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Proceedings Paper

The Mauna Kea ground-layer site characterization campaign
Author(s): Mark Chun; Richard Wilson; Remy Avila; Timothy Butterley; Jose-Luis Aviles; Don Wier; Samuel Benigni
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Paper Abstract

We present the results of a year long study to characterize the optical turbulence in the boundary layer and the free atmospheric seeing above Mauna Kea in Hawaii for the Gemini Observatory. This survey combines the SLODAR and LOLAS instruments into a single manually-operated instrument capable of measuring the optical turbulence profile within the first kilometer and the free atmosphere seeing with spatial and temporal resolutions of 1 minute/40-80meters (SLODAR) or 5 minutes/15-30 meters (LOLAS). The campaign began in the fall of 2006 and is operated roughly 100 hours per month. The optical turbulence within the boundary layer is found to be confined within an extremely thin layer (<100meters) and the optical turbulence arising within the region from 100m to 600-800 meters is normally negligible. An exponential fit to the profiles gives an upper limit on the scale height of 23-24 meters but the LOLAS profiles show a multiplicity of layers very close to the ground. The free seeing measured by the SLODAR is 0.42" (median) and importantly is better than the typical delivered image quality at the larger telescopes on the mountain. The free seeing value is in agreement with past surveys done on the summit. These two results suggest that the current suite of telescopes on Mauna Kea are largely dominated by very local seeing either from internal seeing, seeing induced by flow in/around the enclosures, or from the atmospheric layer very close to the ground. The results from our campaign suggest that ground-layer adaptive optics will enable large corrected fields of view on Mauna Kea.

Paper Details

Date Published:
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7015, Adaptive Optics Systems, 70154I; doi: 10.1117/12.787468
Show Author Affiliations
Mark Chun, Univ. of Hawaii (United States)
Richard Wilson, Univ. of Durham (United Kingdom)
Remy Avila, Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
Timothy Butterley, Univ. of Durham (United Kingdom)
Jose-Luis Aviles, Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
Don Wier, Univ. of Hawaii (United States)
Samuel Benigni, Univ. of Hawaii (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7015:
Adaptive Optics Systems
Norbert Hubin; Claire E. Max; Peter L. Wizinowich, Editor(s)

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