Demonstration of Adaptive Optics for Resolved Imagery of Solar System Objects: Preliminary Results on Pallas and Titan

O. Saint-Pé, M. Combes, F. Rigaut, M. Tomasko, M. Fulchignoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The atmospheric turbulence, responsible for "seeing" effects, leads to severe limitations on the spatial resolution of groundbased optical telescopes. It is now feasible to efficiently compensate in real time for these detrimental effects by using adaptive optics in the near infrared. The impressive capabilities of this new method offer exciting opportunities for the observation of Solar System bodies that are small but resolvable by large telescopes reaching their diffraction limit. We report on observations of Pallas and Titan carried with the first operational adaptive optics system dedicated to astronomical observing, called "COME-ON" (based on data collected at ESO 3.6-m telescope on 01-08 January and 01-05 May, 1991). We briefly describe the system and summarize its current performance as well as that expected in the near future. Preliminary results obtained on minor planets and Titan, such as the shape of asteroids at different dates and features on Titan's disk, are presented. Future plans to study Solar System objects at the diffraction limit with the COME-ON instrument are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalIcarus
Volume105
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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