Note: The general public are not allowed to use Green Laser pointers at SAS organised events for the safety reasons outlined below.

SAS policy for the use of green lasers

SAS Members are expected to adhere to the following rules in pursuance of the Society’s objective that astronomers retain the legal right to use Green Laser pointers as a legitimate part of their hobby, in a safe and a responsible manner.

The following mandatory rules apply within the boundaries of any and all of the Sunderland Astronomical Society’s property including Dark Sky sites (Derwent Reservoir Millshield Car Park,  Powhill, Kielder Forest Star Camp and within the confines of any external events organised by the Society.

Banned categories of green laser and extent of ban:

  • Lasers that do not have a fully functional internal IR filter.
  • Lasers capable of bursting a balloon with the beam.
  • Lasers that don’t have a Danger rating sticker (Figure 1) shown on the laser pen.
  • Lasers of Class 3B and 4 are not permitted.


Figure 1: Danger rating sticker.

Laser safety facts Information (about laser classes and their potential hazards).

Click image for external Laser Safety Facts webpage, 

Sunderland Astronomical Society does not permit the use of the above categories of green lasers on its property, or at any public event held under the name of the Society. It is the belief of this Society that the above categories have absolutely no place in the pursuit of star pointing or optical instrument alignment, and that the use of any laser falling into any one or more of those categories constitutes a highly irresponsible act that would bring the Society’s good name into disrepute.

Guidance for use of green lasers at public events organised by the SAS:

All public events organised by the SAS will include in any advertising a statement to the effect that the public is not permitted to:

  • Use green lasers within the confines of the event.
  • The only laser use that is permitted is:

a. One single laser for each official event presenter whilst star pointing,

b. Those SAS members with optical instruments that are fitted with mounted and collimated lasers that remain attached and have been brought along by an SAS member for the benefit of the event,

c. Use by an SAS member operating a telescope/binoculars to indicate at which object the telescope is pointing.

  • The proper use of a green laser is to point it in the general direction of the object to which attention is to be drawn, switch on and “circle” it at slow speed, with no sudden and rapid sweeping movements, and then to switch off before moving on to the next object.
  • A constantly illuminated green laser flashing across the sky in a “light sabre” fashion is not only unsafe and unprofessional, but encourages the uninitiated attendees into a belief that this is a plaything, and not a serious tool used for stargazing/observing purposes.
  • It is not permitted to intentionally allow a green laser beam to fall upon any person, any animal (including birds and other wildlife), any moving vehicle, or any aircraft in flight. Neither should the laser beam fall upon private houses or other buildings, or any other stationary object including vehicles. Apart from nuisance, it is possible to encounter highly reflective objects in the process, with no control over where the reflected beam will fall, so the laser should only ever be pointed in an open-sky direction.

Any member of the Sunderland Astronomical Society failing to adhere to the above rules as they apply within the jurisdiction of the Society may be deemed to have brought the Society and its members into disrepute. In such a case, the member may be required to appear before the Committee to explain any alleged actions. Repeated failure to appear without reasonable cause may incur sanctions or possible loss of Society membership.

In all these cases, approval for use is only granted upon receipt by the Secretary of this document, duly signed and dated.

Receipt of such document will then imply that the signatory understands fully that this is binding for any and all SAS events following the date of signature.

The secretary will retain the signed document for future reference as evidence of acceptance, should this be required. Retrospective permission will not be allowed.

PDF Download

The PDF Green Laser pointer policy safety usage document can be downloaded here.