With the weather getting warmer in the northern hemisphere, many tech and astronomy fans are preparing to head to the outdoors and improve their laser pointer collections for astronomy star gazing. If you are new to lasers or are simply looking to buy a laser that will be ideal for night time use, its important to know a few things about the hand held technology and what to look for.
1. Laser Beam Color (Frequency) – Lasers produce solid beam of light in different colors (frequencies) that determine how the human eye sees the color when the diode is stimulated and active. The most common and visible laser light color is 532nm green as it appears the brightest to the human eye based on the visible light spectrum which spans from infrared light to ultra violet light and everything in between. A green laser pointer will provide the most visible effects for any astronomy fan to star gaze with, but colors like red, blue, yellow, and even purple can also provide a great deal of diversity and offer some tantalizing visuals as well.
2. Laser Output Power (mW) – Each laser pointer produces a certain amount of power that will ultimately determine how bright or strong the beam itself will appear when activated. The smaller the power the fainter the beam will appear, while accordingly, the more powerful the laser the brighter the beam will appear, regardless of the color. An average green pointer produces 5mW of condensed light but is not all that visible at night, if you want to be able to see the entire beam you’ll want roughly 20mW or higher, and if you want a burning laser you’ll need roughly 100mW or more.
3. Price and Quality – This is probably one of the most important pieces to any purchase, but like all items of new and advanced technology, one model can vary greatly from another. This is where a little bit of research will really go a long way to ensure you are buying a laser that is worth your time and effort. Take a few moments and search out the exact models specs, reviews if any, and videos of actual users enjoying the laser. Because a cheap laser can really be just that, cheap or poorly designed, the price point will need to be closely scrutinized, as with most things you get what you paid for.
All in all you can improve the night star gazing with any high quality astronomy laser pointer, but its important to ensure that any cheap pointer you buy meets a few specific quality standards and really is what you are looking for. The color, output power, and price point should be a major factor in your decision, while style and portability can be secondary as most diodes are portable and even have a nice ‘tech’ look these days.