Pathfinder Video Finderscope Solution
Almost every astronomer has struggled to look through a finderscope. Their small apertures, combined with having to use your eyes, means that it's hard to see faint deep sky objects. Their advantage is a wide field of view, often several degrees. But as many astronomers know, using a finderscope to align your main telescope can be tricky and a matter of judging where the center of the finderscope's field of view is. Enter the Pathfinder, a revolutionary video enabled finderscope. The Pathfinder consists of a high quality 50mm finderscope and a super low light video camera with all accessories needed to operate it (see pictures below). The 50mm finderscope fits standard dovetail brackets like those for a red dot finder or Synta/Orion style accessories. The camera is a super low light video camera and is capable of exposures up to 8 seconds. It is sensitive enough to reveal many bright deep sky objects in real time. The Pathfinder needs a TV or video capture enabled computer (not included) in order to display video.
The Pathfinder makes aligning your Go-To telescope a breeze. Usually the alignment process involves slewing your telescope to a few bright stars and adjusting the telescope's pointing until the star is in the center of your telescope's field of view. However, initially your telescope's pointing will probably be a bit off. You may not see anything in the telescope's field of view and have to hunt around to find the alignment star. With a Pathfinder, you see a 2 degree field around where your telescope is pointing. If your alignment star is within that distance, you'll see it on the TV or computer screen. And then it's a simple matter to adjust your telescope to bring your alignment star to the center of the screen. You can do in seconds what it would take minutes to do previously, and it's all done without having to crane your neck and look through a finderscope visually.
Once your telescope has been aligned, the Pathfinder aids in locating deep sky objects. This is a tremendous help. Most deep sky objects are faint and nearly impossible to see through the eyepiece of typical finderscopes. Also, your main telescope's field of view is probably small, meaning you could be just a little bit off in pointing and miss the deep sky object you seek entirely. The Pathfinder has a 2 degree field of view, but also has a sensitive video camera, meaning the deep sky object should show up somewhere in the Pathfinder's field of view. And you'll see it, in real time and in color displayed on your computer or TV. It's then a cinch to tweak the telescope's pointing to get the target centered on your CCD camera or eyepiece.
Actual use in the field proves how useful this all is. You will spend less time finding and more time observing. And the view through the Pathfinder is appealing in its own right.
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Pictures of the Pathfinder Video Finderscope
Videos with the Pathfinder Video Finderscope. Finding deep-sky objects is now easy.