The scientific exploitation of adaptive optics (AO) with natural guide stars is severely constrained by the limited presence of bright guide stars for wavefront sensing. Use of a laser beam as an alternative means to provide a source for wavefront sensing has the potential of drastically improving the sky coverage for AO. For this reason at the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope a project was started to develop a Rayleigh laser beacon to work together with the existing NAOMI adaptive optics instrumentation and the OASIS integral field spectrograph. This paper presents the rationale for this development, highlights some of the technical aspects, and gives some expected performance measures.
- Adaptive optics
- Rayleigh laser guide stars