Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri

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logosmallarcetri Arcetri Technical Reports 2/1995

The Arcetri Adaptive Optics Status


(1) ESO Instrumentation Division  - Adaptive Optics Group
(2) Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri


This is a status report, as of  March 15th 1995,  of  the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory Adaptive Optics group activities. After a brief perspective of the activity during the five years since the group existence, a detailed description of the status of the various activities is done.

Acting as the activity coordinator I  have shared,  together with the people that during the years have joined  the AO group with much enthusiasm, the effort of discovering AO systems in detail, their currently weak points for astronomical applications, their current implementation around the world, and  the thoughts on how to make them better with key technological developments. Therefore, this report really summarizes the work of many, and not only mine. I acknowledge that in the text.

All this activity has had from the very start the target of giving to our community of astronomers optimized AO systems, so that competitive scientific observations could be carried out with the new large telescopes projects in which we are involved, i.e.:

  1. the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), a national telescope of 3.6m in diameter located on La Palma, whose completion is foreseen for 1996;
  2. the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), a joint US-Italy effort for a twin 8.4m, to be completed on Mt Graham (Arizona) by 1999;
  3. ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), 4x 8m telescopes, to be completed one at a time beginning in 1997, and located on Cerro Paranal (Chile). Italy is now financially the second national contributor to ESO.

Besides the technical aspects, AO  will require a  revision and rethink also of the data acquisition methods and analysis, with the astronomers having a close understanding on how the servo-system works. This is also important to point out. Each user will have to think or review his own observing tricks as applied to AO, to exploit it at best.