The Laser Guide Star of Paranal in operation

This spectacular image shows Yepun, the fourth 8.2-metre Unit Telescope of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) facility, launching a powerful yellow laser beam into the sky. The beam creates a glowing spot — an artificial star — in the Earth’s atmosphere by exciting a layer of sodium atoms at an altitude of 90 km. This Laser Guide Star (LGS) is part of the VLT’s adaptive optics system. The light coming back from the artificial star is used as a reference to control the deformable mirrors and remove the effects of atmospheric distortions, producing astronomical images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:_d8a5601-cc
Type:Photographic
Release date:27 February 2013, 22:51
Size:7360 x 4912 px

About the Object

Name:Laser Guide Star, Paranal, Very Large Telescope, VLT Unit Telescopes
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Instrument
• X - Paranal

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