Following extensive development effort, approximately a dozen adaptive optics facilities are now available for research in astronomy, and a similar number is nearing competition or in advanced planning. The scientific productivity, measured by research papers, is rapidly increasing. From a survey of published research and a review of research provisionally discuss the contribution of natural guide star adaptive optics to astronomy. The most active research topics for adaptive optics astronomy have been in solar system studies and in the observation of young stars and star forming regions. The benefit of adaptive optics most prominently exercised in these observations has been high resolution imagery, and the most common area of concern is the point spread function. The scientific success supports the position that adaptive optics will son be required for large telescopes to remain competitive in certain research areas. At the same time, most areas of astronomy research remain untouched by adaptive optics techniques.