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Proceedings Paper

Flexible pointing models for large Arecibo-type optical telescopes
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Paper Abstract

The modern day computing power to cost ratio has allowed flexible yet complex mathematical models to be implemented in various arenas. A current example is the Southern African Large Telescope and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, Arecibo-type large optical telescopes, which have a moving prime focus confined to a spherical surface. The complexity of the moving tracking mechanism, a stationary self-aligning mirror and the scales of the structures involved in such telescopes have led to the requirement of more flexible telescope mount models. In this way the combination of low cost and a requirement for flexibility has led to the design of new mathematical models for telescopes of this type. A case in point is the Southern African Large Telescope, due to the specific design and calibration requirements during the design and commissioning of the telescope, an adaptable mathematical model is required. Such a model should have multiple easily accessible entry points and flexibility of conversion paths between the various coordinate systems involved. In this paper the authors present an overview of the special requirements for the Southern African Large Telescope and the eventual design and implementation of a mathematical model to cope with these requirements. Some of the topics that will be discussed include: tracking challenges on SALT; layering of complexity of the mathematical model; software design and access to mathematical parameters; analytical and statistical tools for model design; and design consistency between coordinate conversions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 September 2004
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5496, Advanced Software, Control, and Communication Systems for Astronomy, (15 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.552178
Show Author Affiliations
Hendrik J. Schalekamp, SALT Foundation (South Africa)
Gerhard Swart, SALT Foundation (South Africa)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5496:
Advanced Software, Control, and Communication Systems for Astronomy
Hilton Lewis; Gianni Raffi, Editor(s)

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