Meade #497 Autostar Computer Controller
One of the most important advances in telescope control in the past 25 years, the Meade #497 Autostar Computer Controller turns the ETX-90AT, ETX-105AT, or ETX-125AT into an automatic celestial object locating system. Just plug the Autostar into the telescope's HBX port, do a quick (less than one minute!) telescope alignment, and you're ready to observe any object in the Autostar's 30,000-object database.
Best of all, the Meade Autostar is easy to use. Even the most novice observer will find himself or herself locating dozens of fascinating celestial objects the very first night out - from commonly-observed objects such as the rings of Saturn, the satellites of Jupiter, and the Orion Nebula (M42); to more difficult objects such as the Ring Nebula (M57) in Lyra, the Spiral Galaxy (M33) in Triangulum, and the Sombrero Galaxy (M104) in Virgo; to very obscure objects near the telescope's threshold of visibility such as the diffuse nebula NGC 6559 in Sagittarius, the galactic star cluster NGC 1778 in Auriga, and the spiral galaxy NGC 3310 in Ursa Major.
Any of Autostar's database objects can be called up and entered on the hand controller display in seconds. The observer then simply presses the GO TO pushbutton and watches as the telescope automatically slews (moves) to the object and places it in the field of view. The effect of Autostar is to bring objects easily within reach which were previously unreachable for all but the most dedicated of amateur astronomers.
Without exaggeration the Meade Autostar Computer Controller opens up a new era in astronomical study for the casual or beginning astronomer, just as Meade LX200 and LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrains have for the advanced amateur. Most Autostar users see more celestial objects in one night's viewing than typical first-time telescope owners previously have in a lifetime.
Included within Autostar's database are all of the following astronomical objects - a range of objects certain to keep even the most active amateur astronomer growing in his or her studies of the skies for years:
objects from the Index Catalog (IC); galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters of all types; the complete Index Catalog
objects from the New General Catalog (NGC); additional galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters of all types; the complete New General Catalog
objects from the Caldwell Catalog of the best objects for small telescopes
Messier (M) objects; the complete Messier catalog
stars from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) catalog, including double stars, variable stars, and other stars of special note
asteroids, including all of the brightest asteroids
major planets from Mercury to Pluto
Any of the objects in the preceding listing can be located simply by calling up the object from the Autostar database and pressing GO TO. Within seconds Autostar directs the ETX telescope to move automatically to the object and place it within the telescopic field of view with uncanny precision.
Automatic GO TO capability to any astronomical object of known Right Ascension and Declination. In the (uncommon) event that an object is not in Autostar's database, enter the object's RA and Dec. from a star catalog or monthly magazine, press GO TO and the telescope automatically slews to the object, placing it in the field of view. This type of object-location is particularly useful in the case of aperiodic phenomena, such as most comets.
Digital readouts of telescope position, continuously in RA and Dec. Precise sidereal-rate tracking in either altazimuth or equatorial modes. Once an object is located by Autostar, the telescope automatically tracks it and keeps it centered in the telescope's field of view, fully compensating for the Earth's rotation.
200 User-Defined Objects: The observer can add the locations of up to 200 objects of his/her choosing, store these objects in Autostar's memory, and call them up at any time.
9-Speed Dual-Axis Operation: Use the Autostar pushbuttons to move the telescope on either or both axes, simultaneously, at any of nine drive speeds, from 2x sidereal to 5 degrees/second.
GO TO capability to the centroids of all 88 constellations. Learn the locations of the constellations; push the arrow key to read on the Autostar display a description of the mythology of the constellation, as well as to read of important objects located within its boundaries.
Guided Tours: Allows Autostar to choose the best objects for observing on any given night.
GO TO capability through Autostar's RS-232 serial interface, using Meade AstroFinderTM astronomical software (see photo below): Use the optionally-available package of AstroFinder software and the #505 Connector Cable Set to form a system consisting of the ETX telescope + Autostar + your PC. Point and click to any celestial object on the PC display and watch as the telescope moves to the object and places it in the field of view.
Plus: over 20 other menu options, including major event menus (e.g., times of Moonrise, Moon phases, minimums of Algol, equinoxes, etc.); utility functions (e.g., timer, alarm, eyepiece power calculations); and much more.
Software UpdatesAutostar Update Software is a free download that allows the Autostar operating system and object catalogs to be updated over the Internet (e.g. to input new