Clear widens the field for observations of the Sun with multi-conjugate adaptive optics

Dirk Schmidt, Nicolas Gorceix, Philip R. Goode, Jose Marino, Thomas Rimmele, Thomas Berkefeld, Friedrich Wöger, Xianyu Zhang, François Rigaut, Oskar Von Der Lühe

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41 Scopus citations


The multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) pathfinder Clear on the New Solar Telescope in Big Bear Lake has provided the first-ever MCAO-corrected observations of the Sun that show a clearly and visibly widened corrected field of view compared to quasi-simultaneous observations with classical adaptive optics (CAO) correction. Clear simultaneously uses three deformable mirrors, each conjugated to a different altitude, to compensate for atmospheric turbulence. While the MCAO correction was most effective over an angle that is approximately three times wider than the angle that was corrected by CAO, the full 53′′ field of view did benefit from MCAO correction. We further demonstrate that ground-layer-only correction is attractive for solar observations as a complementary flavor of adaptive optics for observational programs that require homogenous seeing improvement over a wide field rather than diffraction-limited resolution. We show illustrative images of solar granulation and of a sunspot obtained on different days in July 2016, and present a brief quantitative analysis of the generalized Fried parameters of the images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL8
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Instrumentation: high angular resolution
  • Methods: observational
  • Sun: general
  • Techniques: high angular resolution


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