Adaptive Optics for the Gemini Telescopes

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Session 11 -- Gemini, Keck, Seeing
Display presentation, Wednesday, January 12, 9:30-6:45, Salons I/II Room (Crystal Gateway)

[11.05] Adaptive Optics for the Gemini Telescopes

S. Ridgway (NOAO/KPNO)

Adaptive optics will play a critical role in achieving the highest possible image quality for the Gemini telescopes. An Adaptive Optics Working Group (R. Racine - chair, B. Ellerbroek, E. Kibblewhite, D. McCarthy, R. Myers, S. Ridgway, F. Roddier) is preparing to recommend an implementation strategy. The recommendations are still under discussion (the prospects for laser beacons are evolving rapidly). Current information will be presented in the poster.

The working group is considering multiple stages of correction including a low order of correction at the secondary mirror, and a by-passable AO system with both medium and high order correction incorporated in the instrument support structure. It is proposed that a tilt reference sensor be provided in the acquisition and guiding unit, and that high order wavefront sensing should be provided in and optimized for each instrument which will use AO. The order of correction is to be optimized to the application. Low order correction can be implemented with natural reference stars and should be most effective at infrared wavelengths and over moderate fields. High order correction has the potential to provide excellent images at visible and red wavelengths over a small field, but will be more expensive and require bright reference stars or a laser beacon system.

The Gemini project currently expects to initially provide tilting secondaries for both telescopes and AO for the Mauna Kea telescope. Issues of priority and strategy are still under active discussion, as the cost of the full proposed AO implementation likely exceeds available resources.

This poster will describe recommendations for a phased implementation of adaptive optics and laser beacons, the projected performance, and possible instrument and telescope configurations.

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