The ETX-80AT Astro Telescope
This Astronomy Telescope, produced by Meade Instruments, is the premier travel sized companion for any astronomy enthusiast. The telescope itself is built using Meade’s Maksutov-Cassegrain optics technology, giving the ETX-80AT the ability to create clear pictures of even the smallest celestial objects.
Designed with portability in mind, the ETX-80AT Astro Telescope is light weight and travels easily in a pack. It also comes with an Autostar controller for quick alignment and ease of viewing. The ETX-80AT is an 80mm-diameter refracting telescope, which sets it apart from the rest of the Meade ETX line. Its compact size bring with it the benefit of being able to take the instrument into the woods or up on a mountain top for incredible viewing of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons, or distant nebulae; in fact, the ETX-80AT is more affordably priced as compared to its larger telescope counter-parts because of its compact design.
The ETX-80AT is well designed for lunar and planetary viewing, and can also double as a terrestrial scope. The included eyepiece works well, but purchasing the Meade 6.4mm version will allow for improved astronomical performance, and crisper images of the moon and other planetary objects. It may also be helpful to purchase a batter adaptor, as the ETX-80AT tends to burn through its battery life rather quickly. Average battery expectancy is between five and ten hours.
Besides battery life, the scope also requires some getting-used-to when working with the barlow and trying to focus on objects. It requires quite a few turns to refocus and can be shaky without a weight stabilizer. Purchasing the weight stabilizer will help with the Autostar function as well.
The Autostar function itself is easy to set up, even for beginners. Meade has included an installing instruction DVD which will walk you through the process step by step. Once set up is complete, Autostar will be able to guide you to a vast array of celestial gems. This aspect of the telescope is one of its most attractive attributes, and even works well when viewing the heavens from obscure places and small towns.
The ETX-80AT Astro Telescope is a great entry level viewer, perfect for amateur enthusiasts or families with children. With its light weight portable design, and highly affordable cost, the ETX-80AT is a favorable choice for any one contemplating the purchase of a recreational telescope.