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HELP[Long]Picking Correct First Scope

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Posted by P. Darby/">P. Darby on September 29, 1999 14:25:48 UTC

I really could use some help picking out my first scope. I am relocating to Malaysia, and finally have the ability to pursue a hobby I have always wanted to do, but never had the time (or $) to do.

I have been looking at two Meade scopes (actually I have both of them right now), but due to lack of experience, and the lack of information, I cannot tell which would be best for me. I am not into anything radical at this point, but I am assuming I will get tired of just looking at the moon, so some of the deep space objects sound exciting, along with the planets.

I currently have the Meade ETX-90 Astro Scope and the Meade DS-114EC. The 90mm cost me $399 at Sam's Warehouse and the 114mm cost me $449.

The ETX-90 is listed on the Meade web site. This scope comes with a little tabletop "tripod" and a "tracking" motor, but everything else is manual. This is NOT the real cool looking ETX with the computer controls and everything. It came with 2 eyepieces and I was able to see the full moon quite well and was generally happy, but it seems rather basic. The scope is a Maksutov-Cassegrain type, which besides the basic principle of how that type actually collects and reflects light, does not mean much to me.

I cannot find any info on the DS-114EC scope at all. Meade's web site does list a Meade 4500 reflecting scope that looks simular to mine, but... I did check out several web pages of users that have the 4500, and noticed the good and the bad points. However, this scope comes as a "special" package. The scope is a 114mm reflecting scope with what appears to be a stable tripod with motorized controls. In addition, the scope comes with the Meade #497 Astrostar computer controller (with the digital readout and GOTO feature and it may even start your car in the morning, I am not sure *grin*). It is packaged with 3 eyepieces and a Barlow 3X adapter. It has rained here for 2 days, so I have not been able to actually do anything yet with the scope.

The DS-114EC certainly seems to come with a lot of extra items, and it appears "solid" and stable. I will be setting this up on a balcany overlooking the ocean (facing slightly east of north) in what I think is a rather dark location, so portability is not a problem. My main concern is that the two scopes are of a different type, and I want to know if the DS-114 is a piece of junk with a lot of cool accessories that I would never use.

I am sorry this is so long, but I am relocating very shortly, and I really need to decide which (if any) I should keep. ANY help is greatly appreciated. I will continue to read these posts, or you can email me direct at

Thank you in advance, Patrick

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