Last updated: 28 March 2004

This page documents astrophotography comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. Be certain to see the other articles on the main Astrophotography page.

Subject: Astrophotography?
Date: 3/27/04, 19:37
From: rick (
I got an etx 90 for Christmas and then I got the eyepiece special. I
love the telescope. I'm trying to figure out what the best way to take
pictures is. I've got a 35mm Canon (Rebel 2000) and a digital Canon
(A80). I took a digital picture of Jupiter the other day, but it was, of
course, blurry since I was holding the camera. What kind of adapter do I
need to hook them up? Which camera is better for Astrophotography? I was
also looking into that LPI Imager. Is that as good as it looks? I don't
have the autostar controller. Do I need that for the LPI. One last
thing, I promise. After I get everything I need, how do I take pictures
of galaxies and stuff like that? I know it has something to do with
exposure times. Do I need to get something else for the camera to do all

Any answers would be much appreciated.    
Mike here: Check out the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page on my ETX Site. Lots of info there. Also, see my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page for more info on using the LPI.

Subject: Visited SRB in Luton, UK, spring last year
Date: 3/22/04, 11:31
From: Stein Onshus (
and bought one of their adaptors to fit my etx90 and Canon Ixus
3,2mpixel together with a few rings directly to the eyepiece. Most
successful technically. If you look into the website there should be any
possibility, and they tailor to most needs I  think.

It seems you are most for astro, but I have included a bird as an
example using an 11 mm eyepiece, + 2 times optical on the camera. Gets
pretty difficult to focus even when I use capture from my laptop,

Please visit their web for details Stein Onshus Norway.

Subject: Etx 125 and digital camera
Date: 3/21/04, 06:23
I have an ETX 125 and have just purchased a Scopetronix Maxview 40
adapter for a Nikon Coolpix 8700. The camera and adapter weighs just a
tad over two pounds. I have not turned on the scope and tried it yet
being afraid I may strip a gear. Do you think my set up warrants a

Geoff Hendrickson
Mike here: You won't strip a gear but slippage could occur in some orientations. Counterweights always help.

Subject: stars
Date: 3/17/04, 10:58
How would I be able to take the pictures I have seen on your website?
Keep in mind I am very new to the whole web cam thing, I don't even have
one yet, but do I have to hook it up to a telescope? Please could you
give a beginner some words of wisdom and help me?
    Holley Morton
    Hornbrook, California
Mike here: Start with the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. Lots of links to articles and tips.

Subject: really nice pictures...
Date: 3/15/04, 14:14
From: al hakimov (
I was looking through your gallery shots and can't stop envying how did
you guys manage to take such a great photos, I have etx-125, i have
2xblarlow and 9mm eye-piece, am I missing something, and when i try to
look it really difficult to see saturn or jupiter, i am not even
bothering with taking such pictures with my digital camera, do you need
on top of it good optical digital camera, because according to this
shots pictures seem as if they were taken from some 25-50" huge
telescopes, also is there anyway you guys make some special custom ring
for digital camera to fit etx-125? Your advise is really appreciated on
this matter. Superb gallery!

Mike here: Keep in mind that it is possible (and done a lot) to digitally enhance the photos in software using various techniques. As to an adapter, check the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography; the Scopetronic Digi-T System is very popular. Also, check the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for lots of info. As to visual appearances, seeing conditions will drastically affect the quality of the views. See the Observational Guides/References page for info on seeing.

Subject: Meade ETX 125, Canon EOS 10D
Date: 3/7/04, 13:08
From: JSM De Waal (
Your site and various references to your work I found in a number of
place son the web are truly impressive.

May I please ask for some help?

I am an experienced (if not particularly talented) digital photography
enthusiast. I now use a Canon EOS 10D and am absolutely delighted with
the result and use of this device. I use it for family / hobby purposes
and would like to start a new hobby of astronomy / astro- photography.

My current idea is to obtain a Meade ETX 125 AT. It looks like a good
starter scope and also relatively portable. I am very familiar with GPS
technology and own both a Garmin GPS III plus and a Streetpilot so I
think I will have a good start with the location bits.

I live in Holland where it is almost always cold outside. So I would
like to be in a position where I can relay an image to my indoor PC by
cable or wireless, drive the scope from the PC (the house has a wireless
network and I have several PCs and a Notebook) and take pictures on the
Canon EOS 10D.

I will be traveling to the US next week so I was wondering what I should
put on my shopping list.

I realise you must get many requests like this but I really will
appreciate some pointers.

Mike here: You might check out the Meade Autostar Suite. You can drive the telescope using a wireless network (with a computer connected locally to the telescope and another computer connected via the network). You could attach the Canon to the ETX with something like the Scopetronix MaxView or Digi-T System and use a long USB cable to bring its image indoors. Alternatively you could connect the camera to the computer connected to the telescope and use either Timbuktu (a commercial product; you'll need to licenses) or VNC (free for both a client and server; I use this with my Mac OS X systems but there are many OSes supported). The Autostar Suite includes an imager which you might find works better for some objects (brighter ones).


Many tks for the prompt reply (!).

Will keep this in mind and if anything noteworthy come of this, will let
you know.

I have a lot to learn.


Subject: Meade ETX 60 - which adapter?
Date: 3/5/04, 20:18
From: chopsey (
I have a Meade ETX 60 - and am getting as much mileage and enjoyment as
i can with it. - I also have a  digital camera (Cannon powershot A70)  -
I would like to connect one to the other in order to take digital
pictures of the moon and its craters. - What do you suggest is the best
(adapter?) to purchase. - I don't expect to fetch high quality pictures
like the pros get. - i just want something fun (and decent)  to
experiment with..  - Is this at all possible with what i have?

A pleasure to see your site still going strong - i have peen popping in
and out over the last year and a 1/2 or so, and still get plenty of
solid info from here  - Thank you!!
Best regards,
Simi Valley,Ca
Mike here: Check out the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page; the Scopetronix Digi-T System Camera Adapter is very popular.


Thanks, I`ll check it out.


Subject: Re: Piggyback ETX70AT
Date: 3/4/04, 19:56
I appreciate the response, Mike.

Question is, how does one disassemble the OTA to the bare minimum to be
able to mount the tube, without permanently disabling the ETX? Any tips?
I asked the folks at Shutan in Chicagoland, but their response was that
it couldn't be done. I'll check-out the Losmandy mount.


Mike here: That's a good question. Unfortunately, I haven't done that. I thought there was an article that described that on the ETX but I couldn't quickly identify it.

Subject: Piggyback ETX70AT
Date: 3/4/04, 10:55
Thanks for a very informative web site. I have a question that I hope
you can answer: I'm acquiring a Meade LX90 and have thought of mounting
my ETX70AT in a piggyback configuration for DS film photography. In your
estimation, is this feasible?

I'd appreciate any advice and/or recommendations.

Thank you.

Mike here: Yes, you can piggyback the ETX on another telescope OTA. Most people probably use the Losmandy mounting brackets.

Subject: Astrophotography - Polar Alignment with counter weights
Date: 3/1/04, 07:49
From: John Zylka (
Thank you for the great site.  It has been my major source for

In attempting polar alignment, I would appreciate some expertise on how
to train and align my ETX-125 with a camera and counter-weights.  During
my first attempt, my Nikon 90 S camera seemed too heavy for the scopes
clutch and motor mechanism.  So I purchased a counter-weight set which
seems to balance the scope fine.

What is the correct method for attaching a camera and counter-weights to
train and perform polar alignment?  In polar home position, there is no
space to mount a camera.  With counter-weights added to the scope and
without a camera, my RA clutch slips.  I feel very apprehensive to
adjust the clutch any tighter.  Can the scope be trained without the
weights and camera, and then after alignment should the camera and
weights be added?  If this be the case, will this confuse the training?

John Zylka
Mike here: Yes, polar aligning with some accessories attached can be difficult to impossible. However, there is a way around this. Do the alignment without the accessories. Then attach them and slew to a fixed object (not a planet or the Moon) near to where you plan to do your photography. Then do a SYNC. That should work well in that area of the sky. Repeat the SYNC if you change to another area.

Subject: Use of ETX 105 for Transit of Venus?
Date: 2/22/04, 22:04
From: Ruben Ruiz (
I am planning to travel to Europe to see the Transit of Venus next June
8th. I own an ETX-105EC and I would like some advise.

1- How would you recommend to take the ETX-105 in the Airplane to

2- I would like to take a movie of the transit. Would you recommend a
webcam, such as Philips ToUcam?

3- What about the size of the sun? I still do not have the sun filter,
therefore I have no idea how large the sun looks in my scope. Would I
need a Field Doubler for wider filed imaging?

4- Finally, Would it be better to use a Nikon N65 (35mm SLR) with a
28-200 lens and a 2X teleconverter, instead of the scope? My guess is
that the sun will look too small.

Any other ideas for the transit?

Many thanks. From Mexico City,
Mike here: I recommend carrying the telescope as carry-on if at all possible. Webcams work great (see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for more on webcams). Check the size of the full moon in your telescope; the sun will be similar (although not precisely the same size). If you can't get a full disk on the imager you will either need a wide-field adapter or a shorter focal length eyepiece. The camera/telephoto could work but Venus will be rather small.

Subject: Photography with a 70AT
Date: 2/22/04, 10:43
From: Gary Crossley (
I recently bought an ETX 70AT for travel. This year I would like to take
it to the Virgin Islands at 18 degrees north and try star field
photography using a lightweight Nikon Coolpix 5400 camera.  I purchased
a piggyback camera mount and guide eyepiece and now need to work on
setting up the scope up for equatorial operation. The 882 tripod is a
bit light, but would like to use it if possible.  I've looked at the
postings on your site but couldn't find any ideas.  I looked at's 70AT accessory page but their tripod / wedge
combination reads "note: the ETX60&70AT does not function in polar
mode".  Is there a way I can do guided, piggyback photography using the
70AT and 882 tripod?
Mechanicsburg, PA
Mike here: You would have to make a wedge or otherwise tilt the tripod head to match the latitude, which is a pretty extreme tilt at 18 degrees Latitude. An alternative would be to get a different tripod. The #494 Autostar does have a Polar setting.

Subject: ETX 105 and LX 90 For Deep Sky Photography - Advice Please
Date: 2/21/04, 11:44
From: Becky (
I wonder if it would be possible for you to help me out I own the ETX
105 and LX90, both have the hand controllers, shorty Barlow x 2, Meade
Super Plossl 26mm EP and Meade WA 18mm EP, I am still awaiting the
Anniversary Pieces.  I would like to get into Deep sky photography but I
am getting a bit confused as to what extra equipment I require to be
able to do this and get decent photographs. I have the following
equipment Pentax SLR Manual Camera with 50mm lens, 28 mm lens, 80-200mm
zoom lens and 70-300mm zoom lens, and cable release, I also have the 64T
Adaptor and T Mount ring to attach to the scope.  I understand I think
that I need a wedge, but is this for both the scopes or just the LX90, I
have seen mentioned Off axis guiders but again is this only for the
LX90.  Sorry to be a pain, as I know that you are very busy, but could
you advise me what you think is best, i.e. what other equipment I

I would like also to thank you for bringing such a wonderful site, and
also for your quick replies as I have emailed you a couple of times.
Becky (Gosport, UK)
Mike here: Look over the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page; you'll find lots of info there. In order to do long duration photography without "field rotation" the telescope must be mounted in Polar (as known as Equatorial) mode, so yes, you would need a wedge for the LX90 or ETX-105 or a tripod that allows for polar mounting. Otherwise you would need a "field derotator". I would suggest starting simple, even piggybacking your camera on one of the telescopes. Again, look through the astrophotography pages and galleries.

Subject: Re: Image Centering
Date: 2/17/04, 02:28
From: Luc Janssens (
Thanks Mike for the prompt reaction. To answer  your questions. Yes, I
can reduce vignetting to an acceptable level but as you can see in the
example attached (the daylight picture) there is a tremendous amount of
shadow near the bottom of the image. And the picture of the sun
illustrates the same situation although it is not so pronounced since
the background is black.

I never had problems looking through the eyepiece and as long I took
pictures holding the camera to the eyepiece with my hands I could
compensate for the excentricity. I'll check to see if I can adjust the
digi-T ring to obtain better centering.

You have put me on the right way I think.
Kind regards,

Mike here: Looking at the land shot, it appears that the FOV is not circular; something is cutting it off. Check the alignment of the Digi-T. Also, can you move the eyepiece a lot sideways?


I think the attached picture of the tree will clarify what happens.
Changing the centering of the eyepiece with respect to the camera did
not solve the problem. I had a quick look at the assembly that keeps the
mirror in position. Indeed nothing is foreseen to adjust the mirror. I'm
thinking about making a spring (or rubber band) type positioner with an
adjustable stop for the right angle vision. The flipped away position is
less critical I think. Another solution would be to move the cutout over
the circular section by removing some of the plastic at one side and
adding a piece (about 1mm I guess) on the other side, but that solution
does not allow for some adjustment afterwards. I attach another picture
of the mirror assembly for illustration. The picture at the bottom shows
that the digikit is reasonable well centered to the camera. This picture
is taken with the digi-t and the eyepiece attached to the camera, no OTA

Mike here: It does appear that some adjustment is needed. Use caution!


Thanks Mike. I'll inform you when I have made some progress.
Kind regards,
And an update:
As promessed I let you know that I could improve the image centering in
the Digi-T system.

Hope the picture says everything.

I'm just left with a left-right off center situation but that is due to play of the eyepiece in the eyepiece holder and should not be to difficult to adjust. Maybe some other people can take advantage of my experience.. Thank you for your advise and thanks too to all the contributors of your helpfull website. Luc

Subject: Image Centering
Date: 2/16/04, 06:27
From: Luc Janssens (
Thanks to your site I start feeling better with my ETX105. I found a lot
of very usefull info about these scopes and thereby I was able to solve
a few problems. Today I installed a digi T system #60 from Scopetronics
to make afocal photography. In the attached picture one can see that the
image that the scope sends to the eyepiece is not well centered.
Touching the flip mirror I can correct for the up down position but the
mirror returns to the equilibrium position as soon as I leave it alone.

My question: can I adjust the position of the mirror so that the centering will be stable. I' am not affraid to disassemble the scope if I have a chance to adjust that mirror. As I allready said: I learned a lot from your migthy ETX -site. Thanks for advise, Luc J.
Mike here: First, I would suggest zooming the camera lens to reduce the vignetting. Or you can use Macro mode (if you camera has one). This gets the lens closer to the eyepiece focal plane. If your camera doesn't have either capability, then you will have to live with the extreme vignetting. But if you can reduce the vignetting, see if the offcenter problem is still there or has been reduced. I don't recommend making any mods to the flip mirror. Have you detected any problems when looking through an eyepiece?

Subject: ETX-70 astrophotography
Date: 2/11/04, 08:02
From: Lee Johnson (
Sorry to disturb you once again but firstly I would like to thank you
for your last reply it was very helpful and I did find and take a brief
picture of Jupiter and as well as some impressive pictures of the Moon.

I have question this time about photography with the ETX-70, I have a
Digi Pro Digital Cemera and try to take a photograph through a 9mm
eyepiece of Jupiter, but when I took a photograph of Jupiter, I came up
with this strange photogaph (see attachment) and I'm not sure if it was
or not Jupiter, if it was 'blurred' or a reflection off my camera. Any
thoughts or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated and
welcome. I was pointing toward Jupiter at this time the photo was taken

Kind regards, Lee
Mike here: I suspect this is an out-of-focus image of something bright; possibly Jupiter if that's what you were trying for. Focusing is a challenge when doing astrophotography. Keep working on the Moon, which is bright enough to make focusing much easier. Then when you move to another object, don't change the focus. If you change eyepieces, you will have to refocus though.

Subject: Eyepiece Projection Photography and focus
Date: 2/10/04, 02:39
From: "Davies, Paul G (GE Consumer Finance)" (
I was trying out my new eyepiece projection adapter the other night, and
had big problems focussing the camera. The issue was that I could get
the centre of the image in focus, but moving further out towards the
edges of the frame got progressively out of focus. This was using the
Meade SP 25mm eyepiece that came with the 'scope. In fact the effect was
pronounced enough to give the image a weird 3D effect while slewing the
image back and forward in the view finder!! I tried again with the 9mm
eyepiece (from my ETX-60), and the effect was greatly reduced. I suspect
I know the reason for this. The eyepiece forms an image at a fixed
radius from centre of the last element in the lens. The further you get
from the centre line of the optical path, the further from the film
plane the actual image focus gets. So I guess my question is this: Is
this an effect of eyepieces in general, or should I look for a
particular type or design of eyepiece that is particularly suited to
eyepiece projection photography? (or should I just keep to prime focus
or CCD photography, with a much smaller image scale?)

again, Many thanks for your insight.


Paul Davies
Mike here: What you are seeing is "field curvature"; a field flattener can reduce it. BUT I'm curious; you said you used the 25mm eyepiece that came with your ETX-125. They used to include the SP 26mm; the ETX-60 and ETX-70 came with a MA 25mm, which was a lower quality eyepiece. The 9mm is also a MA I think. These could exhibit (although I've never noticed it visually) from a more apparent field curvature.


Sorry for the confusion!!! I meant to say SP 26mm. I'm using the MA 9mm
until me 'Meade Offer' eyepiece set turns up (probably sometime in May).

Do you know of a field flattener for use in conjunction with an eyepiece
projection setup? All the ones I've seen advertised are designed to
screw onto the camera port of an SCT.
Mike here: Yes, the ones I've seen do attach as a SCT device (you'd need the SCT converter as well).

Subject: Focus Pentax P30
Date: 2/8/04, 07:34
From: Diane Rainey (
I just got my ETX 70.  Very new to all of this.  I have read your
material and you have a great site.  I would like to start with taking a
few shots of the moon.  I have a Pentax P30 mounted with the T Ring. 
After that I am lost.  I can see exactly what I goes the
dumb question.  How do you get it in focus looking through the camera. 
I have used the short and long barlow on the T Ring.  I was wondering if
you could just give me some step by step instruciton.
Diane R
Mike here: Focusing is a challenge when looking through the camera's viewfinder. You might find the article "Hartmann Mask Focusing Aid" on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page useful. Patience is the key.

Subject: ETX need counterweights for camera?
Date: 1/30/04, 10:20
From: Robert Cantor (
I see all these photos on your great site of cameras attached to ETX's
without counterweights.  I want to get an ETX for photography but with
an lx-200 the camera weight drags the rear down.  How is it possible
that the etx can get away without counterweights?  or do you eliminate
them from photos for clarity?  If needed, where can you get them?  I
will be doing "afocal" photography with a digital camera attached to an
eyepiece, like the digi-T system.  Or I hope I will be.  Later I may try
other things.  Thanks for your advice and your time providing this site!

Bob C.
Mike here: Lightweight cameras, like many digital cameras, won't need to be counterbalanced. But if you like to add one see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page for lots of info on counterweights.

Subject: Starting digital astrophotography
Date: 1/18/04, 16:40
From: Andrew McKelvy (
I've decided to try my luck with astrophotography but the equipment for
digital (ccd) is hard to find for my ETX-90EC. I have a Canon Powershot
A70 digital camera but I don't know how useful that would be for me
since I'm not even sure it can do long exposures. What I have really
been looking for is an electronic eyepiece that I can insert into my
telescope and use my computer with it. All of my ccd searches on various
websites have led me to either professional equipment sites with
thousand-dollar boxes or digital camera suppliers. I don't know where to
start looking or even what to buy for ccd astrphotography. I'll most
likely be trying to get color pictures of (fairly) prominent deep sky
objects such as the Orion Nebula or the Andromeda Galaxy. Any advice you
could give would be greatly appreciated.

One eyepiece I did manage to find goes with the first picture on this
website... what would you say about that?
Mike here: I definitely recommend that you check out the Autostar Suite, which includes the Lunar Planetary Imager. See the Autostar Information page for my comments on it as well as the Autostar Suite feedback page and the LPI page on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography page. You can also find Canon astrophotography info on the Helpful Information - Astrophotography.


The AutoStar Suite looks very interesting to me, but is it for use with
all computerized astro-scopes? I read this on the Meade website
"Designed to be the ultimate platform for remote digital astronomy with
your Meade LX200GPS" As I said before, I have an ETX-90EC, would it
work? I mean would the LPI fit in my scope and take decent images (I saw
some from the 125, very nice.) Also, I couldn't seem to locate a price
for the Autostar Suite, do you know about how much it would cost? Thanks
for the help.
Mike here: The "Suite" works with the Autostar #497 but the LPI doesn't require it. See my article on the Autostar Information page; the price is right at the top and later in the article are some photos, including the Moon with my ETX-90RA. I want to do more photos but the weather and schedule haven't cooperated.

Subject: ETX Astrophotography
Date: 1/16/04, 17:43
From: astrojohn03 (
I am taking my ETX90 to South Africa in Feb and am wondering what I
might be able to do with it photo wise. I have a Nikon F80 plus lenses
inc a 70-300 ED. I wonder if the ETX can track accurately enough to
record some of the brighter deep sky objects ie LMC, 47 Tucanae, w
centauri etc, either EPP,Prime Focus or Piggy back. What are the max
times The ETX could track in AltAz or Polar?

I am also considering going digital in the future, and am tempted to
bring this forward if I can sus out the right camera. The Canon 10D
looks very interesting and I read a lot of good remarks about its very
low noise ( using the camera for both normal and astro seems a good idea
instead of buying a cooled CCD as well).Trouble is I have some good
Nikon lenses and the Nikon 100D and Fuji S2Pro have a lot going for them
as well. Have you any ideas on how these cameras compare, especially on
noise and astro suitability?

Would greatly appreciate your help,
                               thanks again,
Mike here: Unguided tracking (piggyback with wide angle lens) will be limited to a few minutes with Polar mounting. Alt/Az is not recommended for piggyback or long duration exposures due to "field rotation". Through the telescope (prime focus or eyepiece projection) photography will be limited to a few seconds at most due to tracking errors. As to those cameras, I have no basis to compare them. I have the Nikon Coolpix 995, which works fairly well on bright objects.

Subject: Acuter Digital Imager
Date: 1/14/04, 06:20
I purchased an Acuter Digital Imager for use with my ETX 105 recently .
I'm not sure this was a good purchase because when I point it at the
moon it just goes blank (I guess it gets "saturated" with light.) When I
try to use it to image Saturn I just get a bright oval blob. I don't
know whether or not it is faulty or if I am using it wrongly. There
doesn't seem to be any way I can lessen the sensitivity of the thing.
Yet trying to "capture" stars yields nothing. I can't find a web site
for the manufacturers to seek advice. Have you any experience of using

Thanks for any help

P.S. Got my eyepiece offer from Meade yesterday and was up to the small
hours playing with them. These 'scopes are really superb!
Mike here: You need software to control the exposure. Did any software come with it? If not, you might check for Mac or PC image control software on the net.


I have got some software. It is just one disk (looks a though it is a
home-made copy on a CD-R yet I bought it from a reputable Camera Shop).

The software allows me to change the contrast and brightness,edit the
image and has a check-box for low light levels but I haven't had much
luck with any permutation. The help files are useless!

Maybe I should have paid more money and got something better (this
imager was 90GBP). I'm a bit concerned at the lack of a web-site for the
manufacturer and hence zero support.

Mike here: Yep, going with a known product is usually the best.

Subject: Eyepiece projection
Date: 1/13/04, 00:37
I have the Meade #64 T-Adaptor to couple my 35 mm camera to my EXT-125. 
I have be told that an option is to place an eyepiece into the adapter
to do eyepiece projection photos.  My Meade Super Plossls fit into the
adapter but there does not appear anyway to attach them or even a stop
to push them against.  Since the T-Adaptor came with no instructions, I
am at a loss.  Is there a correct way of installing an eye piece into
the adapter to do eye piece projection?
Mike here: There are two different adapters: one for prime focus photography and one for eyepiece projection. See the Accessory Reviews - Astrophotography page for the Basic Camera Adapter and T-Adapter comments. An alternative is the Shutan Mini-Tele Extender discussed on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page.

Subject: A (counter) weighty question
Date: 1/8/04, 14:34
From: "Craig M. Bobchin" (
I've been doing some thinking about counterweights for our lovely blue
tubes and came up with a question I could find no answer for. Hopefully
you have one, or can find it out.

How do we figure how much weight to add to the tube? Do we try and
balance the scope? Because the ETX is front heavy to begin with, adding
extra weight in the form of a camera may cause the scope to balance
(depending on the camera of course).  Do we then add weight to bring the
front down?

Just thought I'd see if you had any thoughts on the matter.

Mike here: The ideal solution will counterbalance the added weight such that with the axes unlocked the telescope will stay in whatever orientation you place it. If you are into weights and balances (which I used to do when I was a pilot) you can do the calculations.


Ahh; but what about the plain scope unadorned? Shouldn't we balance
that? Maybe that is where some of Meade's problems lie since the scope
is front heavy. <SIGH> the balance between engineering and cost
effective products.... :-)
Mike here: Won't hurt but not really necessary.

Subject: ETX Hartman Mask question
Date: 1/8/04, 14:12
From: "Justin J. Jerzak" (
I have a question for you regarding Hartman Masks.  Do you know if there
are specific guidelines for the placement and size, and even number of
holes to use?  I have seen 3 hole versions as well as the much more
common 2 hole versions.  Also, what variations in those rules would need
to be applied if the mask was designed to fit over a dew shield?

I have read that the size may need to vary depending on whether you are
focusing for CCD or visual use.  Any information you can provide me will
be very much appreciated.  I have searched your site, and only found
info on your LXD55 version.

Best regards,

Justin Jerzak
Mike here: Variations in the number of holes just gives more points of reference (IMHO). The diameter of the holes will depend upon the size of the objective and the size of any secondary obstruction (whether on the objective or further down inside the tube). Of course, the smaller the size, the less light that will reach your eye (or CCD). It should work if placed on a dewshield, although the effective size of the holes will be smaller since the Mask will be further from the mirror.

Subject: ETX-70AT Camera Magnification/Power
Date: 1/5/04, 17:40
Let me begin by saying "You have a wonderful website".  Your website
topics gave me ideas for constructing a rock solid tripod, I no longer
use the standard field tripod (Which I consider to be a $10.00 value
including the carrying case).

I have had my ETX-70AT for about 3 months, everything works perfect.  I
had a cheap $100.00 digital camera and actually acquired some reasonable
images of the moon holding the camera to the eyepiece and snapping. 
(actually 3 reasonable images in about 75 photographs, but I was pleased).

Last week I purchased a Fuji S5000 with a 10X optical zoom.  I purchased
a ScopeTronix Digi-T System #33 which will delivered late this week.  I
am expecting much better with this new camera and the ScopeTronix Digi-T


1)  ETX-70AT with a 25mm eyepiece will generate 14X.  Will the 10X
optical zoom generate 140X (multiplication 14 times 10) or 24X (addition
14 plus 10)?
2)  Is 140X a realistic magnification with the ETX-70AT, 25mm eyepiece
and a 10X optical zoom?
3)  Will this type of magnification generate reasonable images of Saturn
(provided I can operate the camera)?
Again....... You have a wonderful site, Thanks
Suburbs of Houston, Texas
Mike here: You can see some shots I took of Mars several months ago with several telescopes for comparison on My Astrophotography Gallery - The Planets page. And yes, if you magnify the magnification you will get said results. BUT keep in mind these are all relative and may or may not live up to your expectations.

Subject: Looking for eyepice recommendatiom.
Date: 1/2/04, 14:08
From: Mel Richman (
I just obtained a digital camera and an afocal camera mount for my
ETX-125.  The mount instructions recommend an eyepiece with at least 20
degrees of eye relief. My Meade catalog does not specify eye relief for
their eyepieces.  Which eyepiece would you recommend for
astrophotography ?
Mel R
Mike here: Was that 20 millimeters and not degrees? Which adapter do you have? Anyway, I would suggest starting with the 26mm eyepiece that came with the telescope. You can get good images with that one; easier too. Start with the Moon and then move to the brighter planets (like Saturn and Jupiter). Once you have some experience you should be able to get photos of some other objects.


Oops, you are correct Mike.  It does say "with a long (around 20mm) eye

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