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Choosing a Celestron telescope isn't really difficult. There are models to fit every interest and price range, from beginners to the most sophisticated models for astrophotography and deep space viewing. A Celestron telescope is an investment for years of astronomical enjoyment!
The members of the Boy Scouts of America now have an added incentive to learn about the stars and space. In May 2006, Celestron teamed up with Boy Scouts of America to encourage member curiosity about space exploration and astronomy by donating 200 Skyscouts. Armed with their new Celestron stargazing accessory, Boy Scouts attending a summer resident camp or high adventure camp can begin their exploration of the night sky.
The SkyScout is a unique Celestron stargazing accessory. It is a point and shoot device which uses GPS technology to identify the stars in the sky for the user. The 16 oz. hand held educational tool is the winner of several awards, including Personal Electronics Best of Innovations 2006 and Popular Mechanics Editors Choice Awards 2006. Featuring an audio lesson on the history of astronomy, glossary of space terms, and guide to famous comets, the SkyScout is an effective introduction to ongoing learning for budding astronomers.
Celestron is a major manufacturer in the consumer market for telescopes from beginning first telescopes to professional grade telescopes, used in university astronomy programs and even NASA space shuttle missions. In addition to the Celestron telescope line, the company also manufactures binoculars, telescope accessories, and related stargazing equipment. The Celestron telescope line for 2006 includes 10 categories of telescopes with over 70 telescopes:
CGE Series – This line of telescopes are made for observatory level viewing and come with a German equatorial mount.
CPC Series – These computer driven telescopes use GPS technology to assist the viewer in aligning the telescope with the night sky.
NexStar SE – The NexStar SE Celestron telescope line has user-friendly telescopes allowing the stargazer to find stars, planets, and galaxies with a touch of the button.
NexStar SLT Series – These Celestron telescopes come with a computerized Go To feature and are a more affordable line for the entry to mid-level market.
Advanced Series GT – Advanced Series GT is an advanced line of telescopes geared toward the novice to more advanced stargazer and uses Go To technology.
Advanced Series – These Celestron telescopes are made for the novice to more advanced stargazer and do not have a computerized component.
Onyx 80 EDF – As the sole telescope in the series, the Onyx 80 EDF is a brand new design, a high-end refractor telescope suitable for astrophotography.
StarHopper Series – These Dobsonian telescopes tout good value for the aperture size.
FirstScope Series – Like the name suggests, the FirstScope Celestron telescopes are designed for the first time telescope buyer, offering value based pricing along with solid optical performance.
Value Priced – This Celestron telescope line includes three telescopes under the $150 retail range, marketed toward the family user or child.
SkyAlign is a method of aligning your Celestron telescope with the stars by employing GPS. In order for you find an object in the night sky, you have to first confirm the orientation of your telescope in relation to the night sky. With a computerized Celestron telescope using SkyAlign, the date, time, and location coordinates are necessary for telescope alignment. Then, you point your telescope at any three bright stars and you have a quick and efficient method of telescope alignment. SkyAlign allows you to align your Celestron telescope without prior knowledge of the night sky.
One way to see a large number of telescopes made by major manufacturers such as Celestron, is to attend an astronomy exhibition. In Oceanside, California at the 15,000 square foot facility of Oceanside Photo and Telescope, the second annual Southern California Astronomy Exhibition is taking place from July 22 to July 29, 2006. Celestron telescope representatives will be on hand to give presentations and demonstrate their products. Other telescope and optic manufacturers will be there, including Meade, Cannon, and Nikon. The event will be free to the general public and a Celestron telescope, the computerized C6S-GT, will be part of a raffle giveaway.
The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy has set aside an annual Astro Day in order to promote astronomy to the community and general public. In 2005, after a Celestron representative met with Gary Fujihara, the organizer of the Astro Day event, the telescope company decided to donate two Celestron telescopes to the university. The Celestron telescopes included an 8” Celestron CPC 800 GPS computerized telescope and an 11” Schmidt-Casegrain optical tube. The Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii will be using the telescopes for their science education and public outreach programs.
The Griffith Observatory, in Los Angeles, California, received a donation of two Celestron telescopes from the company – each a custom built Schmidt-Cassegrain tube. The 8” and 9.25” Celestron telescopes will ride piggyback on the Griffith Observatory's existing 12” Zeiss telescope for the general public to see several specific objects in space from the ground floor of the Observatory. The Griffith Observatory has undergone major construction renovations to bring it up to its original grandeur as well as expand the facility to double the Observatory size and is set to re-open late in 2006.
For the dedicated amateur astronomer who wants a gorgeous looking telescope which also gives you an amazing view of the night sky, look to the Celestron CGE 1400, reviewed in Sky & Telescope magazine's March 2004 issue.
The Celestron telescope gives you more than three times the light gathering power of an 8” model. This is a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with 14” optics, 3910 mm focal length, 9 x 50 finderscope, and a computerized German equatorial mount. The Go To feature of this telescope is accurate and reliable, giving you interesting facts and pointers about the night sky. You have a 40,000-object database of celestial objects to choose from – more than enough to keep any avid astronomer occupied. If you're watching your pocketbook, the $5,800 price tag might put more than a little dent in your wallet, but the rave reviews about this Celestron telescope make it a worthwhile purchase if you are serious about watching the stars.
Celestron makes a wide variety of telescopes to choose from, including a line marketed directly to the first time buyer. If you want a no frills entry-level Celestron telescope with a reasonable price tag and ample optical quality, try the Celestron Firstscope 70 EQ 70 mm refractor telescope. With this model, you will be able see the moon and some views of the larger planets, such as Saturn and Jupiter. Spend some more money and you can also try the entry-level Celestron Firstscope 114 EQ 114 mm, a Newtonian reflector model. This Celestron telescope is a quality first telescope, light, easily transportable, and has a stable German equatorial mount. In clear areas, you would be able to distinguish the Casssini Division of Jupiter and get detailed planetary views.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|