Next generation MCAO systems for large aperture solar telescopes

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Large aperture ground-based solar telescopes address key science questions that are at the heart of the UK (and international) Solar Physics community's research programmes in solar dynamos, magnetic flux emergence, energy transport and magnetically-driven activity; the process that underpin space weather. They will provide revolutionary advances through their unprecedented spatial, spectra and temporal resolution, coupled with high spectro-polarimetric accuracy, enabling unprecedented studies of fundamental processes in the solar atmosphere.

Multiple Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) is a technology that will enable these telescopes to deliver the highest spatial resolution images of the surface of the Sun across fields of view up to an arcminute in diameter. However, the performance requirements imposed by the visible wavelength operation in strong daytime turbulence conditions are far more stringent than for equivalent night-time observing and the challenges of meeting the required spatial and temporal resolutions push the boundaries of current camera technologies and data management. This proposal investigates some of the key issues that will support the existing wide-field AO instrumentation development programs at the Daniel K Inouye solar telescope (DKIST) and the European Solar Telescope (EST) with a strong focus on enhancing scientific productivity. Alongside the AO aspects that are critical to achieving the highest spatial resolutions we also address the related questions of filter and camera design that are also required to meet the highest spatial and temporal scales, and the corresponding challenge of managing the associate data volumes. The proposal has been designed to target research topics that are currently not being investigated in depth by the EST and DKIST teams where the UK has world-leading research teams.

Publications

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