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Gemini North with Laser Guide Star
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Gemini North with Laser Guide Star

July 19, 2010
A 180-degree fisheye view of the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, as it is lit by moonlight and the red glow of a passing automobile's taillights shining through the wind-vent gates. At the top of the 7-story-high telescope structure, the laser guide star (LGS) can be seen extending into the sky where it creates an artificial star used by an adaptive optics system to correct for distortions caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Gemini Observatory consists of twin eight-meter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best sites on our planet for observing the universe. Together, these telescopes can access the entire sky.

The Gemini South telescope is located at almost 9,000 feet on a mountain in the Chilean Andes called Cerro Pachon. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope is located on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, as part of the international community of observatories that have been built to take advantage of the superb atmospheric conditions on this long dormant volcano that rises almost 14,000 feet into the dry, stable air of the Pacific.

Gemini was built and is operated by a partnership of 7 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Any astronomer in each partner country can apply for time on Gemini, which is allocated in accordance with the amount of financial support provided by each country. To learn more about Gemini, visit the observatory's Web site Here. (Date of Image: June 2007)