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Optics program worthwhile

By John Gruenenfelder
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 8, 1999

To the editor,

I'm afraid I find the lack of knowledge exhibited by Siler regarding the UA's telescope program to be the real "laughingstock."

I have worked in the Adaptive Optics department at Steward Observatory for the past three years. While the debate over Mount Graham is far from over, to decry the achievements of the adaptive optics group is certainly an error.

Ms. Siler states that the UA's "optical technology is the laughingstock of the industry." This couldn't be further from the truth. The UA's program may not be as big as others, but most of the competition comes from actual companies who do nothing but optics. That the UA can hold its own and continually develop new methods is a sign of great achievement.

Physical adaptive optics to mount on a telescope are only part of what the Adaptive Optics group does. A major portion of the work is computation.

These computer models have been in development for many years and the results continue to amaze me. Compare a picture from the Hubble next to a picture from a ground-based telescope that has been processed by the AO group.

I can say with near certainty that you will not be able to tell which came from the Hubble and which passed through the laughingstock's optics.

John Gruenenfelder

Computer science junior

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