Astrozap Artificial Star for Collimation
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Astrozap Artificial Star for Collimation
The Artificial Star for Collimation by Astrozap: There's no test of optics or collimation more precise than star testing. When it's cloudy or you are indoors, the Astrozap artificial star is designed to provide a steady, stable reference star for 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 18,000 MCD 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 .25-inch to 20 male adapter provided on the bottom of the unit. The placement of the artificial star depends on the telescope. For an 8-inch 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 to 50-percent 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-inch SCT using a modified webcam at prime focus. Star distance was approximately 50-feet from the telescope. This picture was taken on a 95-degrees 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.
OPT Product Number: AZ-1600
|Collimation By Scope||Multiple Designs|
|Collimation Tool||Artificial Stars|
|Warranty||1 Year Warranty|
Excellent product and a must for people using a SCT for astrophotography. Place your telescope on your mount or a table and setup the astrozap artificial star on a tripod 100 ft away. No need to worry about clouds or tracking.
worked very well.Was able to collimate in mins ,in broad daylight.Excellent product.
Made collimation so much easier! No waiting for "perfect" sky conditions. I have an 8" SCT and so I set up Astrozap about 150 feet away. Since the scope was horizontal it was a piece of cake to view the "artificial star" and to turn the adjustment screws on the front of the scope. Took less than 10 minutes to get the collimation perfect! The only minor complaint I have is that the battery compartment lacks foam backing, so the batteries come loose easily - I just put a packing peanut in there and that works fine. All in all Astrozap works great and is well worth the cost.
Still learning to use it. So far so good.
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.