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Adaptive optics

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Much like taking pictures on Earth, astronomers have to deal with many issues with distortion when it comes to taking images. The solution to this issue is a technology called adaptive optics (often referred to as AO), which was originally used to improve the performance of optical systems on ground based telescopes. [1] Adaptive optics are made up of mirrors, that can be reshaped that are controlled by computers. These mirrors fix the distortion caused by the turbulence of the Earth’s atmosphere. This makes the images that are obtained have a quality that is as good as those taken from space, with the best image so far being twice as sharp as an image from the Hubble Telescope taken in Chile by the Magellan-Clay telescope. [2] Adaptive optics have medical benefits as well as astronomical benefits and are used in retinal research and imaging. Adaptive optics gets rid of ocular aberrations, which are distortions in images of objects caused when rays of light do not obey the laws describing perfect optical system on the retina. However, the eye is far from a perfect optical system since it is not centred on its axis perfectly and it is not a fixed optical instrument. The eye has many natural adaptations that lessen the aberrations, so that they are not troublesome or noticeable for everyday vision. Adaptive optics have many positive interactions with economical and ethical factors because of the cheap building price compared to alternative options and the little concern with any harm the technology actually does. It is a beneficial piece of technology that has developed valuable uses outside of astronomy that can lead to more uses in the future.
Adaptive optics are economically beneficial in many ways. [3] First, the price of teles...

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...pest-ever telescopic images; 2013 August 28 [cited 2014 May 20]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.gizmag.com/magao-adaptive-optics-highest-resolution-astronomical-images/28801/
[4] Caltech Astronomy [Internet].California: Adaptive Optics on the 200-Inch Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory; [cited 2014 May 20]; [about 10 lines]. Available from: http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/AO/
[5] Aura Astronomy [Internet]. Space-based vs. ground-based telescopes with adaptive optics; [cited 2014 May 20]; [about 2 pages]. Available from: http://www.aura-astronomy.org/news/archive/hst_vs_ao_2.pdf
[6] Vera-Diaz A F, Doble N. Intech Journals [Internet]. The human eye and adaptive optics; 2012 January 20 [cited 2014 May 20]; [about 6 lines]. Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/topics-in-adaptive-optics/the-need-for-adaptive-optics-in-the-human-eye
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