Solar adaptive optics has become an indispensable tool at ground based solar telescopes. Over the last few years several solar adaptive optics systems have been deployed at major ground based solar telescopes. These systems enable diffraction limited observations of the sun for a significant fraction of the available observing time at these telescopes. New ground breaking scientific results have been achieved with solar adaptive optics. This paper summarizes the recent progress in the field of solar adaptive optics.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.