The Large Binocular Telescope has two adaptive secondary mirrors (ASMs). Each of these feed four focal stations, three of which are equipped with wavefront sensors (WFS) to provide the signal for adaptive optics (AO) correction. These are (1) FLAO - the on-axis natural guide star system feeding the two LUCI NIR imagers/spectrographs, (2) ARGOS - the ground-layer adaptive optics laser-guide star system, which shares the same port as FLAO, (3) LBTI - the 2-11 micron Fizeau/Nulling interferometer, and (4) Linc-Nirvana - the MCAO system. In this paper, we report on the current status of the AO facilities, FLAO, ARGOS, and the ASMs as well as the (1) detector and performance upgrades to FLAO and LBTI wavefront sensors, i.e. the SOUL project, and (2) improvements to the ASMs’ electronics. We also present improvements to the FLAO operation and checkout procedures.
Multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) has been proved to obtain the high resolution images with a large field of view in solar observation. A solar MCAO experiment system had been successfully developed and tested at the 1-meter New Vacuum Solar Telescope (NVST) of Fuxian Solar Observatory. It consists of two deformable mirrors (DMs), a multidirection Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor (MD-WFS), and a real-time controller. In order to command the two DMs, five guide regions were selected from the MD-WFS to retrieve a three-dimensional measurement of the turbulent volume based on atmospheric tomography. This system saw the first light in October, 2017, and a series of MCAO-corrected high resolution sunspots images were acquired. In this presentation, the MCAO experiment system is introduced, and the observation results are presented. Furthermore, a new MCAO system based on our proposed MCAO configuration with a high order ground layer adaptive optics and low order high altitude correction will be developed for the NVST as a regularly operating instrument for scientific observations of the sun.
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.
The goal for the adaptive optics systems at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBTO) is for them to operate fully automatically, without the need for an AO Scientist, and to be run by the observers and/or the telescope operator. This has been built into their design. Initially, the AO systems would close the loop using optimal parameters based on the observing conditions and guide star brightness, without adapting to changing conditions. We present the current status of AO operations as well as recent updates that improve the operational efficiency and minimize downtime. Onsky efficiency and performance will also be presented, along with calibrations required for AO closed loop operation.
We present an overview of the current and future adaptive optics systems at the LBTO along with the current and planned science instruments they feed. All the AO systems make use of the two 672 actuator adaptive secondary mirrors. They are (1) FLAO (NGS/SCAO) feeding the LUCI NIR imagers/spectrographs; (2) LBTI/AO (NGS/SCAO) feeding the NIR/MIR imagers and LBTI beam combiner; (3) the ARGOS LGS GLAO system feeding LUCIs; and (4) LINC-NIRVANA - an NGS/MCAO imager and interferometer system. AO performance of the current systems is presented along with proposed performances for the newer systems taking into account the future instrumentation.
Vertical profiles of the atmospheric optical turbulence strength and velocity is of critical importance for simulating, designing, and operating the next generation of instruments for the European Extremely Large Telescope. Many of these instruments are already well into the design phase meaning these profies are required immediately to ensure they are optimised for the unique conditions likely to be observed. Stereo-SCIDAR is a generalised SCIDAR instrument which is used to characterise the profile of the atmospheric optical turbulence strength and wind velocity using triangulation between two optical binary stars. Stereo-SCIDAR has demonstrated the capability to resolve turbulent layers with the required vertical resolution to support wide-field ELT instrument designs. These high resolution atmospheric parameters are critical for design studies and statistical evaluation of on-sky performance under real conditions. Here we report on the new Stereo-SCIDAR instrument installed on one of the Auxillary Telescope ports of the Very Large Telescope array at Cerro Paranal. Paranal is located approximately 20 km from Cerro Armazones, the site of the E-ELT. Although the surface layer of the turbulence will be different for the two sites due to local geography, the high-altitude resolution profiles of the free atmosphere from this instrument will be the most accurate available for the E-ELT site. In addition, these unbiased and independent profiles are also used to further characterise the site of the VLT. This enables instrument performance calibration, optimisation and data analysis of, for example, the ESO Adaptive Optics facility and the Next Generation Transit Survey. It will also be used to validate atmospheric models for turbulence forecasting. We show early results from the commissioning and address future implications of the results.
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.
A multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system is being built for the world's largest aperture 1.6m solar telescope, New Solar Telescope, at the Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). The BBSO MCAO system employs three deformable mirrors to enlarge the corrected field of view. In order to characterize the MCAO performance with different optical configurations and DM conjugated altitudes, the BBSO MCAO setup also needs to be flexible. In this paper, we present the optical design of the BBSO MCAO system.
LINC-NIRVANA (LN) is the near-infrared, Fizeau-type imaging interferometer for the large binocular telescope (LBT) on Mt. Graham, Arizona (elevation of 3267 m). The instrument is currently being built by a consortium of German and Italian institutes under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. It will combine the radiation from both 8.4 m primary mirrors of LBT in such a way that the sensitivity of a 11.9 m telescope and the spatial resolution of a 22.8 m telescope will be obtained within a 10.5×10.5 arcsec 2 scientific field of view. Interferometric fringes of the combined beams are tracked in an oval field with diameters of 1 and 1.5 arcmin. In addition, both incoming beams are individually corrected by LN’s multiconjugate adaptive optics system to reduce atmospheric image distortion over a circular field of up to 6 arcmin in diameter. A comprehensive technical overview of the instrument is presented, comprising the detailed design of LN’s four major systems for interferometric imaging and fringe tracking, both in the near infrared range of 1 to 2.4 μm, as well as atmospheric turbulence correction at two altitudes, both in the visible range of 0.6 to 0.9 μm. The resulting performance capabilities and a short outlook of some of the major science goals will be presented. In addition, the roadmap for the related assembly, integration, and verification process are discussed. To avoid late interface-related risks, strategies for early hardware as well as software interactions with the telescope have been elaborated. The goal is to ship LN to the LBT in 2014.
LINC-NIRVANA (LN) is the near-infrared, Fizeau-type imaging interferometer for the Large Binocular Telescope
(LBT) on Mt. Graham, Arizona, USA (3267m of elevation). The instrument is currently being built by a consortium of
German and Italian institutes under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg,
Germany. It will combine the radiation from both 8.4m primary mirrors of LBT in such a way that the sensitivity of a
11.9m telescope and the spatial resolution of a 22.8m telescope will be obtained within a 10.5arcsec x 10.5arcsec
scientific field of view. Interferometric fringes of the combined beams are tracked in an oval field with diameters of 1
and 1.5arcmin. In addition, both incoming beams are individually corrected by LN’s multi-conjugate adaptive optics
(MCAO) system to reduce atmospheric image distortion over a circular field of up to 6arcmin in diameter.
This paper gives a comprehensive technical overview of the instrument comprising the detailed design of LN’s four
major systems for interferometric imaging and fringe tracking, both in the NIR range of 1 - 2.4μm, as well as
atmospheric turbulence correction at two altitudes, both in the visible range of 0.6 - 0.9μm. The resulting performance
capabilities and a short outlook of some of the major science goals will be presented. In addition, the roadmap for the
related assembly, integration and verification (AIV) process will be discussed. To avoid late interface-related risks,
strategies for early hardware as well as software interactions with the telescope have been elaborated. The goal is to ship
LN to the LBT in 2014.
LINC-NIRVANA (LN) is a near-infrared image-plane beam combiner with advanced, multi-conjugated adaptive optics
for the Large Binocular Telescope. Non-common path aberrations (NCPAs) between the near-infrared science camera
and the wave-front sensor (WFS) are unseen by the WFS and therefore are not corrected in closed loop. This would
prevent LN from achieving its ultimate performance. We use a modified phase diversity technique to measure the
internal optical static aberrations and hence the NCPAs. Phase diversity is a methodology for estimating wave-front
aberrations by solving an unconstrained optimization problem from multiple images whose pupil phases differ from one another by a known amount. We conduct computer simulations of the reconstruction of aberrations of an optical system with the phase diversity method. In the reconstruction, we fit the wave-front to Zernike polynomials to reduce the number of variables. The limited-memory Broyden-Fletcher-Goldfarb-Shanno (L-BFGS) algorithm is very well suited to phase diversity (PD) due to its good performance in solving large scale optimization problems. The main constraint for the implementation of PD for LN is that we cannot add extra components to the internal interferometric camera imaging system to obtain infocus and defocus images. In this paper, we introduce a new method, namely shifting the focal plane source, not the detector, to overcome this constraint. Some experiments were done to test and verify this method and the results are presented and discussed. The study shows that the method is very flexible and the paper gives practical guidelines for the application of phase diversity methods to characterize adaptive optics systems.
In order to achieve high sky coverage with natural guide star adaptive optics systems, the reference stars need to be
chosen over a large field of view. But the size of the optical beam can become unmanageably large in current and
planned future giant telescopes. This can render the optics unaffordable. To solve this issue, we have adopted two
approaches - multiple fields of view and star-enlargers - for the LINC-NIRVANA layer-oriented, multiple-conjugated
adaptive optics system. In this paper, we compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of various optical
configurations for wide-field, natural guide star acquisition on current 8-meter and future 25-40 meter extremely large
LINC-NIRVANA is an interferometric imaging camera, which combines the two 8.4 m telescopes of the Large
Binocular Telescope (LBT). The instrument operates in the wavelength range from 1.1 μm to 2.4 μm, covering the J, H
and K-band, respectively. The beam combining camera (NIRCS) offers the possibility to achieve diffraction limited
images with the special resolution of a 23 m telescope. The optics are designed to deliver a 10 arcsec × 10 arcsec field of
view with 5 mas resolution. In this paper we describe the evolution of the cryogenic optics, from design and
manufacturing to verification. Including the argumentation for decisions we made in order to present a sort of guideline
for large cryo-optics. We also present the alignment and testing strategies at a detailed level.
LINC-NIRVANA is a near infrared interferometric imager with a pair of layer-oriented multi-conjugate adaptive
optics systems (ground layer and high layer) for the Large Binocular Telescope. To prepare for the commissioning
of LINC-NIRVANA, we have integrated the high layer wavefront sensor and its associated deformable mirror (a
Xinetics-349) in a laboratory, located at Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Heidelberg, Germany. Together
with a telescope simulator, which includes a rotating field and phase screens that introduce the effects of the
atmosphere, we tested the acquisition of multiple guide stars, calibrating the system with the push-pull method,
and characterizing the wavefront sensor together with the deformable mirror. We have closed the AO loop with
up to 200 Zernike modes and with multiple guide stars. The AO correction demonstrated that uniform correction
can be achieved in a large field of view. We report the current status and results of the experiment.
LINC-NIRVANA will employ four wave front sensors to realize multi-conjugate correction on both arms of a Fizeau interferometer for LBT. Of these, one of the two ground-layer wave front sensors, together with its infrared test camera, comprise a stand-alone test platform for LINC-NIRVANA. Pathfinder is a testbed for full LINC-NIRVANA intended to identify potential interface problems early in the game, thus reducing both technical, and schedule, risk. Pathfinder will combine light from multiple guide stars, with a pyramid sensor dedicated to each star, to achieve ground-layer AO correction via an adaptive secondary: the 672-actuator thin shell at the LBT. The ability to achieve sky coverage by optically coadding light from multiple stars has been previously demonstrated; and the ability to achieve correction with an adaptive secondary has also been previously demonstrated. Pathfinder will be the first system at LBT to combine both of these capabilities.
Since reporting our progress at A04ELT2, we have advanced the project in three key areas: definition of specific goals for Pathfinder tests at LBT, more detail in the software design and planning, and calibration. We report on our progress and future plans in these three areas, and on the project overall.
The interferometric imager LINC-NIRVANA will use pyramid wavefront-sensors for multi-conjugated adaptive optics (MCAO). A derotator will produce a static field on the pyramids, but a rotating pupil image on the CCD. For long exposure times, we have to take into account this effect to command the deformable mirror properly by changing the command matrix on the fly. We reproduce in a laboratory set-up this configuration to test different methods for compensating for this effect. We present the results obtained and the optimal solution we have selected.
LINC-NIRVANA (LN) is an instrument for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Its purpose is to combine the light
coming from the two primary mirrors in a Fizeau-type interferometer. In order to compensate turbulence-induced
dynamic aberrations, the layer oriented adaptive optics system of LN consists of two major subsystems for each side:
the Ground-Layer-Wavefront sensor (GLWS) and the Mid- and High-Layer Wavefront sensor (MHLWS). The MHLWS
is currently set up in a laboratory at the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg. To test the multi-conjugate
AO with multiple simulated stars in the laboratory and to develop the necessary control software, a dedicated light
source is needed. For this reason, we designed an optical system, operating in visible as well as in infrared light, which
imitates the telescope's optical train (f-ratio, pupil position and size, field curvature). By inserting rotating surface etched
glass phase screens, artificial aberrations corresponding to the atmospheric turbulence are introduced. In addition,
different turbulence altitudes can be simulated depending on the position of these screens along the optical axis. In this
way, it is possible to comprehensively test the complete system, including electronics and software, in the laboratory
before integration into the final LINC-NIRVANA setup. Combined with an atmospheric piston simulator, also this effect
can be taken into account. Since we are building two identical sets, it is possible to feed the complete instrument with
light for the interferometric combination during the assembly phase in the integration laboratory.