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Laser Finders Do They Work

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19 replies to this topic

#1 Astrokid 11

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:28 PM

I just purchased a 5MW Laser,(red) and it does NOTHING, what am I doing wrong.

Yes I put batteries in it, Da

I pointed it up at the night sky, nothing.

Can someone please clue me in , on what's so magnificent about these finders?

Thanks Astrokid 11



#2 B 26354

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:41 PM

I think most folks who encourage the use of these things use a green one. I have two, a red and a green... but the red one's beam is essentially invisible, when used as a star-pointer. Also, because of a bit of local night-time air traffic, I don't ever use the green one as a telescope-mounted "finder". I only use it -- very cautiously and carefully -- to point out constellations, asterisms, stars, planets and such, to visiting friends and curious passers-by.  grin.gif


Edited by B 26354, 13 August 2020 - 08:42 PM.


#3 Barlowbill

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:54 PM

Use a green one.  I use as a finder for my 9X50 RACI.  I wouldn't live without it.  I live right off the end of a small regional airport and I simply don't turn it on when aircraft are around.  I don't know anything about red ones.



#4 Jethro7

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 05:45 AM

I just purchased a 5MW Laser,(red) and it does NOTHING, what am I doing wrong.

Yes I put batteries in it, Da

I pointed it up at the night sky, nothing.

Can someone please clue me in , on what's so magnificent about these finders?

Thanks Astrokid 11

Hello, Astrokid,

I live about a hour to the right of you and you need to be very careful with a green laser, we are very heavily military here and have a lot of military air traffic in our area, especially at night. Being near Eglin AFB and NAS Pensacola, Hurlburt FLD, Whiting FLD, and Duke FLD. And many other small Special Operations staging areas. I WOULD NOT USE A LASER IN OUR AREA, I use a TV Starbeam or a Telrad starfinder instead.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 14 August 2020 - 02:45 PM.


#5 iwannabswiss

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:20 AM

Yes I put batteries in it, Da

But did you put them in the right direction? grin.gif

 

My pointer requires a key to switch it between operating and non-operating modes for safety. I'd agree that you should be able to press a button and it works, but since there are so many varieties of pointers these days, do you have a picture we could see so we could try to help and be more specific. It's also possible you may have just gotten a bad pointer.



#6 bignerdguy

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:27 AM

Yes like others have said here, you need a green laser to be able to see the beam.  Red laser pointers are too faint to see the beam clearly.  You can see it best when it reflect off an object but for astronomy that wont work.  Green lasers are powerful enough to be able to see the beam with as they scatter in atmosphere a lot easier. 

 

Of course the major drawback is they can injure people a lot more easily and because they are easily seen long distances they tend to be a bad idea around air traffic.  Pilots have become especially concerned with them since people have been shining them on their planes and pilots have been injured so if you do live near major airfields, especially military ones, i would not use them.  Myself i live directly under the runway flight path of a major airport (DFW Airport to be exact) so a laser finder for me is a no go unless i want a visit by the FBI. From the sounds of another post on this thread you might be in the same boat...


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#7 RobertMaples

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:35 AM

...Yes I put batteries in it, Da...

 

 

But did you put them in the right direction? grin.gif...

Seriously!  When I first got mine I put the battery in with the positive facing forward just like every similarly shaped flashlight I have ever owned and it didn't work.  It took me a while to figure out the battery had to go in the other way.



#8 Starlancer

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:43 AM

I find a good red dot finder to work just as well and effects no one, at this point with plate solving I don't even use the scope to align just the red dot, it gets me close enough that plate solving will sync the mount. This is of course if your finder is aligned well.

Edited by Starlancer, 14 August 2020 - 07:44 AM.

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#9 clearwaterdave

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 08:10 AM

Hello, Astrokid,

I live about a hour to the right of you and you need to be very careful with a green laser, we are very heavily military here and have a lot of military air traffic in our area, especially at night. Being near Eglin AFB and NAS Pensacola, Hurlburt FLD, Whiting FLD, and Duke FLD. And many other small Special Operations staging areas. I WOULD NOT USE A LASER IN OUR AREA, Even if you accidentally paint a aircraft with a laser injuring a Pilot, it could result in serious charges with heavy fines and prison sentences. Just a word to the wise. I use a TV Starbeam or a Telrad starfinder instead.

  Even if the charges are eventually dropped you will still have had to deal with a investigation by NCIS or OSI and the FBI. And had to higher a Attorney. I can guarantee your telescope and mount will be taken for evidence and someone is going to play with it. The Federal Statute reads both intentional use or negligent use of a laser that causes injury or interferes with aircraft operations ( the pilot has to change course do to the laser) and using a laser as a starfinder certainly falls under negligence use. There have been arrest for this in our area and the charges have stuck.  "IT AINT WORTH IT"

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

It is very unlikely to shine a plane without trying.,If your laser crosses paths with a plane it would only be for a split second.,causing no blindness in pilots.,

  Please Jethro.,Do not put the unwarrented fear of jail into beginners heads.,I have been using laser pointers for years and on forums where they are discussed and NEVER read of an astronomer being arrested for lasering a plane.,

  If you are afraid to use one that's your business but don't make up stories to make others afraid.,We have a few pilots on the forum here and some have stated that you can't really laser a plane with a telescope mounted laser.,you are at the wrong angle.,The reason this is an issue at all is because idiots sit lined up beside runways and laser planes as they land or take off.,You will not blind a pilot with your laser unless you are really trying too.,


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#10 jcj380

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 09:34 AM

https://www.nbcdfw.c...er-guy/1895944/

 

Clearly misusing a pointer, but it is taken seriously.



#11 kklei940

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 12:58 PM

If you didn't pay much for the laser then it might be a QC issue. I've owned 4 different laser pointers which included two cheap ones from Ebay. The cheap ones just didn't work nearly as well as my lithium powered blue laser from Z-Bolt. It works great even on the coldest of Central Wisconsin nights. And just be sure to give a good look before you turn it on and don't leave it on for very long, and you'll be just fine.



#12 brentknight

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:30 PM

I lived in Shalimar for years.  Use the laser responsibly and you will have no problems.  Jethro7's opinion is appreciated, but I believe it is wrong.

 

I use the Z-bolt green laser with a pair of 10x50 binoculars.  In any skies (high humidity - no problem), the image below is what I see through the binoculars when the laser is aligned correctly.

 

Binocular View with Laser.jpg

 

From your backyard, there simply is no easier way to point the telescope.


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#13 Jethro7

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 10:58 PM

I lived in Shalimar for years.  Use the laser responsibly and you will have no problems.  Jethro7's opinion is appreciated, but I believe it is wrong.

 

I use the Z-bolt green laser with a pair of 10x50 binoculars.  In any skies (high humidity - no problem), the image below is what I see through the binoculars when the laser is aligned correctly.

 

attachicon.gifBinocular View with Laser.jpg

 

From your backyard, there simply is no easier way to point the telescope.

Hello

I understand, but If am wrong great but I will not take the chance that I may be right.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


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#14 Astrokid 11

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 12:50 AM

Ok Well thanks to you all. I have been educated. I think I'll try a green laser, as I

now have a laser bracket coming, and dual finder bracket. So I am committed.

If you see everything for sale on CN you'll know why!

Astrokid11


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#15 SteveG

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 11:50 AM

Ok Well thanks to you all. I have been educated. I think I'll try a green laser, as I

now have a laser bracket coming, and dual finder bracket. So I am committed.

If you see everything for sale on CN you'll know why!

Astrokid11

You're going to love it. I don't even use finders any longer, unless it's still light out (laser doesn't work until it's dark).


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#16 brentknight

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 12:55 PM

You're going to love it. I don't even use finders any longer, unless it's still light out (laser doesn't work until it's dark).

Mostly I agree with you 100%, but I do find myself using the finder on my 10" dob while viewing planets.  Sometimes I'll need to recenter and it's easier to just take a peek through the RACI.



#17 MellonLake

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 01:10 PM

In my opinion, don't use the double finder bracket, they add too much weight.  Just stick the laser finder bracket to the tube using 3M foam double sided tape.  This helps keep the balance.   Also if you move the RA finder scope off the centre line (by installing it on the double finder bracket) of the tube this introduces a rotational error in the RA finder scope making the left right up down movements no longer intuitive.   

 

Love my laser finders.  No better finder at dark sky sites.  Makes finding objects super super easy!  Get close with the laser, refine withe the RA.   

 

I wish lasers could be dimmed.  At dusk the laser is just the right brightness.  When I am dark adapted in the middle of the night they are way way too bright if you ask me.  



#18 Astrokid 11

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 01:42 PM

Ok, this is for all the laser guys out there, question . What should be the wattage?. I see most lasers for Astronomy 

are 5mw, is this a good choice? They have higher wattage models...

 

Thanks Again

Garry



#19 brentknight

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 02:27 PM

You can't go wrong with the Z-bolt green or sapphire low temp lasers. The cheaper ones tend to be way too bright for finders, even though they still say they are 5mw. And if you live where it gets cold (less than 40 degrees) they will stop working...

There are other suitable lasers out there, but I have experience with the Z-bolt.

#20 SonnyE

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 03:43 PM

Ok, this is for all the laser guys out there, question . What should be the wattage?. I see most lasers for Astronomy 

are 5mw, is this a good choice? They have higher wattage models...

 

Thanks Again

Garry

I think most are limited to 5 watts maximum.

I recently started using a Z-bolt Astronomy 14° rated laser.

I like the laser, and it has an easy to see narrow beam.

 

One big factor for me is I can see where my telescope is aiming during alignments (Modeling in Losmandy speak) without trying to get to where I can see through my Red Dot sight.

And that is what I wanted it for, And for showing the grandkids when they ask, "Whatcha lookin at, Grandpa?"

Nothin snaps them to attention faster than a green line reaching the stars. lol.gif  "Hey! I wanna do that!"

 

I was aligning things on Polaris and a Business jet was coming in from the North. I of course shut my laser off and allowed him to use my air space. After he passed, I continued my fiddling.

Not long later, the Sheriff's helicopter made a low pass, and again I shut off the laser while they were in my FOV. But my Laptop was glowing, and my red headlamp was on, and I'm sure they could easily make me out in my backyard.

They sauntered on by, made a turn about and came by behind me for another look. That time I left my green beam aimed at Polaris, and they seemed amused it was just some old fart playing in his backyard, and not some jack-weed lasering aircraft at all. A little politeness, and nothing to hide, worked well.  wink.gif

 

Pay attention to what battery the laser you are considering uses. My Z-bolt uses 2- AAA. And came with a set of 4 rechargeable. But I'm still playing with the supplied batteries in the box. I'm impressed with how long they are lasting.

Other lasers I've had ate batteries, and used expensive uncommon batteries. (Like CR123's)


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