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Picture of the day
Laser towards the Milky Way

A laser shoots towards the centre of the Milky Way from the Very Large Telescope facility in Chile, to provide a laser guide star, a reference point in the sky for the telescope's adaptive optics (AO) system. AO technology improves the performance of optical systems by reducing the effect of atmospheric distortion. AO was first envisioned by Horace W. Babcock in 1953, but did not come into common usage until advances in computer technology during the 1990s made the technique practical.

Photo: Yuri Beletsky, ESO
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