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Adaptive Optics Primer

Adaptive optics (AO) forms an integral part of the Gemini telescopes' current and future suite of instrumentation. The facility AO system, Altair, has been offered at Gemini North since 2003 and is now available for use with both natural and laser guide stars with NIRI and NIFS. At Gemini South, multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) with Flamingos-2 and the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) will bring uniform, diffraction-limited image quality to arcminute-scale fields of view (see the science case for MCAO). Information on Gemini's current, under-construction, and planned AO capabilities is collected on these pages. The December 2006 special issue of the GeminiFocus newsletter showcases Gemini's AO program and recent AO science results. What is AO


There are lots of sites around the world that give a good introduction to AO. Among others:

  • This is a nice article on active and adaptive optics written by L.Noethe and N.Hubin from ESO
  • The AO group at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.
  • There are also a couple of good monographs on Adaptive Optics. For instance: F.Roddier's edited "Adaptive Optics for Astronomy", Cambridge University Press, 1999 J. Hardy, "Adaptive Optics for Astronomical Telescopes", Oxford University Press, 1998
  • Observing with AO at Gemini

    Consult our pages on Altair, available for natural and laser guide star science with NIFS and NIRI. You may also be interested in the former visiting AO instrument, Hokupa'a.

    Gemini Observatory Participants