Last updated: 3 October 2005

This is a "User Opinions" page where YOU can express YOUR opinions. Contributions are welcome of course.

Subject:	Wow... Autostar On ETX90?
Sent:	Thursday, September 29, 2005 19:16:00
From: (
Thanks for letting me know what to steer clear of.  I just read your
report on Autostar with the ETX90.  I have some experience with the
polar alignment of a 4 inch Bausch and Lomb Schmidt telescope with a
motor drive back in the 1980's.  I was a complete beginner then.  It
wasn't too difficult for me and worked very well, but the aperture of
the scope was smaller than my dreams of what I would be able to see with
my first telescope.  I was very proud at the time to find the Ring
Nebula armed with only the right RA and DEC listed in Burnham's
handbook, but once I got there the view wasn't all that impressive.  I
just got back into the hobby with a Celestron 6 inch C6-N with an
equatorial mount a week ago.

I can imagine being a complete novice to observing and getting the
combination of an ETX90 with Autostar and being entirely disheartened by
the experience.  Not only is the aperture too small for a beginner to
get excited about anything but moon observation, it sounds like the
Autostar system is totally beyond the capabilities of any budding young
astronomer.  In fact, it seems to be a major obstacle to experienced
observers such as yourself!  I, on the other hand, am enjoying the night
sky whenever it presents itself with a telescope that's big enough,
(although an 8 inch Newtonian would be better!) to get a real thrill
from the cosmos.  I'm learning the heavens thanks to the excellent star
map software provided on CDROM by Celestron with my scope.  Instead of
spending my nights struggling with motors and Autostar software, I'm
scrambling for eyepieces, Barlows and filters to enhance what has
already been an excellent experience.

I can only see one technological advance since the 1980's that will
enhance the beginner's appreciation for astronomical observing, and that
is the personal computer with an Internet connection.  Celestron's The
Sky CDROM has been invaluable in reintroducing me to the night sky.  The
Internet has also been a stellar resource in that it has provided me
with astronomical gems such as the Omaha, Nebraska Clear Sky Clock, but
the biggest help the Internet has been for me in regards to telescopic
observing has been simple and easy access to reviews such as yours of
telescopes and accessories, not to mention how effortless it is for me
to locate and buy exactly the right thing I need to make my observing a
pleasure.  Systems such as Autostar may be viable in the near future for
novice astronomers like myself, but in my humble opinion, nothing beats
the affordability of a medium to large aperture Newtonian telescope, and
the desire to observe, to keep newbie stargazers like Scott Vampola in
the game.  I hope you can look past the gee whiz of the latest and
greatest and see the bigger picture I'm trying to place in your mental

Scott Vampola
Mike here: I assume from your message that you only read one or a few of the articles on the ETX Site. In particular, it sounds like you may have read only the article "My ETX-90EC Experiences (1999)", which dates from 1999. There are more recent articles throughout the ETX Site.

I also read the September 2005 article and you still need to convince me
that the ETX90 with Autostar is the path best traveled for the beginning
Mike here: I'm not certain which September 2005 article you mean; there are several. But no matter. Whether the ETX/Autostar, or ANY particular telescope, is or is not a good telescope for a beginner will depend upon the user's needs, experience (or lack of), and budget. As you may or may not have seen from your perusal of the ETX Site, I have several decades of astronomical experience and so have some experience to base my comments on. And many others (see the Helpful Information: User Observations page) report being perfectly happy with their choices. That's the nice thing about choice; if you pick the right telescope for your purposes you will be happy. And armed with good information, the new buyer can make an informed decision. Your inputs, along with the inputs (both pros and cons) of a multitude of ETX (and DS) users, help in that decision.

I realize you are a venerable source of astronomical insight...   I'm
really a newcomer to astronomical observing.  And you are right in that
if customers are happy with a product, who am I to disagree?  But as a
newbie I can tell you how limited I found my first 4 inch instrument to
be.  Yes, it was an expensive Schmidt telescope made by a reputable
company, but I quickly realized the limitations of that small aperture
scope and stopped observing.  My point is this, why spend all that money
on a small aperture scope with a complicated computerized pointing
system when a newcomer can spend less per inch of aperture on a
Newtonian and learn the night sky for themselves and get more excited
about what he or she is observing in the process and continue to observe
for a lifetime instead of giving the whole thing up?   Not everyone in
this country has over $500 to spend on a small aperture Schmidt.  For
the same money I purchased a medium aperture quality instrument I could
be excited about.  But why am I quibbling with you when I could be
outside observing!!!   Later!!!
Mike here: Definitely "aperture rules". But that is NOT the only consideration. As I frequently point out, the best telescope for a user is the one that gets used. If a telescope ends up in the closet because it is too cumbersome for the user to set up or too difficult to use, then it is the wrong telescope for that user. And you are correct, observing is the most important thing! Thanks!

Return to the top of this page.

Go back to the Editorials Page.

Go back to my ETX Home Page.

Copyright ©2005 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittal Copyright © 2005 by the Submitter