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Lasers and Astrophysics?

  1. Oct 24, 2011 #1
    I am doing a research paper in my Laser physics course, and I want to relate lasers to astrophysics. Does anyone have any initial ideas to build off of?
    I did some research, but the only thing I can come up with are green laser pointers and lasers to help align telescopes.
    While I find that fascination, I doubt I'll be able to write a good 10+pg paper on such things.

    I'm not asking for anyone to give me very specific project ideas. I would like to come up with the idea on my own. But, I would appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction to finding information for a good paper or tell me some good terms to google.

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2011 #2
    Probably the most timely subject would be laser guide star adaptive optics and how they will be utilized on the next generation of ~20-30m class optical telescopes.
  4. Oct 25, 2011 #3


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    Examine the technical issues first. Solve those and you are well on your way.
  5. Oct 26, 2011 #4
    1. Laser range finders are used to measure the distance to the moon. Reflectors were placed there during the Apollo program.
    2. Harvard University has an Optical SETI program searching for signals sent by E.T. by laser. Since we already have lasers capable of momentarily out-shining our star, E.T. has to have them, too.
  6. Oct 28, 2011 #5
    "Reflectors were placed there during the Apollo program."

    IIRC, the Russian robotic rover carried a French retro-reflector panel.

    Back on topic, does it have to be optical lasers, or would natural microwave 'masers' do ??
  7. Oct 28, 2011 #6
    L.I.S.A. sounds like a good thing to write about, no?
  8. Oct 29, 2011 #7


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  9. Oct 29, 2011 #8
    High-energy pulsed lasers are used to reproduce some astrohysical phenomena, in a small scaled laboratory sense - see for example http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~utlasers/blast.php. This has been a growing field of research over the past couple decades.
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