If you were ever in doubt about the power of adaptive optics….take a look at this image of Neptune taken with the VLT:
Neptune has an angular diamater of roughly 2 arcseconds (about 1/10 the current size of Mars in the sky).
The VLT is situated high up in the Atacama Desert of Chile. The seeing is already pretty good compared to sea-level but made even better by the corrections from the adaptive optics.
It’s really heartening to see these ground-based images as the Hubble Space Telescope reaches the end of its operational life. Here’s a comparison of VLT with HST:
It looks like we can now do as well as Hubble, if not better, from ground based observatories!
More details here: http://optics.org/news/9/7/32