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Adaptive Optics Worlwide

The four tables below (last updated 2004) list:

Click on the AO system name to reach its page. For links to the home pages of individual science instruments, click here.

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Current AO systems
Telescope, AO system Instrumentation DM, optics WFS Performance, throughput etc. LGS status Notes
Keck-I 9.8-m
AO system
(Nasmyth, on fixed bench)
2000 -
JHK imaging (KCAM)
349-actuator Xinetics DM
Tel primary mirror is segmented
MIT/LL 64*63 pixels
< 670 Hz
Best strehl 0.5 LGS loop closed 2003, 15-20W NaD, pulsed, broadband Remote observing from Waimea
Subaru 8.3-m
AO system
2000 -
IR imaging JHKL
IR spec (IRCS)
Coronog (CIAO)
36-actuator biomorph DM
Separate TT mirror
36 APDs
Subaps 2"
Best K strhel 0.4, isoplan diam 1'
Not diff-limited in J,H
4-W Na LGS planned ~ 2006 (launch from back of secondary) Upgrade to 188-element (curv-sensing) system 2005
VLT4 8.2-m
NAOS (2000 - )
(Nasmyth, on rotator)
2001 -
Opt/IR imaging/spec
+ coronog (CONICA) to 3.5 micron
185-actuator DM Shack-Hartmann
Choice of opt or IR WFS
Subaps 2 - 5"
< 440 Hz
Best K strehl ~ 0.6
Vgs < 17
Na LGS planned 2004, 1e6 phot/m^2/sec return, > 6W launch, 4 lines over 500 MHz
VLT 8.2-m
One AO system on each tel for VLTI 60-element curvature sensing Best K strehl ~ 0.5, fov 2' Na LGS planned 2004
Gemini-N 8.1-m
IR JHK imaging (NIRI)
Later, GMOS and GNIRS also
177-actuator DM conj. to turb. layer at 6.5 km
Separate TT mirror
12*12 subaps
< 1 kHz
Field stop 3"
Best strehl 0.6, typically 0.2 in H, K
Throughput 0.9, emiss. < 0.2
NIRI has 22" fov
Designed for seeing < 0.5"
10-20 W Na LGS planned 2004
MMT 6.5-m
2002 -
IR imaging + spec (ARIES)
Mid-IR imaging (MIRAC3-BLINC)
336-actuator secondary mirror Best strehl 0.2, emissivity ~ 8%
Palomar 5.1-m
1999 -
JHK imaging + grsim (PHARO) Shack-Hartmann
< 500 Hz
Best strehl 0.7, typically 0.2 - 0.3
Vgs < 13.5
Telescope, AO system Instrumentation DM, optics WFS Performance, throughput etc. LGS status Notes
WHT 4.2-m
(Nasmyth, on fixed bench)
2001 -
IR JHK imaging (INGRID)
Optical IFU spec (OASIS)
Coronog (OSCA)
76-element Thermotrex DM (fully segmented)
Separate TT mirror
Subaps 1 - 4"
< 300 Hz
Zonal correction
Field stop 2.5"
Diff.-limited in J, H, K; useful correction in R, I 25-W 523-nm Rayleigh LGS planned
CFHT 3.6-m
1996 -
JHK imaging (KIR)
K-band IFU spec (GriF)
19-actuator bimorph DM Curvature sensing Upgrade plan (of 2002) for 104 actuators
APO (ARC) 3.5-m
ZJHK imaging (ChAOS CAM) 87-actuator DM LANL Na laser expts
Calar Alto 3.5-m
1996 -
IR imaging (Omega-Cass) 97-actuator Xinetics DM + TT mirror Shack-Hartmann
MIT/LL 7*7 pixels/subap
Modal correction
Best K strehl 0.4
Vgs < 14
Ar-ion pumped dye laser
LGS loop closed 1997, LGS decommissioned 2000
TNG 3.5-m
(Nasmyth, on rotator)
IR imager JHK (NICS) 97-actuator Xinetics DM + TT mirror Pyramidal (or 4-APDs + ShackH)
< 100 Hz
Vgs < 13.5 for TT Only TT currently offered
Starfire 3.5-m
150-element DM LGS (developed on 1.5m) Principally for satellite tracking (military)
Lick 3.0-m
AO system
JHK imaging + spectroscopy (IRCAL) 61-element DM 10-W Na LGS offered to observers
Mt. Wilson 2.5-m
UnISIS (dead link?)
Imager + coron. 13*13 element Thermotrex DM (segmented) 50-W 351-nm excimer UV Rayleigh LGS at 18 km, tests from 2001
U. Hawaii 2.2-m
AO system
13-element DM

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Planned AO systems
Telescope, AO system Instrumentation DM, optics WFS Performance, throughput etc. LGS status Notes
OWL 100-m
(focus after 6 mirrors)
81*81 DM Advances in AO tech needed before OWL can be built
Euro50 50-m
AO system
CELT and GSMT projects are merging
GTC 10.0-m
~ 2006
Prob 329-element CIRAS, or Xinetics, 2 DMs planned Shack-Hartmann LGS maybe PDR 2003
VLT4 8.2-m
2004 -
IR JHK 3D spectrograph (SINFONI),
fov 0.8 - 8"
Curvature sensing
60-element, APDs
4-quadrant TT sesnor
< 350 Hz loop
Goal: strehl > 0.5 in K Na LGS planned 2005 AO system is MACAO clone
MCAO demonstrator (MAD)
late 2004
2 DM conj to ground and to 9 km Layer-oriented WFS 1' corrected fov in K
One of DMs conj to pupil 32 * 32 subaps Goal: double encircled energy 4 LGS + 1 NGS for 1' fov, 60% sky
planet finder
Pyramidal WFS for high strehl
Gemini-S 8.1-m
1' fov Multiple LGS + 1 NGS
Deformable secondary mirrors AO on each tel, for interferometry
SOAR 4.2-m
Poss deformable secondary Rayleigh LGS planned

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AO systems no longer in use
Telescope, AO system Instrumentation DM, optics WFS Performance, throughput etc. LGS status Notes
1995 -
First NGS AO?
Gemini-N 8.1-m
1999 -
36-actuator DM Curvature-sensing Replaced by ALTAIR
ESO 3.5-m
1990 -
19-actuator DM, upgraded to 52 in 1992 Shack-Hartmann
20 subaps
ESO 3.5-m
1994 -
JHK (SHARP-II) or LM (COMIC) imaging 64-element mirror + TT mirror Shack-Hartmann
Starfire 1.5-m
First telescope to use LGS (now on 3.5-m) Principally for satellite tracking (military)

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Contact:  (WHT Manager)
Last modified: 18 December 2010