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Celestron starsense dobs


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So these have just been announced and having used their starsense Explorer telescope's I'm quite excited as I love dobs. 

So I have the 10" version arriving soon.

 

Screenshot_2022-05-04-17-16-42-20_40deb401b9ffe8e1df2f1cc5ba480b12.jpg

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I spotted these the other day too, they look interesting! It also explains to a certain extent why they haven't released Starsense Explorer as a stand-alone option, which is a shame as I bet they'd sell thousands of them.

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1 hour ago, doublevodka said:

I spotted these the other day too, they look interesting! It also explains to a certain extent why they haven't released Starsense Explorer as a stand-alone option, which is a shame as I bet they'd sell thousands of them.

I agree that they would sell a lot! 

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It was only a matter of time - I was wondering where Celestron would deploy this tech next. Big Dobs are the natural fit. Will be interesting to see how these perform. 

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When these starsense models first came out there was a discussion on cloudynights where someone contacted Celestron with the idea of selling the units separately - in the reply Celestron said they had decided it was not a viable option.  I presume they believe it will sell more Celestron scopes than allowing them to be used on any make of scope.

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2 hours ago, Astro_Dad said:

It was only a matter of time - I was wondering where Celestron would deploy this tech next. Big Dobs are the natural fit. Will be interesting to see how these perform. 

Got one coming and rumours are there's a 14" coming

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, StevieDvd said:

When these starsense models first came out there was a discussion on cloudynights where someone contacted Celestron with the idea of selling the units separately - in the reply Celestron said they had decided it was not a viable option.  I presume they believe it will sell more Celestron scopes than allowing them to be used on any make of scope.

I’ve seen a number of posts here and there showing how it could be done but not sure how effective it would be in practice. I recall the CN post and think also Celestron claim that they prefer to ensure a proper quality fit and alignment and therefore don’t want to risk supplying as an after market mod. Either way it is great tech and I started out with the 130 mm reflector version so can see the appeal here. I’ve been tempted to try fitting an add on push to system to my 10 inch Dob -  something like the Asterion encoder kit.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/astronomy-mount-upgrade-kits/asterion-push-to-kit-for-sky-watcher-dobsonians.html

A bit more involved and fiddly with the two star alignment vs the camera based plate solving tech in StarSense but more cost effective?

Probably will stick to using TLaO and learning the sky the old fashioned way for now…

Edited by Astro_Dad
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On 05/05/2022 at 03:22, Daniel-K said:

So I have the 10" version arriving soon.

Looking forward to any report, as I am looking at the 10" version myself :D

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Posted (edited)

A few of us on here bought the low-end LT70AZ or similar when they first came out, just to get the license code and swap the carrier over to one of our scopes, or even fab a DIY carrier. There's a thread here somewhere, will see if I can find it. I plan on passing the LT70 along to my daughter once she's moved house and I'll use the phone carrier I made for my own gear.

here you go:

 

Edited by DaveL59
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Posted (edited)

Thinking of it, it seems like a better option, to buy cheap starsense and DIY..

 

I noticed in the review that the collimation requires hex and phillips screws which is kind of underwhelming for celestron in 2022. Considering most dobs out there today provide grip knobs for primary collimation.

I do love the handle and the knob to move the scope around the sky, but generally I did expect them to up the game at least one bit, since the prices at least in the EU are well over a grand for the 10" (1250-1500€), while the Bresser dob for example sells for 670€. Is the starsense dock+activation key worth the extra 600€ in the case of a 10"..

Edited by Apprentice
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On 05/05/2022 at 09:28, doublevodka said:

I spotted these the other day too, they look interesting! It also explains to a certain extent why they haven't released Starsense Explorer as a stand-alone option, which is a shame as I bet they'd sell thousands of them.

Whatever Starsense does can easily be accomplished by RPi4 + Pi HQ camera + a cheap 50mm finder + INDI + some python scripts + Sky Safari (works out a lot cheaper than Starsense). For the INDI + python part, using astroberry can save a lot of work on scripting (only a couple of more additional scripts will be enough. This is what I've got for myself).

The stargazing community is small and the majority of us won't spend more than £400 - 500 total on the gears. Starsense alone can easily account for more than half of this budget, so it's unlikely to sell thousands of them. It's actually a better strategy for Celestron to use it to promote their own products (Same strategy used by ZWO with their ASIAIR).

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8 minutes ago, KP82 said:

Whatever Starsense does can easily be accomplished by RPi4 + Pi HQ camera + a cheap 50mm finder + INDI + some python scripts + Sky Safari (works out a lot cheaper than Starsense). For the INDI + python part, using astroberry can save a lot of work on scripting (only a couple of more additional scripts will be enough. This is what I've got for myself).

The stargazing community is small and the majority of us won't spend more than £400 - 500 total on the gears. Starsense alone can easily account for more than half of this budget, so it's unlikely to sell thousands of them. It's actually a better strategy for Celestron to use it to promote their own products (Same strategy used by ZWO with their ASIAIR).

If the starsense option was available on it's own it would only need the cradle and a code for the free app. So logically would cost less than a Rpi4 and less fuss. Unless you refer to the full starsense unit with camera and scope control.

It would be interesting to see exactly what you have done with Astroberry/Python/Sky Safari and how that would be used instead of starsense.

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16 minutes ago, KP82 said:

Whatever Starsense does can easily be accomplished by RPi4 + Pi HQ camera + a cheap 50mm finder + INDI + some python scripts + Sky Safari (works out a lot cheaper than Starsense). For the INDI + python part, using astroberry can save a lot of work on scripting (only a couple of more additional scripts will be enough. This is what I've got for myself).

The stargazing community is small and the majority of us won't spend more than £400 - 500 total on the gears. Starsense alone can easily account for more than half of this budget, so it's unlikely to sell thousands of them. It's actually a better strategy for Celestron to use it to promote their own products (Same strategy used by ZWO with their ASIAIR).

I totally get that it's possible other ways, there are many very good DIY projects out there for all sorts of Astro things.

My point was more if they released it stand alone at a reasonable price, say between £50 - £100 it would sell by the boatload. I understand it's Celestron trying to push their own optics etc but it seems a little bit of a short-sighted strategy.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, StevieDvd said:

If the starsense option was available on it's own it would only need the cradle and a code for the free app. So logically would cost less than a Rpi4 and less fuss. Unless you refer to the full starsense unit with camera and scope control.

It would be interesting to see exactly what you have done with Astroberry/Python/Sky Safari and how that would be used instead of starsense.

I was referring to the full unit. The code on its own will be cheaper than the RPi4 for sure, but does it not require the actual starsense explorer scope to function?

My own self-made device grants me camera feed with crosshair overlay for aligning the finder to the main scope, precise PA when using EQ mount, GOTO using plate-solving and push-to guidance using plate-solving. Astroberry with its built-in Kstars/Ekos greatly reduces the work required to write my own script to interface with the mount via INDI. All mount movements and plate solving can be done via DBus scripting to call relevant functions that are already available in Ekos. I could certainly install Kstars/Ekos/astrometry on a vanilla Raspbian (or ubuntu pi) manually myself, but why waste time when there was already a prepackaged OS with everything I need. Sky Safari acts like a frontend UI similar to the StarSense app.

1 hour ago, doublevodka said:

I totally get that it's possible other ways, there are many very good DIY projects out there for all sorts of Astro things.

My point was more if they released it stand alone at a reasonable price, say between £50 - £100 it would sell by the boatload. I understand it's Celestron trying to push their own optics etc but it seems a little bit of a short-sighted strategy.

I doubt they could lower it by that much. Otherwise they could have done it now. At £50 - 100 they would massively boost the sales of Celestron scopes among the new starters.

Edited by KP82
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8 minutes ago, KP82 said:

I doubt they could lower it by that much. Otherwise they could have done it now. At £50 - 100 they would massively boost the sales of Celestron scopes among the new starters.

For clarity, I'm only talking about the cradle and the app, for example, you can buy this whole budget setup for £169 https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-starsense-explorer-series/celestron-starsense-explorer-lt-70-az-refractor-telescope.html

If you take out the cost of the mount, OTA, eyepieces, red dot finder, diagonal etc I think it's perfectly reasonable for a stand-alone version to be sub £100. Plenty of people have bought that whole scope and then DIY'd the cradle onto another scope so there certainly a market for it 👍

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you also get a spare low-cost scope to use or give to a family member. There's also the LT80AZ now too. The LT models aren't great in terms of the mount but optically the scope isn't bad at all.

Note tho that the phone app isn't as detailed their full-blown camera based unit, less objects to choose from but it works pretty well, just needs a suitable phone.

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49 minutes ago, doublevodka said:

For clarity, I'm only talking about the cradle and the app, for example, you can buy this whole budget setup for £169 https://www.firstlightoptics.com/celestron-starsense-explorer-series/celestron-starsense-explorer-lt-70-az-refractor-telescope.html

If you take out the cost of the mount, OTA, eyepieces, red dot finder, diagonal etc I think it's perfectly reasonable for a stand-alone version to be sub £100. Plenty of people have bought that whole scope and then DIY'd the cradle onto another scope so there certainly a market for it 👍

I think they consider that it's a boost to sell their own scopes, and that if sold on its own it would decrease their own scope sales. 

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1 hour ago, KP82 said:

I was referring to the full unit. The code on its own will be cheaper than the RPi4 for sure, but does it not require the actual starsense explorer scope to function?

My own self-made device grants me camera feed with crosshair overlay for aligning the finder to the main scope, precise PA when using EQ mount, GOTO using plate-solving and push-to guidance using plate-solving. Astroberry with its built-in Kstars/Ekos greatly reduces the work required to write my own script to interface with the mount via INDI. All mount movements and plate solving can be done via DBus scripting to call relevant functions that are already available in Ekos. I could certainly install Kstars/Ekos/astrometry on a vanilla Raspbian (or ubuntu pi) manually myself, but why waste time when there was already a prepackaged OS with everything I need. Sky Safari acts like a frontend UI similar to the StarSense app.

I doubt they could lower it by that much. Otherwise they could have done it now. At £50 - 100 they would massively boost the sales of Celestron scopes among the new starters.

The starsense full unit needs to link to a goto mount, the starsense phone app version is just a cradle that can be connected to any scope.  For a plate-solving/PA setup then yes there are plenty of ways to do this on Astroberry/Stellarmate/Asiair/Eqmod/NINA etc.  Most usage of them don't require any coding.

I was trying to visualise a push-to guidance with plate-solving for a simple scope with no electronics using Rpi & Astroberry. I have an EdgeHD with the full starsense setup (plug & play on an SCT/AZ mount) and well versed on the Linux apps (have Astroberry/Stellarmate/Asiair) - but I expect a few on the forum would be interested in creating a cheap push-to system, like the Celestron app, if it were easy to create.

 

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, StevieDvd said:

The starsense full unit needs to link to a goto mount, the starsense phone app version is just a cradle that can be connected to any scope.  For a plate-solving/PA setup then yes there are plenty of ways to do this on Astroberry/Stellarmate/Asiair/Eqmod/NINA etc.  Most usage of them don't require any coding.

I was trying to visualise a push-to guidance with plate-solving for a simple scope with no electronics using Rpi & Astroberry. I have an EdgeHD with the full starsense setup (plug & play on an SCT/AZ mount) and well versed on the Linux apps (have Astroberry/Stellarmate/Asiair) - but I expect a few on the forum would be interested in creating a cheap push-to system, like the Celestron app, if it were easy to create.

 

Without additional scripts those software would require the users to fiddle around with the complicated UI through either RDP or VNC, not very practical for visual. The device I made for myself removes this hassle and is basically plug&play similar to the full StarSense unit. The extra benefit is that it works with any telescopes/mounts and can be used for both GOTO and push-to.

Edited by KP82
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I've used Starsense Explorer and very good it is too.  However,  although I've adapted it so I can transfer it to all my scopes, the number of objects in its database is, at least currently, extremely limited.   Even beginners won't take long to get through all the objects.

On the other hand, the Nexus II database is almost infinitely large, so much better for larger scopes.  For my night vision devices it's in a different league altogether.

I've also tried Astrohopper that again uses plate solving.  However, it didn't work properly with any of the phones I tried, possibly because we've got overhead power lines on telegraph poles just outside.

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51 minutes ago, Second Time Around said:

I've used Starsense Explorer and very good it is too.  However,  although I've adapted it so I can transfer it to all my scopes, the number of objects in its database is, at least currently, extremely limited.   Even beginners won't take long to get through all the objects.

On the other hand, the Nexus II database is almost infinitely large, so much better for larger scopes.  For my night vision devices it's in a different league altogether.

I've also tried Astrohopper that again uses plate solving.  However, it didn't work properly with any of the phones I tried, possibly because we've got overhead power lines on telegraph poles just outside.

I was thinking the same but I see the latest update has substantially increased the number of entries. I always thought that the initial “limited” list would ensure beginners progressed to star hopping and properly learning the sky, but it does appear Celestron have upgraded to take advantage of the enhanced deep sky capabilities of these Dobs. 

Extract from the article:

“The new app version adds a list called “More Deep Sky Objects,” an eclectic collection of targets from the NGC, IC, PGC, UGC and Sharpless catalogs, all fainter objects suited for the larger aperture of the two Dobs. However, the curated list contains only 160 objects and, oddly, 30 of them are Messier objects, needlessly repeating entries from that catalog.

However, deep sky fans will not be left wanting. The tens of thousands of objects from the Abell, Arp, Barnard, Cederblad, Hickson, NGC, IC, PK, PGC, UGC, and Sharpless catalogs (phew!) are all in the database and can be called up and displayed on the chart using the app’s Search function by entering a specific object.

Or, if you want to see the complete listing of NGC objects, search for just “NGC” to bring up a scrollable list of 7,987 objects. Pick the one you want, hit Center, and it’ll be displayed on the chart so StarSense arrows can lead you to it. The app’s database set is now similar to what’s included in the SkySafari Plus mobile app”.

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Wow! Many thanks indeed!

Not as many as Nexus offers I don't think, but it'll keep me busy for a while.  I'll have a proper look shortly in my Bracken star atlas to see how many night vision objects visible in my 10 inch are listed.

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