Guide lasers over Mauna Kea observatories

Guide lasers over Mauna Kea observatories

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Credit: BABAK TAFRESHI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Guide lasers over Mauna Kea observatories. The lasers emerging from the twin Keck telescopes are used to create artificial guide stars. By focusing on the artificial guide stars, the telescopes are calibrated to remove the effects of the atmosphere on observations, a process known as adaptive optics (AO). Located near the summit (4205 metres) of Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, this collection of telescopes is one of the world's leading astronomical research facilities. Hawaii's mid-Pacific location and the high elevation provide excellent viewing conditions. The Moon (at right of the lasers), appears above the morning twilight.

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