NewsFRONTIERS IN OPTICS

Technique for Unblurring the Stars Comes of Age

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Science  19 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5444, pp. 1504-1506
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5444.1504

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Summary

Astronomers are undoing the effects of atmospheric turbulence with adaptive optics, a technology that measures the changing distortions in light waves and compensates for them by flexing a deformable mirror in the light path. The technique is expanding its reach to fainter stars and larger swaths of sky and could ultimately allow ground-based telescopes to disregard the atmosphere. The results are already starting to make headlines in the scientific literature.