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10 July 2008 The Gemini South MCAO laser guide star facility: getting ready for first light
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The Gemini Observatory is in the final integration and test phase for its Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) project at the Gemini South 8-meter telescope atop Cerro Pachón, Chile. This paper presents an overview and status of the laser-side of the MCAO project in general and its Beam Transfer Optics (BTO), Laser Launch Telescope (LLT) and Safety Systems in particular. We review the commonalities and differences between the Gemini North Laser Guide Star (LGS) facility producing one LGS with a 10W-class laser, and its southern sibling producing five LGS with a 50W-class laser. We also highlight the modifications brought to the initial Gemini South LGS facility design based on lessons learned over 3 years of LGS operations in Hawaii. Finally, current integration and test results of the BTO and on-sky LLT performance are presented. Laser first light is expected in early 2009.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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