Astronomy light?

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prototype3a
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Astronomy light?

I’m curious what the community would suggest for an astronomy light. I’m thinking something Emisar D4-ish but with fewer LEDs as max output is far less important and some way to have red or white light. Beams should be very smooth and floody.

Years ago, I probably would have purchased an Arc AAA with a red LED but I’m not sure I want something quite that small.

Streamer
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For budget check following link out.

https://www.amazon.com/Nitecore-Tube-RL-Rechargeable-Flashlight/dp/B01JM...

If no. Check out the currently all popular Wurkkos WK30

WK30: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TKJH528/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1567614374&s...

Scientist
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When photographing aurora in Iceland last fall I really liked my Sofirn SP10B. The low mode is really low, too low for some around here, but fine for adjusting the camera without wrecking your dark adjusted sight. And it was great as a nightlight in the bathroom. Small and easy to carry too. If you want a more diffuse beam just use some DC Fix on the front. I actually used some diffuser film I salvaged from an old laptop screen.

prototype3a
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Did you mean SP10S?
.

WK30 is 26650 size and bigger than I’d like. I’d rather have something that I can replace the battery in, but the Nitecore Tube is still mildly intriguing.

Geuzzz
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D4v2 with a frosted optic. You can set the aux lights to red when off and set red high for lockout mode.

So you have moonlight, red low and red high. Red high is enough do do close by things.

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The best light for viewing the stars is no light at all!

Wanna piss off a bunch of astronomy geeks? Show up to their viewing area with a flashlight, or even just a cell phone with the screen brightness to high…

 RIP  SPC Joey Riley, KIA 11/24/14. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

mikelights
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Cereal_killer wrote:
The best light for viewing the stars is no light at all!

Wanna piss off a bunch of astronomy geeks? Show up to their viewing area with a flashlight, or even just a cell phone with the screen brightness to high…

Haha, funny thing is I showed up to some astronomy outing I saw happening in town with the R90C, let’s just say they weren’t very friendly after what happened….

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PBWilson
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I guess I don’t understand. Why would you need a light with flood, red and white light? Could you explain the exact applications? Thanks.

When I read the thread title, I recall a post in the GigaThrower thread where some folks from NASA were asking for one modded with a very warm emitter. I figured it would be so you could point to certain constellations in the night sky but not blow all of your night vision with a cold, harsh light.

The last paragraph could be WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY off base as my memory has been known to make a fool out of me a few times.

prototype3a
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Well, so far, I’ve needed a light so I can see which eyepiece for my telescope is which and to find things that I dropped on the ground. The white light would be for times when you actually want to be able to identify colors or maybe when you’re packing up.

I’d prefer a smooth flood beam so, I’m not seeing spots after using the light.

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prototype3a wrote:
Did you mean SP10S?

Dunno the S, but got the original/old A version, and old B version, and the B’s moonlight is very low. Perfect for nighttime viewing.

prototype3a wrote:
WK30 is 26650 size and bigger than I’d like. I’d rather have something that I can replace the battery in, but the tube is still mildly intriguing.

The ’30 can charge via usb, so no need to even open up the tube.

Even its lowest red is “low”, not “moonlight”, so it’ll appear bright but probably not ruin your vision too much. Even though it’s quite floody, some stick-on diffusion film can spread it out some more and make it not as intense.

Draw is quite low unless you blast the white LED, so the 26650 will seemingly last forever.

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Lightbringer
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prototype3a wrote:
Well, so far, I’ve needed a light so I can see which eyepiece for my telescope is which and to find things that I dropped on the ground. The white light would be for times when you actually want to be able to identify colors or maybe when you’re packing up.

I’d prefer a smooth flood beam so, I’m not seeing spots after using the light.

WK30, seriously.

The ’351 is reeeeeeally nice, and the die size and small reflector makes the beam nice and floody (which I like).

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prototype3a
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I missed that the WK30 has a UV LED. That’s actually kind of cool but for astronomy purposes, I’d really like it to be a smaller light than 26650 size.

I may end up getting one anyway though. =P

When I said, “tube” earlier, I was referring to the Nitecore. I edited the post to prevent future confusion.

Streamer
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Nitecore EA11 and EC11. EA11 is the AA format but hard to come by. EC11 is the 123A format and easier to find. Of course, these are not as floody as WK30 BUT more compact for sure.

sunsethiker
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Manker E02 has an adjustable sub-lumen setting. edit. I should have paid more attention to your entire post as this light is a AAA

Lightbringer
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prototype3a wrote:
I missed that the WK30 has a UV LED. That’s actually kind of cool but for astronomy purposes, I’d really like it to be a smaller light than 26650 size.

Just like for the RJ02, I think I should get a commission for WK30s… LOL

While the diameter is a bit thicker for the 26 vs 18/21, lengthwise it’s incredibly compact. Clenched in my fist, it barely sticks out ¼– / ½–inch on either side.

Compared to other lights that take 26es, this one practically disappears. My Cometa feels like a metal traffic-cone in comparison (size and weight).

Seriously, pick up one while the coupon’s still good (someone posted it, forgot who; 20% off). Otherwise, by the time you decide, “yeah, I’ll pull the trigger…”, you’ll be paying full price, and/or it might be discontinued, or who knows what.

Even if you don’t use it for astronomy, you’ll still end up playing with it quite often, Just Because.

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Streamer
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Phlogiston
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For astronomy, I would strongly suggest having separate lights for red and white light. If they have different enough shapes that you can tell which is which in the dark, so much the better, otherwise put different lanyards on them or something.

That way, you can’t accidentally mis-click your combination light and end up firing up the wrong LED.

If you fire up a white light while amateur astronomers are observing (or even while people are stargazing with the naked eye) they will lynch you. Even using a red light that’s too bright will get you a talking to.

Lightbringer
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I got one of those key-blanks with integrated light at Home Despot. Literally, this one.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000J56HIA

They come in red or blue (surprisingly, not white). Squeeze while going for the keyhole and it lights the area.

Coin cell, not easily replaceable, so use it sparingly.

If you’re only using it seconds at a time, it should fit the bill nicely.

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prototype3a
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Phlogiston wrote:
If you fire up a white light while amateur astronomers are observing (or even while people are stargazing with the naked eye) they will lynch you. Even using a red light that’s too bright will get you a talking to.

I’ve heard these sorts of behaviors are “normal” and frankly, if people get that bent out of shape over a red flashlight or a white one on moonlight then they need to relax a bit.

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Wellp, once upon a time when I went to an AAA event (astronomy, not flat-tire), it was held waaaaaaaaaaaay out in the boonies for real Dark Sky™ viewing. One of the park-rangers(??) escorted us there, and when he got to a certain point, went to marker-lights only, and we followed suit. At some point, he went dark, and so did we.

Go through all that trouble to get dark-adapted (ruining it costs 20min or so), and yeah, they’ll get bent out of shape. They only have the area up until a certain time, then have to leave (or get booted out), so costing them 20min of viewing, I wouldn’t blame them for getting all PMSed out.

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prototype3a
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Astrolux K1 is an interesting looking option that I just stumbled across.

prototype3a
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Seems the K1 has pretty terrible reviews. Shame.

Scientist
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prototype3a wrote:
Did you mean SP10S?

No, I meant SP10B as that is what I had at the time. However since I just f***ed mine up trying to put in a new emitter I just ordered an SP10S to replace it. The same light only the 10S has a high CRI emitter. I will risk starting a flame war by saying that for astronomy or any other low light task, red light is not important, what is important is to have low lumens. The SP10S has a moonlight mode (they call ECO) of 0.5lm, which is really low. You can’t tell it is on in the daylight or even low light. However it is enough to read dials and settings when you are dark adapted and won’t destroy your night vision. And if needed will provide up to 800lm on turbo for things like packing up or finding that eyepiece that rolled down the hill. It uses either 14500 or AA battery so is pretty versatile. Won’t last all night on turbo but will on ECO. The only problem is that it has mode memory so if you turn it off in the high mode you can blind yourself if you don’t remember the next time you turn it on. And very small and pocketable. Cheap too so you can try it out and get a bigger light if you don’t like it. I really like it for astronomy.

Lightbringer
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Yeah, that’s why I’m happy with my ‘B (well, except for binding threads). f/l/m in the main cycle, h with 2click.

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prototype3a
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@Scientist – Can you press and hold the button to have it come on in moonlight? I did that with my Emisar D4 (since it was the best option I had) and it seemed to work well enough though it was probably brighter than I’d like. I may end up re-flashing my D4 to get a bit more software control over it. I got the bits and pieces to do it (I think) but I’ve been spending all my time either working or learning about telescopes.

Something I’ve been thinking about is that even in “dark” places here, it really isn’t all that dark even with a new moon. So, I might end up needing something brighter than what people are used to out west.

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No, unfortunately, that is a nice feature of Anduril. There are a couple of lights out there that do that but I don’t know all of them. The D4 is nice in having both moonlight and really bright on the same light. I haven’t tried my Anduril lights for astronomy yet but I think the low is kind of bright due to multiple emitters. And you are right about skyglow and just ambient light making some places surprisingly bright at night. However you will still want a light to see the fine controls on the telescope. Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already and get a white dropcloth at Home Depot or some place like that to put the telescope on. It helps see where things are and catches the things that you drop in the night. Makes them easier to find.

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The absolute best I would say is a light modded with the E21A 2000K 9080 from Virence.com which contains the least amount of blue wavelength I have ever seen in any white light, which is even lower than incandescent lights. It has the least effect on your night vision. When I use this light and turn it off, even on very bright modes, I can almost see immediately in the dark when I turn it off. With cooler white lights, it takes a long time for my eyes to adapt to the darkness.

However, the E21A is hard to come by so the next best is the Convoy S2+ with SST-20 2700K 95CRI or you can contact Fireflies to have them install some SST-20 2700K 95CRI in the E07. Choose Red Aux light option. You can adjust the Aux light brightness to be pretty bright. Red light will not impact your night vision at all. The 2700K 95CRI will allow you to see colors very vividly and significantly less impact to your night vision than cool white lights.

prototype3a
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Sort of related…

So, I got a second hand Meade 5.5mm UWA 82degree eyepiece. …. and I don’t like it at all. Big Smile Looking into it feels like having an image directly piped into your brain. Technically, at 5.5mm it is pushing my 8” scope beyond it’s limits but I had to give it a go. I sort of wonder what the 100degree eyepieces look like but I have less than zero interest in owning one. I think I really prefer an AFOV around 52-60 degrees. Maybe 70. I think my 2” 30mm superview is 70 degree.
.

Anyway, I have a nitecore Tube and the WK30? coming…. Thursday?… So, I guess I’ll get to see if I hate them too or not.
.

I also really want to find a non frequency doubled, 18650 powered ~4mW green laser for pointing at things in the sky. I’ve searched around a bit but it seems like all the 18650 lasers are like 400mW or something bonkers and the low power ones all run on AAAs.

prototype3a
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So, both the Nitecore Tube and the WK30 are smaller than I was expecting.

I think the Tube is going to work well for keeping the wife from being kicked out of “dark sites” as she likes her Nitecore P12 a bit too much and tends to blind people with it.

I think I also get why people like the LH351d now. I really do need to do an emitter swap on my Astrolux S43S.

I think my biggest gripe on the WK30 is the lack of knurling as it can be a little hard to lock it out using the tailcap as I’m so used to doing with my lights now. This is one thing I’m realizing that they definitely got right on the little Emisar D4. I will probably thread lock the tube of the WK30 to the head to make this a little bit easier but not by much since the tailcap is down right slippery.

Sitting here playing with it while typing, I’m realizing it is actually easier to lock it out by unscrewing the head slightly because of how slippery the tail cap is. Yeah. I really wish the tail cap was knurled.

Lightbringer
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Interesting. At first I thought the tube was glued to the head because I couldn’t wring it open ‘til I got “grippy” with it.

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prototype3a
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I just noticed that the UV LED in my WK30 is VERY off center in its reflector. The LH351D is also a tiny bit off center but no where near as far off as the little UV LED.

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