Email Print Share

Sodium laser launch from Shane Telescope

Sodium laser launch from the side of the Lick Observatory's 120-foot Shane Telescope

Sodium laser launch from the side of the Lick Observatory's 120-foot Shane Telescope. This is a 10-minute, time exposed image. The laser is used to create an artificial guide star for the adaptive optics (AO) system using excitation of the sodium layer at an altitude of approximately 90 kilometers. It is mounted on the side of the telescope. Note the star trails.

This research was conducted at the Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, a National Science Foundation-supported Science and Technology Center. The center researches AO in the fields of vision science and astronomy to remove the effects of image blurring through turbulent media. Applications include astronomical telescopes, laser guide stars, wavefront sensing, microelectromechanical systems technology and retinal imaging.

Credit: Center for Adaptive Optics, UCSC

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (24 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.