NexStar Evolution unveiled by Celestron at NEAF 2014

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We’re here at the NorthEast Astronomy Forum 2014 on 12 and 13 April, and it’s been exciting to see the many new products that are coming to market in the US. Of these, one has been interesting to note – Celestron’s Nexstar Evolution.

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Unveiled at the show today, the Nexstar Evolution is a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that has built-in WiFi. That means that it’s possible to control the motorized mount fully through your smartphone or tablet.

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The scope has an integrated wireless network which you can connect your device to and enable navigation of the night sky through the touchscreen of your device – gone is the hand-controller.

There’s also an app that’s been developed to go with the Evolution, which operates on both iOS and Android platforms. Produced in partnership with SkySafari, this enables you to explore the skies above using the interactive planetarium, which displays the constellations in real time.

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Other aspects of the Nexstar Evolution that caught our eye included a built-in battery that provides power for up to 10 hours, SkyAlign alignment for the Go-To system that’s also operated through the app, manual release clutches on both axes, and a sturdy all-metal construction that splits into three parts for transportation.

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Unveiling the new scope, Celestron CEO Dave Anderson said the development of smartphone Go-To control enabled the Nexstar Evolution to be used with greater ease by people who wanted to explore the wonders for the universe for the first time.

“This is a scope that brings a quality observing experience to non-experts,” he said. “For them, it’s enough of a task to be out under the stars on a clear night, and it shouldn’t have to be any more difficult.”

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The Nexstar Evolution comes in 6-, 8- and 9.25-inch aperture, priced at $1,199, $1,599, and $2,099 in the US. UK pricing is expected soon.