Science with Adaptive Optics

Science with Adaptive Optics

An ESO Workshop

Garching near Munich (Germany), September 16-19, 2003

Three different orders of spatial scales resolved by AO (from top, counter-clockwise): a) VLT/NACO H&Ks composite colour image of the Arches cluster, b) Gemini/Hokupa'a H&K' composite colour image of the edge-on disk source HV Tau b, c) AO G-band image with the Swedish 1 m solar telescope of a Sun spot.

Get High Resolution Poster Image (jpg - 193 Kb)

Over the past ten years, the concept of adaptive optics has matured from early experimental stages to a standard observing tool now available at many large optical and near-infrared telescope facilities. Indeed, adaptive optics has become an integral part of all present and future large telescope initiatives, and will be essential in exploiting the full potential of the large optical interferometers currently under construction. Adaptive optics has been identified as one of the key technologies for astronomy in the 21st century.

Adaptive optics has already delivered exciting results covering areas from solar system astronomy (both the sun and the planetary system) over the star forming regions in the solar neighbourhood to Local Group galaxies and objects at cosmological distances. Recent highlights include:

  • Evolution of small scale structures on the solar surface
  • Discovery of binary asteroids and asteroids moons
  • High-resolution studies of circumstellar disks around young stars
  • Precise mass determination of the black hole in the Galactic Center
  • Spatially resolved studies of extragalactic stellar populations

Past meetings on astronomical adaptive optics have mostly focused on the technological aspects. The present meeting intends, for the first time, to bring together users of adaptive optics from all fields of astronomy to discuss the latest scientific results obtained with diverse adaptive optics systems and to exchange ideas on how to reduce and analyse such observations.

This ESO workshop aims also at educating the general astronomical community in Europe on the unique science potential of adaptive optics for all branches of astronomy. We want to bring together researchers working in many different areas of astronomy in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the utilisation of adaptive optics in astronomy. Synergy effects are expected from the comparison of different observing and data analysis strategies. The meeting will start with a brief introduction to adaptive optics theory and instrumentation, followed by observation and data reduction strategies. In a series of talks focusing on the latest results we will cover the topics high spatial resolution observations of the Sun and solar system objects, circumstellar disks, substellar companions, and starburst environments, evolved star, galaxy cores, galaxies and cosmological applications of adaptive optics, and science with future adaptive optics. Each talk includes time for discussion. Posters will be on display throughout the meeting, and can be discussed with the authors in a dedicated poster session.

Scientific Advisory Committee: Danielle Alloin (ESO, Chile), Laird Close (Steward Obs, USA), Tim Davidge (Herzberg Inst., Canada), Reinhard Genzel (MPE, Germany), Thomas Henning (MPIA, Germany), Christoph Keller (NSO Tucson, USA), Anne-Marie Lagrange (LAOG, France), Simon Morris (Durham, UK), Roberto Ragazzoni (Florence, Italy / MPIA), Francois Rigaut (Gemini, USA), Daniel Rouan (ODP Meudon, France), Hans Zinnecker (AIP, Germany)

Local Organising Committee: H. Bouy (ESO), W. Brandner (Chair, MPIA), M. Kasper (Chair, ESO), C. Stoffer (ESO), S. Vicente (ESO)

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