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Proceedings Paper

Optical design study for NASA's spherical primary optical telescope (SPOT)
Author(s): Joseph M. Howard
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Paper Abstract

Several of NASA's future space telescopes project teams have chosen or are considering segmented primary mirrors as a part of their architecture. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) design employs a 6.5-meter conic primary mirror constructed of 18 hexagonal segments, where each hex is one of three off-axis surface profiles corresponding to its radial distance to the parent mirror axis. Other future mission concepts such as SAFIR (Single Aperture Far-Infra Red) and SUVO (Space Ultra Violet Optical telescope) are considering even larger segmented primary mirrors. The goal of the Spherical Primary Optical Telescope (SPOT) project discussed in this paper is to investigate the option of a spherical primary mirror for such future large aperture NASA missions. Ground-based telescopes such as the Hobby-Eberly have realized this design option, and the current baseline design for ESO's OWL project incorporates a 100-meter segmented spherical primary mirror. While the benefits of fabricating large numbers of identical spherical surface segments are obvious, the optical design for the telescope becomes more complex in order to correct the significant aberration resulting from a spherical primary surface. This paper briefly surveys design approaches of spherical primary telescopes. Image based performance comparisons are made, and examples are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 October 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5524, Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization VII, (22 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.559945
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph M. Howard, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5524:
Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization VII
Jose M. Sasian; R. John Koshel; Paul K. Manhart; Richard C. Juergens, Editor(s)

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