MagAO: Status and on-sky performance of the Magellan adaptive optics system

Katie M. Morzinski, Laird M. Close, Jared R. Males, Derek Kopon, Phil M. Hinz, Simone Esposito, Armando Riccardi, Alfio Puglisi, Enrico Pinna, Runa Briguglio, Marco Xompero, Fernando Quirós-Pacheco, Vanessa Bailey, Katherine B. Follette, T. J. Rodigas, Ya Lin Wu, Carmelo Arcidiacono, Javier Argomedo, Lorenzo Busoni, Tyson HareAlan Uomoto, Alycia Weinberger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

40 Scopus citations


MagAO is the new adaptive optics system with visible-light and infrared science cameras, located on the 6.5-m Magellan "Clay" telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. The instrument locks on natural guide stars (NGS) from 0th to 16th R-band magnitude, measures turbulence with a modulating pyramid wavefront sensor binnable from 28×28 to 7×7 subapertures, and uses a 585-actuator adaptive secondary mirror (ASM) to provide at wavefronts to the two science cameras. MagAO is a mutated clone of the similar AO systems at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) at Mt. Graham, Arizona. The high-level AO loop controls up to 378 modes and operates at frame rates up to 1000 Hz. The instrument has two science cameras: VisAO operating from 0.5-1μm and Clio2 operating from 1-5 μm. MagAO was installed in 2012 and successfully completed two commissioning runs in 2012-2013. In April 2014 we had our first science run that was open to the general Magellan community. Observers from Arizona, Carnegie, Australia, Harvard, MIT, Michigan, and Chile took observations in collaboration with the MagAO instrument team. Here we describe the MagAO instrument, describe our on-sky performance, and report our status as of summer 2014.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems IV
EditorsJean-Pierre Veran, Enrico Marchetti, Laird M. Close
ISBN (Electronic)9780819496164
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
EventAdaptive Optics Systems IV - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jun 22 2014Jun 27 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherAdaptive Optics Systems IV


  • ExAO
  • Exoplanet
  • Extrasolar planet
  • Extreme adaptive optics
  • Instrumen- tation
  • MagAO
  • Magellan adaptive optics
  • Visible-light AO

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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  • Cite this

    Morzinski, K. M., Close, L. M., Males, J. R., Kopon, D., Hinz, P. M., Esposito, S., Riccardi, A., Puglisi, A., Pinna, E., Briguglio, R., Xompero, M., Quirós-Pacheco, F., Bailey, V., Follette, K. B., Rodigas, T. J., Wu, Y. L., Arcidiacono, C., Argomedo, J., Busoni, L., ... Weinberger, A. (2014). MagAO: Status and on-sky performance of the Magellan adaptive optics system. In J-P. Veran, E. Marchetti, & L. M. Close (Eds.), Adaptive Optics Systems IV [914804] (Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; Vol. 9148). SPIE.