No, this isn't humanity's attempt at laser-etching Saturn's cloudy atmosphere with interplanetary graffiti, this is the stunning view at the bottom of a brand new adaptive optics system intended to superboost the clarity of deep space.
Adaptive optics are used by many ground-based observatories to better correct for atmospheric turbulence. When observing distant celestial objects from the ground, telescopes are looking through the thick and turbulent layers of the atmosphere. This causes optical fuzziness and can completely obscure faint or distant galaxies and nebulae.
PHOTOS: Cosmic Hotshots from Keck Observatory
To fix this problem, powerful lasers can create "guide stars" that are then used to gauge the conditions in the upper atmosphere and then corrected for. Sophisticated feedback software then controls a deformable mirror in the telescope, minimizing atmospheric effects.
These images show the "first light" observations of the 4 Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF) at the Unit Telescope 4 (UT4) of ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. By 2016, the facility will become fully adaptive, providing turbulence-corrected images for all of its instruments, significantly boosting its observing power and clarity.
For more information about this advancement, check out the ESO press release.