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The Sciences

Live From CES: Stargazing Made Easy

DiscoblogBy Stephen CassJanuary 10, 2009 8:15 AM

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Meade appear to have hit one out of the park with their new ETX-LS telescope. The ETX-LS has a self aligning mount that first uses GPS to figure out where it is and what time it is, and then works out in which direction lies north. A number of electronically-controlled telescopes on the market do this, but then still require the users to manually line up the telescope with a number of guide stars to exactly align the telescope with the celestial sphere. The ETX-LS, on the other hand, has a light sensor that lets the telescope work through a list of guide stars all by itself. The upshot is that you can set up the telescope, flick one switch and leave the telescope to set its self up with out any further fussing. You can then call up any celestial object in the telescope's database, and the telescope will automatically point in the correct direction. This is all pretty fancy, but what's really amazing is that you get the self-aligning mount, the 6" telescope itself and a tripod for just $1,300, which is an amazing price for such a bundle. In addition, to make star gazing parties even more fun for people new to astronomy, a built in speaker provides audio information, and a video jack can be connected to a TV to display video content, for about 500 selected objects.

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