Celestron Optics Kit – One Heck Of A Teaching Tool!

Are you ready for one very sweet and complete optics package? For anyone who does astronomy outreach work, is interested in practicing binocular astronomy or is just looking for a great teaching tool, I’ve got something you really need to take a look at… the Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit.

When I first spied the Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit I was researching for inexpensive binoculars to supply to our guests at the Observatory. It is not uncommon during a public night or an outreach program to have a hundred or more guests and one or two pairs of binoculars doesn’t go very far. My goal was to find something a non-profit organization could afford, priced so that we could get several pairs, and geared towards performance so our guests weren’t disappointed with the view and our binocular astronomy program. Since the introduction of the green laser pointer a few years ago, I quickly learned that even a novice (right down to my four and five year old grandchildren) can follow the visible beam to where you target it, to its end with binoculars. Then the beam is switched off and the object is in the binoculars! With a mind for safety, it’s a simple and fun way to teach anyone to use binoculars for deep sky observing.

But the green laser wasn’t what I was after… It was the binoculars, wasn’t it?

Another aspect of the binocular astronomy classes we give is providing a monthly star chart to our guests that highlights a few objects for them to locate on their own. It’s just a simple handout – one I print out at home before any program and we stand around in the dark and share a red flashlight as I teach them how to read it and point out the marker stars with the green laser. Yep. We share the red flashlight… A simple tool that should be in the hands of every single person that even remotely takes an interest in reading an astronomy chart outside at night… And one that I just don’t happen to have ten extra to pass around.

But the red flashlights wasn’t what I was after… It was the binoculars, wasn’t it?

So, back to basics. I needed multiple pairs of binoculars that could withstand hard use and perform well. After many years, and many pairs of personal binoculars, I’d love to put Nikon, Oberwerk or Fujinons in every one’s hands, but the reality check is not every one’s hands are ready for these types of binoculars. What I needed was something I knew from experience that could withstand being dropped, was water-proofed and provided an excellent view. In that case, experience tells me Celestron and are great all-purpose astronomy binoculars 10×50.

So, here I am… Staring at the Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit for $59 and then the reality check really comes home. For this price I can order five… And get five pairs of binoculars, five green laser pointers and five red flashlights… All for about what five pairs of binoculars would cost! Click. Ordered.

After they arrived, it was time to put them to the test, eh? And now we’re not just talking the “Tammy Test” we’re talking about the multi-person, multi-use, how long will these kits hold up type of test. Here’s my first group – the Ohio Military Police. There wasn’t just three of them either – there were over three hundred. Needless to say, not one of them had a problem using the binoculars or with focusing them. Out of all of them that I interviewed, no one had issues with astigmatism on any of the binoculars and the lasers pointers and flashlights all performed equally well. These tests were carried out over two days and those binoculars were used hard, folks… No wimpy care, here.

On we go, eh? How about your average scout troop? Now we’re talking young hands… Hands that can’t be trusted on their own with the green lasers, but the leaders can. In this case, we can easily do a presentation where we can point out constellations with the green lasers and responsible adults can also assist in the program by pointing out particular stars or objects for us to name. By having several flashlights available, small groups of kids can work together with charts and adults at the same time to learn constellations on their own. When it’s time to practice astronomy, we use the same “follow the beam” trick, they learn and have a great time!

Still more? Then try thirty plus groups a year that look like this. Wild teens and sometimes sedate adults who come here to learn about astronomy. Telescopes are great and we share those, too. But nothing takes the cake like having your own pair of binoculars in hand – or having a green laser to point at something when you have a question. So, how did the Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit perform in all of these situations? The binoculars are still going strong, folks. After all that use, not one single pair of them has shown any signs of a problem. The red flashlights are all still working on the original batteries and so are the green lasers. However, the green lasers are not extremely powerful and not very bright during situations like dusk or full Moon. At the same time, compared to other lasers in my possession, they do a fine job and should not be discounted. After all, the laser and flashlight are almost like getting them for free when you buy the binoculars!

In the long run the Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit is an exceptional bargain at $59 and one I highly recommend. As a matter of a fact, I recommend it so much that OPT is even going to give one to a lucky Universe Today reader to keep so you can test it out yourself! From now until October 7, 2008 at 12:00 pm PDT you can send an email with the title of this review in the subject line and your name in the body of the email and Universe Today will randomly choose a winner to get your own Celestron Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit for free! No matter where you live…

Put ’em to the test and see if you don’t agree. The Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit is an exceptionally rugged and good performing astronomy binocular and having a red flashlight and green laser is a huge bonus.

The Celestron 10X50 UpClose Binoculars and Green Laser Pointer Optics Kit were purchased for this review from OPT and a free kit will be provided to a randomly chosen winner by Oceanside Photo and Telescope.

8 Replies to “Celestron Optics Kit – One Heck Of A Teaching Tool!”

  1. Tammy, how powerful is the laser? Is it really effective?

    My experience with green lasers is that a 5mW will be too weak to be seen except on very humid nights that you wouldn’t want to observe on.

  2. User reviews on the Celestron website said the laser was not very strong, but what the hey, my grandson is a Webelos Cub Scout and has to earn an astronomy merit badge. Yeah, I ordered one, ’cause Phil Plait says to trust Tammy.

  3. The laser is a 5mW and if you don’t think that’s strong enough, check out other green laser pointers. You will find that almost every one of them is in the 5mW range. However, all green lasers aren’t created equal! (That in itself could be an another review.) It’s not the milliwattage, but the interior crystal alignment and the quality of the interference filter which removes the last traces of infrared which make some more highly visible than others. In other words, a green laser needs to be collimated to perform optimally.

    At the same time, even the best of 5mW laser pointers won’t cut through moonlight , bright skyglow or a light-polluted viewing site. It’s just the way it is. Another thing you’ll also notice – no matter what green laser you use – is the visible beam is also highly dependent on viewing angle. For example, a person standing right beside me looking at the beam from a 90 degree angle has difficulty seeing it. Again, that’s just the way it is. You could have a $500 laser pointer and you’re going to get the same results.

    But I did say they aren’t all created equal, didn’t I? Well, that’s true. Some 5mW green laser pointers appear to be brighter than others, but you aren’t going to get one of those free when you buy a pair of binoculars. Be prepared to spend about a $100 on just the laser itself and remember the laser rules. The one that basically comes free with the binoculars isn’t going to stun the crowds with it’s light sabre-like qualities and shoot down passing aircraft, but it is highly efficient at being a simple pointer and works just fine.

    In one of the five kits I ordered, we did have a laser that displayed problems. The only way I can describe it is was that it like… took awhile to warm up or something… but all it took was one phone call to OPT’s toll-free number and it was replaced with no hassle. At very least, I can assure you that if you feel the laser isn’t operating properly that it will be replaced.

    Bud? Grandkids love these things. Stand behind them so they aren’t tempted to look into the laser itself and point the laser at any deep sky object – like the Andromeda Galaxy. Have them follow the beam to the end and switch it off. My grandkids would stay out all night! The laser works great for scouts, because you can point out the constellation stars (remember the rules, tho’… it’s not going to work in your backyard under a security light and it’s going to be tough to see during full mooon.) and they can match what they see on a star chart. And they have a red flashlight to read it and binoculars to look, too!

  4. Be very, very careful with Celestron, I recently received a Celestron telescope type C65 Mini Mak, subsequent to the advertisement and counseling in this page, and the result is disastrous: even in plain focus the image is unacceptably scattered. The object, although contains a good optical design, is rather manufactured like toys for infants.
    It is unusable.

  5. Oops! My apologies. Yes. Fraser will draw for the winner on October 7 at noon, his time. He will then contact the winner and get your shipping information. From there, if it’s OK with the winner, I’d love to get your reactions to the product as well, since we do have folks like Radu Rugescu’s opinion above.

    In this respect, I am sorry Radu Rugescu, that you were disappointed in the C65 Mini-Mak. Either one of two things is happening here – the quality of what is shipping overseas is less than what is in the US – or I did not make it clear enough in the article that you weren’t getting a Ritchey Chretien for $65. Less than 3 weeks ago a gentleman brought a C65 to the observatory that he had bought on my recommendation and it peformed perfectly on the Moon, just fine on Jupiter and very well on bright deep sky objects. What it could not do was perform like a 100mm refractor telescope or a 4″ reflector telescope – because it’s not. It’s a tiny telescope meant to set on a tabletop and give you a glimpse at what’s out there. If you feel you’ve been cheated, please return the product to Celestron. I am sure they will refund your money.



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