This Sky Tour object locator computer adds “brains” to your TeleVue Gibraltar, Panoramic, or Tele-Pod altazimuth mount. With its exclusive Lorenzin 2000+ database and refinements such as dimmable red light display, backlit button names, 10-character speed-adjustable scrolling display, and advanced “identify” capability, the TeleVue Sky Tour brings the hand-held computer to a new feature/performance level. When a Sky Tour is added to a TeleVue mount, the total system is simple enough to use to encourage beginning astronomers, yet deep enough for experts to maintain a lifetime of observing enthusiasm.
The Sky Tour computer requires an encoder kit to fit your particular TeleVue mount. Encoder kits are sold separately and include all the parts, tools and instructions for easy installation. TeleVue Gibraltar, Panoramic and Tele-Pod mounts can all be ordered with a Sky Tour and appropriate encoder kit pre-installed. An optional Sky Tour Caddy Plate is available to hold the computer for hands-free operation. With the Caddy Plate, the computer rides securely with the mount head to avoid encoder wire entanglement.
The Sky Tour includes a built-in database of the best visually-observable astronomical objects. More than just a star listing, the Tom Lorenzin 2000+ database in the Sky Tour is a collection of those interesting and observable double and triple stars, bright and dark nebulas, galaxies, star clusters, and colored stars that most suited to observing through TeleVue refractors. TeleVue saw no need to include thousands and thousands of objects that are too faint to be seen visually, as some telescope manufacturers do with their computers. That only frustrates observers. Instead, TeleVue has wisely chosen to include only those objects that can be seen, and seen in detail, by beginners and experienced astronomers alike.
The 2000+ database objects are organized into six catalogs: NGC (New General Catalog), M (Messier), IC (lndex Catalog), ST (Star), NS (Non-Standard), and PL (Planets). For quick reference, an additional FAV (Favorites) catalog is available to store 99 of your favorite objects.
The Sky Tour instructions are easy to follow and include step-by-step diagrams. A simple phone plug connects the computer to the TeleVue mount. Turn Sky Tour on, align the marks on the mount head, sight two known stars from a choice of 31 in the computer’s memory and Sky Tour is ready to lead you on your evening’s journey around the heavens. There’s no need to enter your latitude, longitude, date, or time to find your way around the sky outside the solar system. Once you’ve gained a little familiarity with the stars, the alignment will take you only slightly longer than it did to read this paragraph! Within the solar system, if you want the Sky Tour to lead you to the planets, simply input the current date and time and choose your planetary target.
Sky Tour’s functions are organized into nine “modes.” They are: Star Fix, RA DEC, Catalog, Guide, Align, Identify, Timer, Install, and Encoder. Once Sky Tour is aligned, you enter the Catalog mode and choose an object to view. Catalog mode displays the location, brightness, size, and other information about the object chosen. It also includes the chart number that contains the object in the popular Sky Atlas 2000.0 star atlas. Then switch to Guide mode and the Sky Tour shows you the direction to move the scope in order to center the selected object. As you move in the direction(s) shown Sky Tour visibly counts down the distance to go to reach the object. When Sky Tour shows you’re at zero distance to go, you’re centered on the object. Finding over 2000 objects is as simple as that.
Sky Tour also gives you highly accurate digital setting circle readouts by converting Alt/Az positioning into Right Ascension and Declination. The RA DEC mode lets you hunt for any object in the sky just by looking up its RA and DEC position on a star chart and using the setting circle function to guide you to that position.
As you scan the sky, the Sky Tour’s Identify mode will point you to the nearest object of your choosing. For example, say you wanted to know if there was a galaxy near where your scope was pointing. Enter the Identify mode, choose “Find GX” from the nine object types. If there is a galaxy nearby, Sky Tour will identify it and guide the way to it. It’s a wonderful way to learn about unfamiliar regions of the sky. The Identify mode is fun for explorers who like to scan the sky just to see what they can find. When you think you’ve found something, just ask Sky Tour’s Identify mode to “Find Any.” If the object is in the Sky Tour’s database, it will tell you what it is and give the pertinent details about the object.
The Sky Tour has a 10-character red LED display that can be dimmed to any of five brightness levels. It has a display resolution of 1 minute in right ascension, and 0.1° in declination. The optional encoder kits use 2160 step, 0.167-degree/step (10-arcminute/step) encoders. You can move the scope at a very fast 160 degree per second rate without losing the Sky Tour’s lock on the sky.
The Sky Tour has six display modes. First is STAR FIX, which is the alignment mode using a convenient built-in 31 star list of the brightest stars visible. Next is RA DEC, which shows the current right ascension and declination to which your scope is pointed. Next is CATALOG, which is the complete database of celestial objects in the computer’s memory. Next is GUIDE, which shows the direction and distance to the chosen object. Next is ALIGN, which uses the full database to fine-tune the alignment of the Sky Tour on the sky. Last is IDENTIFY, which identifies the object you are aimed at, by type.
The Tom Lorenzin 2000+ catalog database includes: the Messier objects; selected NGC objects; selected IC objects; selected Non-Standard objects; selected Stars, including colored, double, and multiple stars; 31 alignment stars; 8 Planets; and a customizable FAVorites database that can hold 99 objects. All are listed using Epoch 2000 coordinates.
The Sky tour measures a compact 2.8” x 4.6” x 1.1” in size. It weighs a mere six ounces, including the 9 volt battery that powers it.