Space is for everyone this Christmas!
Part 2 – Computerised Telescopes. Using technology to discover the Universe
Our Solar System’s brightest planets are a wonder in a telescope. The rings of Saturn and patterns on Jupiter as well as the gas giant’s four largest moons are well within the reach of even beginner’s telescopes. Mars is well placed for viewing during Christmas 2022 and we doubt there’s a space fanatic on the planet who’s forgotten their first view of the Moon through a telescope.
Australia is lucky to have some of the world’s most night beautiful skies. They’re also full of deep space astro objects that are fascinating viewing in telescopes of all sizes. Finding and then tracking many of these deep-sky delights will be made much easier with a computerised telescope.
2022 sees BINTEL celebrating our 40th Christmas. We’ve also been selling computerised telescopes for well over 20 years, going to back to the original Celestron and Meade GOTO telescopes of the 1990’s If you have any further question about this guide, please feel free to call one of our friendly experts on 02 9518 7255 or contact BINTEL online here.
What is a Computerised or “GOTO” telescope?
These telescopes use built-in computers to “Go To” astro objects
A computerised telescope uses their onboard computers to move the telescope to an object in the night sky and once the telescope is pointing at it, keep track of it in the telescope’s eyepiece or camera. They’re often referred to as “GOTO” telescopes as they go to objects. They have a database of thousands of deep-sky nebulae, galaxies, star clusters and more. Unlike deep-sky objects which stay in the same relative position, Solar System planets move in the sky due to our orbits around the Sun and the computers on GOTO telescopes will calculate where they will be.
Prior to this type of technology, astronomers had to locate astro objects manually using various techniques.
The basic way you use most GOTO telescope is to tell it where you’re located and then line the telescope up with some bright stars. From there, search what you’d like to view the hand controller of if you’re using a Wi-Fi enabled telescope, via your phone, tablet or PC. From there, the telescope will automatically move to the object you selected and once it’s found, track it for you.
GOTO telescopes have become quite popular. Their ease of use means that they’re a good choice even for complete beginners who are serious about getting into observing or those upgrading from a basic, starter telescope.
A big advantage of a computerised telescope for those starting their astro journey is that they let you quickly expand your knowledge of the Universe and details of what you’re observing. At BINTEL, we often have people coming to see us who want to see Saturn, Jupiter and maybe a few of the famous deep-sky delights like the Orion or Carina Nebula.
We find that when they start using a computerised telescope, they not only get to see their favourites (and often more quickly than they’d expected) but also discover and observe astro objects they’d never even heard of.
There’s a lifetime of amazement whizzing above our heads every night!
Affordable introductory GOTO Telescope – Celestron NexStar 4SE – $1149
The Celestron NexStar 4SE is idea for serious beginners or those wanting a value for money computerised telescope.
The Celestron NexStar 4SE is our smallest Celestron GOTO telescope. It’s small, compact and extremely portable. The telescope itself is a 102mm Maksutov or affectionately referred to as a “Mak”. This type of telescope effectively folds a much longer telescope into a shorter tube.
Maks like the NexStar 4Se are ideal planetary telescopes and also perform quite well on deep-sky objects.
The 4SE mount has a handset to setup and control the telescope. It will find and then track thousands of astro objects including all the planets in the Solar System. The telescope includes a tripod. The Celestron NexStar4SE can be used for introductory astrophotography.
You’ll get to see craters and mountains on the Moon, rings of Saturn, Jupiter and its largest moons. Star clusters and bright nebula and a range of galaxies are visible in the Celestron NexStar 4SE.
The Celestron NexStar4SE is BINTEL’s most popular GOTO telescope.
There are several other models in the Celestron NexStar range. They use the same type of mount but have larger telescope tubes ranging up to 8″ (203mm) . A handy upgrade from the Celestron NexStar 4SE is the 5SE model. This has a larger tube for better views.
Due to the popularity of the Celestron NexStar range, all models are well supported by wide range of accessories and add-ons. BINTEL can help you select the best options to get the most from your telecope.
A fully optioned GOTO Telescope – Celestron NexStar Evolution 5 – $2499
A major upgrade from the standard Celestron NexStar telescope.
The Celestron NexStar Evolution range use the telescope tubes as the standard Celestron NexStar computerised telescopes. Based on feedback from NexStar owners, Celestron introduced some major improvements which we feel have made the telescopes more powerful and even easier to handle.
Over the standard Celestron NexStar features, the Evolution range adds:
- Built-in Wifi in additional to the standard handset. This opens up the telescope to a wide range of third-party software
- Built-in rechargeable battery. You charge an Evolution telescope like a notebook computer before you head off for a night’s observing
- Enhanced mount. Sturdier and more stable for both visual observing and astrophotography
The range starts with the Celestron NexStar Evolution 5. This also includes a Celestron telescope bag.
There’s other telescopes in the Celestron Evolution lineup ranging up to 9.25″ in aperture. With each larger telescope you’ll see more and enjoy sharper views.
Can I attach a camera to take photos with these telescopes?
The answer is “yes”.
All of these Celestron and Meade computerised telescope can be used to take both Solar System and deep-sky photos.
You can hook up your current DSLR camera and BINTEL have a range of adaptors to do this. Contact us and we’ll be happy to advise you on the parts you need.
Another option would be a specialised astronomy camera from ZWO. Unlike a DSLR camera where images are stored directly on the camera, ZWO cameras need a computer or notebook to capture and store images. While this sounds complicated, it provides amazing flexibility and lets you get the most from your telescope’s optics.
Astrophotography is challenging though rewarding hobby. You’ll quickly have astro images that will amaze and there’s a lifetime of objects in the night sky to capture and perfect your techniques. Make sure you visit the BINTEL Society Facebook Group to see what some of our customers have produced.
Image of galaxy M83 taken by Dmitri Vdovichenko with a Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 and posted to the BINTEL Society Facebook Group.
What’s a serious computerised telescope?
Computerised or GOTO telescopes can be quite sophisticated.
For example, the Meade LX90 series features two heavy duty fork arms, an ultra-precise guiding and tracking system along with sophisticated ACF optics. If you’re after a rock solid computerised telescope, we’d strongly suggest the Meade LX90 8″. This telescope has a huge user base and has been a popular telescope with astronomers throughout the word. This is now in stock at BINTEL
Some low cast, portable GOTO telescopes from Sky-Watcher
Table top computerised Dobsonian telescopes from Sky-Watcher
These are small, tabletop “Dobs”. They don’t need a tripod and work well on an outside table or similar. They are controlled via the Synscan app from Sky-Watcher. They’re compact and ideal travelling companions. Like the Celestron app, the Sky-Watcher Syncan app loads all its data and information about the night sky when you install it. This means it works well in areas away from mobile phone coverage.