Video News Release 17: Man-made Star Shines in the Southern Hemisphere (eso0607a)

First Light for the VLT Laser Guide Star Facility

Scientists celebrate another major milestone at Cerro Paranal in Chile, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope array. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, they were able to create the first artificial star in the Southern Hemisphere, allowing astronomers to study the Universe in the finest detail. This artificial laser guide star makes it possible to apply adaptive optics systems, that counteract the blurring effect of the atmosphere, almost anywhere in the sky.

On 28 January 2006, at 23:07 local time, a laser beam of several watts was launched from Yepun, the fourth 8.2m Unit Telescope of the Very Large Telescope, producing an artificial star, 90 km up in the atmosphere. Despite this star being about 20 times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen with the unaided eye, it is bright enough for the adaptive optics to measure and correct the atmosphere’s blurring effect. The event was greeted with much enthusiasm and happiness by the people in the control room of one of the most advanced astronomical facilities in the world.

Read more about it on eso0607.

This Video News Release is targeted especially at broadcasters for further editing. In order to keep the audio tracks editable, different sound information has been recorded on two separate tracks at optimal volumes as is common standard in professional post production. This video is not meant for on screen viewing — on ESOcasts are better suited for that.



About the Video

Release date:23 February 2006
Related releases:eso0607
Duration:05 m 06 s
Frame rate:30 fps

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