sodium and the large magellanic cloud

Category: Places

 

Photo and caption by Christoph Malin

A sodium laser cuts trough Milky Way above ESO's VLT Paranal observatory and stirs up a sodium beacon at mesosphere at an altitoude of about 90 km height. the sodium atoms then re-emit the laser light, producing a glowing artificial star for the VLT's adaptive optics. the right of the image shows the large magellanic cloud. it is a nearby irregular galaxy, and a satellite of the Milky Way. This image is part of the movie "Astronomer's Paradise" to be found here on NG: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/21/new-time-lapse-gives-rare-glimpse-at-atacamas-starry-nights/

Location: cerro paranal, european southern observatory, chile

 

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