The versatile Rigel SkyLite flashlight meets the needs of the practical astronomer. It is not the cheapest, but some unique features set it apart from the competition.
The most obvious is the combined switch/dimmer dial. This requires a firm twist to switch on (so it’s unlikely to be inadvertently operated whilst in a pocket) but the raised edge pattern makes it easy to operate whilst wearing gloves.
Turning clockwise selects red light and anticlockwise, white. Both sets of LEDs are bright but, thoughtfully, they start from their dimmest setting, thereby protecting your night vision.
When fully powered, the LEDs project a good beam with a useful spread enabling you to locate dropped items or find your way.
The dimmer works smoothly, rotating approximately 120° either way, making it easy to select an appropriate level of light.
The lightweight plastic casing has little grip or texture, but it does fit in your hand well and the flattened shape means it won’t roll away.
A lanyard is provided – although this is a bit short – and you may need to slip it off your neck to use it comfortably. The flashlight easily fits in most coat pockets.
The casing is described as water resistant and we noticed rubber O-rings inside the battery compartment and behind the thumbscrew that secures it, providing protection against damp conditions.
The lanyard is attached via another O-ring to this screw. It is a bit fiddly to fit this and seems a bit odd, but it works, and a promised long battery life means you are unlikely to remove it very often.
This is a very useful product. Switching between red and white light couldn’t be easier and the low-level dimmed illumination provided is superb for chart reading and notetaking – just so long as you have a free hand.