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Proceedings Paper

Performance Of The Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) IV. MMT Computer Systems
Author(s): W. P. Goring; D. K. Gilmore; D. B. McClain; J. W. Montgomery
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Paper Abstract

Operation of the MMT is heavily dependent on the use of computers for a variety of tasks. An altitude azimuth mount requires the ongoing conversion of celestial coordinates into local terrestrial coordinates. A sixteen bit minicomputer performs the conversion, compares the resulting commanded position with the current position readout by a digital encoder and generates an error signal to servo the telescope drives. The telescope co-alignment system (TCS) uses a computer to analyze a digitized television frame and control the tilt and focus of each of the six telescope secondary mirrors. All of the data at the MMT is collected by digitizing signals from photoelectric detectors in the astronomical instrumentation. (The MMT has no photographic darkroom facilities.) A computer with several peripherals to aid in display and analysis of data is dedicated to the data collection task. Our approach is to use three independent computers which can communicate over digital links. Each computer is dedicated to a specific, clearly identified task: tracking, coaligning, and data collection. It is clear that computers are an essential component of the MMT. The MMT has even been described as a large peripheral device Software for the systems is written in a sophisticated dialect of FORTH which allows multitasking.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 November 1982
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 0332, Advanced Technology Optical Telescopes I, (4 November 1982); doi: 10.1117/12.933500
Show Author Affiliations
W. P. Goring, Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory (United States)
D. K. Gilmore, Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory (United States)
D. B. McClain, Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory (United States)
J. W. Montgomery, Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0332:
Advanced Technology Optical Telescopes I
Lawrence D. Barr; Geoffrey Burbidge, Editor(s)

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