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 (
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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