, 1999 11:51:03
From:	mace@hks.com (Bruce Mace)
I'm thinking of purchasing this telescope, but I have one question which
I can not find the answer to anywhere.  I know that the ETX-90EC can be
PC controlled, but can the image from the telescope be displayed on my
PC's monitor?

Mike here: Yes, with the right equipment. You need to add a CCD imager. Some users are using the QuickCam or other computer TV cameras for views of brighter objects. Search my ETX site for "quickcam" or "CCD" or other items.

Sent:	Thursday, September 2, 1999 04:57:21
From:	stumeat@uss.net (stewart, robert c)
Question- I live in Chicago amoungs all the street lights, ect.  would
it be of any good to own the etx. and if so what accessories would be
needed for half way decent viewing.
Mike here: Check out the Buyers/New Users Tips page on my ETX site. Lots of good info on what to buy. City lights won't hamper your viewing of the Moon and most of the planets (although buildings may get in the way!). Fainter objects will likely be invisible but brighter double stars are still nice to look at. And once you get hooked you'll likely want to get away from the city lights once in a while and so the portability of the ETX comes in real handy then.

Subject:	Magnification True or False
Sent:	Wednesday, September 1, 1999 17:58:13
From:	AntnVd@aol.com
I have three questions, the first is meade claims that the ETX-125EC is
capable of magnifications up to 450X, how true is this, because other
telescopes with 5" f/10 usually claim 350X and also i read that 50X per
1" is the most? the other question is...   is the ETX-125EC good for
Deep Space photography?   what I mean by that is magazine clear an
beautiful?       my last question is, when taking a picture through the
telescope, what is the picture going to look like, ex...  if you have a
5" f/15 1900mm and a camara, when i take the picture can i pake a
picture of the horse head at 350X, 250X and so on, or does 1900mm have
some thing to do whith the result of the picture?  i know the last
question is a mess, it's O.K if you dont understand what i'm trying to
ask.   ...GREEEEAT SITE, please if you receive pictures tataken through
the ETX-125EC can you please post it   B)       ThAnKs a BuNcH MiKe  B)
Mike here: As soon as I receive some actual photos done with the ETX-125EC I'll post them. As to doing deep space, or actually long duration astrophotography with the -125, it will be a challenge (as it is with nearly all scopes). You'd need to add a lot of equipment like off-axis guider and spend a lot of time correcting the drive tracking during the exposure. That can be done but the ETX line is really not designed for that. If you attach a CCD camera instead of a film camera you'll get better results since the CCD can do much shorter exposures but they cost a lot of money for the good ones. Piggyback astrophotography (like shown on my ETX site) is easier and still rewarding. As to magnification, yes 50-60x per inch is the normal maximum however with really good optics and good seeing conditions on bright objects (Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) this can be exceeded. Many users including myself have exceeded this theoretical maximum with the 90mm ETX.

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