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Piggyback Camera
[ Piggyback Camera ]

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  Computer Control: Astronomy: Computer Control - HANDS-OFF ASTRONOMY
Posted on Wednesday, December 01 @ 15:37:45 CST by astronomy
 
 
  Computer Control

HANDS-OFF ASTRONOMY

A step up in sophistication is a telescope with high-speed stepper motors on each axis and a computerized hand controller to drive them. Select an object on the hand controller's display, press "Go," and the telescope automatically slews itself across the sky to the target. You can also operate these telescopes from a laptop computer with a sky-charting program. Point at a galaxy on the screen, click die mouse, and away the telescope goes to find the real galaxy.



This technology is most popular on fork-mounted Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. A side-benefit is that you can track the stars without polar-aligning the mount. When the mount is set up in altazimuth fashion, the computer will pulse each of the motors by the correct amount to track an object moving across the sky.

The ability to find and follow objects easily without polar alignment has made computerized Schmidt-Cassegrains very popular. Of course, there is a price to pay—a computerized model will cost about twice as much as a similar telescope on a manually operated mount.

 
 
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