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Proceedings Paper

Initial computational fluid dynamics modeling of the Giant Magellan Telescope site and enclosure
Author(s): Ryan Danks; William Smeaton; Bruce Bigelow; William Burgett
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Paper Abstract

In the era of extremely large telescopes (ELTs), with telescope apertures growing in size and tighter image quality requirements, maintaining a controlled observation environment is critical. Image quality is directly influenced by thermal gradients, the level of turbulence in the incoming air flow and the wind forces acting on the telescope. Thus any ELT enclosure must be able to modulate the speed and direction of the incoming air and limit the inflow of disturbed ground-layer air. However, gaining an a priori understanding of the wind environment’s impacts on a proposed telescope is complicated by the fact that telescopes are usually located in remote, mountainous areas, which often do not have high quality historic records of the wind conditions, and can be subjected to highly complex flow patterns that may not be well represented by the traditional analytic approaches used in typical building design. As part of the design process for the Giant Magellan Telescope at Cerro Las Campanas, Chile; the authors conducted a parametric design study using computational fluid dynamics which assessed how the telescope’s position on the mesa, its ventilation configuration and the design of the enclosure and windscreens could be optimized to minimize the infiltration of ground-layer air. These simulations yielded an understanding of how the enclosure and the natural wind flows at the site could best work together to provide a consistent, well controlled observation environment. Future work will seek to quantify the aerothermal environment in terms of image quality.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 August 2016
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 9911, Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI, 991113 (9 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233288
Show Author Affiliations
Ryan Danks, Rowan, Williams, Davies & Irwin Inc. (Canada)
William Smeaton, Rowan, Williams, Davies & Irwin Inc. (Canada)
Bruce Bigelow, GMTO Corp. (United States)
William Burgett, GMTO Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9911:
Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI
George Z. Angeli; Philippe Dierickx, Editor(s)

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