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7 February 2003 NAOS, the first AO system of the VLT: on-sky performance
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NAOS is the first adaptive optics system installed at the VLT 8m telescopes. It was designed, manufactured and tested by a french Consortium under an ESO contract, to provide compensated images to the high angular resolution IR spectro-imaging camera (CONICA) in the 1 to 5 μm spectral range. It is equipped with a 185 actuator deformable mirror, a tip/tilt mirror and two wavefront sensors, one in the visible and one in the near IR spectral range. It has been installed in November at the Nasmyth focus B of the VLT UT4. During the first light run in December 2001, NAOS has delivered a Strehl ratio of 50 under average seeing conditions for bright guide stars. The diffraction limit of the telescope has been achieved at 2.2 μm. The closed loop operation has been very robust under bad seeing conditions. It was also possible to obtain a substantial correction with mV=17.6 and mK=13.1 reference stars. The on-sky acceptance tests of NAOS-CONICA were completed in May 2002 and the instrument will be made available to the European astronomical community in October by ESO. This paper describes the system and present the on-sky performance in terms of Strehl ratio, seeing conditions and guide star magnitude.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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