Center for Adaptive Optics
IntroductionAdaptive OpticsResearchEducation/HRMembersMeetings
PublicationsSoftwareEmploymentSearch CfAOLinksWhat's New
CfAO Newsletters

Center for
Adaptive Optics
Volume 2

Download PDF

In this Volume:

Sharper Image with Adaptive Optics

Low Cost Wavefront Correctors for Vision Science Adaptive Optics

Creating and Detecting Rayleigh Laser Guide Stars

People and Profiles

From the Director

Year 2 - NSF Site Visit a week after Sept 11

First Light for Keck Laser Guide Star

Astronomers Observe Distant Galaxies More Clearly

Education and Human Resource Activities

Education and Human Resources Notices

Upcoming AO Related Conferences

CfAO visits the USAF's Advanced Electro-Optical System site at Maui and Gemini Observatory – January 2002.

First Light for Keck Laser Guide Star

The "first-light" for the Keck laser was a complete success with the laser guide star being propagated for the first time at 11:42 UT, December 23 2001. CfAO researchers Claire Max and Dee Pennington were present .

Operators were very satisfied with the brightness of the laser guide star spot at the 100-km altitude of the sodium layer and the fact that the low-altitude laser beam emission (due to Rayleigh scattering) was at the low level predicted. It was not easily visible from the Gemini Observatory 600 meters distance from the Keck Observatory. The laser guide "star" was on the autoguider for the first run

The team present at the summit included:
Joel Aycock, Michael Bray, Curtis Brown, Jason Chin, Pam Danforth, Bill Healy, Hilton Lewis, David Lynn, Claire Max, Craig Nance, Dee Penning-ton, Paul Stomski, Doug Summers, and Peter Wizinowich.

The image is from the ConCam all-sky camera on Mauna Kea. In this three-minute exposure, the narrow white line at the 10 o'clock position is the laser beam. The Milky Way can be seen as the broad diagonal band. Plans to further optimize the laser and to fully integrate the laser guide star with the Keck II adaptive optics system are proceeding.

A very faint beam from the Keck sodium laser appears in this 20-minute exposure. The laser creates a “virtual” star high above the Earth’s surface, which is not visible to the human eye, but is bright enough to guide high resolution adaptive optics at Keck. This photo was taken from 600 meters away. Hazard lights from an automobile mark the steep descent path of the summit, and the motion of the Earth has created star trails in the sky. Photo by John McDonald from Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT)

Design Copyright © 2002 University of California Regents