Laser Guide Star at Paranal Observatory
images below are tripod astrophotos taken with a Canon 20Da
camera and a wide field lens. They were taken at Paranal Observatory,
located in the Atacama desert, North of Chile. The
yellow Laser beam visible on the images is generated in one of
the dome by a small (50cm diameter) dedicated telescope and sent to the
high atmosphere to produce, at an altitude of ~90 km, an artificial
star. This star is then used by the main telescope (8m diameter mirror)
Adaptive Optics system to measure and correct in real time the
distorsions that the
atmosphere produces on the images.
The image below shows the Laser Beam
launched from UT4 dome. The dome on the right is housing the VST (VLT
Survey Telescope, 2.5m diameter). The Large and small Magellanic clouds
are also visible on the top left of the Laser.
The Laser Guide Star beam launched from UT4, the
on the left is the one of UT2.
beam seems to cross Orion nebula, in Orion constellation just in
the middle of the image. The bright star is Sirius.
The Laser Guide Star beam launched from UT4. The
other domes are respectively, from left to right :
UT2, UT3 and a bit of the VST dome is also visible. Orion constellation
is clearly visible as well as the Pleiades
star cluster just above UT2 dome).