Abstract

We present a new technique for the correction of atmospheric distortion in telescope images. Most of this distortion arises from a random phase variation of the incoming light across the telescope aperture. This variation limits the resolving power of even large telescopes to about one arc second. If the sharpness of the images is defined in a suitable way, this sharpness is maximized only when the phase distortion of the incoming light is zero. We present computer simulations of a simple feedback system in which active optical elements, set to maximize the sharpness, correct most of the atmospheric distortion. Photon statistics set the limiting magnitude of the object for which a practical feedback system can work. Details in a sixth magnitude object smaller than 0.1 sec of arc should be resolvable. The system can be conveniently employed within existing telescopes.

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  1. Isaac Newton, Opticks, Book I, Part I, Prop VIII, Prob. II (1730) (Dover, New York, 1952).
  2. D. Kelsall, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 1472 (1973).
  3. R. E. Danielson, High Resolution Imagery with the Large Space Telescope, Astronomy from a Space Platform, Vol. 28 in the Science and Technology series (American Astronautical Society, Tarzana, Calif., 1972), p. 197.
  4. A. A. Michelson and F. G. Pease, Astrophys. J. 53, 249 (1921).
  5. R. Hanbury Brown and R. Q. Twiss, Nature 178, 1046 (1956); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 199 (1958); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 222 (1958).
  6. A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 6, 85 (1970); D. Gezari, A. Labeyrie, and R. Stacknik, Astrophys. J. 173, L1 (1972).
  7. W. T. Rhodes and J. W. Goodman, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 647 (1973).
  8. Restoration of Atmospherically Degraded Images, Woods Hole Summer Study (National Academy of Science, Washington D. C., 1966).
  9. A. D. Code, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 11, 239 (1973).
  10. W. A. Baum, D. M. Busby, and T. V. Pettauer, Photo-Electronic Image Devices, Vol. 33B, Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics (Academic, New York, 1972), p. 781; R. B. Leighton, Sci. Am. 194, (6), 156 (1956).
  11. H. W. Babcock, Publ. Astron. Sci. Pac. 65, 229 (1953); H. W. Babcock, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 48, 500 (1958).
  12. I. G. Kolchinskii, in Optical Instability of the Earth's Atmosphere, edited by N. I. Kucherov (Moscow, 1965), p. 7. Translated by Z. Lerman (1966), Israel Program for Scientific Translation (IPST), Cat. No. 1822.
  13. P. A. Button, M. F. Reusch, B. Sage, and D. Duke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1550A (1970).
  14. R. E. Hufnagel and N. R. Stanley, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 54, 52 (1964); R. E. Hufnagel, Appendix 3, Vol. 2 of Ref. 8.
  15. D. L. Fried, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1372 (1966). Also D. L. Fried, Proc. IEEE 55, 57 (1967).
  16. J. L. Bufton, P. O. Minott, and M. W. Fitzmaurice, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 1068 (1972); also A. Labeyrie, private communication.
  17. W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).
  18. H. F. Wischina, in Ref. 3, p. 347.
  19. E. H. Linfoot, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 46, 740 (1956).
  20. See, for example, Optical Spectra, p. 46 (October 1973).
  21. Can be calculated from the quantities given on p. 191, C. W. Allen, Astrophysical Quantities, 2nd ed. (Oxford U. P., New York, 1964).
  22. F. J. Dyson, private communication.
  23. Multiple-image systems have been suggested to us by Jack Franck and Freeman Dyson (private communication).
  24. H. A. Hill and C. A. Zanoni, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1655 (1966).
  25. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 3rd ed. (Pergamon, New York, 1965), p. 380.

Allen, C. W.

Can be calculated from the quantities given on p. 191, C. W. Allen, Astrophysical Quantities, 2nd ed. (Oxford U. P., New York, 1964).

Babcock, H. W.

H. W. Babcock, Publ. Astron. Sci. Pac. 65, 229 (1953); H. W. Babcock, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 48, 500 (1958).

Baum, W. A.

W. A. Baum, D. M. Busby, and T. V. Pettauer, Photo-Electronic Image Devices, Vol. 33B, Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics (Academic, New York, 1972), p. 781; R. B. Leighton, Sci. Am. 194, (6), 156 (1956).

Born, M.

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 3rd ed. (Pergamon, New York, 1965), p. 380.

Bridges, W. B.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

Brown, R. Hanbury

R. Hanbury Brown and R. Q. Twiss, Nature 178, 1046 (1956); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 199 (1958); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 222 (1958).

Brown, Jr., W. P.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

Brunner, P. T.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

Bufton, J. L.

J. L. Bufton, P. O. Minott, and M. W. Fitzmaurice, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 1068 (1972); also A. Labeyrie, private communication.

Busby, D. M.

W. A. Baum, D. M. Busby, and T. V. Pettauer, Photo-Electronic Image Devices, Vol. 33B, Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics (Academic, New York, 1972), p. 781; R. B. Leighton, Sci. Am. 194, (6), 156 (1956).

Button, P. A.

P. A. Button, M. F. Reusch, B. Sage, and D. Duke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1550A (1970).

Code, A. D.

A. D. Code, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 11, 239 (1973).

Danielson, R. E.

R. E. Danielson, High Resolution Imagery with the Large Space Telescope, Astronomy from a Space Platform, Vol. 28 in the Science and Technology series (American Astronautical Society, Tarzana, Calif., 1972), p. 197.

Duke, D.

P. A. Button, M. F. Reusch, B. Sage, and D. Duke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1550A (1970).

Dyson, F. J.

F. J. Dyson, private communication.

Dyson, Freeman

Multiple-image systems have been suggested to us by Jack Franck and Freeman Dyson (private communication).

Fitzmaurice, M. W.

J. L. Bufton, P. O. Minott, and M. W. Fitzmaurice, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 1068 (1972); also A. Labeyrie, private communication.

Franck, Jack

Multiple-image systems have been suggested to us by Jack Franck and Freeman Dyson (private communication).

Fried, D. L.

D. L. Fried, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1372 (1966). Also D. L. Fried, Proc. IEEE 55, 57 (1967).

Goodman, J. W.

W. T. Rhodes and J. W. Goodman, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 647 (1973).

Hill, H. A.

H. A. Hill and C. A. Zanoni, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1655 (1966).

Hufnagel, R. E.

R. E. Hufnagel and N. R. Stanley, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 54, 52 (1964); R. E. Hufnagel, Appendix 3, Vol. 2 of Ref. 8.

Kelsall, D.

D. Kelsall, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 1472 (1973).

Kolchinskii, I. G.

I. G. Kolchinskii, in Optical Instability of the Earth's Atmosphere, edited by N. I. Kucherov (Moscow, 1965), p. 7. Translated by Z. Lerman (1966), Israel Program for Scientific Translation (IPST), Cat. No. 1822.

Labeyrie, A.

A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 6, 85 (1970); D. Gezari, A. Labeyrie, and R. Stacknik, Astrophys. J. 173, L1 (1972).

Lazzara, S. P.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

Linfoot, E. H.

E. H. Linfoot, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 46, 740 (1956).

Michelson, A. A.

A. A. Michelson and F. G. Pease, Astrophys. J. 53, 249 (1921).

Minott, P. O.

J. L. Bufton, P. O. Minott, and M. W. Fitzmaurice, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 1068 (1972); also A. Labeyrie, private communication.

Newton, Isaac

Isaac Newton, Opticks, Book I, Part I, Prop VIII, Prob. II (1730) (Dover, New York, 1952).

Nussmeier, T. A.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

O’Meara, T. R.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

Pease, F. G.

A. A. Michelson and F. G. Pease, Astrophys. J. 53, 249 (1921).

Pettauer, T. V.

W. A. Baum, D. M. Busby, and T. V. Pettauer, Photo-Electronic Image Devices, Vol. 33B, Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics (Academic, New York, 1972), p. 781; R. B. Leighton, Sci. Am. 194, (6), 156 (1956).

Reusch, M. F.

P. A. Button, M. F. Reusch, B. Sage, and D. Duke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1550A (1970).

Rhodes, W. T.

W. T. Rhodes and J. W. Goodman, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 647 (1973).

Sage, B.

P. A. Button, M. F. Reusch, B. Sage, and D. Duke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1550A (1970).

Sanguinet, J. A.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

Stanley, N. R.

R. E. Hufnagel and N. R. Stanley, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 54, 52 (1964); R. E. Hufnagel, Appendix 3, Vol. 2 of Ref. 8.

Twiss, R. Q.

R. Hanbury Brown and R. Q. Twiss, Nature 178, 1046 (1956); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 199 (1958); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 222 (1958).

Wischina, H. F.

H. F. Wischina, in Ref. 3, p. 347.

Wolf, E.

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 3rd ed. (Pergamon, New York, 1965), p. 380.

Zanoni, C. A.

H. A. Hill and C. A. Zanoni, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1655 (1966).

Other (25)

Isaac Newton, Opticks, Book I, Part I, Prop VIII, Prob. II (1730) (Dover, New York, 1952).

D. Kelsall, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 1472 (1973).

R. E. Danielson, High Resolution Imagery with the Large Space Telescope, Astronomy from a Space Platform, Vol. 28 in the Science and Technology series (American Astronautical Society, Tarzana, Calif., 1972), p. 197.

A. A. Michelson and F. G. Pease, Astrophys. J. 53, 249 (1921).

R. Hanbury Brown and R. Q. Twiss, Nature 178, 1046 (1956); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 199 (1958); Proc. R. Soc. (Lond.) A248, 222 (1958).

A. Labeyrie, Astron. Astrophys. 6, 85 (1970); D. Gezari, A. Labeyrie, and R. Stacknik, Astrophys. J. 173, L1 (1972).

W. T. Rhodes and J. W. Goodman, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 63, 647 (1973).

Restoration of Atmospherically Degraded Images, Woods Hole Summer Study (National Academy of Science, Washington D. C., 1966).

A. D. Code, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 11, 239 (1973).

W. A. Baum, D. M. Busby, and T. V. Pettauer, Photo-Electronic Image Devices, Vol. 33B, Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics (Academic, New York, 1972), p. 781; R. B. Leighton, Sci. Am. 194, (6), 156 (1956).

H. W. Babcock, Publ. Astron. Sci. Pac. 65, 229 (1953); H. W. Babcock, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 48, 500 (1958).

I. G. Kolchinskii, in Optical Instability of the Earth's Atmosphere, edited by N. I. Kucherov (Moscow, 1965), p. 7. Translated by Z. Lerman (1966), Israel Program for Scientific Translation (IPST), Cat. No. 1822.

P. A. Button, M. F. Reusch, B. Sage, and D. Duke, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 60, 1550A (1970).

R. E. Hufnagel and N. R. Stanley, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 54, 52 (1964); R. E. Hufnagel, Appendix 3, Vol. 2 of Ref. 8.

D. L. Fried, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1372 (1966). Also D. L. Fried, Proc. IEEE 55, 57 (1967).

J. L. Bufton, P. O. Minott, and M. W. Fitzmaurice, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62, 1068 (1972); also A. Labeyrie, private communication.

W. B. Bridges, P. T. Brunner, S. P. Lazzara, T. A. Nussmeier, T. R. O'Meara, J. A. Sanguinet, and W. P. Brown, Jr., Appl. Opt. 13, 291 (1974).

H. F. Wischina, in Ref. 3, p. 347.

E. H. Linfoot, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 46, 740 (1956).

See, for example, Optical Spectra, p. 46 (October 1973).

Can be calculated from the quantities given on p. 191, C. W. Allen, Astrophysical Quantities, 2nd ed. (Oxford U. P., New York, 1964).

F. J. Dyson, private communication.

Multiple-image systems have been suggested to us by Jack Franck and Freeman Dyson (private communication).

H. A. Hill and C. A. Zanoni, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 1655 (1966).

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 3rd ed. (Pergamon, New York, 1965), p. 380.

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