Adaptive optics is used to improve the spatial resolution obtained with a ground-based telescope by compensating the effects of turbulence within the Earth’s atmosphere. Such systems employ a wavefront sensor system for accurately measuring the effect of the turbulence and a deformable mirror for correcting the turbulence effects. Adaptive optics systems are routinely used at the majority of the world’s professional telescopes.
The AAO have been involved in the development of novel components and concepts for adaptive optic systems, such as distributed wavefront sensing, and have tested these concepts on-telescope at the AAT.
Currently the AAO is undertaking a Phase A study on the Adaptive Optics Bench for the Gemini telescope as part of its Gemini North Adaptive Optics project. This study, led by AAO, includes partners in Australia (ANU) and France (LAM – Marseille, ONERA – Paris, ALPAO – Grenoble).