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Star Hoppers Guide to the Galaxy

Go-To Laser Pointer
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I prefer the freedom and ease-of-use of alt-azmuth mount telescopes. One must have a moderate familiarity with the stellar layout when using an alt-azmuth setup; as apposed to the utter celestial ignorance one can retain whilst operating a go-to system.

The Orion Nebula, Arcturus, The Whirlpool Galaxy; these can be found easily when armed with a telescope, a star chart and a clear night sky....

But what about some of the fainter nebulae or the farther planets such as Neptune, Uranus and Pluto*.

T'would be nice to have a little help. Not some computer programmed and operated mount doing *ALL* the work, mind you. But maybe having a Go-To mounted laser pointer set in a magnetized hydrostatic gimbal privy to it's GPS derived location pointing me in the general location** would be nice, (and still leave me with a marginal sense of accomplishment).

* currently downgraded from planet status
** within 30-40 arc minutes

MikeD, Mar 31 2012

Thor's Helmet http://www.google.c...GBQ&ved=0CB8Q9QEwAA
[baconbrain], does a "green" laser consume less resources than a regular laser ;-) [normzone, Apr 09 2012]

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       It sounds in general like a good idea but i'm not sure what the laser pointer reflects off. How would you see it when looking through the eyepiece? Is there a translucent plate you can flip aside? Sorry, probably just being dim. I've bunned it.
nineteenthly, Mar 31 2012
  

       I don't think you would be able to see it in the eye-piece, either. You could probably see it in the finder scope. Definitely with the naked eye: "Ah! just a bit lower than that dim star to the left of those three brighter ones!"   

       Thanks for the bread!   

       I think tonight I am going to hunt down Thor's Helmet, and not stop until I find it. All I know: it is in Canis Major.
MikeD, Mar 31 2012
  

       Oops, sorry i meant finder scope.
nineteenthly, Mar 31 2012
  

       What may be meant: A fairly powerful green laser pointer on a separate stand, completely independent of the telescope, that swivels and points out stars just like a wise friend would.   

       A green laser scatters so much that the beam can be seen in the air. Astronomers use a green laser as a sky pointer for group talks.   

       This could easily be built by strapping a green laser to the side of a "smart" telescope.
baconbrain, Mar 31 2012
  

       Or get the google sky app
zeno, Apr 06 2012
  

       You are exactly correct, [baconbrain]. I figured if the setup knew it's own position and orientation, then you wouldn't need to point it at the north star and all that other jazz that i have heard is required for go-to scopes.   

       ... I don't do apps, [zeno]. And neither does my phone.
MikeD, Apr 07 2012
  
      
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