Enabling Precision Astrometry Science in TMT Era

Monday, 22 April 2019 9 a.m. — 10 a.m. MST

AURA Lecture Hall

NOIRLab South Colloquia
MOJTABA TAHERI (PhD candidate, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Victoria Visitor student, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council Canada and GEMINI South Visiting Student)

In the next few years, thirty-meter class telescopes like TMT will arrive, becoming a central pillar in astronomy. Thanks to unprecedented large aperture size and state of the art multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) systems, these massive instruments would provide access to very high-precision astrometric data. These advances would enable us to do new science. From measuring the precise orbits of stars rotating around the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy to the internal dynamics of globular clusters. However, to reach the true astrometric precision of these systems, it is essential to fully understand the different sources of distortion and find ways to eliminate them. We used Gemini South telescope and GeMS (the only operational MCAO system) to better understand the astrometric performance of these systems. We are also developing a method to measure, calibrate and deal with distortions to get the best possible astrometric precision from ground-based MCAO observations.