adaptive optics

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An optical design that can rapidly counteract the effects of atmospheric seeing on an image. This may be done by deforming a mirror in the light path of a telescope to keep a star's image as point-like as possible. The system may use as a reference a real star, or an artificial star produced by shining a laser up through the layers of air that are causing the bad seeing. Any extended objects in the field, such as galaxies, will also be sharpened. This technique can increase the resolution of a ground-based telescope by a factor of 40.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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