On this page, I collect further experiences with and some information about my Celestron StarSense AutoAlign for Sky-Watcher module (ordered on February 1, from Teleskop-Spezialisten, arrived on February 7, 2018), which I will call "StarSense module" for short in the following. After the acquisition of a GoTo controller, this module is the final step towards "complete astronomical incompetence"...
Here, I present further experiences with my StarSense module, after I use it with my Celestron C8 tube on a Sky-Watcher Star Discovery mount (since August 2021).
For a long time I had not used my Celestron StarSense module, especially since I had sold my Sky-Watcher Explorer 150PDS, for which I had calibrated the module. Besides the lack of a calibrated tube, many reasons played a role in this, among others the competition from other devices, but also the ultimately low success I had, at least felt, with the StarSense module.
In August 2021, I received an inquiry whether I would like to sell my C8. I was undecided and decided to do some tests and comparisons, especially with the smaller Celestron C5. Of course, the Sky-Watcher GoTo mounts also played a role, the AZ-GTi for the C5 and the Star Discovery for the C8, with whose GoTo behavior I had not had particularly good experiences in 2021. This gave me the idea to finally try the StarSense module once again and calibrate it for the C8 for this purpose. In the following, I simply describe my experiences that I made and also discuss which consequences result from this when using astronomy cameras.
C8 on Star Discovery mount with StarSense module and handbox, 26 mm eyepiece (2"; 78 x; 0.9°) and rarely 16 mm eyepiece (1.25"; 127 x; 0.65°), 2" zenith mirror; SkyWatcher PowerTank. Setup time about half an hour.
This was meant as a test to find out whether the C8 can be operated with the StarSense module. For this purpose, a new calibration was necessary, which I did successfully according to my instructions (Arcturus for calibration; from 10 p.m. on; SQM 19.8). Time/location settings: current time, Frankfurt.
I observed until midnight at maximum SQM 20.1; at the end SQM 20 again...
21 targets approached including Arcturus, of which 3 are repeats (so 18 targets...). At the end, a bit after midnight, SQM 20...
Only a few targets were exactly centered after approaching them via GoTo, but except for Arcturus and nearby M 3, all targets were within the field of view of 0.9°, although a few of them only after issuing a new GoTo command (and two more at Saturn...); possibly due to longer paths to the next target...
Tracking seems to have worked, but I only spent a few minutes on each target.
All in all, if everything works fine, I find using the StarSense module much more pleasant than a "usual" GoTo control!
The following table shows the fields of view of my telescopes and astronomy cameras, as well as other popular cameras:
Field of View
Pixel Size >
|6.45 µm||3.75 µm||2.4 µm||3.76 µm||4.63µm|
|1392 x 1040||1304 x 976||3096 x 2080||3008 x 3008||4144 x 2822|
|PS 72/432||---||432||72||1.19° x 0.89°||0.65° x 0.48°||0.98° x 0.66°||1.50° x 1.50°||2.54° x 1.73°||The largest FOV|
|C5||---||1250||127||0.41° x 0.31°||0.22° x 0.17°||0.34° x 0.23°||0.52° x 0.52°||0.88° x 0.60°||FOV like C8 with reducer|
|C5||f/6.3||787.5||127||0.65° x 0.49°||0.36° x 0.27°||0.54° x 0.36°||0.82° x 0.82°||1.40° x 0.95°||FOV a little smaller as with TLAPO1027|
|C8||---||2032||203||0.25° x 0.19°||0.14° x 0.10°||0.21° x 0.14°||0.32° x 0.32°||0.86° x 0.58°||The smallest FOV|
|C8||f/6.3||1280||203||0.40° x 0.30°||0.22° x 0.16°||0.33° x 0.22°||0.51° x 0.51°||0.54° x 0.37°||FOV like C5|
|TLAPO1027||---||714||102||0.72° x 0.54°||0.39° x 0.29°||0.60° x 0.40°||0.91° x 0.91°||1.54° x 1.05°||FOV a little larger that for C5 with reducer|
|eVscope||---||450||114||---||0.61° x 0.46°||---||---||---||Same chip as ASI224|
The results presented above are based on an field of view of 0.9° (26 mm eyepiece, 2", 70° field of view); only a few objects were indeed "centered" after the GoTo access, many were located somewhere at the edges of the field of view. This would mean that most of the objects would be out of the field of view with my astronomy cameras - some more, some less... That would mean quite a lot of search, especially with the ASI224 at the C8 without a reducer - and with a reducer, as well...
It is still too early for any conclusions in this matter... Further observation sessions should confirm now that the StarSense module can be operated hassle-free and "without bellyache" by me at the Celestron C8 on a Sky-Watcher Star Discovery mount. If this works out, I would perhaps think again about a connection to SkySafari - or the use of an astronomy camera (with a sufficient field of view)...