Lasers, red, green, blue, whatever the colour they hold a fascination for most people, both young and old.
I have a red laser and a green laser, both have a use, the red laser is for me to torment the cat with, watching it chase this little red dot is just amusing, what the hell is going through the cats mind, what does it think it's going to do if it catches it? the truth is, it can't catch it, but the cat doesn't know it, so it continually chases the little red dot, now, my cat is 16 years old. she's getting to the end of her life, and every now and then she just ignores the dot and looks at me as if to say, boring, so what else do I use it for, well I did for a while use it as a pointer during my lessons but it became obvious after a while that some people struggled to see the dot, so the hunt was on for something with a little more kick.
The Green Laser
I hunted for an alternative the the little red dot, after some research it became obvious that green was the colour that most people can see clearly, I looked for a green laser, i found the standard green laser, low power but enough to cover a very large hall with a crisp green dot, then while researching the best one to by I came across a site that showed you have the increase the power, by un-soldering a resister, so having studied electronics and having built transceivers from scratch I thought cool I can do that. 3 days later my new laser arrived.
I set out to do the mod on the laser, sorted, fired it up and hey, it worked I pointed it at a nylon CD case to see how it looked against a black background, after about 2 seconds I started to see smoke, holy shit, this thing is now too powerful to use in a classroom, so I purchased another one for use in the college, it works great and it powerful enough to do the job it was built for.
So what about my new super laser? as an astronomer I instantly found a use for it, I would use it as a finder on my telescope, the idea being I attach the laser to the finder on my scope and use the laser to point to the star I want to see through the scope, so an hour later my scope and laser is ready for testing, it works brilliantly, I can get almost on top of my target using this method.
So I am watching the news and laser are a news worthy story, idiots are pointing them at aircraft coming into land, pointing them at drivers to distract them, what sort of fucked up arsehole does that? The news report goes onto say that the government are thinking of banning these devices, and making it an offence to carry one on the street. So where the hell do I stand with my super laser on my telescope, or for that matter the one I use at college? I speak to the college and ask the question can I use my pointer in my classes? Yes they say providing I only point it at the screen or board I want to highlight, great, then they say, however, if for some reason the beam hits someones eye and causes damage the college insurance does not cover that, so I have to get Public Liability insurance if I want to use it, as it happens I do have the insurance but thats about £50 a year, so my laser if you like now costs me £57 in total.
Now onto the telescope, I head down to the local nick, I ask the desk sergeant can I use my laser in my garden to line up the stars etc, good question he replies, give me a minute sir and I will try and get some information, I take a seat and wait, about 5 minutes later he returns with a colleague, it turns out he belongs to the same astronomy society I do, he tells me that there is no law at the moment that says I can't use it on my scope, however the CAS my society, recommends the we don't as there is a chance the we my hit a pilots eye in a aircraft we haven't seen when we look to the skies.
So this has now made me more cautious when using it, yes I do still use the laser but I look for aircraft first one only leave it on for about 3 seconds at most, the latest news is that the government are pushing the ban through parliament as I type, looks like I will just have to use it indoors melting plastic cups, and black cats.
That black cat that shits in my garden will now find his arse on fire if he does it again, I knew I would find a use for Dr Dens Death Ray.