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#1 Bruce N

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:09 PM

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?

#2 SteveG

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:57 PM

Positives:
Easier to use than conventional finders (no head twisting)
Intuitive (draws a line to where the scope is pointing)
Light weight (no special balancing or CW's)
Quickly doubles as a pointer (for showing people stars, constellations, etc)

Negatives:
Not welcomed where others are imaging
Not welcome by some other astronomers
May reduce night vision
Doesn't work as well in twilight, or with a bright moon
Doesn't work as well below freezing (depending on make/model)

Others will chime in, many will say they're dangerous to aircraft but I don't agree, when used for astronomy.

#3 Jarad

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:01 PM

Others will chime in, many will say they're dangerous to aircraft but I don't agree, when used for astronomy.



So long as they are used properly, there is no problem. If you use one as a finder, turn it off when you are not actively using it, and don't aim it toward an aircraft.

One advantage not listed - you can put one laser finder on one scope, and use it to guide multiple nearby scopes to the same target. I know one guy who bought a cheap goto scope, threw away the OTA and put a GLP on it to use to help aim his Portaball (which can't use DSC's).

Jarad

#4 jrbarnett

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:26 PM

"One advantage not listed - you can put one laser finder on one scope, and use it to guide multiple nearby scopes to the same target."

EXACTLY! Often I put a C90 or C5 OTA on a Nexstar 6/8 SE mount with an Orion GLP finder bracket and shoe in place of the stock finder shoe and finder, and use that scope, via Sky Safari/Sky Fi to direct several nearby non-GOTO and non-Push-To scopes (Dobs and alt-az mounted smaller scopes) to different targets on the observing list. It's great fun, really. One could pick up a Nexstar 6SE OTA and mount, plus a premium GLP and the Orion bracket and shoe for about the same price as it would cost to add dedicated DSCs to another mount or scope. The Nexstar 6SE is such a great value in its own right, to me it makes way more sense than investing in and and DIY installing DSCs. The C6 on the Nexstar mount also fills the Grab & Go slot nicely with a lot of punch in a tiny package.

Regards,

Jim

#5 Qwickdraw

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:30 PM

I bought the Orion GLP a couple of weeks ago which is a 5mw version and love it. I replaced my finder with it which IMO is so much easier to align the scope than using a finder. No more contortionist maneuvers. The only thing I will say is I wish it was brighter by some percentage. If you are too far off to the side (5-8 feet)you really cannot see it. Without breaking any CN rules I will just say try to be satisfied with what you purchase the first time.

#6 Qwickdraw

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:33 PM

Hey Jim, did you ever get your Sky Safari Bluetooth connection working? Mine is 100% operational on a Galaxy note 8/LX200 combination. No glitches at all and I love it.

The Galaxy seems the perfect form factor for SS. Just the right size for me.

#7 jrbarnett

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:20 PM

I did. For some reason the first bluetooth adapter I tried didn't work, so I chose a different model and now it works. I still prefer the iOS version, though, having used both now for awhile. Pinch-zoom works much better on the iPad 2 than on my Galaxy Tab 2 7, and the panning and other functions are much, much faster and smoother. It's also a much better built device (metal rather than plastic). So I picked up some Griffin armor for the iPad 2 and am using it almost exclusively in the field. The Galaxy now lives in the truck with its native wi fi hotspot for checking e-mail and making dinner and lodging reservations while on the road. Yeah, I could do those things with a smart phone, but the Galaxy has a much bigger screen and is easier to read. :lol:

- Jim

#8 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:07 PM

The green laser, red dot finder, telrad, or any other finders that project onto the sky have an advantage over the mini-telescope finders. I didn't realize this until I bought a 9x50 RACI. When you point your telescope at a star and then align it with the RACI you can't always be sure your RACI and your telescope are looking at the same star you see with your eyes. The first thing I do to align my NexStar telescope is to point it at Polaris. I think I have picked a different star thinking it was Polaris and this messes up the alignment and you have to start over.

The green laser won't work if the air is dry and not polluted. It has a wider field of view than the 9x50 finder but it is only 1x instead of 9x so ultimately you won't get the same amount of accuracy. I only noticed this to be a problem when trying to find a planet with the tiny field of view you get with a webcam. I now think the best deal is to have both a red dot finder and a RACI finder.

#9 jrbarnett

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 06:27 PM

Not all 5mW GLPs are created equally. Many 5mW GLPs ship with misaligned optics, and that borks the brightness to well below the advertised 5mW output. Certain sellers test and tune the lasers before shipping them, to ensure that the full rated 5mW power is close to what you experience in actual use. Z-Bolt is one example of such a seller.

- Jim

#10 Mike B

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:34 PM

Yeah- "Z-Bolt" rocks!
:waytogo:

#11 JayinUT

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:47 PM

Post Deleted.

#12 Wmacky

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:09 PM

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?

#13 jrbarnett

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:52 PM

Awful. I bought one. Cost a fortune comparatively. Stopped working after two days. Never again.

I don't think the quality of consumer grade lasers other than red and green is very high, and the other flavors do cost a lot more. I'd stick with green. Easier to see, too.

- Jim

#14 Bill Weir

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:58 PM

Not allowed at many/most star parties, especially the big ones so if you are planning to attend one you will need a backup plan.

Bill

#15 Wmacky

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:01 PM

Awful. I bought one. Cost a fortune comparatively. Stopped working after two days. Never again.

I don't think the quality of consumer grade lasers other than red and green is very high, and the other flavors do cost a lot more. I'd stick with green. Easier to see, too.

- Jim


I see, that's out. So z-bolt would be one of the best choices for s GLP?

#16 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:01 PM

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?


I found a violet one for something like $5 somewhere. The green is way better at lighting up the air particles than red or purple lasers.

#17 mountain monk

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:02 PM

Blue laser: Worthless. Then I had to figure how to get rid of it; I was inclined to throw it in the trash.

Dark skies.

Jack

#18 starrancher

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:47 PM

I can't remember if it was Z-Bolt or Wicked Lasers that used to have a really cool kit that included the laser , a mounting bracket , a thumb pressure cord for remote off -on and the option of a battery charger . These kits offered a variety of different lasers . Some larger in diameter than the common type seen and advertised for cold weather performance etc.
I just checked both companies web sites and it sure seems that both companies have downsized their sites and no longer offer these cool astronomy kits . What happened to these ?

#19 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:10 AM

The green laser won't work if the air is dry and not polluted.



Hmmm. Mine works fine in northern Arizona, where 100+ miles visibility and dry air is the norm.

I'm using the Howie Glatter 5mw model on my 16", there is no other finder. All I need is two short bursts for ServoCAT alignment.

#20 george golitzin

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:43 AM

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?


They're all negatives if you ask me. Laser users are throwing light at the sky, however focused or narrow: it's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You're getting in other people's faces with LIGHT at a dark site--I just don't get how someone in this hobby would think that's okay. About the only situation where I can imagine it would be acceptable would be if you were running a star party for a group and wanted to teach them about the sky--except that then you'd be giving newbies the impression that it's okay to shine brilliant lights in the direction of the sky. Or possibly it would be acceptable if you're all by yourself in a lonely place where you're sure that you're not disturbing someone else's appreciation of the night sky...but that's hard to know for sure, since it's dark out, and you might not know who else is in the neighborhood, looking up. I've been very disturbed at dark sites by people who thought they were on their own, shooting that ugly green light into the sky all over the place. It's utterly reprehensible, particularly coming from people in this hobby.

Sorry for the rant, but lasers should not be used as finders. It's just not necessary, and it's really vexing to others.

#21 brianb11213

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 04:31 AM

What are the positives and negatives of laser pointer finders?


They're all negatives if you ask me. Laser users are throwing light at the sky, however focused or narrow: it's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. You're getting in other people's faces with LIGHT at a dark site--I just don't get how someone in this hobby would think that's okay. About the only situation where I can imagine it would be acceptable would be if you were running a star party for a group and wanted to teach them about the sky--except that then you'd be giving newbies the impression that it's okay to shine brilliant lights in the direction of the sky. Or possibly it would be acceptable if you're all by yourself in a lonely place where you're sure that you're not disturbing someone else's appreciation of the night sky...but that's hard to know for sure, since it's dark out, and you might not know who else is in the neighborhood, looking up. I've been very disturbed at dark sites by people who thought they were on their own, shooting that ugly green light into the sky all over the place. It's utterly reprehensible, particularly coming from people in this hobby.

Sorry for the rant, but lasers should not be used as finders. It's just not necessary, and it's really vexing to others.

Agree entirely. Laser pointers in a planetarium are fine. Outdoors, no need, bad example.

#22 nicknacknock

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:30 AM

I use mine only for outreach events and very carefully, checking first for air planes and that it is even pointed the right side up (accidents can happen).

For star hopping purposes, a Telrad or RDF is the "polite" way to go when observing in the presence of others.

However as pointed out above, if the astro club rules permit it, then the club should also have rules as to its use when it organises events.

So, they do have their usefulness, people should be both careful and considerate when using them and always follow the rules of the astro club.

#23 Qwickdraw

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:36 AM

I see he carrys blue Lasers. Thoughts on that?


I found a violet one for something like $5 somewhere. The green is way better at lighting up the air particles than red or purple lasers.


I believe you will pay a premium for anything other than red or green. Sometimes a large premium. Green with its wavelength is also one of the easiest to see.

#24 Qwickdraw

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:39 AM

I can't remember if it was Z-Bolt or Wicked Lasers that used to have a really cool kit that included the laser , a mounting bracket , a thumb pressure cord for remote off -on and the option of a battery charger . These kits offered a variety of different lasers . Some larger in diameter than the common type seen and advertised for cold weather performance etc.
I just checked both companies web sites and it sure seems that both companies have downsized their sites and no longer offer these cool astronomy kits . What happened to these ?


You may be thinking of this one from hotech

#25 Qwickdraw

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 05:42 AM

Whatever you do, do not order from laserpointerpro.com

Its a Chinese scam site with totally inferior and misrepresented product.






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