Saturday, March 11, 2006

Telescopes and GPS

To make even easier to find stars and other celestial objects in the sky, Meade announced a new telescope: the LX90GPS is equipped with an Autostar controller and a Sony GPS receiver that helps the telescope align itself by figuring out where and when it is located, how high, its true North, plus locating two stars from its database. With that it sets itself up without much effort by its owner.

Previous models equipped with GPS receivers include the LX200R and RCX400. You probably won't learn to find many stars or constellations by yourself with GOTO type telescopes but it is quite amazing that a telescope got to this level of autonomy. Check under Goto Drivers on this article of the Astronomy Magazine for more details on the operation of this kind of telescope.

SkyScout

A while ago Celestron published a more detailed list of the features and specs of SkyScout, a truly amazing device by its innovative qualities. The idea is that you can point to the sky and have a description of what you are looking at. The internal GPS plus its star database makes Astronomy pretty interesting. It also allows you to upgrade its firmware through an USB interface and it includes a slot for an SD card for an optional "Sky Tour" with voice presentations. Initially planned for March, Celestron now says that it should be available by May 2006.

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