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Proceedings Paper

Large telescopes and the art of bridge building
Author(s): H. J. Kärcher
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Paper Abstract

In the last decade the evolution of large or extreme large earthbound optical telescopes speeded up in an unforeseen manner. The technological development is driven by the issues of the complex and challenging active and adaptive optics. But the design of the telescope structure and mechanics - as the backbone of the optics - is also increasing in the importance for costs and later performance. Structural mechanics is an old art, starting a long time ago with building bridges and gothic cathedrals etc. Essence of this art is the understanding of forces, load paths, weight and balance, strength and related deformations. The paper develops a perception of the structural subsystems of telescopes ("tube structure", "alidade") from the viewpoint of structural mechanics as learned from the "bridge builders". Actual example is a proposal for the design of ESO's 42m E-ELT.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7012, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes II, 70124K (10 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.791486
Show Author Affiliations
H. J. Kärcher, MT Mechatronics GmbH (Germany)


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

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