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Questar vs ETX - Perspective of an ETX owner...

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#26 Jack Tripper

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:21 PM

Accepted Hank! :)

#27 jgraham

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:22 PM

If this were posted in the Questar forum it would have opened a can o'worms, here it's just good entertainment.

Heh, heh, I use my iPod Touch (running Sky Voyager) to look up SAO numbers and then punch them into my Autostar. Durn right handy fer comits and asteroids as well.

Fun stuff.

#28 Jack Tripper

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 04:33 PM

I never really knew about that iPod/Setting Circles combo... I think that has definite merit as well. It would minimize one's reliance on electronics, and that would minimize the amount of risk involved of something going wrong.

Especially important if you've driven a long way to a dark site.

#29 Cobalt5120

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 05:07 PM

OK, I don't own either (ETX or Questar) and am not familiar with either scope. But, I have read this thread, and a very similar thread ongoing in the Questar forum...and...I actually felt like I escaped from a very strange place when I hit the back button and left that Questar forum.

Wow!

#30 rcd47

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 05:31 PM

Heck, I'd feel privileged just to "see" a Questar. :roflmao: Owning one is way out of my budget. Oh, and since the subject of handheld planetarium software came up...I have Pocket Stars on my Tilt phone and it's nice for a quick reference sometimes. It can go red screen, which seems to help some especially if you dim the display a little. I love gadgets... :grin:

#31 Johndob

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:12 PM

The ETX-90 is optically similar to a Questar*... then came the ETX-125 w/UHTC.


*$3,000+ (thousand per inch)

#32 Jack Tripper

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:46 PM

Heck, I'd feel privileged just to "see" a Questar.

I saw one once! Then I saw the price tag. Then I saw the ground hurtling up at me as I fell to the floor...

#33 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:34 PM

Full disclosure, here--

I own an older Questar and also an ETX-125.
I really like either scope and can see how they appeal to both camps of owners.
Sometimes one group can get a little prickly and put down "the other guys" for whatever reason. It happens all the time.
Ford vs. Chevy.
Mac vs. PC.
Cable vs. Satellite.
Etc...
As long as the discussion doesn't get insulting, heck, it's just good-natured ribbing.

If anyone in the ETX club wants to own a Questar at some point in the future, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for used ones. They can sometimes be had in very good condition for a fraction of what a new unit sells for. That's how I got mine.

Hope everyone keeps enjoying their scopes. :ubetcha:

#34 Jack Tripper

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:40 PM

I was hoping you were going to post here...I saw your posts in the Questar forum. Anyone who owns, or has looked through both a Questar and an ETX can offer us invaluable insight.

#35 tobar

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 01:17 PM

Just curious, what Kind of setup do you have to do with the Q to have the setting circle's so close? What alignment procedure does it take? The ETX has the 2 star,1 star, easy, you name it. I hate them all. Mostly I use the syn function and It's works out. Goto's are soso.

#36 blb

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:12 PM

As long as I do an alignment with a medium to high power eyepiece with my ETX-125PE and use the goto's with a low power eyepiece, even after almost six years, the DSO is almost always in the FOV. With my ETX-70AT and it's low power wide FOV's They are always in the FOV. So how is an alignment done with a Q?

Buddy

#37 ColoHank

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:51 PM

Just curious, what Kind of setup do you have to do with the Q to have the setting circle's so close?



To use setting circles, you must first polar-align the scope. This requires either the use of a wedge or the little tripod legs that screw into the base of the telescope (I believe some early ETX scopes came equipped like that).

1. If you use a wedge, level the tripod and then elevate the mounting plate on the wedge until it is offset the same number of degrees from vertical as the latitude of your observing site. If you observe at 40 degrees north latitude, for example, elevate the mounting plate until it's 40 degrees from vertical .

2. Position the optical tube of the telescope at 90 degrees declination. In that position, it points straight up relative to the telescope's base. Find and center Polaris in the field of view. The higher the power of the eyepiece for this step, the greater the accuracy of your alignment.

3. Once Polaris is properly centered, the Right Ascension axis of your telescope will be very nearly parallel with the Earth's axis of rotation. At this point, I'd turn on my RA drive, but I don't have a clue what protocol you'd follow to prep your ETX for RA drive only.

Now, without changing the orientation of the tripod and wedge, swing the optical tube scope around in its mount and select and center any star near the south celestial equator whose coordinates you know (from an atlas or software application). At this time of year, Regulus might be a good candidate. Once that star is centered in the field of view, adjust the Right Ascension setting circle so that the RA coordinate for Regulus aligns with the pointer on the scope base. The RA setting circle should rotate right along with the optical tube so that the scope's pointer remains fixed on the appropriate RA coordinate for the selected object.

After completing those steps, you should be able to dial-in the Right Ascension and Declination coordinates of any other object you wish to observe. Of course, you could be off as much as 3/4 of a degree (but usually less), since Polaris is offset that much from the celestial north pole, but this method will suffice for observing. If you need more accuracy, there are various other strategies, including the "Kochab Clock" and "Alkaid/Epsilon Cassiopeiae" methods that will get you a lot closer in a matter of minutes. And if you plan to do any longer-exposure astrophotography with your scope, the use of a wedge and drift alignment are the way to go, since they offer the greatest alignment accuracy and eliminate field rotation issues.

That's all there is to it. Though it may sound complicated, it takes only a couple of minutes, and in fact I'm usually up and running much quicker than my friends who have go-to scopes. My home-built adjustable wedge is always set to match my latitude, and the whole process just becomes second nature after a while.

Hope this helps.

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#38 Jack Tripper

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:29 PM

I've got to admit, this setting circle/iPod combo is starting to grow on me. It's almost like a Push-To, with tracking, but without most of the electronics. Very appealing.

Looking back, I wouldn't be as lost with a Questar as I originally thought.

#39 jgraham

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:34 PM

Interesting. I don't think I've ever seen an R.A. circle that stays synched with the scope as the telescope tracks. Neat. Usually either the setting circle is fixed and the pointer moves or vice versa. We used to be careful to set the R.A. on the setting circle for the object we were currently looking at before moving the telescope to the next target. It as pretty easy.

On the ETX the alignment procedure in R.A. mode is similar to altaz, just a different home position. Operationally, the telescope only drives in R.A. when configured in the R.A. mode whereas it drives both axis when in the altaz mode.

My little ETX-60BB on a 'wedge' borrowed from an old pipe mount...

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#40 Johndob

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:58 PM

I like learning about the sky so i can point to an object without setting circles. I should use them occasionally for fun. A laser makes a good pointer.

#41 ColoHank

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:22 PM

Interesting. I don't think I've ever seen an R.A. circle that stays synched with the scope as the telescope tracks. Neat. Usually either the setting circle is fixed and the pointer moves or vice versa. We used to be careful to set the R.A. on the setting circle for the object we were currently looking at before moving the telescope to the next target. It as pretty easy.



On my scope, the RA setting circle rotates at the same rate as the yoke, optical tube and hairline pointer when the tracking drive is on, so as long as I'm tracking an object, the hairline stays centered over that object's RA coordinate. I can also rotate the RA setting circle independently (against a friction clutch), so that I can set it where I need to when calibrating the system to the second reference star (Regulus in my previous post's example) and synchronizing it with sidereal time. Perhaps it would have been more accurate for me to say that the RA circle rotates at the same rate as the pointer when the drive is on. I wouldn't be surprised if other manufacturers used alternative schemes.

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#42 Jack Tripper

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:45 PM

Just thought it was about time for a pic of the ETX! (I also LOVE that giant eye-lens on the 35mm Orion Ultrascopic.)

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#43 tobar

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:53 PM

I will try this with my ETX. Thanks for all the info. With the goto and some effort with the proper setup maybe I can defeat some of the urban lighting here. Lately it's been splitting double's which is fun but I really like to see more DSO's. This may be my answer. :foreheadslap:

#44 nytecam

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:00 AM

OK - this Forum has been Invaded by the Qs - normal service will now be resumed :roflmao:

#45 Jack Tripper

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:50 PM

Heh-heh...
I welcome the input from one and all. I know when I bought the ETX, one of the first things I did was search "ETX" in the Questar forum, and "Questar" in the ETX forum. Fun reading. I just love reading anything that connects the ETX to the Questar, but I also love investigating what is different about them as well. Different tools for different people.

#46 akman1955

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:55 PM

:bow:totally agree with you clive..thanks..dont knock the guy that enjoys what he wants/ and has. its all good "in the eye of the beholder"..plus i just like old stuff as it was made with craftmanship/pride..john

#47 teskridg

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 11:33 PM

I have an Omega automatic watch. Quartz watches keep better time, but that's all either one does- keep time. I love the idea of the Omega, though- especially since it was a 25th anniversary present from my beautiful bride. And, I don't have to worry about batteries. Every couple months I have to reset it. Still, all my Omega and my quartz watches do is one thing- tell time. The ETX-125 and the Questar also do the same thing, but the ETX can goto whereas the Q won't. I guess the Questar can be set up on some type of goto basis at additional cost, and that many Questar owners wouldn't flinch at this cost. I have star-hopped with the ETX, and find that the spiral search is an outstanding ability the Meade has (and that my Celestron CPC-800, alas, lacks) that is very helpful. I'll also say that if starhopping were my only preferred modus I wouldn't want either of these scopes- I'd want a Dobsonian Newtonian with a wide field of view. Also, even though the military prefers the built-like-a-tank Questar, I doubt they use it much for celestial observing, so this particular point is irrelevant. If the ETX's motor drive ever quit, I suppose it could be deforked and otherwise mounted so it could function manually or otherwise.
I once told my wife that I wished I had enough money for an elephant, to which she inquired as to what I'd possibly want with an elephant. My answer was that I just would like to have the money. Tim

#48 StarWars

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 08:53 AM





So the difference between a ETX and the Q is about $7500 ...Posted Image

#49 CharlesStG

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 09:26 AM

The watch analogy is a good one.

Looking at the photos here of the Questar and the Meade, another analogy popped into my head which fits: the Questar is like the MG Roadster Convertible from 1920s-- so terribly cool "looking" you want it and don't care if it goes over 90mph or not! It speaks class, engineering, history, style and performance that's too much fun to ignore. You see it, you want it -- and if it were the same price as a Ford Taurus, you'd get it for sure.

The Meade reminds me of the new Ford. OK modern design with big bulky looking plastic dash parts and trim - nothing fancy, but it works and will go faster than the MG, will get better mileage, is far more economical in every way, but it's pretty much point A to point B and owning one will never be as exciting as the old MG which is a classic of beauty and grace -- a real head turner.

No-one is going to look at my ETX-125AT UHTC and say: WOW, that's a thing of beauty! They may look through it and say WOW now and then, but not looking AT it.

All that said, I just sold my second Questar to a supremely happy new owner -- I'm genuinely happy for him, too!

Why didn't I keep it? It just doesn't fit in with the way I live, just now. I also sold my Breitling Chronomat Vitesse (for even more than the Q). See, they kind of go together along with fine jewelry. Those with little appreciation for such look at a Questar pricetag and wonder who could want it. Those who choose to own one do so because they appreciate beauty and fine engineering more than most and don't want to be without it!

Me, I've got enough fancy stuff for now. My APM/LOMO 80mm apo puts up a slightly better image (more contrast richness, similar resolution) than the Questar and has a nicer focuser, but it doesn't come with a case, mount, barlow, eyepieces or anything and the lens cap lost its inner lining of what looks like nothing more than electrical tape (duct tape engineering) and same for the dewcap (more duct tape engineering). I can fix these things myself, and I'll keep the scope because it performs well for my needs otherwise -- but it's no Q in quality for missing such attention to important details. Incredibly annoying, like a wrong clamshell clamp being sent, not even a super-cheap foam case - just a plastic bag and a bit of foam to protect it all the way from Germany. I was lucky it got here with just a fleck of paint missing from the tubing. A Questar is simply in a different quality control league - call it Major league, vs minor league vs bush league.

With a Q, you do enter a slightly different world and most of us wouldn't feel too comfortable there. Q owners are not usually, but the ones who post the most tend to be a bit neurotic about their scopes, perhaps because they feel the need to justify spending $4-$7K for a 3.5" scope with accessories. Those who can actually afford a Q feel no need to justify the expense and the expense is the ONLY negative to ownership - period.

No need to justify spending whatever on the MG Roadster -- most would say "crazy" to it's pricetag, too, but there are worse things one can do with money. :grin:

Buy it used, enjoy the heck out of it and sell it for a small profit, perhaps -- that's what you can do with a Q. Try getting back what you pay for a new Meade... -- I normally wouldn't buy a used Meade because way too much chance it's a lemon. I only bought used Q's because they never made a lemon -- all are about perfect if cared for. I made a slight profit on each Questar I owned, too.

#50 Jack Tripper

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 11:34 AM

Those who can actually afford a Q feel no need to justify the expense and the expense is the ONLY negative to ownership - period.

The lack of GoTo is another HUGE negative in my book. Setting circles are somewhat of a chore for me.

It's not entirely a matter of not being able to afford a Questar. In part, I felt that more enjoyment could be had by buying the ETX-125 AND a CPC 1100 for the same money as a little non-GoTo Questar!


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