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March 18, 2015

Magellan Telescope with Magellan Adaptive Optics system

A team of astronomers from the University of Arizona, the Arcetri Observatory in Italy and the Carnegie Observatory developed a new type of telescope camera--the Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) system--that takes higher resolution images than ever before, the culmination of 20 years of effort. In this image, the Magellan Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile is equipped with the MagAO system, which is mounted at the top and looking down some 9 meters (29 feet) onto the 6.5 meter (21 foot)-diameter primary mirror (not visible here, but inside the blue mirror cell).

The team used the MagAO system, which enabled them to remove any blurring effects of the Earths atmosphere, to produce the clearest and highest-resolution visible-light pictures of stars and an exoplanet ever taken on a telescope.

The National Science Foundation supported the development of the MagAO system through its Major Research Instrumentation, Telescope Systems Instrumentation and Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation programs.

To learn more, see the Carnegie news story Highest-ever resolution photos of the night sky. [Research supported by NSF grant AST 12-06422.] (Date of Image: November 2012)


Credit: Laird Close, University of Arizona, and Yuri Beletsky, Las Campanas Observatory, Chile

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