Cilas has delivered a deformable mirror to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to help correct distortions to its telescopic images caused by turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The device detects the wavefront of incoming light, and then changes the shape of the mirror to counteract any distortions. The mirror features 1377 actuators, to push and pull the mirror into different shapes. It will form part of the Sphere (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research), an instrument to be used in the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.
The large number of actuators, which can react very quickly to changes in the image, should be able to produce high-quality images that would be able to contrast stars from orbiting planets.