AO systems aim at detecting and correcting for optical distortions induced by atmospheric turbulences. They are also extremely sensitive to extraneous sources of perturbation such as vibrations, which degrade the performance. The Gemini South telescope has currently two main AO systems: the Gemini Multi Conjugated AO System GeMS and the Gemini Planet Imager GPI. GeMS is operational and regularly used for science observation delivering close to diffraction limit resolution over a large field of view (85×85 arcsec2). Performance limitation due to the use of an integrator for tip-tilt control is here explored. In particular, this type of controller does not allow for the mitigation of vibrations with an arbitrary natural frequency. We have thus implemented a tip-tilt Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) controller with different underlying perturbation models: (i) a sum of autoregressive models of order 2 identified from an estimated power spectrum density (s-AR2) of the perturbation,1 already tested on CANARY2 and routinely used on SPHERE;3 (ii) cascaded ARMA models of order 2 identified using prediction error minimization (c-PEM) as proposed in.4, 5 Both s-AR2 and c-PEM were parameterized to produce tip or tilt state-space models up to order 20 and 30 respectively. We discuss the parallelized implementation in the real time computer and the expected performance. On-sky tests are scheduled during the November 2016 run or the January 2017 run.
ELTs equipped with MCAO systems will be powerful astrometric tools in the next two decades. With sparse-field precisions exceeding 30 uas for V > 18, the ELTs will surpass even GAIA's per-epoch precision for faint stars (V > 12). We present results from an ongoing astrometry program with Gemini GeMS and discuss synergies with WFIRST and GAIA. First, we present a fit to the relative orbit of the individual L/T components of Luhman16 AB, the nearest brown dwarf binary known. Exploiting GeMS' wide field of view to image reference stars, we are able to track the relative motion to better than 0.2 mas. We find that a mutual Keplerian orbit with no perturbing planets fits the binary separation to within the measurement errors, ruling out companions down to 14 earth masses for certain orbits and periods.
AutoCAD, Zemax Optic Studio 15, and Interactive Data Language (IDL) with the Proper Library are used to computationally model and test a diffractive mask (DiM) suitable for use in the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) on the Gemini South Telescope. Systematic errors in telescope imagery are produced when the light travels through the adaptive optics system of the telescope. DiM is a transparent, flat optic with a pattern of miniscule dots lithographically applied to it. It is added ahead of the adaptive optics system in the telescope in order to produce diffraction spots that will encode systematic errors in the optics after it. Once these errors are encoded, they can be corrected for. DiM will allow for more accurate measurements in astrometry and thus improve exoplanet detection. The mechanics and physical attributes of the DiM are modeled in AutoCAD. Zemax models the ray propagation of point sources of light through the telescope. IDL and Proper simulate the wavefront and image results of the telescope. Aberrations are added to the Zemax and IDL models to test how the diffraction spots from the DiM change in the final images. Based on the Zemax and IDL results, the diffraction spots are able to encode the systematic aberrations.
GeMS, the Gemini South MCAO System, has now been in operation for 3 years with the near infrared imager GSAOI. We first review the performance obtained by the system, the science cases and the current operational model. In the very near future, GeMS will undergo a profound metamorphosis, as we will integrate a new NGS wavefront sensor, replace the current 50W laser with a more robust one and prepare for a new operational model where operations will shift from the mountain to the base facility. Along this major evolution, we are also presenting several improvements on the loop control, calibrations and automatization of this complex system. We discuss here the progress of the different upgrades and what we expect in terms of performance improvements and operational efficiency.
We measure the long-term systematic component of the astrometric error in the GeMS MCAO system as a function of field radius and Ks magnitude. The experiment uses two epochs of observations of NGC 1851 separated by one month. The systematic component is estimated for each of three field of view cases (15'' radius, 30'' radius, and full field) and each of three distortion correction schemes: 8 DOF/chip + local distortion correction (LDC), 8 DOF/chip with no LDC, and 4 DOF/chip with no LDC. For bright, unsaturated stars with 13 < Ks < 16, the systematic component is < 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4 mas, respectively, for the 15'' radius, 30'' radius, and full field cases, provided that an 8 DOF/chip distortion correction with LDC (for the full-field case) is used to correct distortions. An 8 DOF/chip distortion-correction model always outperforms a 4 DOF/chip model, at all field positions and magnitudes and for all field-of-view cases, indicating the presence of high-order distortion changes. Given the order of the models needed to correct these distortions (~8 DOF/chip or 32 degrees of freedom total), it is expected that at least 25 stars per square arcminute would be needed to keep systematic errors at less than 0.3 milliarcseconds for multi-year programs. We also estimate the short-term astrometric precision of the newly upgraded Shane AO system with undithered M92 observations. Using a 6-parameter linear transformation to register images, the system delivers ~0.3 mas astrometric error over short-term observations of 2-3 minutes.
The Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS) at the Gemini South telescope in Cerro Pachon is the first sodium Laser Guide Star (LGS) adaptive optics (AO) system with multiple guide stars. It uses five LGSs and two deformable mirrors (DMs) to measure and compensate for distortions induced by atmospheric turbulence. After its 2012 commissioning phase, it is now transitioning into regular operations. Although GeMS has unique scientific capabilities, it remains a challenging instrument to maintain, operate and upgrade. In this paper, we summarize the latest news and results. First, we describe the engineering work done this past year, mostly during our last instrument shutdown in 2013 austral winter, covering many subsystems: an erroneous reconjugation of the Laser guide star wavefront sensor, the correction of focus field distortion for the natural guide star wavefront sensor and engineering changes dealing with our laser and its beam transfer optics. We also describe our revamped software, developed to integrate the instrument into the Gemini operational model, and the new optimization procedures aiming to reduce GeMS time overheads. Significant software improvements were achieved on the acquisition of natural guide stars by our natural guide star wavefront sensor, on the automation of tip-tilt and higher-order loop optimization, and on the tomographic non-common path aberration compensation. We then go through the current operational scheme and present the plan for the next years. We offered 38 nights in our last semester. We review the current system efficiency in term of raw performance, completed programs and time overheads. We also present our current efforts to merge GeMS into the Gemini base facility project, where night operations are all reliably driven from our La Serena headquarter, without the need for any spotter. Finally we present the plan for the future upgrades, mostly dedicated toward improving the performance and reliability of the system. Our first upgrade called NGS2, a project lead by the Australian National University, based a focal plane camera will replace the current low throughput natural guide wavefront sensor. On a longer term, we are also planning the (re-)integration of our third deformable mirror, lost during the early phase of commissioning. Early plans to improve the reliability of our laser will be presented.
The 8m Gemini South telescope is entering an exciting new era of AO operations, which put it at the forefront of astronomical AO in terms of both wide field AO, and extreme-AO systems. Major milestones achieved were the successful commissioning of GeMS, in 2012, and GPI, in late 2013 and early 2014. Currently we are operating two of the worlds most advanced astronomical AO systems. Gemini, running primarily in queue, must balance the promise of AO with the demands of the community to use non-AO instruments. We discuss the current state of the two AO systems, and their operational models. The preparations that go into planning each AO run, the difficulties in scheduling around non-AO instruments, and the differences between scheduling LGS AO and non-LGS AO are discussed.
With two to three deformable mirrors, three Natural Guide Stars (NGS) and five sodium Laser Guide Stars (LGS), the
Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (Gemini MCAO a.k.a. GeMS) will be the first facility-class MCAO
capability to be offered for regular science observations starting in 2013A. The engineering and science commissioning
phase of the project was kicked off in January 2011 when the Gemini South Laser Guide Star Facility (GS LGSF)
propagated its 50W laser above the summit of Cerro Pachón, Chile. GeMS commissioning has proceeded throughout
2011 and the first half of 2012 at a pace of one 6- to 10-night run per month with a 5-month pause during the 2011
This paper focuses on the LGSF-side of the project and provides an overview of the LGSF system and subsystems, their
top-level specifications, design, integration with the telescope, and performance throughout commissioning and beyond.
Subsystems of the GS LGSF include: (i) a diode-pumped solid-state 1.06+1.32 micron sum-frequency laser capable of
producing over 50W of output power at the sodium wavelength (589nm); (ii) Beam Transfer Optics (BTO) that transport
the 50W beam up the telescope, split the beam five-ways and configure the five 10W beams for projection by the Laser
Launch Telescope (LLT) located behind the Gemini South 8m telescope secondary mirror; and (iii) a variety of safety
systems to ensure safe laser operations for observatory personnel and equipment, neighbor observatories, as well as
passing aircrafts and satellites.