Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bargains Bargains Bargains!

Came across two decent bargains this week on the astronomical gear front. As one of my favorite BBC tv personalities would say, they're "cheap as chips!"

Firstly, I have stumbled across a good deal on a green laser pointer. Not exactly an astronomical necessity, but a fun-to-have item that can be used to point out objects to people and also potentially for a finder device for my two scopes. These sell typically for around $99.00 plus shipping here in the states. I found some on eBay, same model as the Orion model but no labelling, for $28.00 shipped. Granted I have to wait for it to come from Hong Kong but that's okay. If you're in the market for one of these, I highly recommend you try this eBay seller.

Secondly, I have been in the market for a new eyepiece case. I have purchased some decent eyepieces lately but have had no case for them. Lowes was selling a great "Classic Tool Case" for only $24.94 that was big, sturdy and came with pluck foam, dividers and shoulder strap. Astronomy and camera retailers sell their cases from $50.00 through to $150.00!! So, yet again another nice bargain. (If you want to get one of these for yourself, go to the Lowes web site and search for "Classic Tool Case".)

There's nothing wrong with trying to do Astronomy on the cheap. In some cases it does pay to fork out a bit of dosh for the big time stuff (like scopes, eyepieces) but it really does pay to look for bargains or alternatives when trying to make your money go further.

In the meantime we've had some cold fronts blow through, the skies have been full of clouds. No observing opportunities for the foreseeable future, but maybe next weekend I can get some time out in the field.


Observer said...

My dept chair just approved me to buy a fancy new star pointer laser, much more powerful than the one I lost recently. It's about $210, and it is 55 mW instead of the old (fairly bright) 5 mW. I will make you green with envy! :)

Phil said...

Ha! I already am!!!! I could have ordered a 50mW unit but wasn't sure if it was legal. I guess at that power you could also signal our existence to alien lifeforms passing by? ;-)

Observer said...

I'm not sure how legal it is, actually. I mean, we order more powerful lasers for lab experiments all the time and don't need permits or anything. This may be one of those things the gummint hasn't cauught on to yet and so can't really regulate.

Rest assured that within a couple of years, some of these will get into the hands of high school kids, and then we'll see the outrage and outlawing of the devices. I'm gonna have fun with mine until then, and I will definitely NOT be pointing it at any planes!