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ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has achieved first light with a new adaptive optics mode called laser tomography — and has captured remarkably sharp test images of the planet Neptune, star clusters and other objects. The pioneering MUSE instrument in Narrow-Field Mode, working with the GALACSI adaptive optics module, can now use this new technique to correct for turbulence at different altitudes in the atmosphere. It is now possible to capture images from the ground at visible wavelengths that are sharper than those from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The combination of exquisite image sharpness and the spectroscopic capabilities of MUSE will enable astronomers to study the properties of astronomical objects in much greater detail than was possible before.
To achieve this, the observatory blasts four powerful lasers into the sky, in order to create artificial stars and monitor how they're distorted by atmospheric turbulences:
originally posted by: Kandinsky
a reply to: wildespace
It makes the mouth water, doesn't it? I was just reading around their achievements and wondering if they'll be doing any 'signs of life' searches? Imagine when the James Webb is fully active and something like this ELT in tandem? Will the ELT be used for similar pursuits?