Celestron SkyScout FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the SkyScout?
The SkyScout is a revolutionary handheld device that uses advanced GPS technology with point and click convenience to instantly identify thousands of stars, planets, constellations and more, providing an educational and entertaining tour through the night sky.
2. Who makes the SkyScout?
The SkyScout is made by Celestron, a company that has been making telescopes and other astronomy related products for over 40 years. Celestron is a pioneer in the field of computerized telescopes and its mission is to apply cutting edge technology to its products in order to make astronomy more accessible to everyone.
3. Is the SkyScout a telescope?
The SkyScout is not a telescope. A telescope is an arrangement of lenses or mirrors that gathers visible light in order to observe distant objects. Since the SkyScout has no magnification, it does not collect light and would not be considered a telescope. The view through the Celestron SkyScout is the actual sky with no magnification. This is beneficial for looking at the entire sky. A telescope is better for looking at a small piece of the sky.
4. Why is the SkyScout called a "Personal Planetarium"?
Most people are more familiar with indoor planetariums that project images of celestial bodies and other astronomical phenomena on the ceiling and give facts and other information about the objects. The SkyScout doesn't project an image, but rather uses the actual sky to educate users about the celestial bodies and other astronomical phenomena using audio and scrolling text.
5. Is it easy to set-up and use?
The Celestron SkyScout features no complex set-up and the menu functions are simple enough for all ages. Just turn it on and it's ready to use! A built-in help menu provides a quick start instruction guide for using the SkyScout.
6. How do I target objects?
Simply choose "identify", point the SkyScout at any star or bright object in the sky, and click the "Target" button. TheSkyScout will instantly display the name of the object you are looking at and give information about that object.
7. How do I locate objects?
To locate a star or planet, choose "Locate" and then select the object's name from the menu. Follow the red glowing directional arrows that appear in the viewfinder. All of the directional arrows will light up at the same time when you have found your object.
8. Once I have located an object what do I do next?
Once you have targeted an object the real fun begins. The SkyScout includes entertaining and educational audio and text information, including facts, trivia, history, and mythology about our most popular celestial objects. A fun learning tool for all ages, the SkyScout personal planetarium puts the knowledge of an expert astronomer in the palm of your hand.
9. How many objects can the SkyScout locate and/or identify?
The SkyScout has over 6,000 objects to learn about including stars, planets, constellations, galaxies, nebulae, and more.
10. Can I see all 6,000 objects?
The 6,000 objects in the SkyScout were chosen because they represent the brightest objects in the sky. In order to see all 6,000, you would need to be under very dark, clear skies, away from city lights.
11. Is there audio and text information for all 6,000 objects?
The SkyScout provides comprehensive audio descriptions providing history, mythology, and other entertaining information for the 200 most popular objects. There are also several hundred text descriptions of lesser known objects. All 6,000 objects include basic scientific data which can include brightness, distance from Earth, and other informative information.
12. Can I use my SkyScout in the daytime?
Since the SkyScout has GPS, it can locate and identify stars in day as well as night. Obviously it would be difficult to see stars or planets in the daytime, but you can still locate them and learn about them. Please remember, due to possible damage to your eyes, you should never look directly at the sun.
13. How can I read the SkyScout screen when it is dark?
The Celestron SkyScout was designed to use under dark skies. For that reason, the SkyScout's LCD screen and menu buttons are illuminated with a bright red light. Why red? Red is the wavelength of light that the human eye is least sensitive to. This is important for preserving night vision, an important factor for observing faint sky objects.
14. Can the SkyScout teach me about constellations?
The SkyScout includes constellation lessons. If the star you locate or identify is part of a constellation, you can actually learn about the history, mythology and facts that constellation and locate all of the stars in the constellation. The SkyScout even includes images of each constellation so you can learn to recognize the patter of stars. Learn constellations is the first step to being able to locate stars and planets on your own!
15. What is the function of the Tonight's Highlights feature in the "Locate" menu?
The "Tonight's Highlights" feature provides a customized list of the top 20 objects to view for your exact location at that exact time anywhere on Earth! All of the objects in Tonight's Highlights feature in-depth audio, text and scientific information. This is a great place to star your tour of the night sky with SkyScout.
16. What is included in the "Field Guide" section in the menu?
- Introduction to astronomy: a six part audio lesson on the origin and history of astronomy
- Glossary of Terms: text defining popular astronomy terms including planets, comets, galaxies and more
- Great Astronomers: text bios on some of the world's greatest astronomers including Galileo, Einstein and Copernicus
- Man Made Space Objects: text description of some of the coolest objects man has sent into space including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Shuttle
- Comet Guide: text descriptions about history's most famous comets including Halley's Comet and Comet Hale-Bopp
17. What is the USB port for?
The database and software in your Sky Scout is completely updatable. If there is a new comet or planet discovered, you can download that information right into your SkyScout using the USB port so you always have the latest information. you can also update the software in your SkyScout to include new features or expanded information on exisiting objects as it becomes available.
18. What is the SD car slot for?
SD card slot is used for an optional 20-30 minute "Sky Tour" audio presentation that provides hours of entertainment on a variety of topics. Sold separately, these "Sky Tour" cards will exapand the knowledge of your Sky Scout on a topic of your choosing like "Astronomy for Kids" or Beginner's Guide to Constellations".
19. How does it work?
The SkyScout uses a patented technology that combines 3 main components:
- GPS receiver: collects information from GPS satellites to get the exact time, date, and location
- Coordinate Database: database has celestial coordinates for all 6,000 objects
- Gravity & Directional sensors: tell the unit the angle and orientation it is being used at.
20. Will the SkyScout work in the Southern Hemisphere as well?
The SkyScout was designed to work anywhere in the world. You can be in California or Australia and your SkyScout will always show you the best objects for viewing that is tailored to your exact location.
21. Is the SkyScout portable?
The SkyScout was designed to be extremely portable, it weighs less than a pound, so it is perfect for taking out in the mountains, desert, or wherever your adventures take you.
22. How durable is the SkyScout?
Since the SkyScout has no moving parts, its very durable. It is water resistant and has a dent resistant rubber armoring.
23. What kind of batteries does the SkyScout use?
The SkyScout operates on 2 AA batteries (user supplied). The Sky Scout batter cover can easily be removed using a small coin.
24. What comes in the box?
When you purchase a SkyScout is includes a padded carrying case, carrying strap, earphones for the audio, USB cable and CD with manual and registration information.
25. What is the warranty coverage on the SkyScout?
The SkyScout features Celestron's top-of-the-line 2-year Warranty.