Connecting Celestron Telescope to WWT

This is a guide intended to aid in the first-time connection of a newer model Celestron amateur telescope to WorldWide Telescope. Although the application is designed to work with all amateur telescopes, functionality has only been tested with Celestron telescopes that use a miniUSB port. To begin, make sure that the software listed below is installed.

Requirements

Windows Operating System: Windows 7.1 or Higher[1]

CPU: Intel i5 or Higher

Memory: Minimum 4GB System Memory

Software Required: ASCOM Platform 6.4, WorldWide Telescope Version (tested with v. 6.0.4), ASCOM Celestron Driver 6.1.70594 (OR whatever driver works with your telescope HERE)

Telescope Information (Test Subject): Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope (6 in.)

       Testing the Software

  1. Verify ASCOM has been installed correctly and is connected to WWT. Confirm that in WWT, the word Installed appears below the ASCOM logo on the telescope page.

  1. Set up the telescope simulator in WWT. In the telescope tab, click on Choose and select Simulator from the drop-down menu. The application will prompt you to click on Properties. Enter the correct settings (as shown below). Once the window appears as below, click OK.

 

  1. Connect the virtual telescope to the application. Back on the WWT telescope page, click on Connect and the telescope controls should no longer be greyed out. A new window should also have opened (you may have to access it from the taskbar at the bottom of the screen) and it should have red numbers on it, giving information such as RA and Dec.

  1. Test the functionality of the virtual telescope. In the search tab of WWT, search for Polaris and double click on the tile to move WWT to the star. After WWT has finished moving, click on Slew in the telescope tab and you should see the red numbers change (instantly, since the slew rate is set to instant). Also try pressing on the different buttons (N/S/E/W in the telescope tab) and seeing if the numbers move. If both of these tests work, then WWT and ASCOM are working together successfully. You are now able to connect your physical telescope.

Connecting the Physical Telescope

  1. Set up the physical telescope according to manufacturer directions. If telescope is new, set up mount according to quick start directions included in manual packet and place the telescope on the mount, being sure to tighten the screws under the plate. Add required batteries and turn on the telescope.

  1. Align the telescope according to manufacturer directions. When you get to the align screen, align the telescope using the method of your choosing.

  1. Connect the miniUSB cable to the computer and telescope. With WWT NOT running, take the miniUSB cable and attach it to the bottom of the Hand Controller as well as to your computer’s USB port.

  1. Check the connection in the Device Manager. To check that the connection was successful, open the Windows Device Manager (type device into the search bar on the dock). Under Ports (COM and LPT), you should see a device. It should read: Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COM3), or something similar but with a different COM number. The connection has been successful.

  1. Allow WWT to control the telescope. Open WWT and go to the telescope tab. Click Choose and choose Celestron Telescope Driver (or whatever driver you are using) from the drop-down menu. Click on Properties and fill in the settings that align with your telescope (suggested settings are shown below).

WWT Controls

Advantages/Features

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use WWT while observing?

        Using WWT as an aid to observing allows you to view real images from telescopes around the world as well as all-sky surveys in different wavelengths, which present new ways to see objects. When compared to what you see in your telescope, the results can be breathtaking. WWT also provides a full 3D model of the solar system, allowing you to easily view planets and pick out surface features that you can identify in your telescope. You can use your keyboard to access WWT’s database of thousands of objects instead of searching through Hand Controller menus. These are just a few of the advantages to using WWT in tandem with your telescope. For more, see the complete Features List.

                

Where can I get help with WWT telescope connection issues?

        Help can be provided at https://wwt-forum.org/, or via the WWT Facebook or Twitter page. You can also contact Aidan Cook, the author of this guide at aidan.cook@roxburylatin.org.

Is it necessary to use a Celestron 6 SE to connect to WWT?

        No, any newer model telescope with a miniUSB port should work in a similar way. Depending on your telescope, you will need to install a different ASCOM driver in addition to the ASCOM platform. Visit ascom-standards.org/Downloads/ScopeDrivers.htm to download other drivers. The presented procedure was only tested with a Celestron 6 SE, however, and other telescopes (especially other brands) may work differently. In theory, WWT should be able to connect to any telescope with a miniUSB port.

Is an internet connection necessary for observing with WWT?

        Unfortunately, some elements of WWT require access to the internet. You are able to download guided tours onto your computer. WWT uses very little data so using a hotspot from your mobile device is a feasible solution to this problem.

How do I preserve my night vision in WWT?

        On Windows 10 computers, you are able to turn on night mode, which will shift the screen to redder light (better for night vision). To turn this on, locate the switch in display settings for the computer, or visit support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4027563/windows-10-set-your-display-for-night-time for more information. This will change the colors of WWT so be advised that all light will be red-shifted.

My computer and WWT slow down dramatically when my telescope is connected. How do I fix this?

        Unfortunately, this is an unfixable problem that results from the telescope’s communication with the computer. The telescope is constantly moving in small steps, to keep sky targets centered in the view, but this causes a large amount of data to be sent to WWT, which tries to sync on an instantaneous basis. Higher power and newer computers have less of a problem with this and are able to handle the data in a more efficient way. If your computer is unusable with the telescope connected, your computer may not be powerful enough to use WWT with your telescope.

What are other applications that can help with observing?

        There are many other resources that amateur astronomers and educators can use to aid observing. The Celestron applications that come with the purchase of a new Celestron telescope such as NexRemote, NexGPS, NexTour, can be helpful in some circumstances and are good tests to see if your telescope is working with your computer. Additionally, Starry Night, which comes with the purchase of a new Celestron telescope, has many amateur astronomer tours and astronomical information. You can connect your telescope to Starry Night in a similar manner as WWT.

When was this guide last updated?

        This guide was last updated on July 23rd, 2019.

Prepared by: Aidan Cook (v1.0)

        


[1] Computers running Windows versions below Windows 8 may experience a significant decrease in performance