SkyScout finds stars for you

Point Celestron’s SkyScout gadget at a bright spot in the sky, press a button, and it tells you what sort of object you’re looking at, be it moon, planet, star, or galaxy (I wonder if it has a “That’s the sun you idiot!” response). It’s based on GPS and some other undisclosed magic, and it sounds so appealing my skept-o-meter went off. I looked for hands-on reviews, but it all seems to be enthusiastic pre-release press straight from the manufacturer. The SkyScout won’t ship until March. So it might still be a disappointment when you hold it in your hands. But if this thing really performs, wow! It can identify what you’re looking at, and it can guide you to something you want to look at.

If it takes off, it’s bound to lead to many similar products. Imagine a product that answers these questions… What building is that over yonder? Which one of those is Mount Monadnock? Is that store open now? How much did that house cost? Nice! What’s the phone number of the person who lives in there? Is she single? You’re right, that’s a cute picture. Sure, go ahead and call her. Wait! Is that her getting out of the car over there? It is? Maybe I’ll go introduce myself. Do these pants make my butt look big? What? No, I don’t think my butt is Mount Monadnock. Ha ha. Very funny. Keep up the wisecracks, you’re going straight back to the store.

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