High-resolution mesospheric sodium observations for extremely large telescopes. Pfrommer, Thomas; Hickson, Paul
Variations in density structure and altitude of mesospheric sodium impact the performance of adaptive optics systems employing sodium laser guide stars. The associated wave-front errors grow as the square of the telescope aperture and will be very significant for the next generation of large-aperture ground-based optical/infrared telescopes. To support the adaptive optics program for the Thirty Meter Telescope and European Extremely Large Telescope, we are conducting a program of sodium monitoring using a high-resolution sodium lidar system on the 6-meter Large Zenith Telescope (LZT). Located at 49°N latitude, the LZT lidar system provides density profiles with spatial and temporal resolution sampling of 4.8 m and 20 ms. In this paper we report highlights of results obtained over two years of observations. Copyright 2010 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.
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