Definition of adaptive optics

: a telescopic system that improves image resolution by compensating for distortions caused by atmospheric turbulence

Examples of adaptive optics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When there are no bright stars lasers can be used to artificially create a point of light (laser guide star adaptive optics or LGS AO). Jamie Carter, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021 Traditionally adaptive optics was only viable for large observatories where the cost was justified by big performance gains. Scientific American, 15 Mar. 2021 Its construction led by the CNRS, MUSE went live in 2014 and it was coupled with the VLT’s adaptive optics system in 2017. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2021 Space safety is not the only application that can benefit from adaptive optics. Scientific American, 15 Mar. 2021 The Very Large Telescope uses lasers and adaptive optics to correct for turbulence caused by Earth’s atmosphere. Tim Childers, Popular Mechanics, 23 Nov. 2020 That work was aided immeasurably by the development of advanced adaptive optics tools to counter the distorting effects of the Earth's atmosphere. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 6 Oct. 2020 At around that time, a new technology, adaptive optics (AO), was being installed on telescopes worldwide. Hilton Lewis, Scientific American, 8 Oct. 2020 The emergence of adaptive optics in the late 1990s proved to be the game-changer. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 6 Oct. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adaptive optics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of adaptive optics

1966, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About adaptive optics

Time Traveler for adaptive optics

Time Traveler

The first known use of adaptive optics was in 1966

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near adaptive optics

adaptive cruise control

adaptive optics

adaptive radiation

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for adaptive optics

Cite this Entry

“Adaptive optics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on adaptive optics Encyclopedia article about adaptive optics


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!