Sharpest-Ever Night Sky Photos: Gallery

Magellan Telescope with MagAO’s Adaptive Secondary Mirror

Yuri Beletsky, Las Campanas Observatory

The Magellan Telescope with MagAO’s Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM) mounted at the top looking down some 30 feet onto the 21-foot diameter primary mirror, which is encased inside the blue mirror cell. Image released Aug. 20, 2013.

Magellan Telescope Details Orion Nebula

Laird Close and Ya-Lin Wu; NASA, C.R. O'Dell and S.K. Wong

Equipped with the newly developed MagAO adaptive optics system, the Magellan Telescope revealed details about the Orion nebula. The background image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the Trapezium cluster of young stars (pink) still in the process of forming. The middle inset photo reveals the binary nature of the Theta Ori C star pair. The bottom insert shows a different binary young star pair shaped by the stellar wind from Theta 1 Ori C. Image released Aug. 20, 2013.

VisAO Camera and MagAO Wavefront Sensors

Katie Morzinski

UA NASA Sagan Fellow and VisAO instrument scientist Jared Males (left) and UA Astronomy Professor and MagAO project scientist Laird Close with the VisAO camera and MagAO wavefront sensors at the focus of the 6.5m Magellan telescope that were used to make the visible wavelength images. Image released Aug. 20, 2013.

Power of Visible Light Adaptive Optics

Laird Close/UA

The power of visible light adaptive optics: On the left is a “normal” photo of the theta 1 Ori C binary star in red light. The middle image shows the same object, but with MagAO’s adaptive optics system turned on. Eliminating the atmospheric blurring, the resulting photo becomes about 17 times sharper, turning a blob into a crisp image of a binary star pair. These are the highest resolution photos taken by a telescope. Image released Aug. 20, 2013.

Magellan Adaptive Optics Image of Orion 218-354

Kate Follette/UA

A Magellan Adaptive Optics image of Orion 218-354 silhouette after removal of light from the central star. The image on the left shows the dark silhouette of the disk against the bright background light of the Orion nebula. The image on the right shows how the new capabilities allowed astronomers to probe of nebular light passing through the disk, telling them about the distribution of gas and dust. Image released Aug. 20, 2013.

Binary Star Shaped by Another's Stellar Wind

Laird Close and Ya-Lin Wu, University of Arizona

This image, taken by a new camera and adaptive optics system installed on the Magellan Telescope in Chile, shows the binary young star pair "LV-1" being shaped by the stellar wind from another binary star called Theta 1 Ori C.

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