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Quirrenbach, A., Junkkarinen, V., & Köhler, R. 2003, in ASP Conf. Ser., Vol. 295 Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XII, eds. H. E. Payne, R. I. Jedrzejewski, & R. N. Hook (San Francisco: ASP), 399

Adaptive Optics Software on the CfAO Web Page

Andreas Quirrenbach, Vesa Junkkarinen, Rainer Köhler
University of California, San Diego, Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, Mail Code 0424, La Jolla, CA 92093-0424, USA


The Center for Adaptive Optics maintains a web site, which serves as a repository for software and tools related to adaptive optics. We describe the purpose and structure of this web site, and give brief descriptions of the currently available software packages. In the future, the CfAO web page can evolve into a complete data reduction toolbox for adaptive optics observations.

1. Purpose and Structure of the CfAO Software Web Server

The Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) is a Science and Technology Center, funded by the National Science Foundation. It was established in November 1999 with the mission ``to advance and disseminate the technology of adaptive optics in service to science, health care, industry, and education''. The activities of the CfAO cover a broad range of research topics related to adaptive optics; they also include programs to distribute know-how and tools for adaptive optics to the scientific community. (One of these programs is an annual summer school series on adaptive optics for astronomy and vision science.)

Among the goals of the CfAO is the distribution of software for adaptive optics, with the intention to prevent duplication of efforts by CfAO members and others, and to give researchers in adaptive optics a place to distribute their software. One of the CfAO member institutions, the University of California, San Diego, hosts and maintains a web server, from which a number of software packages can be downloaded. The software on this site comes from the scientists and institutions affiliated with the CfAO, and from other scientists and institutions interested in sharing AO software with the astronomical and general scientific community. The philosophy is not to initiate a coherent software development effort, but rather to gather independently developed packages, and to make them accessible at one site. Therefore no attempts have been made to homogenize the programming languages used, or the platforms on which the programs run. All software packages have been tested and documented by the respective author(s); in many cases we have carried out additional testing, and added brief user guides or instructions. The software and its associated documentation is placed in directories accessible by anonymous ftp. Web pages provide convenient links to the directories and/or files for downloading.

2. Available Packages

The main criterion for the inclusion of software on the CfAO web page has been their utility for a broad range of users of adaptive optics systems, with a bias towards packages that CfAO scientists are using for their own research. The following eight packages are currently available for download from the CfAO web site:

The first two of these packages ( A++ and the AO Simulation Package) are primarily meant to be used by designers and operators of adaptive optics systems. The other packages are more related to observing preparation and data reduction, and address the needs of astronomers who use AO systems for their observing projects.

3. Outlook

In addition to the software packages described above, the CfAO web page contains a few introductory articles on adaptive optics, and links to additional tools that can help to prepare proposals or observing projects. It is also planned to make a number of test data sets available, which can be used to investigate the effects of anisoplanatism in reduced images, and to cross-compare different data reduction and deconvolution algorithms. On a longer time scale, the CfAO web site could evolve into a complete modular AO data analysis toolbox (Quirrenbach 1999). This would require contributions from a larger group of AO users, and a more systematic approach to algorithm development, interface definitions, coding, and documentation. For the near future, the main purpose of the CfAO web page will remain the provision of access to an increasing number of useful software packages and tools, for anyone interested in designing or using adaptive optics systems. With this function, the services provided by the CfAO web page are complementary to those of the large observatories, which provide complete data reduction pipelines and data analysis packages, but with no specific emphasis on adaptive optics.


We are grateful to all those who have contributed their software and data reduction tools to our web site. This work has been supported by the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Adaptive Optics, managed by the University of California at Santa Cruz under cooperative agreement No. AST-98-76783.


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