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Proceedings Paper

Characteristics of sodium guidestars created by the 50-watt FASOR and first closed-loop AO results at the Starfire Optical Range
Author(s): Craig A. Denman; Jack D. Drummond; Mark L. Eickhoff; Robert Q. Fugate; Paul D. Hillman; Steven J. Novotny; John M. Telle
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Paper Abstract

A computer-automated cw sodium guidestar FASOR (Frequency Addition Source of Optical Radiation) producing a single frequency 589-nm beam with up to 50 W for mesospheric beacon generation has been integrated with the 3.5-m telescope at the Starfire Optical Range, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Radiance tests have produced a peak guidestar V1 magnitude = 5.1 (~7000 photons/s/cm2 at zenith) for 30 W of circularly polarized pump power in November 2005. Estimated theoretical maximum guidestar radiance is about 3 times greater than measured values indicating saturation due to atoms possibly becoming trapped in F'=1 and/or atomic recoil. From sky tests over 3.5 years, we have tracked the annual variation of the sodium column density by measuring the return flux as a function of fasor power and determining the slope at zero power. The maximum occurs on October 30 and the minimum on May 30, with corresponding predicted returns of 8000 (V1 = 4.8) and 3000 (V1 = 5.8) ph/s/cm2 with 50 W of fasor power and circular polarization. The effect of the Earth's magnetic field on the radiance of the sodium laser guidestar (LGS) from various azimuths and elevations has been measured. The peak return flux over our observatory occurs at [az=198o; el=+71o], compared with the direction of the magnetic field lines at [190o; +62o], and it can vary by a factor of 3 over the sky above el = 30o. First results for non-optimized sodium LGS adaptive optics (AO) closed-loop operation have been obtained using binary stars. Strehl ratios of 0.03 have been measured at 850 nm and a 0.14 arc second binary star has been resolved during first closed loop observations. Guidestar characteristics, including radiance, size, and Rayleigh backscatter, the sodium LGS wavefront sensor (WFS) AO system, and recent closed-loop results on binary stars are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 July 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6272, Advances in Adaptive Optics II, 62721L (4 July 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.695916
Show Author Affiliations
Craig A. Denman, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Jack D. Drummond, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Mark L. Eickhoff, The Boeing Co. (United States)
Robert Q. Fugate, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (United States)
Paul D. Hillman, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Steven J. Novotny, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
John M. Telle, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6272:
Advances in Adaptive Optics II
Brent L. Ellerbroek; Domenico Bonaccini Calia, Editor(s)

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