The objective of this project is to equip the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and its Adaptive Optics System (GTCAO) with a Diagnostic system for its Laser Guide Star (LGS) and drastically increase the capacity of the telescope to do high spatial resolution science.
GTC is a Spanish Special Scientific-Technical Installation (ICTS), developed with the ability to perform scientific observations of high spatial resolution.
The GTCAO system allows exploiting this high spatial resolution of GTC, but its sky coverage is reduced, its use is limited to the regions of the sky where there are bright stars that can be used to measure and correct the effect of atmospheric turbulence. The LGS will tremendously expand the sky coverage of the GTCAO system, generating an artificial laser star that will be used to measure and correct atmospheric turbulence, and will enable scientific observations with high spatial resolution in almost any area the sky.
The LGS needs a Launch Telescope (TL) of small diameter but with excellent optical quality and high thermal stability.
The TL is in charge of expanding the laser beam and projecting it into the atmosphere, to optimize its propagation through the turbulence and to generate at 90 km of height the highest quality artificial star. With this TL are considerably extended the observation capabilities of the FRIDA instrument and of future instruments for GTC.
The Adaptive Optics (AO) for the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) corrects the effect of the atmospheric turbulence on the light, to exploit the high spatial resolution capability of GTC. The Laser Guide Star (LGS) extends the coverage of GTCAO to any part of the sky, increasing dramatically the capability to do high spatial resolution science.