Last updated: 27 April 2008

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

Subject:	Piggyback on the ETX
Sent:	Sunday, April 27, 2008 03:32:30
From:	Jean Jacques LANGOLFF (
What's the maximum weight an ETX 102 can support on its back ?
I put a piggyback on the tube of the ETX105 to fix an Numeric camera
(400 gr). It works fine. But i would like to fix a small refrector , the
WO72d ,(430mm focallength , 2kg).
Will the ETX support that charge ?
thank you.


Mike here: The ETX can handle quite a bit of weight IF you add a counterweight system. If you don't counterbalance the weight you can experience slippage in slewing and tracking. Do not overtighten the axis locks to try to avoid the slippage as that will damage the ETX.


Thank you for your reply,

As I undestand , "slippage" is a kind of security to avoid breaking the
mechanism of the ETX.

This is a kind clutch.

Many thanks.

Mike here: The ETX axis locks are friction-style. So slippage will occur if too much weight is carried. Slippage will mess up the AutoStar alignment and can damage the locking mechanism over time.
Subject:	2x teleconverter versus a Barlow for an ETX125PE
Sent:	Saturday, April 12, 2008 07:15:19
From:	xlimey78 (
I see in the Meade accessories catalog various teleconverters and I am
wondering what the differences/advantages are in using a 2x
teleconverter in place of a Barlow. I can see the point of of higher
teleconverters (3x etc) but why would someone go with a 2x teleconverter
rather than a Barlow?
Thanks for any enlightenment!
Mike here: Unless I'm missing something, teleconverters are usually used with cameras/imagers and Barlow Lenses can be used for visual or photography purposes. The teleconverter attaches to the camera so the camera needs to have a removable lens.


Well Mike it seems I mis-spoke! (I actually have a teleconverter for my
own 'chemical' Minolta camera & I suppose I switched names while
typing!) I actually wanted to ask you and/or fellow site visitors about
TeleXtenders (the Series 5000 type) offered by Meade in their catalog &
why one would buy a 2x Barlow over a 2x TeleXtender or vice versa. Does
the one optical set-up have a real advantage over the other? [Meade for
example claim "Their advanced 4 element design delivers a flatter
field-of-view with sharper edges than even the best 3 element
apochromatic Barlows." I would be very interested in any users'
Mike here: Barlow Lenses are typically known for multiplying the magnification. But they are also known for slightly degrading the image quality. Normally, the more you pay for a Barlow Lens the higher quality you get. From reading Meade's desription, it sounds like they use additional optical elements to correct for deficiencies in the typical Barlow Lens design. But then you have to pay for that improvement. Depending on your usage and expectations, and on the telescope and eyepieces used optical quality, you may or may not notice a difference.
Subject:	Astrophotography Discussion Forum
Sent:	Wednesday, April 9, 2008 12:46:28
From:	Tom Collins (
As always, I love your site and I am really enjoying the Road to Oracle.
 On many photography web sites they have the option to post a picture
and then have people comment and ask questions.  People offer ideas on
what could have been done better or alternatives to give better results.
 I have learned a lot be reading these comments.  I was wondering if
this could be added to the astrophotography gallery on your website.  I
think we could all increase our astrophotography knowledge by giving
others a place to share theirs.

All the articles in the astronomy magazines typically involve very high
end equipment that is beyond my budget and my interest.  I would hope
the forum I am describing would bring out information, techniques and
equipment suggestions for the more casual to intermediate
astrophotographer.  I enjoy astrophotography and want to get better, but
it is not the main focus (no pun intended) of my life.
Mike here: I totally agree. Which is why I post such submittals and queries. As to why I don't use "forum" style software, see the Site Guide on the ETX Home Page.


I understand you cannot just make a major change in your website.  And I
understand people can email you questions and comments about images, but
I do not see much of that happening.  May I suggest you formally invite
people to comment, ask questions and make suggestions about the
astrophotography shown on your site and post them below the images?  I
hope I am not being too pushy or rude.  I just would really like to see
this happen, so I can improve my astrophotography.
Mike here: You can also use the ETXastro Yahoo Group as well as astrophotography Yahoo Groups. But I'm always happy to post images and queries.
Subject:	Question
Sent:	Friday, April 4, 2008 15:42:12
From:	Margala, Steve
Hi, I stumbled on this website but couldnt find a home page... What is
the home page?  Also I have a Canon Rebel XTI 10 megapixel , with the
Prime 400mm 5.6 L series lens, mounted on a heavy tripod using the
remote switch, and I still cant get crisp images of the moon.. Im using
apeture of F16  ..or could it the the atmospheric conditions??
Madison WI
Mike here: First, PLEASE read the Email Etiquette item on the ETX Site Home Page. Your message was originally deleted UNREAD as SPAM due to the ambiguous subject line. Thanks for understanding. As to WHERE the ETX Site Home Page is, almost every page on my ETX Site has a link at the bottom of the page back to the ETX Site Home Page. Also, clicking on the small ETX image in the upper right hand corner of almost every web page on the ETX Site takes you back to the ETX Site Home Page. As to problems getting nice Moon images, if you could send me one I might be able to see what you are doing wrong.
Subject:	DSLR mount
Sent:	Thursday, April 3, 2008 17:45:57
From:	Timothy Wood (
I was wondering if you knew of a mount that can easily and inexpensively
be used specifically for astrophotography. I do a lot of piggyback stuff
but I am tired of all the unused clutter attached to my ext-60at. I
don't ever use the optical tube itself, only the camera mounted on it. I
don't even use the scope to align..I use the camera.

I did find the Orion teletrack altazimuth tracking mount but I am not
sure how well that works, I couldn't find any reviews and don't know
anything about orions mounts. Any info would be great! Thanks.

-Timothy Wood
Mike here: Here's an inexpensive option (DIY): And here is one that is not so inexpensive:
Subject:	Re: Reticle and off-axis
Sent:	Monday, March 31, 2008 22:50:20
From:	Jan H Kolst (
What kind of SCT-adapter would you recommend for an LX 90 8" ?

Mike here: The LX90 doesn't need an SCT adapter since the OTA is an SCT. I thought you were asking about the using the Off-Axis Guider with an ETX.
Subject:	Reticle and off-axis
Sent:	Monday, March 31, 2008 09:16:09
From:	Jan H Kolst (
I was wondering if it is possible to use the reticle(Meade's 9mm
wireless) and off axis together with Deep sky imager?

Thanks for keeping the up net page and good luck with your and your
wife's new home!
Mike here: You would need a SCT adapter (see the Accessory Reviews: Miscellaneous page). I haven't tried the Off-Axis Guider I have with the ETX (the SCT adapter is packed away someplace) but you can my comments on it on my LXD Site.
Subject:	Litle help
Sent:	Saturday, March 29, 2008 14:14:59
From:	Odair Martins Berto (
My name is Odair Berto from Brazil and I've contacted you before, when
you successfully helped me with my Meade DS alignment.

So, Now I am lindly requesting you your opnion concerning DSLR camera
for astrophotography.

I am in doubt about how to buy within: Canon EOS (CMOS) or CDDs Sony

I respect your knowledg very much and your opnion will be highly

Mike here: You can see some examples and comments on some DSLR cameras on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. For more detailed and technical reviews (not specific to astrophotography) see the Digital Camera Resource Page. The only DSLR I have direct experience with is my Nikon D70 and you can read about that on the Helpful Information: Astrophotograpy page as well as see many of my photos on the Oracle Observatory reports page.
Subject:	ETX-80 w/ DSI and Atif Focal Reducer
Sent:	Saturday, March 22, 2008 10:38:07
From:	Jim Block (
I have the etx-80 as you know and a DSI... Now i want wider FOV shots..
so i may purchase the Atik focal reducer.. will this work proparly? When
i have the dsi in the etx's focus is at the closest... and it takes a
while to turn and it vibrates so bad so i might buy a focus extender
thing. but yeah.. will the focal reducer work? will it make the focus
shorter so its not near the end of focusing (turning)? And what about a
barlow? i tried to use the etx-80s build in barlow and i could never get
the dsi focused.... thanks
Mike here: There is a review of the Atik focal reducer on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. But that was with the ETX-125; don't know if you'll be able to focus with the ETX-80.
Subject:	is there an etx 125 collimation difference for visual and ccd use
Sent:	Saturday, March 17, 2001 13:31:07
From:	glenn (
The subject line just about says it all. Can i have both or must i pick
one or the other? The out of focus image using the camera is very
lop-sided. Will this make a big difference on the quality of deep space
images when they are recorded in focus? I am using a 3.3 focal reducer
and meade dsi 2 straight through the back.
Mike here: Normally the collimation shouldn't change. However, with the focal reducer you may see a difference visually vs photographically but I suspect the difference would be very slight.
Subject:	camera attachment to eyepiece
Sent:	Friday, February 29, 2008 09:49:53
Mike,my name is don and i'm at I had a tough time
with lining up my camera also.I went online to have
the digi-t rings and anything else a person needs to mount a camera lens
directly to an eyepiece for direct lens mateing.I hope this is knowledge
for you.  Don
Mike here: You can see my review of the Digi-T System on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. For more information on Scopetronix you might want to read the October 2007 and January 2008 Editorial page on my ETX Site.


Thanks for the info.I had a meade lx90 but after surgery i found it next
to impossible to transport it to different places,so i sold it and
bought an etx 125.I am looking forward to reading at your site.there
should be more people like you who care enough to help people who have
questions but can't find answeres.Thank You for your site.   Don

Subject:	Prime Focus vs. AFocal - unclear pics...
Sent:	Friday, February 22, 2008 11:25:28
From:	Kevin (
Hello and I will first say your site is AWESOME !!  (but I am sure you
know this already)

I have a question as I am relatively new to astrophotography with my new
10 mega pixel Canon Rebel XTI (EOS 400D). I have taken some very, very
clear pictures using my old 3.1 mega pixel FinePix FujiFilm camera
connected as AFocal vs. my new Canon as Prime Focus. What have I done

I took over 80 pics at various settings and just could not capture a
crisp, clear look as I can with the afocal configuration using much less
of a camera. Could it be that Prime Focus is not the way to go for
clarity? Or could it be that I just couldn't get the telescope to focus
properly. By the way, the tely is an ETX 125 EC 5" tube.
I am at a loss and disappointed.
Thank you in advance!
Kevin Ball
Software Engineer
Mike here: There could be a couple of reasons: focus and/or vibration. Achieving a precise focus is a challenge, especially with DSLR cameras. There are some things that can help: an "Hartmann Mask" or using the "Stiletto Focuser". You can read about the Hartmann Mask on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page. You can see my review of the Stiletto Focuser on the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page. As to vibration, that can be due to movement of the camera's flip mirror at the time of the exposure. At short exposures (hundredths or thousandths of a second) this may not be a problem but as you increase magnification at the focal plane the problem increases due to the increasing image scale. Any vibration in the camera/telescope system is also magnified as you increase image magnification. To avoid this you have to use the "hat trick" method: cover the telescope aperture with a "hat" (I use a large piece of black cardboard), open the camera's shutter (using the "Bulb" setting), slide the "hat" out of the way for the duration of the exposure, then slide it back over the telescope aperture at the end of the exposure, and then release the camera shutter. If you have to touch the camera to open the shutter be certain to wait until all vibrations have dampened out before removing the "hat". Alternatively use a remote release cable or transmitter (I use a wireless shutter release with my Nikon D70 DSLR).
Subject:	basic astrophotography question
Sent:	Saturday, February 16, 2008 13:03:59
From:	Gary Schnettler (
First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your telescope theft.  That's
awful.  I was robbed at gunpoint a couple of months ago - they took my
wallet, blackberry, laptop and house keys.  So I know what it feels like
to be robbed - it's a terrible feeling.  I can't even walk down the
street without looking over my shoulder anymore.  Anyways, I hope they
catch the guys who took your stuff.

I've browsed through your ETX website now and then for the last few
years and have found it very informative.  I don't have an ETX but I
think it's an interesting telescope and I may buy one someday.  I have
an Orion 6" dobsonian which works well, but it's not designed for
astro-photography (it even says that in the instructions).

You probably get a lot of e-mail, but I was hoping that you could take
the time to answer what I hope is a simple question, which is this:

Given a budget of say, $1,000 - $1,500, what telescope and CCD
combination would you buy if you have the following situation:

a) lived within 8 miles of downtown Cincinnati (i.e. significant light

b) desire to observe and photograph the moon and planets from my

c) desire to have a small scope that can be taken on vacations (i.e.
much smaller than my 6" dobsonian)

d) ability to take pictures of deep sky objects while on vacation in
dark areas.

I thought that maybe an ETX-90 or 125 with a DSI-Pro imager would be a
good combination, but I'm not sure.  There are some good pictures on the
Meade website that were taken with a ETX-125 but a lot of them say
something like "piggybacked on a LX-200".  If you put the ETX on an
equatorial mount in a dark area can it take pretty good amateur photos? 
If not, is there another setup you could recommend?

Thanks in advance for your help,

- Gary
Mike here: As you can see on my ETX Site, astrophotography with the ETX is certainly possible and with excellent results. Using an ETX-125 on the standard #884 tripod (in equatorial mode) will give you a good platform.  Adding one of the DSI models will provide a good astrophotography images and software.  Just keep in mind that you all need a computer for the imaging.  So you will need a charged up laptop (or a good external power supply and inverter).
Subject:	ETX-60 astrophotography
Sent:	Friday, February 15, 2008 07:21:25
From:	Ed Ludt (
I guess my next step is to get the adapter for my Nikon D50 and try
prime focus photography.  What "magnification" should I expect from the
ETX-60?  I have a 70-300mm Nikon lens that gets me about 9X at the high
end.  Is it practical to attach the Nikon to the "top" eyepiece moun on
the ETX and use the built-in barlow to increase the magnification?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Mike here: I found that my Nikon D70 DSLR was too heavy to attach to the ETX-70 (at least, without a counterweight, which I did not make). As to expected magnification, doing prime focus photography is like having a 350mm telephoto lens with your DSLR. You can extend that with a Barlow Lens (if you can reach a focus).
Subject:	etx125 & astrophotography
Sent:	Tuesday, February 12, 2008 16:14:41
From:	jon (
Jon from uk here, got my etx 125 for optical perfection  after having a
go at a few other scopes, have i got to much power now, im trying the
orion neb, is it poss. To use the etx here, will a focal reducer help
Mike here: Absolutely it will help. It reduces the magnification and widens the Field-of-View. However, you may or may not be able to focus, depending on the camera and/or eyepiece used.


Thank you
I was wondering if i could fit one to the upper eyepiece location
instead of the straight through mode, ant thoughts mike.

Mike here: There are probably some that fit there (see the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page) but mine (Shutan Wide Field Adapter; see the Accessory Reviews: Showcase Products page) attaches at the rear port.

Go to the July-December 2007 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the January-June 2007 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the October-December 2006 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the July-September 2006 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the April-June 2006 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the January-March 2006 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the November-December 2005 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the September-October 2005 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the July-August 2005 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the May-June 2005 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the March-April 2005 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the January-February 2005 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the October-December 2004 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the July-September 2004 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the April-June 2004 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the January-March 2004 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go to the 2003 Astrophotography - Tips page.

Go back to the Astrophotography Page.

Go back to my ETX Home Page.

Copyright ©2008 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittal Copyright © 2008 by the Submitter