Steward Observatory

Founded in 1994, the mission of the Center is to support the advancement of astronomical science by providing the means by which to exploit observations at very high resolutions. The Center demonstrates this focus through its current activities and plans for state-of-the-art adaptive optics systems and related technologies for the many large telescope projects of Steward Observatory, in cooperation with partners from elsewhere on campus, across the country, and around the world. These devices significantly reduce the main limitation of ground-based telescopes, the severe reduction of image quality that results from turbulence in Earth's atmosphere. Operating at near-infrared wavelengths, the Center's AO systems allow imaging and spectroscopy at the limit of resolution of optical diffraction. These advances in astronomers' abilities to view the heavens represent the biggest leap in astronomical technology since the invention of the telescope itself.

Currently, the Center explores and implements a broad range of instrumental and analytical techniques for both ground- and space-based observations. Adaptive Optics systems are not the Center's end products; the enhancement of astronomical science that comes from Adaptive Optics and AO-enabled techniques is an ultimate CAAO goal. This requires of the Center parallel development of both ancillary instrumentation and data reduction capabilities, as well as the invention of new observational techniques, especially space-based techniques for the detection of exo-Earths.


Events of Interest

Monthly Observer's Lunch

Schedule to be Announced

Funding Opportunities

NASA: Space Technologies Roadmap Exec Summary due October 1, 2011


NASA: Innovative Advanced Concepts NOI due March 29, 2011


NASA: Technology Demonstration Missions Proposals due May 31, 2011


Letter from SARA (NASA Senior Advisor for Research and Analysis) August 2, 2010

SARA Letter online

Upcoming Meetings and Events

AAS Spring Meeting May 22 - 26, 2011, Boston, MA

AAS Website

Steward/NOAO Colloquium

Thursdays at 4:00 PM
Steward Observatory Room N210

Joint Colloquium Series Website

Link to Upcoming Talks Schedule

Theoretical Astrophysics Colloquium

Mondays at 4:00 p.m.
Kuiper Space Sciences Room 308

Link to Schedule

Public Evenings

Mondays at 7:30 PM Steward Observatory Room N210

Full Public Evening Schedule

Mirror Lab Tours

Astronomy Camp

Learn more about the 2010 Astronomy Camp:

In the News

VisAO Website

July 26, 2011

Magellan AO Achieves high Strehl in the visible.

Professor Laird Close and his team have achieved excellent AO images in the visible (55% Strehls at i' --765 nm)) in the test tower in Italy with the MagAO system running in full 800Hz closed loop (400 modes) on R=8 star in 0.8" seeing (V band) and in simulated 33 mph winds. "This is an excellent level of correction, and suggests that MagAO will be a very powerful AO system" says Close. Close thanks his graduates students Jared Males and Derek Kopon and the whole Arcetri and Microgate AO teams for helping achieve these great results in Italy.

VisAO Website

May 22, 2011

LBTI LMIRCam Imaging Channel demonstrated on Large Binocular Telescope.

Professor Hinz and his team successfully completed the first commissioning nights using the 3-5Ám imaging channel of the LBTI. The image above is Alpha Corona Borialis. The system achieved ~95% Strehl in M-band.


November 14, 2010

LBTI premieres on Large Binocular Telescope

Professor Phil Hinz and his team successfully acquired the first light, first fringes, and first AO correct images with the LBT Interferometer.
Read the blog

Beta Pictoris

October 14, 2010

Apodized Phase Plate (APP) premieres on VLT

UA astronomers have developed a way to see faint planets previously hidden in their star's glare. The new mode enables scientists to search for planets closer to the star than has been previously possible.
Read the article

GJ 758

September 3, 2010

Philip Hinz Appointed CAAO Director

Professor Philip Hinz has been designated the next Center Director. Founding Director, Roger Angel is stepping down to pursue his research focus of developing cheap solar energy. Philip Hinz is a long-time colleague of Angel's and contributor to CAAO research. Hinz presently leads the LBT Interferometer project as well as the GMT Adaptive Optics development and GMT instrumentation development.

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