Astrozap Artificial Star for Collimation
There's no test of optics or collimation more precise than star testing. But what happens if you'd like to collimate your scope or test your optics when it's cloudy? The Astrozap artificial star is designed to provide a steady, stable reference for star collimation, and can be used in lieu of an actual star. This device will allow collimation without the worry of star drift or seeing conditions. This very bright, small point source of light will provide a consistent brightness, and produce beautiful diffraction rings when defocused in any eyepiece.
The Astrozap Artificial Star has a new and improved design that features a brighter 18,000mcd ultra white LED focused on a 100-micron precision laser drilled stainless steel aperture. The artificial star can be placed on a table, or attached to a standard photo tripod using the ¼-20 adaptor provided on the bottom of the unit. The placement of the artificial star depends on the telescope. For an 8" SCT Astrozap recommends approximately 100 feet. The further away from the scope, the better until you start loosing contrast in the eyepiece. Indoor use is a possibility although we recommend collimation with the scope in position.
The Astrozap Artificial Star can be used at star parties to provide a star for everyone. It never moves, so there are no tracking or centering issues to worry about. It is unaffected by atmospheric disturbances so you can get an accurate collimation under any seeing conditions. Collimation, in its simplest terms, is the alignment of the mirrors or other optical surfaces in the telescope. A telescope that is out of collimation will typically not perform as well as a lesser telescope (25-50% less aperture) that is in collimation. If you put the extra money into a larger telescope, you are not reaping any benefits of it unless the scope is collimated. Also, no telescope will allow you to reach a crisp focus at the high power end unless collimation is perfect. It is well worth the time and effort.
The picture on the left side represents an optical system that is in perfect collimation. The rings themselves make collimation easy to perform. Note the complete lack of any atmospheric disturbance. This photo was taken with an 8" SCT using a modified webcam at prime focus. Star distance was approximately 50' from the telescope. This picture was taken on a 95º summer day just before dusk! The picture on the right is an example of an optical system that is out of collimation.
The procedure for collimating your particular telescope should be outlined in its manual. Please read the instructions there first. It will tell you the location of the collimation screws and any cautionary notes concerning collimation adjustments.
AstroZap Product Number: 1600
- Additional Information
SKU AZ-1600 Manufacturer Astrozap Barrel Size N/A For What Telescopes? Multiple Designs Warranty 1 Year Warranty
Customer Reviews 1 item(s)
- Excellent Tool
I used this on my Celestron Nexstar 8SE. The image is bright and stable and circles were very easy to see. I like that the unit accommodates a tripod. Using this indoors confirmed that my scope was not in precise collimation and enabled me to work on it under very suitable conditions using a range of magnifications. The Airy disk was clearly visible inside and outside focus so I was able to really dial things in. There is no way in my opinion that I could have achieved the same results using any other method.
1= Houston, We Have a Problem & 5= It's Out of This World
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- Astrozap Artificial Star for Collimation
- Questions & Answers
Product QuestionsQuestion by: Brian Young on Apr 5, 2016 4:14:00 PMAstrozap's Artificial Star is powered by a pair of replaceable AAA batteries. The ones included with the device will last many hours of use, allowing years of use without replacing the batteries, as long as one remembers to turn it off between uses.Answer by: Eric Blackhurst (Admin) on Apr 5, 2016 5:08:00 PMWhat is the closest distance that this device can be placed from the telescope in order to be effectiveQuestion by: Jeff on Apr 26, 2017 3:44:00 PMThe minimum distance depends on the diameter of the scope, but 25-50 feet for a small scope and 50-100+ feet for a larger scope are likely good rules of thumb. You may need a number of extension tubes to reach focus with your scope if the artificial star is too close.Answer by: Chris Hendren (Admin) on May 5, 2017 4:31:00 PMQuestion by: Tim Wilson on Jun 4, 2017 10:41:00 AMIf you have a dark background or can put the artificial star into shade, you should be able to use this in the daytime. We have used this artificial star inside our shop during the day with the lights on, which is at least as bright as a cloudy day.Answer by: Chris Hendren (Admin) on Jun 9, 2017 3:48:00 PM
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