What is the ultimate star diagonal? It is not one of the fancy dielectrics from William Optics or TeleVue; it is the Denkmeier SCT Power x Switch. Denkmeier, a small U.S. company, established itself with amateurs with its high-quality yet reasonably priced binoviewers. It has now expanded its line of accessories with several interesting products, the most remarkable of which is the Power x Switch.
The Power x Switch 2-inch diagonal in Plate 42 includes a high quality dielectric diagonal, but that is just for starters. It also provides two "power switches" (slides, actually), seen on either side of the diagonal housing. Pushing the switch on the left introduces a high-quality Barlow into the light path and increases the current eyepiece's magnification by x2. Pull the switch out and slide the right switch into place, and a x0.5 reducer moves into the light path, halving an eyepiece's magnification. Images in this reducer seem nearly as good as those produced by the Meade and Celestron reducer/correctors. What is the true beauty of the Power x Switch? You can sit and observe, changing magnifications without having to change eyepieces or insert
Plate 42. (Denkmeier Powerswitch) The ultimate star diagonal? Denkmeier SCT Powerswitch diagonal. Credit: Author.
Barlows. This will encourage you to try a wide variety of magnifications on difficult deep sky objects, often with startlingly good results. In the past, removing an eyepiece or fumbling with a Barlow meant you might wind up losing a difficult object.
No, the Power x Switch is not cheap. The SCT model goes for nearly $400. That is a lot, true, but it may enable many CAT users to forego buying yet another Nagler or Uwan. The easy-to-use reducer and Barlow of the Power x Switch effectively triple an eyepiece collection. You can go an entire week at a star party and use only two eyepieces in the Power x Switch. Besides, it is just so cool. Sitting there at the observing position of your Powerswitch-equipped go-to SCT, you will feel like Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise: "More power, Scotty!"
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