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Do you use laser pointers during your stargazing session? why or why not?

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#1 RadioPigeon

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:08 AM

I got myself a 532nm 200mw laser yesterday, got it for a good price and it has a visible beam at night and good for pointing out stars, planets, constellations, especially if I wanna mark an interesting astronomical object on my photos.

 

Do you use lasers when in some astronomy club meeting or on your own? smile.gif


 

#2 Barlowbill

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:12 AM

Use in my urban back yard all the time.  I'm within a half mile of a smallish regional airport.  When planes and helicopters are around, I don't use it until they are gone.  Never had an issue.


 

#3 Sandy Swede

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:22 AM

Not since I learned that a certain helicopter and its doppelganger fly directly over my obsy on their way from a large white house in DC to its primary occupant's vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Not breaking OPSEC as everyone in my little community (and others) are fully aware of the flight path.


 

#4 Astroman007

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:23 AM

Not yet, but I intend to get one.


 

#5 Jim T

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:29 AM

I always have one with me in each of my two eyepiece cases.  Obviously for public outreach typically, but sometimes at amateur star parties as many amateurs using DSCs do not know their way around the constellations (or I might point out where the comet that I am observing is located, etc.).

 

Always watching for aircraft first!


 

#6 gstrumol

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:33 AM

200mw?!

 

I see your location is in Bosnia. Here in the US there are regulations that restrict the power of a laser pointer (especially a green one, where the eye is most sensitive) to < 5mw. Of course, on the web one can buy anything from anywhere, but a laser that powerful can cause severe eye damage, even if was done inadvertently. And a prison term would not be out of the question if it hit a plane or helicopter and struck a pilot.

 

A < 5mw pointer is more than sufficient to do all of the things you listed in your post.

 

That being said, I use the above on occasion as a finder for my scope to get it pointed roughly before going to my 9X50 RACI (and always on the lookout for planes)


Edited by gstrumol, 15 February 2024 - 11:36 AM.

 

#7 RadioPigeon

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:42 AM

No issue gstrumol, I have an ADSB receiver on my stargazing session to look out for planes near me


 

#8 NinePlanets

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 11:47 AM

I never used a laser until recently when I acquired a small SCT and found that pointing the stubby little tube at anything in the sky even close enough to get the target in the field of the finder scope required grinding gravel into both of my knees. A green laser mounted to the SCT makes it useable without knee pads.


 

#9 drt3d

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 12:01 PM

Yes, they are great.

 

George


 

#10 moefuzz

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 12:06 PM

Yes, green laser pointer is much better for following the light path than red is. Red laser is harder for the eye to see and therefor harder to follow the beam as a pointer. I have bought roughly 40 green laser pointers from ebay thru china and only had  2 duds.

 

 

s-l960.jpg


Edited by moefuzz, 15 February 2024 - 12:07 PM.

 

#11 FRANKVSTAR

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 12:18 PM

 I use a green laser light at times to point out in the sky the object I am imaging to friends and family. It works well and you can clearly see the light path to the object so people can see exactly what section of the sky I am imaging and or sometimes viewing with the scope and eyepiece.

 When I had used my larger SCT scope 11inch or 9.25 inch it made for a nice addition along side the finder scope. They are useful at times for sure.


 

#12 geovermont

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 12:31 PM

No. I think it is just too dangerous if it ever gets pointed at someone's eye (mistakes happen, Murphy's Law always holds true). And that's the low wattage ones. Did you really mean to type 200 mw? If so, that is extremely dangerous. What were you thinking?


 

#13 Bill Weir

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 12:34 PM

https://www.cloudyni...ns-please-read/

 

Bill


 

#14 sevenofnine

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 02:16 PM

Yes, all the time in my backyard observatory. Once they are dialed in the green beam is so much easier than any other finder for me Jedi.gif


 

#15 Astroman007

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 02:25 PM

No. I think it is just too dangerous if it ever gets pointed at someone's eye (mistakes happen, Murphy's Law always holds true). And that's the low wattage ones.

This is where discretion and basic common sense come into play. Constant awareness of one's actions and forethought as to probable outcomes of said actions eliminates a lot of problems. Holds true in workplace safety and here.


 

#16 maroubra_boy

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 02:38 PM

Lasers in many countries are regarded as dangerous and heavily regulated/controlled to the same point as firearms.

 

Here in Australia, for instance, lasers can only be used by teachers (who have a demonstrable use for them - science teacher yes, English teacher no) or a member of a registered astronomy club only for education purposes.  Otherwise to own a laser you need a firearms licence.  Police here are ruthless now with irresponsible laser users.

 

In Canada one condition of their use for astronomy is there has to be an additional person who acts as a spotter to keep an eye out for aircraft - something that I think is a good idea as the person doing a presentation cannot have full attention to where aircraft are & keep track of them.  I have come close to zapping a plane on a couple of occasions.

 

PLEASE inform yourself of whatever the local regulations are regarding lasers WHERE YOU LIVE.  Regulations vary not only country to country but also state to state.

 

DO NOT think whatever you read here in this forum applies to you - what people say about how they use their laser may not mention the regulations behind their use.  There may also be people making posts who are not aware of the regulations where they live or just don't care about the regulations.

 

If there are no regulations where you live, impose regulations on yourself to keep the laser out of the hands of children & during astronomy sessions YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO USES THE LASER.  You don't want an incident where a laser is pointed at the wrong person (a Police Officer or soldier) or building or aircraft, & you certainly don't want any guest to have their eyes flashed by a laser.

 

200mW laser will burst black & red balloons & will cause permanent eye damage.  Please be very careful with it.  NEVER give it to anyone.  It is seriously powerful.

 

Lasers can be a great  teaching aid, but must be treated with respect.

 

Alex.


Edited by maroubra_boy, 15 February 2024 - 04:29 PM.

 

#17 David Knisely

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 03:47 PM

I generally only use my green laser pointer when doing my formal presentations to large groups, constellation talks, or pointing out where objects are to beginners.  Otherwise, for pointing my scope, my Telrad (or Rigel) finder and finderscopes get me on target.  The green lasers also tend not to work as well at lower temperatures.  Clear skies to you.


Edited by David Knisely, 15 February 2024 - 11:21 PM.

 

#18 Tony Flanders

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 04:25 PM

200mw?!
 
I see your location is in Bosnia. Here in the US there are regulations that restrict the power of a laser pointer ...


More to the point, a 200 mw laser will destroy your dark adaptation for a long, long time. It's the wrong tool for the job.
 

#19 Rickycardo

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 05:21 PM

Yeah, 200mw is a lot of light. Ordered one from Amazon that was advertised as 5 mw and, sure enough, when it arrive it was marked as 50 mw. It's extremely bright, I can only imagine yours. Use adult discretion..


 

#20 GeneT

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 07:03 PM

If people are shooting photos of sky objects, you might find them hostile. They say that laser light ruins their photos.


 

#21 Todd N

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 07:41 PM

Why light pollute the night sky with this nonsense? Thats what a finder scope is for. I haven't had it yet but I don't want to have to worry if this will mar my astrophotos. Thank goodness most of the people doing this stuff seem to go to bed early. There is no alien invasion to defend Earth with these stupid lasers. 


 

#22 kfiscus

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 07:57 PM

Besides the obvious use for pointing out constellations and DSO locations for beginners, I occasionally use one when stargazing w/ my buddy and hunting down DSOs that are difficult star hops.  One of us will consult a paper atlas and then indicate the location, the other person walks the scope up the beam to the indicated spot.


 

#23 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 08:14 PM

A green laser is my preference on small refractors. It's very easy to align without any need for neck twisting. I have brought mine to star parties, but only use it to align an encoder-based set up, then it's off for the night as I don't want to annoy others.

 

With my reflectors I use some form of reticle finder--rigel, telrad, or red dot. I find these are easier to get aligned and stay aligned, on average than the lasers. They also have longer lasting batteries and don't have as many issues with cold weather.


 

#24 weis14

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 08:47 PM

I use one (5mw) on my small refractors.  I mount it like a finder scope and find that it is incredibly useful.  With it and a chart, I can usually star hop to objects faster than I could type them into my Nexus DSC.  That said, all the advice about safety applies.


 

#25 RichNH

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 09:01 PM

Too much arthritis in my neck to use the Rigel finder for any length of time.  I find that the green laser mounted on the finder shoe works wonders for me.


 


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