CGE Pro NexStar computer

The NexStar computer hand control of the CGE Pro mount has a built-in database of more than 40,000 stars, deep space objects, and solar system objects it can locate for you. These include the complete RNGC, Messier, Caldwell, IC, and Abell catalogs; selected SAO stars; the planets, the Moon, and others. The custom database lists of all the most famous deep-sky objects by name and catalog number; the most beautiful double, triple and quadruple stars; variable stars; non-planetary solar system objects; and asterisms. It contains enough fascinating objects to keep you busy observing for the rest of your life.

You can also store and edit the right ascension and declination of 100 objects of your own choosing, such as the comet and asteroid coordinates published monthly in Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines. The computer control can quickly find any of those objects at your command, and track them with high accuracy for visual observing or astrophotography.

All of the database and scope operation information is displayed on a double line, 16-character, liquid crystal display on the hand control. This display leads you through the steps necessary to line up the scope on the sky, locate objects, control scope functions like the brightness of the hand control display, and much more. It shows you basic information about the object being viewed (such as the object's name, catalog designation, type, magnitude, and so forth). In addition to this basic information, there is enhanced information on over 200 of the most note-worthy objects. The display can also show you the right ascension and declination coordinates at which the scope is aimed.

The NexStar hand control software, motor control software, and database updates are flash upgradeable over the Internet.

There are 19 fiber optic backlit LED buttons that glow a soft red in the dark to make it easy for you to control the computer without affecting your dark-adapted vision. An RS-232 communication port on hand control allows you to control the mount via a personal computer using the supplied NexRemote telescope control software.
P>An autoguider port, PC port, and auxiliary ports are located on the mount's electronic pier for use in long exposure astrophotography. The autoguider port can use a six-pin RJ-12 modular jack ST-4 compatible CCD autoguider to automatically control the drive motors during long exposure astrophotography.

Specially designed power management electronics deliver constant regulated power to the motor so that it is capable of driving the mount even when your scope not perfectly balanced. This allows the CGE Pro to have the payload capacity of that of much larger (and expensive) mounts without sacrificing smooth tracking motion and pointing accuracy across the entire sky.

The inherent drive accuracy (periodic error) of the CGE Pro mount is a very good +/- 9 arc seconds or better. However, this can be further improved by training the permanent periodic error correction circuit built into the NexStar hand control to reduce the periodic error inherent in all telescope worm gear drives.

For the astrophotographer, special all-star polar alignment software allows you to choose any bright alignment star for a software-assisted alignment of the mount's polar axis on the celestial pole, even if you can't see the North Star. It works in both northern and southern hemispheres. Once polar aligned, several different sky alignment methods are built into the NexStar computer to line up the scope on the celestial sphere, allowing you to choose a level of computer accuracy in automatically finding objects with which you are comfortable. These include 2-Star Align, Solar System Align, Last Alignment, Quick Align, and 1-Star Align,

With just a standard hand control alignment, the CGE Pro computer has the ability to center a star in your telescope's eyepiece or on a CCD chip to within 5 arc minutes. Using the NexStar computer's advanced pointing features (such as Calibration Stars, Sync, and Precise Go-To) further improves the pointing accuracy to as low as 1 arc minute in the desired region of the sky. The high precision pointing subroutine (Precise Go-To) in the computer lets you point accurately at objects that you want to photograph that are too dim to be seen though the scope. Other software features include: database filter limits, a mount hibernate mode, and user-defined slew limits.

In addition, the NexStar computer hand control is GPS-compatible (using an optional inexpensive CN16 GPS module) for full GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite accuracy. Once the scope is approximately polar aligned, the 16-channel CN16 GPS system uses signals from government satellites to calculate the scope's location on earth with an accuracy measured in meters. The system also calculates the current time based on the split second accuracy of the GPS time signals. After the CN16 quickly completes these calculations and enters the information into the computer control for you automatically, the computer then orients the scope with the sky, slews to a pair of guide stars, asks you to confirm that the stars are in the center of the field (and center them if they're not precisely aligned), and then starts finding and tracking over 40,000 objects for you at your command. With the CGE Pro go-to mount and the CN16, orienting the scope in time and space on earth and aligning the scope on the sky becomes almost as easy a task as simply turning the scope on.

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