Robo-AO is the first autonomous laser adaptive optics system and science instrument operating on sky. The system robotically executes large scale surveys, monitors long-term astrophysical dynamics and characterizes newly discovered transients, all at the visible diffraction limit.
The Robo-AO project, led by Principal Investigator Christoph Baranec, with Software Lead Reed Riddle, Project Scientist Nicholas Law, Co-Investigator A. N. Ramaprakash, and students and collaborators, was a collaboration between Caltech Optical Observatories and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics. It was partially funded by the National Science Foundation under grants AST-0906060, AST-0960343 and AST-1207891, the Office of Naval Research under grant N00014-11-1-0903, by the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, by a gift from Samuel Oschin and by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.
The team moved Robo-AO to the 2.1-m telescope at Kitt Peak in Nov. 2015. Robo-AO KP was a partnership between the California Institute of Technology, the University of Hawai`i, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the National Central University, Taiwan. Robo-AO KP was supported by a grant from Sudha Murty, Narayan Murthy, and Rohan Murty, a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and by the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation.
As of 2019, Robo-AO is undergoing comissioning at the University of Hawai`i 2.2-m telescope before being upgraded to Robo-AO-2 in 2020.