meade etx 90 astrophotography

How Good Is Meade ETX 90 Astrophotography?

As an astronomy fan, you must be ecstatic when someone mentions astrophotography. And meade ETX 90 is a great telescope for that sort of thing.

However, you might not know the full story of how it performs. 

So, what’s the performance of meade etx 90 astrophotography?

ETX-90 is a 90mm GoTo Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. The primary lens features UHTC coatings, which are costly but provide clear and bright images. Planet viewing is generally delightful due to the optics. But as you depart from the Solar System, the visual quality gradually deteriorates.

But don’t make a hasty judgement on the Meade ETX 90 just yet. Why don’t you take a closer look at its specifics first? 

Is Meade ETX 90 Astrophotography Any Good?

The Meade ETX-90  is a Maksutov-Cassegrain 90mm GoTo telescope. Since 1996, the ETX-90 has existed in some capacity, steadily accumulating more and more computer features.

Is Meade ETX 90 Astrophotography
Source: Telescope Rankings

The Observer is the most recent model. It comes with a new fork mount and Meade’s AudioStar controller.

The Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system on the ETX 90 Observer produces sharp star pictures. It is suitable for close-up moon and planet observations, similar to what an 80mm telescope can see

What Can You See with Meade ETX 90?

The large focal ratio of the ETX-90 makes focusing simple. It enables you to achieve high magnifications with eyepieces that have greater focal lengths.

ETX-90 makes focusing simple
Source: Meade

You won’t have any trouble seeing the following with the ETX-90 Observer-

  • The phases of Venus and Mercury
  • The moon’s surface features 
  • Jupiter’s moons, cloud belts, and the ice caps on Mars
  • Uranus and Neptune
  • Saturn’s brightest moon Titan

Also, did you know how stunning the solar eclipse looked through this telescope?

Well, now you know!

What Key Features Does Meade ETX 90 Observer Have?

The ETX-90 Observer isn’t inherently a bad instrument. But before you decide to buy it, perhaps you should look more closely at the key features.

Optics:

The Meade ETX 90’s optical design is well-constructed using high-end materials. The primary lens has UHTC coatings, which are expensive but give clear and bright images.

The ETX 90 has an integrated flip mirror. This mirror enables you to quickly and easily connect a DSLR camera to the optical tube.

Maksutov-Cassegrain optics were used to create the optical tube. This tube has an aperture of  90mm and a 1250mm for focal length. The design particularly favors planetary views such as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus.

You will readily gather important details such as Jupiter’s Galilean moons, and Saturn’s Rings. The ground detail on Mars and Venus’s phases can also be easily seen.

The performance in deep space is quite disappointing. The 90mm aperture is insufficient for capturing light from darker things. Furthermore, the images are really small, so it’s difficult to see large objects from deep space.

Overall, the viewing of planets is pretty enjoyable due to the optics. But the visual quality rapidly degrades as you leave the Solar System.

Mount:

The ETX-90 Observer’s mount is an automated alt-azimuth fork system powered by Meade’s AudioStar.There are several plastic gears throughout the mount. And unlike earlier versions of the ETX, it’s fairly bulky and won’t fit in most backpacks.

The motors are made entirely of plastic, and as a result, they make an unsettling noise. It will disrupt a peaceful and pleasant evening.

ETX-90 Observer's mount
Source: Cloudy Nights

The locks are the strongest feature of the mount. The optical tube will malfunction if you try to push it to rotate when it is “locked.” 

But the GoTo functions of the mount work quite nicely. Additionally, the alignment process is really simple; if you make a mistake, you can just start over.

The mount for the ETX-90 uses a lot of power as well. If you put 8 AA batteries in, you may probably observe for 1-2 nights. After that, the battery is drained completely.

Accessories:

Two Plössl eyepieces are included with these telescopes from Meade. They have apertures of 9.7mm and 26mm. Although they are primarily made of plastic, finer options are expensive. They are suitable for use at first.

The package also includes a tripod bag and a carrying case. Surprisingly, the bags are more durable than the plastic mount. And the tripod from Meade is also remarkably strong.

In contrast to the typical aluminium tripod, this one is made of steel and opens wider. There are no major issues with the focuser’s performance. This is a crucial issue. Meade performed admirably in this field.

The red dot finder is plastic and inexpensive. However, since you will just use it to position the telescope, it is not very significant.

A little bubble level/compass is furthermore included with the scope. It’s designed to be placed on the accessory tray. However, as it fits the telescope’s 1.25″ port, it also serves as a secondary eyepiece-end dust cap.

Is Meade ETX 90 Suitable for Astrophotography? 

You can easily attach the flip mirror of this telescope to a DSLR camera. Long-exposure imaging is out because the mount is not an “Equatorial” version. So this telescope is unable to do deep space astrophotography.

The ability to image the planet is still better than nothing. Since the mount was not made specifically for astrophotography, your options are limiting. You can take about only 30- to 40-second short-exposure shots.

Is Meade ETX 90 Suitable for Astrophotography
Source: Telescope Rankings

But you ought to be able to perform what is referred to as live imaging or EAA. You will need a camera and software that is appropriate, such as SharpCap’s free version.

Star movement or field rotation causes a lot of lagging and noise.  So the software coordinates and stacks subsequent images for better results.

What Can Be The Alternative Recommendations?

In comparison to the ETX-90 Observer, there are several bigger, better, and frequently less expensive telescopes. Some even provide complete GoTo functionality.

The ETX-90 is greatly outperformed by the Celestron Astro-Fi 130 in terms of aperture. Your phone/tablet will provide you with a larger field of vision and a proper control system.

Astro-Fi 102 is also a Maksutov like the ETX, but with more aperture. It also has the same control system as the Astro-Fi 130. But it is available at a cheaper price.

Beginners are advised to use 8 Dobsonian between 8 and 10 Dobsonian. The aperture of an 8″ Dobsonian like Zhumell Z8 or Apertura AD8 is more than double. This allows you to view a lot more objects.

Final Verdict

It’s ridiculous that ETX 90 costs $500.It would have been more affordable if it were priced lower. But the overall performance of the telescope is good. And the planetary visuals would fascinate even the most amateur users.

However, for $500, there are a lot better alternatives. We advise beginners to stick with manual telescopes in this price range. In these situations, optics rather than poor computerized mounting make up the bulk of the expense.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should You Buy A Secondhand ETX-90 Observer?

No, it’s better to avoid it. A second-hand ETX-90  is still most likely a waste of money.  If you must have one, older ETX versions will provide you with the same functions. But it will at least cost a lot less and come with a more compact design.

What can be seen via a Meade ETX 125?

Meade ETX 125 allows sharp and high-contrast views of the Moon and planets.  Star clusters and deep-sky objects are also clearly visible. The improved Mak-Cass optics are the ones used in the ETX 125.

What is the Best Meade Telescope?

The best Meade telescope is the S102mm from Meade Instruments. Among other Meade Instruments, it is a top refracting telescope. With its 102mm aperture, you can see both terrestrial and celestial objects that are sacred.

End Words

We have come to an end with Meade ETX 90 astrophotography. Hopefully, our insights have given you a good understanding of this telescope.

Purchasing your first telescope can be intimidating. Just be sure to consider your viewing region and the specific deep-sky items you hope to observe.

We’ve taken care of the rest. Now go ahead, and start exploring!

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