Marcus is currently a pre-engineering student enrolled at Kauai Community College and is an officer of the electronics club. Marcus has also worked on a research project with the Hawaii Space Flight Lab in addition to tutoring his classmates in electronics, physics and calculus. Marcus has received his technician’s class amateur ham radio license and will be studying to take the general class licensing test in February.
Home Island: Kauai
Institute when accepted: Kauai Community College
Keck II Laser Guide-Star Adaptive Optics:
Integration of a Center Launch System
Project Site: W.M. Keck Observatory
Mentors: Jason Chin, Ed Wetherell & Rachel Rampy
With the advent of adaptive optics, ground-based astronomical observation gained the ability to generate images with comparable quality to satellite-based images of extraterrestrial sources. Adaptive optics systems require the use of a naturally bright guide star to make real-time wavefront measurements, which vary rapidly due to atmospheric aberrations. A deformable mirror is manipulated to compensate for the aberrations. Due to the limited availability of naturally bright guide stars, the development of artificially induced laser guide stars (LGS) was inspired to increase the effective sky-area accessible to astronomical observation using adaptive optics. The Keck II telescope currently operates a side-launched LGS. Due to its placement along the side of the telescope aperture, the introduction of elongation to the propagated beam relative to the plane of observation becomes a compromising element, which is currently one of the primary limitations to optimizing wave front sensing. To rectify this corruptive element, the Keck II telescope will be modified to accommodate a center-launch system (CLS), which will propagate outward from behind the secondary mirror, along the central axis of the telescope. The design and integration plans for the CLS modification have been finalized, and the integration process is in the initial stages. A primary parameter guiding the integration effort is defined by the efforts to align the beam from its source to its point-of-departure from the telescope. We will discuss the procedures and results of the attempts to quantify the parameters affecting the beam alignment, with the purpose of providing an alignment model that will become part of a template for the final implementation and operation of the CLS.