26 July 2016 Engineering aspects of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory adaptive optics systems
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Abstract
Vertical profiles of the atmospheric optical turbulence strength and velocity is of critical importance for simulating, designing, and operating the next generation of instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope. Many of these instruments are already well into the design phase meaning these profies are required immediately to ensure they are optimised for the unique conditions likely to be observed. Stereo-SCIDAR is a generalised SCIDAR instrument which is used to characterise the profile of the atmospheric optical turbulence strength and wind velocity using triangulation between two optical binary stars. Stereo-SCIDAR has demonstrated the capability to resolve turbulent layers with the required vertical resolution to support wide-field ELT instrument designs. These high resolution atmospheric parameters are critical for design studies and statistical evaluation of on-sky performance under real conditions. Here we report on the new Stereo-SCIDAR instrument installed on one of the Auxillary Telescope ports of the Very Large Telescope array at Cerro Paranal. Paranal is located approximately 20 km from Cerro Armazones, the site of the E-ELT. Although the surface layer of the turbulence will be different for the two sites due to local geography, the high-altitude resolution profiles of the free atmosphere from this instrument will be the most accurate available for the E-ELT site. In addition, these unbiased and independent profiles are also used to further characterise the site of the VLT. This enables instrument performance calibration, optimisation and data analysis of, for example, the ESO Adaptive Optics facility and the Next Generation Transit Survey. It will also be used to validate atmospheric models for turbulence forecasting. We show early results from the commissioning and address future implications of the results.
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Guido Brusa, Dave Ashby, Julian C. Christou, Jonathan Kern, Michael Lefebvre, Tom J. McMahon, Douglas Miller, Gustavo Rahmer, Richard Sosa, Gregory Taylor, Conrad Vogel, Xianyu Zhang, "Engineering aspects of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory adaptive optics systems", Proc. SPIE 9909, Adaptive Optics Systems V, 990903 (26 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2234733; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2234733
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