Astronomy Talk: Adaptive Optics for Telescopes Large and Small

This is a past event

35 people went

Houge Park

3972 Twilight Dr · San Jose, CA

How to find us

Bldg #1, near the parking lot

Location image of event venue


Come join us for our monthly Astronomy talk!

Many of SJAA’s events, like this one, are public and free to attend, but if you’re enjoying what SJAA has to offer, consider becoming a paid member for only $20 per year:

7:30pm to 8pm: Social time, come and mingle. We will have snacks and beverages.

Talk begins at 8pm.

Topic: Adaptive Optics for Telescopes Large and Small
Speaker: Professor Claire E. Max, UC Santa Cruz

In the past 20 years, adaptive optics (AO) technology to remove image blurring due to atmospheric turbulence has come a long way. In this talk I will describe the basic principles of AO and laser guide stars; a bit of AO history; its current status on 8-10m telescopes; and future plans. I will also discuss what AO can, and cannot, do to sharpen images on smaller telescopes (say a half meter or less). I'd like to hear whether anyone in the group has tried one of the amateur-level AO systems, and what their experience has been.

Brief Biography:
Claire Max is the Bachmann Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is Director of the University of California Observatories. She graduated from Radcliffe College (A.B.) and Princeton University (Ph.D.), and was a postdoc at UC Berkeley. Dr. Max was a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for many years, where she was the founding director LLNL's branch of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. At UCSC she was a founder and Director of the Center for Adaptive Optics, an NSF Science and Technology Center.

Dr. Max's current research interests include adaptive optics, laser guide stars, and their use for studies of nearby galaxy mergers and active galactic nuclei.

Dr. Max is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the California Academy of Sciences. She was recipient of the Ernest O. Lawrence Award in Physics by the US Department of Energy in 2004, the James Madison Medal of Princeton University in 2009, and the American Astronomical Society's Joseph Weber Award for Instrumentation in 2016. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the SPIE, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.