Telescopes fire lasers into space in awesome time-lapse video

Lasers fired by telescopes atop Mauna Kea are used to correct for atmospheric turbulence.

(Credit: Sean Goebel)

If you’ve never been up to Mauna Kea, the summit of the 13,803-foot volcano in Hawaii is one of the best spots for peering at the heavens.

It also happens to be a great place to record time-lapse videos, as photographer Sean Goebel shows us.

An astronomy graduate student at the University of Hawaii, Goebel caught the telescopes firing blindingly cool laser guide star beams into the night sky.

“The lasers are real,” Goebel writes in an explanation. “They’re used for adaptive optics. Just as waves of heat coming off pavement blur out the detail in faraway objects, winds in the atmosphere blur out fine detail in the stars/galaxies/whatever is being observed.

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