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January 30, 2011

First Sodium Laser "Constellation"

Astronomers at the Gemini South Observatory in Chile have created a mega-laser in order to obtain clearer images of "distant galaxies, newborn stars and other cosmic objects." The laser will allow astronomers to create a 3D image of the night sky and clear up images that are typically blurred. The laser will "undergo a series of commissioning tests before it begins science observations in 2012." The laser was switched on for the first time on Saturday, January 22, ten years after the start of a laser development program.

Full article can be viewed here: http://www.space.com/10709-telescope-laser-photos-adaptive-optics.html

Posted by sophiamw at January 30, 2011 08:44 PM


The idea of mapping the night sky to analyze the typical blur of the atmosphere is pretty awesome. Using the laser allows the surface of the telescope's mirrors to warp thousands of times per second to counteract the blur is very exciting technology. Based on the pictures, the laser itself is a site to see.

Posted by: mwdolan at January 31, 2011 09:31 AM

Yes, very cool. This Laser was a long-time in the making. It is not so easy to make such a powerful laser, complex laser.

Posted by: christoq at February 8, 2011 10:02 AM

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