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Laser pointer for amateur astronomy.

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CX

posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 01:55 AM
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Hi all, i know this isn't conspiracy related but i wasn't sure where to put it in BTS that was space related, so it anyone wants to move it please do....

My daughter is about to start GCSE astronomy at school, she'll be needing a few bits of equipment, most of which we already have. When we are looking at the night sky, i like to point out various things of interest and wondered how much help laser pointers were?

I have seen some that are pretty cheap, with of course great adverts to them, but i don't know enough about them to know if they would be any good.

I'd be happy to spend up to about £50 for one if thats any help.

Thanks for any advice.

CX.




posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 02:01 AM
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reply to post by CX
 


I saw one at a flea market for $50 US but typically I think they are around $70 dollars. I saw another thing that was of interest. It was a usb lens that would hook up your telescope to your computer so that you could view it on the screen. That was $40 but wrong size for my telescope so Im still looking around.



posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 03:01 AM
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reply to post by CX
 


Get a green laser pointer it works better





Make sure you don't use it if aircraft are flying over !!!!!!



posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 04:08 AM
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reply to post by CX
 


My advice would be if you have an android smart phone get Google sky map , its free , more educational than a Laser pointer and no danger to air traffic


If your on iphone you can get Star Walk app for a couple of pound .



posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 04:13 AM
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I agree with the phone app thing. My friend has one and even in daylight his phone shows you exactly what's above you in the sky.

I'm not sure a pointer would help, if it's for pointing up at the sky. You might be pointing it at a certain star but your daughter a few inches away will be looking up at a different one. Anyway, you might blind some wandering creature up there, cause a UFO crash and spark a hostile alien invasion. We can't have that.



posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 05:20 AM
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Originally posted by gortex
reply to post by CX
 


My advice would be if you have an android smart phone get Google sky map , its free , more educational than a Laser pointer and no danger to air traffic


If your on iphone you can get Star Walk app for a couple of pound .


Spend £0.69 and get Star Chart on android better than Google Sky and us the laser pointer to point out the objects.



posted on Sep, 7 2012 @ 05:27 AM
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Get a good quality finderscope. I'm not a laser fan when it comes to amateur astronomy.

www.cloudynights.com...
www.astromart.com...
scopereviews.com...



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 10:23 AM
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reply to post by CX
 


I use a green 30mw laser for star pointing,it works great and was approx£30 on ebay.
It takes 2 AAA batteries,and last for ages on one set.

Its great on nights with clear skies,but should not be used in small rooms,reflected off windows/mirrors,or used in the rain(the beam reflects of the rain and can cause eye damage if it goes into your eyes).


And as someone already said,never shine near aircraft,or the cops will bash your door down quick sharp.

They are a great tool for responsible star spotting though.
I have mine set up on a tripod,so you can aim it steadily at whatever star or planet you are going for.
Good luck to your daughter!



posted on Oct, 1 2012 @ 12:54 AM
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Laser pointers are great for demonstrations in a large group, but if it's just the two of you, you should be able to get away with just using your pointer finger.


I wouldn't go with a phone or tablet app. While they are cool, there is sometimes error with how they're aligned. I've used Google Sky and seen it be off by over 20 degrees on multiple occasions. Plus the light is killer for your night vision. The best way to go is to purchase some star maps and use a red flashlight. The star maps would have the stars shown by magnitude, with a bigger star on paper correlating to a brighter star in the sky. Once you can identify them on paper and get your bearings it's relatively easy to find them in the sky.

Good luck!



posted on Oct, 1 2012 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
Laser pointers are great for demonstrations in a large group, but if it's just the two of you, you should be able to get away with just using your pointer finger.


I wouldn't go with a phone or tablet app. While they are cool, there is sometimes error with how they're aligned. I've used Google Sky and seen it be off by over 20 degrees on multiple occasions. Plus the light is killer for your night vision. The best way to go is to purchase some star maps and use a red flashlight. The star maps would have the stars shown by magnitude, with a bigger star on paper correlating to a brighter star in the sky. Once you can identify them on paper and get your bearings it's relatively easy to find them in the sky.

Good luck!


Google sky has a night vision mode ( red screen) if you have a descent tablet it should not be a be a problem to use and will be accurate.



posted on Oct, 1 2012 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by wmd_2008
 


The problem with the night modes comes if you accidentally hit the back button too many times or the home button just once. On my Samsung Galaxy S2 if a email or text notification pops up it doesn't do so in night mode. Then you're night vision is wonky for a few minutes. It obviously comes back, but is still a nuisance. On top of that, if you're somewhere where you have no internet connection you won't be able to run Google Sky. And while most of the newer devices do have internal compasses, they do need to be calibrated. If you don't know how to do that, or do it incorrectly, then your view of Google Sky will be off by some degrees and lead to some confusion.

Another problem is that Google Sky only gives you a field of view of a few degrees of view at a time. You're left constantly spinning and twirling around like some stargazing whirligig. With paper charts you're afforded whatever field of view you desire to buy. I have from whole sky charts all the way down to just constellations. You can buy them on big sheets or paper, or have them in pocket book size. You can truly find what you're most comfortable with, versus being stuck with what can be displayed on a small screen. Plus, doesn't your arm get fatigued from holding the device out?

In summary, good ol' fashioned paper charts don't potentially blind your eyes, they don't rely on other technology to show the data (unless you want to compare a red flashlight to a WiFi or OTA connection), they're never going to be off due to a calibration error from an internal compass, and they provide you with a field of view that you can be more comfortable with.



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 04:59 AM
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reply to post by cmdrkeenkid
 


Hitting buttons may be a problem on a phone if YOU are the clumsy type but no problem with my Samsung Galaxy tab 7" with Google Sky or with Star Chart HD or with my wife's I-Pad (3) with Star Walk.

You don't really seem to know that much about Google Sky ? you didn't seem to know about the night mode or the fact you can zoom the view and you don't need the internet to use it, just your GPS to be on
edit on 2-10-2012 by wmd_2008 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 08:28 AM
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reply to post by wmd_2008
 


There's no need for a slight on my clumsiness. That was rather unnecessary. My point is that you don't actually need any high technology to be an amateur astronomer. If it's in your budget, that's great, but the original poster sounded like they were in the mindset to do things on the cheaper side. Learning the sky by relying on the fancy tech won't get you anywhere if the tech is unavailable.

Though, you are correct. I don't use Google Sky that often, only to putz around when I'm bored or need to look up something in a pinch. I usually have my paper charts and the anthology of Burnham's when I'm out stargazing, and there is more information in those books than Google Sky (or any other software) could ever imagine to contain. I did know about the night mode, but as I said before, I had written that off as a useful feature for the reasons given. I was under the understanding that the sky maps downloaded to the device as needed, similar to Google Maps. I didn't know everything was preloaded into the device.


CX

posted on Oct, 2 2012 @ 10:04 AM
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Thank you for all the replies and suggestions, they are very much appreciated.


I got a chance to try out a few astronomy apps the other day, well impressed so thats definitely a must.

Also got my laser, about £10 from Amazon, amazing reach, looks like it hits each star.

Thanks everyone.

CX.





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