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The History of Celestron Telescopes

A brief summary of the long rich history behind Celestron that has spanned over 50 years.

The Valor Electronics company building as it appeared in the 1950's.In the late 1950’s the founder of Valor Electronics, Tom Johnson, built a telescope from the ground up so that his sons could view the wonders of the galaxy through an eyepiece. This hobby of Johnson’s grew and he formed an Astro-Optical Division within his company, in 1960, which would later become Celestron telescopes.

Before Celestron, high-quality Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes were produced individually by skilled opticians whom also spent hours hand-figuring the glass. Tom Johnson wished to make observatory-grade optics for the general public, however his dream demanded that the manufacturing process had to be streamlined to make it affordable. The solution was to develop ultra-precise match plates which allowed for mass production of the Schmidt corrector. The groundbreaking technique allowed Johnson to create Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes of unparalleled quality, and brought them to the market at a surprisingly low price. Celestron telescopes became an instant success which catapulted the astronomy hobby to new heights.
The Celestron telescope "C8" as advertised back in the 1970's.

Johnson revealed his landmark product in 1970, the Celestron 8. The “C8″, with it’s standout orange tube and high-end optics, amazed thousands of astronomers able to now view celestial objects that were only ever seen in a professional observatory. The C8 revolutionised commercial astronomy and cemented Celestron as the world’s premier telescope brand.

After over 50 years Celestron telescopes remains prominent in the market and have continued to revolutionise not just telescopes, but sport optics and microscopes as well. Celestron’s first digital microscope was introduced in 2008 and won the 2009 Innovation Award at CES.
The Celestron StarSense AutoAlign Accessory

Celestron created StarSense technology and created the first telescope to align itself to the night sky. In just under 3 minutes, using an internal camera and highly advanced software, the SkyProdigy could align to the night sky which earned it the Innovation Award at CES. The StarSense technology became available to all Celestron computerised telescopes with the release of the StarSense AutoAlign Accessory in 2013.

In 2014 wi-fi technology was integrated in a telescope for the first time offering built-in wi-fi capabilities, with that telescope being the Cosmos 90 GT Wi-Fi. Wi-fi was then implemented into Celestron’s famed NexStar telescopes, named the NexStar Evolution. The technology allows users to communicate with their telescopes through a smartphone or a tablet using Celestron’s SkyPortal application. More information regarding SkyPortal can be found in an earlier article.

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