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Telescopes with GPS tracking systems usually feature something that is called a GOTO mount. A GOTO telescope mount is a computerized, motorized mount that adjusts the position of the telescope to automatically locate celestial bodies. A GOTO mount usually functions by means of a handheld device with pre-loaded positions of of celestial bodies, and the mount itself must be calibrated according to the telescope's location. A GOTO mount that has been coupled with a GPS device receives radio waves from satellites to automatically calculate the date, time, and location of the telescope in order to allow for the most precise GOTO synchronization.
A GPS enabled telescope isn't for everyone. If you're an astronomy hobbyist who only keeps a telescope in one place, then a GPS system is totally unecessary. If you are a more serious enthusiast or move your telescope often, then a GPS enabled telescope is for you. When a telescope is fitted with a GPS system, the GPS works in tandem with a GOTO computerized mount to produce highly accurrate telescope positioninga and object tracking. In order for computerized tracking to function in a telescope, the computer must first have an accurrate idea of the telescope's position on earth. The GPS system works with satellites orbiting above earth to help the computer pinpoint the telescope's exact location.
A telescope that is fully equipped with a GPS system and computerized GOTO mount is certainly going to be more pricey than a comparable telescope with a standard mount. Adding a GPS unit to an existing telescope will usually cost around $200 - $300, depending on the kind of telescope and assuming that you already have a GOTO computerized mount. Buying a telescope that is already fitted with a GPS mount may be your best bet. These telescope range in price depending on the model, but few cost less than $500, and the most expensive can cost more than $10000.
Nowadays all kinds of technology is working together to make life easier. Make positioning your Telescope alignment easily using the Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite system that enables precise communication to the telescope of latitude and longitude. If your telescope already has a computerized mount -- meaning a mount that automatically seeks out and tracks celestial bodies -- then you can benefit from GPS telescope functions. The GPS receiver works with your computerized mount to tell your telescope its own exactly location. This means that the computerized mount guidance system will be ultra accurrate when seeking out objects.
GPS stands for Global Positioning System, it is a satellite based navigation system that helps to pinpoint the location of objects on earth. A network of GPS satellites circle the earth in very precise orbits twice each day. When a GPS receiver is activated, it receives signals from all of the GPS satellites in its area. The receiver compares the time at which it receives the signal from a satellite with the actual time each signal was sent in order to determine its distance from each satellite. Using this information, along with the location information of each satellite, the receiver is able to triangulate its own location -- in terms of longitude and lattitude -- on the earth's surface.
There are several major features that you need to look for when buying a GPS equipped telescope: telescope model, telescope portability, and available electronic library of celestial objects. Before buying your GPS telescope, you need to calculate your own needs -- figure out if it is going to be your primary scope or if you intend to use it as a portable scope. You will also need to take in to account just how you intend to transport the telescope, and how much celestial viewing you are going to do. Select a telescope that is easily transportable, and has a reasonable amount of viewing power. Make sure that the available electronic library matches the power of your telescope -- a large library is no use to you if your telescope is not powerful enough for the required viewing.
Currently, most major telescope manufacturers offer GPS telescopes with GOTO mounts. Manufacturers such as Bushnell and Celestron offer many different models of GOTO telescopes, and some of these models come with GPS units built it. GPS units can also be added to most telescopes that already have computerized mounts. Additionally, certain models of telescope can be fitted with both motorized GOTO mounts and GPS units, allowing you to upgrade your telescope. Remember, you only really need to upgrade your telescope with a GPS system if you intend to move it to multiple locations -- if it remains in one place, then only a single calibration is necessary.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|