Abstract

A solution to the problem of detecting the tip–tilt modes in multiconjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) with laser guide stars (LGS) is presented. This solution requires the presence of only a single relatively dim natural guide star (NGS) within the reconstructed field of view (FoV). The dim NGS is used for the reconstruction of the tip–tilt modes on the entire FoV, while the tomographic reconstruction of second-order and higher-order modes is made possible by having an LGS constellation with LGSs at different heights. Due to the relatively low brightness required for the tip–tilt NGS and the large corrected FoV (as compared with the case of conventional adaptive optics) the presented solution provides a means to achieve near-diffraction-limited performance of a 10-m-class telescope in the near infrared over a large portion of the sky. Sky coverage calculations assuming median seeing conditions indicate that this technique could be applied to 75% (95%) of the sky, achieving corrections with an average Strehl ratio 0.42(0.33) in the 2.2μm K band across the 1.5 reconstructed FoV.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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