HandyAvi allows you to control a Meade LX-200 telescope from your computer.
How can we control a Meade LX-200 telescope using HandyAvi?
Meade LX-200 telescopes have a built-in computer language that can be used to control their actions through your computer's serial port. HandyAvi contains software that uses the Meade language to allow control of your telescope. The controls provided by HandyAvi are very similar to the controls on the keypad that comes with your telescope:
What if my computer does not have a serial port?
Your computer probably has at least one USB port. There are "USB to Serial cable adapters" that will allow you to talk to your telescope via the computer's USB port and the telescope's serial port. (IOGEAR's GUC-232 is one such cable. CompUSA as well as many other computer stores carry these adapters.)
We have successfully controlled a Meade LX-200 telescope using 50 feet of RS-232 cable where one end is plugged into the telescope and the other end is plugged into the computer's serial port or into a serial cable adapter that is in-turn plugged into the computer's USB port.
Why would anyone want to control a telescope using a computer?
If you are using your computer to make movies or take images using a webcam or a specialized CCD astronomy camera, then it is often convenient to also control the telescope remotely using HandyAvi.
On cold nights, it is particularly nice to be able to control your telescope and your imaging device remotely via your laptop computer from the warmth of your house, a tent, a motor home, etc.
If you use your telescope simply to observe the heavens visually then you probably would not want to control it with a computer.