Last updated: 28 December 2003

Subject: ETX 125 Saturn Observation
From: "Dan Hester" (
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 00:07:08 -0500
I had yet another opportunity to view Saturn tonight with my trusty 125.
What a Sight! After downloading the latest software from the Meade site,
I was eager to brave the cold and see what the software would do..and
for another reason.  I recently compared the ETX to my Orion
Refractor..the ETX was much better, even though the Orion is a 600mm 120
Scope.  Well, over the past few weeks, I have tinkered with the optics
on the refractor and it has become a pretty good scope. Last night, I
used a 5mm plossel at about 120 x, and got what I considered my best
look yet at Saturn. For that reason, I wanted to try the ETX again and
see if it still held its commanding lead.  Well, I've got to tell you ,
it did.  In a big way.

After several accurate go-tos...including the orion nebula, the
Andromeda Galaxy and the usual Messier objects, I centered Saturn at
about 10pm.  I used a 25mm Celestron Omni with a Meade 3 element barlow.
The view was super sharp.  I clearly resolved at least three distinct
belts on the rings.  The Cassini Division could be seen clearly all the
way around, so could several bands on the planet.  I saw two as a tack. The ETX had cooled down about two hours while I
watched a movie with the wife. I slid in a 15mm Meade Plossel with the
barlow,  still sharp...with hardly any noticable loss of resolution.
Finally, I took a long, hard look with a Meade 9mm and the barlow. 
That's over 320x.  I was astounded with the sharpness of the image.  All
the bands still visable...the obvious flattening at the top of saturn,
and the cloud bands actually took on a lot of detail.  I find it hard to
believe any scope could have resolved the planet any better.  Just for
fun, I took another look with the refractor...then with my 6 inch
reflector.  Both did a good job due to some good seeing conditions, but
the ETX 125 performed  flawlessly.

One tip, I have found that I must calibrate the drive each time I align
the scope for the night, or I get some jerkiness in the tracking.   As
long as I remember to perform this step each time, the ETX tracks for
over an hour with no movement apparent in the eyepiece.

Thanks for your site...look forward to seeing you and other site
participants at the Star Party.  Dan

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