Thursday, December 4, 2014

ARGOS GLAO closed the loop

The lasers of the ARGOS Ground Layer Adaptive Optics (GLAO) system were propagated from the two sides of the LBTO telescope for the first time on November 5, 2013. See the previous post on this topic for more information.   

Slightly more than one year later, at the end of November 2014, the LBTO adaptive optics was locked on the three laser guide stars of the ARGOS constellation on the right side of the telescope, achieving an impressively good correction on the whole field of LUCI2. 

The three LGS wavefront sensors in closed loop

0.3 to 0.4 arc-second images in J, H and K were obtained using GLAO correction from 0.7 to 1 arc-second uncorrected seeing. The best corrected images reached 0.22 arc-seconds in Ks, bringing a factor 4 PSF improvement over natural seeing. 

This animation blinks between a pair of uncorrected and ARGOS-corrected images 
of NGC 2419 (~3.6'x3.6') with LUCI2

A close-up (~18"x10") on NGC 2419 - 100s - H band 
0.8-0.9" uncorrected PSF, 0.3"-0.4" GLAO corrected

This is a very important step in the development of ARGOS, auguring well for the final performance of the LUCI1-LUCI2-ARGOS combination!

There is still much work to be done with ARGOS: fine-tuning and streamlining operations in the first half of 2015, installing the left side wave front sensors on the telescope in the summer of 2015, and commissioning them in the last months of 2015. The whole system will then be integrated to the observing environment and extensively tested in binocular mode, with a release to science currently envisioned for mid-2016. 

Kudos to the whole ARGOS team and many thanks to the LBTO staff and the laser spotters for a great support!

More information on the ARGOS project is available here.