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Monday, 11 June 2007

Nifty New Astronomy Gadget

As Astronomy is one of my hobbies I like to keep an eye out for what new gizmos are coming out. The meade my sky is coming soon, and, based on the specs, it looks like a really cool educational toy for budding astronomers and casual observers. I remember the days of having to hunt through printed start charts in the dead of night, using a torch with a red filter to try to identify an interesting object that had appeared in my telescope's field of view while just cruising around the night sky. Computerised telescopes made life much simpler, but you still had to align the 'scope and calibrate the system using a couple of known, visible objects. The new my sky device is hand-held and has a built-in 12 channel GPS receiver so that it can orientate itself automatically. Once its working you should be able to just point it at an interesting object using the open sights and it will tell you what you are looking at. The device has a 480x234 pixel colour LCD display, and is supposed to run for 7 hours on set of 4AA batteries. The only draw-back is the price - $399 - and the fact that although it has a built-in magnetic north sensors it may not work very well for Southern Hemisphere observers. Plus the fact that my 10" Meade telescope is so old that the computerised control system is an "add-on", so the ability of the my sky unit to control a modern computerised meade telescope will be wasted on me. One good thing is that being a purely electronic device the capabilities can only improve and the cost decrease in the next few years.

Enough Wealth

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