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GPS technology is great for helping people pinpoint their position on Earth, but did you know that it can also help you position stars? It seems odd that technology that requires input from objects in space to locate Earth-bound objects can be used almost in reverse to find stars in a far wider spectrum. Nevertheless, many amateur and professional astronomers rely on global position systems to examine the heavens. As modern telescopes become increasingly computerised it should come as no surprise to find that many models now come with GPS as a standard feature. These computerised telescopes are called GoTo telescopes, possibly because they go to the position you want with very little effort on your part. The reason being they use their computerised bits and pieces to control their movements down to the nth degree and their sensors adjust automatically to provide you with the clearest image possible. While GoTo telescopes without GPS are fantastic, they still require a little manual work: you have to align your telescope two known positions in space and then input important information such as the date, time and location before if can accurately determine the position of any stars. With GPS telescopes you don't have to input any data, the system provides it all automatically. The trouble with GoTo telescopes with GPS built into the mount is that they can be on the expensive side. They can also be somewhat bulky; which is inconvenient for amateur astronomers. It may be easier to purchase a portable GPS receiver designed to work with telescopes. These are small devices that can be plugged into your telescope to provide all your GPS needs. Many companies make personal planetariums, as they're called. All you have to do is point one at a star and it'll tell you exactly where it is, what it's called and provide a host of other interesting information. They're perfectly portable and operate on batteries and are eminently more convenient for the casual star gazer.

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