#AskTeamCelestron: The Experts Answer Your Questions About the New StarSense Accessory
January 15, 2013
Things have been busy here at Celestron HQ! In case you missed it, we debuted 50 new Celestron products in the last week, including the revolutionary new StarSense Accessory. Using a small camera and specialized hand controller, StarSense turns any current Celestron computerized telescope into a self-aligning tour guide of the universe.
StarSense has already received a great response from amateur astronomers around the world. But many of you wanted even more information on this nifty new accessory. So, we launched the hashtag #AskTeamCelestron on Twitter and put out a call on Facebook asking you to send us your questions!
We enlisted the help of Bryan Cogdell, the Celestron Product Manager behind StarSense, to answer all your questions in detail. Check out his responses below!
Jeff B. asks, “Once the StarSense alignment is successful, can I switch to my CGE Pro’s internal database and use the NexStar hand controller (HC) or ASCOM control from a planetarium program (i.e. Starry Night)? Or am I restricted to the StarSense hand controller’s Sky Tour? This is not good if I have an imaging session set up in Starry Night or Astroart and I can't use them to control the mount.”
-Yes, you may use planetarium software and control the telescope with ASCOM, just as you would with a NexStar hand controller. The StarSense controller will replace the existing NexStar controller for the CGE Pro, but functions the same way with an ASCOM connection to the PC. Alignment must be completed through the hand controller first.
To clarify, the StarSense controller replaces the NexStar controller. 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 controller, the StarSense controller can search by object name or catalog number, and interface with a PC via ASCOM.
Jeff B. asks, “Is there an internal GPS or is the Celestron GPS accessory needed?”
-StarSense does not contain an internal GPS, and does not rely on GPS to perform the alignment procedure. Therefore, there is no need for an external GPS accessory.
Paul asks, “Can I use StarSense to align to the sun? I also do sun viewing and it's really hard to get aligned to the sun.”
-Yes. Note that as a safety precaution, the Sun must be enabled in the hand controller so it can be used as an alignment option.
Stephan G. asks, “Can the StarSense Accessory help polar alignment in some way?”
-StarSense won’t directly assist in polar alignment. However, because the GoTo alignment is very accurate with StarSense, All Star Polar Alignment becomes more accurate. You’ll be more closely polar aligned after just one iteration of the All Star alignment procedure. (This answer applies EQ mounts and CPC + Wedge mounts only.)
James D. asks, “My question is, can StarSense be used as a guide scope for imaging?”
-Not currently – the main reason is the 20mm f/2 lens used in the camera does not have enough focal length to accurately guide longer focal length telescopes. We acknowledge this feedback!
William W. asks, “Will the new StarSense Accessory guide me through a polar align on my CGEM DX? Does it replace my hand control?”
-StarSense replaces the existing NexStar hand controller. It does not assist polar alignment. It automatically aligns the GoTo.
Many of you had specific questions about whether StarSense will work with your telescope. Here are Bryan’s answers:
Carlos L. asks, “Does the StarSense Accessory work with the CGEM? What about with telescopes from other brands?”
Yes, it works with the CGEM, but it does not work with other brands.
Dirk L. asks, “Will this work with the Gemini 2 mount?”
-Sorry, the StarSense Accessory is only compatible with Celestron mounts.
George B. asks, “Are there any telescopes in your current range (and old) GoTos that the StarSense Accessory will not work with?"
-All current mounts are compatible with StarSense, although some require the Aux Port Splitter accessory. The older NexStar i series (not the SE series), Ultima 2000, and early generation GoTos like the Compustar are not compatible. For more information, consult the complete compatibility list.
Malcolm S. asks, “I own a NexStar 127 SLT and a Celestron C9.25-SGT XLT GOTO. Can you tell me if these two scopes are compatible with the newly released StarSense Accessory? Also, what is going to be the price in the UK?”
-Yes, compatible with both. For pricing information in the UK, contact David Hinds, Ltd.
Jarmo S. asks, “According to the StarSense chart of compatible mounts I can't find the CG5 GT GOTO mount there. So it's not compatible?”
-CG-5 is compatible with the StarSense Accessory, but requires the Aux Port Splitter accessory. We initially neglected to add CG-5 to the list of compatible mounts. Thanks for pointing this out! CG-5 has now been added to the chart.
Finally, we received one question from Alan K. on our new Off-Axis Guider:
Alan K. asks, “Will the new guide product work on my NexStar 6SE? Will it track well enough for photos?”
- Yes, it will attach to the NexStar 6SE, and it provides the most accurate method of guiding. Autoguider not included.
Thanks to all who sent in their questions, and thanks to Bryan for answering them! Still have more questions on StarSense? Leave them in the comments below!
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