On-sky demonstration of a fluid atmospheric dispersion corrector

J. Zheng*, W. Saunders, J. S. Lawrence, S. Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The first on-sky demonstration of a fluid atmospheric dispersion corrector (FADC) is presented using the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The atmospheric dispersion correction was observed with a three-colour CCD camera at the telescope's Cassegrain focus. The FADC contains a pair of immiscible fluids in a small glass container placed very close to the telescope focal plane. A pair of fluid prisms is formed and the apex of the two prisms varies with telescope zenith angle because of gravity. Three chemicals were identified and tested for this purpose. We experimentally measured the FADC dispersion properties versus zenith angle and it is shown that its dispersion follows the tan(Z) law. We have been able to observe 6 stars at different zenith angles and show that the FADC can correct atmospheric dispersion up to 1″ at a zenith angle of 52° across the visible spectral range of 400-700 nm. It is demonstrated that an FADC can function as a passive atmospheric dispersion corrector without any moving parts. Our on-sky measurement results show excellent agreement with the optical ray-tracing model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number924
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


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