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27 July 2016 System tests and on-sky commissioning of the GRAVITY-CIAO wavefront sensors
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GRAVITY is a near-infrared interferometric instrument that allows astronomers to combine the light of the four unit or four auxiliary telescopes of the ESO Very Large Telescope in Paranal, Chile. GRAVITY will deliver extremely precise relative astrometry and spatially resolved spectra. In order to study objects in regions of high extinction (e.g. the Galactic Center, or star forming regions), GRAVITY will use infrared wavefront sensors. The suite of four wavefront sensors located in the Coudé room of each of the unit telescopes are known as the Coudé Integrated Adaptive Optics (CIAO). The CIAO wavefront sensors are being constructed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and are being installed and commissioned at Paranal between February and September of 2016. This presentation will focus on system tests performed in the MPIA adaptive optics laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany in preparation for shipment to Paranal, as well as on-sky data from the commissioning of the first instrument. We will discuss the CIAO instruments, control strategy, optimizations, and performance at the telescope.
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