Atmospheric turbulence characterisation with Differential Image Motion Monitor

Within the framework of the Space Environment Management Cooperative Research Centre, the ANU RSAA has partnered with EOS Space Systems to build a Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics system (LGS AO) for the 1.8 EOS telescope on Mount Stromlo. The system will improve satellite tracking and characterization capabilities as well as include a feature to push the debris with a high-power laser. As a part of the AO system development, a campaign is going on to characterise the atmospheric turbulence on the site.

The successful applicant will join the ANU/EOS team. The team is currently implementing a SCIDAR system to monitor the turbulence above Mount Stromlo. The knowledge of the turbulence – its typical strength, evolution speed, vertical distribution and time-dependent characteristics – is critical for estimating how the adaptive optics systems will work and how to optimise their performance. The successful candidate will join the site monitoring efforts by starting the operations of an alternative turbulence monitoring instrument – Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM), which is an instrument able to measure turbulence strength, but not its distribution. The project will include commissioning a DIMM instrument currently available at Mount Stromlo, performing data analysing, doing a cross-check with data from a simultaneously used SCIDAR instrument and studying the prospects of having the DIMM operated in an automated way.

For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.