The ARL at UH supports the UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) efforts to clone a new adaptive optics instrument for enhancing celestial observing. IfA is developing an autonomous laser-adaptive-optics system for the 1.8-meter U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) telescope that will be commissioned in Flagstaff, Arizona. The USNO adaptive optics (AO) system is based on the Robotic Laser Adaptive Optics System (Robo-AO-2) being built for the UH 2.2-meter telescope.
The Robo-AO-2 system is a 2.2-meter (m) altazimuth telescope that will produce diffraction-limited images at an unprecedented cadence of up to hundreds of objects per night, a pace that is ideal for time-domain astronomy, large surveys, and monitoring planetary weather. The Robo-AO-2 is anticipated to be installed during the summer of 2024.
Both AO systems use an eye-safe ultraviolet (UV) laser guide star and corresponding opto-electronically-gated UV-wave-front sensor to measure atmospheric turbulence, and a micro-electromechanical-system deformable mirror to correct the light. Both AO systems will robotically execute large-scale surveys, monitor long-term astrophysical dynamics and characterize newly discovered transients, all at the visible diffraction limit.