Celestron's new Sky Prodigy 130 wasn't much use within CES Unveiled's carpeted ballroom, but the $800 telescope promises to track celestial bodies by itself to deliver instant gratification to observers. "In three minutes, you're an instant astronomer," said Celestron's Michelle Meskill. "You don't need to have a computer, and 4,000 bodies are in its database." Its 130mm lens and 5" mirror are powerful enough to offer a look at Saturn's rings and the Galilean moons. I'm conflicted about these gadgets. When I was a kid, I sat on Worthing beach at night, filling in an already-ancient copy of the I Spy the Sky workbook with the aid of a pair of bad-ass but very plain binoculars. Some analog experiences are such that computerization doesn't appeal much to me, even though my life is computerized up to the eyeballs. That's ridiculous in all the most obvious ways, I know! But it's the way I feel; actually going there being out of the question, getting as far I as I can without help is part of the fun.
Photo: Heather Beschizza