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Proceedings Paper

2dF mechanical engineering
Author(s): Greg Smith; Allan Lankshear
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Paper Abstract

2dF is a multi-object instrument mounted at prime focus at the AAT capable of spectroscopic analysis of 400 objects in a single 2 degree field. It also prepares a second 2 degree 400 object field while the first field is being observed. At its heart is a high precision robotic positioner that places individual fiber end magnetic buttons on one of two field plates. The button gripper is carried on orthogonal gantries powered by linear synchronous motors and contains a TV camera which precisely locates backlit buttons to allow placement in user defined locations to 10 (mu) accuracy. Fiducial points on both plates can also be observed by the camera to allow repeated checks on positioning accuracy. Field plates rotate to follow apparent sky rotation. The spectrographs both analyze light from the 200 observing fibers each and back- illuminate the 400 fibers being re-positioned during the observing run. The 2dF fiber position and spectrograph system is a large and complex instrument located at the prime focus of the Anglo Australian Telescope. The mechanical design has departed somewhat from the earlier concepts of Gray et al, but still reflects the audacity of those first ideas. The positioner is capable of positioning 400 fibers on a field plate while another 400 fibers on another plate are observing at the focus of the telescope and feeding the twin spectrographs. When first proposed it must have seemed like ingenuity unfettered by caution. Yet now it works, and works wonderfully well. 2dF is a system which functions as the result of the combined and coordinated efforts of the astronomers, the mechanical designers and tradespeople, the electronic designers, the programmers, the support staff at the telescope, and the manufacturing subcontractors. The mechanical design of the 2dF positioner and spectrographs was carried out by the mechanical engineering staff of the AAO and the majority of the manufacture was carried out in the AAO workshops.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 July 1998
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 3355, Optical Astronomical Instrumentation, (9 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.316752
Show Author Affiliations
Greg Smith, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Allan Lankshear, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3355:
Optical Astronomical Instrumentation
Sandro D'Odorico, Editor(s)

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