Last updated: 12 August 2009
Subject:	ETX-LS Amatuer
Sent:	Wednesday, August 12, 2009 12:16:22
From:	John Trudeau (
After some research into purchasing my first telescope, I decided on the
Meade ETX-LS 6 ACF.  The "user friendliness" and interactivity won me
over, and I was confident that my (very) limited knowledge of the night
sky would not hinder the experience.  I also felt the ETX-LS could
actually be a fix to that lack of knowledge, even with the $1500 price
tag (which has now grown to over $2000 with accessories such as a hard
case, AC adapter, dew shield, Meade 4000 eyepiece and filter set, but I

After much anticipation (because of the two week backorder delay) the
ETX-LS finally arrived. I felt like a kid a Christmas and couldn't wait
to get my hands on it.  Upon opening the box, I found the scope to be
much larger than I expected.  It's a beast (although this could be from
my lack of experience with telescopes). Now I just hoped the dreaded
marine layer of fog wouldn't roll in and spoil my introduction into

As I awaited nightfall, I read the ETX-LS manual (located on the CD),
all the while checking the the fog in the distance.  I had read many
reviews, and a few of them complained the self set-up didn't work as
advertised.  The time finally came,  the stars were out and the fog
stayed back (other than a light haze).  I never really noticed how small
my backyard was until I set up the scope there and realized the trees
and houses really limit the amount of sky the scope could actually see. 
I figured I'd try it anyway.

I just flipped the switch and sat back.  The control pad lit up red,
then it started talking to me.  It told me what it was doing, and I
wondered if my neighbors were listening.  The "Acquiring GPS" portion
lasted a bit longer than I anticipated, but that was probably because of
the thin layer of haze and the limited view of the sky.  The motors to
move the scope (or "slew" we astronomers call  it) were a bit loud, but
I guess thats just the nature of motorized telescopes.  After the GPS's
were located, and north / level were deciphered, the ETX started looking
for stars (and it lets you know).  The motor(s) kick in and the scope
spins to find its target.  When the scope stopped slewing, it was
pointed at the trees separating my bedroom window from a neighbors
backyard.  After a few seconds, the scope realized it was obstructed. 
It told me the view was obstructed and that it would look for another
star to align itself.  I assume it found the second one because it
didn't tell me it was obstructed (and it was pointing almost straight
up).  The third star was directly behind my house, but the fourth was in
view.  By the time I finished my first Pacifico, we were in business.

The telescope was aligned properly after about 10 to 15 minutes.  I
decided to start with the tour that offers the best of the night sky. 
First on the list, Jupiter.  After slewing to Jupiter, I looked through
the eyepiece only to find the side of my neighbors house.  I backed up
against the wall, and sure enough, right where the scope was pointing
was Jupiter (I've been tracking the planets using StarMap on my iPhone).
The next on the list, (Perseids) Meteor Shower.  I was pleasantly
surprised to see this in the database, as it's limited to just a few
days in August.  Again, my limited view of the sky (as well as the below
average meteor viewing conditions) hindered me seeing any meteors -
through the scope or not.  After the third "best" thing to see was
obstructed as well, I decided to pick up the scope and move it to a
place where I could check out Jupiter (in so doing, taking the scope out
of proper alignment).  I manually found Jupiter and a few other bright
targets in the sky and the optics were very good (again, coming from a
novice viewer).

Although most of the targets were obstructed, I'm confident that the ETX
was able to properly align itself with a limited view of the sky on a
slightly hazy night.  Improving my experience is now in MY hands.  I
will find a location with a much better view of the night sky (even
moving to my front yard would open up the potential viewing area
dramatically).  I eagerly look forward to many nights with my new
ETX-LS, and an improved experience as I learn what works best.  Not bad
for a first night.

John Trudeau
Mike here: One point: don't try to use a telescope to view meteors. You will quickly become frustrated at trying to catch them in the eyepiece!


I know it would be tough to view a meteor shower through a telescope,
which is why I was surprised it was in the database of the nights best. 
Perhaps it's Meade's way of pointing you to the best area of the sky to
see them.
Mike here: It is included as an astronomical event. And yes, it is there to get people to know about it.

Go back to the User Observations page.

Go back to my ETX Home Page.

Copyright ©2009 Michael L. Weasner /
Submittals Copyright © 2009 by the Submitter