June 4, 2014

Adaptive Optics And SPHERE

[ Read the Article: First Light For SPHERE Exoplanet Imager ]

This animation shows the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument. An instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope with the primary objective of discovering and studying extrasolar giant planets orbiting nearby stars.

It demonstrates adaptive optics, a process used to take out the atmosphere’s blurring effect as much as possible and bring most of the light from a star together into one bright dot. The center of this bright dot is then blocked out by introducing a mask into the light beam to avoid swamping the fainter nearby objects.

Credit: ESO / L. Calçada / Nick Risinger

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