Giant laser creates an artificial star to clear the sky

February 27, 2013

(Credit: ESO)

Death Star’s superlaser? No, a new, improved laser that acts as an artificial star, as a reference to monitor atmospheric turbulence for the Very Large Telescope¬†in Chile,¬†compensating for the atmosphere’s distortions and creating much sharper images, reports New Scientist.

The laser shoots 90 kilometers into the atmosphere, where it interacts with the 10-kilometer-thick layer of sodium atoms left around our planet by meteoroid impacts. The laser makes the sodium fluoresce, producing a bright point of light