Photography : Astronomy : Gemini's Laser

I was in Chile on Cerro Panchon, observing with the SOAR telescope. The Gemini South telescope is on the same mountain. The telescope operator came in from his smoke break and mentioned seeing Gemini testing their Adaptive Optics laser. I waited until a long exposure and rush outside --- to see a the gorgeous red laser streaming out from Gemini (and pointing somewhere near Scorpius). I was so excited to get a picture, and not sure how well the laser would show up, so I set my camera for the longest exposure I could (30s). That turns out to be too long, and it makes night look like day! I assure you that while the Moon was bright, it was decidedly night time. You can see the Southern Cross, the four bright stars at the top of the picture next to the laser. Halfway down below the Southern Cross is a mess of star clusters, including the Southern Pleiades.


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