In recent years, there have been a series of proposals to exploit the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of light for astronomical applications. The OAM of light potentially represents a new way in which to probe the universe. The study of this property of light entails the development of new instrumentation and problems which must be addressed. One of the key issues is whether we can overcome the loss of the information carried by OAM due to atmospheric turbulence. We experimentally analyze the effect of atmospheric turbulence on the OAM content of a signal over a range of realistic turbulence strengths typical for astronomical observations. With an adaptive optics system we are able to recover up to 89% power in an initial non-zero OAM mode (ℓ = 1) at low turbulence strengths (0.30" FWHM seeing). However, for poorer seeing conditions (1.1" FWHM seeing), the amount of power recovered is significantly lower (5%), showing that for the terrestrial detection of astronomical OAM, a careful design of the adaptive optics system is needed.