Last updated: 7 August 2002
Subject: ETX125 Arrived Sent: Monday, August 5, 2002 15:31:41 From: email@example.com (Mark Curry) Thought my experiences with a new scope could be of intrest to readers of your site. Especially those that are worried about the difficulty of using Autostar. I live in Johannesburg South Africa, (so the Autostar was suggesting Southern Hemisphere objects). Below are my experiences of using a brand new ETX125, on my first night out, also equipped with the Autostar. I am a rank beginner in Astronomy, but I found the scope fantastic to use. Night 1 After the basic drive training and finder scope alignment, I spent the rest of the first evening with the scope reading the manual, preparing for my first night out. It was cloudy outside anyway, so I read the manual from cover to cover. (autostar guide as well) Night 2.. Tried the Easy Auto Align, but I noticed the alignment on Rigel Kentaura was a bit to the right (first alignment star). I figured our house doesn't face as true north as I though, so I retried the alignment with the scope pointing 5 degrees or so left of where I started. Rigel popped up in the finder (which only turns about 180 degrees and is never in focus, is this normal?) so I aligned the main scope slightly, then the scope slewed to Vega, which is also slightly out although in the finder. I aligned this, and voila! easy align complete! Tried the AutoTour feature, and next thing Tuscuna (I think spelling is close), a globular cluster of 100 million stars popped up! Unfortunately I only have 26mm and no barlow, but still it was quite a site given that the light pollution is pretty bad in that part of the sky. Looks like a small light cloud as magnification was a bit low (74x with std eye piece). Tried Magellan small cloud next, but I could only make out a few stars. Suspect I need a 40mm to see this properly. Coal Sack came up next. We could see a few stars in it, but due to high light polution, we couldnt really make out the black area. Onto Jewel Box. This was simply awesome! Beautifull cluster of stars all so needle sharp! My wife woke my daughters up to come and have a look, but as they walked out, the OTA started slewing towards the ground, and from the brightness of the Autostar (or Dimness I should say) I realised the batteries were kaput. Only got about 4 hour in total (set up drive training learining the Autostar), but they are lead acid, as our store had sold out of Alkaline. I am getting niMH tomorrow as I can see the battery thing is gonna be a killer. I have had a friends old Newt 4" around the house for a 3 or 4 weeks now, but apart form the Rigel Kentauras binary and the moon, we have seen little (more due to ignorance than the scope itself). In one night with the ETX, we have seen more beatifull viewings than a month with the Newt! I really think the Autostar is fantastic. Although I know a few constellations, the star names and the facts that scroll are brilliant! I can see that I may be red eyed at work on more than a few mornings going forward (if I get the batteries to last). I am really pleased with the ETX. It was a lot of money to spend, but I think I am going to get a good return on it. I can see a few eye pices are going to be handy though. (sigh... more money...) I must say that the Autostar alignment was really easy. You just need to use a touch of common sense from what I can see. I spent a lot of time using your site before making a choice. I would like to thank you and all of your contributors for the wonderfull information that is available here. I see there is an update for my Autostar software, so I am off to make the cable (schematic from your site of course). Regards Mark
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