Last updated: 16 March 2006
Subject: ETX-125/Meade #826 EQ mount first light Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2006 21:54:30 From: The Brown Family (email@example.com) My ETX-125 OTA arrived, and here's a first light report. Meade ETX-125/#826 EQ Mount report. I have a weird combination of old and new technology sitting in my garage, here's the strange story... I have thoroughly enjoyed my ETX-90 M telescope over the years, but I always wondered what the 125mm was like! I had a chance to test a friend's early ETX-125 during the last close approach of Mars, and I was floored at the detail, and vivid Red color of the planet, but even mounted on the #884 tripod, the shakes were unacceptable! The forks were just too weak! I have in my garage, an early Meade #826 EQ mount for my GS Orion XT-8 tube, which is about the limit for this mount (both counterweights are bottomed out, and I still have clutch slip!) but it has slo-mo knobs for BOTH axis, which makes it very desirable, and I decided that an ETX-125 OTA would be the perfect tube for this heavy mount! Luck would have it that a very good ETX-125 OTA became available to me, and I was able to mount it quite easily to the aged #826, in fact, the heavier of the two counterweights had to be removed, and the lighter counterweight rides halfway up the shaft! I love a mount that is heavier than the OTA! The only downside is that the eyepiece rides very low on a mount designed for a reflector, but a lawn chair brings everything to eye level! First light for this strange hybrid found me gawking at an unreal image of Saturn at 237.5x (celestron ex-cel 8mm) with a perfectly razor sharp Cassini all the way around the planet, the ball was YELLOW! Many bands around the globe, 3-plus moons! Definitely the best view of Saturn I have ever seen in any telescope, which includes RC's, SC's, even an 18-inch Obsession, which was brighter, but not clearer! I dragged this monstrosity to my daughter's school on astronomy night, only to find that there was no A/C power available! With no motor drive, I used my Orion Plossl 10mm, for only 190x , and relied on manual drive correction (I turned the motor knob about 60 degrees for every person who viewed!) to show the 100-plus people present on that night the ringed planet! Despite the row of gargantuan SC's present, I still got a great reaction from the razor-sharp ETX views of Saturn! These poor people had to rest on thier knees to look through my telescope, but half of them were convinced that I had pasted a picture of Saturn on a piece of black paper! " It's so sharp!", "It's so clear!", "That's just a picture, isn't it?" They would say, over and over again! I had one woman look time and time again, and say that it was her favorite telescope that she looked through! The ETX curse strikes again! I also had the other participants with telescopes look through my scope, I could tell them from the others, they just looked, and walked away, speechless! Dr.Clay was right...this is a great telescope, and despite the smaller kids nudging, pulling, and hanging off the scope, the image was steady! A lesson in physics... I now have the scope in my garage, always ready...This scope is dedicated to Lunar/Planetary work. I keep the 8mm eyepiece in it all the time, if the atmosphere won't support 247x, I haul it back in...did I mention it is dedicated to Lunar/Planetary work? I am lucky to have this fine unit. I will keep my 90mm for star parties and travel, but the 125mm is mine, just waiting for the right conditions to occur. I always have it at the ready to show my two girls and my wife what Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the Moon really look like... Chris Brown
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