If anyone is thinking about getting into astronomy, the compact Meade ETX 90 is the one to get. I've been into astronomy for about five years would highly recommend the ETX90 as a great beginner and intermediate level telescope. The optics are razor sharp....much better than the 114mm reflector scope I started out with(also a Meade). The trade off is a slightly darker image(due to the aperture being smaller than a 114 reflector scope), but the sharp images of the ETX made a believer out of me. I sold my old reflector scope shortly after getting the EXT90. The tripod stand that Meade issues is solid...but if you get the older Astro ETX90, you'll want to drill a 1 inch hole in the mounting plate where the "on/off" switch is located on the older models. Why Meade didn't think of that...who knows? The newer models with autostar work fine on the base with no modifications.
Recommend this product?
Durability? I've used my ETX for seven years with no problems. What I would suggest is buying the 45 degree finderscope...the straight tube standard finder is a pain(way to cramped a space for ease of use. Also, get one of the "red dot" finders They have no magnification, however you can keep both eyes open while searching the skies and you'll locate your targets much faster.
Metal constructionmeans a telescope that will be around a LONG time. From the Astro model(manual) to the current models with autostar, the ETX 90 will provide many hours of enjoyment.
As for eyepieces, a great selection would be a 10mm, 25mm, and a 32mm Plossl type. You can use Barlow magnifiers, but I've not been impressed with their images.
ALSO, if you will be using the scope (any scope) on a surface that is not 100% rock steady...get a set of anti-vibration pads. They really work. The ETX90 has quite a high magnification range(more than the typical beginner reflector scope) and the slightest vibration, such as a footstep will shake the image.
Another plus for the ETX is that you can use it as a daytime scope for wildlife with the optional eyepiece holder that corrects the image to "rightside up".
The focus knob is small, but an extension can easily be bought (or made from a length of coated cable and a couple of aluminum collars drilled for a couple of screws to secure the extension).
This scope is also camera adaptable!
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