High Tech Stargazing

American actress Sharon Stone, center, flashes the "V"-sign after praying at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, during a visit to Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday, March 12, 2006.
AP Photo/Limor Edrey
Astronomy is fascinating for almost everyone. The problem is most of us are lost when it comes to knowing what to look for. Meade Instruments has solved that problem with a new line of telescopes that are guided by a small handheld computer called AutoStar. It's amazing and fun. Meade CEO John Diebel...

"With the AutoStar attached to the ETX telescope the observer takes about, literally, sixty seconds to align the telescope to the sky using known stars, this procedure is almost automatic. After that, you just bring up from the database of the hand controller the object you want to see, for example, the planet Saturn, enter it on the display, push go to and the telescope automatically locates Saturn and puts it in the field of view of the telescope."
It makes the excitement of astronomy available to everyone...

"That is absolutely true. We've been selling telescopes for 27 years and one of the most common comments that we've heard, particularly after the holidays when a lot of people are getting their first telescope is...they'll say something like you know it's a nice telescope, I'm really enjoying it, but gosh, I just can't find anything."
The AutoStar changes that. It sells for about 150 dollars. The ETX telescope is under 600. You can find more information on the web at meade.com