Palm-3000 on-sky results


Dekany, R. (1), Roberts, J. (2), Burruss, R. (2), Truong, T. (2), Palmer, D. (2), Guiwits, S. (2,1), Hale, D. (1), Angione, J. (2), Baranec, C. (1), Croner, E. (1), Davis, J. T. C. (1), Zolkower, J. (1), Henning, J. (1), McKenna, D. (1), and Bouchez, A. H. (1)


1 Caltech Optical Observatories, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

2 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109


PALM-3000, the second-generation facility adaptive optics system for the 5-meter telescope at Palomar Observatory, successfully obtained first high-order correction on sky on UT June 21, 2011. Within PALM-3000, low-order wavefront correction is applied with a Xinetics, Inc. 349 (241 active) actuator deformable mirror reused from the 1999 PALAO system. High-order correction is applied with a new Xinetics, Inc. 4,356 (3,388 active) actuator deformable mirror based upon a 6 x 6 array of 11 x 11 actuator Photonex modules. The system also uses a new CCD50-based Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor camera and a novel real-time computer based upon a bank of commercial GPU’s. Currently, the first of four planned wavefront sensor pupil sampling modes (N = 64 subapertures per pupil) has been tested, emphasizing early high-contrast exoplanet science with the PHARO coronagraphic imager and P1640 coronagraphic integral field spectrograph. We report on AO correction performance to date and our experience with the unique 66 x 66 actuator Xinetics, Inc. DM, as well as describe the PALM-3000 commissioning program and future plans.