June 16, 2014 AT 6:00 am

This Super-Powerful Laser Just Got a Mega-Upgrade

32261 lick875x500

The University of California’s Laser Guide Star at the Lick Observatory just got a major upgrade – making it easier for astronomers to see into deep space! (via Geek)

Earlier this year, Lawrence Livermore engineering technical associate Pam Danforth applied 30 years of laser experience to an out-of-this-world problem — bringing new life to the University of California’s Lick Observatory Laser Guide Star.

The Lick Observatory’s Laser Guide Star is vital to astronomers because a natural guide star isn’t always near an object they want to observe. By training the guide star beam into the sky near such an object, an artificial guide star of glowing atmospheric sodium ions is created, allowing the laser guide star to function like a natural guide star and provide correct focus for the object they want to observe.

“I have always been enthusiastic about helping astronomers see further and more clearly into space. I enjoyed being part of this developmental effort for many years,” Danforth said. “To be able to make a dramatic impact on the world of astronomy was very exciting.”

It was this combined expertise that made Danforth the right person to help bring the Laser Guide Star back to peak operating condition. According to Lick Observatory Superintendent Kostas Chloros, this work was needed as the system’s performance and efficiency had degraded, impacting the research programs that require the use of a laser guide star.

Read more.

Related

“D is for Diode” – Circuit Playground Episode 4 is out now! CLICK HERE TO WATCH!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Learn resistor values with Mho’s Resistance or get the best electronics calculator for engineers “Circuit Playground”Adafruit’s Apps!



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.