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Proceedings Paper

Extremely large telescope: a twenty-five meter aperture for the twenty-first century
Author(s): Frank N. Bash; Thomas A. Sebring; Frank B. Ray; Lawrence W. Ramsey
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Paper Abstract

The 10-meter class Hobby-Eberly telescope (HET), now nearing completion, provides technology for optical Arecibo-type telescopes which can be extrapolated to even larger apertures. Utilizing a fixed elevation angle and a spherical segmented primary mirror provides cost effective and pragmatic solutions to mirror mounting and fabrication. Arecibo-type tracking implies a greatly reduced tracking mass and no change to the gravity vector for the primary mirror. Such a telescope can address 70 percent of the available sky and exhibit optical quality easily sufficient for effective spectroscopy and photometry. The extremely large telescope takes advantage of several key engineering approaches demonstrated by the HET project to achieve a cost comparable to similarly-sized radio rather than optical telescopes. These engineering approaches include: bolted pre-manufactured primary mirror truss, factory manufactured geodesic enclosure dome, air bearing rotation of primary mirror, tracker, and dome systems directly on concrete piers, and tracking via a hexapod system. Current estimates put the cost of the ELT at $200 million for a 25-meter aperture utilizing a 33-meter primary mirror array. Construction of the ELT would provide the astronomy community with an optical telescope nearly an order of magnitude larger than even the largest telescopes in operation or under construction today.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 March 1997
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2871, Optical Telescopes of Today and Tomorrow, (21 March 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.269084
Show Author Affiliations
Frank N. Bash, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Thomas A. Sebring, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Frank B. Ray, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Lawrence W. Ramsey, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2871:
Optical Telescopes of Today and Tomorrow
Arne L. Ardeberg, Editor(s)

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