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Beginner Tracking Telescope Controled by Smartphone?

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#1 svsalako


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Posted 18 May 2022 - 09:15 PM

Hi All --


My sister in law has asked my advice about a birthday present for her husband who is in his 70's. He is physically in poor shape but mentally quite sharp and very computer savvy. She would like to get him something that can controlled by a smartphone, but if not that then a hand controller. This would be strictly for visual, and primarily for planets, the moon, and maybe a few nearby large deep space objects like Andromeda or the orion nebula. She would like to keep it under $500. Any suggestions? Is this even possible? I could probably talk her into a few hundred more if that would make a difference.


Thanks in advance for any replies --





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#2 EGregerson


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Posted 18 May 2022 - 09:53 PM

so its cloudy here...again.  I'm thinking, how can u use great equipment and have marvelous skies avail?  I haven't done/tried this but, there are outfits that have equipment located in great places that u can 'rent'.  Like itelscope or telescopelive.  I think they're mainly for astro photography, but why would they care if u just 'observed'?  At 75, i don't know how long i can keep lugging a 50# battery & 40# mount.   Is this heresy?

#3 barbarosa



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Posted 18 May 2022 - 10:51 PM

These are all go to scopes and mounts. They work quite well for visual observing.










All of the above mounts can be controlled any of several apps via PC using Celestron software or third party applications.


Similar to above but uses smart phone app to control mount



All of these scopes are suitable for anyone who is computer savvy. Go to is handy when as he surely will, wants to see a target not visible to the naked eye. 

#4 Notdarkenough


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Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:08 AM

Maybe a Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ or a Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ. The difference would be based on willingness and physical ability to collimate each session, something not hard, but does require fine motor skills. 

#5 Ionthesky


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Posted 19 May 2022 - 02:01 AM

The StarSense line looks interesting and I'd love to try one, but it's push-to and doesn't track. 


Another option for a tracking mount and scope (a 90mm mak like the Nexstar 90SLT, referenced above) is the SkyWatcher Virtuoso.  Its a tabletop dobsonian-like mount with tracking capability.  If your brother in law has a stable support for it, this might be a good alternative.  It's compact and relatively lightweight.  It can be upgraded to full goto, if desired, using a plug-in hand controller or a wifi dongle to control from an external application.





Edit:  I noticed that these are back-ordered.  Not sure how long your sister in law is able to wait.


Also, at $375, it's about the best deal I've found in a tracking scope package.  It's enough below $500 to spend the difference on a good lithium power bank and dispense with the AA alkaline cells,

Edited by Ionthesky, 19 May 2022 - 02:15 AM.

#6 sevenofnine



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Posted 19 May 2022 - 07:04 PM

Celestron and SkyWatcher make some fine products that would suite your sister in law's needs. However, there is a back order/more on the way problem with no end in sight. The pandemic is not over in China where most of these scopes are manufactured. Orion has more available stock at this point. One scope that works is this Newtonian on a go-to/tracking mount. Good luck with your choice! waytogo.gif




p.s. be sure to read the customer review...interesting!

Edited by sevenofnine, 19 May 2022 - 11:40 PM.

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#7 Ryley


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Posted 19 May 2022 - 07:23 PM

The under $500  Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is a possibility. (and in stock at High Point Scientific) It's a push-to using your cell phone. I have a Celestron Nexstar130SLT. It's a Go-To that works well, but sometimes aligning it is a pain and I'm not a real fan of the controller. It appears the StarSense Push-to may be easier to align, and once aligned, is probably a faster way get to your target.  I'd look for a Push-To.

Edited by Ryley, 19 May 2022 - 07:25 PM.

#8 svsalako


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Posted 23 May 2022 - 09:51 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I recommended one of the Nexstar SLT telescopes. They seem like a good bargain, and they include a couple of eyepieces. Thanks again!

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