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Laser Pointing Camera: a valuable tool for the LGS-AO operations

  • Author(s): Centrone, Mauro
  • Bonaccini Calia, Domenico
  • Pedichini, Fernando
  • Cerruto, Antonio
  • Ricciardi, Andrea
  • Ambrosino, Filippo
  • et al.
Abstract

Every observatory using LGS-AO routinely has the experience of the long time needed to bring and acquire the laser guide star in the wavefront sensor field of view. This is mostly due to the difficulty of creating LGS pointing models, because of the opto-mechanical flexures and hysteresis in the launch and receiver telescope structures.The launch telescopes are normally sitting on the mechanical structure of the larger receiver telescope. The LGS acquisition time is even longer in case of multiple LGS systems. In this framework the optimization of the LGS systems absolute pointing accuracy is relevant to boost the time efficiency of both science and technical observations.In this paper we describe the design and functionalities of the Laser Pointing Camera (LPC)3, developed at OAR for the 4LGSF of the ESO Adaptive Optics Facility. The LPC allows to have a fast pointing of the multiple LGS on the AO WFS during the initial acquisition phase of the telescope preset, thus reducing considerably the overheads currently experienced in most LGS-AO systems in operation.By recognizing via astrometric software the field stars as well as the multiple LGS, LPC is insensitive to flexures of the laser launch telescope or of the receiver telescope opto-mechanics. Moreover, LPC gives regularly the photometry and fwhm of the LGS, as well as the scattering of the uplink beams at the height of 10-15km, thus monitoring the presence and evolution of cirrus clouds. We present the first Commissioning results of the Laser Pointing Camera, obtained at the ESO VLT during the 4LGSF first Laser Guide Star Unit Commissioning, and will discuss its possible extension for the ELT operations.

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