Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Artificial guide stars for adaptive optics using unmanned aerial vehicles

Basden, A.G.; Brown, Anthony M.; Chadwick, P.M.; Clark, P.; Massey, R.

Artificial guide stars for adaptive optics using unmanned aerial vehicles Thumbnail


A.G. Basden

Anthony M. Brown

P. Clark

R. Massey


Astronomical adaptive optics systems are used to increase effective telescope resolution. However, they cannot be used to observe the whole sky since one or more natural guide stars of sufficient brightness must be found within the telescope field of view for the AO system to work. Even when laser guide stars are used, natural guide stars are still required to provide a constant position reference. Here, we introduce a technique to overcome this problem by using rotary unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a platform from which to produce artificial guide stars. We describe the concept, which relies on the UAV being able to measure its precise relative position. We investigate the adaptive optics performance improvements that can be achieved, which in the cases presented here can improve the Strehl ratio by a factor of at least 2 for a 8 m class telescope. We also discuss improvements to this technique, which is relevant to both astronomical and solar adaptive optics systems.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 20, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2018
Publication Date Jun 1, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 12, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 12, 2018
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 477
Issue 2
Pages 2209-2219
Public URL
Related Public URLs


Accepted Journal Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations