Orpington Astronomical Society

Astronomy => Alerts! Questions? Discussions... => Topic started by: Carole on Apr 08, 2009, 21:01:26

Title: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: Carole on Apr 08, 2009, 21:01:26
Can some-one update me on whether we are or arn't allowed to use lasers for astronomy. Have heard two differing stories.

Carole
Title: FAQ: Laser pointers
Post by: Mike on Apr 08, 2009, 21:02:48
Yes they are perfectly legal as long as you don't shine them at aircraft.
Title: FAQ: Laser pointers
Post by: mickw on Apr 08, 2009, 21:04:45
Otherwise you get hit with a Hellcat  :twisted:
Title: FAQ: Laser pointers
Post by: Carole on Apr 08, 2009, 21:06:22
Thanks Mike
c
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: Ian on Apr 08, 2009, 23:39:00
however, there was mention in the news report that they are attempting to change the emphasis in law regarding intent. Currently, the intent to disrupt the flight must be proved, which would give any accidental illumination of an aircraft by an astronomer an obvious defence. It was reported that the intent part of the offence will be removed which then places the onus on the astronomer to ensure that the pointer is never shone at an aircraft, even by accident.

That said, there isn't and won't be any offence committed if the laser is not shone on an aircraft. They do not seem to be trying to outlaw the pointers themselves which is good news. We're all responsible astronomers here... Just make sure you monitor where your laser pointer is pointing at all times, particularly if you're using it attached to your mount.
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: john.clark on Jul 30, 2009, 08:20:10
Yebbut...in Tonbridge you can hardly not point it at an aircraft - we are too close to Gatwick.  The difference in the number of aircraft between here and my former abode in West Norfolk is remarkable.
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: Carole on Jul 30, 2009, 08:50:12
Quote
Yebbut...in Tonbridge you can hardly not point it at an aircraft - we are too close to Gatwick.
Well I guess that makes us even.
We got too much pollution and you got too many planes!!

Quits?

Carole
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: The Thing on Jul 30, 2009, 10:46:57
Since at least a few of us do astronomy in France we need to know what their rules are as well.

I've just come back from Normandy where I attended an outside talk in the dunes on constellations and their myths (hard going for my french!). The speaker seemed to say that he used a large torch instead of a laser pointer as it was difficult to show you weren't pointing it at aircraft. Didn't stop him borrowing my pointer for a bit though (took it to point things out for my missus if we didn't stay with the talk).
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: john.clark on Aug 06, 2009, 23:43:56
Actually the light pollution in Tonbridge is not as bad as in King's Lynn.  From my new back yard, for example, I can see the main stars in Lyra, not just Vega.  From King's Lynn I can only see Vega.  I really do not understand why. 

The altitude is hardly any different, although we are most of the way up a hill here, and above the worst murk of the town.

It may be humidity.  Our house in Lynn is only a couple of miles from the sea at high tide, and there's no doubt we pick up cloud there when the sea breeze reverses early in the night.  Perhaps sometimes the cloud is too light to see.

???
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: Kenny on Feb 19, 2013, 07:57:50
This has been in the media a fair bit recently with youths being arrested. Does anyone have a current view on the law relating to use of these pointers?
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: mickw on Feb 19, 2013, 08:43:19
I would think that if you are not stupid and use the pointer sensibly you should be OK, although you might get a visit from plod anyway if someone reports it.
If you show there is a valid reason for use and you weren't trying to blind pilots, common sense should prevail.

Laser pointers as toys for kids is just plain stupid.
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: Tony G on Feb 19, 2013, 22:00:41
Laser pointers as toys for kids is just plain stupid.

Does anyone want to buy a laser pointer.  :cry:

Tony G
Title: Re: FAQ: Are we allowed to use laser pointers for astronomy
Post by: Tony G on Feb 19, 2013, 22:15:17
I now have 3 lasers in my possession, a red, green and blue/purpley one.  :twisted:

Tony G