The Starbeam non-magnifying red dot finder for Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes seems to project a ball of red light 10 arc minutes in diameter wherever your telescope is pointing at night. This makes it easy to quickly starhop across the sky and center the scope on planets and deep space objects. The Starbeam is normally used as a straight-through finder, similar to the heads-up display in a military aircraft cockpit. However, the Starbeam has a pivoting light-weight first surface flip mirror that also allows the Starbeam to be used as a straight-through finder, a right angle finder for observing at the zenith, and at any angle in between. This standard flip mirror (also available as an inexpensive retrofit for older Starbeams) makes the Starbeam a truly universal finder.
The Starbeam comes with a machined dovetail base that mounts onto virtually any 8” or larger Celestron or Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope by using the existing finderscope mounting holes on the telescope’s rear cell. Because of the wide variety of mounting screws used on different SCT brands and models, no mounting hardware is supplied with the Starbeam. The telescope finder’s mounting holes normally are plugged by machine screws that can be removed and used to attach the Starbeam base. The mounting hole spacing also varies, depending on the telescope brand and model. The curved base plate of the dovetail therefore has long slots that allow the Starbeam to be bolted to whatever version of mounting hole spacing might be found on your particular telescope’s rear cell.
With a few exceptions (such as the single fork arm Celestron NexStar 8i), there are usually two sets of finder mounting holes on SCT rear cells, at approximately the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. This allows you to mount the wide field red dot Starbeam in one set of holes while still keeping the scope’s narrow field magnifying finder available for use in the other set.
A removable black metal base channel on the Starbeam fits into the dovetail slot machined into the mounting base. The black and silver metal finder itself then slips onto the base and is held in place by one large knurled knob at the side of the base. Azimuth and altitude adjustment knobs allow you to line up the Starbeam with your main scope optics.
An on/off switch and integral rotary brightness control allow you to match the finder brightness to your eye’s dark adaptation. In addition, a rotary control in the side of the illuminator lets you gradually vary the blink rate of the illuminator from constantly on, to a rapid blinking, down to a slow half second on/half second off pulsing rate for more comfortable viewing. Uses a Duracell XL DL 1/3N lithium or equivalent battery (supplied, but not guaranteed by TeleVue to be at full strength).
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