Intelligent alignment: Celestron’s StarSense AutoAlign

starsenseMany of us with GOTO equipment will be familiar with the manually assisted stellar alignment processes required to ‘convince’ the telescope’s brain of its whereabouts and orientation. Even the fairly abbreviated procedure of a two-star alignment requires trepidatious fine motion instructions on the keypad to get the (hopefully correctly) identified star in the centre of an eyepiece field. What if something else could do this tedious process for you?

Enter the StarSense AutoAlign: a device that replaces your eye and the often inexact judgement of the glutinous mass behind it. Built upon the technology of Celestron’s SkyProdigy, it comes in two units: a digital camera that replaces your finderscope and its dedicated hand controller.

Essentially, the camera images parts of the sky, then automatically matches these images to the ‘virtual’ map of stars in its brain. It then calculates the co-ordinates of the target area, leaving you with the demanding task of deciding on which of its 40,000 celestial objects you now wish to observe. With the whole process taking three minutes or less, it may catch you unready, rather than vice-versa.

Capable of mating with Celestron’s current stable of GOTO telescopes, it is also backwards compatible with many models.

Price: £279