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ok so I bought Celestron 11049 NexStar 4 SE Computerised Telescope and this morning I had some good clear skies. I wanted to see Venus and Jupiter however as I didn't have the time to mess around manually trying to align the telescopeas clouds were coming. The hole reason why I got this telescope it was my understanding it be able to find and track planets for me. I am no means an expert in the sky, all what I wish to do is see planets. My question is can I buy anything for my telescope where it'll do all this automatically like turn telescope and make it find the moon for instance?

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

Check out Celestron's  SkySync / GPS Accessory and also their StarSense unit.

I put my 6SE on a manual alt-az mount and with my RACI (right angle correct image) finder it takes only seconds to find an easily visible planet. Mercury, Uranus and Neptune would involve a bit more effort.

 

 

Edited by Ruud
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Electronic assistance on scopes is fine for tracking objects and for locating faint objects.

However, GOTO technology is (in my opinion) either mis-sold by scope manufacturers, or misunderstood by new purchasers.

While you are looking at bright easy to find objects, Ruud's advice is sound.
It is the quickest was to locate an object.

Hope this helps. David.

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GOTO is very useful but it does require a set up process to be followed, which takes a little time if the mount is going to accurately point the scope and a chosen target and track it. I tend to agree with David (above) that new purchasers are not always made aware of this by the advertising.

On a manual alt-azimuth mount, you provide the "GOTO" and tracking capability yourself so, as long as you know where your target is in the sky, it's usually the quickest method of all.

Mind you, a the Nexstar 4SE does need some cool down time if bought out from a warm environment (about 30 mins) before it will deliver quality high power images (eg: of the planets) so that time is more than ample to setup the GOTO system. I've not really regarded maks and scts (even small ones) as real "grab and go" scopes because of their need to cool down.

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If you want grab'n go for naked eye planets, just buy a manual alt-azimuth mount (I have an AZ-4) and use that as an alternative mount.

With the GoTo, performing a Solar System Align on the planet you want to observe is fairly quick. (I have a pre-leveled permanent tripod in the garden which makes it even quicker). 

The Starsense (rather an expensive accessory for a small telescope) substantially increases the speed and convenience of setting up.  A non-obvious benefit is that you don't have to level the tripod.

The selling point of GoTo for beginners is that you can do a proper align and find stuff in the sky without being able to identify more than a handful of bright stars,  or if you use the 3-star Skyalign you don't have to be able to identify any stars at all.  It will never be as quick as putting the scope on a manual alt-az mount and aiming it at a bright planet.  I bought my first GoTo so I could find Uranus. 😀

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Venus and Jupiter are both very bright objects in the sky. They are easy to locate even for a beginner. Both planets are very easily visible to the naked eye.

Your telescope will find and track these, but it needs to be calibrated first. This procedure is know as “Skylign” on Celestron scopes. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it yet, but it requires you to center 3 stars in the field of view of the telescope. Any bright stars/objects will do and you don’t need to know their names. This is a fairly easy task. After the calibration you can choose objects in the hand controller database and the scope will find them for you with a push of a button. 

Using the “solar system align” is great if you need to be observing the planets quickly and only need tracking. 

There does exist a fully automatical system called StarSense Autoalign, which will do this alignment process for you, however it is quite expensive and I believe it might not be compatible with your 4SE.

Personally I’d recommend you to learn the night sky a little. A Goto telescope is a great tool but it doesn’t replace the knowledge of the night sky. Learning a few constellations isn’t very difficult and it will greatly benefit you in this hobby. 

 

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Posted (edited)

The 4SE will find objects "automatically" but as has been said it needs the star alignment process (and there are several choices of alignment methods) and then its just a case of choosing the object you wish to see and the scope will find it. The alignment process takes time and the scope needs time to cool down. However, with just a little planning you can still be out using the scope pretty quickly. Getting more familiar with the alignment process certainly helps. As to cool down time, keeping the scope in a cool place, like a shed, garage or even the boot of a car,  short cuts this quite a lot. By the time you have set the mount up the scope will be pretty much ready to go. If this is all too much then again as said you can opt for a simple manual altaz mount. I have a lightweighr SW Avant mount and the SE4 ota goes on that quite well. A second hand AZ3 would be a cheap option.

Edited by Alfian
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