New Lasers projecting stars in Paranal Observatory (Eso.org)

These devices are needed astronomers to leveling abnormalities in images recorded by the camera working on telescopes, and resulting from the transition of the light of stars by Earth’s atmosphere.

Ceremony with the “first light” four powerful lasers was held on Tuesday, April 26, at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. Participated in the European Southern Observatory staff and the representatives of the European companies that were involved in the construction of devices.

Paranal Observatory
Eso.org / CC

The device, called the Four Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF) may shine the four rays of the lasers with the power of just a 22 Watts. In this way, high up in the atmosphere upon sodium atoms, which illuminate in process. This way we are giving the effect of “artificial Star”.

This is the most powerful system of this type.

Modern big telescopes use sophisticated technique called be adaptive optics (or adaptive). When it is observed in the sky, at the same time, there has been a star poor located near another bright star to real-time bulldoze the disorder caused by turbulence in the atmosphere. In this way, you can obtain images as sharp as if carried out observations of the Indies, and not from the surface of the planet.


However, this technique only works when “Star comparison” is appropriately bright object of this type, and such in the sky is not too much, and do not necessarily have to be placed near the object that is currently the objective observation of scientists. Therefore, apply artificial laser stars. This type of system has long been located on Paranal Observatory equipment, but so far had one laser. The new second generation system has as many as four bundles and dramatically improves the possibilities for adjusting the image, allowing the use of large fields in the sky.

On the construction of the system 4LGSF European Southern Observatory cooperated with industrial companies from the Member countries and organization, with experience and by providing a license to the patents. For example, a company from Germany TOPTICA during seven years of collaboration with ESO increased employment from 80 employees to more than 200 and significantly extended the range of products offered. In particular, began producing laser units comparison stars SodiumStar 20/2, which became standard for the currently existing large telescopes and those planned in the coming years. Various other companies have moved from individual countries gained during cooperation with the ESO knowledge on the field of their activities in communication technologies, semiconductor manufacturing, medical devices and solutions for the space industry.