What an incredible few days it has been! Less than 24 hours after Space Shuttle Endeavour made one final victory flight (piggybacked to a modified 747) over the City of Angels, the fifth annual Pacific Astronomy and Telescope Show “PATS” opened its doors at the Pasadena Convention Center. PATS is the largest and most exciting astronomy show here on the west coast. With the public’s interest in space soaring after July’s successful Curiosity Mars landing, thousands of enthusiastic people attended PATS to check out the latest telescopes and must-have accessories from top manufacturers, especially Celestron. With plenty on the agenda, including talks by leading scientists, informative workshops, telescope observing and even a tour of Mount Wilson Observatory, there was much to see and do this fun-filled astronomy weekend.
While many of our colleagues were overseas at the Photokina tradeshow in Cologne, Germany, some of us stayed back to exhibit Celestron products at PATS. This year, the Celestron booth had a fresh new look, with our top-end products front and center. Visitors flocked to our CPC Deluxe 800 HD (fully equipped for astroimaging), a CGEM DX 1100 HD and a CGEM 925 HD. Around the booth’s perimeter, Celestron displayed a SkyMaster 25x100 binocular, SkyProdigy 6, AstroMaster 70AZ, NexStar 6SE and a Regal100F-ED spotting scope. On our table display, we featured a FirstScope, SkyMaster 15x70, Granite 8x42 and 10x42, Outland X 8x42 and 10x25 binoculars, Luminos eyepieces, X-Cel LX Series eyepieces and Barlow lenses, and our ever-faithful SkyScout.
Our popular Deluxe Digital, LCD Digital and PentaView microscopes also drew large crowds to the Celestron tables. Children were in awe as small, hidden worlds suddenly came into view. Observing insects, currency, beads, fabrics, a spider and even body parts through a microscope brought out everyone’s curiosity. One mother who was with her young son said, “I never knew such neat products existed. My son is having so much fun with these digital microscopes, but as long as he’s learning something, then he may find something in his stocking from Santa this Christmas.” We couldn’t help but nod our heads in agreement.
The best part of any tradeshow is meeting customers face-to-face and introducing them to new products like the new SkyQ Link and SkyQ mobile app. With SkyQ, users have the ability to locate and identify virtually any celestial object using their iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch while they learn interesting facts and trivia of the night sky. Sound similar to SkyScout, right? Add SkyQ Link to a Celestron computerized telescope with an AUX port, and enjoy full wireless telescope control using SkyQ. Imagine aligning and slewing your telescope to celestial objects wirelessly from your iOS device. How amazing is that? PATS was also the perfect venue to announce our new Nightscape 8300 CCD camera featuring the widely acclaimed Kodak KAF-8300 color CCD. This camera will provide larger pixels with the area, resolution and sensitivity required to take breathtaking astroimages. It begins shipping this month.
It is always such a pleasure to attend astronomy shows such as PATS and meet with fellow astronomy enthusiasts along with our old friends in the industry. Many guests who stopped by were already proud owners of Celestron equipment, and it was great interacting and hearing their feedback. This year, we noticed more and more new customers who were interested to learn the art of astroimaging. With this in mind, Celestron will continue to pursue new ways to make astroimaging easier, so everyone can learn to take these stunning images and share them with others.
With added public interest, and the possibility of two very bright comets visiting our skies next year, PATS is looking to be well on its way of having another attendance record-breaking year in 2013!