Star-gazer's paradise

Published: Wednesday 31 January 1996

The Hubble Space Telescope's position above the earth's atmosphere enables it to provide clearer pictures of the heavens. Now, with the first integrated test of adaptive optics, ground-based telescopes - visibility through which remained affected till date due to atmospheric turbulence - could do as well. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA) scientists K Waltjen and C Max have tested a new system which allows the mirror of a telescope to adapt its shape to compensate for atmosphere- generated distortions with the help of a laser beam (Science, Vol 270, October 20, 1995).

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