Enhanced look at star clusters thanks to new Adaptive Optics

Neptune looks beautifully blue in sharp new telescope image

Earth-based telescope takes super-sharp image of Neptune (PHOTOS)

Then, the blur on the laser is used to inform the computer-controlled mirror, which corrects for the atmosphere effects.

Neptune photographed from the Ground thanks to the modernization of the "Very large telescope" (Very Large Telescope - VLT) installed in Chile in the "European southern Observatory" (European Southern Observatory - ESO).

Neptune is 2.9 billion miles away from Earth and the only better pictures that many of us remember seeing is when the Voyager 2 flew by the planet back in 1989.

The ESO says such sharpness is very hard to attain and allows images to be taken that are comparable in sharpness to those taken with the Hubble telescope that doesn't have to deal with the atmosphere at all. In testing, the ESO used the new optics to take images of Neptune and star clusters.

One of the greatest problems faced by conventional ground-based telescopes is the disturbance caused by the particles that populate our planet's dense atmosphere, which disrupt and scatter the light emitted by distant bodies such as planets and massive galaxies. To make observations from the ground, the blur needs to be corrected, and a reference point can help determine how much correction is needed.

Neptune looks beautifully blue in sharp new telescope image
This is the best photo of Neptune we have so far, and it looks amazing

New pictures released by the European Southern Observatory utilizing the adaptive optics process have rendered a photograph of distant planet Neptune in greater detail than even that achieved by the Hubble Space Telescope built expressly for the goal of evading such atmospheric distortions.

GALACSI uses the Laser Guide Star Facility, 4LGSF, which is a subsystem of the Adaptive Optics Facility or AOF. The result is very sharp images seen here.

Scroll down to see an ESO video zooming in on globular star cluster NGC 6388, switching between the wide-field and narrow-field MUSE modes, the latter of which has adaptive optics turned on.

When using the new Narrow Field Mode using laser tomography the team can correct nearly all the atmospheric turbulence above the telescope to create much sharper images, but only over a small region of the sky.

This isn't the observatory's first adaptive-optics rodeo: Another system, GRAAL, is already in use with infrared camera HAWK-I; in a few years, the powerful new ERIS instrument will follow suit. Adaptive optics systems consists of three main components: a wave front corrector to compensate for the distortion, a wave front sensor to measure distortion, and a control system to calculate the required correction and necessary shape to apply to the corrector.

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