Altair Astro Newtonian Collimator
After cracking open the box, we soon realised that the Altair Astro Newtonian Collimator is virtually identical to the Premium Laser Collimator by Meade.
The casing and components appear to be the same while, internally, the only visual difference was the paint colour of the laser ‘pen’ that provides the bright beam.
The laser warning sticker doesn’t give a power rating, but in a side-by-side comparison with the Meade there appeared to be no difference in brightness or collimation – which was excellent.
Indeed, even the beam pattern was identical. Apart from 6g of weight, the only other difference seems to be that this collimator was made in Taiwan, while the Meade hails from China.
The casings on both versions have a nice shoulder, which locates against the top of the focuser drawtube for good alignment.
A small cost may have been cut with the Altair Astro’s plain packaging – but if you are on a budget, the £10 difference in price will probably be enough to tempt you away from Meade’s version.
The screen on this collimator has a rough aluminium finish. While this effectively catches the bright 5mW laser light, it also scatters it, making for a pretty dazzling effect.
This may not be dangerous, but it was a little uncomfortable to observe the reflection from close to the screen and we found it tricky to judge the exact position of the returning beam.
Collimator type Single beam
Laser power Not specified
Eyepiece fit 1.25-inch
Screen type 45° semi-reflective
Supplier Altair Astro
Tel 01263 731505
This review appeared in the December 2010 issue of Sky at Night Magazine