Volume 618, October 2018
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||23 October 2018|
Letter to the Editor
Raman-scattered laser guide-star photons to monitor the scatter of astronomical telescope mirrors
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Av. Alonso de Córdova 3107, 763 0355 Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
2 European Southern Observatory (ESO), Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 University of Birmingham School of Physics and Astronomy, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
4 Instituto de Física y Astronomía, Universidad de Valparaíso, Avda. Gran Bretaña 1111, Valparaíso, Chile
Accepted: 28 September 2018
The first observations of laser guide-star photons that are Raman-scattered by air molecules above the Very Large Telescope (VLT) were reported in June 2017. The initial detection came from the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) optical integral field spectrograph, following the installation of the 4 Laser Guide Star Facility (4LGSF) on Unit Telescope 4 (UT4) of the VLT. In this Letter, we delve further into the symbiotic relationship between the 4LGSF laser guide-star system, the UT4 telescope, and MUSE by monitoring the spectral contamination of MUSE observations by Raman photons over a 27-month period. This dataset reveals that dust particles deposited on the primary and tertiary mirrors of UT4, which are responsible for a reflectivity loss of ∼8% at 6000 Å, contribute (60 ± 5)% to the laser line fluxes detected by MUSE. The flux of Raman lines, which contaminates scientific observations that are acquired with optical spectrographs, thus provides a new, non-invasive means to monitor the evolving scatter properties of the mirrors of astronomical telescopes that are equipped with laser guide-star systems.
Key words: molecular processes / scattering / atmospheric effects / instrumentation: adaptive optics / telescopes / instrumentation: spectrographs
© ESO 2018
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