Astronomers fire up powerful lasers for space imaging

By Jareen Imam, CNN

Published 3:10 PM ET, Thu April 28, 2016
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European Space Observatory's Paranal Observatory turned on four powerful lasers during a special event on April 26. This photo shows four beams coming from the new laser system on Unit Telescope 4 of the Very Large Telescope. F. Kamphues/European Southern Observatory
The lasers are the most powerful laser guide stars ever used for astronomical purposes, according to ESO. F. Kamphues/European Southern Observatory
Earth's atmosphere creates a barrier between ground telescopes and the stars. Lasers could provide clearer images. Simon Lowery/European Southern Observatory
This photo shows the laser system inside Unit Telescope 4 of the Very Light Telescope. F. Kamphues/European Southern Observatory
Using lasers has become a necessity to take clearer images of the night sky. F. Kamphues/European Southern Observatory
Astronomers fired up these lasers for the first time this week. F. Kamphues/European Southern Observatory
Paranal Observatory is in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. G. Hüdepohl/European Southern Observatory
"Attendees were treated to a spectacular display of cutting-edge laser technology against the majestic skies of Paranal," an ESO statement said. S. Lowery/European Southern Observatory