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.
|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|