1.5m telescope with laser, Starfire Optical Range

1.5m telescope with laser, Starfire Optical Range

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Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Starfire laser beam. A copper vapour laser beam (green) being projected by a 1.5-metre telescope at the Starfire Optical Range (SOR). This laser creates an artificial 'star' in the upper atmosphere, within the field of view of the SOR's main 3.5-metre telescope. The latter detects any change in shape of the artificial 'star' due to air turbulence, and uses a flexible adaptive optics mirror to compensate. This effectively counters the familiar 'twinkling' of stars, and offers highly-improved resolution over conventional ground-based observatories. The SOR was developed by a team led by Robert Fugate and was built in New Mexico, USA.

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Keywords: adaptive optics, astronomy, astrophysics, laser, optical telescope, starfire, starfire beam, starfire telescope, telescope

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