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Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems • Open Access

Fiber-optic gyro location of dome azimuth
Author(s): John W. Kuehne

Paper Abstract

The 2.1-m Otto Struve Telescope, world’s second largest in 1939, today has modern motion control and superb tracking, yet the 19-m-diameter Art Deco dome has resisted many attempts to record its azimuth electronically. Demonstrated in January 2016, a small tactical-grade fiber-optic gyro located anywhere on the rotating structure, aided by a few fiducial points to zero gyro drift, adequately locates the azimuth. The cost of a gyro is practically independent of dome size, offering an economical solution for large domes that cannot be easily encoded with conventional systems. The 100-Hz sampling is capable of revealing anomalies in the rotation rate, valuable for preventive maintenance on any dome. I describe software methods and time series analysis to integrate angular velocity to dome azimuth; transformation of telescope hour angle and declination into required dome azimuth, using a formula that accounts for a cross-axis mount inside an offset dome; and test results.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2016
PDF: 5 pages
J. Ast. Inst. Sys. 2(3) 037001 doi: 10.1117/1.JATIS.2.3.037001
Published in: Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems Volume 2, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
John W. Kuehne, McDonald Observatory of The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)


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