How to Use a Computerized Telescope

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Computerized telescopes have brought a revolution to amateur astronomy. The new technology has opened up observing to many who were previously daunted by the task of learning the sky or using star charts. Finding an astronomical object becomes a quick operation with a computerized telescope, allowing more time for actual observation of the heavens.

How to Use a Computerized Telescope is the first handbook that describes how to get your computerized telescope up and running, and how to embark on a program of observation. It explains in detail how the sky moves, how your telescope tracks it, and how to get the most out of any computerized telescope. Packed full of practical advice and tips for troubleshooting, it translates the manufacturers' technical jargon into easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, as well as including many of the author's tried and tested observing techniques. Early chapters explain how to test your telescope's optics, choose eyepieces and accessories, take pictures through your telescope, and diagnose operational problems. The second half of the book then gives detailed instructions for three classic telescopes: the Meade LX200, Celestron NexStar 5 and 8, and Meade Autostar (ETX and LX90). Besides helping owners and would-be purchasers of these models, the instructions also provide a basis of comparison for understanding newer telescopes.

Amateur astronomers will find this book an invaluable source of information and advice for getting started with a new computerized telescope. Concentrating mainly on telescope operation and troubleshooting, it is the ideal companion to Celestial Objects for Modern Telescopes, also by Michael Covington, which provides the reader with suggestions for interesting celestial objects to view and advice on how to observe them.

Michael Covington, an avid amateur astronomer since age 12, has degrees in linguistics from Cambridge and Yale Universities. He does research on computer processing of human languages at the University of Georgia, where his work won first prize in the IBM Supercomputing Competition in 1990. His current research and consulting areas include theoretical linguistics, natural language processing, logic programming, and microcontrollers. Although a computational linguist by profession, he is recognized as one of America's leading amateur astronomers and is highly regarded in the field. He is the author of several books, including the highly acclaimed Astrophotography for the Amateur (1985; second edition 1999) and Celestial Objects for Modern Telescopes (2002), which are both published by Cambridge University Press. The author's other pursuits include amateur radio, electronics, computers, ancient languages and literatures, philosophy, theology, and church work. He lives in Athens, Georgia, U.S.A., with his wife Melody and daughters Cathy and Sharon, and can be visited on the Web at

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