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Red flashlight for astronomy

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#1 Cestus

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:05 PM

I was wanting to get one of these. Any suggestions as to which one? There are a bunch of them and I don't know which one is best.



#2 chutneygun

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:13 PM

I have the energizer headlamp that has red as the first toggle. Works great (especially when I need both hands) except I have to cycle through the white lights before getting to "off." I just close my eyes when doing that so it doesn't ruin my night vision.

 

The white light has saved me on one occasion. I unscrewed a clamp too far and a spring popped out. I couldn't locate it until I turned on the white LEDs. The white lights also allow it to be multi-use (I've gone caving with it too). But I'll probably get a red-only one soon. The orion someone posted below looks great.


Edited by chutneygun, 21 October 2020 - 04:37 PM.


#3 gwlee

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:16 PM

Suggest one with a red LED rather than a white light with red filter because it will be more efficient, so the battery will last longer. I am still using an old Rigel Systems Skylight, which might no longer be available, but it works fine. 



#4 Rich V.

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:16 PM

I have an olderk, rectangular Rigel Skylite dimmable red/white flashlight and it has been a good light over the years.  It dims down to a nice, low level.  It's been updated to a newer design but it should be every bit as good.

 

Available from many vendors:

 

http://www.rigelsys....flashlight.html

 

Rich


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#5 eyeoftexas

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:25 PM

+1 for the Rigel flashlight.  It's the one I typically use.  But, I have about 5-6 different red flashlights in my case, just in case batteries die in one.  I also have red headlamps, like the one from Orion (https://www.telescop...60/p/130523.uts) for hands-free use.


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#6 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:51 PM

Old bicycle tail lights work too! The energizer vision hd+ headlamp (3 aaa batts) works on one click(2 red LED's) and if you've had it on long enough, 1 click turns the whole shebang off.   Regards, Pat


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#7 danmdak

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 04:55 PM

Im the dinosaur. I use a regular flashlight with red plastic (from a plastic grocery bag) cut and placed just behind the glass protector/diffuser. Has worked well for 40+ years...no reason to change.


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#8 ascii

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 05:40 PM

I have both the Starlite mini and the Skylite mini from Rigel Systems.  The first is red-only, the second is switchable between red and white.  They're very good.  Some of the experts on CN say that the Rigel Systems lights are better than others because of the longer wavelength red LED's they use.


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#9 Rich V.

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 05:41 PM

I find that being around many red flashlights over the years, many are too bright or turned up too bright. Just because the light is red doesn't make it immune to damaging other's night vision. Star parties are some of the worst offenders with some idiots having bright strings of red LEDs all over or headlamps they point right into your face.

Rich
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#10 SteveV

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 07:22 PM

+1   Rigel Starlite Mini from the folks that make CN possible.


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#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 07:26 PM

Cloudy Nights member Ken Fiscus makes the best one you can buy..

 

https://www.cloudyni...s-at-telescope/

 

Jon


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#12 ihf

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 08:34 PM

Some enthusiast flashlights have a "moonlight" mode with sub 0.1 lumen. Those are fine even at a dark site, especially if they start on this low moonlight mode. (One can even look into the barely glowing emitter without losing adaptation.) So the light doesn't need to be red. But red is fine even at higher power outputs and being able to regulate continuously has clear benefits.


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#13 Herr_Alien

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Posted 21 October 2020 - 11:07 PM

I use a solar garden lamp, after replacing the white LED with a red one. Best bang for (less then) a buck.

#14 SonnyE

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 01:59 AM

I have a couple of different ones.

My favorite is this Zebra one. Strictly red. Several levels of intensity. Takes a single AA battery. Last a good long time.

Another I like is a Craftsman (Lowe's). Two levels of white, one of red. I use it for breaking down my equipment.



#15 PEterW

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 03:09 AM

Various, even tried orange as some suggest it’s a better compromise between not damaging your night vision and actually being able to see the detail in charts that you need. I have some tuneable ones like those mentioned for chart use and a dual colour black diamond one for walkies (dimmable). However if you’re around others then you want to have a light shielded/pointed so that you don’t blow away people’s night vision when you are taking to them. I made one, but the cabling broke... need to remake it sometime. I also made some small dim cr2032 red lights I popped in plastic bags and threw round a starparty to help with navigation, nice to have a runway to follow. Brightness is the enemy, see how little light you can get away with.

PEter

#16 eyeoftexas

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 10:57 AM

Some enthusiast flashlights have a "moonlight" mode with sub 0.1 lumen. Those are fine even at a dark site, especially if they start on this low moonlight mode. (One can even look into the barely glowing emitter without losing adaptation.) So the light doesn't need to be red. But red is fine even at higher power outputs and being able to regulate continuously has clear benefits.

 

Could you be more specific about which flashlights offer this mode?  It sounds quite useful.



#17 tmichaelbanks

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 11:25 AM

I've had the Orion RedBeam II LED flashlight for a few years.  The lanyard allows you to keep it on your wrist or tie it to a jacket zipper and put in a pocket, and the combined on-off/intensity-adjustment wheel is easy to find by feel.  Uses LEDs so I'm still on the first 9V battery.

 

Mostly I use it to read the angle meter on my Dob when setting elevation for a target.  Being able to use just enough light to read the non-backlighted meter is handy, plus you can use it at full intensity when eyepiece caps and the like get away from you.



#18 Rich V.

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 11:50 AM

My "original" red flashlight I got at the Orion store in Cupertino, CA decades ago.  Old school incandescent double "D" battery model.  cool.gif

 

Rich

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#19 ihf

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 02:09 PM

Could you be more specific about which flashlights offer this mode?  It sounds quite useful.

I have the original Reylight Pinapple in brass that starts on 0.2 lumen and uses a high CRI emitter, which makes more pleasing full spectrum light. The maker is small and seems to have gone high end. Unfortunately not offered right now (well, copper limited edition).

 

Moonlight/firefly modes are available on other flashlights though. Make sure it is programmed to always start on this mode. But you can just leave it on the setting pointed down, it will typically run for weeks. Also it is worth spending a few extra dollar for high CRI emitters IMO. Here is a recent discussion of inexpensive models. It sounds like the Manker E01 and Astrolux A01 have a high CRI emitter and a 0.1 lumen mode while costing about USD 10-16. I could not find them on Amazon though. I see the Astrolux A01 still on eBay/Banggood shipping from China.



#20 dd61999

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Posted 22 October 2020 - 02:30 PM

I studied scotopic vision many years ago. I learned almost all red flashlights are way to bright and ruins your scotopic vision (ultimate stage of human night vision). The red light cannot be any greater then 1 lumen. But the problem is at one lumen of red light you loose contrast. So white flashlights with a TRUE moon mode under one lumen might actually be a better option to navigate in the dark and still preserve scotopic vision



#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 09:59 AM

I studied scotopic vision many years ago. I learned almost all red flashlights are way to bright and ruins your scotopic vision (ultimate stage of human night vision). The red light cannot be any greater then 1 lumen. But the problem is at one lumen of red light you loose contrast. So white flashlights with a TRUE moon mode under one lumen might actually be a better option to navigate in the dark and still preserve scotopic vision

 

The idea with red is that your rods are not sensitive to deep red light and it doesn't bleach the rhodopsin so your night vision is preserved.

 

Ken Fiscus's red light uses a 660nm LEDs.  

 

Numerous DSO guys are using Ken's light including Don Pensack who loses dark adaptation viewing M42 under dark skies.

 

Jon


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#22 Napp

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 10:14 AM

+1 for the Ken Fiscus red light.  I have used various lights and types of lights.  No other light offers the control and very low light level the Fiscus light offers.  You can place it directly on a chart and illuminate only what you need to.  And it’s built extremely well.  It your objective is maximum protection of dark adaptation nothing else comes close.


Edited by Napp, 23 October 2020 - 10:16 AM.

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#23 Cestus

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 10:30 AM

Thanks for all the posts. The Ken Fiscus one sounds good. Where do you order it?



#24 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 11:03 AM

https://www.cloudyni...210619-kfiscus/

 

   He's the gent that makes them/ sells them     Regards, Pat



#25 dd61999

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Posted 23 October 2020 - 11:38 AM

The idea with red is that your rods are not sensitive to deep red light and it doesn't bleach the rhodopsin so your night vision is preserved.

 

Ken Fiscus's red light uses a 660nm LEDs.  

 

Numerous DSO guys are using Ken's light including Don Pensack who loses dark adaptation viewing M42 under dark skies.

 

Jon

Agreed but even red has limitations. It can’t be over 1 lumens. If you can detect red color during scotopic vision, then the light is probably too bright


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