Meade ETX-70AT


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Meade ETX-70AT
I've only owned the ETX 70 for about 2 months , but in that short period of May and June with ever forshortening periods of dark skies I am amazed at how often I have used this scope . This is solely due to its extreme portability . Using the available camara tripod adapter and a sturdy tripod I already owned , I find myself up and runnimg in about 5 mins from arriving on location.The goto facility and the comprehensive database inclusive of tonight's best is an unbelievable learning experience for any novice.New to astronomy I do not look at optical resolving powers or limiting magnatudes or color casting , I am only looking to learn and have my enthusiasm sparkled . The scope , being of short focal length ,tends to offer limiting magnification with the suplied eye pieces 38 x max but I will soon be obtaining a 3mm Tele Vue as I am convinced the optics of the etx are up to the job of allowing such a splendid eyepiece not to be comprimised . I am aware of the 200+ price tag but I feel I'm investing for the future. There is a little backlash in the motor drives but not too disconcerting .The tracking when nudged into center of fov is unbelievably accurate. If your a novice wanting to learn like me then go for it. My TIP OF THE DAY would be to read the manual thourouly and get yoursef a leveling bubble to help with setting up as instructed then press the computer controller and have fun .

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 9 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.133.196)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41194


Meade ETX-70AT
I haven't used the scope, i'm looking to buy one. Therefore i've got 2 questions:

1: The dimensions mentioned, are these the dimensions of the box in wich you buy it or the scope itself?

2: I have got a 60mm f/13 Bresser refractor, witch gives nice views of the moon and planets. The scope is extremely light (0.7 kilograms) do you (someone who owns it) think I can 'mount' it on the ETX's back and still keep the motors functioning well?

Thanks,

Peter Hermans (ponke008@hotmail.com)

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.30.86)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41195


Meade ETX-70AT
The one I bought compares unfavorably to Toys-R-Us specials at 1/5 the price. I literally couldn't see the rings of Saturn with it, but I could (albeit poorly) with a toy. Saturn in the ETX70 was an eggshaped blur, not unlike the one described by Galileo 400 years ago. My ETX70 hadn't improved noticeably on his technology.

Later I bought an ETX90 at 40% off. (Sales like that make me irrational, I guess.) Much better - totally different optics, and I can use the eye pieces, Barlow, tripod and Autostar from the 70. Of course, the scam is that you need all those things to make the ETX90 worthwhile. Now I'm sorry I didn't get the ETX60 instead of the ETX70. The transferrable equipment is identical, and the throw-away scope is cheaper. In this respect, the ETX70 loses out even to the ETX60!

The ads in Scientific American were nice...

Overall Rating: 0
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.245.23)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41196


Meade ETX-70AT
I recently purchased the Meade ETX-70 AT from http:\\www.astronomics.com (Michael) for $219, which ** included ** the #882 Standard tripod, a Meade 25 mm Super Plossl, and a Meade 9 mm MA eyepiece, a Meade 2X shorty barlow, and to top it all off, they upgraded the autostar controller to a digital keypad. I have several other, much larger, telescopes to compare this to, but overall I have been favorably impressed by the clarity of the images, the simplicity of setup and use, and the Value of this little scope. The low focal ratio of the scope (350mm) means that you must have a VERY small eyepiece (9.7 mm or less) to get any decent views of Saturn or Jupiter, A 9.7 in the 2X Barlow trained on Mars when it was at opposition showed me Sirtis Major quite clearly, although small. Optically I notice a bit of astigmatism, but very little coma. Tube currents were present up to 30 minutes after I set the scope up, but eventually settled down well. Only one word decribes the autostar: Cool! I have had a lot of fun as it guided me around the night sky I had learned painstakenly over many years. A great and recommended scope for a young person serious about exploring astronomy. A great first scope when bought as a package like I did! I would recommend two additional accessories: a dew shield and the AC to DC power converter because the scope eats batteries at the rate of 6 per two nights if your doing an average amount of slewing from object to object. The base seems a little cheap and plasticy but when it's bolted to the top of the tripod, it's no problem. The scope is FUN. My three year old uses it. My wife even uses it. Overall I'd rate it an 8 against other entry level scopes, and maybe a 9 if you took the Meade ETX-125EC out of the contest - since it's about $900 and the 70AT is just 20% of this cost.

Sincerely,
takoonce@aol.com

http://www.as.net/~takoonce/astro/astroweb.htm

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.193.148)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41197


Meade ETX-70AT
Not too bad.

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.194.18)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41198


Meade ETX-70AT
I got the Astronomics "ETX-70EC" deal mentioned above as well. This is my first scope since I had a 70MM refractor as a 10 year old (which only lasted 6 months until I dropped it). As Astronomics was backordered on the tripod (and it sucks using the telescope on a TV tray...) I got an #883 "deluxe" tripod cheap from a nice guy on Ebay. I also picked up a Celestron 6mm Plossl to round out my eyepiece collection.

It is monsoon season in Arizona so that means I have had 2 clear nights of viewing in a month. Both times I have been suitably impressed. The moon was a delight with the 25mm, and images were sharp all the way down to the 6mm. There is a little purple color around the edges, but considering I can't tell a a pricey APO from a hole in the ground it looked fine to me. I caught a few deep sky objects out in the dark desert, and was impressed by the views of M31, the Dumbbell nebula, and a few clusters. All faint fuzzies for sure, but I could tell they were there. Lots of double stars were easy to split, cranking the power up with the 6mm and a Barlow. The amazing thing to me was that the Autostar actually works as advertised! I expected to get a $250 compact 70mm with a crappy GOTO that I could just turn off. After about 30 minutes learning alignment, the thing just worked! It would put targeted objects in the lower right of my view everytime, and continues to track. It even worked with the planets, which were clearly discernable. I could tell Saturn had a split ring, and Jupiter's moons were distinct (with one nearly in a transit!). The #883 tripod was stable enough, but was a little shaky at high power. The #882 would probably be worse. The #883 does let you do Polar alignment, which I have yet to try.

As for complaints, the worst one is the focuser knob. When switching eyepieces, it can take 20-30 cranks of the tiny knob to focus. When the scope is at zenith, it is nearly impossible, forcing you to park the Autostar just to get to it! I will either make a cable or buy the one from Scopetronics to extend its length and add a little leverage. Also, the Autostar needs either good, fresh batteries or an adapter otherwise the slewing is very slow and groans a lot. Dollar store AAs don't cut it. All in all a great little scope thats very portable and with the Autostar, gets you viewing almost immediately. Consider a better tripod, although the Meade tripods do work (but not for anything other than ETXs!). Unless you have tiny strong fingers, do something about the focus knob. You will be happy you did.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 12 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.230.85)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41199


Meade ETX-70AT
This rating system is a bit goofy, but fun. I'm giving this scope a 10 because it does everything I wanted it to do at a great price. And I didn't even get in on the ETX-70EC deal. (damn)

Optically, this scope does what an f/5 achromatic refractor can be expected to do. Obviously there will be false color around bright objects, but it really isn't at its best on planets anyway. (But I sure don't have any trouble seeing Saturn's rings!) It's really good on brighter deep sky objects (Messier catalog, for example) particularly in darker skies.

The Autostar works great! It helps you to learn to find all those Messier objects in the first place (an obvious prerequisite for enjoying them!) and you can also use it to find asteroids (I've found several) and perhaps comets too where the big deal isn't how well you can see them so much as just being able to say you've seen them. Two features of the Autostar that might not be obvious from the owners manual: You can "synchronize" after performing your initial alignment by hitting the Enter key for 2 seconds (explained in the manual only where it explains the keys). That can give you a near perfect alignment to find nearby dim objects. You can use it to align on the Moon or Venus for daytime observing. Works great! Another helpful feature (especially for daytime) is that you can hit "Go To" after the slew is over to initiate an expanding square search if your object isn't in the field of view. I couldn't find that anywhere in the owner's manual.

The lack of a finder seems at first to be a problem, but I've used a 40mm eyepiece as a satisfactory "finder." With the Celestron Nexstar Plossl (which I bought to use on another scope) you get over 5 degrees. (Buy a 32mm if you only intend to use it only on this scope -- 40mm is too long for an f/5.) This scope is super portable. You can take it on camping trips, etc. and I always use it first in the evening to see what there is to see before I drag out my "big" (well 4" is big for me) refractor. The focuser *is* a bit hard to use, it *does* go through batteries (though apparently not as fast for me as for others who have commented) but I'll still give it a 10 to try to make up for some of the ridiculously low ratings above. As I said, the rating system is a bit goofy.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 18 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.101.118)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41200


Meade ETX-70AT
I bought this scope mainly for the goto feature, and to use when i just couldn`t be bothered to set-up my 8"newt. I sent back the first two because of loads of play in dec movement and second scope would not focus at all. The 3rd scope was perfect. I`ve seen more messier objects (about 40) in the 4 times i`ve used this scope than i have in the year with my other scope. Optics are very sharp/goto is spot on/Focusing takes loads of turns between eyepieces.It does what it says on the box but little detail is seen in anything other than the moon,but its great fun to use and its helping me learn the sky.Im saving up for the lx90 now........

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 4 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.194.17)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41201


Meade ETX-70AT
By the way here in the UK this scope costs 300 or $420.
The nexstar 8" cost 2200 or $3080.
But the meade lx90 only costs 1695 or $2370
RIP OFF BRITAIN DON`T COME HERE
And the seeings so bad your lucky to see the sun........................

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.168.164)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41202


Meade ETX-70AT
I bought this telescope about 2 months ago, and i'm very pleased with it. The mount is stable enough, even if it looks a bit too simple. The Autostar system works great, it always places the object in the field of view... just align it properly!
Great optics, with minimal color aberration.
Best of all, it's extremely portable! Just pick up the case and the tripod bag and off to the observation site! What's the use of a bigger telescope, if you don't use it?
It's a very good deal at such an affordable price!

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 7 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.14.70)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41203


Meade ETX-70AT
Not all that bad. At least it's much better than the Celestron
NexStar 80. The Autostar is cool.

daSentinel

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.254.118)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41204


Meade ETX-70AT
I love it. Beats the pants off of my nexstar 114.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 6 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.3.170)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41205


Meade ETX-70AT
Great little scope for the price. I was surprised that the GOTO worked as well as it did. Do be aware that this is a wide-field scope and used for low magnifications. It is not the best option for planets. It is, however, a nice little scope for large nebulea and other bright objects like Messier objects.

Overall Rating: 6
Optics:6 Mount:5 Ease of Use:7 Value:6
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.75.15)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=49062


Meade ETX-70AT
Love the ease of use on this little thing...I can have it up and running in about 5 minutes when the stars are out.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 4 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.228.71)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=90460


Meade ETX-70AT
good scope for the price!!!!Great optics!!

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:5 Mount:4 Ease of Use:9 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.202.205)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=105226


Meade ETX-70AT
Meade ETX-70 Review

I got my ETX-70AT when it was about $349 at Scope City. I was a beginner back then, and I traded it for a Nexstar 80 GT, so I didn't really get to test it out much. When I came in to the store, I knew this scope was the right one. It was compact and $349 seemed like a pretty good price for a computerized scope (it's too bad the price started to go down fast right after I bought it). Since you can lay it on the table without a tripod and move it in alt-az motion with ease, this scope grabbed much more attention than my father's 8" dob standing right by it even though it had an advantage in light grasp. Well, the scope's small and easy to use, but could you see anything through it?

Along with the hand control in the box, the ETX comes with two eyepieces: a 25 and a 9mm Modified Achromats (Meade's trademark for Kellners) in nice twist-open plastic cases. You shouldn't expect much from these eyepieces considering the fast focal ratio of the ETXs, but how often can you find a beginner scope equipped with 2 decent eyepieces? On the side of the box is a pretty well written manual and a small catalog of Meade products.

The f/5 ETX-70 OTA is attached to the dual fork drive and base similar to it's larger ETX and LX brothers (with setting circles). The base has a HBX (handbox/ the Autostar) and AUX (Auxillary) connectors on the base. Unlike plugging an RS-232 to the bottom of the hand controller of a 497 Autostar, using the AUX connector with a Meade 506 jack connected to the 9-pin plug in your computer, this scope can be comtrolled from your computer with programs just like it's giant brothers. A small panel on one of the arms has a power swich and an LED indicator. The Autostar hand controller is a simplified version of the #497 we're fimiliar with. The number keypads are removed, leaving the 4-directional buttons, the goto, mode, and enter keys, the speed/help key, and two up/down scroll buttons.

Setup was as easy as taking the gadgets and gizmos out of the box, putting in the 6 AA batteries (should last 20 hours) and the Autostar, and inputting some data such as location and time. There are 3 alignment options to choose from: Easy Align (AT finds stars for you), Two-Star Align (more accurate than one-star), and One-Star Align (move scope to a star in the sky).

What was my first object? I pressed a couple of buttons and scrolled to "objects" then "solar system"I chose Jupiter since it was 45 degrees to the east and bright. It was clearly seen and easy to tell from Saturn. After a beep from the AT, I found the planet smack dab in the center of the 25mm MA field. It was kind of cumber some to focus with the slowness of the focusing method: moving the oobjective forward and back. I complained to Scope City, but I found it was normal. I decided to crank the mag. up to over 100x with the 9mm MA and a 3x barlow. There was a lot of color, of course, but the image was nice. I don't really remember what I saw, but I found a quick sketch that showed 4 bands. Of course, I was a beginner and I absolutely cannot see very well back then, but 2 of the bands were very clear.

Next up? The one and only Luna. Since Luna's position change was different from the fixed stars, the Autostar took a while to calculate some math, but after a few secs of humming, Luna was in the 14x field. The AT showed some info and a short story about the moon, and it was fun to gaze. I remembered seeing many craters along the terminator at 110x, and it was great seeing the moon for one of the first couple times.

I decided to try a little deep-sky. Of course, I'd want to look at my first nebulae the Scope City guys talked about. M-42 was dead center. The whole picturesqueness of the sword was shown. It was a ver atractive sight. M-42 was no more than a fuzzy blob under Vegas skies, but it still was amazing. At 110x, the Trapezum was clearly resolved. It was as beautiful as M-45 through my old Jason 60mm. All of M-45 was in the 3.5 degree field, but I could not detect any nebulosity under Vegas skies and inexperienced eyes.

This was a great portable scope. With a large off-axis DMG dob, this would've made a great combo, but I guess the Nexstar 80 can do, also. At Costco, you can find the EC for $139.99. At that price I'd've got it again, but $349 was a good price for it. The #494 AT is easy to use and it works great. Planetary and Lunar work is acceptable and deep-sky views are wide-field picturesque photos! I'll give it an 8 for optics (compared to other larger scopes[with a fast focal ratio, this scope really stayed in the race!]) and an 8 for the mount (or at least for the accuracy of the autostar [-2 for the flimsy tripod]). Ease-of-use is a 10 and value is 7 since Orion and other manufacturers sell some other great scopes (6" dobs and such) in the same price range.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:8 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:7
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: scopedreamer2032
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=144037


Meade ETX-70AT
I own this scope, and although a beginner's scope, it has excellent optics, and I use it more often than my 330mm reflecter. Easy to use and set up, although the standard field tripod is unstable at best, tipsy at worst. Computerized system is easy to use, and I could think of no better scope for the beginner.


-'from a dedicated 13-year-old astronomer'
-'God Bless'

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:7 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.69.138)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=351963


Meade ETX-70AT
I didn't really need this scope, but at £150 Sterling for a factory reconditioned unit with full warranty, it was a bargin I could not resist. Normal new price in the UK is £250-£300. I purchased mine from Telescope House in London, UK, and it was delivered next working day at no extra cost.

I have only had the little ETX a couple of days. The Autostar is great fun and easy to use. I particularly wanted to check this out to see if I would find it useful before buying a larger serious goto scope. Time will tell, but it's certainly fun. Autostar seems to be quite accurate, but you can't see much due of most deep sky objects due to the small aperture. Actually, I have spent longer running through its data indoors than under the sky.

The weaknesses are the dreadful #882 tripod and the focus adjustment. Telescope House (BC&F) offer a focus extension but it will set you back an extra £25. I don't know what to do about the tripod as an #883 would be expensive as an upgrade. I guess that you can get an adapter for a standard photo tripod somewhere, otherwise the thing will have to go.

A unit finder would be useful for alignment even with the '70's large FOV.

The optics are OK for a £150 scope but I would have felt hard done by at £300. Views of the moon and star clusters are best. The supplied 25mm eyepice frames M45 very well, but with vignetting. Supplied eye-pieces are not parfocal. Significant bright purple halo around the moon and Vega. A 13mm T6 Nagler gives a much better view!

My comparison is with a TV Ranger on a Telepod. It cost three times as much as a full price ETX 70, so its not really fair. Of the two, it will be the EXT that goes first. If I get rid of the ranger it will be to upgrade to a TY76. (The TV76 was not available when I bought the Ranger, but I would recommend the latter as a serious portable scope that you will keep for 20 years.)

The ETX motors are very noisy even when tracking and I have found them irritating already.

As the straight through photo attachment is usually obstructed by the base of the mount unless the tube is horizontal, I can't see how you could do much photograpahy, even with a small web-cam.

By the way, although the ETX70 is a refractor, its not a refractor as we know it. Focusing moves the objective lens, which is not very rigid. There is no proper diagonal; it has a flip mirror like the larger MK or SCT's.

You can't seem to take the tube off the forks. (to put on something better).

AJD

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:6 Mount:4 Ease of Use:8 Value:9
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.186.153)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=404949


Meade ETX-70AT
It 's very easy to use and trasport it.
You can have it in a bag!

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:6 Mount:6 Ease of Use:9 Value:5
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.44.216)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=575236


Meade ETX-70AT
Would be interested in the dilteas of how you managed to get great pictures with your telescope. I have the same scope, very happy with it but would like to move into picture taking so I can share my cold nights results with others. What lens did you use, what camera, any software, etc.Thank you for your time and sharing the photos.George

Overall Rating: 2
Optics:4 Mount:2 Ease of Use:2 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.9.196)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=600190

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