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Night Sky auto detector for Telescopes

A ccd finder and software that tells you where the telescope is pointing rather than you telling it.
  [vote for,

With all this fancy software to point your telescope why the heck do we have to have gps and all the setup requirements. You should be able to point your telescope to the sky with no prior setup at all and it will use a ccd to look at the sky and orientation and automatically tell you what you're looking or automatically update your computer. I tend to do things the old fashion way and actually know where stuff is in the sky but when I want to do imaging the imaging software should be able to recognize all this stuff. It's not like it ever changes. (except planets or comets of coarse) But they are predictable. How difficult would that be. We can do electronic fingerprint, face, palm, retina, etc. scanning and it can match those very complicated variables exactly with a database. Why wouldn't this work?
clafever, Jan 21 2004

Celestron NexStar GPS series http://www.celestro...el/nx_gps_index.htm
Built-in GPS does most of the work [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

Baked http://www.ball.com/aerospace/ct601.html
This is the standard way satellites orient themselves. [bm-gub, Nov 18 2004]


       Hmmm -- you're saying know where you are by looking at the night sky, basically? I don't know if the resolution is there, meaning you can know where you are but not very precisely
theircompetitor, Jan 21 2004

       Well, if the CCD is on a finder scope (to get a better field of view) you're still going to have the problem of having to collimate (align) the finder with the main scope. If you put it on the main scope to avoid this problem (and to double as your camera) then you have the problem of having a very narrow field of view to work with.   

       Celestron recently introduced a line of scopes with built in GPS, that pretty much align themselves. See link.
krelnik, Jan 21 2004

       Yes, but GPS doesn't tell you which way you're facing and that's one of the advantages of the idea. Let the telescope scan the sky not only to figure out where on Earth it is, but which direction is which.   

       I wonder how difficult this would be. Maybe you could at least give the device a hint by telling it what major city you're closest to.
phoenix, Jan 21 2004

       Apparently Celestron has cracked that nut, maybe they put a digital compass in too? According to the link: "No need to enter the date, time, longitude and latitude or even know the position of north."
krelnik, Jan 21 2004

       Good feedback guys thanks.   

       I think the only setup required would be the date/time. Once that is input the computer should be able to search for x bright objects, take a picture, and match this to a known configuration. Then figure the orientation. Celestron's gps and compass still need a little work though. Also, I want this to be an add on/upgrade. I hear about having to align a wide field finder to the scope but really you've probably only got to do this once in awhile. I also thought about a flip mirror or something and then you could use the main scope for the finder. Also, You could do the operation using the ccd you're oging to take pictures with. Some of the high end cameras do guiding too.   

       As to resolution...once it knew where it was at it could zoom in on one object and it would be very precise. Provide guiding like an STV guider.   

       BTW Why can't I see the whold links in the bakery. I understand that the software is trying to compress it to fit on one line but it's really bugging me : )
clafever, Jan 21 2004

       [krelnik] I see! Very nice. I wish I could afford one.
phoenix, Jan 21 2004

       //Why can't I see the whole links ...//
I think that is deliberate to keep the layout of the page intact even if the URL is quite long. You can view it in the status line of your browser by hovering your cursor over the link, or simply click on it and it will show up in the address bar.
krelnik, Jan 21 2004

       This is interesting - how about having the telescope point where it should, then if it DOES see what it is expecting (i.e. the sky is clear) it can tell you (SMS, alert etc) and/or auto record what it is seeing.   

       Thus, you could leave it running, then be away, in bed etc., have a rough image sent to you via webcam and you can then say, yar! good view! and tell the telescope to snap the shot for you on good old photoplates (or multiple CCD shots that are tagged to allow you to photoshop them together with no errors).
timbeau, Feb 02 2004


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