Position Statement of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
On Green Laser Pointer Usage
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s (RASC) mission is to encourage improved understanding of astronomy for all, through education, outreach, research, publication, partnership, enjoyment, and community. The RASC advocates the safe and responsible use of green laser pointers (GLPs).
Recent reports indicate a rising trend in the illegal targeting of aircraft by people on the ground misusing consumer laser devices. This practice threatens the safety of aircrew, passengers, as well as people and personal property under flight paths. The RASC wishes to add its voice to those of the health-and-safety sector, aerospace industry associations, law-enforcement agencies, and government in calling for greater public awareness of the issue, for safe and responsible use of laser pointers.
Green Laser Pointers have established legitimate applications as effective teaching aids in astronomical education, observing, and public outreach, if used safely. The eye is very receptive to the wavelength of the green laser pointer, making it a very effective instrument for pointing out features in the night sky. People attending education sessions and star parties at science centres and observatories can experience the green laser beam apparently reaching out to the planets, stars, and nebulae.
The RASC, Canada's leading organization dedicated to astronomical education and public outreach, has developed a voluntary Green Laser Pointer best-practice policy to promote the safe and responsible use of GLPs for astronomy education and outreach. The RASC has established freely available guidelines for public education on the responsible use of laser pointers in astronomy. In keeping with the RASC's commitment to informative and safe education and public outreach, it encourages everyone to follow the guidelines at www.rasc.ca/education/other/glpuse.shtml .
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