Construction and testing of components for the 6.5 m MMT adaptive optics system
AuthorRhoadarmer, Troy Allen
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn recent years astronomers have been pushing to build larger ground-based telescopes with apertures greater than 5 m in order to see deeper into space and resolve smaller objects. Realistically, while a larger telescope aperture allows more light to be collected, atmospheric turbulence caused by thermal gradients in the atmosphere limits the achievable resolution to a level comparable with apertures on the order of half a meter or less. Adaptive optics (AO) can be used to counteract the degrading effects of the atmosphere in real time and recover diffraction-limited resolution. With the help of AO, better science can be done, and as more large ground-based telescopes are built, the need for reliable AO systems grows. The 6.5 m upgrade to the Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) on Mt. Hopkins is an example of a large telescope project. An infrared adaptive optics system for this telescope is currently under construction at Steward Observatory in the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics. This dissertation reports on the design, construction, and testing of various components of this AO system with which the author was involved. These components include the deformable secondary mirror, the wave front sensor, a laboratory testing system, and wavefront reconstruction algorithms.
Degree ProgramGraduate College