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Proceedings Paper

When Telescopes Start To Walk...
Author(s): Dietmar E. K. Plathner
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Paper Abstract

A system study has been started to elaborate and define methods of moving optical telescopes of the 2-m class continuously during astronomical observations. When operating several such telescopes together in an interferometer configuration, this mobility permits us to suppress costly delay lines and may also yield faster and better coverage of the u, v plane. The motion of the telescopes is however subject to the strict requirements of mechanical and thermal stability necessary for interferometric work. This implies stiff and vibration-free structures as well as metrology systems for speed and position control. The metrology systems may present a particular bottleneck as they have to measure distances up to several hundred metres with a precision of a fraction of a micron. All these considerations lead to a solution in which a telescope transporter unit would be equipped with two sets of tripod supports. They are alternately placed on counterparts in the ground and can move the telescope in x and y directions. During their operating cycle, the tripod supports are rigidly connected to the foundations, thus providing the pedestal of the telescope with the required stiffness for astronomical and interferometric observations. Overall speed and position control is derived from locally-installed, short distance measuring systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 September 1989
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 1130, New Technologies for Astronomy, (26 September 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.961509
Show Author Affiliations
Dietmar E. K. Plathner, Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1130:
New Technologies for Astronomy

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