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Meade ETX 80 Telescope Review – Partially Recommended

Product permanently discontinued by Meade after the acquisition by Orion. The following review was published before the discontinuation.
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When you read one of my reviews at TelescopicWatch, you can trust that not only have I gotten to use the product, but I’ve compared it to numerous others and tinkered with it down to the literal nuts and bolts. When I'm not writing reviews, I'm out under the night sky with my own homemade or modified telescopes, with over 7 years of hands-on experience in astronomy, having owned 430 telescopes myself, of which 20 I built entirely.

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Caution: This telescope is now permanently discontinued. The following review was published prior to its termination. For up-to-date rankings and recommendations, please view our Telescope Rankings page or our Telescope Recommendation guide.

The Meade ETX 80 observer is part of the new, updated ETX Observer series which also includes new versions of the ETX 90 Observer and the reintroduction of the ETX 125 Observer. These scopes have been so popular over the years that Meade just keeps improving and enhancing them. The ETX-80 Observer is the smallest scope in the line and the only refractor, providing a wide field of view albeit with rather little in the way of brightness or resolving power.

Meade ETX 80 Telescope

How It Stacks Up

Used to rank #14 of 20 ~$300 telescopes

Product Permanently Discontinued





Meade ETX 80


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What We Like

  • A computerized scope
  • Mount can be used manually, with the computer turned off
  • Light, compact, and portable for quick set-up for home use 
  • Decent accessories

What We Don't Like

  • Tiny aperture
  • High price
  • Mediocre construction quality
  • Mediocre tripod
Partially Recommended

The ETX-80 Observer isn’t bad but is a far cry from being the best bang for your buck when it comes to telescopes – least of all computerized ones.

The Meade ETX 80 observer is part of the new, updated ETX Observer series which also includes new versions of the ETX 90 Observer and the reintroduction of the ETX 125 Observer. These scopes have been so popular over the years that Meade just keeps improving and enhancing them. The ETX-80 Observer is the smallest scope in the line and the only refractor, providing a wide field of view albeit with rather little in the way of brightness or resolving power.

Picture of meade ETX 80 on use

The Optical Tube

The ETX-80 Observer is an 80mm f/5 achromatic refractor with a 400mm focal length, almost identical to the Orion ShortTube 80 and Meade Infinity 80. The main difference is that the ETX-80 Observer features a built-in flip mirror diagonal instead of a detachable 1.25” star diagonal like most refractors do, and it focuses by moving the objective lens back and forth rather than the eyepiece holder, in an attempt to keep the telescope as compact and user-friendly as possible.


The ETX-80’s included 26 mm Plossl eyepiece gives you 15X. The included 9.7 mm Plossl eyepiece gives you 41X. These are good magnifications for general use of the scope. The ETX-80’s fast achromatic optics mean it really can’t handle much over 80x, and while you could go lower than 15x with something like a 32mm Plossl we wouldn’t really advise it due to the brightened background and the negligible difference in the field of view.

A red dot finder is included. This is a good match to the ETX 80 Observer as this is typically only needed during set-up. Once you have the scope aligned you can turn this off as the scope will find the targets for you. The ETX-80’s short focal length means that sighting along the tube will work in a pinch if the finder’s battery dies – 15x is the magnification of some finderscopes and binoculars anyways.

The integrated star diagonal also has a threaded port on the back, not something you will see on other telescopes in this class. Purchase the appropriate adapter for your brand of DSLR camera and you can mount your camera to the back of the scope. You can look through the eyepiece and then flip the mirror and have the light go to the camera.

Lastly, the ETX-80 includes a thread-on plastic dew shield for the objective lens. You are likely to want to use this at all times – not only to prevent condensation on the lens, but also to keep stray light and glare out to increase the contrast in your views at the eyepiece.


The ETX-80 Observer is a GoTo telescope running off Meade’s latest and greatest hand controller and software, the AudioStar. The AudioStar controller is essentially a glorified pocket calculator that has speakers on it. When it slews to new targets, it will start talking about some basic facts about the object. Depending on your knowledge of astronomy, you might find this feature either extremely helpful or extremely annoying.

Six AA batteries go inside the base of the scope so there are no external battery packs or power supply needed. Some other computerized scopes require an external pack which can be inconvenient to use, or which can be forgotten at home. 

ETX 80 on a skywatching party

A great feature of the Meade ETX Observer line is that you can use these telescopes manually.  Let’s say your batteries died. Many other computerized scopes would be dead, unusable, but not the ETX-80 Observer. If you want to use the scope manually, which I do from time to time, you can unlock the clutches and point the scope yourself. Many computerized scopes do not allow you to do this, but the ETX 80 Observer makes it easy. 

Another interesting enhancement is that the optical tube can be easily removed from the mount with two screws. Previous versions made it very difficult to remove the optical tube if you wanted to put it on a different mount. 

Another great advantage of this design is that you can use the Meade ETX 80 Observer on the included tripod or as a tabletop scope. 

With the ETX 80 Observer the brains are in the base of the scope and the handset. Take it off the tripod and put it on a table and you have a fully functional computerized robotic system. This makes it even easier to travel with as you don’t have to bring the tripod.

It all comes packaged in a very nice quality backpack along with a fold-up tripod so you can pack it away, toss it in the car for travel, take it on a hike or hang it on the wall for storage. For teens, they can put on the backpack and bicycle to the local schoolyard or park.

If there is one weakness in the package it is that the tripod is a bit lightweight. This is in keeping with the backpack, lightweight and easily portable concept of the ETX 80 Observer. This can lead to some image shake during focusing or in a strong breeze. If you wish, Meade does sell an optional tripod that is heavier and more robust should you wish to add that in the future. Of course, you don’t have to use the tripod at all, just place it on a sturdy table, stool or a level rock and you are all set.

Should I buy a Used ETX-80 Observer?

The ETX-80 Observer is a decent scope, and should you find one used at a good price we’d recommend it – with the caveat that a Dobsonian or larger aperture computerized scope will show you a lot more. Older versions of the ETX-80 such as the ETX-80 AT are similarly good, but demand a lower price.

Alternative Recommendations

There are a few GoTo as well as non-GoTo telescopes around the ETX-80’s price range that we might recommend instead. The Celestron Astro-Fi 102 offers a little more aperture than the ETX-80 in a similarly compact package, but with an easier-to-use control system based around your phone or tablet. A 6” Dobsonian like the Orion SkyLine 6, Apertura DT6, or Sky-Watcher 6” Classic Dobsonian offers nearly double the aperture of the ETX-80, providing huge gains in resolution and deep-sky views about 4 times as bright. And for a little more money, you could get an 8” or 10” Dobsonian from one of the aforementioned brands, with even sharper and brighter views. You could also pick up the Celestron Astro-Fi 130, which will offer less aperture than the Dobsonian options but a wide field of view and the same easy-to-use GoTo system of the Astro-Fi 102.

Aftermarket Accessory Recommendations

A 6mm “gold-line” eyepiece will provide 67x with the ETX-80, which is close to the limit of what the scope can handle. For viewing the moon and planets, you’ll likely get better results with this eyepiece than the stock 9.7mm Plossl. If you’re seeking to make the ETX-80 your convenient “grab n’ go” telescope, the Celestron 8-24mm Zoom can be kept in the eyepiece holder at all times and allows you to quickly change magnifications, at the expense of a narrow field of view at low magnification.

A small rechargeable power supply is another great idea for the ETX-80 Observer, allowing you to avoid burning through AA batteries on the regular or worry about corrosion.

What can you see with ETX 80 Observer?

As it’s a fast, inexpensive achromatic refractor, the ETX-80 Observer is really meant for low-power viewing of deep-sky objects such as nebulae and star clusters. Unfortunately, its small aperture means that said views are likely to be relatively disappointing under even dark skies, let alone the light-polluted skies many users are likely to be stuck under. The ETX-80 can show you great views of the Moon and will reveal the moons and basic details of Jupiter and Saturn, but don’t expect high-contrast views of Mars’ surface or the minute shades of Jupiter’s cloud bands. It also has a bit of a hard time splitting close double stars due to the chromatic aberration, otherwise known as false color, inherent in its optics.

The ETX-80 will show you galaxies, globular clusters, and nebulae, but don’t expect much. Galaxies and globulars will look like little more than mere smudges no matter how good your viewing conditions are. Planetary nebulae like the Ring and Cat’s Eye are too small to resolve at the low magnifications the ETX-80 performs best at, and quickly get too dim as you increase the magnification. The Orion Nebula, Swan, and Lagoon look decent under darker skies, while only their bright centers will be visible under light-polluted conditions with the ETX-80 Observer.

The ETX-80 Observer is arguably best for viewing beautiful open star clusters like the Pleiades, the Hyades, the Double Cluster, Owl Cluster and so many more. These are great targets, even in light-polluted areas.

Zane Landers

An amateur astronomer and telescope maker from Connecticut who has been featured on TIME magazineNational GeographicLa Vanguardia, and Clarin, The Guardian, The Arizona Daily Star, and Astronomy Technology Today and had won the Stellafane 1st and 3rd place Junior Awards in the 2018 Convention. Zane has owned over 425 telescopes, of which around 400 he has actually gotten to take out under the stars. These range from the stuff we review on TelescopicWatch to homemade or antique telescopes; the oldest he has owned or worked on so far was an Emil Busch refractor made shortly before the outbreak of World War I. Many of these are telescopes that he repaired or built.

41 thoughts on “Meade ETX 80 Telescope Review – Partially Recommended”

  1. Hi, Nice review. I owned ETX 80 but still try to get use of it. I find it hard to get the scope aligned using stars.

  2. Like anything else related to computers, you have to follow the procedure exactly and you have to practice.

    • I was thinking about getting an 80 based on this review but saw your post on Cloudy Nights about having to replace the 80 and now I’m concerned about the quality. Do you recommend the 80 still or do you think the 90 is better? I’m a newbie and would like a telescope that do the tracking in order to share with my family. Thank you in advance for your help!!

      • I did have a problem with my ETX 80. Meade replaced it with an ETX 80 Observer. I am enjoying the replacement.

        Personally, I prefer the ETX 80, a short tube F5 refractor, as a first scope. The 80 is optimized for low to medium power use. I like the wide field of view. The 90 is a very different type of scope. The ETX 90 is a long focal length Maksutov-Cassegrain. It is optimized for higher power and the low power views are much narrower than the ETX 80.

        If you are not familiar with the different types of telescopes, this article may be helpful.

        I would take the ETX 125 over the 90 for its larger aperture, but it is much higher priced. I have the ETX 125 also.

        A lot depends on your goals and preferences. Is this a first scope or a second scope? I have 5 scopes ranging from 80 mm to 305 mm, all different. The ETX 80 was my first scope and it gave me a great start in the hobby. Today it is my wide view scope. I also like it for outreach events.

        • Thank you so much for your input. I have 2 other telescopes, a Celestron Starsense DX 102mm I purchased as a training aid and
          to help me locate objects I can’t find on my own and a Meade Infinity 90mm I use along with my planisphere and for my wife or niece to look at objects while I find something else to look at.

          The other night after experiencing having to re-adjust targets I thought the ETX 80 or similar tracking telescopie would be useful. At this time, I feel like wide field views and bright objects would be plenty to keep me busy for a while but am concerned I may be duplicating my equipment.

          Thank you for your response and the article, I’m about to do read it.

          • If you want to track, the ETX 80 will deliver but you will have a lot less aperture than your DX102 which gathers 62% more light than the ETX 80 and has a fairly wide field of view itself. But if tracking is your focus, the ETX 80 gets it done.

            I don’t know what your budget, storage or weight restrictions would be but I would suggest you move up in aperture. After my ETX 80 I went to an 8″/203 mm Orion XT8 Intelliscope. It is a PushTo, like the Starsense, but works differently. It does not use your phone and it does not use plate solving. But it will guide you to your targets and it will gather almost 4X the light of the 102.

            Orion SkyQuest XT8 Intelliscope Review

            Give it some consideration. The DX 102 makes a good grab-and-go scope. With a 32 mm Plossl eyepiece it provides a fairly wide field of view and it has slow-motion tracking controls. I would look to more aperture for your next scope.

  3. Hello. I have recently purchased the etx 80, I am a beginner in the art of the telescope. I have a few questions for you if there is anyway I could get in contact with you for a moment or would be greatly appreciated.
    Keep your eyes on the skies my friend

    • Kyle,

      I would be happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to post them here so others can benefit from our exchange.

      • Ed, thank you for requesting that he post questions here. It is a great help when a community learns together!

        Great review. I am about to get this for my son and his partner based on it.

  4. I have an ETX-BB Backpack Observatory Telescope & have had a couple of problems with it.
    1 The tripod supplied was faulty & was replaced.
    2 I noticed that the plastic base containing the motor had cracked. I’ve had the base cover off &
    found that the attachment screw holes are not perfectly true. So I’m not surprised that
    the case has cracked. I doubt that I can get a new base cover.

  5. I have the Revolution Imager R2.
    It works quite well, and my plan is to use the ETX 80 as the platform for this. But I have found, for the moment, that I prefer visual astronomy, eye at the eyepiece, rather than looking at a screen. Just a personal preference.

    I would recommend the RI2 package for someone getting started in EAA, electronically assisted astronomy and imaging.

    • Ed, thanks for this review. It was so thoughtful and detailed. I am looking for a portable starter scope that I can take camping and eventually play with astrophotography. Two questions: why the ETX 80 over the 125 that you also own? Second, for EAA I often travel with a laptop. Is there a ccd camera you’d recommend that doesn’t come with a monitor? I also have a Fuji DSLR. Wondering what the advantages of a dedicated CCD are.

      • Thanks for your comments. I am happy you found the article helpful.

        Clearly, the ETX 125 has a larger aperture so gathers more light, but it is much heavier. It is a very different design. The ETX 80 is a short tube wide-angle refractor optimized for low to medium power wide views. The ETX 125 is a high focal ratio Maksutov-Cassigrain, optimized for higher power use. Completely different optical tube design.

        Different types of Telescopes

        I am not an imager so I would not presume to advise you on cameras. However, this article/review might be helpful.

        • Another fantastic article, Ed. I’m coming from (terrestrial) landscape photography. While things like aperture and focal length and chromatic aberration are familiar to me, there we’re things like focal ratio that I was struggling to understand.

          I guess I’m still struggling to form an intuition about what the viewing experience would be like with individual scopes. In the Portable Telescope product guide review for the ETX 80, for example, it says “ being an f/5 refractor it will show a lot of chromatic aberration – limiting lunar and planetary views, and preventing one from going much above 85x.”

          So refractors have good deep sky light gathering for their size, but require high quality eyepieces to be suitable for planetary viewing? Or does one just learn to ignore the chromatic aberrations?

          I am also wondering what focal length is best for balancing deep sky and planetary viewing? I read that wide field works well with planetary, but are those images less impactful (holding aperture equal)?

          Similarly, for a given focal length OTA, we want an aperture that’s wide enough to allow for detail in the planets (with eyepiece magnification?) but not so wide that it causes an uneven field of view?

          In short, I am wondering if there is a better semi-portable telescope that balances deep sky and planetary viewing in a single design, or am I best off getting the ETX 80 and investing in eye pieces down the road that help make up for its shortcomings? For example, I see that Alpine Astronomical offers an 8-24mm zoom that advertises flat field optics.

          I re-read your review of the ETX80 just now, and I think I know the answer. Many thanks again.

          • You are asking good questions but the discussion would go way beyond the focus of this review. Just remember that telescopes are like cars and cameras and such. Each person has their preferences and opinions.

            You might find this article addresses some of your questions.

            Different types of Telescopes

            When my ETX 80 was my only scope I used it for planets and deep-sky objects as well as solar observing and the Moon. I observed Jupiter at 150X with the ETX 80. I saw the rings of Saturn and the cloud bands and great red spot on Jupiter with the ETX 80.
            Today I have 6 scopes and each is optimized a little differently so the ETX 80 is not the one I pull out for planets, but when it was my only scope I did plenty of planetary observing with it. And, while there is definitely more CA with an ETX 80 than a $2000 apochromatic refractor or a Newtonian reflector, I have never found it to be a problem. But others are more fussy about CA.

            There is no single scope that is the best at everything, and the ETX 80 doesn’t try to be the best at everything. It is a good beginner GoTo scope that is inexpensive and can be carried in a backpack. It was my first telescope. I still have it and it still gets used.

  6. Thanks for a really good in depth review.
    I have just ordered mine and can’t wait to set it up when it arrives.
    I spent a good 2-3 days looking at other telescopes in the price range and looked at a few youtube vids but decided on this one after reading your review.
    Its my forst scope ( age 57!) and am joing a few stargazing clubs.
    Thanks again 🙂

  7. I bought the ETX 80 this year the problem I am having is the equatorial mode function does not work. Meade disabled this function in the new ETX 80. Every ETX I have owned since this series came or had the chance to play with and observe with all had this active equatorial tracking mode function. Meade does not disclose this or does most companies selling this version know this they all think like I did and the company I bought my ETX from from it still thought it had the equatorial tracking function and you can use it in this mode if you had a wedge mount for it! Right now the company that sold it to me doesn’t seem to really care! We are very disappointed.

    • Thanks for letting us know. Certainly, Meade does not advertise that it has this feature. It is unfortunate that the seller did not do his homework. You might gives some thought to going elsewhere in the future for your astronomy equipment.

      I have the ETX 80 and ETX 125. I owned an ETX 60 for a short while. I also operate a Meade LX200 at a local observatory which uses a similar AutoStar system to what the ETX scopes use. I don’t use equatorial mode on any of them so I never tested or looked for this feature on the ETX 80 observer. Nor did I expect to find it in the system.

      You might try setting the handset to an ETX 70 and see if that will operate the ETX 80 Observer in EQ mode.

  8. Meade has sold zillions of the ETX scopes so there are parts and used systems available on ebay, Craigslist, and other places. You should have no problem finding what you need used.

    You can use the scope manually, though it is not a great manual scope. However, I have done it often. Just release the clutches and point the scope using the low power eyepiece. You can site over the tube to get close to your target.

    when you have the target in site, just lightly tighten the altitude clutch (right side) enough to hold the tube up. You can then track the target. You may have to release the clutch to adjust the vertical position.

    I have done this many times.

  9. I’d heard in one of the videos that the ETX 80 has a time chip in it which allows for entering the date and time upon initialization so you never have to enter date and time again, only location (lat & long.). Is that true?

  10. Thanks for the great review. I’ve got one of these on the way and am very much looking forward to using it.

    I’m thinking of adding a 8-24mm zoom lens to this setup. Are there any other lenses that you would recommend for this that really stand out?

    • I use my Celestron 8-24 zoom with the ETX 80 all the time. That and a 26 mm Plossl eyepiece are what I use most with that scope. There is a built in 2X barlow which works. However, I prefer a regular Barlow lens for that scope. A 2X, 2.5X, or even a 3X would work well with the zoom.

    • Thanks for the question.

      I never heard of the Seben scope so I can’t comment. In general, a larger aperture is better however that is a manual scope. You will have to find the targets yourself. The ETX 80 is a computerized scope that will find the targets for you once you align it.

      the Seben is on an equatorial mount. While the EQ mount was specifically designed for astronomy, I don’t generally recommend them for first-timers unless you have someone to help you who knows how to use an EQ mount. They are not intuitive.

      I have no idea what the Seben costs. So the question is really manual EQ mount vs. computerized mount. 80 mm vs. 150 mm.

      My preference, for a first scope would be the ETX 80, but naturally, your smileage will vary. 😉

  11. Cheers for the excellent and detailed review. Your review clinched it for me and I am an owner of a new ETX80 for a couple of months now. I have a question, hope your don’t mind? I’ve been trying to get some clarity with Jupiter. i.e. I’ve been looking at Jupiter but the best I am able to do it get a very week defined, bright, white sphere/disc. I can see the 4 moons too. But haven’t been able to get any colour detail on Jupiter (different bands etc). I’ve been using 15mm, 9.6mm and 6mm eye pieces with the inbuilt 2X Barlow. The conditions have been quite good here (in Netherlands) so I wonder what could I do? Any tips, suggestions, pointers? Cheers again and thank you for your time!

    • How high was Jupiter? If it is low on the horizon you are looking through a LOT of atmosphere and the image will be poor. Preference would be to have it at least 20 degrees above the horizon.

      I prefer to observe objects 30 degrees or higher, but Jupiter and Saturn are not that high this year so you may not have a choice. But don’t observe them when they first rise. Let them get as high as possible in the sky.

      At 120X you should be able to see the two main cloud bands on Jupiter and likely the polar area too.
      If the “seeing” is excellent you may see more although you are not going to see much in the way of color. I have seen the Great Red Spot in my ETX 80 at about 75X, if I recall correctly.

      Observing Jupiter

      Observing Saturn

      My favorite eyepiece in my ETX 80 is a Celestron 8-24 zoom combined with a 2.5X or 3X Barlow.

      I have pushed my ETX 80 as high as 187X on Jupiter but that was on an exceptionally clear night with excellent seeing. (6.4 mm in 3X Barlow) Normally that would be too high for this scope, but it was one of those perfect nights. I think it was winter, dry air and Jupiter was high in the sky. I think this was about 4 years ago.

      Read the articles for more information.

      • Thank you for your time!
        Indeed, I did read up on your articles after posting my question. Jupiter was below 20 degrees, and makes a lot of sense digesting your information. Thank you for the tips and the excellent information for us amateurs/beginner’s! *Thumbs up*

  12. Thanks for the great article.

    I recently purchased an ETX80 knapsack observatory.

    I’m having difficulty operating it and wonder if you could help me.

    This evening I used it to look at the moon. I found that I had to constantly adjust the telescope with the arrows on the controller to keep it pointing at the moon. I was under the impression that the telescope would follow the object of interest. Did I misunderstand something?

    Also where do you hang the controller? There seems to be no place on the telescope or the tripod to hang it. Is it okay to just let it hang to the ground?

    I keep reading that the ETX80 doesn’t have a finder device. But my kit came with a device with a red laser for helping to align the scope. Is there something more than the red-dot device I need?

    • The earlier models did not come with a finder. The current ETX 80 Observer does. As a GoTo scope, that is all you need as you really only use it to help you do your Goto alignment. Then you really don’t need it.

      When you did your Goto alignment, did you carefully center the alignment stars in the eyepiece? Not the red dot finder, the eyepiece. This helps with the accuracy of the finding.

      When you say constantly, do you mean every 2 minutes or every 20 minutes? I have found the ETX 80 does a pretty good job of tracking but it is not perfect. An occasional tweak every 20 to 30 minutes can be necessary. I had mine tracking the Sun for hours. About every 30 minutes I had to tweak it.

      The Sun and Moon move through the sky at a slightly different rate than the stars. I believe you can change a setting for that but I never do. I just to the tweak.

      If you think you have a problem, contact Meade Support. I have found them to be pretty good.

  13. For the controller, try some velcro on the back of the controller plus somewhere on the tripod. Works great for my ETXs.

  14. hi Ed,

    Thanks for the great article. My friend has an ETX 80 that he got as a work anniversary gift. We’re waiting on replacing the broken alt knob to setup auto tracking. We tried to use the scope in manual mode. We were able to see Jupiter but as a bright white object and the moons with the 26mm meade lens. We tried the barlow switch but that makes us refocus the scope with turn knob. It takes several turns to get focus. This is a bit annoying. Still it did not yield good detail on Jupiter.
    Here are a few of my questions if you don’t mind

    1. Should we change the eyepiece on the barlow switch mode to yield good detail of Jupiter ? It is reasonably high these days. We observe just after twilight when Jupiter and Saturn are still high on the sky.
    2. Do we’ve to refocus on a barlow switch or change of eye piece even after the two star alignment ?

    Thank you in advance,

    • ETX 80 Barlow use –
      The built in Barlow works but, as you noted, it requires a LOT of turns to go back and forth between using the Barlow and using an eyepiece alone. So I never use it that way. If you want to switch back and forth, get a standard Barlow. That will not require many refocusing turns.

      I look at the built-in Barlow as a range shifter. I work with the scope with the Barlow out when I want lower power widest views. I leave it out all evening. This works well for scanning the sky and for viewing many deep-sky objects.

      If I am going to be using high power, say for planets or double stars, then I switch in the built-in Barlow, but it stays in all night. Now I do the big refocus turns process only once. For the rest of the night, it is just a little this way and that to refocus.

      When viewing planets, you will tend to use higher power, low number eyepieces. Your 26 mm is your low power eyepiece which is fine if you want to see Jupiter in the context of its moons or the surrounding stars. However, you would normally plan to use your high power eyepiece and probably with the Barlow in. Or buy additional eyepieces. See the article link below.

      Where I am, in New York, Jupiter and Saturn are very low in the sky which means you are looking through a LOT of atmosphere, which will cause distortion in the images. We call this poor “seeing”. This will make them look like you are viewing them through a pot of boiling water because you are viewing them through the air currents and turbulence of the atmosphere. They tend to go in and out of focus rapidly. This has nothing to do with the scope or the eyepiece.

      Observing Saturn

      Observing Jupiter

      Over time you will want to add eyepieces.

      Understanding Telescope Eyepieces- There are recommendations, based on budget, but the meat of the article is about understanding the considerations and specifications to know when selecting eyepieces.

  15. Thank you Ed for your reply. Appreciate your time. I read through the articles. We’ll go with 8-24 celestron zoom lens. I think this will avoid the need to refocus. Am I correct ? Do you still recommend separate barlow ?


    • I think you will like the zoom. As for the Barlow, that is up to you. You have to have goals for the zoom, for the Barlow and for your budget. If you have the money, get a nice 2X, 2.5X or 3X Barlow. I mention them in the Barlow article.

      If you are budget constrained, then use the internal Barlow as I stated in my last reply.

      This is not my decision, it is yours. I write the article to empower you to make informed decisions.

      I do have several Barlows that I use with the ETX in addition to the internal one. I use the external Barlows more often but I do use the internal Barlow as outlined in the previous post.

  16. Greetings Ed. Been referencing your article whenever the inevitable “which scope under $500” question pops up on the FB fora.

    Question regarding EAA. You mentioned you were going to do some experimenting. Did you ever get around to trying that out with the ETX80 (or any other scope)? Let me know if there’s already an article on this. Would love to hear what direction you went.

    • Thanks for the question. No, I never did delve into EAA. It is still on the list for future exploration, but I find that I enjoy visual astronomy so I am going to stay with it for now. But EAA is definitely in the plan and the ETX 80 is the planned platform for my entry into this area. The short achromat will show some chromatic aberration, common to any low focal ration achromatic refractor, but that does not concern me. If I get seriously into it in the future, then I can explore the big $$$ options.

      • Let us know when you do. Seems like there’s so,e exciting tech out there. Hoping it’s about to hit a new level of maturity to simplify the workflow. Unistellar camera software without the $4k scope… 🙂


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