First light of the 6.5-m MMT adaptive optics system

F. Wildi, G. Brusa, M. Lloyd-Hart, L. Close, A. Riccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The adaptive optics system of the 6.5m MMT with its deformable secondary has seen first light on the sky in November 2002. Since then, it has logged over 30 nights at the telescope and has been used with several scientific cameras and a dedicated IR infrared camera. Results so far are extremely encouraging with Strehls of up to 20% in H-band and 98% in M limited in part by the control algorithm that is being improved. Reliability of the deformable secondary mirror (DM) has been remarkable with only one occurrence of a malfunction that required removing the secondary from its hub. In this paper, we review the milestones achieved and the performances obtained in the first year of operation. We will also address the operational constraints associated with the deformable secondary and the steps taken to relax these constraints. We show that despite its apparent complexity, an adaptive secondary AO system can be operated with modest effort from the telescope and AO staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventAstronomical Adaptive Optics Systems and Applications - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2003Aug 4 2003


  • Adaptive optics
  • Deformable mirror
  • High resolution
  • IR astronomy

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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