As an astronomical tool, laser pointers provide value to both astronomers and stargazers. These devices come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some attach to a telescope and others are used as pointing devices. In spite of these differences, they all serve the same purpose – to assist in the tracking and locating of celestial objects.
When deciding on the best laser pointer for astronomy, there are several specs to focus on. These include power, color, and use. Power levels (in most cases) determine the brightness of a laser pointer. Levels are measured in milliWatts, abbreviated by mW. It is important to know that some colors appear brighter than others, despite being at a lower mW output. Conventional laser pointers range from 2mW to several hundred. Color is also a feature worth noting. Astronomical laser pointers come in several colors, with the most popular choice being green. Another vital aspect is determining how the device will be used. Two different styles exist; pointers and mountable lasers. Pointers work great as presentation tools for teaching others. Mountable lasers, on the other hand, help stargazers accurately locate stars and planets.
Laser pointer safety is equally important as the device itself. The laser beam emitted by these astronomical tools can cause severe injuries if not handled with care. Simply pointing the light in one’s eye can lead to flash blindness or glare, along with causing other problems. The concentrated light is powerful enough to impair the vision of moving aircrafts and vehicles. To avoid an accident, proper safety equipment and measures are a must.
This guide will help provide stargazers with the info necessary to pick out the best laser pointer for astronomy.
What to Look for in the Best Green Laser Pointer for Astronomy
Most first timers have no idea what to look for when choosing the best laser pointer for astronomy. With hundreds of choices, picking the “perfect” astronomy laser pointer can be overwhelming. Here are several specs you should look out for.
- Brightness – People often wonder what level of power is appropriate for stargazing. Power levels are typically measured in milliWatts (mW). Stronger devices are measured In Watts. The best laser pointers for astronomy have output power levels averaging 5mW. These devices are also known as Class 3A.
- Color – Astronomy laser pointers come in various colors. Most stargazers use green laser pointers. Why? Because the human eye has an easier time seeing the color green in low light. Green laser pointers with lower mW appear brighter than red pointers with higher power output. Other colors include; red and blue-violet.
- Use – Astronomy laser pointers come in many different styles. Some are handheld pointers, while others mount onto telescopes. Pointers work well when stargazing in groups. You can easily address stars and planets. Laser attachments on telescopes help viewers locate objects more quickly with increased accuracy.
- Adjustability – Some of the best astronomy laser pointers offer an adjustable focus. Changing the beam size allows one to use the laser more efficiently in various lighting conditions.
Astronomy Laser Pointer Recommendations
If you’re looking for a durable astronomy laser pointer that won’t break the bank, consider the Dinofire Green Light. The Dinofire model holds several advantages over other traditional laser pointers.
- Size – Small and compact. On the go? No problem, the Dinofire Green Light astronomy laser pointer fits in one’s pocket.
- Rechargeable Batteries – The batteries included are long lasting and high quality. The ones provided hold a charge for several hours. Also, they only take a short amount of time to recharge. A LED indicator tells you when the device is fully charged. During charging, the LED appears red. Once entirely powered the light disappears.
- Design – The slender design makes the Dinofire Green Light comfortable to use. The pen-like model and light weight allow extended use while reducing hand fatigue.
- Power – The light produced is visible in various lighting conditions. Suitable for both day and night usage. The laser is visible at distances around 100 feet.
- Accessories – A carrying pouch and USB cable come included.
- Presentation Functions – The device features a “tab,” “enter,” and directional buttons. These control functions are perfect for presentations or lectures.
Pinty offers one of the best laser pointers for astronomy. Affordability, durability, and performance make their Hunting Rifle Green Laser stand up against competitors.
- Mount – The included mount easily attaches to most telescope models.
- Adjustments – Modifications require no tools. Changes are made quickly.
- Durable – The body consists of high-quality metal. The device will surely hold up for years.
- Power – The green laser is visible at all times. During the day, the maximum distance is around 100-300 ft. At night this distance extends up to 1,000 ft.
- Price – Very affordable. Cheaper than many other models available on the market.
- Compatibility – The Pinty Green Laser is compatible with telescopes and rifles. Great for those who also participate in stargazing.
- Design – The lightweight model does not weigh down equipment.
- Installation – Mounting the Pinty Green Laser is a simple process. Once attached, the laser pointer is ready to use.
Laser Pointer Safety
While astronomy laser pointers are an immense amount of help, they do come with some responsibility. All classes of astronomy laser pointers are potentially dangerous if used irresponsibly. Keeping the following in mind will help prevent an injury from occurring.
- Direct contact with the eyes can cause a variety of problems. These issues range from glare to flash blindness. In some cases, injuries are more severe.
- Keep laser pointers away from children.
- Use goggles or safety glasses to protect eyes while operating a laser pointer.
- Do not point the laser at moving vehicles or aircrafts.
- Do not direct a laser pointer at yourself or anyone around you.
- Avoid ALL contact with skin and eyes.
- Do not use a laser pointer in combination with optical equipment. These include binoculars or telescopes.
- Do not point a laser pointer at any reflective surfaces; such as mirrors. There is a chance the beam will be reflected back into one’s eyes.
Regardless of power levels, laser pointer visibility is dependent on weather conditions. Excess light pollution and overcast drastically impact visibility. The most effective time to use a laser pointer is during clear nights in an area free of ambient light.