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Proceedings Paper

Commissioning experience with the 9.2-m Hobby-Eberly Telescope
Author(s): Thomas G. Barnes; Mark T. Adams; John A. Booth; Mark E. Cornell; Niall I. Gaffney; James R. Fowler; Gary J. Hill; Grant M. Hill; Craig E. Nance; Francois Piche; Lawrence W. Ramsey; Randall L. Ricklefs; William J. Spiesman; P. Thomas Worthington
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Paper Abstract

The HET is unique among 9-meter class telescopes in featuring an Arecibo-like design with a focal surface tracker. The focal surface tracker causes image quality and pointing/tracking performance to interact in a complex way that has no precedent in astronomical telescope system design and that has presented unusual demands upon commissioning. The fixed-elevation, segmented primary-mirror array offers some simplifications over traditional telescope design in principle, but has presented challenges in practice. The sky access characteristics of the HET also place unique demands on observational planning and discipline. The HET is distinguished by uniquely low construction and operating costs which affected commissioning. In this contribution, we describe those aspects of our commissioning experience that may impact how similar telescopes are designed, especially those with larger aperture, and review the challenges and lessons learned from commissioning a 9-meter class telescope with a small technical team.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 August 2000
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4004, Telescope Structures, Enclosures, Controls, Assembly/Integration/Validation, and Commissioning, (2 August 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.393924
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas G. Barnes, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Mark T. Adams, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
John A. Booth, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Mark E. Cornell, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Niall I. Gaffney, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
James R. Fowler, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Gary J. Hill, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Grant M. Hill, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Craig E. Nance, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Francois Piche, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
Lawrence W. Ramsey, The Pennsylvania State Univ. (United States)
Randall L. Ricklefs, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
William J. Spiesman, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)
P. Thomas Worthington, McDonald Observatory/Univ. of Texas/Austin (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4004:
Telescope Structures, Enclosures, Controls, Assembly/Integration/Validation, and Commissioning
Thomas A. Sebring; Torben Andersen, Editor(s)

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