General Purpose Tools

Green Laser Pointer

Best backyard astronomy aid

After a telescope, this is the best astronomy educational tool I’ve seen. At night this AAA battery powered green laser pointer can seemingly touch the stars millions of miles away. Compared to a red laser pointer, the green beam remains visible and penetrates the air much farther. Because of its particular spectrum you see the beam and not just the end dot. Also, it’s about 50 times brighter than an ordinary red laser pointer — using the same safe low power. On a clear night it can easily shine a dot a mile away. With its sharp laser beam you can pinpoint the exact star you want, which greatly accelerates mapping and learning the constellations. I’ve been amazed at how much faster I’ve learned the heavens with one of these in hand.

The problem with green laser pointers has been their stiff price. Only recently have they dropped below $50. You need a good 50 milliwatt (50mw) powered laser to cut through the moist air at night. You can get a decent reliable 50mw on Amazon for about $40, but you can also find many cheaper varieties for as low as $15, which is about what they cost on the street in China. These pens may be in a legal gray zone in terms of their power and use. Don’t be dumb and point them at anyone. In my experience their quality varies, but given intermittent use, the cheap ones can work for the occasional star gazing.

Incidentally, you can purchase higher powered lasers of all colors from Wicked Lasers. Their scary/astounding 100 mw green lasers are incredibly bright at night, but overkill for an astronomy aid. These blasts are good for lights shows, though.

— KK

50mw Green Laser Pointer
Available from Laser Pen Shop

50mw Green Laser Pointer
Available from Sky Tech Lasers

Infiniter 200 Green Laser Pointer
Available from Amazon

Evo Green 100mw
Available from Wicked Lasers


© 2022