For stargazers, a personal planetarium

Ever looked up at the stars and wished you could get instant information on the objects of your astronomical affection? Then you might want to point your gaze toward the Celestron SkyScout, a new handheld celestial viewing device likely to be a meteoric hit with stargazers.

The GPS-enabled gadget offers on-the-spot commentary, in scrolling text and narrated audio, about the most popular celestial entities. Point the SkyScout at any bright star and it identifies the object from a database of 6,000-plus entries.

 Celestron SkyScout
Credit: Celestron

SkyScout combines GPS technology, which gives the time, date and location of the user; software that calculates the position of the objects; and three axis sensors measuring gravitational and magnetic fields to determine the orientation of the SkyScout to Earth.

The product, which is about the size of a camcorder and weighs less than 16 ounces, will be on display at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Standout features include a "must-see list" that points out the 10 coolest things to see in the sky on a given night. The product has a USB port for updating the software and downloading new data from celestial objects like the Space Shuttle or passing comets. Also included: An SD card slot for additional content offerings, such as an astronomy tutorial for kids.

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