How do I Set Up a Meade ETX125 Telescope?

Written by gerry arlen good
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How do I Set Up a Meade ETX125 Telescope?
The Meade ETX125 telescope makes it possible to view deep sky objects such as this open star cluster. (m45 cluster - pleades image by FotoWorx from

The Meade ETX125 telescope is a computer-driven telescope with a database of more than 30,000 sky objects including planets, star clusters, nebulae and comets. Setting up the telescope is easy and can be accomplished in about five minutes but before the telescope can automatically find objects in the sky, you must level the optical tube, point it north and then, using the hand-held computer controller, enter the date, time and location of the telescope. Once these steps have been taken the telescope is ready to move around the sky at the push of a button and provide the viewer with a magnificent view of celestial wonders.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Select a location for set-up that is away from lights and obstructions such as trees, bushes or buildings. Open the three-leg field tripod and attach the leg spreader between the legs so that the long centre screw extends up through the base plate on top of the tripod. The leg spreader has three spokes, each designed to press against a tripod leg, forcing the legs open and forming a rigid support for the telescope.

  2. 2

    Place the telescope on top of the tripod with the legs extended and align the protruding centre locking screw with the telescope base screw hole. With the centre locking screw inserted into the telescope base, tighten it by turning the hand knob located under the leg spreader. Do not apply excessive force when tightening the centre locking screw.

  3. 3

    Point the telescope tube north and level the telescope, using the bubble level that comes with the telescope. If you have lost the level, a short carpenter's level or a circular level will work. A properly levelled ETX125 will track more accurately, so spend as much time levelling as you think is appropriate for the amount of time you will be viewing that night.

  4. 4

    Attach the AutoStar hand-held controller, insert the supplied 26mm eyepiece or an eyepiece of your choice and turn the power on. The telescope is now controlled by the controller. You may move the optical tube up or down, left or right.

  5. 5

    Align the telescope by first selecting two stars from the menu of alignment stars. This menu, with the stars listed, can be viewed on the LCD display of the controller. The selected star must be visible from your location and during the time of year that you are viewing the sky.

  6. 6

    Using the contoller, move the optical tube to the first star you have selected and centre it in the eyepiece. Focus the view by using the focus knob found next to the eyepiece holder. When the star is centred, "select" that star from the AutoStar menu. The computer then recognises the selected star as an alignment star and will automatically register the coordinates. Repeat this step with a second star found in the menu. Locating and selecting two alignment stars will allow the telescope to orient itself to the sky.

  7. 7

    Enter the date, local time and location--i.e., the nearest city found on the menu--into the controller. If you know your latitude and longitude, you may enter this information instead of selecting a nearby city. The telescope's computer is now ready to move you to any of the 30,000 database objects contained within its memory, if the object is visible from your location at the time of year that you are viewing. You may also use the controller to move the telescope to any place in the sky that you may choose.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a small stool to sit on during view. It will help reduce fatigue and make it easier to enjoy the views.
  • Depending on the accuracy of levelling, location coordinates and entered time, the telescope will move to a selected object with a good amount of accuracy but some minor centring adjustments may be needed. Use the to precisely centre an object for viewing.
  • Never use a telescope to view the sun without solar filters because it will cause permanent blindness.

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