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Proceedings Paper

Cleaning the Southern African Large Telescope's M5 mirror
Author(s): Lisa A. Crause; Hitesh Gajjar; Jonathan Love; Francois Strümpfer; James E. O'Connor; Darragh E. O'Donoghue; Ockert J. Strydom; David A. H. Buckley; Peter Gillingham
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes the cleaning of M5, one of the four mirrors that make up the Southern African Large Telescope's Spherical Aberration Corrector. As the top upward-facing mirror in a relatively exposed environment, M5 had accumulated a considerable amount of dust and dirt during the six years it had been on the telescope. With the corrector on the ground for re-alignment and testing, we had the opportunity to remove, wash and replace the mirror. Various cleaning techniques were investigated, including an unsuccessful trial application of First Contact surface cleaning polymer film - fortunately only to a small region outside the mirror's clear aperture. Ultimately, "drag-wiping" with wads of cotton wool soaked in a 10g/l sodium lauryl sulphate solution proved highly effective in restoring the reflectivity of M5's optical surface. Following this success, we repeated the procedure for M3, the other upward-facing mirror in the corrector. The results for M3 were equally spectacular.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 July 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7739, Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation, 77393Z (20 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856795
Show Author Affiliations
Lisa A. Crause, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Hitesh Gajjar, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Jonathan Love, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Francois Strümpfer, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
James E. O'Connor, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Darragh E. O'Donoghue, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Ockert J. Strydom, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
David A. H. Buckley, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Peter Gillingham, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7739:
Modern Technologies in Space- and Ground-based Telescopes and Instrumentation
Eli Atad-Ettedgui; Dietrich Lemke, Editor(s)

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