Optical astronomers are frequently hampered by atmospheric turbulence that distorts telescopic images by causing random phase shifts in the incoming light. These distortions often reduce the resolution of a telescope far below its diffraction limit. But the outlook may be brightened by new techniques now being developed to detect and correct for the phase error in real time. Until now most techniques to correct for atmospheric distortions have been post‐detection compensation techniques: The effects of turbulence are extracted after the image data has been recorded. Three of the groups that are conducting major development efforts on real‐time compensation described their work at a conference on Optical Propagation Through Turbulence that was sponsored by the Optical Society of America at the University of Colorado, 9–11 July. These three groups are from Hughes Research Laboratories, from Itek Corporation and from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the Institute for Advanced Studies.

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