View Full Version here: : Laser pointers for stargazing
09-01-2012, 01:41 PM
Anyone had any luck getting a laser into Melb.
09-01-2012, 02:45 PM
In theory to own, operate or import a laser above 1mw into victoria you need a licence as per the licencing document here at the vic police site...
Laser pointers are allowable for us astronomy folk as long as you pay the fee, fill out the form, have it signed by a jp etc etc etc...
09-01-2012, 04:25 PM
There's also the Customs (B710) form if you want to bring it in from O'seas.
09-01-2012, 05:00 PM
yeah i knew that , thats why i asked :P.i managed to get a 100mw past customs last week...its good but not the brightest.i just orderd a 1000mw laser last nite "fingers crossed", its a shame some folks have ruined it for the rest of us.
09-01-2012, 07:27 PM
Whoa! 100mw and 1000mw. Way more than you need for astro purposes!
20 to 30mw should be plenty.
09-01-2012, 07:28 PM
100mW to 1000mW....?:eyepop: Sirius Optics (www.sirius-optics.com.au/laser%20pointer.htm (http://www.sirius-optics.com.au/laser%20pointer.htm)) are selling 20 and 30mW Green Laser Pointers. Are these not bright enough to do the job?
I have not looked into green laser pointers yet. Some of the BAS club members use them as finders and to point objects out to the public. After being asked many times where in the sky the scope is pointing, I have started to toy with the idea of buying a GLP as well.
09-01-2012, 08:17 PM
Maybe he wants to burn a hole through the clouds? :rofl:
Seriously though, what are the astronomy applications for a 1 W laser?
30mw, 532nm GLP= There’s no place to hide.
Must admit my Saxon GLP drinks 1.5v AAA Lithiums like Cottee's on a summers day, and it does like to be warm..physically warm, to be at its best. 10 minutes under a sleeping dog in winter..minimum.
10-01-2012, 04:19 AM
If you buy a 30mw laser from say Queensland and use it in Vic...how do they track the permit requirements? Or do you just wait to be picked up by the police?
(May be easier than bringing back my gear from Belgium!)
10-01-2012, 05:13 AM
Well, http://www.yourlasers.com/ are a lot cheaper. 50mW lasers for $50 or less. BUT: they do NOT ship to US or Australia.
For pointing to stars, a 1mW green or 5mW red suffices unless you point in an urban area.
50mW pointers leave a clear green trail and might attract police or others particularly in NSW or ACT where this stuff is prohibited.
In a dark environment for people close to the laser pointer you can still see the trail very faintly with 1mW green or 5mW red.
But also these rather dim ones can damage eyes or distract people so NEVER point at people or driving cars.
10-01-2012, 04:35 PM
wow iv'e a 40mw and it's way bright enough!!!!!!!!!! 1000 holly smokes!!!!!
there goes the o-zone :lol::lol::lol:
10-01-2012, 05:35 PM
Never used one as I'm close enough to the local air force base to probably get a missile fired at me if I wasn't careful. Do these things accurately point at the star your aiming for? I mean, if you stand say a metre away from the scope and look at where it's pointing does the beam seem to end "exactly" on the target star? Just curious. 1Watt are you nuts!!!!
10-01-2012, 06:30 PM
well my 100mw i bought from a cheap chinese site so its probly not true 100mw ,might be 20-30mw...it works i can slightly see the beam at night but i would prefer a nice solid beam...yeah i probs over did it lol.who knows i doubt ill get it passed customs.
10-01-2012, 07:12 PM
It seems that GLP's are still legal to own and use in QLD without a permit. I know a bloke who works in Customs and they are always on the lookout for illegal items being imported. He would not believe me when told that QLD Amateur Astronomers use them without permits and seemed to think we should not have them at all. So for the time being, I can legally buy a GLP from Sirius Optics but cannot import one without the permits :screwy:.
The 20 & 30mW GLP's work very well, even at light polluted Mt Coot-tha which overlooks the Brisbane CBD. The scope mounted 20mW GLP's do point exactly where the user wants to view once they have been aligned. These gadgets work so well I am tempted to buy one to assist in explaining where objects are in the night sky when the club does their monthly public viewings.
10-01-2012, 07:30 PM
Yeah, that's fine in Queensland...
but what about "transferring them over the border" into States where they require a Police Permit? ie NSW, VIC and WA
10-01-2012, 08:40 PM
NSW doesn't require a permit for members of astro societies (http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/about_us/structure/operations_command/firearms/laser_pointers/laser_pointers_-_questions_and_answers) on the police approved list (http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/139895/Astronomical_Societies_Internet_Oct ober_2011.pdf) (link current Jan 2012 - check the first link for updates.) where used for astronomy.
10-01-2012, 08:49 PM
I am not up to speed with interstate legal requirements. I would assume that NSW / VIC Police would be within their legal rights to take the Green Laser Pointer off a QLD resident as soon as they cross the State Border. I would like to know if the offending QLD resident would then be charged for having a 'prohibited weapon'?
I am curious too. Does anyone know the legal details surrounding this issue? :shrug:
It is interesting to note that quite a few members of the public at viewing nights think that GLP's are banned in QLD. It will probably happen one day.
I am guessing that the odds of being caught and charged if using GLP's at a dark sky astro event in NSW / VIC are pretty slim.
Edit: Andrew got in just before I posted the original reply with some information that answers some of the questions raised. I should have waited a little longer before posting.....
11-01-2012, 12:35 PM
The Law in Qld states that it is illegal to use a GLP Illegally. It was design specifically that way so the Police have the power to decide what is legal and what isn't. The Australian Constitution forbids any State to interfere with free trade between the States so there are no problems for Sirius Optics to ship to any State. The onus is on the customer to check with local law enforcement as to the legality within their State. Sirius Optics asks specific questions when approached by customers trying to buy them and if Sirius Optics suspects that the customer is not an Astronomer, then the sale does not proceed.
It is time consuming to get the necessary approvals to import them through Customs. It is also costly as Sirius Optics does not import just one or two at a time and each one has to be tested by Customs to ensure that the labeling and output power is as stated. Unfortunately, Customs has detected several imports where the supplier overseas has shown on the Invoice that the power is less than 1mW where in fact it was over 100 to 250mW. Those people lost not only their money but are recorded by Customs for trying to import illegally. Is it worth it?
11-01-2012, 12:44 PM
Just become a member of an astronomy club and only use the laser pointer when you have your telescope setup.The cops will see your telescope and will probably wanna have a look through it LOL
11-01-2012, 01:24 PM
I believe some astro clubs have banned the use of these lasers. I think ASV and MPAS (Mornington Pen) has too. Wouldn't be surprised if it happens elsewhere and is more prevalent.
Unfortunately it only takes a few people to do something stupid before more enforcement is put in place.
Having said that, JayCar has a "green laser module" which they sell. I think they can do this because it isn't encased and is considered a "module" or "kit" piece.
11-01-2012, 04:19 PM
I build and design spectroscopes.
I use the laser pointers for optical alignment and other tests. One or two of my laser pointers are actually "built-in" to my test gear, hence the need to "import" them when I return to Oz.
I hope to be able to complete the necessary Customs/Police paperwork from Belgium before returning.
11-01-2012, 05:16 PM
That's cool Merlin. It's quite possible you could get permission for that type of thing. You might however have better luck importing a laser/module rather than a laser pointer/pen if you're using it as a component of something else. :shrug:
11-01-2012, 05:27 PM
relocating from Vic to NSW or Queensland may be an easier option!!
IMO, 1W, if used regularly is gonna get you busted.. As previously stated by others in this thread John Q Law may give consideration to a 30 or 40 being used for astronomy. Thats not gonna happen with a 1w.
With fresh batts and physically warmed, my 30mw casts a solid beam from scope/hand to target for everyone in the yard.
1W is well over the top..and I want one.
11-01-2012, 08:43 PM
The laws are intended for hand held lasers. If it is built into the device they should not apply, but you should ask. After all, does anyone have problems with the law and the laser in their CD/DVD/Blueray?
11-01-2012, 09:09 PM
If a 100mW isn't bright, then it ain't 100mW anyway. I use a 40mW Actic Fox laser rifle sight and that is very bright, and easily does the job.
A 1000mW rated laser would be way too bright anyway and would be very noticeable, which is something that will attract attention. I had the Police helicopter fly over my place, because they saw the beam and once they saw my telescope, they bugged out. They have NVG binoculars on board.
I doubt you would be allowed to use a true 1000mW anyway and it would be way too expensive.
11-01-2012, 09:16 PM
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the use and ownership of GLL's in Australia.
The B709B form is required for importation only. The B710 would only be required if it is a licenceable item, to my knowledge.
An Actic Fox 40mW laser rifle sight is available from Gun Mart in Midland WA for about $265, which includes the mount, which fits on a gun slide which will cost about $20. These are the GLL that I use and they are great. Unfortunately they don't have a website but have been around for a long time. Their in the Yellow Pages.
I would check with your central firearms branch, as in WA, these are not a "prohibited weapon", but rather a "controlled weapon" and that has less strict requirements. In WA we were only required to complete a form B709B for importation and require no other paperwork, whatsoever and I have this in writing from the Police Minister. There is no paperwork required to purchase over the counter and anyone can own them as long as they have a valid use and astronomy is such a valid use. Those caught carrying them without a valid use face stiff fines.
My understand is that the laws that were introduced were uniform between states, with the exception of NSW. I am no expert, so I am only going by my experiences.
Frankly, the only place you should be taking advice from is your "central" Firearms branch for the CORRECT information. It will save you a lot of pain.
Going to your local police station is useless, as if they are not involved with the firearms branch, they simply don't know.
If a licence is required in VIC, I sure hope they don't bring that in here, I have enough licences to pay for as it is.
11-01-2012, 09:16 PM
I can think of one... range finding.... Mars I should think :rofl::rofl:
11-01-2012, 09:53 PM
You've been watching too much Bing Bang Theory :D Oh, hang on, that was the Moon :lol:
16-02-2012, 11:24 AM
you are correct, but cd/dvd are class 1 lasers as they are operated inside a housing and cannot escape to burn your eyes
I have been reading a few laser pointer forums as I like lasers in general but just a few hours reading have turned me away from lasers as a hobby, If you value your eyes you will wear laser filter glasses for use with 5mw and up. REALLY just 5mw can hurt your eyes and just imagine getting a flash with dark adapted eyes , that would be even worse.
So please guys and gals be very very careful with your lasers and buy some saftey glasses that suit your nm wavelength ($80+)
Do not worry about planes that are really high up eg 10k ft, they are possibly doing 300 knts plus and will not notice a laser pointed at them for umpteenths of a second. It is when you interfere with the operation of an aircraft eg. distract the crew with a laser pointer, that you will get into trouble and hopefully arrested and gaoled.
I have experienced a direct attack while I was skippering a charter boat.
It was 10:00pm , I had a 25-35 knts blowing and had to pen this charter boat with 22 semi drunk blokes on board. It required all my concentration
and skill to do this safely.
But then some 7 year old kid shines a green laser pointer at the boat and I get flashed twice at the worst possible moment, I was blinded completely for 20 seconds and then had poor vision for the next 10 minutes.
Well I got the boat into the pen , made sure everyone was safe and jumped into my car to try to catch the parents of the child. Lucky for them and myself that i did not find them. I reported it to the police and they took it very seriously (more than I thought they would).
You can import laser parts and build your own laser but not a laser pointer over 1mw.
If you mount your laser physically on your scope then it is no longer a laser "pointer" but a laser guide, unless maybe your telescope is handheld.
16-02-2012, 12:24 PM
Wouldn't that stop you from seeing the light???
Most of us in our Townsville group have them, and use them regularly at our dark sky site. We are always pointing out objects for others to find with it, hard to imagine not having one now.
Years ago, when I first joined, the guys were using red laser pointers, which were good too. Dont see them around now. :question:
03-03-2012, 05:50 AM
This is a regular yet fascinating discussion. I've never had the opportunity of using a laser pointer for astro purposes, only observed others using (and occasionally abusing) them. The only method I've ever used in 30 years is a combination of a Telrad or finderscope and star hopping techniques. I'm not suggesting that observers should reject any tools that assist them in their search for faint fuzzies but I've never understood this constant obsession with them. I've had the impression over recent years that GLPs are becoming like a trophy to some people. I said some, not all.
So a genuine question without putting down those who own or desire such a beast: why are some peope so desperate and obsessed to acquire a laser pointer?
I can however see the occasional benefit of using then to point out objects and constellations to groups of people (public etc.) mind you I had a dear friend in the ASV who for many years presented Sky for the Month at meetings and astro camps. He used nothing but his voice to guide groups of people on a star hopping tour of the night sky. No laser pointers, no instruments of any kind. I learnt from his techniques and now do the same.
03-03-2012, 03:12 PM
A somewhat disturbing thread. There is no need for green hand held lasers, outside of the laboratory, in Astronomy. They should be banned.
03-03-2012, 03:37 PM
I do not own one . . . . yet. Have been tempted though.
At the Mt Coot-tha public viewing nights I have seen how useful they are. They are excellent aids when pointing out objects in the night sky for members of the public who are interested enough to ask where the scopes are pointing.
I think they do have a role to play, especially at public viewing nights. I have never seen an amateur astronomer use GLP's inappropriately.
04-03-2012, 12:13 AM
I use a GLP. When attached to my scope it makes setup and aligning a breeze. Infact I rairly use the findersope at all. Once aligned I remove the Laser and pocket it until needed, 1. to keep it warm, 2. to keep it away from anyone temped to fiddle. I also use it to point out objects to other poeple, it makes it so much easier than just pointing and trying to explain WHERE you are pointing. I too have NEVER seen other Astronomers abuse them.
Peter, while you have every right to your opinion, can you justify the reason they should be banned? other than the fact that in the hands of a brainless idiot they can be dangerous? Is that not also true of Motor Vehicles? Should these be banned as well? GLP's are just tools that alot of astronomers choose to use, as it makes the enjoyment of the hobby so much more rewarding. If you choose not to use them, that is your right, and your decision would no doubt be respected by the rest of us, but to come out and just state that "there is no need for them", and "they should be banned" without any other explanation isn't very respectful of the rest of us who do choose to use them. Banning them doesn't mean they will be unobtainable, just more sought after.
What is it with some people who want to ban stuff??
Is it just because they don't use it or are afraid of it?
Lots of things are banned because of these small minority groups who throw their mouth open loudly and scream hell and doom.
What should be banned next? Astronomy gatherings? Smoking?(oops almost there), Riding a bike? driving a car?
Lasers have a use at star parties and public outreach and generally banning lasers because of a few wrong doers is wrong.
I myself don't use a laser and maybe never will but i don't want them banned just because they "might" be dangerous.
Why is it that people who live in a free country, want less freedom? While people in a not free country struggle to get more freedom and not getting it because of a minority group..
To make a short story long, get a laser and be happy :)
04-03-2012, 11:16 AM
Your position seems to be one based on ignorance. Lasers are useful in Astronomy for aligning telescope optics, creating artificial guide stars, as finders and for public outreach.
They have been mis-used by a scant few by being pointed at aircraft. The sad thing ( I have been personally targeted at work...it was a total non event) is despite literally tens of thousands of "laser tags" of aircraft globally there has not been a single related safety incident. I rather these clowns didn't do it, but to repeat, there has not been a single safety related consequence.
The media frenzy however has been quite disproportionate. The reality is: people have shined bright lights at aircraft , and occasionally pilots notice said light.
Somehow this has been turned into a "Dr Evil death ray" by the media that can somehow down an aircraft..something I'm sure various defence forces would be delighted to learn, you can take out a MIG with a $29.95 pointer :lol: ... with clueless politicians passing knee jerk legislation to ban these heinous "death rays" :rolleyes:
Baseball & Cricket bats can easily break a kneecap in the wrong hands. Should these be banned?
Sadly astronomers are very much in the minority and have very little political or media clout. We got screwed on this one big time, due apathy and ignorance of people like yourself.
04-03-2012, 01:13 PM
Lots of foolish replies as expected, calls of "ignorance", "what next, banning astro gatherings", they might be dangerous, etc etc. The usuall knee jerk reaction from the easily offended. They are dangerous, ban astro gatherings - too silly to respond to. And for the even more easily offended - guns should be banned too, of course they might be dangerous. As for the rest of the facetious arguments, all of the current uses for a high powered laser in astro. viewing can easily be carried out without them. Laboratory use and collimation excepted and in both these instances they are not used for general viewing or by the apparently ignorant public.
p.s. The even more facetious logic of only dangerous when placed in the wrong hands can be applied to bombs, guided missiles, arsenic, LSD and heroin. This is logic not worthy of the contributors to this forum.
04-03-2012, 01:36 PM
Ok Peter, I'll take the bait. In my last post, all I have done is disagree with your view that GLP's have no place outside of a lab. We are free to disagree.
I maintain that they do serve a practical purpose in amateur astronomy, especially at public viewing nights.
04-03-2012, 01:51 PM
If you are in a hole it's sometimes a good idea to stop shoveling.
There are any number of equally benign objects that in the wrong hands can and often do harm...yet we do not ban them as they are useful and it's always hard to account for Darwin Award winners.
The facts speak for themselves :
This is a total of approximately 10,201 (laser) incidents reported to FAA, from 2004 through the end of 2011.
None of these effects was classified as a recordable injury by FAA medical experts.
None had safety consequences.
So explain to me again how has Amateur Astronomy use of Diode based lasers posed a measurable hazard???
04-03-2012, 05:20 PM
Hang on, I didn't think my reply was foolish and I wasn't in anyway nasty or condecending to you, like your reply has been...I thought I was being rather nice, and politely asked you to justify your claim. Rather than do this you have attacked other members of this forum with italics, and bold highlights. I certainly don't think you have justified your original statement. Perhaps it was us "Expected Fools" that should have ignored the comments of an ignorant member that clearly has no idea what he's talking about.
04-03-2012, 10:12 PM
Ouch ! wet bus tickets as 10 paces.
04-03-2012, 11:28 PM
I'm a little saddened by the indiscriminate use of BAN.
A sharp stick is as lethal as a laser diode? No it's not, the sharp stick has killed more than any gun, laser, bomb, toxic gas, etc.
They've even tested green lasers on people's eyes to see if they damage them and no discernible damage has been noted. (Third hand knowledge so I can't back that statement up)
I think it's a ruse to stop nasty guys with road rage using them on hapless drivers and temporarily blinding them, which could be quite dangerous.
My freedoms are constantly being eroded by this gobby minority with an axe to grind.
Personally I think they should leave firearms alone and concentrate on Taxing Religion.
05-03-2012, 12:00 AM
Not to start a war. Nor is it intended as a dig at your statement. it is merely an opinion, but i believe that lasers do serve a useful purpose in astronomy if used correctly.(which is i am sure what you meant) If we are to ban things why do we not ban cars. They are 2-3 ton metal objects operated by idiots and there are more deaths caused by them than GLP, while we are at it we should ban nursing homes because the odds of you coming out of there alive is buckleys and none. Something is going to get you in the end whether it is dangerous or not, like sleep or old age
05-03-2012, 07:01 AM
It might be time you changed your avatar name to Hand Grenade. You like to lob a few prickly pineapples. :P
As stated earlier, we are free to disagree. ;)
05-03-2012, 10:43 AM
agreed shark bait - we should all be free to disagree
05-03-2012, 11:43 AM
05-03-2012, 12:47 PM
Now there's a well researched rebuttal. Bus tickets? Cheesh!
If you swallow that nonsense, then you'd best avoid supermarket check-outs... those laser bar-code scanners could be leathal :lol:
05-03-2012, 01:23 PM
They are lethal:D
Why do you think supermarkets etc now force YOU to do the scanning.
Its a proven third party hearsay fact that too many checkout chicks were being maimed by the scanners, so to improve OH&S,
the risk has been silently passed on to the users :sadeyes:
05-03-2012, 01:58 PM
People also believe the earth is flat, and in a free society that's OK.
The only problem with that would be if, they managed to ban air travel to save us non-believers from flying off the edge of the world (there be dragons there... )
07-03-2012, 10:16 PM
I seem to have interfered with your "i have a bigger one than you" thread. You now seem to be saying that we should not be free to disagree.
Oh well i guess i will have to get a 2000 mW laser and join the boys pissing up the wall club.
08-03-2012, 01:36 PM
Just a heads up that the AFP HAVE been to these forums before to monitor discussion of laser pointers.. I bought a green laser pointer years ago on ebay, a 20mW or something and it "got through". About 6 months later I got an email from the AFP saying that I had to hand it in or face the possibility of my house being raided. I'm not even kidding. I thought it was a prank at 1st so I actually called the AFP and talked to the guy who sent the email. I came here to tell my story and the same officer actually registered to reply to some of the comments! I hadn't told him about this forum.. This was a few years ago and I can't be bothered searching though my posts, but yeah. Just keep in mind, you might have "got it through customs" but don't assume you're scott free,,
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