Astronomy & Telescopes

Exoplanet Adaptive Optics for the 5-meter Hale Telescope

By Keith Cowing
September 6, 2013
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Exoplanet Adaptive Optics for the 5-meter Hale Telescope

We describe and report first results from PALM-3000, the second-generation astronomical adaptive optics facility for the 5.1-m Hale telescope at Palomar Observatory.

PALM-3000 has been engineered for high-contrast imaging and emission spectroscopy of brown dwarfs and large planetary mass bodies at near-infrared wavelengths around bright stars, but also supports general natural guide star use to V ~ 17. Using its unique 66 x 66 actuator deformable mirror, PALM-3000 has thus far demonstrated residual wavefront errors of 141 nm RMS under 1 arcsecond seeing conditions. PALM-3000 can provide phase conjugation correction over a 6.4 x 6.4 arcsecond working region at an observing wavelength of 2.2 microns, or full electric field (amplitude and phase) correction over approximately one half of this field.

With optimized back-end instrumentation, PALM-3000 is designed to enable as high as 10e-7 contrast at ~1 arc second angular separation, after including post-observation speckle suppression processing. While optimization of the adaptive optics system is ongoing, we have already successfully commissioned five back-end science instruments and begun a major exoplanet characterization survey, Project 1640, with our partners at American Museum of Natural History and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

R. Dekany, J. Roberts, R. Burruss, A. Bouchez, T. Truong, C. Baranec, S. Guiwits, D. Hale, J. Angione, T. Trinh, J. Zolkower, J. C. Shelton, D. Palmer, J. Henning, E. Croner, M. Troy, D. McKenna, J. Tesch, S. Hildebrandt, J. Milburn (Submitted on 5 Sep 2013)

Comments: 13 pages, 6 figures, 5 tables; Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)

Cite as: arXiv:1309.1216 [astro-ph.IM]

(or arXiv:1309.1216v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version) Submission history From: Richard Dekany [v1] Thu, 5 Sep 2013 01:11:21 GMT (4609kb)

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