Last updated: 10 April 2003
Subject: love my new 105 Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 13:51:57 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (C. Nolan Huizenga) Thanks for providing a tremendous set of resources for ETX users! Here's a short report of my initial experiences with an ETX-105 with UHTC. I briefly owned an ETX-90 earlier this year, then returned it in favor of an ETX-105/UHTC when Meade announced their bundle offer. After waiting two months(!) for my scope to arrive, I finally got to try it out last night. First impression? The 105 is mechanically sound and optically excellent. Mechanically it feels far more substantial than the ETX-90. Both axes have less play than my 90 did, the clutches work smoothly, the motors show little backlash, and like other users have reported, the 105 is truly silent when tracking an object. Focus was a little stiff at first, but after following your recommendation to work focus travel all the way in and out a few times, it's a lot smoother now. Image shift during focusing is minor and not disturbing. I also installed a flexible focus cable, which lessens but doesn't eliminate vibration during focusing. I took the scope up to the roof of my Portland apartment building, then waited for a few large windows in last night's high broken cloud cover. The bundled 884 tripod feels solid and damps vibrations quickly, but I don't like futzing with all the little parts to attach the leg spreader/eyepiece holder. It makes deploying and collapsing the tripod much more of a pain than it needs to be. And the imprecision of its equatorial tilt mechanism leaves a lot to be desired. I set it at (around) 45 degrees and polar aligned the scope on the first try, much to my surprise. Even between the clouds, seeing conditions were pretty lousy, and of course there's the constant big city light pollution. So I was even more impressed with what I could see through the 105! Autostar worked perfectly (yes, I trained the motors first) for all objects. I have the SP eyepiece set but just stuck with the 26mm for this testing. First the Moon: razor-sharp definition of features along the terminator, and even the flatly illuminated areas away from the terminator showed a lot of contrast. Can't wait to try the Moon with higher power eyepieces. Next Jupiter: even through the atmospheric haze I could see a sharp disc, two red bands, and four moons including Io right next to Jupiter. Saturn was behind clouds much of the time, but I did get a glimpse of its rings. I used Castor and Betelgeuse for star tests, which showed the scope is apparently in perfect collimation. And Mizar's double was cleanly split. There were no deep sky objects visible because of the haze. So for a kick I slewed the 105 halfway across the sky, centered it on a star, and asked Autostar to Identify. Took several seconds of thinking, but it correctly identified Arcturus. Nice feature! Now I can't wait to get out on a truly clear night, and especially to take the 105 to a dark sky site. Already I can tell that this little machine should provide many nights of excellent observing. best, Nolan C. Nolan Huizenga
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