f/5 Achromatic Refract-or, 3x Barlow, Eyepieces MA 9mm MA 25mm.
Of all the Meade telescopes, this particular little Meade has emotions running high, there are those who think it should be returned to Meade for a complete overhaul and those who think it works well.
I have seen members at my Astronomy club getting very frustrated with this telescope, and others who rave about it.
And I’ve read many amateur reviews from – it’s the best of all the Meade telescopes and I have had no trouble except that you must really get to know it. To others which say they have had nothing but trouble from day one.
So, I asked a friend if I could borrow his Meade ETX for 2 weeks. I must admit to being very impressed with its appearance. George the owner of the telescope already had problems with the Meade Auto-star, which had to be sent back and replaced by Meade.
Alignment is everything when you are using Auto-star, if you don’t get this part correct you’ll have trouble, so take your time and get this right. You have 3 choices in aligning this little Meade telescope.
I recommend you choose the 2 star alignment as this is the most accurate and use Polaris as one of the stars, that way you will always find true north.
I would not recommend these Meade Telescopes for the causal user, as you would need to pull the manual out each time you used it to brush up on how to align it.
If you live in the southern hemisphere you will be pleased to know that auto-star has been adjusted for this, you can learn more about this by reading my page on Telescopes – Myths and Misconceptions. There you will learn about the problems associated with computer controlled Meade telescopes and the southern hemisphere.
My first night out and I had a lot of fun playing with the Meade Auto-star, it knows its stuff when it comes to the planets, double stars, variable stars, constellations, and messier objects.
M42 and M45 and other such objects I viewed were also good. I then scanned the star clusters which were all found and placed dead center by Auto-star. The views are quite satisfying. The planets and the moon are good but nothing special with this telescope.
If you are interested in buying astronomy software that is compatible with Auto-star, I recommend the one I use called Starry Night. It is an excellent addition for any astronomer.
It will give you information on any object you choose and give details on where a object will be at any given time. This means you can plan a night’s viewing in advance. There are several versions of Starry Night Software to choose from.
I would advise you buy a good tripod and not the 882 which they are selling with these Meade telescopes, it’s too flimsy. If you can’t afford a better tripod try the tips I gave you in the review on Meade telescopes- DS90.
The only other problem I found was focusing, it can be very frustrating when you change eyepieces, you have to turn the focus-er knob about 15 times and unfortunately the focus-er knob is about the size of a dime and is too close to the tube making the whole process difficult.
Quality control seems to be a problem with some of the Meade telescopes. But with that said consider this – Meade sells 85% of all the telescopes sold in the US, so if one or two get passed quality control you can understand why.
Meade Telescopes Recommendation
Meade needs to redesign this telescope and make it a little more user friendly. But if you like playing with technology the Auto-star on these Meade telescope will keep you happy for a long time. Deep sky viewing is good but for planetary viewing the telescope is very common.
With the low cost of these Meade telescopes you may feel the problems are worth putting up with. In that case, I’m certain you will have a lot of fun with it while you’re saving up for that larger telescope.
Ritz-camera has many good deals on this and other Meade telescopes. You will also find good deals on the ETX telescope at Vanns and the Discovery Store.
But I found the best deals on the ETX Meade telescope at the Binocular Center.