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Wavefront Sensing and Control 
The Palomar Adaptive Optics System, built by JPL, corrects for the atmospheric blur of astronomical targets caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. Science images are obtained using the High Angular Resolution Observer, designed and built by Cornell University
The Palomar Adaptive Optics System, built by JPL, corrects for the atmospheric blur of astronomical targets caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. Science images are obtained using the High Angular Resolution Observer, designed and built by Cornell University.
This image of
This image of "The Red Square" was made while studying a hot star known as MWC 922, located about 5000 light-years from Earth. The image combines adaptive optics data from the Palomar Hale Telescope and the Keck-2 Telescope. It was taken in near-infrared light (1.6 microns) and shows a region 30.8 arc seconds on a side around MWC 922.
The binary star IW Tau is revealed through adaptive optics. The stars have a 0.3 arc second separation. To make the corrections light passes through the Hale Telescope's light path and down to the Cassegrain focus where the adaptive optics instrument and the Palomar High Angular Resolution Observer camera is located
The binary star IW Tau is revealed through adaptive optics. The stars have a 0.3 arc second separation. To make the corrections light passes through the Hale Telescope's light path and down to the Cassegrain focus where the adaptive optics instrument and the Palomar High Angular Resolution Observer camera is located.

Wavefront sensing and control are the component-level technologies that power active and adaptive optical systems. As its name suggests, wavefront sensing provides a means of measuring and comparing the wavefront actually found within an optical system with the ideal. Wavefront sensing can also be employed as a means of fingerprinting an optical system, i.e. retrieving the system's nominal optical prescription as well as indicating the origins of observed aberrations. Wavefront control is the means by which inputs obtained from a wavefront sensing capability are transformed into changes in deformable or otherwise reconfigurable elements within an optical system, bringing the measured wavefront into closer conformance with the ideal.

Wavefront sensing and control have become key technology elements of all extremely high performance optical systems, including those used for stellar interferometry, high contrast imaging and adaptive and active optical systems.


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