Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (GeMS) Laser Guide Star Facility Commissioning Results
Celine d’Orgeville et al.
The engineering and science commissioning phase of the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (Gemini MCAO a.k.a. GeMS) project was kicked off in January 2011 when the Gemini South Laser Guide Star Facility (GS LGSF) propagated its 50W laser on the sky above the summit of Cerro Pachón, Chile. With 3 deformable mirrors, 3 Natural Guide Stars (NGS) and 5 sodium Laser Guide Stars (LGS), GeMS will be the first facility-class MCAO capability to be offered for normal science observations world-wide starting in 2012. This presentation will focus on the LGSF-side of the project and provide an overview of the LGSF subsystems, their top-level specifications, design, integration with the telescope, and current on-sky performance. Subsystems of the GS LGSF include a diode-pumped solid-state 1.06+1.32 micron sum-frequency laser producing over 50W of output power at the sodium wavelength (589nm), Beam Transfer Optics (BTO) that transport the 50W beam up the telescope, split the beam five-ways and configure the five 10W beams for projection by the Laser Launch Telescope (LLT) located behind the Gemini South 8m telescope secondary mirror, and a variety of safety systems to ensure safe laser operations for observatory personnel and equipment, neighbor observatories, as well as passing aircrafts and satellites.