Verification of a system to prevent aircraft illumination by adaptive optics laser beacons

Michael Lloyd-Hart, Matthew Cheselka, Robert Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Laser beams directed into the sky from astronomical observatories to generate guide beacons for adaptive optics image-sharpening systems are a potential hazard to aircraft. Detection systems are needed to sense aircraft and interrupt the laser beam to prevent accidental illumination. We describe here a system designed for this task. A computer examines CCD images of the sky over a wide field of view and uses a motion detection algorithm to find tracks made by aircraft lights. The results of tests, conducted with simultaneous radar coverage from Tucson International Airport, are reported. A test with an actual laser beacon at the Multiple Mirror Telescope in which Mars was used as a simulated aircraft is also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1577-1585
Number of pages9
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number766
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Verification of a system to prevent aircraft illumination by adaptive optics laser beacons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this