Daniel Contreras ’13 sits at the control computer in the Adaptive Optics lab

Daniel Contreras ’13 sits at the control computer in the Adaptive Optics lab

The KAPAO (KAPAO: A Pomona Adaptive Optics) project is an ongoing instrumentation effort to develop and deploy a low-cost, remote-access, natural guide star adaptive optics system for the Pomona College Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) 1-m telescope. When completed, the system will offer simultaneous dual-band, diffraction-limited imaging at visible and near-infrared wavelengths and will deliver an order of magnitude improvement in point source sensitivity and angular resolution relative to the current seeing limit.

Adaptive Optics lab
Adaptive Optics lab

The primary scientific objectives for developing AO capabilities on our 1-meter telescope are: (1) To enhance our ongoing TMO science programs with a factor of 5-10 improvement in image resolution and open up new avenues of research and new collaborations that will maximally benefit from high resolution monitoring capabilities. (2) To serve as an on-sky testbed for advancing new wavefront sensing technologies such as pyramid wavefront sensing, spatial filtered wavefront sensors and Fourier-based reconstructors.

KAPAO is a collaborative effort between Pomona College, Sonoma State University, Caltech and Harvey Mudd College.

Senior Theses

  • Advancing Adaptive Optics for the KAPAO Instrument, Alex Rudy ’11
  • Building KAPAO-Alpha: A Prototype Adaptive Optics Instrument for Pomona College’s 1-meter Telescope at Table Mountain Observatory, Will Morrison ’12

Recent Presentations

  • KAPAO: A Natural Guide Star Adaptive Optics System for Small Aperture Telescopes
  • KAPAO-Alpha: A Prototype Low-Cost Adaptive Optics System for Small Aperture Telescopes