The Celestron range computerised GOTO telescopes are very easy to set up and use. However, one of the commonest causes of a telescope not pointing in the sky where it should, or the telescope not finding a celestial target, is that during the telescope’s initial setup, one (or more) of the date/time/location parameters has not been entered into the telescope handset correctly. Furthermore these popular GOTO telescopes use the American date format of month-day-year, rather than our day-month-year format, so entering the date in the latter way will confuse the telescope into thinking its now another part of the year than it actually is.
There are a number of computerised GOTO telescopes that come with a built-in GPS receiver – for example the Celestron CPC, CPC Deluxe HD models. Having a GPS equipped scope means that you don’t have to find your location, or know what the date and time is, as this data is “entered” into the handset when you set your scope up. However, what if your Celestron GOTO telescope does not have GPS? Do you always have to enter all this data manually? The good news is that the answer is “No”! Celestron has a very useful accessory called the SkySync GPS module that will give your non-GPS computerised telescope automated GPS satellite capability and have the date-time-location information “inputted” straight into your telescope’s hand controller making the set up easier.
So what does the SkySync GPS unit look like? Below is an image of the SkySync attached to the tripod leg of a mount (the unit can be mounted elsewhere if needed). The unit is about 10cm long and 5cm high at its highest (as its a sort of “wedge shape”) and is very light, weighing only about 170g. The coiled cable at the top connects to the mount and there is a free AUX port that can be used for the handset (see below) and a power indication light on the bottom of the unit.
Out of the box you get the SkySync GPS unit with mount connection cable (already attached). There is also a 33cm/13″ velcro tripod leg strap and an instruction leaflet. The most common place to attach SkySync is to the upper part of a tripod leg of a mount.
The SkySync’s pre-attached coiled cable is connected to an AUX port on your mount (see your mount’s user guide for where this would be). If you find that your mount does not have an AUX port don’t worry. Simply plug the SkySync cable into the handset port on the mount (where you would usually plug the hand controller ; SkySync uses the same plug type) and then plug the handset into the free port on the base of the SkySync and you are ready to go.
This useful accessory is available from your local/favourite Celestron dealer.