Keck II telescope receives upgrade: AO system can no ‘see’ in infrared

  • The success of the Keck II telescope AO upgrade was most recently proven in May by Jason Wang, a Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellow at Caltech, when he and his team tested the new technology and captured remarkable direct images of the birth of a pair of giant exoplanets orbiting the star PDS 70. (J. Wang, Caltech/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Installation of the pyramid wavefront sensor and fiber injection unit on the Keck II AO bench. (Charlotte Bond/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Charlotte Bond (right) and Jacques Robert Delorme work on new camera at IfA’s Hilo facility. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • A direct image of PDS 70 protoplanets b and planet c (labeled with white arrows) with the circumstellar disk removed. The image was captured using Keck Observatory’s upgraded adaptive optics system on the Keck II telescope. (J. Wang, Caltech/Special to West Hawaii Today)

W. M. Keck Observatory can now provide adaptive optics (AO) correction using light from cosmic objects at wavelengths invisible to the naked eye. Near-infrared AO wavefront sensing, in addition to sensing in visible light, is a new capability on the Keck II telescope thanks to a major upgrade, which involves the installation of an innovative infrared pyramid wavefront sensor.