- Adaptive Optics System Enhances 3.5-m Telescope
The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and Adaptive Optics Associates in Cambridge, Mass., have installed an adaptive optics system on the joint German and Spanish 3.5-m telescope in Calar Alto, Spain.
The optical system corrects for atmospheric motion, which normally blurs the images seen through a telescope, allowing astronomers to see much finer detail. The system employs a high-power laser designed by the institute that creates an "artificial" star in the distance. A wavefront sensor measures the atmospheric distortions using light from either natural or artificial stars and then corrects for these distortions in real time with a deformable mirror.
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