Shooting lasers towards the Large Magellanic Cloud
"Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." Well, even Darth Vader would be proud of the 4 Laser Guide Star Facility at Paranal :-) I took this image on March 11, when the lasers were pointing to a star cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
It’s a stack of 15 untracked exposures, 10 secs each, with a Canon 6D + Tamron 100-400mm at 100mm, f/4.5, ISO 6400. 10 secs is pushing it, and that's not the best lens for this kind of shot, but I left my more luminous 90mm f/2.8 at home, so I had to improvise with what I had.
The lasers excite sodium atoms located in a layer about 80-90 km high, creating artificial guide stars that we use to measure and correct the atmospheric turbulence. So no worries: no planets were obliterated in the making of this photograph!