a cartoon of the 3D donut laser, looking a bit like a volcano, is shown pointed toward the disc-like laser sail. In three panels, the sail is shown moving outside the exact center of the beam, or tilting so as to not be perfectly perpendicular to the beam.
Shine a laser pointer at a cat, and the cat may see and try to catch the light, but it certainly won’t feel it. What if that light were not a milliwatt laser, but one hundred trillion times stronger — and the cat were essentially weightless, floating in space? “Normally, […]

Laser focused on Alpha Centauri

Planetary nebula NGC 2818, a gaseous shroud of a dying, sun-like star in the southern constellation Pyxis.
Putting telescopes and astronomical instruments in space has long been a UW-Madison specialty. Since at least the early 1960s, when the late Wisconsin astronomer Arthur D. Code devised a cigar-box sized photometer for the X-15, the first rocket-powered plane to soar briefly in space, UW-Madison has been developing hardware – […]

Hubble and beyond