Meade ETX80 Observer 3.1" f/5 go-to refractor, tripod, case, and AudioStar computer


Availability: More on the way

This Meade ETX80 Observer 3.1" refractor gives you everything you need to start observing - telescope, motor drives, AudioStar go-to computer, two premium eyepieces, Barlow, tripod, backpack carrying case, and software - at a low price that's hard to believe.
Our Product #: M80ETX
Meade Product #: 205002

Product Description

The fully go-to computerized Meade ETX80 Observer is an exceptional value among ultra-portable telescopes. It combines quality achromatic refractor optics with Meade's industry-leading electronics to deliver an exceptional viewing experience. The computer-optimized optics of the Meade ETX80 Observer yield sharp low to medium power lunar, planetary, star cluster, and binary star images.

The ETX80 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 ETX80 Observer is perfect for daytime observing during camping, hiking, and outdoor activities. Night-sky stargazing is made fun, easy and educational. With the ETX 80, you'll see planets, stars, galaxies and nebulas with the push of a button.

The Meade ETX80 Observer's Optical System . . .

Achromatic doublet refractor optical tube: 80mm (3.1") aperture, 400mm focal length, f/5 focal ratio. The 2-element, multicoated, air-spaced objective lens is made of Grade-A BK7 crown and F2 flint optical glass. Field stops inside the optical tube prevent off-axis light from reaching the focal plane, enhancing the contrast for sharper and more detailed views. A dew shield prevents dew build-up and blocks stray light to improve the viewing contrast.

The removable optical tube has a Vixen-style dovetail with a 1/4"/20 thread mounting hole for using the optical tube on a standard photo tripod as a terrestrial spotting scope.

Dust covers: Dust covers protect the lens and seal the 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 focus at the rear of the scope to an optional #64 T-adapter and T-ring for lunar or terrestrial photography, or to the supplied 45° roof prism eyepiece holder for more comfortable terrestrial viewing.

Two eyepieces: One is a 1.25" 26mm Super Plössl (15x). The eyepiece field of view is 3.5 degrees across, seven times the diameter of the full Moon for expansive deep space nebula views. The second eyepiece is a higher power 1.25" 9.7mm Super Plössl (41x) for closer views of the Moon, binary stars, and globular star clusters.

Built-in Barlow: A knob at the side of the scope flips the built-in achromatic doublet Barlow lens into the light path to double the power of any eyepiece used with the Meade ETX80 Observer. The supplied 26mm Super Plössl jumps from 15x to 30x with the Barlow in place. The supplied 9.7mm Super Plössl jumps from 41x to 82x for close-up lunar, planetary, and globular star cluster views. An optional 6mm eyepiece (67x) would provide 134x for closeup lunar and planetary observing with the Barlow in place.

45° roof prism eyepiece holder: A separate 45° roof prism eyepiece holder is provided for more comfortable viewing when the ETX80 Observer is used for terrestrial observing.

The Meade ETX80 Observer's Mechanics and Electronics . . .

Dual fork arm altazimuth mount: The removable 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 ETX80 Observer so very reasonable.

There are three rubber feet on the base of the scope. These allow the ETX80 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 drive 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.

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 11.7 limiting magnitude of the scope's 3.1" aperture).

The 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 centering, 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.

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 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 backpack carry bag: The supplied full-length aluminum 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 supplied soft backpack carry bag will hold both the ETX80 Observer scope and mount and its tripod for convenient transport and storage.

Tech Details

Aperture 3.15"
Binary and Star Cluster Observation Good
Focal Length 400mm
Focal Ratio f/5
Galaxy and Nebula Observation Fair
Heaviest Single Component 6.7 lbs.
Highest Useful Magnification 133x
Lunar Observation Good
Weight 11.7 lbs.
Planetary Observation Good
Resolution 1.45 arc seconds
Telescope Type Refractor
Visual Limiting Magnitude 12.0
Warranty 1 year


Review by:
This was my first decent scope. I started to get in to a little astrophotography with it and really surprised myself with the stack I did of andromeda. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to "test the waters". (Posted on 10/18/2019)
Review by:
Performs well for low power. I rarely use the lightweight tripod that came with it since, as Ed pointed out, it is somewhat flimsy. I added screws to the joints to stiffen it up. This scope works well on the Meade deluxe Field Tripod.
(Posted on 10/5/2019)
Review by:
I love the Meade ETX telescopes and find that the ETX 80 is a great travel scope when I don't need/want to bring my 8 inch SCT scope. I find this really easy to pack away in my Prius with the rest of my camping gear.

I would recommend this scope to anyone who does a lot of traveling in smaller vehicles. (Posted on 9/9/2019)
Review by:
I have had my ETX 80 observer for 3 years. It was my first scope when I returned to the hobby. It has served me well and I expect to keep it for a long time. I fine the AudioStar Goto system easy to set-up and easy to use. It is quite accurate in finding things that I want to see. I have used it for Planets, stars, double stars, open star clusters, bright nebula, the Andromeda Galazy and globular clusters.

Like any short tube refractor, the scopes real strength is low power ( under 100X) wide views. However I have had it up to 160X on Jupiter and the Moon on an exceptionally clear nights.

It packs up into the backpack so it is very easy to use for travel. Normally it is set-up in the garage read to go. I just pick it up and walk to the sidewalk and start the alignment process. Quick and easy. During the August 2018 solar eclipse I had this and my ETX 125 (added later) set up with solar filters to track the sun during the eclipse. Worked great!
I plan to add a camera to the scope so I can use it for EAA, electronically assisted astronomy. The wide view and the tracking makes this a good package for EAA.

If there is a short coming it is that the included tripod is a little light weight. This makes it great for travel and back packing the set-up but the scope does wobble a little when focusing. But since it tracks the targets this turns out to be a relatively minor issue. Note that it will also fit on other Meade ETX tripods. Sometimes I put it on the tripod that came with my ETX 125. (Posted on 7/22/2019)
Review by:
I've owned this scope for a while now. The aperture leaves a lot to be desired, but if go-to is important to you, it's a great starter scope. It was my first and I've spent many hours behind it. It sparked my passion for the hobby! It provides pleasing views of the moon, you can differentiate Saturn's rings from the planet itself, and you can see some cloud belts on Jupiter. Not ideal for DSOs however. (Posted on 1/12/2019)
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Supplied Accessories

  • 80mm aperture achromatic refractor optical tube, removable for terrestrial spotting scope use
  • Internal flip-mirror for either straight-through or 90° observing
  • Internal flip-lever 2x Barlow
  • 45° roof prism eyepiece holder for terrestrial spotting scope use
  • Fork mount with electric slow-motion controls, setting circles, and locks on both axes
  • Sidereal rate dual-axis DC motor drive powered by six (user-supplied) AA-size batteries
  • 9~12v DC input for optional external power supply
  • #497 Audiostar computer controller
  • 1.25" 9.7mm (41x, 82x with built-in Barlow) and 26mm (15x, 31x with built-in Barlow) Super Plössl eyepieces
  • Adjustable height field tripod with bubble level compass and accessory tray
  • Backpack carrying case for scope and tripod
  • Dust caps
  • Planetarium software and instructional DVD
  • Operating instructions.