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Proceedings Paper

Current laser guide-star adaptive optics systems and concepts for the future
Author(s): Brent L. Ellerbroek; Robert Q. Fugate; James M. Spinhirne
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Paper Abstract

Laser guide star (LGS) adaptive optics systems can dramatically improve the resolution of ground-based astronomical telescopes but introduce a variety of novel optical engineering requirements. We describe how these requirements have been addressed in the Starfire Optical Range (SOR) Gen II adaptive optics system and review sample experimental results illustrating the degree of atmospheric turbulence compensation achieved with natural and laser guide stars. Although adequate for a 1.5 m aperture diameter telescope, the level of compensation possible with a single low altitude LGS is limited by anisoplanatism and will not be adequate for larger aperture telescopes operating at visible wavelengths. We evaluate these limitations numerically for a sample problem involving a four meter aperture diameter telescope and estimate the performance improvements possible through the use of mesospheric sodium guide stars, multiple guide stars, and multiple deformable mirrors. Implementing these advanced concepts introduces new challenges in the areas of laser guide star generation, wavefront sensing, and beam train optical design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 1993
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 1780, Lens and Optical Systems Design, 17802C (15 April 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.142884
Show Author Affiliations
Brent L. Ellerbroek, Starfire Optical Range/KAFB (United States)
Robert Q. Fugate, Starfire Optical Range/KAFB (United States)
James M. Spinhirne, Rockwell Power Systems Co. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1780:
Lens and Optical Systems Design
Hannfried Zuegge, Editor(s)

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