MagAO-X: current status and plans for Phase II

Jared R. Males, Laird M. Close, Sebastiaan Haffert, Joseph D. Long, Alexander D. Hedglen, Logan Pearce, Alycia J. Weinberger, Olivier Guyon, Justin M. Knight, Avalon McLeod, Maggie Kautz, Kyle Van Gorkom, Jennifer Lumbres, Lauren Schatz, Alex Rodack, Victor Gasho, Jay Kueny, Warren Foster

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

8 Scopus citations


We present a status update for MagAO-X, a 2000 actuator, 3.6 kHz adaptive optics and coronagraph system for the Magellan Clay 6.5 m telescope. MagAO-X is optimized for high contrast imaging at visible wavelengths. Our primary science goals are detection and characterization of Solar System-like exoplanets, ranging from very young, still-accreting planets detected at H-alpha, to older temperate planets which will be characterized using reflected starlight. First light was in Dec, 2019, but subsequent commissioning runs were canceled due to COVID-19. In the interim, MagAO-X has served as a lab testbed. Highlights include implementation of several focal plane and low-order wavefront sensing algorithms, development of a new predictive control algorithm, and the addition of an IFU module. MagAO-X also serves as the AO system for the Giant Magellan Telescope High Contrast Adaptive Optics Testbed. We will provide an overview of these projects, and report the results of our commissioning and science run in April, 2022. Finally, we will present the status of a comprehensive upgrade to MagAO-X to enable extreme-contrast characterization of exoplanets in reflected light. These upgrades include a new post-AO 1000-actuator deformable mirror inside the coronagraph, latest generation sCMOS detectors for wavefront sensing, optimized PIAACMC coronagraphs, and computing system upgrades. When these Phase II upgrades are complete we plan to conduct a survey of nearby exoplanets in reflected light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems VIII
EditorsLaura Schreiber, Dirk Schmidt, Elise Vernet
ISBN (Electronic)9781510653511
StatePublished - 2022
EventAdaptive Optics Systems VIII 2022 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jul 17 2022Jul 22 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceAdaptive Optics Systems VIII 2022


  • 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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