How to Connect a Telescope to a Laptop

Written by c. taylor
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How to Connect a Telescope to a Laptop
You can connect a USB or serial telescope to your laptop computer. (telescope image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com)

A telescope opens the universe to your eyes. No longer is the sky just a dotted series of distant stars. With telescopes, planets, comets and the moon can be more thoroughly studied. However, traditional telescopes limit the enjoyment to the telescope itself with no easy way of sharing the spectacle. But many telescopes now offer connectivity to computers to allow recording, sharing and viewing of celestial wonders via your laptop.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Serial-to-USB adaptor

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Install any drivers or software that came with your telescope by inserting the CD into the computer and letting Windows recognise it. A pop-up should appear asking if you want to install the software. Confirm that wish to start installation and follow the directions that should accompany the installation program.

  2. 2

    Attach the serial-to-USB adaptor to the serial connection of the telescope's cable. Serial and USB connections are easy to distinguish, as serial connectors are round and USB connectors are rectangular. Most telescopes still use serial connections, although most modern laptops do not have a serial port, hence the need for the adaptor. If your telescope connects via USB or if your laptop possesses a serial port, then this adaptor is unnecessary and the connection can be made directly.

  3. 3

    Power on the telescope, if applicable, and plug the USB end of the adaptor or cord into any available USB port on your laptop. The computer should automatically recognise the device and finalise installation of the drivers.

  4. 4

    Run the telescope software to capture and view images and video on your laptop.

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