AOA Xinetics Provides Deformable Mirror for Solar Telescope
DEVENS, Mass., Aug. 3, 2015 — AOA Xinetics, part of Northrup Grumman Corp., has engineered a deformable mirror (DM) for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the world’s largest ground-based solar telescope. DKIST was developed by bioengineers at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).
Currently under construction on the island of Maui in Hawaii, the DKIST will offer unprecedented high-resolution, distortion-free images of the sun using adaptive optics technology. The project is being led by the National Solar Observatory and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, and will ultimately help scientists understand how magnetic fields affect the physical properties of the Sun, what roles they play in the solar system and how they affect earth.
Since ground-based telescopes must contend with atmospheric turbulence that acts as a flexible lens, observed images are constantly reshaped. To provide DKIST with distortion-free imaging, the DM was designed with 1600 actuators, four times the normal density. An internal thermal management system also handles the intense solar energy coming from the telescope.
"The science DKIST will produce is groundbreaking and transformational for solar astronomy," said Thomas Rimmele, project director at the National Solar Observatory. "The AOA Xinetics mirror is the highest-performing DM I've ever observed, and it will help us revolutionize solar imaging."
DKIST is funded by the National Science Foundation and represents a collaboration of 22 institutions from the solar physics community, including the High Altitude Observatory, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Hawaii for Astronomy, and the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.