Multiwavelength active-optics Shack-Hartmann sensor for monitoring seeing and turbulence outer scale
Laboratoire Lagrange, UMR 7293, Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Bd. de l’Observatoire, 06304 Nice, France
Received: 26 June 2014
Accepted: 21 August 2014
Context. Real-time seeing and outer-scale estimation at the location of the focus of a telescope is fundamental for predicting the adaptive-optics system’s dimensioning and performance, as well as for the operational aspects of instruments.
Aims. This study attempts to take advantage of multiwavelength long-exposure images to instantaneously and simultaneously derive the turbulence outer scale and seeing from the full width at half maximum (FWHM) of seeing-limited images taken at the focus of a telescope. These atmospheric parameters are commonly measured in most observatories by different methods located away from the telescope platform, thus differing from the effective estimates at the focus of a telescope, mainly because of differences in pointing orientation, height above the ground, or local seeing bias (dome contribution).
Methods. Long-exposure images can either be provided directly by any multiwavelength scientific imager or spectrograph or, alternatively from a modified active-optics Shack-Hartmann sensor (AOSH). From measuring the AOSH sensor spot point spread function FWHMs simultaneously at different wavelengths, one can estimate the instantaneous outer scale in addition to seeing.
Results. Multiwavelength long-exposure images provide access to accurate estimates of r0 and L0 by adequate means as long as precise FWHMs can be obtained. Although AOSH sensors are specified to measure not spot sizes but slopes, real-time r0, and L0 measurements from spot FWHMs can be obtained at the critical location where they are needed with major advantages over scientific instrument images: insensitivity to the telescope field stabilization, and continuous availability.
Conclusions. Assuming an alternative optical design that allows simultaneous multiwavelength images, the AOSH sensor benefits from all the advantages of real-time seeing and outer scale monitoring. With the substantial interest in the design of extremely large telescopes, such a system could be of considerable importance.
Key words: atmospheric effects / instrumentation: adaptive optics / site testing / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2014