Sean Goebel is an astronomy graduate student at the University of Hawaii, which means he gets full run of the cluster of observatories on top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Sean has taken some spectacular long-exposure pictures and time lapse video of the telescopes in operation, often while they're blasting foot-wide sodium lasers into the sky. The lasers excite sodium atoms in the upper atmosphere, creating artificial stars that the telescopes use as guides to deform their mirrors a hundred times every second, canceling out the distortion imposed by Earth's atmosphere. While the lasers might not be quite powerful enough to destroy the Universe, they are powerful enough to vaporize (or at least startle) aircraft and spacecraft (!), meaning that their operation must be coordinated with both the FAA and Space Command.
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