Yepun’s Laser and the Magellanic Clouds

Yepun’s Laser and the Magellanic Clouds

About this Image

This spectacular image shows Yepun, the fourth 8.2-metre Unit Telescope of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) facility, launching a powerful yellow laser beam into the sky. his Laser Guide Star (LGS) is part of the VLT’s adaptive optics system. The light coming back from the artificial star is used as a reference to control the deformable mirrors and remove the effects of atmospheric distortions, producing astronomical images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space.

Yepun’s laser is not the only thing glowing brightly in the sky. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds can be seen, to the left and to the right of the laser beam, respectively. These nearby irregular dwarf galaxies are conspicuous objects in the southern hemisphere, and can be easily observed with the unaided eye.

Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN

Sizes

Wallpaper download options

Standard

Wide

Author Bio
Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff,

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. We transport our visitors across the solar system and beyond through accessible, comprehensive coverage of the latest news and discoveries. For us, exploring space is as much about the journey as it is the destination. 

Follow Us