Astralis Celebrates Key Role in Gemini North Telescope’s Adaptive Optics Bench Project

Astralis Instrumentation Consortium (Astralis) proudly announces its pivotal role and our significant contribution to the Gemini North telescope‘s Adaptive Optics Bench (AOB) project.

The Adaptive Optics Bench (AOB) project is led by the AAO team within the Astralis-AAO Node, representing the Astralis Instrumentation Consortium the Astralis-AITC Node (ANU), and with the French Aerospace Laboratory (Office National d’Études et de Recherches Aérospatiales, or ONERA), Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory (Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, or LAM) the OHP (Observatoire de Haute Provence), and French specialist optical manufacturer ALPAO. The partnership also includes consulting firms Space ODT (Portugal), Mersenne Optical Consulting (New Zealand), and Wakea Consulting (France).

The project, valued at A$15 million, was awarded after a competitive 12-month Phase A study involving three international teams.

The AOB system, as part of the larger Gemini North Adaptive Optics (GNAO) facility, will position the Gemini North telescope as a premier site for high-resolution astronomy.  

“The adaptive optics technology we are developing will remove the blur from turbulence in our atmosphere, so astronomers can see sharper, cleaner images through the 8.1-metre Gemini North telescope, opening up new possibilities for scientific discovery.” says Distinguished Professor Jon Lawrence from Astralis-AAO, who is the Principal Investigator for the AOB project.

“Gemini North telescope is one of the world’s most advanced optical telescopes, and this project will make it even more powerful.”

The project will also provide hundreds of hours of guaranteed observing time on the Gemini North telescope for Australian astronomers, significantly expanding our research capabilities.

“We assembled a team of world-leading experts, and our design was chosen for its innovative approach and efficient techniques to enable high throughput of light,” says Professor Lawrence

The first light of the GNAO facility is anticipated in mid-2028. Astralis is excited to collaborate with its international partners over the next five years to bring this visionary project to fruition.