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Meade - #497 Autostar Computer
B&H# MEACCETX90 Mfr# 07436
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One of the most important advances in telescope control in the past 25 years, the Meade #497 Autostar Computer Controller turns the ETX-90EC, ETX-105EC, or ETX-125EC into an automatic celestial object locating system. Just plug the Autostar into the telescope's HBX port in place of the standard-equipment Electronic Controller, 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.

Call-up of an object from the database is facilitated by Autostar's simple menu options. For example, to enter NGC 6960 on the Autostar display, the observer selects in sequence (and in a few seconds of keystrokes): OBJECT/DEEP SKY/NGC OBJECTS/6960. When GO TO is pressed, the telescope moves at 5° per second on both axes, simultaneously, to place NGC 6960, the Veil Nebula in the constellation Cygnus, in the telescope's field of view.

GO TO
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
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.
User Input
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.
Motor Control
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°/second.
Centroids
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
Guided Tours: Allows Autostar to choose the best objects for observing on any given night.
PC Compatable
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.
Menu Options
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 Updates
Autostar 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 comets, asteroids, and tours). The #497 Autostar requires the #505 Connector Cable Kit to allow updates.
IC Objects 5,386 objects from the Index Catalog (IC); galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters of all types; the complete Index Catalog.
NGC Objects 7,840 objects from the New General Catalog (NGC); additional galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters of all types; the complete New General Catalog
Caldwell Objects 109 objects from the Caldwell Catalog of the best objects for small telescopes
Messier Objects 110 Messier (M) objects; the complete Messier catalog
SAO Objects 16,800 stars from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) catalog, including double stars, variable stars, and other stars of special note
Satellites 50 Earth-orbiting satellites
Asteroids 26 asteroids, including all of the brightest asteroids
Comets 15 periodic comets
Planets 8 major planets from Mercury to Pluto
Meade #497 Autostar Computer Controller
  • 90-Day Limited Warranty