Adaptive Optics at the Institute for Astronomy


Hokupa'a mounted on Gemini
The Adaptive Optics (AO) group at the Institute for Astronomy (University of Hawaii) is developing adaptive optics systems based upon curvature sensing and correction. We have chosen to implement curvature based AO, for its implementational simplicity, sensitivity, and robustness.

The UH Institute for Astronomy's adaptive optics group has developed and implemented multiple AO systems since 1994.

  • The first AO system developed at UH was a 13-element system , initially built at the coudé focus of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) on Mauna Kea, has been regularly used (typically 20 nights a year) at the F/36 Cassegrain focus since December 1994. In January 1994, the 13 element AO system was fitted to the bent Cassegrain focus of UKIRT, and in November 1996, relocated to the UH 2.2m telescope.
  • Hokupa'a-36 with a 36 element deformable mirror, was built in 1997 for CFHT. In late May 1999, Holupa'a was installed on Gemini North, just days before the telescope's dedication. Hokupa'a was upgraded to an 85 element system served on Gemini North until the installation of Altair in 2003.
  • An 85 element UH AO system is in place at the Gemini South telescope on the summit of Cerro Pachon in Chile as part of the Near-Infrared Coronographic Imager (NICI), a dedicated Lyot coronagraph (see NICI instrument page on the Gemini South website).

As a part of UH's Institute for Astronomy, the adaptive optics lab has exceptional opportunity for collaboration with the telescopes on Mauna Kea and Haleakala. We are currently focusing on developing curvature wavefront sensing systems with hundreds of elements optimized for low-light operations.

Adaptive Optics Laboratory
University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
2680 Woodlawn Dr. Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 956-7434

Site design: Katie Whitman; Header graphic design: Banana Grafeeks