Abstract

We have experimentally demonstrated for what is believed to be the first time a method for sensing wave-front tilt with a laser guide star (LGS). The tilt components of wave fronts were measured synchronously from the LGS by use of a telescope with a 0.75-m effective aperture and from the star Polaris by use of a 1.5-m telescope. The Rayleigh guide star was formed at an altitude of 6  km and at a corresponding range of 10.5  km by projection of a focused beam at Polaris from the full aperture at the 1.5-m telescope. Both telescope mounts were unpowered and bolted in place, allowing us to reduce substantially the telescope vibration. The maximum value of the measured cross-correlation coefficient between the tilt for Polaris and the LGS is 0.71. The variations of the measured cross-correlation coefficient in the range from 0.22 to 0.71 are caused by turbulence at altitudes above 6  km, which was not sampled by the laser beacon but affected tilt for Polaris, the cone effect for turbulence below 6  km, residual mount jitter of the telescopes, and variations of the signal/noise ratio. The results support our concept of sensing atmospheric tilt by observing a LGS with an auxiliary telescope and indicate that this method is a possible solution for the tip–tilt problem.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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