Star pointers are essential to astronomers around the world. With the advent of DPSS green lasers, star pointers are the best way to point to celestial bodies, stars and objects in the night sky. Today's laser technology allows significant increase in output that allows many markets to utilize their highly visible beam characteristics. From hobbyist to enthusiasts, star pointers are another demographic for the commercial market used by astronomy buffs and scientists.
Pointing out regions of the sky with lasers is nothing new, the portability and power of today’s lasers give an excellent solution to finding night time objects in the heavens. More and more astronomers are using higher power laser pointers to direct others to a given object. However the dilemma for such power and performance can be distracting to others because the start pointer being used possesses a visible beam so bright they can be over powered for such use. The typical recommended output is no more than 35mW of 532nm output power to point to an object or star. Pointers with more power are too bright and the laser itself becomes the topic and this is distracting to other astronomers.
When using start pointers, the 532nm greenies are the best choice for this task. The cost of ownership is affordable and quite visible, providing an excellent way to assist astronomers with their presentations and star pointing. Other wavelengths can be used as long as they are cost effective, non-distracting and provide good visibility. Red 650nm lasers with outputs between 100 ~ 150mW can also be used for star pointing. They provide good beam visibility and do not create extra light pollution that exist with 532nm wavelengths of the same rating. When purchasing star pointers make the wise choice and go for just enough power to point others to objects without adding to the residual and ambient light pollution that is otherwise distracting.