One of the most difficult things about getting into astronomy is having the information about each planet, star, or nebula available while you are star gazing. Not only does the Celestron SkyScout put that information at your finger tips, but it will also show you where each one of those objects are.
- The SkyScout will tell you what object you are looking at.
- SkyScout tells you when you are on target.
- The SkyScout personal planetarium puts the knowledge of an expert astronomer in the palm of your hand.
- 240 x 80 Graphic LCD display with red LED backlight.
- GPS alignment
Astronomy is a really great activity that has tons of benefits and really no downfalls, except maybe sleepless nights spent star gazing. There is the opportunity to learn great things about our universe; although, there is so much information to learn it would be impossible to learn it all without a lifetime of study. Celestron calls the SkyScout a personal planetarium and it is truly full of a planetarium worth of information.
The SkyScout will not only tell you about the planets and other celestial bodies, but it will also show you where they are. As you look into the SkyScout it will show you which direction you need to go, and indicate when you get to the object you want to see. The SkyScout contains information on 6000 Stars, 1,500 Double & Variable Stars, 88 Constellations, over 100 deep space objects including Galaxies, Nebulae & Star Clusters, and over 200 audio descriptions of the most popular celestial objects.
The SkyScout contains an LCD screen that is used to display information about each object you view, to select objects you want to view, and display all other information. The headphone jack allows you to hear as the SkyScout speaks out the information about each object you view.
In order to make sure the SkyScout points you at the correct object it uses GPS to align itself to your current location. GPS alignment is performed every time you turn the SkyScout on. This ensures that the SkyScout is always accurate when you use it.
The SkyScout also comes with a carrying case. This case has extra pockets for storing extra papers or even the documentation for the SkyScout.
The SkyScout is not very big or heavy, but it is about the size of a large paperback book. The dimensions are 2.5″ x 4.0″ x 7.4″ and it weighs 15.2 ounces without batteries. This size and weight do not make it too heavy or bulky to use, in fact it is very easy to use and it has a good shape that fits nicely in your hand.
The left side of the SkyScout is where the LCD screen and most of the buttons reside. The buttons include a Four-way control, Brightness: Increase/Decrease, Volume: Increase/Decrease, Power, Identify, Locate, GPS, Main Menu, and Help. The LCD screen is fairly plain and not in color. The backlight is red and the text is black. This is helpful for nighttime viewing because the red backlight is not as offensive to your eyes as a white backlight would be.
The top of the SkyScout has a single button labeled target. When you are in identify mode the target button is used to detect and display information about the object you are looking at through the eye piece.
The front of the SkyScout has a lens that you see through, and below that is a small rubber plug that hides the SD card slot. The back is very similar to the front in that there is a lens that you look through and two plugs that hide the headphone jack and USB plug.
The right side holds the battery compartment. The SkyScout uses 2 AA batteries.
The bottom has a place for screwing in a tripod, although I doubt you will use one. It is so light you will probably not need it. Also, if you are using the headphones to listen to the audio you will not want to be constrained by a tripod.
Using the SkyScout is in fact really easy. After you turn it on it will immediately try to connect to any available GPS satellites. This process can take a few minutes and may never connect if you are indoors or in a covered area. You can interrupt the GPS alignment and go into demo mode. Demo mode will allow you to try out all the features and look up information about each object. After the SkyScout has found its location you have several options. The locate option allows you to view an object in the SkyScout lens and press the target. This will cause the SkyScout to display a list of objects that are in the general area of the object you were pointed at. You could also select an object from the many menus on the SkyScout and it will direct you to that object. The SkyScout direct you by displaying arrows in the viewfinder which point in the direction of the object you are looking for. When you get to the object the SkyScout will turn on all the arrows so they form a circle around the object.
Once an object has been identified you have several more options on what you want to do. Most of the options consist of displaying or playing information about the object you have selected. The SkyScout contains a ton of information, as I mentioned above the SkyScout contains information on 6000 Stars, 1,500 Double & Variable Stars, 88 constellations, over 100 deep space objects including Galaxies, Nebulae & Star Clusters, and over 200 audio descriptions of the most popular celestial objects. The audio is really nice because you can listen to it while you are looking at the object. There is no external speaker so you must use headphones in order to hear the audio. This is a bit unfortunate because it makes it a little more difficult to share the SkyScout with someone else because you will have to swap the headphones.
The SkyScout does not magnify what you are looking at, so you are going to need a telescope to accompany the SkyScout. Most of the fun of astronomy comes from seeing the objects up close and in detail. You could mount the SkyScout on a tripod and then have them side by side. This would allow you to listen to the audio about an object while you looked at it in a telescope.
One of my favorite options in the SkyScout is the “Tonight’s Highlights” option. This will give you a list of all the objects that are visible in your sky. This eliminates the possibility that you will waste your time trying to find objects that are not visible.
|SkyScout in action|
Warranty and Support
The SkyScout comes with a 2 year warranty. This warranty covers defects in workmanship only. To help the SkyScout stay up-to-date, Celestron offers regular updates to the firmware and database of objects, and best of all these updates are free.
For an aspiring astronomer the SkyScout can really be a great tool. The information that you will have access to is amazing. Even if you are an experienced astronomer, I am sure you will find something new in the SkyScout that you did not know. The MSRP for the SkyScout is $617.95, but most online retail stores are selling it for $399.99. Even at $399.99 the SkyScout’s price is a bit restrictive for newcomers to astronomy, especially since you are also going to need a telescope so you can see the objects up close. If you have the money, I can really recommend this to you because it will not only help you learn about the sky, but it will also show you where to find each object. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|