Archived News: 2009-2010

December 23rd, 2010: Several key components have arrived: the periscope assembly and many of the custom optics, including flat and off-axis parabolic mirrors. The optics will be sent out to be coated with a specialized high-reflectivity coating that spans ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared wavelengths. The periscope will be painted in the new year with a special paint that mitigates stray light reflections.

Arrival of custom optics for the Cassegrain AO system.

December 13th, 2010: We're awaiting the imminent delivery of the laser periscope assembly. The periscope will be used to jog the laser guide star beam from off-axis to on-axis, reducing wavefront measurement errors due to perspective elongation. The periscope will be installed and tested in January 2011.

September 29th, 2010: Robo-AO laser run featured on Palomar Skies blog.

September 27th, 2010: Continued testing of the laser guide star including beam quality and photometry at the different adjustable heights, laser steering, and projector flexure.

Robo-AO laser at the P60 under cloud cover.

The Robo-AO laser commissioning team in front of the black laser projector enclosure (from left to right): Shriharsh, Christoph (PI), Reed and Hillol. Not pictured: Alex and Marland.

September 25th, 2010: Optimization of laser spot size on sky with the laser projector internal focus.

Image of the laser beam with the P60 CCD22 camera. We achieved a spot size of ~2.1" at 10 km in 1.5" visible seeing. The bow-tie like image is the result of the defocused laser beam at heights other than 10 km.

September 24th, 2010: The first propagation of the Robo-AO laser guide star from the 60 inch telescope at Palomar Observatory.

July 2nd, 2010: Delivery of the laser periscope mirrors.

June 25th, 2010: Delivery of the 6.5" UV laser projector output lens.

May 26th, 2010: Successful test fit of the Robo-AO UV laser guide star projector assembly on the P60 telescope.

April 30th, 2010: Graduate student Shriharsh Tendulkar (left) explains the working of the laboratory adaptive optics system to a visiting group of undergraduate students and their professors from Pomona College.

February 25th, 2010: Successful power test of the UV laser in the lab. Christoph Baranec (PI; right) sporting this season's latest in full body laser safety gear.

February 23rd, 2010: Palomar staff assist with identifying an appropriate place to mount Robo-AO's UV laser guide star on the P60 telescope.

December 28th, 2009: First closed-loop operation of the laboratory adaptive optics system at 1.2kHz. The above shows the wavefront sensor pixels before (left) and during (right) closed-loop operation.

The Robo-AO system correcting turbulence simulated with a rotating CD jewel cover, approximating median seeing conditions at Palomar Observatory. The system uses a Shack-Hartmann sensor for high-order wavefront sensing and a visible imaging camera for image motion sensing. The observation wavelength for the above movie is 632 nm.

May 2009: Setup and re-alignment of the adaptive optics system in the new Cahill lab space.