Last updated: 26 October 2002

ETX-90RA First Light

Subject:	ETX90RA Progress Report:  The Story So far
Sent:	Thursday, October 24, 2002 12:07:22
From: (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

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.



Stuart Williams
Bloxwich, England
Mike 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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