Last updated: 30 June 2004

This page documents the Meade Lunar Planetary Imager comments, tips, and photos. Contributions welcome. I have posted a review of using the Autostar Suite and LPI on the Macintosh. In order to showcase the LPI you may occasionally see images taken with other telescopes on this page.

Subject:	Meade LPI - Lunar Mosaic
Sent:	Monday, June 28, 2004 08:14:44
From:	Graham, John L (
I love your ETX Web site. In addition to being just plain neat, it's
been very helpful. I used it to research both my Meade DS-2130 and my
Meade LPI before buying them. I hope to get a Meade SCT as soon as it
fits in my budget, but that may be a while. In the mean time the LPI is
causing me to lose a lot of sleep.

The attached composite image of the Moon was taken on the evening of
June 26th using the Meade LPI mounted at the prime focus of my Meade
DS-2130 (5.1" f/8). To capture both the bright crater rays and preserve
the terminator I first set the exposure so the rays  were just short of
saturation (0.088sec), then adjusted the gain to recover the terminator
(gain of 70). This gave a gray background sky that you may be able to
remove using the histogram, but for this test I chose to leave it alone
and correct it in post-processing. I was initially averaging 25 frames
for each image, but the seeing was not very good and it wasn't clear
that the image quality was improving very much by averaging more frames.
Therefore, for this picture I ended up averaging only 10 frames per
image. Eight source images were assembled into the complete mosaic using
PhotoMax Pro (the freebie software that came with my Polaroid PDC 700
camera) then histogram and gamma adjusted to render the sky black. The
attached image was also reduced 50% in size to make it a better size for
viewing on a Web page.

I'd be interested in hearing about others experiences in assembling mosaics. Is there a software package or utility that will make the task of rotating each image to obtain a good alignment easier? This is an issue for telescopes with altazimuth mounts like the DS-2130. Thanks, -John
Mike here: Photoshop (and its lower end brother), as well many other apps on Macs and PCs, allow rotating images.
Subject:	Meade LPI: Initial Deepsky Results
Sent:	Friday, June 25, 2004 09:46:42
From:	Graham, John L (
I picked up my Meade LPI just under two weeks ago at our local astronomy
convention (the Apollo Rendezvous). Like a lot of users my primary
interest in the camera is for solar, lunar, and planetary imaging, and
in this role it works wonderfully. I was also curious to see if I could
use it in other applications such as double stars, asteroids,
rudimentary deep sky, and wide field work. After tinkering with it for a
bit (we've had four observable evenings since I bought the camera) the
results are encouraging.

For wide field work I made a simple adapter to mount the LPI on a 28mm
f/2.8 SLR lens I mounted this on an old equatorial pipe mount fitted
with a curved-bolt clock drive. The images below were from 100 8-sec
exposures; dark subtracted and using the LPI's deepsky setting. The
image of Sagitta is a composite of two images, while Lyra is a single
image and shows the LPI's field of view when fitted with this lens. The
limiting magnitude in each is 8.5-9.0. In the Sagitta image note The
Little Coat Hanger in the upper right.



I've done some deepsky work with my Meade DS-2130 (5.1" f/8), but so far the best results were achieved using an Orion StarBlast (4.5" f/4) on the DS-2130's mount. Two example images are attached including the region near Alberio and the globular cluster M-3. Each image used 30 4-sec exposures; dark subtracted and using the LPI's deepsky setting. In the original BMPs the detection limit seems to be right at 12th magnitude. I've also been able to image M-5 and M-11, though the focus on both of these was far enough off I didn't think they were worth showing.


I have a lot of work to do yet to optimize the process, but the lessons-learned so far include that longer exposures and averaging more images don't necessarily mean better results. Long exposures results in bright dark frames and a severe loss of contrast in the image though adjusting the offset may compensate for this. For the wide field images I found 8sec exposures worked best, while the deepsky images did much better with 4sec exposures. I've also noticed a loss of image quality if you try to average too many images. This may result from image rotation using the DS-2130 altazimuth mount. I plan more tests with the equatorial mount to explore this. The real key to pulling faint star images out of the field was subtracting dark frames, setting the offset fairly high (about 70), the lower limit of the histogram to 0 and the upper limit as needed to show the faint stars and just barely showing the thermal noise. For the wide field images an upper limit of 30 was used, and for the deep sky a value of only 16 was used. From these early results I suspect the LPI will do a fine job with stellar objects such as open clusters, double and variable stars, and asteroids. Condensed objects like globular clusters show promise and diffuse objects will offer the greatest challenge. The key to success lies in dark frame subtraction, exploring short exposures, setting the upper limit of the histogram to a low level, and not averaging too many frames. There's a lot to optimize, but with persistence I think we'll find a range of settings that work well. John L. Graham

Subject:	nice photos
Sent:	Tuesday, June 22, 2004 11:34:28
From:	Ian Rhodes (
Just a quick one

Impressed with the photos.

Just bought the LPI suite to compliment my LX200 10" 

Well done 

Ian Rhodes

Subject:	jupiter and moons photos
Sent:	Monday, June 21, 2004 14:51:51
From:	Lachezar V. (
Finally I got some time to photograph Jupiter and some of it moons.

Maybe you don't remember me, and my continuous questions to you, before
and after I bought my EXT90, but I promised, I'll send you some pics,
when I like them.

I was trying to shot Jupiter, since I got my scope, but either it was
too late in the night, or the sky was cloudy, or something else.

I've shot, also Saturn and Venus, and Moon, but as I said, I was aiming
on Jupiter. So, now I'm sending you these, to show that EXT90 and Meade
LPI are good tools, even in the hand of less than an amateur (me - for
now :)

LPI exposure was about 0,250s, and every image is combined of average
6-7 shots.

Best regards,
Lachezar Vladikov

owner of:
Meade ETX 90AT
Meade Electric Focuser
Meade Full set of premium-grade Super Plossl eyepieces 6.4mm <-> 40mm
Meade LPI
Meade Erectic Prism
Meade Barlow 2x Lens
Meade Dew Shield
Meade Cables/software kit for PC connection w/ ETX90AT
Bresser Saturn Special 30x70 Astro Binocular
Bresser Precision Compass
Jupiter Jupiter Jupiter Jupiter

Subject:	Meade LPI
Sent:	Sunday, June 20, 2004 01:07:37
From:	Luis Villa (
I have tried every possible combination of setting using the LPI for
Deep Sky objects, specifically M-13 and M-57, I have NOT been able to
capture anything.  My alignment was as good as I could get it, every
object I slewed to was in the view of my 32mm eyepiece.  I tried the LPI
with and without Autostar suite running, or even connected.  Every
possible combination of setting I could try for the LPI did not work...
I never saw anything on my laptop, nor did I capture anything.  I then
tried slewing to Jupiter or Vega to see if LPI had crashed, I kept
shutting down right before I slewed.  Jupiter or Vega were in the field
of view of the LPI without too much adjustment.

I have come to one crucial conclusion for myself.  The LPI is not
capable of capturing any deep sky objects.  I will continue trying!  I
am a very stubborn type of person, IF I can just get one or two of the
brightest Messier objects, I would be satisfied, maybe late fall or
early winter I can capture M-42 or M-31.  If Meade had not thrown in the
Deep Sky setting, LPI would work as advertised.  I have posted numerous
pictures of Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mars.  For me they are
spectacular,  of course there are better pictures of all the planets,
but these are the ones I took.  I have no idea why Meade includes the
little blurb about how much longer the exposures are than web cams. 
This does imply that LPI is capable of deep sky objects,  when I don't
think it is capable of imaging any deep space objects.  Maybe somebody
else has had better luck and is willing to share his or her settings

Like I said I will continue trying, but now I don't think I will have
much luck.
Mike here: I guess that is why Meade didn't call it the LPDSOI...


I am satisfied with the quality I have been able to achieve on the
planets, this was exactly what I wanted in order to image the solar
system, although I might have trouble with Neptune and Uranus and I
doubt if I will ever be able to capture Pluto.

But I wonder how many people purchased the LPI and expected to routinely
be able to image deep sky objects based on the advertising.  I quote
"Achieve great results the first time out on the Moon, planets, brighter
deep-sky objects and terrestrial targets."  Then there is this
"Automatic and manual exposure control from .001 to 15 seconds (up to
450X longer than web cams)." This does imply that LPI will be a better
buy than a web cam on deep-sky objects.

Perhaps I will have some limited success later on.  I will keep trying
off and on.  I have spent many hours trying at the expense of observing,
IF LPI did not routinely crash with no indication of a crash we would
all be much better off, it just stops working.  I do routinely achieve
great results on the Moon, and on planets but deep sky?  That is an
entirely different story!

I am very seriously thinking of buying a Phillips web cam in order to
image Deep Sky objects, I will have to do what I was trying to avoid in
the first place, double purchase.  I think I should have gone with the
web cam in the first place, oh well, live and learn.

I will continue to monitor your LPI postings, maybe others have had

Subject:	New LPI Set-up
Sent:	Tuesday, June 15, 2004 07:00:25
From: (
I have been using my LPI with some success, but with the narrow field of
view and lack of light sensitivity I find it difficult finding small or
dim objects.  To make finding objects easier I am thinking if installing
a diagonal on the back of my ETX-125 and connecting the LPI to the
diagonal.  My thinking is that I can locate and center an object using a
relatively high power parafocal eyepiece (for narrow field of view) and
then just flip the mirror.  I am hoping this will yield a reasonably
centered and focused object.  Do you think this will work or am I
wrongly assuming that an object will be centered in the eyepiece will be
centered in LPI through the flip mirror and diagonal?
Mike here: I do something similar by using the Shutan Wide Field Adapter (see the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page) for visual and some photographic work. But don't count on the field of view being precisely the same; also it might be difficult to make an eyepiece parfocal, considering the difference in the light path with the diagonal. Let me know how it works out.
Subject:	Meade LPI
Sent:	Sunday, June 13, 2004 11:02:53
From:	Luis Villa (
I was able to use the scope with the LPI last night, seeing was fairly
good, but would not support use of a Barlow----

As you can see, Jupiter is really spectacular---- the first picture was
taken last weekend and the last one, just last night. I have had very
good success with the Planets, but with deep space objects, that is a
very different story.

Jupiter Jupiter
I tried M-13 last night, dead center in the middle of a 25mm eyepiece, used Polar alignment tracking was very good. I then inserted the LPI to try to image it. No luck, I thought I would have to make minute adjustments so that it would center in the LPI. No matter what I tried, I was not able to image ANY deep space object last night. I tried for about two hours using various combinations of settings still with no luck. One thing I did notice is that even if I turned the LPI off to slew, because of crashes when it is on. I then slewed back to Jupiter and I could not find it with the LPI, until I turned the computer off, then back on, complete cold boot, then Jupiter was fairly easy to center on the screen. I am starting to wonder if the actual setting of "Deep Sky" may be the problem, or if any of the other settings is the culprit. Then again, Meade does market the LPI as a Lunar, Planetary imager. So as far as working as advertised, it is great! Now if only Meade had not teased us by throwing in the Deep Sky setting! I would be very interested to know if anybody has been able to use the LPI on Deep Sky objects, and if they have, what settings do they use? Luis

Subject:	2 new LPI images for you
Sent:	Saturday, June 12, 2004 13:06:37
From:	Craig M. Bobchin (
I finally had chance to take the LX200 out with the LPI and do some
imaging. One is of Jupiter and 3 of its 4 moons. Callisto is absent,
because it was too faint to see. I may try pushing the post processing
to see if I can bring it out.

The other image is of one of my favorite double stars Albierio.




Subject:	First shot with LPI
Sent:	Friday, June 11, 2004 12:14:32
From:	Nick Preece (
Just thought I'd send you my very first photo taken with the LPI. Can be
quite fiddly to use but with a bit of patience the results are great. A
fantastic bit of kit!!

I am going to try some messier objects as soon as I get time so I will
keep you updated.

Best wishes

Nick Preece. (Hereford, UK).

Subject:	LPI entries
Sent:	Friday, June 4, 2004 20:36:21
From:	ROBERT Derouin (
attached are a few images I shot using a Meade LPI imager and an Orion
5"f/12 Maksutov-Cassegrain. My computer is located in the house, so I used
12ft and10ft USB extension cords in addition to a USB hub which also has
a 3 ft cord. I was told the hub provides a little power to strengthen the
signal of the LPI. I didn't seem to have any noise problems. I do not have
a Barlow lens, but this will be my next pick-up, after all the bills for
the cords, hub, and LPI are paid off! This was my very first experience
using the LPI and it took only a few minutes until I felt comfortable
using it. Hope you can use the images.I'll be more than happy to share
my experiences. Bob Derouin, Johnston, RI



Here's another Moon image with the LPI. All images were taken from Rhode Island,the seeing was fair.

Subject:	Moon
Sent:	Thursday, May 27, 2004 14:52:05
From:	Jody Miller (
2x Barlow
Meade LPI
50 stacked pics

Last night I took some pics of the moon with the Meade LPI. The sky was
little bit cloudy but, I got some breaks. I still havent tried to take
any pictures of messier objects yet but will try soon.


Subject:	LPI Query
Sent:	Tuesday, May 25, 2004 08:20:04
From:	Stephen Cann (
I jut bought a Meade LPI for my ETX125. The instructions are not totally
clear for a novice (like me)!! Please could you explain the function of
the 'Expose' function and how to use 'Acquire' in the Object selection
box? I am also wondering what exposure settings would be best for
recording the transit of Venus - assuming that it wont be cloudy in the
UK on that day!

Many thanks,

Stephen Cann.

BTW: Thanks for your excellent site. It has been much help to me since I bought my telescope.
Mike here: Been awhile since I've fired up the LPI. Be certain to use a good, safe solar filter. Practice a lot on the Sun before the day of the transit.

Mike here again: Just fired up the Autostar Suite. Expose is the exposure setting value as described on page 16 of the LPI manual. It moves in increments of 0.5 f/stop. I couldn't find any specific info the Acquire Object type but I presume it tries to preset exposure info based on what the LPI "sees".

Subject:	ETX 90 and LPI imager
Sent:	Monday, May 24, 2004 15:01:15
From:	Richard Plowman (
Thanks for posting the last pictures. I think I have had the best
picture to date.

I have managed to put together six consolidated images( 20 jpegs each)of
the new moon taken in sequence with 80% quality with the ETX 90 and LPI
imagerlast night. I then put them in position using Microsoft Powerpoint
which is surprisingly good for this type of accurate alignment using the
right click menu on the picture You can also create the blackback ground
and modify the contrast to get hopefully a seemless picture. Use the
Powerpoint save as JPEG option.

Kind regards
Richard Plowman
Chichester UK

Subject:	Re: Sunspot photography
Sent:	Sunday, May 23, 2004 11:30:45
From:	Jim Beston (
Thanks for you reply to my question on how to track the Sun during the
forthcoming transit of Venus. Your answer to "Goto" Venus was so obvious
I felt quite ashamed not to have realised the obvious! Incidently,
Starry Night Pro, which I have, does allow tracking of the Sun.

With regard to my other question about the apparent inability of the LPI
Imaging software to track a dark object against a bright background,
i.e. a Sunspot, the latest Autostar suite upgrade from the Meade site
does do this. As I indicated in my last mail, all you have to do is
check the "Dark Spot" checkbox.

I managed to try this out this afternoon - a little difficult since
everytime I got setup a cloud appeared over the horizon and promptly put
itself between me and the Sun. However, I attach my first, poor, effort
which I hope to improve upon in due course. The major poroblemI find is
trying to see the image on my laptop in bright sunlight - which is why I
spent a large portion of this afternoon with my head stuck inside a
large cardboard box in which I had placed my laptop - much to the
amusement of my wife who thought it was an improvement on my usual

Incidently I saw my first Iridum flare the other night exactly as
predicted in - Ican reccomend this site, it is a
real mine of information. Have you any experience of capturing such a
flare on "film". I doubt it would be easy to photograph through my ETX.

Kind Regards


Mike here: The image can be improved by doing some "levels" adjustment in software. I did this on the posted image using GraphicConverter. As to an Iridium flare photograph, there are a couple on the Guest Astrophotography - The Sky archive.

Subject:	LPI Images of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the moon
Sent:	Saturday, May 22, 2004 23:54:31
From:	Luis Villa (
Thought I would share these pictures with the site. I took them with the
LPI by Meade, seeing was not the best we have had, but have to take
advantage of the time that I had.

All were taken with the LPI at various settings, Venus was the one I was
really after. From my location Venus sets over the house very quickly
after dark. Once I had Venus, I thought I would try the other visible
planets and the Moon. Jupiter and Saturn came out very nicely, Mars sure
has dimmed from last August.

FYI, LPI keeps 'crashing'. I have updated Autostar Suite from the Meade
site and still it crashes.Not as bad as it used to, but nevertheless it
keeps going South on me, when I slewed from planet to planet. Even if
they were this close to each other. One work around I found was to close
off LPI completely, then slew to what you want, then re-start the LPI.
It may not be the most stable program, but it sure works as advertised.
The pictures I have taken with the LPI are much better than I ever
expected. I have submitted photos of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn before
when I had AOL asmy ISP.

Still no luck with Messier Objects, I tried M-51 with no luck. It could
be that LPI had crashed, I was getting ready to call it quits for the
night and thought I would try M-51 but it was nowhere to be found on the
laptop. Have you had any luck with Messier objects?

LPI photos

LPI photos

LPI photos

LPI photos

LPI photos

Mike here: Don't know why the LPI application is crashing. And no reports of Messier LPI photos yet.


My next project is some Messier objects.... my only problem will be
using polar mode rather than Alt-Az and going with long exposures! Will
keep you posted on how this goes. I think it is going to be very
frustrating but worth the trouble. Any recommendations as to which
Messier object to try first? Any tips?

As long as I shut LPI down, then Slew, I have no problems.... but if I
slew with LPI running, then I have problems...

Almost forgot, I bought an extension to insert eyepieces so that I can
have a 26mm AND the LPI then use the flip mirror to switch between the
two. Focus is almost perfect between the two, without the extension I
could not reach focus.

Mike here: I would suggest trying brighter ones first. M42 (gone but would have been a good test); M13, M57, M31 would be good ones to try. Which extension did you get?


From Orion, 3.5" long. I don't need the parfocal ring with the LPI.

Subject:	LPI NOT!
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 2004 17:45:51
From:	W. Sumner Davis (
After spending 2 days attempting to get the LPI from meade to work I
have given up. The folks at meade tech support knew about as much about
these issues as my cat. After being shuffled about from one extention to
another for 28 min. (I have heard about how bad their tech support is) I
found that they knew less than I did about the situation, and I knew
little. I am running a PC pentium 200 with 296 megs of Ram and 2000 pro.
I loaded all the latest drivers, etc. but no go. the PC says the imager
is their, but the imaging program from meadxe says it is not connected.
I will give it yet another try tomorrow (so much for imaging tonight)
and if I do not have any luck...back it goes. I pretty much knew meade
products were low end, but after hearing about folks luck with the
imager I thought I would give it a try. I should learn not to second
quess myself.
Dr. W. Sumner Davis
Affiliate: New York Academy of Sciences
Fellow: Royal Astronomical Society
Member: American Geophysical Union
Mike here: Two possibilities: you need more CPU horsepower, or you need more RAM, or both. I've run the LPI in VirtualPC w/Win2K on my 1GHz G4 Mac but that is more horsepower under emulation than you've got.
Subject:	ETX90 and LPI imager v Registax
Sent:	Friday, May 21, 2004 04:39:11
From:	Richard Plowman (
I thought readers ofyour great site might like a comparison of images
taken of Jupiter using the ETX 90 with 2X barlowand LPI imager and then
comparing the consolidation image with the LPI software 20 JPEGimages at
80% qualityor using Registax 2.1 with 75 images single JPEG images to
process the image.

I have also included a saturn and "spot the mars" picture. Telescope and imaging working well but does need patience. Any further tips for deep space objects as I have been not very successful to date.
Saturn Mars
Kind regards Richard Plowman Chichester UK

Subject:	Jupiter
Sent:	Thursday, May 20, 2004 15:53:47
From:	Jody Miller (
2x Barlow Lens 
Meade LPI
200 Stacked Pics

This is a pic of Jupiter I took last night with my ETX 90. I think it
came out pretty good. You can see the GRS in the left middle corner of
Jupiter. I will be sending more pics in the future.

                         B.C. Texas

Subject:	RE: Problem "LPI not found"
Sent:	Thursday, May 20, 2004 00:27:54
many thanks for you reply.

Subsequent to my-mail to you, I did find the Meade site, and used their
hyperlink to get to the Microsoft updates. I downloaded the suggested
files, but this did not cure the problem. I have not carried out any
Autostar updates; I've always been concerned that this may cause
conflicts, and so, do more harm than good. Perhaps I should have more

What I did do was to download the AstroVideo software, and this seems to
run the LPI without a problem.

Shall I continue to try to rectify the Meade software problem, or do you
think that the AstroVideo program will suffice?

Once again thanks for taking the time to reply, you must get bombarded
with questions like these,

regards, Kev. 
Mike here: You should get the Autostar 3.1Ee update; you can always regress using the archives on my ETX Site.
Subject:	Sunspot photography
Sent:	Wednesday, May 19, 2004 07:39:43
From:	"Jim Beston" (
I've recently purchased the Meade Solar filter and have been looking
(with great delight)at some sunpots. I'd like to photograph these with
the Meade LPI and Autostar suite software in preparation for the transit
in June.

There are two problems:

1) Tracking the Sun - I know it is possible to create a fictional
"asteroid" behind the Sun so that the 'scope will track that and so
track the Sun, but I am sure that I've read of an easier way to do this
that you used yourself, but I can't find it in your web pages.

2) The LPI imaging software will not "lock-on" to a dark sunspot on the
Sun's bright image consequently it will not align and combine the
captured images. I'd hoped the new version of the Autostar suite
software (3.16) would allow this but it doesn't

Can you help with these problems?

On thinking about it, It should be possible to capture every image and
align and combine them with (e.g.) Registax?

Thanks & Regards

Mike here: For the Venus transit, just GOTO and track Venus. And yes, you could do the individual images and stack elsewhere.


Erm.... with regard to item 2, the check-box labeled "Dark Spot" that
I've just noticed in the imaging page wouldn't have anything to do with
it, would it??. Ooops!


Subject:	LPI photos of Jupiter and Mare Crisium
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 2004 19:40:36
From:	Donato Espana (
Got my LPI about 2 months ago, but terrible weather has prevented me
from doing much with it. The photo of Jupiter was taken by taping the
LPI to a 12.5MM eyepiece. This worked pretty good. The Crisium was taken
under pretty poor seening condition with the moon low in the sky, but
the image still came out fantastic. I used a 2X barlow. Both images were
taken through the Meade 6" archomatic f/8 refractor by Don Spain at
Hillview Kentucky


Subject:	first pic ever
Sent:	Tuesday, May 18, 2004 12:53:22
From:	"G.J. Scheffer" (
hereby my first astronomy picture ever, LDX55 8sn  with the LPI imager
with a 2x Barlow.  47 images stacked with Image Stacker and photoshop

personally I' am a little bit disappointed with the sharpness of the
picture (focussing is difficult with the LPI) and the fact that the
planet is so small on the picture.

is it an option to use a 5x Barlow to get a bigger (sharper) object???


Gert Jan Scheffer

the Netherlands

Mike here: Yes, you can use a Barlow Lens. HOWEVER, remember that besides magnifying the image, any turbulence or telescope motion will also be magnified.

Subject:	Problem "LPI not found"
Sent:	Monday, May 17, 2004 01:04:39
firstly, thanks again for creating and maintaining this wonderful and
valuable site.

My problem is this;

I have acquired a Meade LPI to use in conjunction with my ETX 125 and

I have installed the software as per the instructions, onto my laptop
which runs Windows 2000.

I have connected correctly the camera to the USB port, and started up
the Meade imaging program.

This is when things go wrong; the message I receive is "LPI not found".

A check using the applications found under " Control Panel" suggests
that the LPI is installed correctly.

I have repeated the operation, but using my desktop PC, which runs
Windows 98SE, and get the same result- but this time with the additional
message; "File MSCOREE.DLL, not found".

I have searched the Windows 98SE installation disc, but this file does
not appear to be store on it.

I have logged onto the Microsoft web site, but this file does not appear
to be available from there.

I had a look at you web site, but could not find an identical problem to
this one.

I've sort of run out of ideas, and would welcome any help you can offer.
I also wonder if this is a common problem.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this e-mail,

regards, Kevin Attree
Mike here: Did you check out the Meade troubleshooting page I mentioned in my article on the Autostar Suite? Also, have you updated to the latest Autostar Suite from Meade's site? (Both links to both are on the Autostar Info page on my ETX Site.)
Sent:	Thursday, May 13, 2004 08:20:13
From:	"Mr. Tom" (
for some months Ive been watching your site, its great. Maybe you can
put my picture on your LPI page.

The moon is taken with a 1000mm f/10 Maksutov ("Russentonne") and the
LPI, while the planets were caught with my Celestron 9 1/4 and the LPI
under city lights and smog conditions. Mercury only gave me 2 chances on
29/03/04, so its not good at all. Mars was already too tiny that month.

Tom, Aachen & Dortmund, Germany

Mike here: PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item; your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the missing subject entry.

Subject:	LPI and 80 ft USB 2.0 Extension Cable
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 2004 19:23:04
From:	"wesley davis" (
I operate my ETX-125 and LPI from my desk top computer inside the house.
To connect to the LPI I purchased four 16 ft "USB active extension
cables" and one 16 ft "USB 2.0 device cable" for a total of 80 feet

I then went to Radio Shack and showed the salesperson the Meade supplied
PC serial port connector with the cable.  The salesperson sold me a 100
foot four, wire, telephone line and a "male to male adapter".  This
gives me control of the telescope.

I did not have any trouble at all connecting and establishing
communication from my Pentium 4. Dell Dimesnion 8300, with Windows XP
and the Meade LPI and ETX-125.

The attached two pictures were taken using the LPI defaults.



Regards, Wes from the Bossier Bayous

Subject:	Mac & LPI
Sent:	Sunday, May 9, 2004 11:34:35
From:	"G.J. Scheffer" (
I have the impression you are a Mac-fan. I just started to use the Meade
LPI device with an old Notebook. I wanted to use it with my Powerbook,
preferably with Keith AstroImager.  (I use Keith Image Stacker for the
Mac also.)

Unfortunately the Mac did not recognize the LPI device  :(     with the
Astro~Imager do you have any suggestions, I hoped that it was a
video-device, something like a webcam,


Gert Jan Scheffer
Mike here: Yep, a long time Mac user. I also tried to use the LPI with Mac software. Unfortunately, the device is not recognized by any of the apps and drivers I've tried. But on a fast PowerBook, the Autostar Suite works fine under VirtualPC (at least with Windows2000).


thanks for your reaction

1. any suggestions for a specific webcam with the MAC? and do you have
experience with the program from Keith AstrImager?

2. do you have experience with so called light air pollution filters?
should I take narrow band or a broad band filter? here in the
Netherlands we have to many people with too much light in a very small
area :)


Gert Jan Scheffer

Malden/the Netherlands
Mike here: I have no experience using webcams for astrophotography. I have used the Sonfest SAC imager, as I report on on the Accessory Reviews - Showcase Products page on my ETX Site. You might want to consider signing up for the AstroMac mailing list; you can join via the link near the bottom on my ETX Site Home Page. I have used his stacker application.
See the Accessory Reviews - Filters page on my ETX Site for info on those filters.
Subject:	From montreal
Sent:	Monday, May 10, 2004 08:13:23
From:	"Marcel Bisson" (
My first astrophoto with etx90 and lpi meade camera.

Beautiful site.


Subject:	RE: Meade LPI and object tracking
Sent:	Thursday, May 6, 2004 07:22:41
Everything now calibrated, trained and aligned, in AltAz rather than
Polar, and I'm getting about 75% of objects bang on in the FOV of my LPI
camera. More often than not I can stick the camera in the Barlow after 2
or 3 test slews with a normal EP and Autostar finds whatever I ask for
quickly, accurately and reliably. The tracking is about a million times
better, and having adjusted the backlash it really is the 'scope of my
dreams. Thanks very much for your help, and for posting the link to my
other pictures.

With thanks again for everything, including of course the fantastic
site. Wishing you clear skies and steady air,

Mike Coombs.

Subject:	Focal Reducer for Meade LPI
Sent:	Monday, May 3, 2004 10:59:01
From:	"David L. Gasch" (
Haven't seen on your site yet about anyone using a focal reducer to
widen the field of view using the Meade LPI.  I've been researching some
mfg's sites and not sure which would work.

Shutan has their model 5956370 deluxe field adapter, used with the
5956316 visual back.  Would this combination work with the ETX 125? I've
also left this question on the yahoo/meadelpi forum also.

Keep up the great job your doing on your website, without it, I think a
lot of us would be lost and lose our interest in this fantastic hobby of

Clear skies,
David Gasch
Mike here: I have the Shutan Wide Field Adapter but haven't had a chance to test with the LPI. Should work though.
Subject:	Moon Photo - LPI
Sent:	Sunday, May 2, 2004 15:26:30
From:	"eric" (
Here is the result of my first evening with the Meade LPI. Overall I'm
quite impressed by the camera though I have suffered the same problem as
others - having to close the program down and start it again when
changing targets. Hopefully I should get some nice pics with a bit of

My first attempt at Jupiter with my new LPI. Not perfect, but not too
bad. Overall, I am quite impressed by the LPI. Will hopefully send you
some more over the coming months. Just a question concerning the image
size - how do you go about increasing the size of the target ( without
doing it through Photoshop, etc. and increasing pixelation ). Probably a
dumb question, but would appreciate any advice. Thanks

Mike here: Try using a Barlow Lens.
Subject:	Meade LPI and object tracking
Sent:	Tuesday, April 27, 2004 02:44:39
About 3 months ago, I installed my own financial Black Hole and got an
ETX-105, an LPI, Barlow and a couple of other eye pieces. What a
fantastic bit of kit! I must admit it wouldn't be quite so good without
the help and advice on your site - Meade should be paying you!

My problem is this: Similar to Jim Beston, my ETX drifts pretty badly.
I've tried smearing the lube around by rotating in both axis with the
locks on, but this made no change. I would open her up and check the
clutch plates, but I wanted to see if there was a sneaky bit of software
I could use to correct video taken via the LPI (using Windows Media
Encoder you can set all the camera parameters like exposure, brightness,
hue etc and either save captured video to a file or stream it live over
a network)? I've had a trawl with Yahoo! And Google, but found nothing
that really works. What I need is some way to stack the video frames,
export them one at a time and then I can re-render them as an AVI and
watch the motion of Jupiter's storm systems and moons in fast motion
time lapse.

I got about 2.5 hours of footage the other night, of the GRS transiting
the planetary disk a short distance and I hope to get the next available
transit of a Jovian moon, but before I start cropping 7,500 frames
manually I wondered if there was any software which will re-centre the
planet and re-render it as a decent AVI or saved frames. If you have any
ideas, I'd be most happy to hear! If not, I may consider writing my own
program to do it, although I'm a little rusty ;-)

Thanks again for the fantastic site, and I thought I'd show you the two
best pictures I've grabbed thus far with the LPI: One lunar (taken with
LPI through Orion Shorty Plus Barlow) and one Jovian (again with the
Barlow). More can be seen at

Best of luck, and clear skies! 
Mike Coombs, Maidstone UK 


Mike here: Since you have a new ETX, be certain you did a CALIBRATE and a TRAIN DRIVES (on both axes). During the training as accurately as possible should help. As to software, the LPI software does a pretty good job but if you want more check out Registax and Astrostack (both Windows) or Keith's Image Stacker (Macintosh).


I did indeed calibrate & train in Polar mode, and I've had a nightmare
of a day trying to repair a stripped wire that got flayed in the RA axis
pivot screw. I wouldn't mind, but I hadn't touched it when I de-greased
the clutches! Anyway, the problem's fixed now, and the motors
recalibrated and trained (had to pretty much strip the mount entirely),
and now it's just a matter of waiting for clear skies. I must say I'm
pretty disappointed with Meade's design choice of running the control
and power lines to the Dec axis drive unit - all of the 4 wires showed
considerable wear, 1 was cut and 2 showing bare. Hopefully it won't
have done any damage...

Subject:	Re: ETX Tracking jerky
Sent:	Monday, April 26, 2004 05:40:48
I've done as you suggested. It seems to be a little better but the
distinct, audible "click" as the OTA jerks is worrying me.


Mike here: Is there a pattern to the clicks? Like something catching in certain positions.


I tend to be looking at the same things in a fairly limited segment of
the sky at the moment - say from Venus to Jupiter. I'll see if it
happens in other areas and get back to you in due course.

Subject:	Saturn Image
Sent:	Sunday, April 25, 2004 22:39:17
From:	"Craig M. Bobchin" (
Here is the image of Saturn I was telling you about at the OCA Astro
Imager's meeting last week. I finally got a chance to process it and
hope you like the results.

It is a stack of 112 sepeate BMPs taken with the meade LPI through the
trusty ETX-105. These were aligned, stacked and processed in Registax


Subject:	question
Sent:	Thursday, April 22, 2004 07:33:50
I saw somewhere on the posts and ,I cannot find it again, about someone
using a usb booster with cat 5 cables.  I wanted to email him and asked
if it works. But for the life of me, I cannot find that post again.
Could you help me find that person or did they say it worked?
Emmit Wilson
Mike here: See if one of the messages from kenneth yanni on this LPI page is what you want:
Subject:	Wide field adapters.
Sent:	Wednesday, April 21, 2004 14:22:45
From:	"Nick Preece" (
Just thought I'd drop you a line and let you know that since last
speaking to you I have purchased an ETX 105 with the eyepiece offer, an
LPI imager, filters, a new laptop and various other bits and bobs!! All
thanks to your wonderfully informative site!! Many thanks for that, keep
up the good work!!

Anyway, to the question you just knew I was going to ask!! ( Oh yes....
There is always a question!!).

I have been reading your section on the Shutan wide field adapter, and
was wondering if you or anyone else had tried it with the LPI imager?
Due to the wonderful British weather I have been unable to try the LPI
for more than a few minutes, but I have noticed that it has a very high
magnification. I wanted at some point to attempt some deep space images
with it. I would guess it is not the ideal kit to try this with but will
try none the less!!

Do you think the Shutan would help and if not have you any other ideas
as to what might help?

Also, as you know the transit of Venus is coming up soon and I am
looking at buying a reasonably priced solar filter. However, with so
many around I am a bit bemused as to which would be best for me? Any
ideas? (anyone?)

That's all for now

Look forward to speaking to you again soon

Best wishes

Nick Preece (U.K.)
Mike here: I haven't yet tried the Shutan WFA with the Meade LPI but it should work. As to solar filters, see the Accessory Reviews - Filters page.
Subject:	ETX Tracking jerky
Sent:	Tuesday, April 20, 2004 05:37:37
I've noticed recently that when my ETX105/Autostar is tracking and I am
observing the image on my Laptop via the LPI Imaging software, the image
will drift to the left of the viewing window and then jerk back to the
middle. This repeats continuously and it is making capturing decent
images somewhat difficult. I have calibrated and trained the drives to
no effect. I am sure I have seen a solution to, or a reason for, this on
your web site but I can't find it.

Can you advise please?

I did manage to capture one decent image of Jupiter the other night
which I attach.

Kind regards Jim P.S. forgot to mention when the image "jerks back" (every few seconds) I can hear a slight but perceptable "click" as though the drive was sticking. Considering that the LPI is (I think) equivalent to a 6mm eyepiece, the movement in the dirve must be minute!
Mike here: Simple solution (if it helps) is to redistribute the lubrication. Do this by unlocking both axes and moving the OTA by hand from hard stop to hard stop, back and forth, several times. Do in both axes.
Subject:	ETX 90  and LPI imaging
Sent:	Sunday, April 18, 2004 08:34:46
From:	"Richard Plowman" (
First of all what a pleasure to find a site that is so relevant and
although a beginner here in the UK, the tips are very useful. The
viewing conditions in the UK are not great and there is increasing light
pollution. However, my first experiences have been very good and the LPI
adds a further dimension to observing.

I have attached some images from my first attempts to show a litttle
hope for the beginner. I noticed from the contributions on the LPI , the
amount of crashing of the software and I found this was mainly caused by
trying to stop the programme before all the consolidation pictures had
been taken. The other annoying thing was the lap top returning to either
screen savers or powering down as it thought the computer was
inactivebut this can be changed easily using the computer settings. One
other tip is touse a high quality photo printing system and paper for
making the results look really good. Also can I commend the use of
theOrion broad band filter particular for the sodium street lamps we
have here. I was very pleasantly surprized by the increase in contrast.

Kind regards
Richard Plowman
Moon Venus Jupiter Jupiter Saturn

Subject:	Resolution of the LPI
Sent:	Monday, April 12, 2004 06:07:12
From:	"Dave Wallace" (
A few weeks ago, I said I'd try to determine the optical resolution of
the LPI and if I was able to, I'd post it here.  Well, after taking and
measuring several images of Jupiter in my ETX-90, the size of the image
of the planet averages 38 pixels.  Since Jupiter is about 47 arc-seconds
right now, that works out to 1.1 arc-seconds per pixel for my optics.

That implies that the pixels are 6.75 microns apart.  And the dimensions
of the active area of the sensor are 4.25 by 3.25 mm, give-or-take. 
Anyway, here is the optical resolution of the LPI for several of the
Meade telescopes  (from memory; the Meade site is down right now):

Telescope   focal length        resolution (arc-seconds per pixel)
ETX-70      350                 3.9
ETX-90      1250                1.2
ETX-105     1500                0.95
ETX-125     2000                0.68
LX-90       2000                0.68

(Note that the ETX-125 and the LX-90 give the same resolution; that's
because the resolution depends on the focal length but not the aperture.
The LX-90's image will be brighter and sharper, though because it's an
8" f/10 rather than a 5" f/16.)

DISCLAIMER:  These numbers are probably within 10%; good enough to
estimate whether a particular object will make an interesting picture
but certainly not sufficiently precise for astrometry.   But if you know
the size (in arc-seconds) of what you're trying to photograph, divide by
the resolution for your telescope (and divide by any magnification added
by a Barlow) and that will be the size of the image in pixels.

Subject:	ETX70 & LPI
Sent:	Saturday, April 10, 2004 08:04:52
Thought you may be able to use these pics on your site to give some
ideas on what's possible with the ETX70 and the LPI. In a couple i've
really pushed the little scope using a barlow and eyepiece projection,
the DSO is the jewel box. There's a few more on my website (moon, DSO
etc..) should anyone be interested.

Regards & Clear skies 

home of the etx70at and autostarsuite / LPI webrings
Jupiter Jupiter
Saturn Saturn

Subject:	LPI Imager
Sent:	Friday, April 9, 2004 19:12:44
just wondering if you (or anyone else for that matter) has heard of an
update for the LPI software. I have had it loaded on two laptops now
(HP 1.13 GHz Celeron with 256 meg of ram XP, and a Compaq 2.6 Ghz
celeron with 512 meg of ram and XP) and I still get crashes when I move
to a second object to image or after a few runs on the same image. I
have to shut down and reboot to get it up and operating after each
incident (similar to other comments Ive read on your site). I will say
though that the images I have obtained have been quite good for a ready
to go camera with software (photos attaches if you wish to use them).
Thanks for your help and, once again, great site.

 Regards Leon Cross
Jupiter Saturn
Mike here: As I noted in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page, "There is an update to the Autostar Suite available on Meade's Autostar Suite Troubleshooting page (" I don't know if it is the same version as you already have or not.
Subject: LPI Images for your gallery
Date: 4/9/04, 07:41
From: Tim Sheets (
I had a little success last night (4/8/04) in imaging Jupiter.  Caught 3
moons (Io, Europa, and Ganymede), and the GRS.  Image (two shots were
processed differently, one to bring out the moons) taken with ETX90/EC,
and Meade LPI.  Stacked 97 .175 second images.  Sharp unmask done in

I'm not very good with the post stack image processing, but not bad for
only my 3rd try at imaging.



Gonna try Saturn this weekend. Tim Sheets IT Manager Standon, Inc.

Subject: AutoStar LPI images
Date: 4/6/04, 10:29
From: "Craig M. Bobchin" (
Here are a few images I took last night with my LPI through my ETX-105.

1st chance I've had in the week since I got the LPI that I've had to do
some imaging. Not bad for a 1st attempt. I really need to fool around
with the settings. I only wish the images were larger.

Anyway feel free to post which ever ones you like.

I've heard you are going to be at the OCA astroimagers meeting on the
20th. If so I may have to go to that one.






Mike here: Yep, I'll be there.

Subject: Meade LPI
Date: 4/5/04, 13:53
From: "Michael A. Covington" (
I just discovered your Meade LPI pages.  Before doign so, I've started
one of my own:

Has anyone found out the specifications of the sensor in the LPI yet?

Many thanks,

Michael Covington
And more:
I've revised again my page of notes at

and it now contains an LPI vs. ToUCam "shoot-out" (same object, same
telescope, same conditions).

I don't think I'm going to keep the LPI permanently.  It is too similar
to the ToUCam and has no real advantages over it, since for best results
I have to use the same third-party software (AstroVideo or maybe K3CCD)
with either one.  Also, most of the value in the package consists of the
online star atlas and telescope control software for Autostar
telescopes, which I don't need (my telescopes are not Autostar).

Would anyone like to make me an offer on it?  It originally cost $149
plus shipping, and it is now better than new, since I cleaned it
internally. Negotiate as to whether you want the 10-foot USB cable that
I added or the original 3-foot one.

Clear skies,

Subject: Picture of Saturn for gallery
Date: 4/5/04, 10:03
From: Becky (
Please could you also add this photo of Saturn to your gallery.  It was
taken on 29 March 04.  I cant remember time.

Equipment used was ETX 105, LPI imager and 2 x barlow, processed
slightly in Paintshop pro.  First time I captured Saturn using LPI and
only stacked about 50 frames.
Many thanks again
Becky (Gosport, UK)

Subject: Meade LPI and USB problems
Date: 4/2/04, 11:37
From: Anders Aneman (
The other week I received my Autostar Suite and the Meade LPI camera. I
installed it on a PC Pentium III computer running Windows 2000
professional. The Autostar Suite program would run OK but using the "LPI
imaging" command just started the Meade LPI program that then returned
the error "Meade LPI not found. Reconnect LPI and try again". The red
light on the camera did light up OK and using the Windows control panel
I could confirm that the camera was recognised and tested OK in Windows.
 Just to be sure, I tested installing the software on a friends computer
(PC Pentium III, Windows 2000 professional) and, voila, everything would
run just perfectly - I even got some nice pictures of Jupiter the first
night we tried it out. I have since tried to install the software on a
computer (again PC Pentium III and Windows 2000 professional) that I
could borrow for some time just to run into the same problem again. Do
you have any suggestions what to do?

And last, thank you for an outstanding site! Your work here both
inspired me to get my ETX105 UHTC and certainly has been an invaluable
resource in getting started, not to mention your book!

Thanks a lot!

Best regards,

Anders Aneman
Gothenburg, Sweden
Mike here: Meade has a troubleshooting page (mentioned in my article "Autostar Suite on a Macintosh" on the Autostar Info page; I suspect you need that Microsoft fix.

Subject: Meade LPI, Barlows and Autostar
Date: 4/1/04, 17:09
From: Luis Villa (
I have been reading on an almost daily basis the LPI section of your
site.  There have been questions about the use of Barlows and of the

Well yes you can use a 2 X Barlow, BUT be aware that the field of view
will be extremely small and you will have doubled your frustration
centering the image, but it can be done, just be sure that you have
eliminated ANY drift in autostar!  There is nothing more frustrating
than centering the image and then have it drift out of view!  I took
what I think is a good picture of Saturn using a 2 X Barlow and posted
it on your site, on the 21st of December 2003, it is located at ---this is when my
ISP was AOL--- since then I have changed to DSL with MSN.

The LPI software definitely has its flaws, but there are work arounds. 
First of all if I slewed to one planet, took pictures, then wanted to
slew to another object the software would crash and I had no indication
that it had.  Screen was just black as if it were still slewing, when I
did the 3 fingered salute, Ctrl-Alt-Del.  I saw the software was not
responding and would refuse to work until I re-booted. The work around
is shutting down LPI software, then when I have slewed to the object I
wanted then I would start LPI again.  I found this to be much faster
than shutting down completely.   I can live with this until Meade can
update the software.  I would suggest other users try this to avoid
software crashes.  Updating to the latest version of autostar has really
helped and it seems to have eliminated ALL drift.

Mike, have you tried the LPI on Deep Sky objects?
Luis Villa

Mike here: Nope, haven't yet tried it on DSOs.

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Submittal Copyright © 2004 by the Submitter