Into the blue: AO science with MagAO in the visible

Laird M. Close, Jared R. Males, Katherine B. Follette, Phil Hinz, Katie Morzinski, Ya Lin Wu, Derek Kopon, Armando Riccardi, Simone Esposito, Alfio Puglisi, Enrico Pinna, Marco Xompero, Runa Briguglio, Fernando Quiros-Pacheco

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

23 Citations (Scopus)


We review astronomical results in the visible (λ<1μm) with adaptive optics. Other than a brief period in the early 1990s, there has been little astronomical science done in the visible with AO until recently. The most productive visible AO system to date is our 6.5m Magellan telescope AO system (MagAO). MagAO is an advanced Adaptive Secondary system at the Magellan 6.5m in Chile. This secondary has 585 actuators with < 1 msec response times (0.7 ms typically). We use a pyramid wavefront sensor. The relatively small actuator pitch (∼23 cm/subap) allows moderate Strehls to be obtained in the visible (0.63-1.05 microns). We use a CCD AO science camera called "VisAO". On-sky long exposures (60s) achieve <30mas resolutions, 30% Strehls at 0.62 microns (r') with the VisAO camera in 0.5" seeing with bright R < 8 mag stars. These relatively high visible wavelength Strehls are made possible by our powerful combination of a next generation ASM and a Pyramid WFS with 378 controlled modes and 1000 Hz loop frequency. We'll review the key steps to having good performance in the visible and review the exciting new AO visible science opportunities and refereed publications in both broad-band (r,i,z,Y) and at Halpha for exoplanets, protoplanetary disks, young stars, and emission line jets. These examples highlight the power of visible AO to probe circumstellar regions/spatial resolutions that would otherwise require much larger diameter telescopes with classical infrared AO cameras.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems IV
EditorsJean-Pierre Veran, Enrico Marchetti, Laird M. Close
ISBN (Electronic)9780819496164
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventAdaptive Optics Systems IV - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 2014 Jun 222014 Jun 27

Publication series

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


ConferenceAdaptive Optics Systems IV


  • Visible Adaptive Optics; Adaptive Secondary Mirror; High-Contrast

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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