Meade ETX125 Observer 5" go-to Maksutov, tripod, and Audiostar computer


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The fully go-to computerized ETX125 Observer portable observatory has exceptional 5" Maksutov-Cassegrain optics, AudioStar computer control, tripod, tripod carry bag, and two eyepieces – all at a remarkably sensible price.

Our Product #: M125ETX
Meade Product #: 205005

Product Description

The fully go-to computerized Meade ETX125 Observer is designed to be the ideal portable telescope, at an ideal price. It combines Meade's unsurpassed optics with industry-leading electronics to deliver a truly exceptional viewing experience. The computer-optimized 5" Maksutov-Cassegrain optics of the Meade ETX125 Observer yield remarkable high power lunar, planetary, star cluster, and binary star images.

The ETX125 Observer's standard equipment AudioStar computer hand control is amazingly simple to operate. It will even help you align the scope on the sky. You don't have to know Castor from Pollux, or Albireo from Zubeneschamali. All you have to do is tell the AudioStar where and when you are on Earth, level the tube, and show it where North is located using the supplied bubble level/compass. The AudioStar computer will do the rest.

The Meade ETX125 Observer's Optical System . . .

Maksutov-Cassegrain optical tube: 127mm (5") aperture, 1900mm focal length, f/15 focal ratio.

Fully multicoated optics: Anti-reflection UHTC (Ultra High Transmission Coatings) multicoatings on both sides of the Maksutov corrector lens, plus high light transmission enhanced aluminum multicoatings on the mirrors, provide a 16% increase in light throughput compared to standard coatings.

Dust covers: Dust covers protect the meniscus corrector lens and seal the Cassegrain focus on the rear cell.

Finderscope: The supplied straight-through non-magnifying illuminated red dot finder seems to projects a red dot of light on the sky or terrestrial background for astronomical alignment purposes and to help aim the scope when the optical tube is used as a terrestrial spotting scope.

Star diagonal: Built-in first surface flip-mirror. For astronomical observing, the internal flip-mirror directs the image to the eyepiece holder at the top of the scope. Touch a lever, and the flip-mirror redirects the image through the Cassegrain focus at the rear of the scope to an optional #64 T-adapter and T-ring for lunar or terrestrial photography.

Two eyepieces: One is a 1.25" 26mm Super Plössl (73x). The eyepiece field of view is 0.71°, nearly half again as wide as the full Moon. The second eyepiece is a higher power 1.25" 9.7mm Super Plössl (211x) for close-up lunar and planetary views, and binary star splitting.

The Meade ETX125 Observer's Mechanics and Electronics . . .

Dual fork arm altazimuth mount: The optical tube is aluminum. The rear cell, fork arms, and drive base are durable metal-reinforced injection-molded plastic that helps keep the cost of the Meade ETX125 Observer so very reasonable. There are three rubber feet on the base of the scope. These allow the ETX125 Observer to be placed on a suitably sturdy tabletop or flat surface for casual computerized observing without having to set up the supplied full length field tripod.

The mount includes built-in right ascension and declination DC servo motors for tracking objects under the control of the supplied AudioStar computer. The motors are powered for up to 20 hours by six AA batteries (not supplied) in a battery holder that fits into an internal battery compartment in the telescope base. A 9V~12V DC input jack will let you plug in an optional AC or DC adapter to power the scope from household AC or a rechargeable battery pack.

When used in the default altazimuth mode, the supplied AudioStar computer hand control moves the scope in any of four directions (right/left and up/down) at any of nine speeds. The speeds range from 2x the sidereal rate for guiding, up to 5 degrees per second for locating objects and slewing, plus the sidereal rate for tracking objects. No manual slow motion controls are provided - or needed - as pushbuttons on the AudioStar hand control will do all the powered slewing and centering you might want. When set up on the supplied tripod for equatorial (polar) operation using the tripod's built-in equatorial wedge, the AudioStar computer converts the right/left, up/down altazimuth directions to motions in right ascension and declination to correspond with the coordinates of objects on the celestial sphere.

AudioStar computer hand control: The supplied #497 AudioStar computer automatically slews to, and tracks, more than 30,000 near and deep space objects (although not all will be visible due to the 13th magnitude visual limit of the scope's 5" aperture).

The objects include all 110 of the Messier objects; the complete 5386-object IC catalog, the complete 7840-object NGC catalog, the complete 109 object Caldwell catalog of the best objects for small telescopes; 16,800 stars from the SAO catalog including double starts, variable stars, and other stars of special note; the planets; 26 of the brightest asteroids; 15 periodic comets; 50 earth-orbiting satellites; the centroids of all 88 constellations; plus user-defined objects and guided tours around the sky.

The AudioStar can show you these objects the very first night you use your scope - even if you've never used a telescope before! And a speaker built into the computer hand control lets the unique Astronomer Inside software provide you with more than four hours of fascinating audio descriptions of the objects you are observing. Astronomer Inside puts the experience and astronomical knowledge of a professional astronomer in the palm of your hand.

The AudioStar includes a dual-axis drive corrector with PEC (Periodic Error Correction). This allows long-exposure guided DSLR or CCD astrophotography in a polar mode, using the equatorial wedge built into the supplied steel tripod.

The AudioStar computer includes hundreds of special event menus, guided tours, a glossary, utility functions, and telescope status options. It also allows fast alignment of the telescope in either an equatorial or altazimuth mode, using any of three alignment methods, including Meade's proprietary Easy Align method.

Adjustable height tripod and tripod carry bag: The supplied full-length field tripod provides a rigid mounting platform for virtually any observing application, astronomical or terrestrial, and can be used for either standing or seated observing. The tripod has tubular steel legs and is adjustable in height from 26" to 44" when used in the altazimuth mode.

The tripod has a built-in equatorial wedge with an integral latitude scale and no-tool latitude (altitude) adjustment for use at any observing latitude between 20° and 90°. The 90° (altazimuth) position is for terrestrial observation and for quick set-up astronomical observing. Setting the wedge tilt plate to your observing latitude and aligning the scope on the celestial pole allows more accurate object location and sidereal rate tracking, but takes a little more time to set up.

The ETX125 Observer drive base attaches to the tripod in seconds using two thumbscrews in the wedge tilt plate. The thumbscrews are tethered and spring-loaded so they can't be lost in the field. The spreader bar that holds the legs open is spring-loaded as well, so setting up and taking down the tripod takes only a few seconds. A soft carry bag is provided to transport the tripod.

Tech Details

Aperture 5"
Binary and Star Cluster Observation Good
Focal Length 1900mm
Focal Ratio f/15
Galaxy and Nebula Observation Fair
Heaviest Single Component 15 lbs.
Highest Useful Magnification 271x
Lunar Observation Great
Weight 24.7 lbs.
Planetary Observation Good
Resolution 0.91 arc seconds
Telescope Type Maksutov-Cassegrain
Visual Limiting Magnitude 13
Warranty 1 year


Review by:
Crisp optics, silent tracking and accurate GoTo finds are my experience with the ETX 125. It is great for the Moon, Planets, double stars and other targets that are best viewed at higher powers, say over 100X. After adding a Baader film solar filter I had this tracking on the Sun for hours during the 2018 solar eclipse.

The tripod is heavy duty and rock steady. And the AudioStar system is easy to use. Just follow the directions and you will have no problem doing alignments and finding targets. (Posted on 10/22/2019)
Review by:
A friend let me borrow his Meade for a couple of nights, incredible little scope! Easy to transport and set up. I hope to have my own soon. (Posted on 10/19/2019)
Review by:
The Meade ETX 125 PE was my first telescope from Astronomics, and this newer version is a great starter scope. It's also great as a grab & go for travel or star parties. It gathers significantly more light than an 80 or 90mm without adding much weight or bulk. The automation works great once you plug in the data, which is a simple process. You don't need much in the way of accessories -- maybe a moon, nebulosity, and skyglow filters, and Meade Super Plossl 15 mm and 32mm eyepieces. (Posted on 10/5/2019)
Review by:
I purchased the ETX125 as my first "real" telescope, and it had everything I needed to get my feet wet in the vast ocean of astronomy. I remember my first light on Jupiter. My previous "department store" telescopes only showed Jupiter as a bright featureless disc with 4 points of light surrounding it. When I centered on the planet and brought the ETX in to focus, I was amazed at what I saw. Beautiful cloud bands encircling around the planet with four other worlds orbiting around it! I was hooked after my first night.
This is a wonderful Lunar & Planetary scope! When Mars was at opposition in 2018, it looked like the Blood Moon [though smaller] through the ETX. It was a deep reddish-orange color with dark albedo features similar to that of our moon. Moons of Saturn and its ring system are also clearly visible and fun to observe.
Not only does this scope have great optics, but the overall build quality is excellent as well. The tripod is very sturdy, and the tilting plate is a good feature for using the scope in equatorial mode. The Audiostar Hand Controller does a great job of locating objects in the night sky, and the guided tour is a great feature for showing objects that are visible based on the time when you're observing. It's a great telescope that can serve the needs of experienced astronomers and those who are just getting started. (Posted on 9/25/2019)
Review by:
The Meade ETX 125 scopes are classic scopes for solar system observation and astrophotography. At f15 with a small chip ccd/cmos, youll get amazing shots of the planets and the moon. With a reducer, you can do some bright DSOs as well. Visually, these are amazing planetary scopes. Go to Weasners mighty ETX site and you'll see what these things are capable of. A perfect grab and go scope. I have a 8" LX200 and always wanted one of these for portability. I've viewed thru the 125's many times and have never been disappointed. Never met anyone who regretted having one in their arsenal. easy alignment. An all around excellent scope!! (Posted on 10/30/2018)
Review by:
Outstanding optics from Meade. Can easily split Castor (a very difficult double star in most telescopes). Very easily transported (grab-and-go) scope. Light and powerful. What more could you ask for? (Posted on 10/6/2018)
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Supplied Accessories