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The Performance of the Robo-AO Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics System at the Kitt Peak 2.1 m Telescope

Jensen-Clem, Rebecca and Duev, Dmitry A. and Riddle, Reed and Salama, Maïssa and Baranec, Christoph and Law, Nicholas M. and Kulkarni, S. R. and Ramprakash, A. N. (2018) The Performance of the Robo-AO Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics System at the Kitt Peak 2.1 m Telescope. Astronomical Journal, 155 (1). Art. No. 32. ISSN 1538-3881.

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Robo-AO is an autonomous laser guide star adaptive optics (AO) system recently commissioned at the Kitt Peak 2.1 m telescope. With the ability to observe every clear night, Robo-AO at the 2.1 m telescope is the first dedicated AO observatory. This paper presents the imaging performance of the AO system in its first 18 months of operations. For a median seeing value of 1.”44, the average Strehl ratio is 4% in the i’ band. After post processing, the contrast ratio under sub-arcsecond seeing for a 2 ⩽ i’ ⩽ 16 primary star is five and seven magnitudes at radial offsets of 0.”5 and 1.”0, respectively. The data processing and archiving pipelines run automatically at the end of each night. The first stage of the processing pipeline shifts and adds the rapid frame rate data using techniques optimized for different signal-to-noise ratios. The second "high-contrast" stage of the pipeline is eponymously well suited to finding faint stellar companions. Currently, a range of scientific programs, including the synthetic tracking of near-Earth asteroids, the binarity of stars in young clusters, and weather on solar system planets are being undertaken with Robo-AO.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Jensen-Clem, Rebecca0000-0003-0054-2953
Duev, Dmitry A.0000-0001-5060-8733
Riddle, Reed0000-0002-0387-370X
Salama, Maïssa0000-0002-5082-6332
Baranec, Christoph0000-0002-1917-9157
Law, Nicholas M.0000-0001-9380-6457
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Additional Information:© 2017 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 June 20; revised 2017 November 13; accepted 2017 November 18; published 2017 December 21. The Robo-AO team thanks NSF and NOAO for making the Kitt Peak 2.1 m telescope available. We would like to thank Richard R. Treffers (Starman Systems, LLC) for his contribution to the upgrade of the 2.1 m Telescope Control System (TCS). We thank the observatory staff at Kitt Peak for their efforts to assist Robo-AO KP operations. Robo-AO KP is 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 (IUCAA) at Pune, India, and the National Central University, Taiwan. The Murty family feels very happy to have added a small value to this important project. Robo-AO KP is also supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation. The Robo-AO instrument was developed with support from the National Science Foundation under grants AST-0906060, AST-0960343, and AST-1207891, IUCAA, the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, and by a gift from Samuel Oschin. These data are based on observations at Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO Prop. ID: 15B-3001), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. C.B. acknowledges support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Facility: KPNO:2.1m (Robo-AO). - Software: Image Registration for Astronomy, VIP (Gomez Gonzalez et al. 2017), AIDA (Hom et al. 2007), SExtractor (Bertin & Arnouts 1996), MongoDB, Flask.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Mt. Cuba Astronomical FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and AstrophysicsUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:instrumentation: adaptive optics – instrumentation: detectors – techniques: image processing
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171220-104535898
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Rebecca Jensen-Clem et al 2018 AJ 155 32
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83979
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Dec 2017 19:00
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:13

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