Shot Through the Heart
A laser beam seems to pierce the Milky Way above the Yepun telescope in August at the European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope array in Chile.
Yepun's beam creates an artificial star 56 miles (90 kilometers) up in Earth's atmosphere. The so called Laser Guide Star helps astronomers correct for the atmosphere's blurring effect as the telescope images the sky.
By aiming the laser toward the Milky Way's center, researchers can better monitor the galactic core where a central supermassive black hole—surrounded by closely orbiting stars—is swallowing gas and dust, according to the ESO website.
Space Photos: Galaxy Laser, Moon Bridge, More
See a galactic garbage truck, the first ever evidence of a natural bridge on the Moon, and more in this week's best space pictures.