From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
adaptive optics \adaptive optics\ n. (Astron.) an optical system used in some telescopes since the 1980's which rapidly changes the shape of the primary reflecting mirror to adjust for distortions of light which are caused by atmospheric turbulence. By reducing the distortions caused by the atmosphere, telescopes fitted with such optics can achieve a higher resolving power than normal telescopes with static mirrors. [PJC]
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