The MCAO pathfinder Clear on the 1.6-meter Goode Solar Telescope has been enabling us to advance solar MCAO from early conceptual demonstrations to science grade wide-field image correction. We report on recent improvements to the control loop and we comment on issues such as the co-aligning of wavefront sensors and deformable mirrors and the sensitivity of wavefront sensor gains. Further, we comment on the challenges to wavefront sensing and the control system architecture faced when scaling up to a 4-meter aperture. Finally, we present an early concept of the future MCAO upgrade for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.
The Wavefront Correction (WFC) system for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is in its final stages of laboratory integration. All optical, mechanical, and software components have been unit tested and installed and aligned in our laboratory testbed in Boulder, CO. We will verify all aspects of WFC system performance in the laboratory before disassembling and shipping it to Maui for final integration with the DKIST in early 2019. The DKIST Adaptive Optics (AO) system contains a 1600-actuator deformable mirror, a correlating Shack- Hartmann wavefront sensor, a fast tip-tilt mirror, and an FPGA-based control system. Running at a nominal rate of 1975 Hz, the AO system will deliver diffraction-limited images to five of the DKIST science instruments simultaneously. The DKIST AO system is designed to achieve the diffraction limit (on-axis Strehl > 0.3) at wavelengths up to 500 nm in median daytime seeing (r0 = 7 cm). In addition to AO for diffraction-limited observing, the DKIST WFC system has a low-order wavefront sensor for sensing quasi-static wavefront errors, a context viewer for telescope pointing and image quality assessment, and an active optics engine. The active optics engine uses inputs from the low-order wavefront sensor and the AO system to actively correct for telescope misalignment. All routine alignment and calibration procedures are automated via motorized stages that can be controlled from Python scripts. We present the current state of the WFC system as we prepare for final integration with the DKIST, including verification test design, system performance metrics, and laboratory test data.
Adaptive Optics (AO) that compensates for atmospheric turbulence is a standard tool for high angular resolution observations of the Sun at most ground-based observatories today. AO systems as deployed at major solar telescopes allow for diffraction limited resolution in the visible light regime. Anisoplanatism of the turbulent air volume limits the effectivity of classical AO to a small region, typically of order 10 seconds of arc. Scientifically interesting features on the solar surface are often larger thus multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) is being developed to enlarge the corrected field of view. Dedicated wavefront sensors for observations of solar prominences off the solar limb with AO have been deployed. This paper summarizes wavefront sensing concepts specific to solar adaptive optics applications, like the correlating Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor (SH-WFS), multi-directional sensing with wide-field SH-WFSs, and gives a brief overview of recent developments.
The multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system for solar observations at the 1.6-meter clear aperture New Solar Telescope (NST) of the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in Big Bear Lake, California, enables us to study fundamental design questions in solar MCAO experimentally. It is the pathfinder for MCAO of the upcoming Daniel K. Inoyue Solar Telescope (DKIST). This system is very flexible and offers various optical configurations such as different sequencings of deformable mirrors (DMs) and wavefront sensors (WFS), which are hard to simulate conclusively. We show preliminary results and summarize the design, and 2016 updates to the MCAO system. The system utilizes three DMs. One of which is conjugate to the telescope pupil, and the other two to distinct higher altitudes. The pupil DM can be either placed into a pupil image up- or downstream of the high-altitude DMs. The high-altitude DMs can be separately and quickly conjugated to various altitudes between 2 and 8 km. Three Shack-Hartmann WFS units are available, one for low-order, multi-directional sensing and two high-order on-axis sensing.
Solar adaptive optics (AO) simulations are a valuable tool to guide the design and optimization process of current and future solar AO and multi-conjugate AO (MCAO) systems. Solar AO and MCAO systems rely on extended object cross-correlating Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors to measure the wavefront. Accurate solar AO simulations require computationally intensive operations, which have until recently presented a prohibitive computational cost. We present an update on the status of a solar AO and MCAO simulation tool being developed at the National Solar Observatory. The simulation tool is a multi-threaded application written in the C++ language that takes advantage of current large multi-core CPU computer systems and fast ethernet connections to provide accurate full simulation of solar AO and MCAO systems. It interfaces with KAOS, a state of the art solar AO control software developed by the Kiepenheuer-Institut fuer Sonnenphysik, that provides reliable AO control. We report on the latest results produced by the solar AO simulation tool.
When the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) achieves first light in 2019, it will deliver the highest spatial resolution images of the solar atmosphere ever recorded. Additionally, the DKIST will observe the Sun with unprecedented polarimetric sensitivity and spectral resolution, spurring a leap forward in our understanding of the physical processes occurring on the Sun.
The DKIST wavefront correction system will provide active alignment control and jitter compensation for all six of the DKIST science instruments. Five of the instruments will also be fed by a conventional adaptive optics (AO) system, which corrects for high frequency jitter and atmospheric wavefront disturbances. The AO system is built around an extended-source correlating Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor, a Physik Instrumente fast tip-tilt mirror (FTTM) and a Xinetics 1600-actuator deformable mirror (DM), which are controlled by an FPGA-based real-time system running at 1975 Hz. It is designed to achieve on-axis Strehl of 0.3 at 500 nm in median seeing (r0 = 7 cm) and Strehl of 0.6 at 630 nm in excellent seeing (r0 = 20 cm).
The DKIST wavefront correction team has completed the design phase and is well into the fabrication phase. The FTTM and DM have both been delivered to the DKIST laboratory in Boulder, CO. The real-time controller has been completed and is able to read out the camera and deliver commands to the DM with a total latency of approximately 750 μs. All optics and optomechanics, including many high-precision custom optics, mounts, and stages, are completed or nearing the end of the fabrication process and will soon undergo rigorous acceptance testing.
Before installing the wavefront correction system at the telescope, it will be assembled as a testbed in the laboratory. In the lab, performance tests beginning with component-level testing and continuing to full system testing will ensure that the wavefront correction system meets all performance requirements. Further work in the lab will focus on fine-tuning our alignment and calibration procedures so that installation and alignment on the summit will proceed as efficiently as possible.
First on sky adaptive optics experiments were performed on the Dunn Solar Telescope on 1979, with a shearing interferometer and limited success. Those early solar adaptive optics efforts forced to custom-develop many components, such as Deformable Mirrors and WaveFront Sensors, which were not available at that time. Later on, the development of the correlation Shack-Hartmann marked a breakthrough in solar adaptive optics. Since then, successful Single Conjugate Adaptive Optics instruments have been developed for many solar telescopes, i.e. the National Solar Observatory, the Vacuum Tower Telescope and the Swedish Solar Telescope. Success with the Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics systems for GREGOR and the New Solar Telescope has proved to be more difficult to attain. Such systems have a complexity not only related to the number of degrees of freedom, but also related to the specificities of the Sun, used as reference, and the sensing method. The wavefront sensing is performed using correlations on images with a field of view of 10", averaging wavefront information from different sky directions, affecting the sensing and sampling of high altitude turbulence. Also due to the low elevation at which solar observations are performed we have to include generalized fitting error and anisoplanatism, as described by Ragazzoni and Rigaut, as non-negligible error sources in the Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics error budget. For the development of the next generation Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics systems for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope and the European Solar Telescope we still need to study and understand these issues, to predict realistically the quality of the achievable reconstruction. To improve their designs other open issues have to be assessed, i.e. possible alternative sensing methods to avoid the intrinsic anisoplanatism of the wide field correlation Shack-Hartmann, new parameters to estimate the performance of an adaptive optics solar system, alternatives to the Strehl and the Point Spread Function used in night time adaptive optics but not really suitable to the solar systems, and new control strategies more complex than the ones used in nowadays solar Multi Conjugate Adaptive Optics systems. In this paper we summarize the lessons learned with past and current solar adaptive optics systems and focus on the discussion on the new alternatives to solve present open issues limiting their performance.
In this paper we present Big Bear Solar Observatory’s (BBSO) newest adaptive optics system – AO-308. AO-308 is a result of collaboration between BBSO and National Solar Observatory (NSO). AO-308 uses a 357 actuators deformable mirror (DM) from Xinetics and its wave front sensor (WFS) has 308 sub-apertures. The WFS uses a Phantom V7.3 camera which runs at 2000 Hz with the region of interest of 416×400 pixels. AO-308 utilizes digital signal processors (DSPs) for image processing. AO-308 has been successfully used during the 2013 observing season. The system can correct up to 310 modes providing diffraction limited images at all wavelengths of interest.
The DKIST wavefront correction system will be an integral part of the telescope, providing active alignment control, wavefront correction, and jitter compensation to all DKIST instruments. The wavefront correction system will operate in four observing modes, diffraction-limited, seeing-limited on-disk, seeing-limited coronal, and limb occulting with image stabilization. Wavefront correction for DKIST includes two major components: active optics to correct low-order wavefront and alignment errors, and adaptive optics to correct wavefront errors and high-frequency jitter caused by atmospheric turbulence. The adaptive optics system is built around a fast tip-tilt mirror and a 1600 actuator deformable mirror, both of which are controlled by an FPGA-based real-time system running at 2 kHz. It is designed to achieve on-axis Strehl of 0.3 at 500 nm in median seeing (r0 = 7 cm) and Strehl of 0.6 at 630 nm in excellent seeing (r0 = 20 cm). We present the current status of the DKIST high-order adaptive optics, focusing on system design, hardware procurements, and error budget management.
We are currently implementing a solar adaptive optics (AO) and multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) simulation package that provides a full simulation, including wavefront sensor cross-correlations, and is able to operate at quasi-realtime performance. This is made possible by modern personal computers with many cores, which allow the operation of a solar AO system with relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf computers. The simulation package uses KAOS, a mature AO controller software used at the GREGOR solar telescope, to operate the simulated AO system. It provides a simulated environment that is presented to KAOS to achieve a highly realistic and fast simulation of solar AO.
We report on the multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system of the New Solar Telescope (NST) at Big Bear Solar Observatory which has been integrated in October 2013 and is now available for MCAO experiments. The NST MCAO system features three deformable mirrors (DM), and it is purposely flexible in order to offer a valuable facility for development of solar MCAO. Two of the deformable mirrors are dedicated to compensation of field dependent aberrations due to high-altitude turbulence, whereas the other deformable mirror compensates field independent aberrations in a pupil image. The opto-mechanical design allows for changing the conjugate plane of the two high-altitude DMs independently between two and nine kilometers. The pupil plane DM can be placed either in a pupil image upstream of the high-altitude DMs or downstream. This capability allows for performing experimental studies on the impact of the geometrical order of the deformable mirrors and the conjugate position. The control system is flexible, too, which allows for real-world analysis of various control approaches. This paper gives an overview of the NST MCAO system and reveals the first MCAO corrected image taken at Big Bear Solar Observatory.
Long-exposure spectroscopy and spectro-polarimetry at near-infrared wavelengths is one of the preferred tools
deployed to measure the physical properties of Solar Prominences, including the Prominence magnetic field.
However, until now, it was not possible to observe Prominences in sufficient detail to allow us to understand
their dynamical properties. In order to understand Solar prominences, we need to observe them at sub-arcsecond
spatial resolution, with a temporal cadence sufficient to make highly transient structures visible. Adaptive
Optics capable of locking-on to off-limb prominence structure has the potential of providing diffraction limited
spectroscopy and polarimetry of prominence structure. Such an adaptive optics system will allow scientists to
come one step closer to understanding the true nature of solar prominences. In this presentation, we will detail
the design and construction of such a system.
High resolution ground based solar observations require adaptive optics correction. The next generation of solar telescopes will have large aperture sizes, in the range of 4 m, and will require larger and more complex adaptive optics systems. We study the effects that extended field wavefront sensors have on the correction performance for large aperture size telescopes. These effects are more pronounced for observations at low elevation angles, which are common during high resolution solar observations. Additionally, atmospheric dispersion is strongest at low elevation angle observations and can cause further reductions of the adaptive optics performance. We present a study of the expected correction performance of solar adaptive optics systems in large-aperture solar telescopes using an end-to-end adaptive optics simulation package.
Large aperture solar telescopes, such as the 4 meter aperture Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST),
depend on high order adaptive optics (AO) to achieve the telescope's diffraction limited resolution. The AO
system not only corrects incoming distortions introduced by atmospheric turbulence, its performance also plays
a critical role for the operation of other subsystems and affects the results obtained by downstream scientific
instrumentation. For this reason, robust and optimal operation of the AO system is vital to maximize the
scientific output of ATST.
In order to optimize performance, we evaluate different strategies to obtain the control matrix of the AO
system. The dependency of AO performance on various control parameters, such as different system calibration
and reconstruction schemes, is analyzed using an AO simulation tool. The AO simulation tool provides a realistic
solar AO system simulation and allows a detailed evaluation of the performance achieved by different calibration
and reconstruction methods.
The results of this study will guide the optimization of the AO system during design and operations.
Solar observations are performed over an extended field of view and the isoplanatic patch over which conventional
adaptive optics (AO) provides diffraction limited resolution is a severe limitation. The development of multi-conjugate
adaptive optics (MCAO) for the next generation large aperture solar telescopes is thus a top priority. The Sun is an ideal
object for the development of MCAO since solar structure provides multiple "guide stars" in any desired configuration.
At the Dunn Solar Telescope (DST) we implemented a dedicated MCAO bench with the goal of developing wellcharacterized,
operational MCAO. The MCAO system uses two deformable mirrors conjugated to the telescope
entrance pupil and a layer in the upper atmosphere, respectively. The high altitude deformable mirror can be placed at
conjugates ranging from 2km to 10km altitude. We have successfully and stably locked the MCAO system on solar
granulation and demonstrated the MCAO system's ability to significantly extend the corrected field of view. We present
results derived from analysis of imagery taken simultaneously with conventional AO and MCAO. We also present first
results from solar Ground Layer AO (GLAO) experiments.
The high order adaptive optics (HOAO) system is the centerpiece of the ATST wavefront correction system. The ATST
wavefront correction system is required to achieve a Strehl of
S = 0.6 or better at visible wavelength. The system design
closely follows the successful HOAO implementation at the Dunn Solar Telescope and is based on the correlating
Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor. In addition to HOAO the ATST will utilize wavefront sensors to implement active
optics (aO) and Quasi Static Alignment (QSA) of the telescope optics, which includes several off-axis elements.
Provisions for implementation of Multi-conjugate adaptive optics have been made with the design of the optical path that
feeds the instrumentation at the coudé station. We will give an overview of the design of individual subsystems of the
ATST wavefront correction system and describe some of the unique features of the ATST wavefront correction system,
such as the need for thermally controlled corrective elements.
Turbulence, which may exist along an optical path inside a telescope or laboratory setup such as the Dunn Solar
Telescope observing room, can negatively impact the imaging performance at the final detector plane. In order to derive
requirements and error budget terms for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) we performed
interferometric measurements with the goal to determine the amount of aberrations introduced by the air mass through
which the beam propagates and characterize temporal and spatial frequencies of these aberrations. We used a He-Ne
laser interferometer to measure aberrations along a 50m and 33m, collimated 150mm diameter laser beam. The
experiments were performed with both vertical and horizontal beam propagation. We investigated the impact on the
amount of self-induced turbulence of the difference in temperature between the top and the bottom of the optical
laboratory, the impact of heat sources, such as electronics racks, and the effect of a laminar air flow applied to parts of
the beam path. The analysis of the interferograms yields values of the rms wave front aberrations excluding tip/tilt in the
range of 1.45nm/m - 2nm/m (@632nm) for the vertical beam propagation and between 0.8nm/m - 1.6nm/m for the
horizontal beam. The spatial spectrum of the turbulence tends to decay faster than Kolmogorov turbulence. This is true,
in particular, for the horizontal beam path. The temporal frequencies are on the order of a few Hz (<10Hz).
Adaptive Optics systems have revolutionized ground based astronomy by providing real time correction for atmospheric aberrations. However, due to limited temporal and spatial bandwidth the correction provided is not perfect. With knowledge of the Point Spread Function correction can be further improved.
The lack of point sources in Solar observations makes a direct measurement of the PSF impossible. We present a method to obtain a PSF estimate from the Adaptive Optics system loop telemetry. Using this method we can obtain a PSF for each captured AO corrected image and correct each image individually.
We applied this method to a long time series of Solar data obtaining satisfactory results. Also in an attempt to validate this method we successfully observed the star Sirius with the Dunn Solar Telescope. The AO corrected star images provide a direct measurement of the PSF that can be compared to our estimates obtained from the AO telemetry data.
Adaptive Optics (AO) systems provide real time correction for atmospherical aberrations. They have become an indispensable tool for ground based astronomical observations. However, correction provided by AO is only partial. Further correction can be achieved using post-processing techniques. Post-processing techniques such as deconvolution rely on a good estimation of the long exposure Point Spread Function (PSF). In the case of Solar Physics obtaining a long exposure PSF can be particularly difficult due to the lack of point sources in the field of view and the highly variable seeing conditions. We present a method to estimate the long exposure PSF of an AO corrected image using AO loop data. AO closed loop data provides enough information about the residual aberrations that were not corrected by the system and about the seeing conditions present at a certain time. With this information an estimated long
exposure PSF can be constructed for each captured image. The PSF can be used to deconvolve the images. We will be presenting first results of applying this method to solar images.
When doing high angular resolution imaging with adaptive optics (AO), it is of crucial importance to have an accurate knowledge of the point spread function associated with each observation. Applications are numerous: image contrast enhancement by deconvolution, improved photometry and astrometry, as well as real time AO performance evaluation. In this paper, we present our work on automatic PSF reconstruction based on control loop data, acquired simultaneously with the observation. This problem has already been solved for curvature AO systems. To adapt this method to another type of WFS, a specific analytical noise propagation model must be established. For the Shack-Hartmann WFS, we are able to derive a very accurate
estimate of the noise on each slope measurement, based on the covariances of the WFS CCD pixel values in the corresponding sub-aperture. These covariances can be either derived off-line from telemetry data, or calculated by the AO computer during the acquisition. We present improved methods to determine 1) r0 from the DM drive commands, which includes an estimation of the outer scale L0 2) the contribution of the high spatial frequency component of the turbulent phase, which is not corrected by the AO system and is scaled by r0. This new method has been implemented in an IDL-based software called OPERA (Performance of Adaptive Optics). We have tested OPERA on Altair, the recently commissioned Gemini-North AO system, and present our preliminary results. We also summarize the AO data required to run OPERA on any other AO system.
The National Solar Observatory and the New Jersey Institute of Technology have developed two 97 actuator solar adaptive optics (AO) systems based on a correlating Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor approach. The first engineering run was successfully completed at the Dunn Solar Telescope (DST) at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico in December 2002. The first of two systems is now operational at Sacramento Peak. The second system will be deployed at the Big Bear Solar Observatory by the end of 2003. The correlating Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor is able to measure wavefront aberrations for low-contrast, extended and time-varying objects, such as solar granulation. The 97-actuator solar AO system operates at a loop update rate of 2.5 kHz and achieves a closed loop bandwidth (0dB crossover error rejection) of about 130 Hz. The AO system is capable of correcting atmospheric seeing at visible wavelengths during median seeing conditions at both the NSO/Sacramento Peak site and the Big Bear Solar Observatory. We present an overview of the system design. The servo loop was successfully closed and first AO corrected images were recorded. We present first results from the new, high order AO system.
We present a progress report of the solar adaptive optics (AO) development program at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). Examples of diffraction-limited observations obtained with the NSO low-order solar adaptive optics system at the Dunn Solar Telescope (DST) are presented. The design of the high order adaptive optics systems that will be deployed at the DST and the BBSO is discussed. The high order systems will provide diffraction-limited observations of the Sun in median seeing conditions at both sites.