First closed-loop visible AO test results for the advanced adaptive secondary AO system for the Magellan Telescope: MagAO's performance and status

Laird M. Close, Jared R. Males, Derek Kopon, Victor Gasho, Katherine B. Follette, Phil Hinz, Katie Morzinski, Alan Uomoto, Tyson Hare, Armando Riccardi, Simone Esposito, Alfio Puglisi, Enrico Pinna, Lorenzo Busoni, Carmelo Arcidiacono, Marco Xompero, Runa Briguglio, Fernando Quiros-Pacheco, Javier Argomedo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

57 Scopus citations


The heart of the 6.5 Magellan AO system (MagAO) is a 585 actuator adaptive secondary mirror (ASM) with <1 msec response times (0.7 ms typically). This adaptive secondary will allow low emissivity and high-contrast AO science. We fabricated a high order (561 mode) pyramid wavefront sensor (similar to that now successfully used at the Large Binocular Telescope). The relatively high actuator count (and small projected ∼23 cm pitch) allows moderate Strehls to be obtained by MagAO in the "visible" (0.63-1.05 μm). To take advantage of this we have fabricated an AO CCD science camera called "VisAO". Complete "end-to-end" closed-loop lab tests of MagAO achieve a solid, broad-band, 37% Strehl (122 nm rms) at 0.76 μm (i') with the VisAO camera in 0.8" simulated seeing (13 cm ro at V) with fast 33 mph winds and a 40 m Lo locked on R=8 mag artificial star. These relatively high visible wavelength Strehls are enabled by our powerful combination of a next generation ASM and a Pyramid WFS with 400 controlled modes and 1000 Hz sample speeds (similar to that used successfully on-sky at the LBT). Currently only the VisAO science camera is used for lab testing of MagAO, but this high level of measured performance (122 nm rms) promises even higher Strehls with our IR science cameras. On bright (R=8 mag) stars we should achieve very high Strehls (>70% at H) in the IR with the existing MagAO Clio2 (λ=1-5.3 μm) science camera/coronagraph or even higher (∼98% Strehl) the Mid-IR (8-26 microns) with the existing BLINC/MIRAC4 science camera in the future. To eliminate non-common path vibrations, dispersions, and optical errors the VisAO science camera is fed by a common path advanced triplet ADC and is piggy-backed on the Pyramid WFS optical board itself. Also a high-speed shutter can be used to block periods of poor correction. The entire system passed CDR in June 2009, and we finished the closed-loop system level testing phase in December 2011. Final system acceptance ("pre-ship" review) was passed in February 2012. In May 2012 the entire AO system is was successfully shipped to Chile and fully tested/aligned. It is now in storage in the Magellan telescope clean room in anticipation of "First Light" scheduled for December 2012. An overview of the design, attributes, performance, and schedule for the Magellan AO system and its two science cameras are briefly presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems III
StatePublished - 2012
EventAdaptive Optics Systems III - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 1 2012Jul 6 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherAdaptive Optics Systems III


  • Adaptive secondary mirror
  • High-Contrast
  • Visible adaptive optics

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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