Posted 06 September 2003 - 03:10 PM
First post here, i've been lurking for a few weeks now. I have been interested in Astronomy for a good few years now. I first got into it when i was about 13-14 years old. Of course at that age i didn't have enough money to buy a good telescope. As a result i got a Jelly-scope, a 50mm objective telescope with the shakes!
This telescope was terrible and it nearly put me off astronomy! In all the cold winter hours i spent in the back garden i only ever say The Pleiades, a couple of stars and the moon through it. It was just a table top tripod with the shakes. If you went near the eyepiece after finding an object it disappeared!
I purchased a pair of binoculars for about half the price and had 100x more success.
Now i'm looking to buy a decent telescope, so i'm wondering what other members opinions of the ETX-105EC. I have browsed a few retailers online and through Astronomy Now, they all offer it at the same price - £749. It now ships with a field tripod and autostar, and at the moment you can get an eyepiece set for £99 when you purchase the telescope. Is this a good offer?
Also which UK retailer do you's recommend as there's quite a few to choose from?
Posted 06 September 2003 - 03:48 PM
The 105mm version is the least common; I've never seen one. I'm quite pleased with my ETX-90 and would expect to like the 105mm version even better.
The eyepiece set is an excellent deal if you don't have a good eyepiece assortment available. Even if you don't want to keep it they sell on the used market for $250-$350, which can help pay for the telescope!
Posted 06 September 2003 - 05:27 PM
Like John I've never seen an ETX-105EC. I own an ETX-90 RA and an ETX-125mm. The jump in light gathering from the 90 to 125 is substantial.
Hopefully an owner of a 105 will speak up and let us know what their experiences have been. One tip I can give you is I had to return 2 ETX-125mm before I got one that functioned properly. Make sure you understand your return policy before you buy. In my case, the store simply swapped me for a new one each time.
Posted 07 September 2003 - 09:32 AM
Unfortunately it looks like the eyepiece offer is over. Do you's have any recommendation on the eyepieces/accessories i should also buy?
I will also check the return policy, thanks for the tip.
Posted 09 September 2003 - 07:18 AM
Well i went ahead and purchased the ETX-125EC instead of the 105!
It now comes with autostar and the field tripod as standard!
Also the eyepiece deal that was due to end in August was extended, so i should have a full set of eyepieces too.
If anybody here lives in Scotland, prepare for some terrible weather for the next month or so. I've been told this always happens when you buy a new scope.
Posted 09 September 2003 - 10:39 AM
Congratulation on the ETX-125. If you can afford the 125, it's my opinion that it's the best choice. The 125 gives you enough aperture to chase deep sky objects and get some satisfying views of the moon and planets.
I've never used my Autostar. In fact, I've never even taken it out of the box. If you plan to find things on your own, make sure you get a Rigel, red dot, or telrad finder. Without one it's really tough to figure out where the RA finder is pointed in space.
The 884 is a BIG step up from the 883. I have both tripods and the 883 is just terrible for anything but the 90.
I'm eager to hear your impressions.
Posted 10 September 2003 - 05:16 AM
I will probably try and use the autostar, because i know most of the major constellations, but i don't know the less clear ones, hopefully the autostar will point me in the right directon.
Unfortunately i will be stuck with the default eyepiece for about 1-2 months until the offer eyepieces are received, should i get okay views with this 26mm eyepiece? I was hoping to catch a view of Mars, but i assume it will look just like a bright red star at this magnification.
I will keep you's posted on how well i do with it, as i'm pretty much a newbie.
Glad i've got a decent tripod with it too. Although i read on the mighty ETX website one user thought the scope was a little too heavy for the tripod.
Thanks again for the advice
Posted 10 September 2003 - 07:10 PM
Now you've opened a can of worms - eyepiece preferences. Everyone has their favorites and will die defending them :}
Actually, one of the nice things about using an f/14 scope is you don't have to use expensive eyepieces. At such a slow focal ratio - any eyepiece design will work just fine. Sooo, don't feel the need to run out and buy a Nagler, Pentax XL or Panoptic. Simpler designs like Erfles and Konigs work wonderfully in this scope.
For myself I use the UO Konig and Super Erfle lines of eyepieces in my ETX-125. I own both sets and love them both. For the price of 1 premium eyepiece you can buy the entire set of either one.
Most nights here is what I use;
32mm UO Konig
20mm UO Super Erfle
16mm UO Konig
12mm UO Konig
As for why I use the 32mm Konig over the Meade 26mm Plossel? Well, I'll post a picture tonight to this thread that says it all. Just gotta go hunt up my camera.
Posted 11 September 2003 - 05:11 AM
I lined up the finderscope okay.
Luckily the night was very clear about 5pm, by about 9pm it was getting dark so i went outside, there was a whispy cloud over the sky, but you could still see a load of stars.
I set the telescope up, turned on the autostar. The second line that scrolls is really tricky to read! The top line is fine, but the bottom line can be annoying.
I lined the scope up with the first stars i could see. Wow first look, center of the eyepiece - The Ring nebula. Wow. Then after moving the scope i found there were many. Woops better adjust the focus. The views were very nice from my light polluted garden. I saw thousands of stars and even a couple of meteors through the finderscope. The best view i got was of Vega.
Now i thought i would have a go lining up the scope and using autostar. Maybe i'm stupid, but i couldn't get it to align. Not reading the autostar manual didn't help. Hopefully it will work next time.
For the eyepieces i will send away for the Meade offer. I think it's too good to miss. Do you think the Meade ones are okay? The 26mm one with the scope seemed to be good quality.
Posted 11 September 2003 - 06:26 AM
Heyyy - maybe the autostar not working is a good thing. Maybe you'll become a star hopper like a few of us on this forum :}
In fact, I'll make you an offer. Find the 10 objects listed in Ron B[ee]s article on the front page of Cloudy Nights (without using the GOTO) and I'll send you a brand new copy of "The Backyard Astronomer". A really great reference book chocked full of articles and maps.
You up for the challenge?
Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:07 AM
I bought Redshift 4 and shall print some charts from that.
The only problem with Ron's article is Scorpius and Sagittarius are really low on the horizon where i live. There's a large hill in the way. I shall print it out though and give the others a go.
Also one question when operating the telescope without the autostar it feels very loose, any tips on controlling the movement?
Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:18 AM
I have a yard full of trees. For those constellations that get blocked, I plan a quick weekend trip to a flat area within easy driving distance of my house. As you pursue other observing lists, you will find these trips necessary.
OK, the tension can be adjusted on both axis. On the right hand side is a large plastic knob that increases/decreases the tension dec axis. The little lever bar underneath the OTA but on top of the base adjusts the RA tension. I leave the RA lever bar completely open and adjust the dec axis as I need it.
Posted 12 September 2003 - 04:46 AM
I will use the scope without the autostar tonight again and let you know what i see.
I also forgot to ask, according to the manual if you leave the RA lever bar completely open and turn your scope anti-clockwise it should stop at a certain point. My scope keeps turning. Is this normal?
Posted 12 September 2003 - 06:48 AM
Hmmm, I've never heard of a hard stop on the ETX RA axis. It's probably there but I've never turned my ETX on it's axis more then part of a turn searching the sky. It shouldn't be anything to worry about.
Got up at 3:00 AM to try and catch some more doubles. Clouded in so I went back to bed. Maybe tomorrow morning.
Posted 16 September 2003 - 11:12 AM
Posted 17 September 2003 - 05:13 AM
Last night i thought i would try out the autostar again as on the first night i did not read the manual. I found the manual did not help. After reading some tutorials for aligning and training at the mighty ETX site i had it up and running within about 20 minutes.
The two times i've used it now i've found the tripod to be very good. No problems here. There was a little bit of shaking in the eyepiece view, but it was probably due to the scope being on an uneven gravel surface.
What did i see last night? Well it was great. Cloudy at times and only about 15% of the sky available for viewing due to where i setup.
I managed to see nebula, galaxies, double stars and star clusters. The views were decent although i was in a very light polluted area. Some objects were simply small fuzzy patches. I was really impressed with the ring nebula. It was very small, but looked just like the photographs, except for the small star in the middle which of course i couldn't see. I also saw the dumbbell nebula. I could just make out the shape. I was quite disappointed with M31. In the scope it was just a small oval blur. I was expecting to see a little more, but again this was probably due to poor seeing conditions.
Everything i was searching for with autostar was placed in the eyepiece view. Slightly off center to the bottom, but easily moved. So it looks like the align worked well.
Posted 17 September 2003 - 05:55 AM
Congrats on getting your ETX-125 up and running last night. It always takes a few sessions to get familiar with a new instrument and work out the bugs.
M31 looks extremely impressive from dark skies and a wide field of view. You would need to look through something like a 4" refractor to get such an impressive view. The wispiness of M31 stretches out to something like 2-degrees of the sky (someone help me out here I can't remember exactly how far it stretches).
No Mars views? What about that bright orange firewall in your SE skies :}
Dumbell benefits from a deep sky filter - really brings out the details.
Posted 17 September 2003 - 06:52 AM
Hopefully i will be able to travel to a dark site where it is in view tonight. I don't know what to expect at 73x though! I guess just a small disc.
I will also look into purchasing a dark sky filter as i would really like to get a better view of the nebulae.
Posted 04 October 2003 - 01:21 PM
Through the 26mm eyepiece it was just about the size of a pin head, but you could just about see some detail on Mars. I was very impressed even at this magnification.
Posted 04 October 2003 - 04:16 PM