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Easy to use
Good quality lenses
For just over $100, an unbeatable deal with Meade tripod and backpack
The discontinued Meade ETX-60 AT BB telescope is a very compact refractor (lens) telescope designed for easy setup and portability. It's good for beginners, and also a great pick-up and go scope for vacations, hiking, and taking to remote locations where taking a larger instrument would become impractical. The BB model I got includes a tripod and nice fitted backpack, which are both highly recommended if you are lucky enough to find one at a good price. The well designed Meade tripod is surprisingly sturdy and lightweight for its size, and does an excellent job of supporting the telescope at higher magnifications without much vibration. The Meade backpack zips smoothly and facilitates good, protective compact storage, and even has provision to strap the tripod to it. The quality of the optics of the telescope itself was a pleasant surprise to me, being that much of the construction is of plastic. It has a decent objective lens capable of producing clean, sharp images of Jupiter and lunar craters at low to medium powers, both with and without the flip-in Barlow lens, using the economy 25mm and 10mm eyepieces that come with it. Focusing is tedious because the knob is small and in a tight location, but once you get close, it allows a very fine tuning, which is nice. You just have to keep turning it until it becomes sharp. (Best to prefocus at a distant object in the daytime first.) At higher powers, though, even with better eyepieces not included with this telescope, the objective is not capable of producing a clean, circular diffraction pattern; but this was not unexpected of an instrument at this price level (most of the cost is in the electronics), but it's fine up to about 100x. Most relieving is that it doesn't produce smeared or elongated stars at low to medium powers, which makes viewing brighter star clusters and nebula like M57 (Ring Nebula) or M42 (Orion Nebula) a pleasing experience. But besides the ETX-60's low price and compactness, the best feature it's got going for it has to be the intuitive computerized GOTO, which can make all the difference in giving you a rewarding night of observing, especially for beginners. The motor is a bit loud if you are trying not to disturb a quiet neighborhood in a small backyard, but it's not half as loud as a garage door opener. It does help to know the brightest stars in a few constellations, along with the exact direction to north, because the easiest way to do the setup is by lining it up with north and letting the computer do the rest. The computer will automatically point to two bright stars, one at a time, and after you fine tune and center each one using the hand control, setup is done! After that, just type into the hand control what you want to see, and the telescope will bring it into the view and continue to track it even as the earth rotates and the stars continually move slowly across the sky. As long as you are careful in lining up the initial stars, the GOTO is impressively accurate for a telescope of this price range.
Good, inexpensive scope with lots of bells and whistles, but has limits
I have had the Meade ETX 60 AT for several years now. I usually use it during the summer when it is really clear. This scope is fantastic for lunar observations. You can also pull in the rings of Saturn and see 4 of its moons. You can usually see the striations of the atmosphere of Jupiter. This scope does not really like to be over magnified. I bought a Barlow lens for it and a higher magnification lens and in unison, it was too much focal point and I couldn't focus. It is a great scope for it's size and simple to use, as long as you can get it level and find magnetic North, the Telstar system is amazing. You just need to understand it has limitations and is a 60 mm refractor, which is about as small as you want to go. A friend had the ETX 90 and it had amazingly higher resolution, with a lot higher cost.
PORTABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT, VALUE FOR MONEY, EASE OF USE, QUALITY BUILD.
This little scope has a HUGE advantage as a beginner scope in that anyone who can read the manual and takes the time to set the scope up correctly, can be viewing objects that usually would never be seen on a first night out by a novice with a new telescope! I bought my scope second hand, complete with the backpack, tripod, a 26mmm, 15mm and 4mm EP lens, a 45 degree prism for terestrial use, dew shield and autostar hand held computer. Everything is contained in a well constructed backpack with ample padding, and makes the scope Good To Go almost anywhere, camping, packpacking, aircraft travel... mine has been everywhere with me! It sets up in minutes and has been used to observe some great objects in the Southern Hemisphere skies as well as used to view some great land based sights such as the longest waterfall drop in the Southern Hemisphere located in Lesotho, just outside Semonkong. The views were crystal clear and the tripod was rock solid even in a high wind area. Be sure that everything is tight, there can be some small vibrations seen under very high magnifications. For me, the sign of a good scope is reflected in the number of times that YOUR scope is used in any given month. you can have an 18" Dob lurking in the corner of your living room collecting dust... while this little 60mm will be out every night collecting stars, galaxies, clusters and some fantastic views of the closer planets. The one key to this little scope is to undestand that you will NOT see objects the way the box and most books depict them... those Hubble, glossy prints you will NOT see..If you expect those views, keep looking at photos that are downloaded from Hubble...and don't waste your money on any Telescope. Be prepared to see glowing fuzzy patches of light that are clusters of stars thousands of light years away from earth... and contain many millions or billions of suns... the thrill is in realising that that faint fuzzy is in fact thousands of light years across and could contain planets just like our own...the trill is in finding objects that no naked eye has ever seen...and gettig to know it as a friend. It is great to revisit parts of the sky and recognise certain formations or shapes and become familiar with often observed areas. I started by using a great little book I also bought off Ebay - called Turn Left at Orion. It was written for small scopes like this and helped me understand the objects I was looking at - and what I would ACTUALLY see when looking through my eyepieces. The only addition I would highly recommend is to upgrade the power supply - there are commercial products available that will allow you to connect the scope to a mains supply if viewing in your back yard - or an extension lead that can be run from your car cigarette lighter socket. The scope runs on 6AA batteries (9V DC) - which I find will generally give me around 15 - 16 hours of use on a quality set of new batteries. I have made up my own power supplies that takes care of this feature, but I have used batteries while in very remote areas where I have no other alternative --- and everthing works 100%. Just have a few spare full sets stashed in your backpack - it can save a frustrating power loss just as you get the best view of Jupiter you have ever seen! The only other tweek - a velcro patch stuck on the one fork arm and the matching velcro patch on the rear of the Autostar hand held..it stops the controller from hanging in the dirt! This scope deserves 5 stars
Meade ETX-60 AT Telescope, Window to the Universe
The Meade ETX-60 AT Telsecope is the probably the best beginner scope anyone start with. It is affordable, usually less than $200.00 and more often less than $150.00 new. It is light-weight, easy to set-up, reliable, and has tremendous optical power capable of providing a great view of the universe. The magnification is good at 200 power, and the optics are clear without distortion. All near planets from Mercury to Jupiter can be easily seen in this scope as can many nebula - provided an additonal small investment in colored filters is made to remove the white or silver look of reflected light planets have which makes them appear as stars. The 60mm lense allows sufficient light in to give good clear images of space objects. The moon is shown in great contrast; however when viewing it the user never wants to look at it head on. To do so, causes a lot of detail to be lost. Imagine looking at the point of a sharpened pencile straight on. What you see is a dark spot in a circle. The same thing happens when looking at the moon or even some planets. The craters and mountian become nothing more than a dark spot in a circle. Not very exciting...However, if you look at the same pencile across one of its sides or across the surface it becomes 3 dimentional. You see it is tapered, has shadowed areas, and edges that look similar to a mountain. By looking slightly across the face of the moon, the mountians are suddenly realized, the craters have edges, and many of the features have depth and contrast. The AT-60 has a computer controlled memory which can take you to thousands of space objects not seen with the naked eye -- in fact, it is fair to say the dark night sky is not all black and white -- it is alive with a pelethra of color! The hand-held controller is easy to use and provides the scope with the tracking speed needed to keep the planets in view. This is a great bounus as the earth is rotating over a thousand-miles-an-hour and the planets constantally appear to rising in the sky then beginning to set much like the sun and moon appear to us through the course of the day or night. It is equipped with a tri-pod which is quite stable; yet, light-weight and provides a great mount for the telescope. A bubble level on the tripod gurantees the mount is level regradless of terrain, and its legs are fully adjustable to easily compensate for different heights found in field conditions. The scope comes often with a back-pack in which all componets can fit into it to protect it while carrying it off road to dark locations. The scope preforms well even in light polluted cities; although like any telescope light pollution does limit what can be seen and how clearly so the darker your set up area is the better the viewing will be. The telescope comes with lots of techno-geek information that means nothing to novice, but sounds pretty - like air-spaced lenses which means there is a space between them filled with air -- -huh - duh! But none of it is important. What is important is this TELESCOPE WORKS! My 3 year old son can look through this telescope and see things without fear of it being accidentally knocked over and the amazement on those little faces are worth more than the cost of a thousand of these telescopes when they suddenly realize there are mountains on the moon, and colorful swirling bands on Jupiter - a world they didn't even know was there...but now he can point to this star on any night and say Juipter is right there!
Great Beginners Telescope
Star rating is difficult. As a first time, beginning 'scope, 5 stars. Easy to set up and use. Was able to observe 4 moons of Jupiter on the first clear night. Every thing I expected. As for digital, well it does connect to a computer, but it is not a "pixel" optical device. Like any other instrument, there is a learning curve to get the most out of it. There is good customer support and several forums with "tips and tricks", Unless something far better for a similar price, I'll keep this. I'm 500 feet up overlooking an airport several islands, and a fair amount of ocean traffic. Unless something far better for a similar price, comes along, I'll keep this.
Verified purchase: Yes | Condition: pre-owned | Sold by: ashlelope_31