PARSEC

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The Laser for the VLT

Introduction

PARSEC, a joint project by MPE (Garching) and MPIA (Heidelberg), is a sodium line laser, which produces a high quality 10W continu-ous wave output beam. At the end of 2005 it was installed on Yepun, the fourth 8.2-m unit telescope of the VLT in Chile (Paranal Observatory), as part of the Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF). First light of PARSEC and the LGSF on Paranal occured on January 28, 2006. Commissioning and science verification has finished in March 2007. Full-time scientific operations will start early 2007.

The Laser Guide Star Facility

The LGSF is a joint project in which ESO (Garching) are building the laser room, beam relay and launch telescope while MPE and MPIA provide the laser itself.

The aim of the LGSF is to substantially increase the sky coverage available to, and hence the scientific potential of, the adaptive optics instruments NACO and SINFONI. Additionally, the LGSF has been designed with the potential to be upgraded to project up to 5 laser guide stars, which are needed for multi-conjugate adaptive optics.

First Light for the VLT Laser Guide Star Facility

Click here for the english press release

Click here for the german press release

LGSF/PARSEC in the german news (ZDF Heute)

More information about the adaptive optics performance with/without the Laser Guide Star Ringberg Workshop on Astronomy with Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics: 29 Oct. - 2 Nov. 2007.

last update: 30 July 2007
editor of this page: Stefan Hippler