UPDATED: Nice to have: Celestron’s Sky Scout handheld star finder & “personal planetarium”

Celestron's Sky Scout As my friends can attest, for years I have wanted to design and market a consumer device that would combine a laptop, astronomy software, and virtual reality glasses you can see through (like a heads-up display) with which to teach astronomy. Imagine, for instance, looking up, pressing a button, and having the outlines of all the constellations superimposed on your view of the sky? Of course, hobbyists like myself would also have a complete blast.

Anyway, Celestron is releasing something like that in April 2006, called the SkyScout, for only $399.

UPDATE 8/24/06: Sky & Telescope magazine’s mini review is here.

UPDATE 8/30/06: Another review, this time from the Associated Press, is here. Also, I’ve learned another very cool use for the SkyScout?: it can find bright objects like Venus or Jupiter during daylight hours! Few people have seen these during the day, though they are frequently visible if you know exactly where to look, especially through binoculars. Sadly, eyes are not good at picking up a tiny speck of light against a vast field of blue. I think if I had one, I’d probably attach my StarFinderâ„¢ Green Laser Pointer to it, so people with me could follow what I’m seeing.

UPDATE 9/4/05: The AP SkyScout review is now on the web. Looks like this is going to be a popular device!

I’ve read the online information, and the three main features seem to be:

  • Look through Sky Scout and point at something in the sky, and it will tell you what you’re looking at.
  • Ask Sky Scout to locate something for you, look through it, and arrows in the viewfinder will guide you to it.
  • An LCD readout and audio output will provide more information on the sky, and even take you on guided tours.

All of which is very slick for the price. I suspect they’ll sell a bunch of them. I’d like one myself.

Explore posts in the same categories: Astronomy, Astronomy Gear, Steve's Affinities

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