The most powerful laser guide star system in the world sees first light at the Paranal Observatory

April 27, 2015 - On 26 April 2016 ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile hosted an event to mark the first light for the four powerful lasers that form a crucial part of the adaptive optics systems on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. These are the most powerful laser guide stars ever used for astronomy and the event marks the first use of multiple laser guide stars at ESO.

ESO staff were present for the event, along with senior representatives of the companies that have manufactured the different components of the new system, including representatives from TOPTICA (Germany), MPB Communications (Canada), and TNO (Netherlands).

MPBC of Canada provided the fiber laser pumps and Raman amplifiers, which are based on an ESO licensed patent. Jane Bachynski, President of MPB Communications Inc. said: “MPBC is proud to have worked with ESO in the development of Raman fiber amplifiers to much higher powers, allowing MPBC to bring this technology to the stars. This event marks the culmination of many years of hard work on behalf of all involved.”

MPBC’s collaboration with ESO has also generated an additional benefit, in the form of an offshoot product line of single frequency amplification products at virtually any wavelength, supporting novel applications for the scientific and commercial research community.

For more information and photos, visit eso.org

This image shows the new laser system on Unit Telescope 4 of the VLT. The black units just above the centre are the laser launch telescopes and the lasers themselves and the support electronics boxes appear to the sides of them. Credit: ESO/F. Kamphues


 

This image shows the four beams emerging from the new laser system on Unit Telescope 4 of the VLT.
Credit: ESO/G. Hüdepohl


This image shows the four beams emerging from the new laser system on Unit Telescope 4 of the VLT.
Credit: ESO/S. Lowery


 

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