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Basic Information about the AS-GT Series

In the spring of 2003, Celestron introduced a new line of computerized scopes - the Advanced Series with GoTo (AS-GT).  Utilizing a NexStar hand control, the AS-GT series consists of a medium-weight German equatorial mount (GEM) on a steel-legged tripod.  The mount and tripod is a new version of the Celestron CG-5 and in the computerized configuration is now called the CG-5GT.  The series includes 5, 8, and 9 1/4 inch SCT models, 8 and 10 inch Newtonian models, and a 6 inch refractor model.  The mount is also sold without an optical tube for an attractive $700.  In the summer of 2003, Celestron added an 11 inch SCT model as well as a 6 inch Newtonian.

The computerized hand control is a version of the NexStar hand control made specifically for the AS-GT.  This hand control responds to the same PC commands (via the RS-232 port on the bottom) as the NexStar 8/9.25/11 GPS, so programs compatible with the N8/9.25/11GPS are compatible with the AS-GT.  The mount includes the ability to use the CN-16 GPS module for precise time and location information and also includes an autoguider port.

The AS-GT series provides a very portable and stable platform for a wide variety of optical tubes. It is an excellent platform for both visual and photographic work.  While the NexStar 5i and 8i would generally be better choices for portability, the flexibility of changing optical tubes might recommend the AS-GT over the NexStar.  Additionally, GEMs are much easier to balance than fork-mounted scopes and thus potentially provide smoother tracking.  And with a GEM, you don't need the optional wedge (required for fork-mounted scopes) for long-exposure astrophotography.

Additional information is found here on Celestron's web site.

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