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OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Galactic centre? It's just up there...

Published on Friday, 12 November 2010 09:37

 

galacticcentre
The laser from the VLT points directly at the galactic centre. (Y Beletsky/ESO)

 

This spectacular image shows the Milky Way above Yepun, one of the four 8.2m telescopes that make up the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile. The 50cm wide laser beam from the telescope points directly at the galactic centre, and is part of the adaptive optics system. Emission from sodium atoms in the mesosphere excited by the laser produces an artificial star that allows the blurring effects of the atmosphere to be measured and removed from observations.

http://www.eso.org