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Phase Correction for ALMA: Adaptive Optics in the Submillimetre

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Inhomogeneities in the Earth’s atmosphere corrupt the wavefront of incoming submillimetre radiation and, similarly to the seeing at optical wavelengths, this limits the resolution and sensitivity of submillimetre aperture synthesis arrays. ALMA will correct for these wavefront errors by a combination of frequent observations of known nearby point sources (predominately quasars) and by measuring the properties of the atmosphere along the line of sight of each telescope using dedicated 183 GHz radiometers. These techniques are critical for enabling ALMA ’s goal of resolution as fine as 0.005 arc-seconds.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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