Progress with UnISIS: A Rayleigh laser guided adaptive optics system

Laird A. Thompson, Scott W. Teare, Yao Heng Xiong, Abhijit Chakraborty, Robert Gruendl

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The UnISIS adaptive optics system is now completed and ready for science observations. We describe the experience we have gained in building and using the system, and we give a preview of one new science goal: the use of Gaussian aperture pupil masks for high-contrast imaging of companion objects near bright stars. A key aspect of the UnISIS design is the simultaneous use of two wavefront sensors, one for natural stars and the other for the laser guide star. We demonstrate the performance of this calibration system with results from on-the-bench tests. We describe several practical aspects of observing at Mt. Wilson including our ability to predict the nights of best seeing with weather data available on-line. We also show how the laser guide star return signal is enhanced by observing at large zenith angles and compare this to Rayleigh scattering models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2004
EventAdvancements in Adaptive Optics - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 21 2004Jun 25 2004


  • Adaptive optics
  • High contrast imaging
  • Pupil masks
  • Rayleigh laser guide stars
  • Seeing prediction

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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