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Laboratory for adaptative optics for the GMT project

Abstract

All of the proposed Extremely Large Telescopes (EL Ts, including the E-ELT, GMT, and TMT) are limited by optical distortions introduced by the Earth's atmosphere These distortions will be partially compensated by the use of Adaptive Optics (AO), optomechanical systems that can measure the incoming wave fronts of light from celestial objects ano rapidly apply an appropriate optical correction using an active optical element, typically a deformable mirror. The development of AO is drivers by the need for more photons from the science target being delivered into fewer pixels within detecting instruments, minimising the noise from sky background photons. Seeing limited instruments scale approximately linearly with telescope size, but AO fed instruments remain the same size or can become smaller with diffraction limited imaging. An AO for ELT laboratory in Brazil will enable rapid testing of new hardware and software algorithms, and provide a telescope simulator with which to test new instrument concepts. (AU)

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