Virtual Babelsberg Starry Night


Neptune from the VLT with MUSE/GALACSI Narrow Field Mode adaptive optics.

Credit: AIP/P. Weilbacher
Updated: March 18, 2021

March 16, 2021 // The next lecture of the virtual Babelsberg Starry Nights of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) will be broadcasted starting on Thursday, 18 March 2021 on the YouTube channel "Urknall, Weltall und das Leben". Please note that the lecture will be given in German.

From 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dr. Tanya Urrutia’s lecture on the topic "Neptune: Super Sharp Pictures from the Edge of our Solar System" from the Babelsberg Starry Night series will be available online under this link. The lecture will be held in German.

In summer 2018, a new mode of the MUSE instrument in Chile captured the sharpest image of Neptune since 1989, when the Voyager 2 probe visited the gas giant. In the lecture, Dr Tanya Urrutia will use the image to introduce the principles of adaptive optics. Turbulence in the atmosphere makes astronomical images look blurry. With the technique of adaptive optics, in which extremely powerful lasers are shot into the sky, researchers can remove these turbulence effects and thus produce very sharp images. Scientific applications using this new method will also be presented.

This season, the Babelsberg Starry Nights will not take place on site at the AIP, but will come straight to your home: on the 3rd Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. the lectures are available at

and on the Youtube channel of Urknall, Weltall und das Leben and can be viewed at any time afterwards.

The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aims at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and E-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.
Last update: 22. March 2021