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Newbie? With ETX-90AT

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Posted by Peter J. Wierzba on September 5, 2003 03:59:47 UTC

Recently, I was waiting in line at the Texas Tech Observatory to get a look at Mars and other heavenly bodies. Needless to say, with all the publicity in the media regarding Mars the line was too long to catch a glimpse. However, there were a number of local stargazers from the South Plains Astronomy Club there with their own telescopes. In conversations with them, I told them about my Meade ETX-90AT I purchased in '97 with the intent to become a hobbyist. Unfortunately, shortly after purchasing the scope, my mother passed away and it remained in its case virutally unused.

I returned home later that evening and went straight to my closet. I pulled out my telescope and began looking at the stars...and Mars. The feelings I had when I purchased the scope all rose to the surface once more. As I looked at my telescope, it looked like a wind-up toy when compared to the other telescopes I saw that evening with their high tech tracking devices and computer hook-ups. All of this has prompted me to write with a few questions.

1. Is it possible to upgrade/convert my ETX from a "manual" telescope to a more advanced "auto" variety like the newer ETX scopes with tracking/touring devices?

2. Is it worthwhile to purchase the Meade #884 tripod versus a standard video/camera tripod?

3. How do the Celestron 4-element Plossl eyepieces compare to the Meade Series 4000 Super Plossol eyepices?

4. Is there any diference in barlow lenses?

5. I have the Meade #1 color filter set(#12, #23A, #58 #80A). Are there any filters I should add to my equipment? And, how do these compare with the Celestron filters? Others?

6. I like the compact size of the ETX-90, but would my money be better spent looking for a good LX-90 or LX-200.

7. Should I have my scope "supercharged"?

8. Can anyone recommend a quality introductory reference guide for amatuer astronomers?

I would like to thank you in advance for indulging me and look forward to your replies.

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