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Proceedings Paper

The mechatronic approach to the design of large mirrors and telescopes
Author(s): Hans J. Kaercher
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Paper Abstract

The challenges for the first telescope designers were the polishing of lenses or mirrors, the pointing of them to the stars, and the tracking of the sidereal movement. The classical technologies, which they used, were spherical mirror polishing, passive, iso-static supports for the mirrors, and equatorial mounts with clockwork drives. The maximal sizes which they could achieve with these technologies, were 5 to 8m main aperture diameter. The practical limits in the sizes of the "mechanical" age were overcome with the upcoming of electronic control elements and digital computers. Now, giant optical telescopes in sizes from 10 to 100m are under construction or in planning. For these telescopes, beside the optical layout itself, the integrated system (= "mechatronic") approach to the structural, mechanical and control elements, which support the optical components, are a major issue for the final success of the projects. The talk will highlight some major aspects of this mechatronic approach, as system design, end-to-end simulation, control architecture for segmented mirrors, and on-site erection and commissioning, and will be supported by photos, sketches and diagrams.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 May 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6148, 2nd International Symposium on Advanced Optical Manufacturing and Testing Technologies: Large Mirrors and Telescopes, 614802 (30 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.674036
Show Author Affiliations
Hans J. Kaercher, MT Aerospace (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6148:
2nd International Symposium on Advanced Optical Manufacturing and Testing Technologies: Large Mirrors and Telescopes

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