AstroSystems Collimating Tools

Collimating Tools - which is best for my telescope?

The Laser Collimator with Barlow Attachment and LightPipe/SightTube perform the same function and have the same inherent accuracy because they are "single pass".  This means you see images from the primary mirror and secondary mirror that has reflected from the secondary to the primary, back to the secondary and then to your eye.  In a 10" f/5 this path would be 100 inches, long enough for accurate adjustments.


The Autocollimator is used only after close collimation with one of the above tools and has very high accuracy because it is a "multiple pass" tool, as many as 3-4 passes.  The reflections from the secondary mirror to the primary mirror and back can be seen as many as 4 times.  In a 10" f/5 this could be as long as 400"!  This extended path allows very accurate adjustments, necessary for high power viewing, especially the planets and moon.


Laser Collimator with Barlow attachment LightPipe/SightTube Autocollimator
2" model only 2", 2" short f/ratio (f/3-4.2) and 1.25" models 2" and 1.25" models
Very intuitive in use, can also diagnose non-collimation problems Takes some practice Takes some practice
Uses batteries (2 AA) no batteries no batteries
requires a center spotted primary mirror requires a center spotted primary mirror requires a center spotted primary mirror
requires a temporarily center spotted secondary mirror no secondary mirror center spot needed no secondary mirror center spot needed
good collimation accuracy good collimation accuracy excellent collimation accuracy
$149.00 $49 (1.25")          $89 (2") $49 (1.25")       $89 (2")



Laser and Barlow attachment Image of return primary center spot

Laser Collimator with Barlow attachment

Indispensable for fast and convenient collimation of Newtonians!   You will wonder how you ever lived without one.   Our collimator uses a 650nm, 4.5mW, class IIIA red diode laser that is very easy to see and safe.  Collimate either day or night!  The body accurately fits into the focuser and can be adjusted for an accurate fit using the nylon set screws.   You'll be able to collimate your telescope mechanically and optically.  Also allows you to diagnose loose or misaligned parts.     The body is CNC machined from solid aircraft aluminum, then gold anodized.  The handy Barlow lens is magnetically attached to the laser.  The Barlowed laser achieves the accuracy of Cheshire collimator with the ease and simplicity of a laser collimator in three easy steps.

Step 1.  Mechanically position the optical components and supports (need only be done once) using the laser in single beam mode.

Step 2.  Adjust the tilt of the secondary mirror to center laser spot in the primary mirror center ring, using the laser in single beam mode.

Step 3.  Attach the concave lens "Barlow" to the laser and adjust tilt of the primary.  The return image is a silhouette of the primary mirrors center ring.  It  is easy to see and accurately center on the white reflective cap.

Axial beam lasers are subject to minor centering errors on the return spot from the primary mirror that can be difficult to detect.  These minor errors can make a substantial difference in achieving accurate collimation on shorter (f/4.5 or less) telescopes.  When using a Barlowed laser, it is possible to achieve 20 thousandths of an inch centering or better on the return beam.  This is usually precise enough collimation for general observing, but can be followed up with our autocollimator for tack sharp images.   A thorough 12 page instruction booklet is included as well as the 2 AA batteries on which it operates.

2.00" Astrosystems Barlowed Laser   $149.00     ShipWeight 3 lbs.

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"I received my laser/Barlow on Friday.  I got a chance to try it on Friday night and this thing is awesome.  There is absolutely no slop in the focuser at all.  This was my first time using the Barlowed laser method and I am totally sold on this method.  Your laser is top-notch and I would recommend it to anyone.

Ronny F.  Chattanooga, TN  

Astronomy magazine says:   "The beauty of the laser collimator lies in its convenience and versatility.  Coupled with its other uses, the laser collimator is a highly useful accessory for any observer."  April 1995 Astronomy, page 82.

Sky and Telescope magazine says:   "The time needed to collimate a medium sized Newtonian was greatly reduced and the laser collimator is more than a new wrinkle or a jazzy toy; it is a precision diagnostic tool that fills a long-standing need of Newtonian telescope users."  February 1996 Sky and Telescope, page 44.

"The Barlowed laser works in an entirely different way than the standard laser.  Rock the drawtube gently, move it in or out, or tighten the screw that locks the Barlowed laser in the drawtube.  Where the beam from the normal laser collimator danced around, the silhouette of the mirror spot is rock steady.   Sky and Telescope magazine, January 2003 Page 124

Download AstroSystems Barlowed Laser Instructions (PDF)


1.25", 2" short f/ratio and 2" LightPipe/SightTube Combination

This unique and innovative collimator combines the LightPipe with the SightTube into one easier to use, lower-cost tool.  The LightPipe functions just like a Cheshire collimator, but with two important differences.  First, the acrylic lightpipe will not darken or corrode with time, like the aluminum reflector used on a Cheshire.  Second, the lightpipe is non-directional to illuminate.  When using a flashlight at night to illuminate the tool, any angle works, unlike the temperamental Cheshire.  The 2-in-1 collimator accurately aligns optics in Newtonian telescopes (LightPipe) as well as accurately aligning the secondary mirror under the focuser (SightTube).  The 2" version is easier to use in telescopes having a long focal length of  (70"+) and proportionately larger secondary mirrors.  The shorter body LightPipe is perfect to collimate shorter f/ratio telescopes or imaging telescopes (f/3-f/4).  Save time and money with this 2 in 1 tool.  Precision-made anodized aluminum, acrylic insert and stainless steel crosshair wires.  Includes 14 page instruction booklet.

1.25"  Lightpipe/SightTube    $49.00, ShipWeight 1 lb.

2"  Lightpipe/SightTube    (f/3-f/4) $89.00, ShipWeight 2 lb.

2"  Lightpipe/SightTube    (f/4+) $89.00, ShipWeight 2 lb.

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Special, get both the 1.25" LightPipe/SightTube and 1.25" Autocollimator for $95.00

Special, get both the 2" LightPipe/SightTube and 2" Autocollimator for $165.00

Download Collimating instructions for LightPipe/SightTube and Autocollimator (PDF)


2" and 1.25" Autocollimator

Our autocollimator is the only autocollimator on the market that is precision laser aligned to better than 3 arc minutes.

The Autocollimator is used to fine tune the optical alignment after using the LightPipe/SightTube or a laser collimator.  It utilizes a flat mirror that shows multiple reflections through the optical system.  This is 2-4 times the accuracy of a Cheshire, LightPipe or laser collimator.    The adjustment screws are then locked to insure lifetime accuracy.  Includes a 14 page instruction booklet.

1.25" Autocollimator    49.00, ShipWeight 1 lb.

2" Autocollimator    $89.00, ShipWeight 1 lb.

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Special, get both the 1.25" LightPipe/SightTube and 1.25" Autocollimator for $95

Special, get both the 2" LightPipe/SightTube and 2" Autocollimator for $165


Download Collimating instructions for LightPipe/SightTube and Autocollimator (PDF)


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