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Meade Instruments

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Telescopes · Binoculars · Microscopes

Autostar Computer Controllers
  #497 Autostar™ for ETX-90EC, -105EC, -125EC
Add the Meade Autostar to your ETX telescope for fully automatic celestial object-location!

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.

The Meade ETX-90EC with #497 Autostar Computer Controller
The #497 Autostar Computer Controller plugs into the control panel of ETX-90EC, ETX-105EC, and ETX-125EC telescopes and enables automatic location of more than 30,000 celestial objects.

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.

Object Database: 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:

5,386    objects from the Index Catalog (IC); galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters of all types; the complete Index Catalog

7,840    objects from the New General Catalog (NGC); additional galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters of all types; the complete New General Catalog
109    objects from the Caldwell Catalog of the best objects for small telescopes
110    Messier (M) objects; the complete Messier catalog
16,800    stars from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) catalog, including double stars, variable stars, and other stars of special note
50    Earth-orbiting satellites
26    asteroids, including all of the brightest asteroids
15    periodic comets
8    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.

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.

#497 Autostar Computer Controller
Autostar's display reads out telescope position (RA and Dec.), plus dozens of menu options.

Additional Capabilities: In addition to database object selection and observation, Autostar permits a wide array of fascinating and educational capabilities:

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°/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.

With Autostar plugged into your ETX-90EC, ETX-105EC, or ETX-125EC, the astronomical universe is in the palm of your hand: never before has such powerful telescope technology been so easy to operate, even by the most casual observer.

Remote Operation of ETX Telescopes using a Personal Computer
Remote operation of ETX telescopes using a personal computer (PC): Meade ETX Astro Telescopes equipped with the Autostar Computer Controller may be used in conjunction with Meade AstroFinder Software to operate the telescope in the GO TO mode directly from the display of a personal computer. With AstroFinder software loaded into the PC, and with the PC connected to the telescope through Autostar's RS-232* serial interface, as shown in the photo at left, the observer can point and click on any object shown on the PC display. The telescope then slews to the object on both telescope axes and places the object in the telescopic field of view.

Meade AstroFinder Software is packaged with the #505 Connector Cable Kit required for ETX- Autostar-PC operation. *PC's only with USB ports (i.e., PC's without RS-232 ports) require the Meade USB/RS-232 Adapter in addition.

More information about Autostar is available below: *Click to download the free Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, required to view and print the above files.

**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.


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