Last updated: 21 April 2002
Subject: ETX 70AT user review Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2002 7:20:07 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Uckfield Judges) I think this is going to be long but is basically a good review of the ETX 70AT. I'll start at the beginning... For my Birthday my wife and parents got together to buy me a telescope as I have a history of interest in astronomy which has been rekindled by the ISS and the availability of information on the internet. It was a Meade 4505 in a package from CostCo. (I'm in the UK so it cost 200, Telescopes are more expensive over here.)It came with a motor drive and "Starfinder" GoTo controller (not Autostar but similar) The 950mm focal length and 4.5" mirror gave magnifications up to about 3-400 with the supplied eyepieces and it was mounted on an equatorial mount. In all respects it was an impressive piece of kit. Views of the planets were fine (Saturn's rings, Jupiter's bands and moons etc.) but alignment was very difficult and the GoTo never managed to get any object in the very narrow field. Deep sky objects where very difficult to locate as they could not be seen in the view finder and the narrow field left no room for slight errors. One night it "Ran away" and the tube crashed into the motors and broke the mount. After replacing the broken part I got the "Motor Drive Fault" error. Although Telescope house (www.telescopehouse.com) said they would look at it Costco would only give money back on the whole package. So I started looking into "Starter scopes" to find an alternative. I read loads of internet articles on starter telescopes. Most of these are either small aperture refractors or 4-5" Newtonians but with a 900+ focal length. For 200 (GBP) I could not find one with a GoTo function. I considered the problems I had had with the 4505 and it came down to. Too much magnification Too small field Too heavy to transport Too difficult to align So... Cheapest telescope (not a Starter Telescope) is ETX 70AT. At 319 (GBP) it's 119 dearer than a "Starter" but the advantages are.. Lower magnification (with the option to increase) Larger field (Because of the short focal length, most objects will be found in view with GoTo even with slight misalignment) It's light so it's easy to transport It's easy to align (The AltAz mount makes this simple almost point and go) OK so I set my heart on the scope but how can I justify the extra 119. (This next bit is a plug but if you are in the UK I the best deal you'll get) ETX 70AT plus.. Standard Field tripod Barlow lens PC connect cable T adapter (You still need the T2 to connect a camera) 319 from SCS Astro in Somerset (www.scsastro.com) Yesterday (19/04/2002)it performed fantastically. Jupiter (faint bands but four moons distorted by proximity to moon) Moon (Wow) Ikeya-Zhang (You have to see the new comet and the PC cable enabled me to find it with the GoTo) The image is slighty smaller than the 4505 (I think this may be an optical illusion)but the clarity is amazing.It's early days but the extra money is well worth it. When my niece (age 4) peered into the eyepiece to look at the moon she exclaimed.. "It's the Clanger's planet!" I hope this will help anyone looking for a "Starter Telescope" This site is brilliant for information so I guess I'll have to buy the book. best regards Richard judge PS In answer to Ed. I found that Jupiter was disappointing but the proximty to the Moon causes a glare effect. We will have to wait until the Moon moves away.
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