Celestron Merges Astronomy and Electronics

SkyAlign

Celestron has a unique alignment method dubbed SkyAlign:. simply pick out three bright objects, slew the scope to them, and you are done. No need to identify those objects, and you can even use the Moon and planets!

How does this work? Other manufacturers require that you identify the objects selected, but SkyAlign measures the axis distance between each of the objects you chose, and compares it against its internal database for the date and time you selected. In a way, it’s like a pattern match. Limited to only bright objects, this is unique for each location, time and set of objects. It’s like old fashioned sextant celestial navigation and fix reduction, but with a sophisticated look-up function.

It is important to accurately enter the date, time (to within two minutes or so) and location (within 50 miles). The tripod must be absolutely level, because the algorithm makes assumptions about where objects are in relation to other objects. The three objects selected should be as far apart as possible; actually, only two objects are used, those two with the widest separation! The third object is used to confirm the identity of the selected two objects. Once entered and confirmed, the handset indicates “Match Confirmed” and asks if you’d like to see the matches you selected.

Other methods of aligning the telescope include selecting the two star alignment program from the hand controller. In this case, you have to know the names of the objects in question. Or you could try a single star alignment, which isn’t nearly as accurate. Another method, auto two star align, requires that you only know one star; the NexStar will slew to a second star. You can modify this selection via Undo, and the next most suitable star will be selected. There is even a Solar System Align, based on using the sun, moon or planets.