What is my scope's StarPointer for, and how do I use it?

A telescope gives magnified views of the Earth and sky. As such, its field of view is very narrow. Pointing a scope at a distant object on the ground or a small, faint object in the sky can be difficult.

This is where a small telescope or another kind of pointing device mounted on the side of a scope can be a great help. Like the riflescope on a rifle, the pointer is aimed parallel to the main telescope and provides a low-power view that is easy to point at the target.

Many Celestron telescopes use StarPointers, a type of pointer called a red dot finder. It has a brightness-adjustable red LED or LED fiber-optic light source. The light is reflected off a curved transparent surface that allows both a direct view of the sky and the red dot of the LED to be seen at the same time. It has no magnification and works by superimposing a tiny brilliant red dot on top of your target. 

To adjust your StarPointer:

  • Take the scope out in the daytime and point the scope down the street towards the top of a telephone pole, street sign or license plate on a car.
  • Using your lowest power eyepiece (the one with the highest focal length number printed on it), look into the eyepiece of the main scope and center it on the target.
  • Look through the StarPointer from approximately 6 inches behind it, and the first thing you will notice is that the red dot is most likely not aimed at the same target.
  • Adjust the small round thumbscrews on the StarPointer to adjust the position of the red dot until it lays "on-top" of the same object you are viewing through the telescope eyepiece. Once this is done, you are ready to view.

  • Now any object you point the red dot StarPointer at will also appear in your eyepiece. The StarPointer should remain in alignment unless the finder is bumped. For example, while you move the scope in and out of the house. If this happens, simply realign it. This can also be done at night using a distant streetlight, Moon or star. 

    Updated 12/14/13