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Laser System to be Tested in Boulder, CO

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the fry-and-die dept.

Space 318

luv_jeeps writes "Ball Aerospace is going to test fire a laser beam on Sunday night, as part of the CALIPSO project. If you live in the Colorado/Wyoming area, chances are good that you could see it. The article, a little light on details, says that the beam could be as big around as a basketball hoop."

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Colorado? (5, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655382)

Get many sharks there?

Re:Colorado? (4, Funny)

stendec (582696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655399)

I'm afraid you misinterpreted the system's specifications. Nowhere is it documented that this will be a fricken-laser test; rather, it is a standard laser test.

Difficulties involved in getting phase coherence with fricken photons has yet to be resolved, but they're working on it.

One thing in Colorado's favour... (4, Funny)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655463)

They have lots of mountains that could be hollowed out to make ideal bad-guy secret lairs.

No sharks in Colorado... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655404)

But I've heard that many Slashdot trolls live there.

Only land sharks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655445)

Knock knock...

Someone has to say it. . . (5, Funny)

atc24 (664947) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655389)

Stop humping the laser!

ample asscave (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655650)

booya!!!

I think it be cool (5, Funny)

RedHatLinux (453603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655391)

when this laser hits a house full of popcorn and totally ends the evil professor's dream of a super weapon.

Yeah I actually did watch a Val Kilmer film, But I was young so please forgive me :)

Re:I think it be cool (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655443)

I loved Real Genius. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It made me want to go to a college like that, filled with crazy nerdy fun people. But we were never able ice skate in our dorm. We had a Nazi for a RA.

Re:I think it be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655451)

Stop playing with yourself.

Re:I think it be cool (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655476)

Ahhh... the trolls are comming out today.

And be a little more creative than "playing with yourself".

Re:I think it be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655514)

It's a line from the movie, smart guy. How's that foot taste.

Re:I think it be cool (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655549)

Duh! Even that poor fool did not know where the voice was comming from?

Re:I think it be cool (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655528)

Oooh, and we were gonna make you king of the Christmas carnival!

Re:I think it be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655498)

It is god!

Re:I think it be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655576)

I keep trying but it's so hard to stop!

Val Kilmer is da bomb you ignorant slut! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655670)

True Romance? Awesome! Also features an astonishingly honest semi-autobiographical look at Brad Pitt.

Blah blah Heat blah Salton Sea blah blah.

I'm Ebert, Gothika is sweet, three stars, did you see those mochachino knockers? X-men 2 three stars, look at those milk chocolate boobies, and she's blind too, my kinda woman! Monster's Ball five stars! I need to gets me a white sweater! Val Kilmer is the 5ux0r!

I for one am excited (1, Interesting)

Musc (10581) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655397)

We have been hearing about so called 'laster beams' ever since forward-thinking science fiction started using them, such as in Austin Powers. I never thought I would see one in my lifetime, glad to see them finally being tested. So assuming that the "laser" functions properly, does anybody know what it will be good for, other than vaporizing martians?

Re:I for one am excited (3, Informative)

mr_tommy (619972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655493)

Well the US army has been testing a airbourne lazer for a while now which shoots down (well supposedly) missiles in flight. I think they got it to work on the ground, no to get it to work on a 747.

Re:I for one am excited (3, Interesting)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655522)

From what I heard, the 747-mounted laser was a miserable failure. It seems the atmosphere disperses light so that the laser's power density would become wimpy at a few hundred miles (or something).

But I cannot tell, as I have not heard of the project for a year or two. I am not sure if that means it's a failure or that I am lost.

Re:I for one am excited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655672)

Yeah, I remember seeing a documentary about that a while ago. The only thing I remember is that it used a chemical laser.

Re:I for one am excited (1)

saiha (665337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655506)

Uh dude, have you never seen a laser light show? This is cool because of the power of the laser but still, come out from under your rock. Or maybe I'm wrong and this 'laster beam' is something new.

Re:I for one am excited (3, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655590)

. . . does anybody know what it will be good for, other than vaporizing martians?

I suspect Marvin the Martian will be disappointed with the outcome of the test:

"Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to be an earth shattering KABOOM!!"

Caution (5, Funny)

corrie (111769) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655401)

From the article:

"The company has taken special precautions to protect aircraft and birds that might fly into the beam."

I hope all those ducks got the memo.

Re:Caution (5, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655488)

"special nets have been placed below the path of the beam to catch the falling roast duck, to protect it from being splattered on the interstate"

I think that's what they meant...

How the F! do you protect birds that might fly into the beam?

Re:Caution (5, Interesting)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655591)

That is what the radar is for. I'm not sure if it is a conventional radar, or if they send a beam of weaker light surrounding the beam and turn it off if something reflects the light back.

Re:Caution (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655615)

If it's light, it would be lidar, not radar. Of course we have no reason to think the author would get something like that right.

yeah, sure (4, Funny)

arabagast (462679) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655407)

"If you see a piercing green light shooting into the sky Sunday night, it's not aliens, it's the work of scientists at Ball Aerospace.".. That`s what they want us to believe! Do not go with strange green men into theyr flying saucers on sunday - they are NOT going to give you candy as they surely will tell you .

Article: -5, Bad Pun (3, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655409)

The article, a little light on details, says that ...

Oh, the humanity!!!

PS, Slahdot is fucked. "Score: -5, Bad Pun" is being parsed as no topic at all.

That'll make a lot of popcorn (-1, Redundant)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655411)

Geez, what I wouldn't give to see this laser fired at a giant house-sized, popcorn-filled, foil Jiffy-pop thingy [imdb.com] . Mmmmm..... popcorn.....

Re:That'll make a lot of popcorn (1)

jfmiller (119037) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655622)

Real Genus is definatily something every geek shoud have in his or her collection!

JFMILLER

Next week's headline (4, Funny)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655413)

British secret agent in Denver!Witnesses say he drives a cool car with lots of gadgets. Single women beware!

Re:Next week's headline (4, Funny)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655642)

This just in:
(UPI) Sources for Bell Aerospace insist their demands for "one million dollars" have been met, but they will fire the "giant laser" anyway. The White House could not be reached before press time.

FRGP (-1, Redundant)

evronm (530821) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655415)

First Real Genius Post: Will this be used to make popcorn in a profs house?

Ozone Layer??? (-1, Interesting)

BhAaD (692949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655416)

Hope this doesnt make the hole in the ozone layer any bigger or...

Re:Ozone Layer??? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655637)

Ozone is created by ionizing radiation from the sun, IIRC. I doubt that the laser will harm it.

if ( new(technology) )
printf("%s", enviromental_concern(enviromentalist, technology));

But the real question..... (1, Redundant)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655419)

Did Lazlo figure out that this could be used as a weapon?

If so, was it figured out in enough time to provide for the evil Professor's house to be employed in a scheme to re-direct the beam AND make a bunch of popcorn for all the neighborhood children?

Birds? (1, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655421)

The company has taken special precautions to protect aircraft and birds that might fly into the beam.

I get the part about aircraft, but how will they protect the birds? I also wonder if this laser is powerfull enough to fry a bird.

Re:Birds? (2, Informative)

Bigtimes (611326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655438)

Did anyone read the part about the radar system? HellO?

Re:Birds? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655489)

You're new here, aren't you?

Re:Birds? (5, Informative)

p3tersen (227521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655529)

I also wonder if this laser is powerfull enough to fry a bird.


The article says it's "about 40,000 times more powerful than a laser pointer", and 40k*5mW=200 watts. Since the beam diameter is "the size of a basketball hoop", nothing would be bursting into flames, although serious eye damage - to birds or pilots - could result.

Although come to think of it, for a LIDAR application I guess the beam is probably pulsed, so the situation is a bit more complicated. At any rate there's a safety shutoff mechanism as someone else pointed out.

Re:Birds? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655629)

Zoology interns have to put anti-dazzle goggles on all the birds they can catch.

Light on details? (1)

Bigtimes (611326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655422)

What does that mean, light on details? Do we want to know how they made it, or if it's running linux? ...oh wait, like hell we don't.

Re:Light on details? (2, Funny)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655458)

Linux: the OS that moves at the speed of light. Pardon me if that was a bit cutting, but I can't resist the burn...

Re:Light on details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655640)

I thought Linux was the name of a kid who could learn anything that didn't have to do with usability.

Re:Light on details? (2, Interesting)

Canadian_Daemon (642176) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655519)

What I want to know is how they made it. My laser pointer, and correct me if im wrong, most lasers cannot be seen untill they hit an object, yet, from the pic on the web site , it is shown as a line in the sky. Is it hitting particles in the air to reflect the light to the camera? How does this work?

Re:Light on details? (3, Informative)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655575)

Because dust particles or water droplets can reflect it; furthermore, the atmosphere will disperse it. FYI, the sky appears bright because it disperses light (it disperses blue the most and red the least. This is why the sky appears blue during the day and red/orange/yellow/gold/your-favorite-sunset-color when the sun is low in the sky).

In summary, you would see a bright enough beam in the atmosphere even if there were no dust in the air.

Re:Light on details? (1)

p3tersen (227521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655577)


Is it hitting particles in the air to reflect the light to the camera? How does this work?


Yep, it's just a normal laser, the light you see is due to scattering from dust in the atmosphere.

Re:Light on details? (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655609)

Green lasers are more susceptible to this kind of thing. You can get one on thinkgeek, and yes you can see that one in mid air too. Its actually pretty cool, you may want to look into it.

tape it please (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655426)

will some kind person in Colorado video tape this event and put up a torrent for it.

Please :)

Now, if I only had some acid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655471)

Dude, climb up the Laser to the sky. (Thinks for a moment) No. Cause as soon as I do. You'll shut it off. On using Lasers in War... "It would have been easier to just open the door and drop it on them"

Re:tape it please (1)

BhAaD (692949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655516)

Let me know when you get the video..ild like a copy too :) and ill put it up for all to download like the gravity club vids...

http://sch5.digitalnines.com/GravityClub/

laser article (5, Funny)

e_lehman (143896) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655428)

The article, a little light on details...

Hehehehehe! Hoo-whee! You guys really crack me up...

A week later.... (5, Funny)

insmod_ex (724714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655431)

...sixteen people reported blind by staring at the laser. Theyll be pulling a SCO and suing the United States for making Colorado a state and thus allowing the laser test to go on. Anyone up for a game of laser tag? :D

S. Boom (3, Interesting)

soloport (312487) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655437)

Wonder what kind of sound effects it will produce. If the beam is as wide as a basketball hoop, and if the intensity heats/displaces the air in the space through which it travels... Could we expect a sonic boom when the thing is suddenly shut off?!

This is, after all, what one hears when a lightning bolt strikes.

Re:S. Boom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655540)

The article says it's 40,000 times the power of a laser pointer. That's no even close to lightning. I strongly doubt it will ionize anything.

Laser's getting ready . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655442)

... to fry Kobe's ass.

Re:Laser's getting ready . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655633)

Mmmmmmm. Nothing as good as CFN: Colorado Fried Negro.

They thought they could just sneak it by us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655449)

What part of "measuring the atmosphere" requires a lazer that huge? THIS IS STARWARS, MAN!

Question... kinda.... star trek reference... (2, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655464)

Okay a question, not too related to what is happening in Colorado, but it made me wonder. What is the differance between a Laser and Phaser?

Re:Question... kinda.... star trek reference... (5, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655487)

The one that begins with the letter L is real.

The other is from a fiction TV show.

Re:Question... kinda.... star trek reference... (4, Interesting)

EverDense (575518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655593)

Maybe not. This article is fairly old, I wonder how much further along they are:

Phaser [bbc.co.uk]

A ray gun that can stop people in their tracks without harming them may sound like science fiction, but some experts believe it could soon be reality.

The gun is designed to zap its victim with an electric current, using a laser to carry the charge along a beam of ultraviolet light.

The light particles, called photons, would create a path through the air that will be capable of conducting electricity up to a distance of about 100 metres (330 feet).

When the current hits someone, it would interfere with the tiny electrical charges that control the victim's muscles, making movement impossible.

Vital organs protected

But vital organs like the heart and diaphram would not be affected because they are protected by a greater thickness of body tissue.

Corinne Podger of BBC Science: "The stuff of science fiction". Weapons that freeze muscles are already on sale in the United States, but in order to work they have to be held against the victim's skin. They also have to be recharged after each use.

Apart from having a considerable range, the new 'freeze ray gun' could in theory be fired around corners if mirrors were used. It could also have a constant power source.

Talks in California

The gun is the brainchild of American inventor, Eric Herr, vice-president of HSV technologies. Scientists from the UK's Defence Evaluation Research Agency have already been to California to discuss it with him.

No details of the discussions have been disclosed, but a spokesman for the UK Ministry of Defence said the weapon's potential uses were being considered.

So far, Mr Herr's ray gun remains just an idea. He has taken out a patent on the device, but has yet to raise the $500,000 needed to build a full working prototype.

'Ideal weapon'

Initially, the 'freeze ray' could be the size of a small suitcase, but might eventually be reduced to something more like a flashlight.

Mr Herr believes it could be an ideal weapon for peace-keeping forces, or police facing violent criminals.

But already the project has its critics. They argue that such a laser would be impractical in many situations, and could easily damage the sight of innocent by-standers.


Link to HSV Tech [hsvt.org]

KATE FENT IS ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655469)

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laser beam spread (1)

prof187 (235849) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655486)

is it just me, or does the laser beam in the picture in the article spread a *lot* more than what you'd think it should...

Re:laser beam spread (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655496)

Yes, yes it does...

Re:laser beam spread (2, Insightful)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655534)

I was wondering about that myself...Where the hell is the focus point? Oh wait, I see now. Had to blow up the picture. It looks like they just blasted the beam out of some kind of an amplifier/emitter thing and didn't even bother to focus it through any kind of a lens...Well, either that or that emitter is some kind of convex lens that amplifies the size of the beam at the sacrifice of intensity. Hard to tell with such a crappy picture...

Re:laser beam spread (1)

mskfisher (22425) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655547)

It made me wonder what angle the laser was firing at. If it was fired almost directly away from the camera, you would be seeing laser light from waay in the distance, where the light would've spread to a large radius.
Note the difference in brightness, too.
Or, maybe it has something to do with the optical properties of air near the laser beam (ionization, maybe).

Re:laser beam spread (1)

redune45 (194113) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655578)

Ummm, the very defnition of a laser is that the light does not spread.
All the waves are parallel.
Sure the light spreads a little by hitting dust, etc.
But overall the beam will have the same radius thousands of kilometres away.
This is how they are able to bounce laser beams off of the moon.

Re:laser beam spread (2, Interesting)

UVaRob (243769) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655603)

Maybe (most likely) the laser beam has passed through a system of lenses before exiting the observatory like stucture. Maybe after the laser beam has been shaped it no longer is a collimated beam.
I skimmed over the CALIPSO site linked as well as the nasa site linked from that page but was unable to find a detailed explanation of how the system worked.
The explanations did mention that it is planning on mapping the atmosphere, I would venture a guess that they were doing some processing based on known information about the indices of the different regions of the atmosphere and some gathered information from the laser source that had diffracted through the atmosphere and been sensed. Thus it may make sense that they may want an expanded and/or non-collimated beam.
I don't know much about this project, or very much about optics but I do know that not all lasers systems require a collimated beam.

YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655497)

W00T
GIANT LASERS ROCK

Re:YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655517)

Pink Floyd Rules!!!

The Allan Parson's Project, Phase 1 (5, Interesting)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655502)

It'd be interesting to see some technical specs on this giant laser, to see how similar it is to the cutting laser I used to work on. I bet that baby takes about 12 hours to warm up. Anyone know what the frequency on the green beam is? C'mon people, get technical! Also, all you people in that area: take pictures!

prepare to be scanned (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655504)

This test in Colorado points a laser from the ground to the sky. The deployment is a satellite platform to measure the atmosphere. Will the deployed laser be pointed at the surface? Will their autoshutoff radar detectors protect us from the sweep of its beam?

GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655512)

the GNAA will be renting time on this laser to hollow out the asses of a group of new GNAA members

GNAASTEE is coming!

See Infrared? (4, Interesting)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655526)

First the laser isn't going to scatter that much and second it is infrared making it a bit hard to see with the naked eye.

from the post
"If you live in the Colorado/Wyoming area, chances are good that you could see it."

from the data on the sat:
"Part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO), is a mission dedicated to studying the impact that clouds and aerosols have on the Earth's radiation balance."

Re:See Infrared? (1)

TheRagingTowel (724266) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655581)

RTFA, The mentioned laser is GREEN not INFRARED. And I believe some of it will be reflected from the particles in the atmosphere. Anyway, anyone figured out why are they doing this? What is the purpose of this experiment?

Re:See Infrared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655584)

Use a CC camera, they pickup IR.

Re:See Infrared? (4, Informative)

p3tersen (227521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655602)

Actually (from the project info page):

Ball will provide an active sensor that probes the atmosphere with green and infrared laser light

They're using IR (almost certainly 1064 nm) and green (almost certainly 532 nm) beams.

Re:See Infrared? (4, Informative)

Karrots (14012) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655649)

Yes the Satellite may have Infared on it but it also has Lidar which is Laser Radar. My local university has a lidar setup (or the green beam as its called around here). See the Utah State University link below.

Its used for atmospheric observations.

Utah State University [usu.edu] - This page seems to be down at the moment
University of Western Ontario [physics.uwo.ca] - Here is another University with one

Hmm.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655539)

Wonder if this laser can remove basketball hoop sized tatoos?

solar beam test (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655545)

Maybe this could also be used to test bethods of beaming power from space (ala SimCity 2000). If the beam hits the target corectly, maybe there might be a case for bulding a device like that.

also the thing reminds me of the ion cannon from command and conquer, though I know that beam won't have the power to zap stuff from space.

Boulder (2, Interesting)

Jarrik (728375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655552)

I have a friend that lives in boulder, I just called him on the phone and he knows the area it will be shooting out of when I mentioned Ball Aerospace. He said he will try to snap some pics of it. Ill let you know if he was successfull.

LASER ? (2, Interesting)

zeux (129034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655553)

Hu ? I though that lasers were invisible because they are made of photons that all goes in the same direction...

That's why you can use powder or smoke (which is composed of tiny piece of material) to actually see them (by reflection of the photons on the particle).

If it's a real laser can someone tell me why we should see it ?

I know that the atmosphere is polluted, but not THAT much, is it ?

Re:LASER ? (1)

jlaxson (580785) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655572)

Moisture (as well as pollutants) in the air. Just like with a keychain laser you can see the beam where there are specs of dust.

Re:LASER ? (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655580)

It's all about wavelength. If it is in the visible spectrum (which it seems it is very close, as someone mentioned infrared, thus, near infrared), chances are you could. Your video camera definately can, though.

Re:LASER ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655610)

Have you ever played with a laser? It doesn't take much dust to see the beam. Not to mention this one will be a foot thick and hitting cloulds at the speed of light.

Re:LASER ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655623)

you ever see a spot light pointed towards the sky?

you can indeed see the "light beam" the atmosphere is full of dust that scatter the light beam

See it? (1)

euxneks (516538) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655568)

I was always under the impression that a laser beam could not be seen..? Am I wrong here? Is the laser sufficiently powerful enough to actually produce a beam of light in air?

Yes, you can see it (0)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655606)

The light cannot be seen nor can the air that it passes through but the air is NOT clean. So, the beam of light will reflect off of the millions of miniscule particles that float in the air (moisture, smog, dust, etc.). What one will see will be the reflection of the light -- not the light itself.

I'll be looking north tonight.

Re:See it? (2, Informative)

p3tersen (227521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655638)

~200 W of green light is far, far more than powerful enough to see the backscattered light with the naked eye. Even in a relatively clean laboratory, a 1 W green beam produces enough light to easily see the beam path, along with bright 'flashes' whenever a largish dust particle drifts through. Remember that green laser light is right in the 'sweet spot' as far as human vision is concerned, which is why green laser pointers look so much brighter for the same power.

Re:See it? (1)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655653)

Different types of lasers are visible in different spectrums of light. Most low-intensity beams are invisible because they operate in the infrared spectrum, which encompasses wavelengths ranging 750 nanometers to just under 1 millimeter. This is why these beams are red (750 nanometers is just longer than the color red).

This makes me wonder...the range of green is something like 480-520 nanometers, so since the laser beam is green, wouldn't that mean that that is the approximate wavelength of this beam? If that's the case, this thing is such a low intensity that it is really more of a giant flashlight than a laser. I mean the way the light is produced is enough to qualify as a laser device, of course, but it's wavelength is barely half the length of a microwave.

At any rate, if there's enough power behind the beam pushing it, then yes, youy can produce a beam of concentration high enough to be visible. I've watched the beam of a cutting laser (from behind protective goggles, of course)

Re:See it? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655667)

Wow, there sure are a lot of retarded posters on slashdot tonight.

The 12:00 News (5, Funny)

The Spanish Ninja (726892) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655569)

And our top story this hour, the RIAA has commandeered Aerospace's big laser and has started frying mp3 downloaders. When reached for comment, they told us "The lawsuits just weren't inspiring the right kind of fear."

Re:The 12:00 News (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655598)

A poster calulated the whole laser to be 200 Watts. For some reason, the equivalent of two 100watt lights doesn't scare me.

Are they giving out safety goggles? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655588)

While they don't say exactly how powerful this laser is (laser pointers vary, typically 1-5 mW), so it could range from 40-200 watts. That's a lot of laser power. Scatter from dust particles is enough to be hazardous to the eyes when you're dealing with that much laser power.

Dont forget you spinach! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7655589)

Its good for you!

LASER Tag Anyone (1)

BhAaD (692949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655597)

Now they just need 49 more of those and the USA can have a nation-wide game of LASER tag.

Those damn scientific standards... (5, Funny)

michiel.h (570138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655620)

A basketballhoop? That's what? (1/15)*Volkswagen Beetle?

I'm Dutch. We play soccer, not basketball.
Insensitive clods.

Too bad I misread that (2, Funny)

Sebby (238625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655632)

because of the 'CO' at the end, I thought it was another SCO story, and I read it as:

"Laser System to be Tested on SCO'

... and immediately thought WooHoo!!!

No more Austin Powers jokes! (1)

Raynach (713366) | more than 10 years ago | (#7655658)

I mean, come on, you guys need to work a little harder, here. The Austin Powers association was WAY too easy. *shakes his head in shame*
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