Power Telescope

The different types of lasers

Color

Lasers are now available in red (632nm), green (532nm), blue (473nm), orange (594nm) and infrared (808nm to 1064nm). The color of the laser determines the visibility of the laser, the attractiveness of the beam and the price. The color of the laser does not determine the power of the laser.

Power

The power level of lasers is measured in mW which is an abbreviation for milliwatts. The available powers range from less than one mW to over 400mW. Power is one of the key factors in determining the possible application of a laser and the price of a laser. Power also determines the danger of a laser.

Size

The size of lasers can range from the size of a small AAA battery to the size of a base ball bat. The two most common sizes for lasers are pen sized laser pointers that are small enough to fit in your pocket and larger hand sized portable lasers.

On/off Switch

Lasers can come with two types of switches, momentary off/on pressure switch and a standard click off/on switch. The type of switch determines whether the laser can be used hands free or not. A large number of applications require are not possible with lasers that are not hands free.

Safety features

Safety features can range from none to an elaborate range of keys, dongles, lens shutters and time delay.

Which laser should you get?

This depends entirely on what you want the laser for and your budget.

Presentations

Blue and green lasers are best for presentations with blue being the most impressive and also the most expensive. One very important point with buying a presentation lasers is power. Never buy a laser with more than 5-10mW power because of the danger to your audience and your self.

Laser pointers are best with a convenient size and no need for hands free operation.

Astronomy

Green lasers are the only color that should be considered for astronomy. Required power varies depending on the number of people you'll be with. As a general guideline, the more people you are with, the stronger the power of the laser. Generally a 15mW to 35mW will be more than adequate. For pointing by hand a laser pointer is ideal. For mounting on a telescope, a hands free medium sized laser is best.

Burning

For common burning applications such as lighting matches, cutting electrical tape and popping balloons, 95-125mW in power is more than enough. If money is less of an issue and you want to be able to light cigarettes, burn clothing and melt plastic, you would need at least 150-200mW in power.

Color is not an issue because the only high powered lasers available are green.

Out door pointing

To have a beam point that is clearly visible in direct sunlight at long distances, at least 55mW in power is advisable. For applications such as alignment, a laser with an on/off switch and efficient heat sink would be ideal

Non lethal deterrent

For maximum effect and impact, at least 200mW in power would be ideal. The higher power would allow the laser to deter people faster at longer ranges. In a tactical environment, portability is also an issue and smaller lasers such as the Spartan series are ideal.

Article is courtesy of Dragonlasers - No 1 online store for green laser pointers & high power lasers

Frank is from Dragonlasers at http://www.dragonlasers.com

If you had a one million power optical telescope, what would you point it at?

If you had a one million power optical telescope, what would you point it at?

I would try to visually detect Epsilon Eridani b, and if successful, make the first image of an extrasolar planet orbiting another main-sequence star.




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