Telescope uses new optic tools to capture super-sharp cosmic images

July 3, 2013 at 3:36 PM
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LA SILLA, Chile, July 3 (UPI) -- A revolutionary instrument at an observatory in Chile has begun yielding some of the sharpest views of the universe ever obtained, astronomers say.

Seven ultrasharp, large-field images from the instrument's first science observations released Wednesday demonstrate its remarkable discovery potential, they said.

The telescope at the Gemini Observatory in La Silla, Chile, uses a revolutionary new adaptive optics system combining multiple lasers and deformable mirrors to remove atmospheric distortions -- blurriness -- from ground-based images.

It not only allows the telescope to capture more of the sky in a single shot but also forms razor-sharp images uniformly across the entire field, from top-to-bottom and edge-to-edge, astronomers said.

"What we have seen so far signals an incredible capability that leaps ahead of anything in space or on the ground -- and it will for some time," said Robert Blum, deputy director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

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