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WJLA, December 07, 2011

Scientists create an 'artificial star' in the night sky

In June, scientists at the European Southern Observatory pointed a gigantic yellow laser into the darkened skies above Ottobeuren, Germany, creating an "artificial star" about 56 miles up in the atmosphere. Why? Read on....

The butt-kicking laser kicks into gear

This is the Wendelstein "laser guide star unit" deploying for the first time in June 2011 at the Allgäu Public Observatory in Ottobeuren, Germany. It shoots out a 20 watt yellow beam that agitates sodium atoms about 56 miles above ground, causing them to glow and form a totally unique "star." The observatory's 0.6-metre telescope is also pictured.

(Photo: ESO / T. Kasper (AVSO)/European Southern Observatory | Date: Dec. 07, 2011) of fullscreen mode

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