Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide astronomers with a qualitative concept of the image enhancement that can be accomplished through partial atmospheric compensation with active mirrors. Previously developed atmospheric theory is used to provide new insight into the scientific utility of suboptimal active-optical correction of images of extended objects. The images shown represent typical solar and stellar observations made under ordinary observatory seeing conditions. They illustrate that even a modest number of actuators can produce an image with essentially diffraction-limited resolution superimposed upon a background of scattered light. This simulation demonstrates that simple and affordable active mirrors can improve images obtained by large ground-based telescopes, and its suggests that this technology should be incorporated in the next generation of astronomical instruments.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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