Special Presentation: Christoph J. Baranec

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 3:00pm
    Franken Conference Room (Meinel 821)


    Robotic Laser Adaptive Optics

    Large area surveys will dominate the forthcoming decades of astronomy and their success requires characterizing thousands of discoveries through additional observations at higher spatial or spectral resolution, and at complementary cadences or periods. In June 2012, my team demonstrated the first fully automated operation of an astronomical adaptive optics system, Robo-AO, by observing 125 objects in succession with no human assistance. Efficiency has increased ever since, with a typical night comprising 200-250 automated observations at the visible diffraction limit of a 1.5-m telescope. We used Robo-AO to perform several of the largest number adaptive optics surveys ever, demonstrating the ability to address the follow-up needs of current and future large astronomical surveys. In parallel, we are taking advantage of the flexible Robo-AO architecture to pioneer new technologies for large telescopes (<1e- readnoise IR detectors, hybrid wavefront sensing), and observing methods for time-domain astronomy (rapid, high-sensitivity IR spectroscopy). Please see http://robo-ao.org for more information.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Christoph Baranec has a B.S. in astronomy from Caltech (’01) and a PhD. from UA OpSci (‘07). During graduate school, he helped build the first laser ground-layer adaptive optics system for the 6.5-m MMT. Baranec returned to Caltech in 2007 as a postdoc where he worked on the first purpose built extreme adaptive optics system, PALM-3000, and lead the design, development, and construction of the Robo-AO automated laser adaptive optics system (for which he was awarded a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in 2014). Baranec joined the faculty at the University of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy in 2013 where he is pushing the limits of adaptive optics technology to shorter wavelengths, wider fields, and greater sky coverage. He is currently developing an improved Robo-AO system for the University of Hawai'i 2.2-m telescope atop Maunakea, as well as demonstrating new adaptive optics technologies and techniques for larger telescope apertures.