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I a newbie to telescopes and hope one of you veterins can help me. I use to have a telescope when I was going up and really enjoyed it. It fueled the imagination of a kid about space and the wonders of the universe. I now have an 8 year old and a 5 year old and wished to share the same experience with them. So I purchased a Meade ETX-125EC Astro Telescope about a year ago and have a Meade Series 4000 8mm - 24mm zoom eyepiece.

My problem is when I look at the moon, everything is perfect. You feel like you're right there on the moon. However, when you try to look at Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or even Saturn, you get a fuzzy looking circle. This is even trying to adjust the zoom lens, or even changing lenses to the basic one that came with the telescope. Saturn I can see the slight outline of the rings, but no detail. This past summer, when Mars was at its closet to Earth, I took the telescope to my inlaws' house in the country. I only saw a slightly larger orangish disk, and again, no detail at all. Meade's advertising and bochures say you can see nebulas and other things with this telescope, but I haven't been able to see anything. It is very disapointing!

I contacted Meade to see if maybe it is my optics, but they said that if I can see the moon perfectly then there is nothing wrong with the lenses or the optics of the telescope. They just use an exuse like upper level atmospheric distrubance or something like that. I find it hard to believe that this would be a constant factor that is present whenever I attempt to look in the sky. Needless to say, my children are also a little disapointed.

I apologize for this long winded plea for help, but I felt that some explanation was needed. I am asking if anyone out there has any suggestions that can help in both mine and my children's experience with astronomy. Maybe I am doing something wrong that can be a quick fix.

Thank you
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