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A Sharper Image: Adaptive Optics and Laser Guide Stars for Astronomy and Biology Applications

About this event

Claire E. Max
Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz
Director, Center for Adaptive Optics
University of California Observatories

Adaptive Optics is a technology that detects and corrects changing distortions in optical systems. It has been applied to great effect during the past decade for correcting astronomical telescopes for blurring due to turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere, and for imaging the living human retina. This talk will describe the history of Adaptive Optics (AO) and laser guide stars, give a status report on their current technology, and describe some scientific highlights: close-up views of black holes in colliding galaxies, and imaging of three dimensional structures in the living human retina. The talk will conclude with a view of future technological developments and new scientific applications in cell biology. Key areas of this work were sponsored by the Center for Adaptive Optics, an NSF Science and Technology Center.