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Proceedings Paper

LAPCAT: the Large Antarctic Plateau Clear-Aperture Telescope
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Paper Abstract

We present a proposal for an 8.4 metre off-axis optical/IR telescope to be located at Dome C, Antarctica. LAPCAT will use a mirror identical to the offset segment recently cast for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) as a completely unobscured f/2.1 primary. With a cooled deformable Gregorian secondary in a dewar following prime focus, LAPCAT will allow for diffraction-limited imaging with only a single reflecting surface at ~220K, and thus the lowest possible thermal background obtainable on earth. The exceptionally low atmospheric turbulence above Dome C enables very high contrast imaging in the thermal infrared, and diffraction limited imaging extending to optical wavelengths (20 mas at 800 nm, where Strehl ratios > 60% are projected). As an example, a deep 5 μm exoplanet imaging survey to complement current radial velocity methods could take advantage of both the low background and pupil remapping methods for apodization enabled by the clear aperture. Many new, young, giant planets (≥ 3MJ at 1 Gyr) would be detected in orbits ≥ 5 AU out to 20 pc. By providing a test bed for many of the GMT technologies in an Antarctic environment, LAPCAT also paves the way for the eventual construction of a second GMT at Dome C. Such a telescope would have unparalleled capabilities compared both to other ELTs in temperate sites and to JWST.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6267, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes, 62671E (23 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672159
Show Author Affiliations
John Storey, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Roger Angel, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Jon Lawrence, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Phil Hinz, Steward Observatory, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Michael Ashley, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)
Michael Burton, Univ. of New South Wales (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6267:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes
Larry M. Stepp, Editor(s)

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