Design and expected performance of an MCAO system for the giant Magellan telescope

N. Mark Milton, Michael Lloyd-Hart, Andrew Cheng, James A. Georges, J. Roger Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Adaptive optics will play a crucial role in achieving the full potential of the next generation of large diameter telescopes. In this paper, we present an optical design for a multi-conjugate adaptive optics system for the Giant Magellan Telescope, a 25.7 m telescope with a primary mirror consisting of seven 8.4 m segments. The tri-conjugate MCAO optics is based on adaptive secondary technology developed for the MMT telescope and incorporates dynamic refocus optics for the laser guide star wavefront sensors. We use the results of analytic (non-Monte-Carlo) numerical simulations to determine the optimal configuration of deformable mirrors as well as laser and natural guide stars. The simulation results are extended to include and quantify the effects of wavefront sensor and control loop delay noise as well as dynamic refocus and fitting error on the expected system performance and sky coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-249
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventAstronomical Adaptive Optics Systems and Applications - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2003Aug 4 2003


  • Adaptive optics
  • Extremely large telescopes
  • Multi-conjugate adaptive optics
  • Numerical simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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