Introducing the World’s First Commercial, Pre-Integrated Adaptive Optics

PlaneWave Instruments and Hart Scientific Consulting International (HartSCI) have announced their new partnership to offer the world’s first commercial, pre-integrated adaptive optics solution to support advanced astronomy applications faster, better, and easier than ever before.

Many PlaneWave customers chose to add on adaptive optics from a separate vendor post-purchase but customizing, manufacturing, and delivering this technology can come as a debilitating cost and take months or years to complete. Now, customers will be able to select HartSCI’s adaptive optics as an accessory to PlaneWave’s Rc700, CDK700, and PW1000 telescopes. Products will be delivered and installed at the same time as the telescope and save customers significant time, money, and effort.

The Importance of Adaptive Optics

PlaneWave Instruments manufactures world-class, ground-based telescopes and observatory systems with some of the best optics, software, and engineering on the market. Though not all PlaneWave customers need adaptive optics (AO), some advanced applications still require them to achieve the clearest images and highest data throughput possible.

Adaptive optics systems use fast-moving or deformable mirrors to correct the distortion of the atmosphere- which affects the wavefront of transmitted light- as the atmosphere blurs resolution and detail through the telescope. Incorporating AO with ground-based telescopes effectively allows them to perform closer to the level of space-based telescopes.

HartSCI’s advanced AO systems have been paired with PlaneWave’s telescopes for years but are generally purchased separately and secondarily, as AO can take up to two years to customize, manufacture, deliver, and install before the customer can use it. Designed and manufactured separately, AO may require unique maintenance and can affect how the telescope is repaired and maintained as well.

The video above shows the comparison between HartSCI’s advanced optics being turned off (left) and on (right).

Launching a New Generation of Discovery

HartSCI has designed and created next-generation AO that seamlessly integrates with the RC700, CDK700, and PW1000. “This has never, ever been done before,” says Stephen Warner, Vice President and Program Manager for HartSCI. “It used to cost upwards of one million dollars for a customer to purchase an adaptive optics system and take 18-24 months until you could actually use the system to collect data. Now, our systems are available for a fraction of the cost and time and we can be on-sky the same night as the installation.”

HartSCI’s AO will be available for purchase as an optional accessory with the RC700, CDK700, and PW1000 beginning in the fourth quarter of 2022. This partnership is another example of PlaneWave’s dedication to creating the perfect telescope and offering turn-key solutions for clients of all levels of experience and observation needs.

“Since our founding, PlaneWave has been on an endless mission to create the perfect telescope. Adaptive optics aren’t necessary for every PlaneWave customer, but this partnership democratizes access to adaptive optics for our customers who do have that need,” says Eric Blackhurst, PlaneWave’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re creating an easier, faster, and less expensive way to access adaptive optics than ever before. This will undoubtedly lead to new discoveries in astronomy.”


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