Adaptive Optics

Adaptive Optics

Relevant syllabus point:

  • outline methods by which the resolution and/or sensitivity of ground-based systems can be improved, including:
    • adaptive optics

What is Adaptive Optics?

As lighter from aloof celestial objects enters our standard atmosphere it gets disturbed by our ever-moving standard atmosphere. adaptive optics ( AO ) corrects for the distortions in an visualize caused by this atmospheric turbulence. The distortion to incoming light is shown schematically below .
wide-angle view of uniform lifght from star entering our atmosphereclose-up rippling of starlight entering our atmosphere What effect does atmospheric turbulence have on an image of a star ? The visualize below shows how what should effectively be a decimal point informant from a distant star topology is smeared out due to turbulence. adaptive optics compensates for this, resulting in a a lot sharper leading visualize as seen on the right .
adaptive optics systems operate at high gear frequencies, typically about 1000 Hz. This is excessively fast for altering a primary mirror so adaptive ocular systems are designed to act via the secondary mirror and extra optical elements placed in the faint way. The need for high speed calculator calculations and special deformable mirrors means that AO is a relatively newly field of development in astronomy. rapid advancement in developing the technology for telescope consumption occurred following the end of the Cold War when much of the military engineering for AO systems was declassified.

Reading: Adaptive Optics

ao schematic main There are several different methods that can be used to monitor and correct the entrance wave front of unhorse but many use a tip-tilt mirror and a slender, deformable one. The one shown below is used on Gemini North and has 85 actuators on it to control the mirror shape .
vital to all is the necessitate for brawny, fast calculator processing and model of the incoming waveforms. Systems either trust on a bright reference leading within the playing field of horizon ( which is surprisingly intemperate to find given the specialize field of view in many big telescopes ) or they produce an artificial citation star topology using a laser .
laser in dome new Australia is an active player in the development of adaptive ocular systems through the Research Network for Adaptive Optics. aside from astronomy, adaptive optics besides has applications in the fields of ophthalmology and sight science, optical communications, laser balance beam shape and laser countermeasures .
At present, adaptive optics is still a modern engineering and many systems are in the developmental phase. apart from the address leading trouble, most systems besides trade-off sensitivity for solution as each extra ocular component scatters some abstemious and adds emits a small amount of heat, degrading infrared operation .
Whilst adaptive optics compensates for atmospheric distortions, the distortion of the large chief mirrors is corrected by active optics, as discussed on the adjacent foliate.

Further Information

adaptive Optics : What is it ? @ CfAO has a jell of pages that describe what adaptive optics is, why we need it, how it works, its limitations and links to other AO resources. You can access printable versions of the pages. separate of the US Center for Adaptive Optics .
adaptive Optics : Past, Present and Future is a fixed of slides on adaptive optics focusing on astronomic applications but besides discussing others .
adaptive Optics with Gemini provides a childlike one-page presentation to the subject .
research Network for Adaptive Optics is the home page for australian researchers involved in astronomic and other AO projects. Lots of information and links.

Sharper Eyes on the Sky by Dr John O’Byrne from University of Sydney is an on-line interpretation of a 1996 article he wrote for Sky & Space Magazine. Although engineering has developed since the article it still provides an excellent overview of solution, seeing and adaptive optics .
The VLT Active Optics System has a clear diagram and a technical overview of the system .
Twinkle, sparkle little leading : the indigence for adaptive optics in optical astronomy is a set of slides. The discussion gets very numerical in places but the information is clear and accessible .


  1. What are some advantages in using an adaptive optics system on a telescope?
  2. Outline some limitations in implementing an AO system.
  3. Discuss some possible social benefits from research into AO systems.
  4. Why is it necessary for AO systems to work on the secondary or tertiary mirrors and not on the primary?
source :
Category : Tech

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