Solar Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics: Testing And Commissioning On The 1.6 Meter Solar Telescope In Big Bear

Project: Research project

Project Details


The changing magnetic field of the Sun causes powerful disturbances that affect orbiting satellites and life on Earth. Studying these magnetic-driven events on the Sun with ground-based telescopes requires wide-field image stability from Adaptive Optics (AO). AO is an important tool for solar astronomy because dynamic events on the Sun can cover a one arc-minute field of view simultaneously.AO is a method to correct telescope images for the distortion of light caused by its travel from outer space through the turbulent atmosphere. As a result of a previous award (AST-1407597), Goode and collaborators demonstrated such image correction for the first time in a wide-field with a solar telescope. Results were unveiled in a video display at the American Astronomical Society meeting in January 2017. The broad objectives outlined here are consistent with the Adaptive Optics roadmap, a community-developed white paper. This strategy document specifically called for further MCAO development work beyond these initial proof-of-concept experiments and quantitative performance analysis. This project builds upon prior research by implementing a turbulence profilometer -- a device to measure atmospheric turbulence throughout the observing season. Gathering such data will optimize future observations. This project will also implement another deformable mirror and a faster real-time control computer to enable 1-1.5 kHz operation. Developing this technology will enable critical observations to improve our understanding of the Sun and gain insights into the origins of potentially catastrophic space weather. This experimental technique will be essential to perfect for the upcoming Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST).
Effective start/end date11/1/1710/31/19


  • National Science Foundation


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