Celestron Telescopes - About Celestron
Founded in the 1950's, Celestron is a leading designer, manufacturer and importer of high-quality optical products, including computerized and non-computerized telescopes and related telescope accessories, binoculars, spotting scopes and microscopes. As the second largest telescope maker worldwide, Celestron is a leader in the sale of performance telescopes and enjoys brand-name recognition among serious amateur astronomers for superior optics, outstanding design, and innovative technology. Celestron sells and markets its products worldwide through a variety of specialty retail outlets and international distributors, including www.telescopes.com.
Celestron is a privately held company with corporate offices and manufacturing facilities, in Torrance, CA.
Since 1609, when the great Italian scientist Galileo Galilei first introduced a rudimentary telescope to astronomy that gave a glimpse of the mysteries lying within the night sky, a fascination to further explore the vast Universe became a constant lure to the curious at heart. By today's standard, that telescope was not much more than ordinary opera glasses. However, that fascination with the mysteries of night skies continued through the ensuing four centuries and triggered immense optic discoveries, culminating in the 21st century, in an ever-growing market not only of professionals but also of serious amateur astronomers and space enthusiasts, young and old alike.
Today, it is Southern California-based Celestron, with its wide array of state-of-the-art optical technologies that has captured an enviable worldwide reputation for its well-engineered products and assisted in the exploration of the sky. A leader in designing, manufacturing and importing high-quality optical products, including computerized and non-computerized telescopes and related telescope accessories, binoculars, spotting scopes and microscopes, Celestron enjoys international brand-name recognition.
Celestron was first founded in the 1950's, as Valor Electronics, an aerospace electronics firm by Tom Johnson, who, while searching for a suitable telescope for his two young sons, decided to build a telescope from scratch. Starting with a 6-inch reflector, he progressed to building increasingly larger and more sophisticated designs. Tom's hobby soon grew into a full-time business, offering Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes in 4-inch to 22-inch models.
His immediate challenge was to find a way to efficiently produce the Schmidt corrector plate used in the top-of-the-line catadioptric telescopes (hybrid of reflector and refractor telescope design). Although a corrector plate appears flat, it has a "wavy" surface that is difficult to mass-produce using standard equipment and procedures. By 1970, Celestron designers and engineers announced a revolutionary method of producing Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes at reasonable cost and in volume. This optical breakthrough was incorporated in the first Celestron C8.
The popularity of the C8 in the consumer marketplace led to the C5 and then to larger versions including an 11-inch and 14-inch telescope. Today the Celestron product line still features these models, but has been greatly broadened to include a number of quality optical products.
Celestron has experienced impressive growth over the years, since Tom Johnson first sold the company to Diethelm Ltd. in 1980, who, in turn, sold Celestron to the Tasco Corporation, a leading optics company, in 1998. By June of 2002, three members of Celestron's long-term management team, Alan Hale, Joseph A. Lupica Jr. and Richard Hedrick, purchased the company initiating a whole new era for Celestron.
Under the new management, the company expanded distribution channels and product offerings, and launched the observatory-class CGE Series of computerized equatorial telescopes. In April of 2005, Celestron was purchased by SW Technology Corporation, affiliate of Synta Technology Corporation run by David Shen. Synta, a well-known optics manufacturer, had been a Celestron supplier for over 15 years and participated in the development of some of Celestron's most popular products, such as the NexStar SLT entry-level computerized telescope line.
Throughout the world, Celestron telescopes have become the "telescope of choice" for the consumer that can differentiate between brands. Major colleges and universities worldwide use Celestron telescopes in their astronomy programs. Moreover, its solid and esteemed reputation in the scientific community has reached Celestron's C5 telescope as the telescope to be taken on several space shuttle research missions.
Celestron's newest innovative product, SkyScout, introduced at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, is a first-to-market product of its kind. It is a handheld, portable celestial viewing device that can instantly identify and/or locate over 6,000 celestial objects, transforming the night sky into a personal planetarium. It has recently been named the "Best of Innovations" in the personal electronics category for the annual showcase of new products at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Today Celestron sells and markets its products worldwide through a variety of specialty retail outlets and international distributors. It is a privately held company with corporate offices and manufacturing facilities, in Torrance, CA. Celestron continues to be led by the senior management team of Joseph A. Lupica and Richard L. Hedrick with Chairman Alan Hale and Celestron founder Tom Johnson remaining as consultants.