Cutting through the turbulence

The biggest obstacle in ground based astronomy is the same thing that causes the stars to twinkle — the atmosphere. This romantic effect is due to the distortion of light as it travels through turbulent gases to reach the Earth's surface. This stunning image shows the scientific solution — the 4 Laser Guide Star Facilityon ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) — here appearing to pierce the side of the Milky Way. The lasers form an integral part of the adaptive optics system on the VLT, by beaming artificial stars into the sky. Astronomers can then use these guide laser stars as reference points, allowing them to correct their observations of true celestial bodies.

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About the Image

Id:16fkc17997-cc
Type:Photographic
Release date:12 September 2016, 15:00
Related announcements:ann16060
Size:5481 x 3648 px

About the Object

Name:Laser Guide Star, Very Large Telescope
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory
Category:Paranal

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