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Sky Scout GOTO?

Started by plunkett, 05/20/2006 07:19AM
Posted 05/20/2006 07:19AM Opening Post
I was looking at this thing (the Celestron Sky Scout) and wondering how the heck it does azimuth and elevation, when a thought occurred (a somewhat rare event!)... Could it be mounted on a scope, lined up with the finder, and used as a portable GOTO? It seems like one could bring it to a star party and take it to different scopes, plop it on, and then say, "see - THAT's where XXX is!" Has anyone tried anything like this?

Posted 05/20/2006 07:48AM | Edited 05/20/2006 07:57AM #1

That thought has occured to a lot of people. I attended a lecture and demonstration at NEAF '06 on the SkyScout. The device gets position and time info via GPS and uses magnetic sensors and what may be the equivalent of an electronic plumb bob to determine where it's being pointed. I don't know anything other than what's in the general info Celestron's provided. The above is just a guess.

The representative said the unit is quite sensitive to nearby metal, including aluminum. She said that even the metal in the batteries has to be taken into account when calibrating the device. Jewery, watches, implants/filings were said not to be a problem.

I haven't heard any user reports so I don't think they've been shipped yet. My shipping date has been pushed out to early June with no guarentees. I wouldn't be surprised if it's delayed even more.

I think the first thing many of us will do is to try to use it as an intelligent finder. If and how well it will work in that situation is a total guess at this point. Even if it does work, the estimated accuracy is between 0.5° and 1.0°. It may get you in the general vicinity of an object but won't have anywhere near the accuracy of the good DSC's and GOTO systems that are available today.

Even if it can only be used handheld it will be a very interesting demonstration of a unique blend of technologies. We'll have to wait and see.