Last updated: 26 October 2002
Subject: ETX90RA Progress Report: The Story So far Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 12:07:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stuart Williams) Well, I finally got a clear night last night to try out my shiny new EXT90 RA. Crystal clear sky, Moon nicely high in the sky, and by the time I got home from work and had my dinner, Saturn was rising into view over the neighbours houses. So, quickly I unpacked all the kit, set up the #884 tripod out in the yard, and switched on the RA drive before screwing it tightly to the tilt plate on the tripod (duly set to 52 degrees 30 mins latitude). Pop in the standard Meade eyepiece, quick line up on the Moon with the finder scope, and what do I see? NOTHING! Yes, as we say in England not a sausage! Out with the torch, quick look in the eyepiece tube and through the back of the scope, and guess what? The flip mirror had fallen off its mount and got stuck under a screw on the main mirror cell, absolutely jammed solid. So, after due wailing and gnashing of teeth, its back into the house with the ETX and onto the kitchen table, out with the box of mini screw and hex drivers, and the whole thing is in bits in a few minutes, carefully placing the screws/hex bolts in pots for safety. The whole plastic rear assembly duly removed, a look inside revealed that the mirror is held on with double-sided tape, and had simply fallen off this! Talk about cheapskate! But still, I have a pair of clean cotton gloves I use for handling photo negatives, so wearing these I press the limply flopping mirror back into place and surprisingly it sticks where it should be. Carefully reassembling the whole thing and checking that the flip mirror now flips, its back out into the yard, and fortunately the sky is still clear! Line up on the Moon, finder needs a bit of readjustment so I do that, and we are in business. Yes, the view of the Moon is superb, exactly as expected from the descriptions of other users. Tried out the supplied Meade 25mm MA and 9mm MA multi-coated eyepieces not bad! Better yet were the University optics 12.5mm and 7mm Orthoscopics I bought for my LX90, and to widen the field a little I also used a Konus 40mm Plossl, which worked very well. As you might expect, re-training the scope on Saturn produced a superbly sharp, but small, view of the ringed planet, with the 7mm perhaps pushing it a bit too far with Saturn still relatively low in the sky. Image shift on focusing was minimal. Well, so far I have to say Im impressed with the optics, but not the flip mirror, as you might expect. You can see why its cheaper than a Questar, eh? Good value for money, though (except for all the hair I pulled out when the mirror fell off ;0). More reports in due course. Regards, Stuart -- Stuart Williams Bloxwich, England Email: email@example.comMike here: Sorry to hear about the flip mirror but good to hear you solved it! Yes, the views can be amazing for such a small telescope. And yes, Meade made some design decisions to keep the costs down.
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