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Status of MagAO and review of astronomical science with visible light adaptive optics
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Paper Abstract

We review astronomical results in the visible (λ<1μm) with adaptive optics and note the status the MagAO system and the recent upgrade to visible camera’s Simultaneous/Spectra Differential Imager (SDI+) mode. Since mid- 2013 there has been a rapid increase visible AO with over 50 refereed science papers published in just 2015-2016 timeframe. Currently there are productive small (D < 2 m) visible light AO telescopes like the UV-LGS Robo-AO system (Baranec, et al. 2016). The largest (D=8m) telescope to achieve regular visible AO science is SPHERE/ZIMPOL. ZIMPOL is a polarimeter fed by the ~1.2 kHz SPHERE ExAO system (Fusco et al. 2016). ZIMPOL’s ability to differentiate scattered polarized light from starlight allows the sensitive detection of circumstellar disks, stellar surfaces, and envelopes of evolved AGB stars. The main focus of this paper is another large (D=6.5m Magellan telescope) AO system (MagAO) which has been very productive in the visible as well (particularly at the H−alpha emission line). MagAO is an advanced Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM) AO system at the Magellan in Chile. This ASM secondary has 585 actuators with < 1 msec response times (0.7 ms typically). MagAO utilizes a 1 kHz pyramid wavefront sensor (PWFS). The relatively small actuator pitch (~22 cm/subap, 300 modes, upgraded to 30 pix dia. PWFS) allows moderate Strehls to be obtained in the visible (0.63-1.05 microns). Long exposures (60s) achieve <30mas resolutions and 30% Strehls at 0.62 microns (r') with the VisAO camera (0.5-1.0 μm) in 0.5” seeing with bright R ≤ 9 mag stars (~10% Strehls can be obtained on fainter R~12 mag guide stars). Differential Spectral Imaging (SDI) at H-alpha has been very important for accreting exoplanet detection. There is also a 1-5micron science camera (Clio; Morzinski et al. 2016). These capabilities have led to over 35 MagAO refereed science publications. Here we review the key steps to having good performance in the visible and review the exciting new AO visible science opportunities and science results in the fields of: exoplanet detection; circumstellar and protoplanetary disks; young stars; AGB stars; emission line jets; and stellar surfaces. The recent rapid increase in the scientific publications and power of visible AO is due to the maturity of the next-generation of AO systems and our new ability probe circumstellar regions with very high (10-30 mas) spatial resolutions that would otherwise require much larger (<10m) diameter telescopes in the infrared.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2018
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 10703, Adaptive Optics Systems VI, 107030L (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2313107
Show Author Affiliations
Laird M. Close, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Jared R. Males, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Katie M. Morzinski, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Simone Esposito, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy)
Armando Riccardi, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy)
Runa Briguglio, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy)
Kate B. Follette, Amherst College (United States)
Ya-Lin Wu, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Enrico Pinna, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy)
Alfio Puglisi, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy)
Marco Xompero, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Italy)
Fernando Quiros, GMTO Corp. (United States)
Phil M. Hinz, Steward Observatory, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10703:
Adaptive Optics Systems VI
Laird M. Close; Laura Schreiber; Dirk Schmidt, Editor(s)

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