New 'Lucky' System Takes Clearest-Ever Space Pics

Images are twice as sharp as Hubble's
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2007 3:42 AM CDT
This photo supplied by NASA-ESA on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, shows a Hubble Space Telescope image of a dense swarm of stars in the central region of the globular cluster NGC 2808. Astronomers were surprised...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A ground-based optics system has been developed that can take pictures of space twice as sharp as those from the Hubble Telescope. The system uses advanced light detection chips and calculates when the atmosphere is least distorting, the BBC reports. The system gathers together the clear pictures and eliminates distortions to produce what researchers believe are some of the clearest images ever obtained.

The system, called "Lucky," was developed by a team of scientists from Cambridge University and the Caltech. Pictures taken using the system with the telescope at Mount Palomar Observatory in California are so clear that stars as little as one light-day apart can be distinguished.