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Ultima® 2000 Model 8" "Fastar" Schmidt-Cassegrain Computer Controlled Telescope

NOTE: First Limited Deliveries of 8" Ultima 2000 telescope Began in August of 1996. The following data and specifications are subject to change. We do expect the 11" model will follow in 1999 at the earliest. The demand for the hand assembled 8" Ultima 2000 remains so high that Celestron is simply unable to spare resources to build the 11" Model. We are accepting names on our non-binding waiting list for notification when the 11" telescopes become available.

In 1985 Celestron became the first company to offer computer-driven Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. In August 1996 a new generation of computer controlled telescopes began shipping from Celestron; the Ultima® 2000. It has been in development "from the ground up" using the most sophisticated computer design tools, and we at Company Seven have followed the development efforts at Celestron over the past few years, and we do believe that every facet of these telescopes (except the already superior optics) has been re engineered. The Ultima® 2000 were designed using the best expertise in the industry tempered with substantial input from dealers, distributors and most importantly - from the potential user! Ultima 2000 8

Child's Play! The 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain Ultima® 2000 computer driven telescope is designed to be the ultimate in simplicity and user friendliness - just find two alignment stars (located easily with the star charts provided) and then the fun begins.

The product is technologically quite sophisticated in order to provide the buyer with functional versatility and good ease of use. The telescopes have approximately the following features: altazimuth operation, incredible 10 degrees per second fast slewing speed, motors are extremely quiet, four speeds: 10 degrees per second or 2 degrees per second or +/- 8x sidereal or 30% of sidereal, four built-in tracking rates - sidereal, King, lunar and solar, fully enclosed optical encoders for position location (move it manually and it knows where it's at), universal standard 12V DC system which runs off of 8 AA alkaline batteries housed within the drive base for 24 hours under normal usage, a built-in voltmeter function indicates battery condition.

Computer control telescope mount systems require the careful integration of at least two basic sub systems: a dual axis drive or telescope positioning system to move the telescope to a specified position, and dual axis position feed back systems to keep the positioning system informed of where the telescope is pointing to.

The drive system of the Ultima® 2000 telescope is a dual axis (Right Ascension/Azimuth and Declination/Altitude), dual motor system incorporating a 3 speed DC Servo motor in each axis for Tracking, and a 2 speed DC motor in each axis for Slewing.

The encoders on each axis are 8192 counts per 360 degree resulting in a resolution of about 2.5 arc seconds however, an "Enhanced Encoder Resolution" mode provides a 65536 counts per 360 degree resolution of about 2.5 arc seconds.

The Ultima® 2000 telescope controller is "Menu Driven":
Alignment Option
Basic Function Description
Align Menu SKY perform initial 2 star alignment (must be more than 20 degrees apart)
Align Menu EARTH align to terrestrial objects you defined in the NEW Catalog
Align Menu CHANGE to change either of two preset alignment stars
Align Menu EQ SOUTH one star alignment for use with equatorial mounted, polar aligned telescope in Southern hemisphere.
Align Menu EQ NORTH one star alignment for use with equatorial mounted, polar aligned telescope in Northern hemisphere.
Displayed GO TO Menu Option Basic Function Description
Menu AUTO press "ENTER" to slew telescope to last object accessed in the Catalog Menu
Menu MANUAL press "ENTER" to indicate distance and direction to center onto selected object.
Menu MANUAL press "ENTER" again to display information on screed about selected object.
Menu MANUAL press "ENTER" third time to slew telescope onto selected object
Menu RELATIVE Most precise centering mode, invaluable for CCD imaging. Press "ENTER" to slew have automatically telescope CPU select and then slew telescope to brightest star within 5 degrees of desired non stellar object, using "Diamond Buttons" (or by remote control) manually center star. When centered, press "ENTER", telescope will slew to center desired object.
Displayed CATALOG Menu Option Basic Function Description
Menu NAMED STAR (ST) list of stars by Name, mainly for alignment. Press "ENTER" a second time to slew to.
Menu NEW user definable catalog objects such as "NEW01", good for entering passing or new discoveries (comets, supernovae, etc.)
Menu UGC Uppsala General Catalog, objects such as "U00148"
Menu ESO European Southern Observatory Catalog, objects such as "E263-48"
Menu NS141 Non-Stellar Catalog, objects such as "NS141
Menu IC Index Catalog, objects such as "IC434"
Menu NGC New General Catalog, objects such as "NGC4565"
Menu M Messier Catalog, objects such as "M013"
Menu ST Star Catalog, objects such as "ST055"
Menu SOLAR SYSTEM 8 Planets and the Sun, such as "MARS"
Menu NAMED OBJECT Popular objects by name such as "SOMBRERO" galaxy
Displayed Menu Option Basic Function Description
Menu IDENTIFY to identify unrecognized object, or to find another object close to what you are observing.
Displayed Menu Option Basic Function Description
Menu TIMER stopwatch/elapsed timer function
Displayed Menu Option Basic Function Description
Menu SETUP to: check Battery Power, set Message Scroll Speed, pick referenced Chart Preference, set Slewing Rates (PHOTO 0.5x sidereal rate, 2X SDRL 2x sidereal rate, CENTER 6x sidereal rate, FINDER 2 degrees/second, SLEW 10 or more degrees/second - depending on power), select Manner of Tracking: Altazimuth or Equatorial or Terrestrial, Tracking Rates: (Sidereal, King, Solar, Lunar), Periodic Error Control in equatorial polar aligned mode corrects for periodic worm errors over 5.41 minute period, Azimuth or Altitude Gear Ratio to vary relative speed of the tracking motors such as for tracking comets, azimuth and altitude Backlash Compensation, Cord Wrap Control, Button Speed, Button Slew.
Displayed Menu Option Basic Function Description
Menu TOUR DEMO or MANUAL tour; telescope automatically slews from one object to another.

Ultima 2000 Telescope Hand Control
At Left: Close up view of the Hand Control furnished with the Celestron "Ultima 2000" series telescopes.

The lightweight fork mount has the necessary rigidity to facilitate accurate pointing. It has an ultra-smooth disc clutch manual motion (fully adjustable) in both axes. The drive system motors turn a worm gear. The drive base incorporates 9" preloaded high stiffness plate bearing ensures superior stability. For added convenience, the fork mount has carrying handles on both fork tines.

The data base includes 10,000 deep sky objects; 25 object memory is provided for user-definable objects and planets. A special feature allows you to view 15 favorite objects by season automatically.

The potential for automated CCD imaging are obvious however, you will need the optional equatorial wedge to avoid "field rotation", and a few other accessories to do this. A built-in drive corrector is furnished as standard. The nominal focal length of 2032mm (f/10) can be reduced to about 1280mm (f/6.3) with our optional f/6.3 Focal Reducer/Corrector accessory.

Through the RS-232 port you can control the Ultima® 2000 by a personal computer using a variety of third party software that we offer most notably "TheSky" by Software Bisque.

In 1997 by Celestron working with Santa Barbara Instruments Group introduced the "Fastar" telescope concept. Since July of 1998 all C-8 optical tubes provided with the "Celestar 8 Deluxe" and "Ultima 2000" series models have a secondary mirror holder that be interchanged with an optional lens set and CCD camera holder for imaging with either the Celestron Pixcel 255 or Pixcel 237, or SBIG ST-5 series CCD cameras - at a very fast f1.95. The post July 1998 C-14 telescopes are similarly equipped to operate at f2.1. This can produce extremely short exposure times of about 25 times faster than was otherwise possible at prime focus. Covering fields of view with a Fastar 8 of as wide as 0.5 x 0.7 degrees - the equivalent of shooting the telescope as a 400mm f1.95 lens! The telescope can also accommodate a variety of optional telecompressor lenses at the axial port to vary the effective focal length and f ratio down to as fast as f3.3.

Finally, the telescope itself is quite rigid but extremely portable at only 28 lbs. This will render this telescope a good choice for the suburbanite. The weight of the telescope with the furnished adjustable height field tripod weighs 39 lbs.

Standard accessories include: 7 x 50 Straight Finder scope with standard bracket, Star Prism Diagonal 1-1/4", Visual Back 1-1/4", and a multi-coated 26mm Plossl Eyepiece 1-1/4" (78x). Numerous optional accessories are available to expand your particular interests.


  • PDF Icon Celestron Ultima 2000 Telescope Complete instruction manual for the Ultima 2000 telescope. A good overview about how to use the Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain computer controlled telescopes and it's Ultima OS. By Celestron International, (4,350,856 bytes in Acrobat Reader ".pdf" format).

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