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Sharpening the View
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Sharpening the View

June 30, 2010
Sharpening the View Blurred and sharpened images demonstrate the clarity added by high-order adaptive optics (AO) of the Dunn Solar Telescope at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Sunspot, N.M. The AO system measures distortions in the incoming wavefront, 2,000 times a second, and deforms a thin-wall mirror 130 times a second, to a shape that it basically the reverse of the atmosphere's "rubber lens." This compensates for most of the blurring caused by the atmosphere and lets the Dunn operate at its theoretical limit, seven times sharper (0".14, corrected, compared to 1".0, uncorrected). Success with this project has paved the way for NSO to design and propose the NSF-funded 4-meter Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, the world's largest optical solar telescope. (Date of Image: unknown)


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