Consortium: LTAO bench
Consortium: LTAO bench

ALPAO are partnering together with Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) and ONERA to conduct a competitive Phase A study for the design of a Laser Tomographic Adaptive Optics (LTAO) bench for the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. This study is funded via an agreement between AAO and the American consortium AURA who operate Gemini for the NSF (National Science Foundation).

The international consortium led by the Australian Astronomical Optics (Macquarie University, Australian National University and University Sydney) brings together the expertise of ONERA and ALPAO, with the support of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM). This 12-month project includes the dimensioning, the analysis of the performances of the adaptive optics and the development of the calibration and operation procedures of the laser tomographic adaptive optics system for the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii.

This adaptive optics bench is a key element to provide the Gemini North telescope with a unique set of observing capabilities combining high spatial, spectral and temporal resolution. This will open up a wide range of new possibilities, including the ability to target distant galaxies to study their formation and evolution, and thus reach back to the early universe where galaxies first formed. It will also allow astronomers to better understand the physics of star formation in the Milky Way.

ALPAO is honored to have been selected to take part in this consortium to bring its expertise in design and manufacturing of components, subsystems and control software for adaptive optics in astronomy, as already proven on large ground-based telescopes such as the W.M. Keck Observatory, the Subaru Telescope or the ESO – Very Large Telescope. In this first phase, ALPAO will be in charge of selecting the best adaptive optics components and their implementation to reach the scientific objectives of the project. Our experience in the manufacturing of deformable mirrors with a very high number of actuators will be a significant asset at this stage“, said Piero BRUNO, ALPAO Sales and Marketing Director.

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