K3's Equipment - Telescopes
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is Man that You are mindful of him?" -- Psalm 8:3,4

70mm Meade EXT-70AT Go To telescope.
70mm F5 Achromatic Refractor, focal length 350mm.

This is my third telescope dedicated for travelling. It is a small, light weight scope. Very handy! Ideal for holidays and frequent transport.
I bought it in LIDL department store for $200 - really good bargain. The scope is sold with rich accessories.

Objective cell 70mm (2.76")
Focal ratio F/5
Focal length 350mm
Resolution 1.63"
Limitting visual magnitude 11.7mag
Finder scope --
Tube length ~335mm
(depends on focusing)
Tube outside diameter 91mm
Scope weight
(OTA, mount, handbox)

What's in the package:

  • scope with AltAz GoTo mount
  • AutoStar #494 hand controller (more than 1400 objects in database)
  • aluminium tripod
  • dew shield
  • 3 "Modified Achromatic" eyepieces: 25mm, 12mm, 4mm
  • short 3X Barlow lens
  • amici prism for daytime watching
  • carrying case
  • CD-ROM with Sky Charts program (Cartes du Ciel)
  • six AA batteries

Eyepieces and magnification:

Eyepiece type MA 25
Modified Achromatic
MA 12
Modified Achromatic
MA 4
Modified Achromatic
Eyepiece focal length 25mm 12mm 4mm
Eyepiece field of view      
Magnification 14x 29.2x 87.5x
Magnification (3x Barlow) 42x 87.5x 262.5x
Magnification line 14x 29.2x 42x 87.5x 87.5x 262.5x

As you can see, the eypieces and Barlows are not selected ideally - magnification 87.5 can be achieved by 2 ways - either by using eyepiece 4mm or 12mm with 3X Barlow. Also magnification 262.5 is too high for such scope diameter. It would be much better if 4mm eyepiece would be replaced with 6mm eyepiece - it would provide magnifications 58.3 and 175.

Brief Review

The telescope surprised me by its rich boundled accessories, especially when considering its $200 price. With the included accessories you have all what you need for astronomical or terrestrial observation. As it is a small scope, I didn't expect a special performance. Anyway I am quite satisfied with its optical quality. I still have to do more measurements for more detailed comments.

When I started the scope for the first time, I was rather disappointed with Autostar #494 controller - it has built in Czech translation, although on box it was stated that hand controller has English language. It would not be such fault, if Czech translations would be correct and would not contain diacritic characters. This resulted in unreadable text in hand controller - some diacritic characters were interpreted as blank spaces, another as different characters and some even as backspaces, so they deleted the characters before them. Furthermore, the length of Czech text was longer than English, so Autostar e.g. showed me temperature on Venus "4" instead of "400°C".

I immediately wrote to Meade how to solve the situation. They were very generous and they sent me replacement Autostar module with English text. Now I am very happy! The English Autostar has also richer menu. I like the Autostar very much - it contains almost encyclopedical data - it provides a lot of facts about observed objects. Furthermore if you buy Meade #506 AstroFinder™ Software and Cable Connector Kit, you can control your scope from computer and update object data (e.g. satellite data).

The second disappointment (although not as critical as the Czech Autostar menu) was Slovak and Czech instruction manual. It has a lot of mistakes. Just a few curious ones (translated to English):

  • Manual title is "ETX-70AT astrological telescope with Autostar hand controller"
  • Instead of altitude (of star) - elevation above sea level is used
  • Autostar handbox controller dimensions: 14.2cm x 78cm x 23.5cm - i.e. the width and depth are multiplied by factor of 10 (this mistake is even in English manual)

I like very much the scope size and easiness of transport. The included carrying case is ideal for this purpose.

Tripod weight 1.4kg
Scope and all accessories in carrying case
(except batteries and dew shield)

Power consumption (with 12V power supply):

Motors off 0.07A
Stand by 0.06A
Tracking 0.12A
ALT motor (fast) 0.20A average
~0.3A peak
AZ motor (fast) 0.25A average
~0.35A peak


All in all, with English Autostar controller now I am very satisfied with the telescope and it met my requirements. It's an ideal instrument for travelling - for both terrestrial and astronomical observations. It's price is only a bit higher than price of 16x50 binocular. The set up telescope is so light, that you can hold it and move in one hand.
I would welcome if producer paid more attention also to translations - it's a pitty if such nice product has almost unusable hand controller only because of bad translations (the English version works perfectly!). The same is valid for its instruction manual. It would be also useful if Meade provided 6mm eyepiece instead of 4mm.


The EXT-70AT can be used for modest astrophotography. So far I did only a few photos with this scope:

Young Moon and Earth Shine

Click the image to see it in higher resolution (4.36"/pixel).

Click the image to see it in higher resolution (1.45"/pixel).

Balcony observatory Astrobox

To see more about my decisions about telescopes, look here.

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Last Update: 26.06.2007