Astronomy & Telescopes

U.S. Adaptive Optics Roadmap to Achieve Astro2020

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 13, 2024
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U.S. Adaptive Optics Roadmap to Achieve Astro2020
Adaptive Optics Roadmap Notional Timeline

In the recent Astro2020 Decadal Report, ”Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s” Adaptive Optics (AO) was identified as a crucial technology for a variety of reasons. These included an emphasis on high-contrast imaging and AO systems as being part of future technology development especially with application to the two US ELT projects.

Instrument upgrades were also identified for existing 4m to 10m class telescopes which would incorporate upgrades to existing AO systems. As noted in the Report: (1) ”the central role of AO instrumentation and the importance of further development are rapidly growing, with novel concepts pushing toward wider area”, (2) ”Visible AO has high potential scientific return by opening up an entire wavelength regime to high angular resolution studies.

The goal is to exploit the smaller diffraction limit of telescopes in the optical, yet both the coherence length and time decrease at shorter wavelengths requiring wavefront sensing at high spatial and temporal frequencies that are currently technologically challenging. This is an important developing area for the 2020s – 2030s.”, and (3) ”Such investments in AO systems development is a key risk mitigation strategy for ELTs, whose full resolution and sensitivity potential can only be realized with AO, and which is recognized as the most important technical risk for both GMT and TMT”.

A workshop was held in May, 2023 to develop a Community Response document (this document) to provide feedback and suggested priorities to various funding agencies, such as NSF, NASA, and DoE, as to the AO Research and Development priorities to meet the technical and science objectives outlined in Astro2020 for ground-based AO, both stand-alone and in support of space missions.

Julian Christou, Mark Chun, Richard Dekany, Philip Hinz, Jessica Lu, Jared Males, Peter Wizinowich

Comments: 66 Total Pages with 26 pages of response to ASTRO2020 and the remainder being supporting and context information in the form of Appendices
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2402.06743 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2402.06743v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Julian Christou
[v1] Fri, 9 Feb 2024 19:18:58 UTC (3,484 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻