Sodium laser guide star is an ideal source for astronomical adaptive optics system correcting wave-front aberration caused by atmospheric turbulence. However, the cost and difficulties to manufacture a compact high quality sodium laser with power higher than 20W is not a guarantee that the laser will provide a bright enough laser guide star due to the physics of sodium atom in the atmosphere. It would be helpful if a prediction tool could provide the estimation of photon generating performance for arbitrary laser output formats, before an actual laser were designed. Based on rate equation, we developed a Monte Carlo simulation software that could be used to predict sodium laser guide star generating performance for arbitrary laser formats. In this paper, we will describe the model of our simulation, its implementation and present comparison results with field test data.
In 2013, a serial sky test has been held on 1.8 meter telescope in Yunnan observation site after 2011-2012 Laser guide star photon return test. In this test, the long-pulsed sodium laser and the launch telescope have been upgraded, a smaller and brighter beacon has been observed. During the test, a sodium column density lidar and atmospheric coherence length measurement equipment were working at the same time. The coupling efficiency test result with the sky test layout, data processing, sodium beacon spot size analysis, sodium profile data will be presented in this paper.