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Proceedings Paper

Beating the cost curve and the resultant scientific telescope utility using 0.4-meter robotic cluster network
Author(s): Matthew A Dubberley; Zachary A. Walker; Benjamin J. Haldeman
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Paper Abstract

Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) is redefining the function of robotic telescopes by deploying 0.4 meter telescopes that act as a highly networked intelligent instrument. The 0.4 meter telescopes, (P4) are optimized for quick and accurate object acquisition and tracking. This minimizes response time and enables the leveraging of the instrument. A single P4 can independently execute multiple science programs concurrently or team up with other P4s for deeper or multi-color observations of a single target. The intelligent control software will optimize the observation schedule for each individual telescope and the entire network. LCOGT is deploying 6 networked clusters consisting of four P4s around the world, providing capacity and versatility beyond the classical observatory. Each P4 has zero slippage, no backlash friction systems, and is currently achieving 20 deg/s slewing. Blind pointing is currently 8 arcsec RMS. Using the AG acquisition routine, the drive will have repeatable pointing to within 0.6 arcsec within 12 seconds from anywhere on the sky. Other features include wind buffet correction, rapid thermalization, dual autoguiders, novel scanning flat fielding device, large 20 kg instrument capacity, high speed instrument changer, and a stiff split ring mount.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 July 2008
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7012, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes II, 70120C (17 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.789819
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew A Dubberley, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (United States)
Zachary A. Walker, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (United States)
Benjamin J. Haldeman, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7012:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes II
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi, Editor(s)

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