Planets ASSA PretoriaGemini

Pretoria Centre of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa

Laser Safety

Laser safety rules and guidelines applicable to ASSA Pretoria Centre events

  • ASSA Pretoria reserves the right to control the use of laser pointers at their events.
  • Only registered laser pointers, up to a maximum of 20mW output, will be allowed.

The following ‘best practices’ will apply at events:

  • Laser pointers should only be used by experienced astronomers.
  • Do not point at people, aircraft or animals
  • Keep a suitable distance from the audience
  • Warn the audience not to look directly at the laser pointer.
  • The area around the user must be clear of obstacles
  • Avoid pointing at surfaces that can give specular reflections
  • Minimize the use of laser pointers (do not play)
  • Do not allow children to operate laser pointers
  • Do not use mechanisms that keep the pointer switched on.
  • Laser pointers belonging to users not adhering to these rules may be confiscated (the laser will be returned after the end of the event), and/or the offender may be barred from participating further.

The following “good manners” are advised:

  • Be considerate of others.
  • Laser pointers do ruin your eye’s dark adaption. Someone may be busy with serious observations and will prefer not to have a laser pointer shining in the area that they are observing.
  • Someone may be doing long exposure photography. A laser pointer shining in the target area can spoil a lot of work.
  • To avoid inconveniencing your fellow astronomers, warn everyone before you use your laser pointer.
  • Wait until everyone agrees that it is appropriate to use the pointer.
  • The same principles applies to any form of lighting (torches, cameras, cell phones, etc).

Click to download the rules in pdf format

Outcomes of the Laser Safety Workshop held at the 2010 symposium

Click to download user registration form

Click here to view an example of a very comprehensive Laser Safety Manual.

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