The ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has been in construction since 2014. In parallel with the construction of the telescope, ESO has entered into agreements with consortia in the ESO member states to build the first instruments for that telescope. To meet the telescope science goals, the ambitious instrument plan includes two instruments for first light: an optical to near-infrared integral field spectrograph with a dedicated adaptive optics system (HARMONI) and a near-infrared camera with simple spectrograph (MICADO) behind a multi-conjugate adaptive optics module (MAORY). The next instrument will be a mid-infrared imager and spectrograph (METIS). Plans to follow this first suite of instruments include a high-resolution spectrograph (HIRES) and a multi-object spectrograph (MOSAIC). Technology development is underway to prepare for building the ELT Planetary Camera and Spectrograph. An overview of the telescope and its instruments is given.
MAORY is one of the approved instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope. It is an adaptive optics module, enabling high-angular resolution observations in the near infrared by real-time compensation of the wavefront distortions due to atmospheric turbulence and other disturbances such as wind action on the telescope. An overview of the instrument design is given in this paper.
The performance of an Adaptive Optics (AO) System relies on the accuracy of its Interaction Matrix which defines the opto-geometrical link between the Deformable Mirror (DM) and the Wave Front Sensor (WFS). Any mis-registrations (relative shifts, rotation, magnification or higher order pupil distortion) will strongly impact the performance, especially for high orders AO systems. Adaptive Telescopes provide a constraining environment for the AO calibration with large number of actuators DM, located inside the telescope with often no access to a calibration source and with a high accuracy required. The future Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will take these constraints to another level with a longer calibration time required, no artificial calibration source and most of all, frequent updates of the calibration during the operation. To overcome these constraints, new calibration strategies have to be developed either doing it on-sky or working with synthetic models. The most promising approach seems to be the Pseudo-Synthetic Calibration. The principle is to generate the Interaction Matrix of the system in simulator, injecting the correct model alignment parameters identified from on-sky Measurements. It is currently the baseline for the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) working with a Shack-Hartmann WFS but it remains to be investigated in the case of the Pyramid WFS.
MAO (MAORY Adaptive Optics) is the a developed numerical simulation tool for adaptive optics. It was created especially to simulate the performance of the MAORY MCAO module of the Extremely Large Telescope. It is a full end-to-end Monte-Carlo code able to perform different flavors of adaptive optics simulation. We used it to investigate the performance of a the MAORY and some specific issue related to calibration, acquisition and operation strategies. As, MAORY, MAO will implement Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics combining Laser Guide Stars (LGS) and Natural Guide Stars (NGS) measurements. The implementation of the reference truth WFS completes the scheme. The simulation tool implements the various aspect of the MAORY in an end to end fashion. The code has been developed using IDL and use libraries in C++ and CUDA for efficiency improvements. Here we recall the code architecture, we describe the modeled instrument components and the control strategies implemented in the code.
The construction of a diffraction limitable telescope as large as the ESO’s ELT is enabled by its embedded deformable quaternary mirror. Besides its essential function in the telescope control, M4 also contributes to compensating the free atmosphere aberrations for all post-focal AO applications. The paper presents how the telescope manages M4 to maintain its optical performance while offering to the instruments a clean wavefront interface, supporting the desired AO functionalities. The paper reviews the telescope strategy to derive its wavefront dynamic properties directly from the analysis of the control data collected in science mode, with the goal to minimize the observatory time spent on dedicated wavefront calibration tasks.
The long commissioning of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) project has been completed shortly after this conference, providing AO correction to two Very Large Telescope (VLT) foci supported by an adaptive secondary mirror and four laser guide stars. Four AO modes are delivered: a Single Conjugate AO (SCAO) system for commissioning purpose, wide field and medium field Ground Layer AO (GLAO) for seeing improvement and narrow field Laser Tomography AO (LTAO) for ultimate performance. This paper intends to describe the implemented AO baseline and to highlight the most relevant results and lessons learned. In particular, it will address the control and reconstruction strategy, the wavefront sensing baseline and the online telemetry used to optimize the system online, estimate the turbulence profile and calibrate the misregistrations. Focusing on the LTAO mode, we will describe the tomography optimization, by exploring the reconstruction parameter space. Finally, on sky performance results will be presented both in terms of strehl ratio and limiting magnitude.
MAORY will be the multi-adaptive optics module feeding the high resolution camera and spectrograph MICADO at the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) first light. In order to ensure high and homogeneous image quality over the MICADO field of view and high sky coverage, the baseline is to operate wavefront sensing using six Sodium Laser Guide Stars. The Laser Guide Star Wavefront Sensor (LGS WFS) is the MAORY sub-system devoted to real-time measurement of the high order wavefront distortions. In this paper we describe the MAORY LGS WFS current design, including opto-mechanics, trade-offs and possible future improvements.
The ESO’s adaptive optics facility (AOF) is ending its commissioning at Paranal (Chile). It feeds two second-generation instruments of the VLT-UT4 telescope, HAWK-I and MUSE, with turbulence corrected wavefronts through the GALACSI and GRAAL modules. The main features of the AOF are its deformable secondary mirror with 1170 actuators and a laser asterism of 4 artificial stars that probe the atmosphere via four high-resolution Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors (WFS), each with 40x40 subapertures. The system provides ground layer adaptive optics (GLAO) and laser tomography adaptive optics (LTAO) capabilities. In order to support the commissioning phases of the project, and later optimize and diagnose the operation of the system, a turbulence profiler has been developed and installed in SPARTA, the AOF real time controller (RTC). The profiler estimates two key turbulence parameters: the Cn2(h) and the outer scale (L0(h)) profiles and no limit on the number of the estimated layers exists, but for eight layers, the method takes about 2 minutes to yield a full characterization of the atmosphere. The maximum line of sight distance that the profiler can probed the atmosphere depends on the star separation defined for each operation mode: 3km for GRAAL; 14 km for GALACSI wide field and over 35km for GALACS narrow field mode. The remaining turbulence above these maxima (unseen turbulence from the undetected layers) are essential in the GRAAL mode and it is reliably estimated thanks to a novel method to determine the noise in the WFSs, which is mandatory for estimating this upper segment of the turbulence. The technique is also useful to alert about operational problems such as dome seeing and mis-registrations. The method is currently installed in the SPARTA RTC, providing continuous online estimations for the GALACSI (narrow and wide field modes), and for GRAAL mode. Results for several nights comprising hundreds of profiles show very good agreement with other independent measurements.
The Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) is one of the most important ESO projects developed for the VLT programme in the last years. The AOF, currently still under commissioning, brings built-in AO capabilities (GLAO and LTAO) to one of the VLT 8m Telescopes (Yepun) that is now equipped with a deformable secondary mirror (DSM), four lasers guide stars (4LGSF) and two AO modules: GRAAL for the HAWK-I infrared imager and GALACSI for the MUSE 3D spectrograph. This paper describes the main aspects of the software responsible for the control and monitor of the two AO modules, as well as for the coordination of subsystems like the instruments and the telescope. Furthermore details of the strategy followed to minimize the impact on configuration control associated to several commissioning periods interleaved with normal operations will be given. The control software package consist of a set of modules based on the VLT Instrumentation Framework and on the VLT platform for AO Real-Time Applications (SPARTA). We will present the software and control design choices that have contributed to the successful commissioning and science verification of GALACSI Wide Field Mode (WFM) and the first verifications of GRAAL tip/tilt free mode covering the control of challenging devices such as the GRAAL Corotator or the GALACSI visible Field Selector together with the innovative and flexible implementation of the AO acquisition sequence and its seamless integration to the instrument observations, the handling of secondary loops and the development of health-check and commissioning scripts (templates) that automated the verification of the different observing modes.
In this paper we will report on the status of the instrumentation project for the European Southern Observatory's Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Three instruments are in the construction phase: HARMONI, MICADO and METIS. The multi-conjugate adaptive optics system for MICADO, MAORY, is also under development. Preliminary Design Reviews of all of these systems are planned to be completed by mid-2019. The construction of a laser tomographic module for HARMONI is part of "Phase 2" of the ELT: the design has been advanced to Preliminary Design level in order to define the interface to the HARMONI spectrograph. Preparations for the next instruments have also been proceeding in parallel with the development of these instruments. Conceptual design studies for the multi-object spectrograph MOSAIC, and for the high resolution spectrograph HIRES have been completed and reviewed. We present the current design of each of these instruments and will summarise the work ongoing at ESO related to their development.
A suite of seven instruments and associated AO systems have been planned as the "E-ELT Instrumentation Roadmap". Following the E-ELT project approval in December 2014, rapid progress has been made in organising and signing the agreements for construction with European universities and institutes. Three instruments (HARMONI, MICADO and METIS) and one MCAO module (MAORY) have now been approved for construction. In addition, Phase-A studies have begun for the next two instruments - a multi-object spectrograph and high-resolution spectrograph. Technology development is also ongoing in preparation for the final instrument in the roadmap, the planetary camera and spectrograph. We present a summary of the status and capabilities of this first set of instruments for the E-ELT.
For two years starting in February 2014, the AO modules GRAAL for HAWK-I and GALACSI for MUSE of the Adaptive Optics Facility project have undergone System Testing at ESO's Headquarters. They offer four different modes: NGS SCAO, LGS GLAO in the IR, LGS GLAO and LTAO in the visible. A detailed characterization of those modes was made possible by the existence of ASSIST, a test bench emulating an adaptive VLT including the Deformable Secondary Mirror, a star simulator and turbulence generator and a VLT focal plane re-imager. This phase aimed at validating all the possible components and loops of the AO modules before installation at the actual VLT that comprises the added complexity of real LGSs, a harsher non-reproducible environment and the adaptive telescope control.
In this paper we present some of the major results obtained and challenges encountered during the phase of System Tests, like the preparation of the Acquisition sequence, the testing of the Jitter loop, the performance optimization in GLAO and the offload of low-order modes from the DSM to the telescope (restricted to the M2 hexapod). The System Tests concluded with the successful acceptance, shipping, installation and first commissioning of GRAAL in 2015 as well as the acceptance and shipping of GALACSI, ready for installation and commissioning early 2017.
MAORY is one of the four instruments for the E-ELT approved for construction. It is an adaptive optics module offering two compensation modes: multi-conjugate and single-conjugate adaptive optics. The project has recently entered its phase B. A system-level overview of the current status of the project is given in this paper.
GRAVITY is a near-infrared interferometric instrument that allows astronomers to combine the light of the four unit or four auxiliary telescopes of the ESO Very Large Telescope in Paranal, Chile. GRAVITY will deliver extremely precise relative astrometry and spatially resolved spectra. In order to study objects in regions of high extinction (e.g. the Galactic Center, or star forming regions), GRAVITY will use infrared wavefront sensors. The suite of four wavefront sensors located in the Coudé room of each of the unit telescopes are known as the Coudé Integrated Adaptive Optics (CIAO). The CIAO wavefront sensors are being constructed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and are being installed and commissioned at Paranal between February and September of 2016. This presentation will focus on system tests performed in the MPIA adaptive optics laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany in preparation for shipment to Paranal, as well as on-sky data from the commissioning of the first instrument. We will discuss the CIAO instruments, control strategy, optimizations, and performance at the telescope.
We present the latest comparison results between laboratory tests carried out on the ASSIST test bench and Octopus end-to end simulations. We simulated, as closely to the lab conditions as possible, the different AOF modes (Maintenance and commissioning mode (SCAO), GRAAL (GLAO in the near IR), Galacsi Wide Field mode (GLAO in the visible) and Galacsi narrow field mode (LTAO in the visible)). We then compared the simulation results to the ones obtained on the lab bench. Several aspects were investigated, like number of corrected modes, turbulence wind speeds, LGS photon flux etc. The agreement between simulations and lab is remarkably good for all investigated parameters, giving great confidence in both simulation tool and performance of the AO system in the lab.
GALACSI is the Adaptive Optics (AO) module that will serve the MUSE Integral Field Spectrograph. In Wide Field Mode it will enhance the collected energy in a 0.2”×0.2” pixel by a factor 2 at 750 nm over a Field of View (FoV) of 1’×1’ using the Ground Layer AO (GLAO) technique. In Narrow Field Mode, it will provide a Strehl Ratio of 5% (goal 10%) at 650 nm, but in a smaller FoV (7.5”×7.5” FoV), using Laser Tomography AO (LTAO). Before being ready for shipping to Paranal, the system has gone through an extensive testing phase in Europe, first in standalone mode and then in closed loop with the DSM in Europe. After outlining the technical features of the system, we describe here the first part of that testing phase and the integration with the AOF ASSIST (Adaptive Secondary Setup and Instrument Stimulator) testbench, including a specific adapter for the IRLOS truth sensor. The procedures for the standalone verification of the main system performances are outlined, and the results of the internal functional tests of GALACSI after full integration and alignment on ASSIST are presented.
GRAVITY is a second generation near-infrared VLTI instrument that will combine the light of the four unit or four auxiliary telescopes of the ESO Paranal observatory in Chile. The major science goals are the observation of objects in close orbit around, or spiraling into the black hole in the Galactic center with unrivaled sensitivity and angular resolution as well as studies of young stellar objects and evolved stars. In order to cancel out the effect of atmospheric turbulence and to be able to see beyond dusty layers, it needs infrared wave-front sensors when operating with the unit telescopes. Therefore GRAVITY consists of the Beam Combiner Instrument (BCI) located in the VLTI laboratory and a wave-front sensor in each unit telescope Coudé room, thus aptly named Coudé Infrared Adaptive Optics (CIAO). This paper describes the CIAO design, assembly, integration and verification at the Paranal observatory.
The Multiconjugate Adaptive Optics RelaY (MAORY) is and Adaptive Optics module to be mounted on the ESO European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). It is an hybrid Natural and Laser Guide System that will perform the correction of the atmospheric turbulence volume above the telescope feeding the Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations Near Infrared spectro-imager (MICADO). We developed an end-to-end Monte- Carlo adaptive optics simulation tool to investigate the performance of a the MAORY and the calibration, acquisition, operation strategies. MAORY will implement Multiconjugate Adaptive Optics combining Laser Guide Stars (LGS) and Natural Guide Stars (NGS) measurements. The simulation tool implement the various aspect of the MAORY in an end to end fashion. The code has been developed using IDL and use libraries in C++ and CUDA for efficiency improvements. Here we recall the code architecture, we describe the modeled instrument components and the control strategies implemented in the code.
The Adaptive Optics Facility is an ESO project aiming at converting Yepun, one of the four 8m telescopes in Paranal, into an adaptive telescope. This is done by replacing the current conventional secondary mirror of Yepun by a Deformable Secondary Mirror (DSM) and attaching four Laser Guide Star (LGS) Units to its centerpiece. In the meantime, two Adaptive Optics (AO) modules have been developed incorporating each four LGS WaveFront Sensors (WFS) and one tip-tilt sensor used to control the DSM at 1 kHz frame rate. The four LGS Units and one AO module (GRAAL) have already been assembled on Yepun.
Besides the technological challenge itself, one critical area of AOF is the AO control strategy and its link with the telescope control, including Active Optics used to shape M1. Another challenge is the request to minimize the overhead due to AOF during the acquisition phase of the observation.
This paper presents the control strategy of the AOF. The current control of the telescope is first recalled, and then the way the AO control makes the link with the Active Optics is detailed. Lab results are used to illustrate the expected performance. Finally, the overall AOF acquisition sequence is presented as well as first results obtained on sky with GRAAL.
GALACSI is the Adaptive Optics (AO) system serving the instrument MUSE in the framework of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) project. Its Narrow Field Mode (NFM) is a Laser Tomography AO (LTAO) mode delivering high resolution in the visible across a small Field of View (FoV) of 7.5" diameter around the optical axis. From a reconstruction standpoint, GALACSI NFM intends to optimize the correction on axis by estimating the turbulence in volume via a tomographic process, then projecting the turbulence profile onto one single Deformable Mirror (DM) located in the pupil, close to the ground.
In this paper, the laser tomographic reconstruction process is described. Several methods (virtual DM, virtual layer projection) are studied, under the constraint of a single matrix vector multiplication. The pseudo-synthetic interaction matrix model and the LTAO reconstructor design are analysed. Moreover, the reconstruction parameter space is explored, in particular the regularization terms.
Furthermore, we present here the strategy to define the modal control basis and split the reconstruction between the Low Order (LO) loop and the High Order (HO) loop. Finally, closed loop performance obtained with a 3D turbulence generator will be analysed with respect to the most relevant system parameters to be tuned.
Simulations of adaptive optics (AO) for the European extremely large telescope (EELT) are presented. For Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors for the laser guide star (LGS) based systems, the simulations show that without the Rayleigh fratricide effect, central projection of the laser is preferable to side projection, the correlation or
matched filter centroiding algorithms offer superior performance to a traditional center-of-gravity approach, the optimum sampling of the detector is approximately 1.5 pixels per FWHM of the non-elongated spot, and that at least 10×10 pixels are required. The required number of photo-detection events from the LGS per frame per
subaperture is of the order of 1000. Correction of segmentation errors with a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor
(WFS) has also been investigated; atmospheric turbulence dominates these segmentation errors. The pyramid
WFS is also simulated for the EELT, showing that modulation of the pyramid will be necessary.
The Multiconjugate Adaptive optics Demonstrator (MAD) had successfully demonstrated on sky both Star
Oriented (SO) and Layer Oriented (LO) multiconjugate adaptive optics techniques. While SO has been realized
using 3 Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors (WFS), we designed a multi-pyramid WFS for the LO. The MAD
bench accommodates both WFSs and a selecting mirror allows choosing which sensor to use. In the LO approach
up to 8 pyramids can be placed on as many reference stars and their light is co-added optically on two different
CCDs conjugated at ground and to an high layer. In this paper we discuss LO commissioning phase and on sky
ESO has initiated in June 2004 a concept of Adaptive Optics Facility. One unit 8m telescope of the VLT is upgraded
with a 1.1 m convex Deformable Secondary Mirror and an optimized instrument park. The AO modules GALACSI and
GRAAL will provide GLAO and LTAO corrections forHawk-I and MUSE. A natural guide star mode is provided for
commissioning and maintenance at the telescope. The facility is completed by a Laser Guide Star Facility launching 4
LGS from the telescope centerpiece used for the GLAO and LTAO wavefront sensing. A sophisticated test bench called
ASSIST is being designed to allow an extensive testing and characterization phase of the DSM and its AO modules in
Europe. Most sub-projects have entered the final design phase and the DSM has entered Manufacturing phase. First light
is planned in the course of 2012 and the commissioning phases should be completed by 2013.
The Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) built by ESO with the contribution of two external consortia
is a powerful test bench for proving the feasibility of Multi-Conjugate (MCAO) and Ground Layer Adaptive Optics
(GLAO) techniques both in the laboratory and on the sky. MAD is based on a two deformable mirrors correction system
and on two multi-reference wavefront sensors (Star Oriented and Layer Oriented) capable to observe simultaneously
some pre-selected configurations of Natural Guide Stars. MAD corrects up to 2 arcmin field of view in K band. After a
long laboratory test phase, it has been installed at the VLT and it successfully performed on-sky demonstration runs on
several astronomical targets for evaluating the correction performance under different atmospheric turbulence conditions.
In this paper we present the results obtained on the sky in Star Oriented mode for MCAO and GLAO configurations and
we correlate them with different atmospheric turbulence parameters. Finally we compare some of the on-sky results with
numerical simulations including real turbulence profile measured at the moment of the observations.
The Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) built by ESO with the contribution of two external consortia is a powerful test bench for proving the feasibility of Ground Layer (GLAO) and Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) techniques both in the laboratory and on the sky. The MAD module will be installed at one of the VLT unit telescope in Paranal observatory to perform on-sky observations. MAD is based on a two deformable mirrors correction system and on two multi-reference wavefront sensors (Star Oriented and Layer Oriented) capable to observe simultaneously some pre-selected configurations of Natural Guide Stars. MAD is expected to correct up to 2 arcmin field of view in K band. MAD is completing the test phase in the Star Oriented mode based on Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensing. The GLAO and MCAO loops have been successfully closed on simulated atmosphere after a long phase of careful system characterization and calibration. In this paper we present the results obtained in laboratory for GLAO and MCAO corrections testing with bright guide star flux in Star Oriented mode paying also attention to the aspects involving the calibration of such a system. A short overview of the MAD system is also given.
The fundamental task of AO system calibration is the acquisition of the Interaction Matrix (IM). This task is usually performed in a laboratory or at the telescope using a reference fiber illuminating both deformable mirror and wavefront sensor. The problem of measuring the IM on a bright reference star has been attacked by some authors. The principal problem of this measurement is to achieve a high SNR when atmospheric turbulence is present. This is very difficult if sensor signals are simply time averaged to get rid of the turbulence effects. The paper presents a new technique to perform an on sky measurement of the IM with high SNR and reducing the overall measurement time by an order of magnitude. This technique can be very useful for AO systems using large size DMs like MMT, LBT and possibly VLT and OWL. In these cases fiber-based IM measurements require challenging optical set-up that in some cases, like for OWL, are unpractical to build. The technique is still relevant for classical small DM AO systems that could be calibrated on sky avoiding misregistration errors. Finally this technique is valuable for laboratory measurements when the IM of an AO system has to be measured with great accuracy against external disturbances like bench vibrations, local turbulence effects and so on. Again IM measurement SNR is increased and the overall measurement time can be significantly reduced. The paper will introduce and detail the technique physical principle and quantify with numerical simulations the SNR improvement achieved using this technique. Finally laboratory results obtained during the test of the LBT AO system prototype are given and compared to simulations.
Several designs of future Adaptive Optics (AO) systems propose to use a large Deformable Mirror (DM), regarding the size as well as the number of actuators. Most of the time, there is no focal plane upstream the DM. Therefore, the classical way of calibrating the interaction matrix on an artificial source cannot be applied. Furthermore, the requirements in terms of calibration error budget are tight and the high order modes of such DMs are stiff and hence they achieve only a small stroke. This is why novel ways to determine the system Interaction Matrix (IM) have to be investigated. Several paths have been studied. One solution would be to simulate a synthetic IM. However, calibration on sky is also an option. Different techniques were simulated, tested and optimized on real AO systems. The results are presented in this paper.
ESO has initiated in June 2004 a feasibility study to investigate the possibility to retro-fit one of the VLT 8 m telescope with a deformable secondary mirror (DSM). The scope of this effort has been broadened to a concept of Adaptive Optics Facility (adaptive telescope with adapted instrument park). The feasibility study, conducted by MicroGate, ADS Intl and the INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, has been successful (no show stopper identified) and has provided an elegant design of an alternate M2-Unit for the VLT. It features a 1170 actuators DSM based on the voice coil force actuators coupled with capacitive sensors. An 80 kHz internal control loop allows implementing of electronic damping. The simulations performed have shown a fitting error of 62.5 nm rms (ro = 12.1 cm @ 30 deg. zenith) with a 2mm thin shell and 1.5 kW of heat dissipation. The design shall provide a full stroke of ~50 μm and a rise time of < 1 msec. The DSM will be focused and "centered" by a Hexapod and a bi-positions electro-mechanism will allow switching from Nasmyth to Cassegrain focus configuration. Several features are planned to ease maintenance and diagnostic.
In the framework of the MCAO Demonstrator MAD, ESO has developed a turbulence generator called MAPS to emulate a 3D evolving Paranal atmosphere. An all-optical solution has been chosen to produce the turbulence: a set of rotating refractive Phase Screens in which are imprinted patterns distorting the WF as the atmosphere would. In order to characterize the turbulence produced by MAPS, we have used several independent techniques (static WF measurements, long-exposure PSF, AO closed loop voltages) from the WF sensing wavelengths to the near-IR imaging ones. Such a characterization is essential to a further comparison between the lab results and the future on-sky measurements. This analysis required to study the link between the different parameters generally used to quantify the turbulence, in particular the Fried parameter r0, the seeing and the FWHM of long-exposure images. The conclusions are that the outer scale L0 has a preponderant influence on those values. This study will be completed by future on-sky measurements allowing to establish how realistic is the turbulence produced by the Phase Screens in MAPS.
The Adaptive Optics Facility is a project to convert one VLT-UT into a specialized Adaptive Telescope. The present
secondary mirror (M2) will be replaced by a new M2-Unit hosting a 1170 actuators deformable mirror. The 3 focal
stations will be equipped with instruments adapted to the new capability of this UT. Two instruments are in
development for the 2 Nasmyth foci: Hawk-I with its AO module GRAAL allowing a Ground Layer Adaptive Optics
correction and MUSE with GALACSI for GLAO correction and Laser Tomography Adaptive Optics correction. A
future instrument still needs to be defined for the Cassegrain focus. Several guide stars are required for the type of
adaptive corrections needed and a four Laser Guide Star facility (4LGSF) is being developed in the scope of the AO
Facility. Convex mirrors like the VLT M2 represent a major challenge for testing and a substantial effort is dedicated to
this. ASSIST, is a test bench that will allow testing of the Deformable Secondary Mirror and both instruments with
simulated turbulence. This article describes the Adaptive Optics facility systems composing associated with it.
The adaptive optics MACAO has been implemented in 6 focii of the VLT observatory, in three different flavors. We present in this paper the results obtained during the commissioning of the last of these units, MACAO-CRIRES. CRIRES is a high-resolution spectrograph, which efficiency will be improved by a factor two at least for point-sources observations with a NGS brighter than R=15. During the commissioning, Strehl exceeding 60% have been observed with fair seeing conditions, and a general description of the performance of this curvature adaptive optics system is done.
We report on observations with MACAO-VLTI to feed the VLT Interferometer in November 2003. The purpose of this observing run was to optimize the feed to the VLTI by varying certain parameters of the curvature AO system and of the interferometer instrument VINCI. All along the main concern about this instrument combination was the differential piston introduced by 2 independent AO systems. A special so-called “piston removal algorithm” has been developed especially for this purpose. Each DM Influence Function is carefully characterized and a pure piston mode is defined to compensate piston over the pupil produced by a given voltage set. Piston is reduced by ~20 using this algorithm. It was found that decreasing the system main gain, while reducing strehl ratio, also reduces high frequency vibrations on the DM and therefore OPD variations. A control frequency of 420 Hz instead of the nominal 350 Hz was found to improve substantially the coupling by reducing the excitation of the DM resonance (~700Hz). On bright stars, an improvement of a factor of 30 in the flux injection into the VINCI fibers was measured. Following these tests a successful observation of the active nucleus of NGC 1068 was performed leading to a visibility of 40.4±5.4% on an average baseline of 45.84 m. The K magnitude in the 60 mas central source is 9.2±0.4. The results already put some interesting constraints on the inner torus and central engine of the nucleus of NGC 1068 but mostly show that the combination MACAO-VLTI and VINCI opens the realm of extragalactic astronomy to interferometry.
The European Southern Observatory together with external research Institutes is building a Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) to perform wide field of view adaptive optics correction. The aim of MAD is to demonstrate on the sky the feasibility of the MCAO technique and to evaluate all the critical aspects in building such kind of instrument in the framework of both the 2nd generation VLT instrumentation and the 100-m Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (OWL).
The MAD module will be installed at one of the VLT unit telescope in Paranal to perform on-sky observations. MAD is based on a two deformable mirrors correction system and on two multi-reference wavefront sensors capable to observe simultaneously some pre-selected configurations of Natural Guide Stars. MAD is expected to correct up to 2 arcmin field of view in K band. MAD has just started the integration phase which will be followed up by a long period of testing. In this paper we present the final design of MAD with a brief report about the status of the integration.
High resolution spectroscopy made an important step ahead 10 years ago, leading for example to the discovery of numerous exoplanets. But the IR did not benefit from this improvement until very recently. CRIRES will provide a dramatic improvement in the 1-5 micron region in this field. Adaptive optics will allow us increasing both flux and angular resolution on its spectra. This paper describes the adaptive optics of CRIRES, its main limitations, its main components, the principle of its calibration with an overview of the methods used and the very first results obtained since it is installed in the laboratory.
MACAO-VLTI is a set of four adaptive optics systems dedicated to interferometry with the ESO 8 meter telescopes in Paranal, Chile. One of the most important requirements for the MACAO-VLTI is to keep the piston variations of the bimorph deformable mirror below 25 nm RMS in a time window of 48 msec. For this purpose, a piston removal algorithm has been developed, that uses a pre-calibrated set of voltages to compensate the natural piston of each influence function. This pre-calibration constitutes a critical laboratory measurement of the influence functions. Using Hadamard matrices, a (64 x 64) Shack-Hartman sensor and a capacitive sensor located at the center of the mirror (back-side), an accuracy better than 1% has been reached to characterize them. Various configurations were investigated to minimize the dynamical residual piston: the control matrix, the loop speed and the loop gain. Particular attention was paid to the influence functions non-linearities. An original indirect method was developed to measure the residual piston in real-time. We present here the methods and results obtained so far.
In April and August ’03 two MACAO-VLTI curvature AO systems were installed on the VLT telescopes unit 2 and 3 in Paranal (Chile). These are 60 element systems using a 150mm bimorph deformable mirror and 60 APD’s as WFS detectors. Valuable integration & commissioning experience has been gained during these 2 missions. Several tests have been performed in order to evaluate system performance on the sky. The systems have proven to be extremely robust, performing in a stable fashion in extreme seeing condition (seeing up to 3”). Strehl ratio of 0.65 and residual tilt smaller than 10 mas have been obtained on the sky in 0.8” seeing condition. Weak guide source performance is also excellent with a strehl of 0.26 on a V~16 magnitude star. Several functionalities have been successfully tested including: chopping, off-axis guiding, atmospheric refraction compensation etc. The AO system can be used in a totally automatic fashion with a small overhead: the AO loop can be closed on the target less than 60 sec after star acquisition by the telescope. It includes reading the seeing value given by the site monitor, evaluate the guide star magnitude (cycling through neutral density filters) setting the close-loop AO parameters (system gain and vibrating membrane mirror stroke) including calculation of the command-matrix. The last 2 systems will be installed in August ’04 and in the course of 2005.
The accurate calibration of an AO system is fundamental in order to reach the top performance expected from design. To improve this aspect, we propose procedures for calibrating a curvature AO system in view of optimizing performances and robustness, based on the experience accumulated by the ESO AO team through the development of MACAO systems for VLTI and SINFONI. The approach maximizes the quality of the Interaction Matrix (IM) while maintaining the system in its linear regime and minimizing noise and bias on the measurement.