Starfire Optical Range - sodium laser


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Original caption: “This sodium laser—being fired from the Starfire Optical Range on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico—is used with deformable optics to help eliminate atmospheric distortions when gathering images of objects in space.

Though the caption states that this is a "sodium laser", this is actually misleading as the Starfire Optical Range LIDAR laser seen here is actually two solid state IR lasers, 1.064 and 1.319 microns, that are frequency summed in LBO within a doubly resonant cavity. The orange beam is observed due to the intense laser light scattering off particles in the air. In general, laser light travelling through a vacuum can not be seen unless aimed directly towards the observer.


  • Source: Directed Energy Directorate, US Air Force[1]
Public domain This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

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EXIF data:
File name starfire_optical_range_-_sodium_laser.jpg
Size, Mbytes 4.4068310546875
Mime type image/jpeg
Camera manufacturer NIKON CORPORATION
Camera model NIKON D70
Orientation of image 1
Image resolution in width direction 240
Image resolution in height direction 240
Unit of X and Y resolution 2
Exposure time 30/1 sec (30)
F number f / 4.5
Exposure program 1
ISO speed rating 320
Lens focal length 50 mm
Date and time original image was generated 2004:10:27 12:19:51
Shutter speed -4.906891
Aperture 4.33985
Exposure bias 1.67
Maximum lens aperture 4.3
Metering mode 5
Color space information 1
Exif image width 2000
Exif image length 3008
Focal length in 35 mm film 75 mm
Software used Adobe Photoshop CS Macintosh

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