|An active (laser-illuminated) imaging system is described that is suitable for use in backscatter absorption gas imaging (BAGI). A BAGI imager operates by imaging a scene as it is illuminated with radiation that is absorbed by the gas to be detected. Gases become "visible" in the image when they attenuate the illumination creating a shadow in the image. This disclosure describes a BAGI imager that operates in a linescanned manner using a high repetition rate pulsed laser as its illumination source. The format of this system allows differential imaging, in which the scene is illuminated with light at least 2 wavelengths--one or more absorbed by the gas and one or more not absorbed. The system is designed to accomplish imaging in a manner that is insensitive to motion of the camera, so that it can be held in the hand of an operator or operated from a moving vehicle.