Is there a telescope that you can view with your computer?
A couple of years ago my husband said he heard about a telescope that comes with software you can load on your computer where you can leave your telescope set up outside and see the view from your home PC indoors. Does such a thing really exist or did I misunderstand him? I’d love to get him a telescope for Christmas this year. I don’t want to buy him something amatuer and lame.
Hey great question!
There are several approaches to a solution. I think a practical solution is best. That means skipping the solution that just puts a video camera on the telescope and lets you feed it into the PC.
After you have got it all set up and can see a few stars and things, then what? He will tire of just looking at things and will want to either give it up or do more with what he can see. A simple set up will not be able to do much.
What about getting a set up that will let him use a video recorder as the camera? Then when he has had fun with the astronomy, he can use the video recorder for other things as well? If he wants to make home videos of his astronomy activities he can do that too. The Video camera will output to many computer systems.
The first link is a site that makes a simple attachment which connects a video camera to common telescope eyepieces. [1}
You can check to see if it matches the video camera you now use if you have one, or check to be sure it will work with one that you buy.
The telescope is by far the bigger deal than the camera. Most 'beginner' scopes will not provide the power nor the pointing accuracy that is needed for any kind of astronomical photography, including video. There are special purpose image capturing devices that take the long exposures needed for many of the most beautiful space objects. I doubt that any video will be able to see those objects...
Another solution, and the one I have gone with, since the sky here is often too hazy for using a telescope, is a virtual observatory. You can download 'Starry Night Digital Download' and enjoy really cool views of astronomy right on your PC. They update the application every time you use it with the newest comets and astronomy discoveries. They use real photos as well as artwork. Check Starry Night! 
Starry Night will give you a ten day free trial. 
;-D Astronomy is an interesting and expensive hobby. If you really want to get involved, start off with just the eyepiece connector! No telescope, no camera, and let your husband get the stuff he really wants after your surprise encouragement. It won’t be cheap!
Stellarium – Telescope on Your Computer