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Celestron StarSense

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#126 freestar8n

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 03:35 AM

Hi-

My understanding is that it doesn't need particular "alignment stars" - just a patch of sky with faint stars in it that it can recognize (plate solve). If your sky is really blocked then it might have trouble finding a few patches with stars in it - but if you have a decent sky exposed, but no bright "alignment stars" visible - I think it should still work because it doesn't need bright stars.

That's my understanding anyway - based on the description of how it works. So if it happens to point at trees and can't plate solve, it will go somewhere else in the sky and presumably keep trying until it finds something it recognizes.

Frank

#127 HowardK

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:57 AM

I am sure you can tell it to align on stars that you select from the hand controller if the ones it picks are hidden.

Just like aligning with any Celestron mount..you choose the alignment and calibration stars

#128 cn register 5

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:12 AM

From a look at the SkyProdigy manual you can either use an Auto mode where it selects the area of sky to use or a manual mode where you point the mount at some suitable areas. Even with the auto mode if it can't find stars it will move a bit and try again.

The whole point of StarSense is that it doesn't look for specific stars. Rather than move the mount to a specific star it takes an image of an area of sky and determines where it's looking by plate solving the star field it sees to get a position. People I know who have the SkyProdigy say that it just works, even in quite bright, hazy skies.

Chris

#129 freestar8n

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:20 AM

Starsense does not use alignment stars - it uses "fingerprints" - or patterns of faint stars. So it is very different from the normal celestron handcontroller procedure. It could well have a manual override to do the "normal" thing - but if Celestron told someone it didn't, then it may not have such an override - at least at this time.

It seems to me it would only really need such an override if a) you only had a very small amount of sky visible and B) in those patches you happened to have 3 bright and recognizable alignment stars. That doesn't seem very likely to me. I expect it would have some search algorithm, similar to a Roomba vacuum robot, that would explore the sky looking for clear patches - and as long as they exist, it would only be a matter of time before it found them and did the alignment without manual intervention.

But I haven't seen the thing in action - I'm just going by the product description - and what would make sense to me - plus what the poster above reported in a response from Celestron.

Frank

#130 will1384

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 01:33 PM

Hi Will1384,

Some info to share since i am in a similar situation... I contacted Celestron about Starsense because my observing spot in the yard is also obstructed by trees. The spot I use is great, but somewhat limited on getting alignment stars. I was asking them if I am able to select which stars Starsense will use to do its magic and the response was no. The device selects the stars on its own and the user is not able to input any specific stars to use.

So I ended up canceling my preorder, but still am interested in it, so once they are out there being used and reported on, I may pull the trigger.

Andrew


I honestly hope it has more flexibility than that, otherwise its going to be a failed product.

It takes so long to setup the telescope, then because of trees I have a very limited view of the sky, and even with an Autoguider the images I take are still not usable, its like evey time I use the Telescope, I work hard and fail miserably, I am just looking for something to make the telescope easier to use, and I hope the Celestron Starsense will help me.

#131 astro-vert

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 02:43 PM

It is not beyond reason that I mis-interpreted the reply from Celestron...and I am not intending to spread faulty info.

I know it has to use a plate solve of some sort, but since I have the concern about my clear patch of sky, it was an obvious question. If I cannot at a minimum direct it to where it can get some data, the I could see it just spinning it's wheels and not being able to come up with a solution. My clear view of the sky is not that bad, but there are tall trees that i could see having an impact. I just want to understand for sure how it works before spending the money.

I deleted their reply to my question once i decided to hold off on it, so I can't share the text...sorry.

#132 neilson

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 03:13 PM

Hi,
From my experience the service department doesn't even know much about the telescopes they already have out. They seem to have pre written generalized answers to most questions. But as for the starsense it's not meant as a solution for people who only have limited areas of the sky available. Its just meant as a device to automate the alignment process. I would think its going to be as basic as possible, but on future firmware upgrades it could be improved to give the user more control. But I have no inside information so I could be wrong. Personally I would prefer it to allow me to make changes like to select areas of the sky.
In fact I think you can already select your telescopes horizon and maybe the starsense uses that information to pick its area of the sky. Just select a high horizon might help. But I'm just guessing.

neilson

#133 wcstarguy

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 04:08 PM

I have the sky prodigy mount and use it manually in my partially sky obstructed yard. I just point it at three fairly clear areas, one at a time, let the SP computer "plate solve" or whatever it is doing and it works fine for my uses. wc

#134 will1384

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:04 PM

I found something interesting:

http://www.baader-pl...roducts_en.pdf


In the ces_celestron-products_en.pdf file, I find this:

"At first the user has to do a short polar alignment with the revolutionary Celestron „All Star Alignment“. It is only necessary to drive to one single star and center it with the ALT and AZ axis. It does not matter wich star it is, Polaris must not be visible. After performing this rudimentary „All Star Alignment“, the „StarSense“ electronic takes over and takes 3 photos of the sky to find orientation."

And:

The StarSense camera has two ports – one to connect to the scope, the other one is an USB port that can be connected to the computer for soft-ware updates – and to use the photos of the camera for other purposes, like auto-guiding or for wide angle astrophoto-graphy. Celestron is currently working on several software adaptations to further increase the functionality of the amazing StarSense module.

Also:

Another advantage is the possibility to extremely increase the positioning accuracy by a „T-Point“ like mapping function. You can „map“ as many stars as you want - means, you point the telescope to a star, center it exactly and save the position with pressing ENTER. That's it – and after mapping 10 stars this way, the pointing accuracy is equal to that of a highly professional mount!

Wow the Celestron StarSense is sounding even more interesting.

#135 HowardK

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 12:06 PM

It's going to be great

Automatic 2+4 alignment ....plate solved...= even more accurate gotos for my cge pro

Can't wait to bolt her on.

#136 cassini12

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:00 AM

Why the long wait? it seems multiple stores will sell it, they seem to have "tested" it for quite some time with a maturer astronomers. so im not sure whats keeping the mass production from happening already.. and that price is still ALOT of money...i hope they rethink that sooner or later.

#137 will1384

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:03 AM

Why the long wait? it seems multiple stores will sell it, they seem to have "tested" it for quite some time with a maturer astronomers. so im not sure whats keeping the mass production from happening already.. and that price is still ALOT of money...i hope they rethink that sooner or later.


I think the delay is about software and firmware, the hardware likely works just fine, and I think software and firmware is almost 100% just because they had SkyProdigy up and running all the way back into 2011, my guess is they want to add "features" to the device, like autoguiding and imaging.

I also kinda hope they make the device easy to tinker with, and write software for.

#138 neilson

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:25 AM

Hi,
They don't have any of those features listed so I wouldn't expect to see them at this time. I'm thinking they wont want to include autoguiding because it might cut into sales of their Nextguide autoguider and guidescope setup. But I would be very happy if they do.

neilson

#139 Stew57

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:21 PM

"Another advantage is the possibility to extremely increase the positioning accuracy by a "TPoint" like mapping function. You can "map" as many stars as you want, means, you point the telescope to a star, center it exactly and save the position with pressing ENTER. That´s it – and after mapping 10 stars this way, the pointing accuracy is equal to that of a highly professional mount!"


"The StarSense camera has two ports – one to connect to the scope, the other one is an USB port that can be connected to the computer for software updates and to use the photos of the camera for other purposes, like autoguiding or for wide angle astrophotography. Celestron is currently working on several software adaptations to further increase the functionality of the amazing StarSense module."

Interesting to say the least.

#140 dr.who

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:52 PM


Another advantage is the possibility to extremely increase the positioning accuracy by a „T-Point“ like mapping function. You can „map“ as many stars as you want - means, you point the telescope to a star, center it exactly and save the position with pressing ENTER. That's it – and after mapping 10 stars this way, the pointing accuracy is equal to that of a highly professional mount!

Wow the Celestron StarSense is sounding even more interesting.


This is sounding A LOT like Astrotortilla...! If it works as the Marketing Droids state (or at least close) then it becomes a real value add...

#141 munchmeister

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:16 PM

My hope is that they view it as a "game changer" & recognize the huge sale potential & want to make sure they don't get returns & bad reviews out of the chute. Of course that is what quality control is all about. Celestron changed the game when they came out with the Nexstar single fork go to & they've sold a lot of them, still do. If this thing works as advertised it will be of interest to many more amateurs, IMHO, as well as frustrated suburban viewers like me. If you have ever had a wide field image plate solved on Astrobin, it is pretty amazing. Seems plate solving should be able to solve (no pun ...) the alignment frustration. I'm hopeful!

#142 neilson

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hi,
I had sent an email to Celestron asking if they were still going to release the starsense in July and what date. I also asked if they were getting in enough to fill all the backorders and have some to sell since I didn't put one on backorder. I was told they were still waiting for them to come in then they will be doing a thorough inspection before they send them out to their dealers. Then he said that if I would have preordered one back in January there would be a good chance that I would have gotten one next month.
They are usually slow doing things from my experience so I'm guessing this inspection will take a while. He also made it sound as though they were only getting enough to fill the ones ordered back around January. I hope that's not true, but maybe they want to make sure the first batch comes out good before they make more. I was expecting to get one back when they claimed they were coming out in March, I'm still hoping for one in July.

neilson

#143 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:08 PM

Hi Neilson. Thanks for the update. I didn't pre-order one, so will keep my fingers crossed I can catch one if there are any left over after the exisiting orders are filled.

#144 neilson

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:28 PM

Hi,
If these were something large and complicated like mounts I would expect them to take a while to fill the orders. But these are small and simple so hopefully there will be quit a few sent out. Although there's no telling how many people already ordered one.

neilson

#145 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:01 PM

Now Celestron's site has no date of shipment... Just preorder... You can order via their site though. Should be soon.

This looks promising..

Aux Port Splitter

Connect the StarSense Accessory to your Celestron mount with this auxiliary port splitter. Parallel adapter splits a single modular 6-pin auxiliary or hand controller port into two. Ideal for connecting the StarSense Accessory to telescopes with only one hand controller port, allowing the StarSense hand controller and camera to connect to the mount.

#146 palmer570

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:15 PM

Well the release date has been pushed back to September on at least one website: Telescope.com .

#147 neilson

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:49 PM

It says September 2013 on Hands on Optics site also.
Bummer

neilson

#148 neilson

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:59 PM

I called Celestron Tech support. I was told the release date has been moved up from July. He didn't know the new date. So it is true there will be another delay. I wonder what the hold up is.

Neilson

#149 Bogglman

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:09 PM

It's speculation at this point. Manufacturing, QA, or bugs. StarSense has a big load on it's shoulders indeed.

#150 Scotty H

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 01:25 PM

Hmmmm

It still says expected mid August from the guys I've pre-ordered from Starsense

It would certainly make a change if we get it before our brothers and sisters from across the pond ;)

Scott






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