Celestron computerised GOTO telescopes are easy to set up and use. However getting your Celestron GOTO telescope aligned never been easier thanks to Celestron’s patented StarSense Technology.
The Celestron StarSense AutoAlign accessory and SkyProdigy telescopes, uses an onboard digital camera to scan the sky and take three pictures. It then analyses these pictures against an internal database (similar to fingerprint matching) and automatically aligns the telescope. The entire process takes about three minutes, and needs absolutely no user involvement. StarSense can be used to align on the Sun, but as a safety precaution, the Sun must be manually enabled as an object in the StarSense hand control so it can be used as an alignment option. StarSense does not contain an internal GPS and does not rely on GPS for alignment, so there is no need for an external GPS accessory.
StarSense requires its own StarSense hand control, which comes included with SkyProdigy telescopes and the StarSense AutoAlign accessory. The StarSense hand control, similar in appearance and functionality to the NexStar+ handsets, allows you to automatically locate and point your telescope to a wide range of celestial objects contained in its database, along with a “Sky Tour” feature that automatically moves the telescope to the best astronomical objects currently visible at that time. Plus, the hand control also has a readout that provides you interesting facts and scientific data about the object you are viewing. You can keep your StarSense up to date by downloading the latest firmware updates for your hand control.
All current computerised Celestron mounts are compatible with StarSense, although some will require the Aux Port Splitter accessory. The older NexStar i Series, Ultima 2000, and early generation GoTos like Compustar are not compatible. While StarSense AutoAlign is compatible with almost all Celestron computerised telescopes, it will not work with telescopes from other brands (except the StarSense unit for a range of SkyWatcher GOTO mounts).
Once the StarSense alignment is successful you may use planetarium software and control the telescope with ASCOM, just as you would with a NexStar hand control. The StarSense hand control will replace the existing NexStar hand control for the mount, but functions the same way with an ASCOM connection to the PC. Alignment must be completed through the StarSense hand control first. To clarify, the StarSense hand control replaces the NexStar hand control. It retains all of the same functions, but with the addition of StarSense Technology automatic alignment, as well as multi-star calibration mount modeling. Just like the NexStar hand control, the StarSense hand control can search by object name or catalogue number and interface with a PC via ASCOM.
For those using a computerised Celestron German equatorial mount, StarSense also features All-Star Polar Alignment to help get your mount accurately polar aligned using any named star. The procedure is simple. Before polar aligning your computerised equatorial mounted telescope, StarSense will automatically align the mount which allows you to point to any celestial object contained in the hand control’s database. Once the mount is aligned, StarSense guides you through the easy All-Star Polar Alignment routine to accurately polar align.
As a final note, StarSense cannot be used for guiding or for imaging as StarSense’s onboard digital camera does not have enough focal length to accurately guide longer focal length telescopes.