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chile parla telescope focus astronomy

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#1 Hum

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 14:52

Called Parla, it is used to generate an artificial star about 90 kilometres up in the atmosphere.

There, it interacts with the 10-kilometre-thick layer of sodium atoms left around our planet by meteoroid impacts.

The laser is 'tuned' to make the sodium glow, producing a bright point of light that acts as an artificial star, which ESO's engineers use as a reference to monitor atmospheric turbulence in the telescope's line of sight.

The giant mirrors in the telescope, which can change shape, can be moved as a result of the readings, effectively focusing the telescope's image.

Researchers say that the new laser is more flexible and reliable than the previous one, which is being retired after six years of service.

'When we started developing these lasers, everyone said our goal was nearly impossible - even many of the other experts,' said Domenico Bonaccini Calia of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which runs the telescope.

The new laser delivers up to 7 Watts of output and is very stable, the team says.

During the commissioning and for demonstration purposes, the team used the system to monitor the dwarf planet Haumea and its moons and the peculiar radio galaxy Centaurus A.

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#2 The Laughing Man

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 14:58

7 watts.. wat

#3 Shaun N.

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 14:59

being retired after 6 years of service? eh?

#4 YouWhat

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 15:03

For some reason the quote "A star that burns twice as bright..." springs to mind

#5 OP Hum

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 16:17

7 watts.. wat


Yeah, sounds like a night-light.

#6 DocM

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 17:01

A focussed 1 watt green or blue laser can burn through thin metal.

The US Navy lab has a 150,000 watt electric tactical laser yhat can shoot down incoming missiles, drones or shells. They sa if could be mounted on US warships within 2-3 years.

There are also proposals to mount a 100 kilowatt class tactical laser on US aircraft. & gunships.

The BMD guys are working on megawatt class free electron lasers that can attack larger targets.

Then there are the HPM weapons - high power microwave - and particle beams.

Roddenberry would love it.

#7 Torolol

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 18:39

^so, why not use this extra wattage lasers as rocket shield on israel ?

#8 carmatic

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 19:24

so its basically a counter-turbulence system for telescopes , and helps them look at stars clearly despite the twinkling?

#9 DocM

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 21:41

so its basically a counter-turbulence system for telescopes , and helps them look at stars clearly despite the twinkling?


The movement of the "star" (actually called a wavefront reference source) due to atmospheric turbulance tells the telescopes adaptive optics how suppress image distortions due to same.

#10 DocM

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 21:55

^so, why not use this extra wattage lasers as rocket shield on israel ?


The original proposal was called MTHEL (mobile tactical high energy laser), but it was a chemical laser which posed both cost and logistical problems - but it did work. A more portable solid state electric laser along the lines of what the Navy is building is also in decelopment. Instead of tanks of toxic chemicals all it needs is a big truck with a generator.

Navy version (there are others)



#11 Growled

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:43

Is it safe to create an artificial star in the atmosphere?

#12 Enron

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:46

Is it safe to create an artificial star in the atmosphere?


About as safe as creating a black hole on the surface.

#13 OP Hum

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:48

Is it safe to create an artificial star in the atmosphere?


Is a wonder the beam hasn't put some pilot's vision out -- or perhaps an Alien.

#14 DocM

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:35

Is it safe to create an artificial star in the atmosphere?


"Star" as in a very bright point light source the telescopes optics can use to guage how to correct its image. .

As for blinding pilots, the scopes that use these lasers are not in a position to be seen from commercial flyways - they avoid artificial light sources (running / landing lights etc.) that could mess up their imagery.

#15 Osiris

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:38

This thread was a lot of disappointment,. no evil name, no sinster motives, no evil corporation behind it. The whole point of lasers is to be evil, damn science always trying to be good. :s