Friday, March 4, 2011

Laser Pointers!

Yay, my internet is working fine and everything thing today. I guess I am going to do a gizmo suggestion thingy since that has been my Friday thing. It's also kind of easy to do since I am feeling a bit under the weather. I promise to have some awesome astronomical science-y stuff to drop tomorrow.



As the title suggests, this weeks object of affection is a laser pointer. Pretty much any laser pointer. They are pretty handy to have. For astronomy, their use is fairly obvious, they are used by a multitude of astronomers to point out celestial objects.

They also have other uses, pretty much to point at anything thing that would otherwise be out of reach. I have a friend who has one and isn't even in astronomy, but he experiments with his in the snow, smoke, fog, whatever. We're also guilt of taping them to the side of Nerf guns and using them for targeting.

A decent one can run for around $15 on Amazon. For astronomy use, they get more expensive though, upwards of $80 in some cases. Since the lasers need to stronger. Of course, there is safety to be recognized, don't shine it in someone's eye, since it can cause permanent damage. And try not to point it at airplanes, or the FBI or DHS might pay you a visit.

Oh yeah, they also make great cat toys.

Reyn: doing it wrong.


Also, it looks like dark matter is still winning the poll. But keep voting, and we'll see what happens next week. Don't worry though, the other topics and a new one will be back for next weeks poll.

I also wanted to give a shout out to GMU's basketball team, the Patriots. I'm not a huge fan of sports, but they are my alma mater (where I got my degree). And I was there during the celebration of their last March Madness run, making it up to the final four. They currently have a 15 game winning streak (highest in the nation) and have some good odds for them this year. They might not win it, but their gonna go far.


29 comments:

KB said...

Green laser pointers are the best for astronomy, since the air is better at reflecting the green wavelengths back at your eyes. This makes it so you can see the beam itself easier. Too bad they're really expensive :(

ScottD said...

Thats not how cats usually use the laser.

Astronomy Pirate said...

Yeah, I have a Green 532nm wavelength one at output <50mW. They can get up to $100, I'm not really sure why, maybe more power and more solidly built. Mine was about $30, and it works perfectly fine.

Matt said...

Glad that your internet got straightened out. It's good to see that you invented the laser sight for Nerf guns!

Aaron M. Gipson said...

Isn't there one out now that emulates a light saber so closely that George Lucas threatened to sue? I got a get a hold of one of those, and use it on the dang vampire bats down here...

AnthropoSeptic said...

A pet toy is by far the most entertaining use for these. My buddy's boxer almost passes out trying to catch the dot.

aphoticdark said...

I have a small laser pen that I use to confuse and play with my cat who can't figure out what the light is. Can't say I use it all that much for astronomical purposes.

rinns said...

I to play with my cat with a lazer pointer n__n

Chris said...

The laser pointer is my dog's favorite toy by FAR. Following your great blog.

Alan said...

and yet all I see laser pointers being used is to point at the movie screen to distract moviegoers.

Malkavian said...

yeah, when i was younger i wanted to be an astronomer, dont know what happened realy and im an industrial engineer now unemployed at that... i hope that this blog reveals more knowledge on the matter of the universe for me.

-M said...

Great lulz happen when you are high and have a laser pointer...

starbucksfan903 said...

Im going to buy my first (real) laser pointer and im looking to get a nice green one.

mac-and-me said...

i have a green one, rocks

Paddock Webfoot said...

So what exactly do you do with a laser pointer? I doubt they sell equipment that is capable to analyse refractive properties of the air to compensate for the disturbances for just 80 bucks.

THUNDERCAT832 said...

Aww feel better soon! I'm noticing from other posts there might be something going around!

G said...

i think the green ones are cool

rndmg123 said...

make a burning laser with one >_>

Anonymouse said...

i always wanted a yellow laser pointer but it's way too expensive. blue would be nice too.

Astronomy Pirate said...

@ Paddock, well, you can't really do much science with it. It's usually just for pointing at things, usually at distances you can't reach with your hands. Also, I have found out people can use them for light are in photography.

Adventure Person said...

Laser pointers are fun, especially during presentations

Meghan Moran said...

I always loved my laser pointer, I never had a cool color like green though.

Salman A said...

Very informative post. I've always been curious about laser pointers. Thank you for sharing!

las3R said...

Lasers are cool, but way too expensive -_-
Though, I agree with them being a great cat toy!

RQ said...

Laser pointers are a lot of fun, I always buy cheap ones because with in a week I take them apart and trying to make them better which usually breaks them.

Rachel Neilson said...

I'm happy the internet is working again!

XXII said...

good to hear

Jesse Brooks said...

I've wanted a good laser pointer for a while. No particular reason, just because they're cool I guess.

russkofkof441 said...

the laser pointers a lot of fun especially with a cat lol

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