Quote:Still at this location;http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/celestron-starsense-accessory.html
//Anders 8" EdgeHD Skywatcher Equinox 120 Pro 80mm f/6 TS triplet APO
Quote:Quote:I'm way more interested in the pointing model feature than the alignment feature. How does the pointing model feature differ from the alignment feature?
Quote:I'm way more interested in the pointing model feature than the alignment feature.
Quote: Yes, hardware plate solving would be awesome.
The SkyProdigy telescopes are toys with autoguiding piggybacked onto them. They're the same kind of telescopes you'd find at Costco or WalMart.
The LSs are serious SCs. There's really no comparison.
Nothing could be further from fact, WRT Sky Prodigy. Cloudy Nights prides itself on objectivity - before you categorically snob a telescope, please consider owning or at least operating one for a spell to give it a fair shake. The staff here obtained two early on, to study the guide algorithm. Stand by for long-winded response <wink>....
Been an ATM/AA for about 44 years, scratch-built optics, mounts, gotos and robotic scopes and their electronics and systems. Bought the same, too. Eventually became a professional astronomer and observatory director in that time. I say that because, I have not only been involved with buying, making and operating goto and upper end avocational telescopes for many years, I am quite familiar with the astrometric methods used in a Sky Prodigy that we use in large professional instrumentation in the $ten-figure class. So I think I can speak with some accuracy on how the little Prodigy's work.
Contrary to the innuendo, this kind of sky alignment algorithm is not used in dimestore telescopes, but is a technique used in the orientation and navigation of billion dollar spaceborne intelligence systems, strategic aircraft, and special shipboard systems. That "ACN and ST" (Automated celnav & star-tracker) field is far, far more advanced than anything seen here on CN; and while the little Sky Prodigy is not so fancy either, its pointing heritage certainly does not put it anywhere near "dimestore" class. Having used one at length, I can say it does not deserve that slight.
While Sky Prodigy certainly is aimed at novices, that alone is important to an amateur astronomer -- most of whom want to perpetuate the hobby. I get countless PR appeals from newbies that they cannot align the telescope to then "goto", and along those lines, I am sure Celestron wanted to answer that key issue for novices. You can't maintain an avocation's people-base by intimidating entrants. But Sky Prodigy still is useful for more than just the rote beginner as we see it (and no we were not paid by Celestron LOL).
When my staff got ours a year ago to actually see how Celestron's code aligned the instrument the turned out surprisingly easy for us to use (our pro's know the night sky BTW) and reinvigorated an aesthetic appreciation for the sky. Like I said, we were comparing SP to advanced alignment systems -- specifically to understand the relationship of the StarSense algorithm to angles-only Kalman filtered algorithms . There even, Celestron did a quite good job -- especially for the price. We may look at "Autoalign" on Meades next, but they are really not in the same alignment league, relying on GPS, time of day, expected positions, etc, not star fields alone. Last year's news, Meade and Celestron (with somewhat similar SkyAlign, have tested those), can go arm-wrestle about who is on who's turf there; we wanted to focus on how the SP did its alignment.
We've tested a Sky Prodigy for a year... and it is no dimestore telescope. While optomechanically similar to its Nexstar brethren, and at least equal to that line of optics, the mount at or better than an SLT's beefiness, and it is much much easier to operate. Every time I could walk up and goto 30 objects in sequence across 2 pi-steradians -- and find them well centered, after every starsense alignment. I know the night sky well, but it sure is impressive to set the unit out, and go inside for a coffee, come out and watch it finish self location, then present itself for tracking. The 130 would be easy to backpack as well; did that. Optical collimation remains quite solid both using ole Techtron tools, and also cross checking in our optics lab on a Zygo interferometer-- after a year being roughly used.
BTW people here have hip-shot that the instrument is basically a" Nexstar with autoguiding piggybacked onto them". This is also false and very misleading; sounds like someone got confused with Meade's Starlock system.... Go read up on how the Sky Prodigy operates (and some nice videos and Youtubes out there too). I don't believe it's the best principle instrument for an advanced amateur... any more than I would put an advanced amateur on a robotic liquid helium cooled IR 2-meter with an echelle at the naysmith, a professional's tool... BUT, SP would be a great, quality beginner telescope to bridge a lack of sky knowledge and get an exhuberant youngster excited to keep looking at he sky. It's a great knockabout quickie scope too, can throw in the car or the pack (sort of) for some desert fun.
In fact it would come from a line more capable, and is IMO better than than the LS. And as an aside, I'd be careful about how one uses the term "serious SC" as amongst amateur telescopes, as _very few_ currently marketed SC's are indeed "serious" telescopes, from an expert point of view, either - Point being -- it's *all* a *point of view* - and such subjectivity should be avoided when fairly evaluating an instrument... SP is as optomechanically decent as most all other small Celestrons.
Finally, I know some AA's disdain making alignment and learning the sky 'too easy', as abjuring some rite of passage. To them I'd say don't dismiss this novel and simpler method for aligning a telescope, as some short circuit as to learning the sky, anymore than oldsters of yesteryear used to dismiss a 4 function calulator as cheating vs. a slide rule... I've actually seen little kids at open houses marvel at the auto-alignment, then start to spatially grasp the sky as the SP marched from object to object. It is the future, and hopefully the method will spread into upper end amateur instrumentation, like GOTO once did.
So, the technology under the Sky Prodigy's hood is actually advanced, and not dimestore-trivial, and so instead makes the alignment, goto and operation all the simpler -- time to pay attention to other things more important. Like your smartphone made life simpler (allegedly LOL). If you are satisfied with Nexstar and CG quality, the Prodigy easily equals or betters that, but is just alot easier to use. If you like GOTO this is the next step. Try one; I will probably buy my own 6" variant in fact, after our staff experience with the littler SP's (I do wish Celestron sold just the Starsence mount, sans OTA; I have a nice 6" R-C that would be just great riding on a Sky Prodigy arm!). FWIW.... again sorry so long - I just did not want a dimestore innuendo have people miss what a different experience for our staff the little SP's provided. Your mileage may vary.
My gear: --Celestron 8EdgeHD & 11EdgeHD | 80mm F/6 Triplet | Modified Canon T1i | QSI683WSG-8 | Celestron AVX mount | iOptron CEM60 mount | iOptron ZEQ25 mount --- My skies:
Quote:Well, 2 mb isn't enough to get a catalog into it. It'd be cool if it was expandable via SD card or something.
I only have one concern. Celestron can't you make the included handbox's cord longer. I find it frustrating that the cord is so short and there's no connector on the handset so you can't replace it with a longer cord. Or make it wireless, this is 2013 not 1985.
Quote:Hi, Like I said it sure would be nice if the cable was a decent length. Its very short. Those devices only make the computer connection wireless not the handbox. I have had a wireless handbox on my LX200R 10" for years. And on my TV, Vcr/DVD player Satalite box ect. I don't know of any modern device that still has a wired controller. But I would be happy with just a little longer cord. Some time back I bought one of those extention cables and it fried my handbox. Now they say they test them but it would be nice if the one that comes with the mount was a little longer, or if Celestron offered an extension themselves. And I shouldnt have to modify a new handbox and make a longer wire just because they want to save 2 cents on wire. A foot or Two longer would do.There are plenty of other people who complain about that wire being a little short too.neilson
Quote:I'm glad someone finally came out with this technology. And I'm really glad it was Celestron.
http://www.faintfuzzy.net Stuff C14, C8, Orion XX14i, Meade 8" ACF, AT6RC, AT102ED, Orion ED80, PST, AP1600GTO, CGE, CG5, ST10-XME/CFW8, QHY8PRO, Optec TCF-s, Microtouch Focuser, Pyxis LE, Hyperstar for C8.
Quote:Quote:Well, 2 mb isn't enough to get a catalog into it. It'd be cool if it was expandable via SD card or something. It depends on the catalog. It holds the current 40,000 nexstar catalog database and the plate solve database with room to spare..
APM/TMB 115/805 APO Celestron ED-80 Celestron 9.25
CG-5 Vixen Porta II
Naglers: 17T4, 13T6, 3-6 zoom UWANs: 28mm, 7mm Pentax 10XW, 10mm Radian
Misc EP: 50mm Parks, 42mm GSO, 2x TV Barlow, sundry plossls...
Quote: Actually, I think that the Meade Lightswitch mounts were the first to do this.