Final review of adaptive optics results from the pre-conversion MMT

M. Lloyd-Hart, R. Angel, T. Groesbeck, P. McGuire, D. Sandler, D. McCarthy, T. Martinez, B. Jacobsen, T. Roberts, P. Hinz, J. Ge, B. McLeod, G. Brusa, K. Hege, E. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The FASTTRAC II adaptive optics instrument has been used at the Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) for the past 2 years to provide improved image resolution in the near infrared. Results have been obtained using both natural guide stars and an artificial sodium laser beacon. With the imminent closure of the MMT prior to its conversion to a single-mirror 6.5 m telescope, FASTTRAC II has come to the end of its life. The instrument has been to the telescope for a total of 8 runs, and during that time it has been of enormous value both as a learning aid, demonstrating the requirements of its successor on the 6.5 m, and as a scientific tool. At this meeting, we present a selection of astrophysical data derived from FASTTRAC II, including the first closed-loop demonstration of an adaptive optics system using a sodium laser beacon. The sodium laser has been used to obtain near diffraction-limited near-infrared images of the core of M13, allowing the construction of a color-magnitude diagram to below the main sequence turnoff. Results have also been obtained from several gravitationally lensed quasars, and the cores of nearby galaxies in the local group. We also summarize work characterizing atmospheric conditions at the site. These studies have proceeded in two areas - understanding the behavior of the phase perturbation with field angle and time, and characterizing the return from the sodium resonance beacon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
EventAdaptive Optics and Applications - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jul 30 1997Aug 1 1997


  • Adaptive optics
  • Atmospheric effects
  • Control systems
  • Image processing
  • Laser guide stars
  • Telescopes
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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