Six Laser Guide Stars (LGS) are included in the design of the European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), with all of its current instruments taking advantage of them using Shack-Hartmann (SH) wavefront sensors (WFS). However, this implementation raises new issues related to the unprecedented elongation that results from the perspective effect combined to the thickness of the sodium layer. In order to investigate wavefront sensing with an elongated LGS on a SH WFS, we are taking advantage of the presence of the multi-object adaptive optics demonstrator CANARY on the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), in La Palma island, that was upgraded with a sodium LGS WFS for our experiment. The LGS is generated by ESO’s transportable Wendelstein LGS unit and the elongation is obtained by positioning the laser launch telescope 40 meters away from the WHT. With this experiment we are able to measure wavefronts using an elongated LGS WFS. In this paper, we present results obtained during the latest run of observations in September 2017. In these results is comprised an error breakdown of wavefront measurement on elongated LGS. The performances of several centroiding methods are compared thanks to this error breakdown. Additionally, we take advantage of varying observation conditions with respect to seeing and sodium profile to establish the robustness of the different centroiding methods. Finally, these performances are evaluated for different SH designs, to explore which compromises can be reached with respect to pixel scale and sub-aperture field of view.
CANARY is a wide-field AO on-sky test facility which has been operated annually on the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope since 2010. CANARY has the stated goal of testing and demonstrating AO technologies that are critical for ELT AO performance. It has seen four distinct phases where new AO technologies have been developed and demonstrated, including NGS MOAO in 2010 (phase A), Rayleigh LGS and NGS MOAO in 2012 and 2013 (phase B, with LGS commissioning in 2011), LTAO operation in 2014 and 2015, and finally operation with a single Sodium laser guide star launched far off axis in 2016 and 2017 (phase D). By launching this laser guide star 40m off axis, extremely elongated laser guide star spots are created in the CANARY LGS Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor. Therefore, the 7×7 sub-apertures of CANARY can be used to test wavefront sensing performance of a sub-pupil of the ELT located furthest from the laser launch axis. We present an overview of CANARY in its phase D configuration. Depending on where in the sky the LGS is pointing, the projected baseline between the on-axis LGS wavefront sensor and the laser launch location, as seen by the wavefront sensor, will vary from about 20-40m, allowing us to artificially generate different degrees of elongation. Additionally, the well sampled CANARY sub-apertures have 30×30 pixels each and a 20 arcsecond field of view, using an OCAM2S EMCCD camera. This means that by shrinking sub-apertures, and optionally by binning pixels, we are able to investigate different pixel scales and fields of view for the ELT systems, thus determining the optimal design parameters. Here we discuss the closed loop tests that were performed to investigate the effect of spot truncation and extreme elongation. We include different correlation techniques, including standard FFT-based correlation, brute force correlation and correlation by difference squared. We also mention dynamic and automatic updates of the correlation reference images while the AO loop is engaged that have previously been reported. The matched filter algorithm is also mentioned, with a pointer to our prior on-sky investigations. We give our recommendation for the ELT wavefront sensing algorithm of choice, and our evidence based reasons for this recommendation, which may come as a surprise to some. Finally we also present the future experiments to be performed with CANARY, give details of the OPTICON funded programme which enables the hosting of AO experiments on CANARY, allowing the AO community to get involved.
The use of sodium laser guide star for Extremely Large Telescopes (ELT) adaptive optics systems is a key concern due to the perspective effect that produces elongated images in the Shack-Hartmann pattern. In order to assess the feasibility of using an elongated sodium beacon on an ELT, an on-sky experiment reproducing the extreme off-axis launch conditions of the European ELT is scheduled for summer and autumn 2016. The experiment will use the demonstrator CANARY installed on the William Herschel Telescope and the ESO transportable 20W CW fiber laser, embedded in the Wendelstein LGS unit. We will discuss here the challenges this experiment addresses as well as the details of its implementation and the derivation of the error budget.