Monday, February 12, 2007

One Cool Gadget!

I was an astronomy buff, well still is unfortunately, since many years back. My first telescope was a reflector type (cheap optic with no computer control) and with that telescope I was able to see for the first time, the moon craters. Later, I upgraded my telescope into a small, computerised scope called MeadeETX -70AT and with that the view of the moon was even clearer and better. However, the 70mm scope was not good enough for me as I was venturing into deep space objects such as the nebulas, galaxies as well as the nearby planets such as Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus. Sometimes in 2001 I sold off my ETX70 to a friend and later bought the Meade ETX125-AT costing US$899 and that is still my telescope until today. With that scope, I saw Saturn rings, Orion Nebulae, Jupiter and many other objects. I also did a bit of astrophotography back then and captured many beautiful objects of the heavenly sky but so unfortunately, I lost all the files due to a corrupted portable hard-disk.

Yesterday afternoon after returning back from a disastrous golf tournament, I suddenly felt like watching the night sky again now that the weather is getting hot and the sky is getting clearer from the thick cloud. I also wanted to know what is the latest gadget on astronomy that is worth a look and sure enough, I found this in the Internet. In case any of you is interested, the product is called Celestron Sky Scout Personal Planetarium and here is some detail of the new gadget.

Product Description

From the Manufacturer
The SkyScout is a revolutionary handheld device that uses advanced GPS technology
with point and click convenience to identify thousands of stars,planets,constellations and more.

Simply point the SkyScout at any star in the sky and click the target button. The SkyScout will tell you what object you are looking at.

To locate a star or planet, select the object's name from the menu and follow the directional arrows through the viewfinder. SkyScout tells you when you are on target. It's that easy!

Once you have targeted an object the real fun begins. The SkyScout includes entertaining and educational audio and text information, including facts, trivia, history and mythology about our most popular celestial objects. A fun learning tool for all ages, theSkyScout personal planetarium puts the knowledge of an expert astronomer in the palm of your hand.

SkyScout features
Identifies celestial objects with the click of a button.
Locates over 6,000 stars, planets and constellations from built-in celestial
database and provides scientific information for each object. Provides comprehensive text and audio descriptions providing history, mythology and other entertaining information for the most popular objects.
Tonight's Highlights: a customized list of the 20 best objects to view for your
exact date, time and location anywhere in the world.
Constellation lessons: if the star you identify or locate is part of a constellation
like the Big Dipper, you can actually take a guided tour through all the stars in that constellation and even see an onscreen map of the constellation.

Built-in field guide includes
Introduction to astronomy: a six part audio lesson on the origin and history of astronomy
Glossary of terms: text defining popular astronomy terms including planets, comets, galaxies and more
Great Astronomers: text bios on some of the world's greatest astronomers including Galileo, Einstein and Copernicus
Man-made space objects: text description of some of the coolest objects man has
sent into space including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Shuttle
Comet guide: text descriptions about history's most famous comets including Halley's Comet and Comet Hale-Bop
SD card slot: for optional Sky Tour audio presentations that provide hours of entertainment on a variety of topics
USB port: allows database to be updated with new objects as they are discovered, comets, etc.
Simple enough for all ages: just turn it on and it's ready to use
Built-in help menu: includes a quick start instruction guide for using the SkyScout
Bring it anywhere: compact and light design makes it easy to carry and
durable construction makes it safe for rugged environments
Backed by Celestron's 2-year warranty

Cool isn't it ! The price is about US$399. I contacted one of the vendors in US for this and here is their response.

Thank you for your interest in our
products. We do apologize, however, our manufacturer's will not allow us to ship any telescopes outside of the United States. The warranty on these products will become void as soon as it leaves our borders. We do recommend searching for the home page of the manufacturer you need. They will have a list of international distributors on their website that you can contact for their products.

We can ship most of our spotting scopes and all of our astronomy binoculars out of the country. If you are interested in any of these, please let us know and we would
be happy to help you out.

Thank you again for your interest in our products and have a great day.

Best Regards,

Well,so much with the world without borders. Looks like that either we have to go to the states or wait until the local agent get it for us and with of course, a very much inflated price!

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