Stargazing Made Easy

This telescope searches the sky for you

1 min read

Want to look at the stars but don't know where to begin? Celestron LLC, in Torrance, Calif., claims its NexStar 11 GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope will do the work for you. When activated, the telescope fixes its location using triangulation made possible by data from the Global Positioning System. Next it determines which stars and planets could be visible from the viewer's location at that particular moment from a database of some 40 000 such objects stored in the telescope's handheld controller. Select an object with the controller and the telescope automatically points itself in the right direction.

Connecting a laptop computer to the scope makes way for even more features than the controller's two-line liquid-crystal display permits; standard star-charting programs can create maps of the sky on the laptop screen based on the telescope's location. If the user clicks on an object on the star chart, the NexStar 11 points itself right at it.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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