By Bill Dellinges (1/9/03)
Howie Glatter Laser Pointer
Price: $185 (plus $5 shipping).
Purchased from Howie Glatter (www.skypointer.net).
Readers may recall my review of the Beta Green Laser Pointer at this site. I was disappointed with the device and returned it. I felt the emitting beam was too weak for the purpose I had in mind for it – pointing out objects in the sky for people in a teaching capacity. This time, I thought I’d pay a little more and try the green laser pointer sold by Howie Glatter (3850 Sedgwick Ave. Bronx, NY 10463). It came in a handsome black metal case with two AAA batteries. The pointer itself looks very much like a regular slide show type pointer. It has a chrome finish. The big test is how bright of a beam it will emit and how far away from you your audience can be and still see it! It should be noted the performance of these laser pointers is directly related to how dark your sky is. These units perform best in DARK, moonless skies. I tested mine at my home in Apache Junction which has so-so skies, better than the city but not as dark as a star party site. I was immediately impressed with this pointer. It was noticeably brighter than the Beta Green one I had returned. Insofar as “range”, well, it seems to go right to the stars you aim it at. Insofar as onlookers are concerned, in a medium rated dark sky, I’d say people out to about 15-20 feet can see the beam fairly well. I suspect this radius of visibility could be extended in a darker sky. I find the pointer works very well with small groups near me. When I compare the laser pointer to my million candle power spot light I’ve used in the past, I get that hi-tech feeling, like I just traded in my P-47 for an F-15. I used to think the spotlight beam was somewhat narrow and audiences always loved it, but the laser beam is a MUCH more narrow, pencil-like” cleaner” beam which also elicits gasps of wonder. While I may still use the flashlight for groups larger than about 25 people in not-so dark skies, I’ll be relying mainly on this laser pointer for now on. One more thing, it’s a heck of lot easier carrying and using it compared that monster spotlight with its internal rechargeable battery! Thumbs up.