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StarSense AutoAlign: The most exciting new development for many years - this technique has revolutionized amateur astronomy!
'SkyProdigy' technology for retrofitting to almost any Celestron GoTo telescope! For alt-azimuth mounted telescopes it allows alignment without GPS, without having to enter coordinates, without having to align with the North Pole and to level, and without the hassle of having to use alignment stars. The telescope is ready to use in just three minutes - without the user needing to input anything, and without any prior knowledge of stars or astronomy required. Just turn it on, wait 3 minutes and you can slew to any visible celestial object at the push of a button!
The secret of the StarSense technology is a small camera module which is mounted on the telescope and functions as a finder. It takes 3 wide angle photos of different areas of the sky and the StarSense hand controller then analyzes these photos and calculates the position of other objects in the night sky. This so-called professional 'plate solving' technology has been brought onto the market by Celestron and made available to amateur astronomers at an affordable price for the first time.
The StarSense module is part of the StarSense hand controller, both of which are included in the price. The system is also updateable: the lens in the StarSense camera is removable, it has a USB port and the firmware is upgradeable. Celestron is working on producing camera accessories for using StarSense also for auto-guiding and wide-angle photography. This will save the expense of having to purchase additional accessories. The StarSense module can be used with almost all GoTo alt-azimuth and equatorial mounts from the last 10 years. The StarSense module has a lot of advantages when used with equatorial mounts. Although polar alignment is still required, this can be carried out in just a few minutes using the new Celestron 'AllStar' procedure, which can use any star! Simply enter location and time, select and find a star from the database, bring it into the centre of the crosshairs, using the azimuth and elevation adjustments, and you have finished! StarSense then employs its fully automatic '3-minute plate solving procedure' for establishing the precise orientation, without any additional input from the user required, as for alt-azimuth mounts. The complicated, tedious finding and centering of guide stars is no longer required. Another advantage of StarSense is an extreme improvement in the positioning accuracy by the T-point procedure.
In a similar way to some high-end mounts, many stars can be 'mapped', i.e. positioned exactly in the center of the crosshairs and the exact location confirmed with 'Enter'. Using 10 mapped stars (which should be distributed as widely as possible over the entire visible part of the sky), positioning accuracy is extremely good.