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Jason Rickerby Reviews

Losmandy Polar Scope

on October, 17th 2009

Polar Scope good. Illuminator bad!

The good news is that the Losmandy Polar Scope works reasonably well for aligning the mount for visual use. For astrophotography you should still consider drift-aligning, or if available, using your mounts polar alignment utilities. The bad news is the whole arrangement around the reticle illuminator. The issues are the LED device that screws into the polar scope, and the complete lack of a dimmer. The threaded hole to accept the illuminator LED is smaller than what you would normally find on a guiding eyepiece or illuminated finder scope, and the thin wires from the LED to the power pack do not seem to bode well for the illuminators longevity. (Although the LED and wires do seem to be able to stay in a stationary relative position, as one screws the illuminator into the polar scope.) The brightness of the illuminated reticle makes it difficult to see the second and third alignment stars. It would be preferable to see something like the ubiquitous Celestron variable brightness, button-cell illuminator (http://www.buytelescopes.com/product.asp?t=&pid=560&m=) but with a head that can rotate 90-degrees, so it can be left in the polar scope. (The polar scope rotates with the RA axis as the mount moves, so something like the Celestron illuminator might hit the mount - depending on your observing latitude.) One other note: I have a newer GM-8 mount and have not experienced any of the binding problems that you may have heard of in the past.