Adaptive Optics and SPHERE

This animation shows the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument. An instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope with the primary objective of discovering and studying extrasolar giant planets orbiting nearby stars. 

It demonstrates adaptive optics, a process used to take out the atmosphere's blurring effect as much as possible and bring most of the light from a star together into one bright dot. The centre of this bright dot is then blocked out by introducing a mask into the light beam to avoid swamping the fainter nearby objects. 


ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger (

About the Video

Release date:4 June 2014, 12:00
Related releases:eso1417
Duration:35 s
Frame rate:30 fps

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