Advancing next generation adaptive optics in astronomy: from the lab to the sky

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dc.contributor.author Turri, Paolo
dc.date.accessioned 2017-08-31T20:23:29Z
dc.date.available 2017-08-31T20:23:29Z
dc.date.copyright 2017 en_US
dc.date.issued 2017-08-31
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/8533
dc.description.abstract High resolution imaging of wide fields has been a prerogative of space telescopes for decades. Multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) is a key technology for the future of ground-based astronomy, especially as we approach the era of ELTs, where the large apertures will provide diffraction limits that will significantly surpass even the James Webb Space Telescope. NFIRAOS will be the first light MCAO system for the Thirty Meter Telescope and to support its development I have worked on HeNOS, its test bench integrated in Victoria at NRC Herzberg. I have aligned the optics, tested the electronic hardware, calibrated the subsystems (cameras, deformable mirrors, light sources, etc.) and characterized the system parameters. Development and support for future MCAO instruments also involves data analysis, a critical process in delivering the expected performance of any scientific instrument. To develop a strategy for optimal stellar photometry with MCAO, I have observed the Galactic globular cluster NGC 1851 with GeMS, the MCAO system on the 8-meter Gemini South telescope. From near-infrared images of this target in two bands, I have found the optimal parameters to employ in the profile-fitting photometry and calibration. As testimony to the precision of the results, I have obtained the deepest near-infrared photometry of a crowded field from the ground and used it to determine the age of the cluster with a method recently proposed that exploits the bend in the lower main sequence. The precise color-magnitude diagram also allows us to clearly observe the double subgiant branch for the first time from the ground, caused by the multiple stellar populations in the cluster. As the only facility MCAO system, GeMS is an important instrument that serves to illuminate the challenges of obtaining accurate photometry using such a system. By coupling the knowledge acquired from an instrument already on-sky with experiments in the lab on a prototype of a future system, I have addressed new challenges in photometry and astrometry, like the promising technique of point spread function reconstruction. This thesis informs the development of appropriate data processing techniques and observing strategies to ensure the ELTs deliver their full scientific promise over extended fields of view. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject Multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) en_US
dc.subject space telescopes en_US
dc.subject near-infrared images en_US
dc.subject High resolution imaging en_US
dc.subject extremely large telescope. en_US
dc.title Advancing next generation adaptive optics in astronomy: from the lab to the sky en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Andersen, David
dc.contributor.supervisor Venn, Kimberley Ann
dc.degree.department Department of Physics and Astronomy en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US

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