Observations of Solar Prominences with Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics: Using the Big Bear Solar Observatory as a Testbed for DKIST

Project: Research project

Project Details


Traditional adaptive optics are effective for small targets but tend not to work as well across the whole field of view of a telescope. This means that solar telescopes, which seek to resolve small features on the Sun that can fill the field of view, have not been able to take advantage of this technology. The innovation of multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) solves this problem. MCAO is to be part of the upcoming Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST). The work proposed here is to complete development of an MCAO system in the near-infrared for the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) as a prototype for DKIST. The system will be tested by conducting observations of solar prominences in two different campaigns. Lessons learned from BBSO will provide a blueprint for development of the DKIST system.

The team will complete the development of a testbed NIR-MCAO system and connect it to BBSO?s Goode Solar Telescope (GST). They will use the MCAO apparatus to feel light to GST?s Near-Infrared Imaging Spectro-polarimeter (NIRIS). NIRIS operates at wavelengths between 1.0 and 1.7 microns. The team will conduct observations of the solar disk using this system. They will also conduct observations of prominences using a prototype wavefront sensor in an effort to better understand the particular issues that arise when one attempts to conduct adaptive optics observations of prominences (called ?prominence AO?). The objective of this work is to identify unique issues within various AO regimes that DKIST will be likely to encounter, and to innovate solutions for these issues.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date9/1/198/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $412,601.00


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