Optical Surfaces Ltd. has delivered three high precision off-axis parabolic mirrors to the Big Bear Solar Observatory. These mirrors will form key focusing components in the adaptive optical system associated with the observatory's new 1.6m solar telescope.
Due for completion later in 2008, the new 1.6m aperture off-axis Gregorian solar telescope will be the world's largest telescope enabling precise studies of the physics of the Sun and observation of solar phenomena. The new solar telescope benefits from adaptive optics that allow atmospheric seeing to be corrected to the diffraction limit, an advanced computer system capable of supporting sophisticated instruments such as Fabry-Perot interferometers, and improved observation at infrared wavelengths. The adaptive optics will allow the telescope to image actual photospheric flux tubes at about 100km resolution.
The ultra-smooth parabolic mirrors are 150mm in diameter with a surface accuracy of lambda/10 p-v and surface quality of 20:10 scratch/dig. All mirrors, effective focal length 2000mm, were given a protected silver coating offering peak performance from 0.39-1.6 microns.