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December 27, 2016

Moon illuminates Gemini South Telescope

As the moon illuminates the Gemini South Telescope’s interior, astronomers gear up for a night of observation.

Located on the steep cliffs of Cerro Pachon in Chile’s Andes Mountains, the telescope complements its Hawaiian twin, the Gemini North Telescope. Each telescope weighs 418 U.S. tons and stretches seven stories from the observation floor. To achieve their unprecedented views of the universe, both telescopes use adaptive optics. Like an optician on the fly, this technology corrects image distortions from Earth’s atmosphere with multiple smaller mirrors under computer control. The technology produces images that exceed the image quality from space-based observatories. (Date image taken: unknown; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 27, 2016)

Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA image by Manuel Paredes

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