Astronomers are shooting a powerful laser into the center of our Galaxy, the Milky-way. Why? They are trying to measure the distortions of Earth’s ever changing atmosphere, at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) site in Chile… Image © Yuri Beletsky (ESO)
Constant imaging of high-altitude atoms excited by the laser — which appear like an artificial star — allow astronomers to instantly measure atmospheric blurring. This information is fed back to a VLT telescope mirror which is then slightly deformed to minimize this blurring. In this case, a VLT was observing our Galaxy’s center, and so Earth’s atmospheric blurring in that direction was needed. As for inter-galaxy warfare, when viewed from our Galaxy’s center, no casualties are expected. In fact, the light from this powerful laser would combine with light from our Sun to together appear only as bright as a faint and distant star.