Celestron SkyScout
January 7, 2006 12:44 PM   Subscribe

The Celestron SkyScout (Flash page) is an amazingly cool portable device combining an celestial object database with GPS abilities. It's not quite the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but it's definitely one of the most compelling applications I've yet to see of GPS - it takes note of your viewing location, and uses text and audio to guide you around the night sky. Announced at the CES show, there's no pricing info yet, but dang, I want this badly.
posted by dbiedny (17 comments total)
Brilliant idea. Is it for real? ..3 axis sensors measuring gravitational and magnetic fields to determine the true orientation of the SkyScout to the earth.
posted by stbalbach at 12:49 PM on January 7, 2006

stbalbach: I think thats overblown terminology for what a level and a hand compass can do.
posted by vacapinta at 1:02 PM on January 7, 2006

I saw it on CNN, and I think they said it was $399.
posted by smackfu at 1:23 PM on January 7, 2006

Here's the CNN.com article about the Skyscout and four other products. It is pretty nifty for the novice stargazer, I think.
posted by Atreides at 1:42 PM on January 7, 2006

You see, if you point the SkyScout skyward -- indoors or out -- it will tell you precisely what's above you with the click of a button.
posted by smackfu at 1:52 PM on January 7, 2006

I'd really like this too, but I'm afraid I'll get only limited utility out of it living in Chicago. But for camping and trips to the country, it'd be great.

What would make this killer would be some sort of screw mount to attach it to a proper telescope. Being guided toward nebulae and other interesting bits of the sky would be really, really cool.

And I wonder if one can download new information as it becomes available. Say the discovery of a new comet or a distant supernova.

vacapinta: great call on the fancy "gravitational field sensor" jargon. It can't be much more complicated than a simple compass and level working in tandem. Still, it's neat stuff.
posted by aladfar at 1:57 PM on January 7, 2006

indoors - right, it's working on compass data, etc, not anything visible in the viewfinder. So you can sit on your couch and think about how you could be admiring Mars if you were outside.

What'd be super neat, though kind of pointless: If you could point the thing toward the floor and get data on stars in the Southern hemisphere.
posted by aladfar at 1:59 PM on January 7, 2006

I think it's amazing that a company will spend a huge amount of time and money on product development but then be so lame with the information shown on their website. A short video showing the product in action would be very helpful in showing how the gadget actually works.
posted by AJ at 2:08 PM on January 7, 2006

"You see, if you point the SkyScout skyward -- indoors or out -- it will tell you precisely what's above you with the click of a button"

posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:22 PM on January 7, 2006

Of course if they could figure out a way to combine it with one of these you could sit inside and use it. ;)
posted by quin at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2006

Here's a couple of nifty freebies that should help you out.

365 Days of Skywatching and

posted by mk1gti at 2:37 PM on January 7, 2006

+10 applause to crash_davis

It's a cool cool toy, but what happened to romantic star navigation....

/daydream on

..look, darling, can you see the star my finger is pointed at ..

* darling looks * yes my romantic sweet stargazer

..Behold my loved one, the stars are so lonely but so brilliant..so are you, refulgent of your beauty you alone star above the stars...you'll no longer be lonely with me

*darling thinks* he's a moron but a sweet one ! I may kiss him now..come on ! come on ! fugget the star thing !

...BUT NOW honey look what I recently bought ! The celestron Skyscout tells me exactly we're under a bright moon...look at this dazzling LCD of it ! ...darling ? DARLING ????

posted by elpapacito at 5:01 PM on January 7, 2006

I predict brisk sales among Raelians.
posted by killdevil at 5:09 PM on January 7, 2006

This sounds like an elegantly integrated bit of tech, in truth. I fondly remember nights spent in the side-yard pointing my little Celestron refractor at the dome of stars. This would have come in handy then, though nowadays the night sky where I live is too washed out.
posted by killdevil at 5:17 PM on January 7, 2006

I guess we won't be needing this any longer.
posted by itchylick at 7:51 PM on January 7, 2006

I wonder if it takes leap seconds into account.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:52 PM on January 7, 2006

Sure, crabby, as I am sure the GPS satellites do.
posted by killdevil at 7:11 AM on January 8, 2006

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