The Celestron NexGuide autoguider – a Sky & Telescope Hot Product for 2011
– provides a user-friendly and accurate stand-alone autoguiding system for long-exposure astrophotography that does the guiding for you electronically and automatically. In many cases, you don’t even have to be present at your scope while taking a long exposure deep space photo.
Unlike other similarly-priced autoguiders, no computer is needed to operate the NexGuide. The stand-alone Celestron NexGuide is compatible with virtually any mount that is equipped with a separate photoguide telescope and an autoguider port. It comes complete with everything you need to work right out of the box!
The Celestron NexGuide uses a Sony ICX404AL CCD sensor to detect and lock on a guide star to guide your mount while your camera takes deep space images. The Sony sensor has 9.6 x 7.5 micron pixels in a 510 by 492 array, with exposure times that double each time in 13 steps from 1 millisecond to 4096 milliseconds for highly accurate guiding.
The battery-powered sensor is mounted in a sleek housing that measures just 4.25" x 3.25” x 1.25” in diameter by 2.35" long. It weighs just 7 oz. The separate battery pack uses four D-cells (not supplied) that will provide many, many hours of guiding in the field. You can also use your own DC power supply capable of providing 6V to 14V DC (lower voltage is recommended) at 250mA and up. Your power supply will need a 2.1mm power plug, center positive, to connect to the NexGuide.
The sensor housing also holds a 1” x 1.5” night vision LCD display. The left half of the screen displays text information such as the menu, data, and status of the autoguider. The right half of the screen displays the image captured by the guiding sensor. A separate nine-button hand control measuring 3.75” x 2.5” x 0.6” lets you navigate the on-screen menus and control all the functions of the NexGuide. The hand control weighs only 3 ounces, including cable. The buttons are illuminated.
The NexGuide has a 1.25" nosepiece for connection to your photoguide scope focuser. The nosepiece comes with an extension for those scopes with more back focus and can be removed to reveal a female T-thread interface. A parfocalizing ring is provided to use with any convenient eyepiece to aid in focusing your photoguide scope.
The Celestron NexGuide’s ease of use will appeal to beginning and experienced astrophotographers alike. The built-in software requires no previous knowledge of autoguiding. It offers automatic calibration of each axis in addition to automatically setting the guide rate parameters. The exposure range is from 1 millisecond to 4 seconds, assuring the ability to use even a faint star for guiding purposes. Typically, the NexGuide can capture and guide on a star as faint as magnitude 8 using an 80mm refractor guidescope, 2048ms exposure times, and good seeing conditions.
The NexGuide is complete with guiding sensor and LCD screen unit; 1.25” barrel to T-thread adapter; 1.25” barrel extension; 1.25” parfocalizing ring; hand control and cable; 6’ RJ-12 guiding cable to connect the NexGuide to your mount via an ST4 compatible output jack on the NexGuide body; battery case and cable; instructions; and a separate serial cable and RJ-45 programming plug for downloading possible firmware updates from the Celestron website.
With the Celestron NexGuide stand-alone autoguider, precision automatic autoguiding for long-exposure deep-sky photography is now easier and more economical than ever before.