LAIRD CLOSE's HOME PAGE
Dr. Close with the output of his Double Wollaston device for the Very Large Telescope in Chile.




Laird is currently an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona and the Steward Observatory
He is a member of the Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics CAAO
He works with the world's first adaptive secondary mirror at the MMT telescope
He can be reached at :     933 N. Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721
                         phone:     (520) 626 5992
                         email:     lclose "at" as.arizona.edu

Laird specializes in novel astronomical observations utilizing new adaptive optics instrumentation. He is utilizing adaptive optics (which removes the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere) to study at very high resolution: low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and extra-solar planets. As well he is interested in massive old AGB stars, young stars in the process of forming, & solar system objects like Titan and binary asteroids. He has been involved in the development of several adaptive optics systems and special high-contrast high resolution infrared cameras. For more detailed information see here for a list of Laird's papers.
 
  

First Direct Calibration of the Mass-Luminosity Function at Young Ages and Low Masses
 (Close et al. 2005 Nature 433, 286)

Review of Nature paper
Press Release   


 
SCIENCE
The first published Mid-IR (10 micron) images with adaptive optics. Close et al. (ApJ Lett Nov 20 2003)


Go here for a list of Laird's latest preprints (from Astro-ph)

Go here for a list of Laird's papers (from the excellent NASA ADS server site)

Go here to see early science results from the MMT adaptive secondary
 
 
 
 
 

INSTRUMENTATION
The VLT Double Wollaston optical device for extra-solar planet imaging. Close et al. 2004 The custom double Wollaston for the SDI extrasolar planet imager.


SDI IMAGING OF TITAN

 See below the differential image of Saturn's moon Titan (just 0.8" across!!) made with the VLT SDI device. The upper black & white images are outside the methane absorption feature of Titan and the lower 2 images are inside the methane feature. All 4 images are taken at the same time our special SDI camera. The color image in the center is a composite (made by Markus Hartung with our commissioning 2 data from the ESO  8m Very Large Telescope in Chile). These are the sharpest images ever taken of Titan. The red (1.575um) features may be the icy surface of Titan, the dark areas maybe liquid methane and ethane lakes. The blue haze (1.625um) is the methane rich atmosphere of Titan. The resolution of the image is 0.04", this image was taken on Feb 02 2004 (UT). See here for the PRESS RELEASE.


Go here to see Laird's introduction to Adaptive Optics page. Some nice movies of how adaptive optics works, and the science it can do.
Go here to see a more advanced a full course on adaptive optics (astro 519)

Go here to see early science results from the MMT adaptive secondary

Go here to see early results from our extra-solar planet search device (NACO SDI on the VLT and ARIES SDI on the MMT)
Go here to see photos (taken by graduate student Eric Nielsen) of the second commissioning SDI run at the VLT telescope in Chile)
 
 
 

TEACHING & OUTREACH


Go here to see Laird's introduction to Adaptive Optics page. Some nice movies of how adaptive optics works, and the science it can do.

Go here to see a full course on adaptive optics (astro 519)

Go here to my on line Life in the Universe (astro 202) course .This is a basic introduction to astrobiology course.

Go here to my on line Introduction to Astronomical Observation (astro 302) astronomy majors course. In this class one actually does real astronomical reseach at a professional 1.6 meter telescope.