What's the coolest new stuff entering the astronomical market? That's the question that Sky & Telescope editors wrestle with as they make their annual selection of Hot New Products. Their picks for 2007 are unveiled in the January issue now on its way to subscribers and newsstands. Underscoring the cornucopia of products gathered for consideration is a record 46 items.
Leading the pack is a product you'll find widely promoted during the upcoming holiday season — Celestron's SkyScout. Billed as a personal planetarium, the unique, handheld device identifies celestial objects at the press of a button. You can also use it to guide to you to any of the thousands of objects stored in its database. Our mini-review on the SkyScout is available here, or you can read our full-up review in last November's issue.
Meade's line of LightBridge Dobsonian telescopes was another favorite of the editors. These classy looking, highly portable, truss-tube scopes offer a lot of aperture and performance at very attractive prices. There are 8-, 10-, and 12-inch models currently available, and a 16-inch is due out soon. An mini-review of the 10- and 12-inch versions is available here, and last October's issue carries our full-up coverage.
Kodak picked up Hot Product citations for a pair of new CCD chips currently being installed in high-end astronomical cameras from Apogee Instruments, Finger Lakes Instrumentation, Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG), and Yankee Robotics. Larger than the well-established 35-millimeter-film benchmark, the new Kodak chips offer higher sensitivity and lower noise than previous versions. But best of all they cost roughly one-third as much as their equivalent-size predecessors. The editors believe that these chips will soon be producing some of the best-ever images of the heavens made with backyard telescopes.
Check out the January 2007 Sky & Telescope if you want to learn more about this year's selection of Hot Products.