Lasing the Universe
On a summer night, the W. M. Keck Observatory telescopes Keck I and Keck II beam their powerful lasers up into the atmosphere. These lasers, combined with the deformable surface of each telescopes’ 10 meter mirrors, allow for the optical equivalent of noise cancelling headphones as they counteract the disturbance in the atmosphere. From here they only have to account for the atmosphere above 13,800 foot Mauna Kea upon which they reside, high above the turbulent tropical heat below. Subaru Telescope on the right had deactivated their laser, but a faint green LIDAR laser can be seen just to the right of it coming up from Mauna Loa Observatory miles away measuring elements in the atmosphere. At this point thin clouds were starting to build as thicker clouds would soon roll in, putting an end to the adaptive optics lasers. The bright streak just above the crossing of the lasers is Mars. This exposure is just a hair over 15 minutes long, showing how much the earth spins in that time.