Last updated: 8 February 2005

Subject:	First Light Report - ETX-90EC
Sent:	Sunday, February 6, 2005 08:43:51
From:	Javier Lopez (
After a month and a half of doing my research I finally broke down and
decided on a Meade ETX-90 as my first scope.  I posted a thread on
astromart's forum and asked for advice.  One of my main concerns in
picking a scope was portability.  I needed something I could set up and
break down easily since I don't have tons of free time.  I broke down my
choices between an Orion 6" DOB and a Meade ETX-90.  I came very close
to purchasing the DOB but at the last minute was able to find a steal on
Ebay for an ETX and I went with that.

For $425 I bought a mint condition, ETX-90 - UHTC with the Deluxe Field
Tripod, Autostar, the 26mm and 9.7mm EPs, carrying case for the scope
and tripod, plus some sky atlas and a red light flashlight. Not bad I

First light. I set up the scope in the home position, but haven't had
the time to buy a compass I kind of pointed it in the general direction
of Polaris. Went to Easy align, hit enter.  Autostar looks for a guide
star, picked Sirius and took off.  Although Sirius was not in the EP it
showed up in the finderscope.  I centered the star in the EP hit enter. 
It searched for the next guide star, Pollux. Same thing, Pollux was not
centered in the EP but showed up in the finderscope.  I again jogged it
to center it in the EP hit enter. "Alignment Successful!"

Being the ultra-Amateur that I am I went straight for the Guided tour. 
First destination, Saturn. Press Go To and... Same thing, Saturn is not
in the EP but shows up in the finderscope.  I jogged it into place and
there she was rings and all.  Extremely bright, but very small in the
26mm EP. Could not make out any detail.  I tried the 9.7mm EP and the
size increased but it was still difficult to see much detail. I could
barely see the division in Saturn's rings.  I couldn't see any surface
detail on Saturn itself, but I'm thinking I may need a filter of some
sort.  Saturn was extremely bright!

Next Stop Sirius, I saw that during the alignment process, very bright. 
Betelgeuse, very red & bright. Orion Nebula.  Not bad I didn't expect to
be able to see Nebula from my backyard.  Although I live 25 miles south
of Miami, there is a glow from the city that in unmistakable.

I will be buying a compass this week and see if I can't get my alignment
problems resolved.  I was more impressed with the sharpness of the
optics.  The 9.7mm EP is the greatest but the 26mm is very, very crisp.
I think I may get me a #126 Barlow next.

Either way.  That's my report.  Thanks for all of the great info on your
site.  It really did help me feel good about deciding on the ETX as my
first scope.  Now I need to find a dark spot so that I can go nebula &
Galaxy hunting!


Javier Lopez
Mike here: Congrats and welcome to the Universe! As to a compass, save your money. If you can see Polaris, just use that. You want to align on True North, not Magnetic North. Polaris is within a degree of the North Celestial Pole so is a better indicator of True North than a compass which shows Magnetic North, which can differ by up to almost 20 degrees from True North, depending upon your location.

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