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Proceedings Paper

Hartmann wavefront sensing of the corrective optics for the Hubble Space Telescope
Author(s): Pamela S. Davila; William L. Eichhorn; Mark E. Wilson
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Paper Abstract

There is no doubt that astronomy with the `new, improved' Hubble Space Telescope will significantly advance our knowledge and understanding of the universe for years to come. The Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) was designed to restore the image quality to nearly diffraction limited performance for three of the first generation instruments; the faint object camera, the faint object spectrograph, and the Goddard high resolution spectrograph. Spectacular images have been obtained from the faint object camera after the installation of the corrective optics during the first servicing mission in December of 1993. About 85% of the light in the central core of the corrected image is contained within a circle with a diameter of 0.2 arcsec. This is a vast improvement over the previous 15 to 17% encircled energies obtained before COSTAR. Clearly COSTAR is a success. One reason for the overwhelming success of COSTAR was the ambitious and comprehensive test program conducted by various groups throughout the program. For optical testing of COSTAR on the ground, engineers at Ball Aerospace designed and built the refractive Hubble simulator to produce known amounts of spherical aberration and astigmatism at specific points in the field of view. The design goal for this refractive aberrated simulator (RAS) was to match the aberrations of the Hubble Space Telescope to within (lambda) /20 rms over the field at a wavelength of 632.8 nm. When the COSTAR optics were combined with the RAS optics, the corrected COSTAR output images were produced. These COSTAR images were recorded with a high resolution 1024 by 1024 array CCD camera, the Ball image analyzer (BIA). The image quality criteria used for assessment of COSTAR performance was encircled energy in the COSTAR focal plane. This test with the BIA was very important because it was a direct measurement of the point spread function. But it was difficult with this test to say anything quantitative about the aberration content of the corrected images. Also, from only this test it was difficult to measure important pupil parameters, such as pupil intensity profiles and pupil sizes and location. To measure the COSTAR wavefront accurately and to determine pupil parameters, another very important test was performed on the COSTAR optics. A Hartmann test of the optical system consisting of the RAS and COSTAR was conducted by the Goddard Independent Verification Team (IVT). In this paper, we first describe the unique Hartmann sensor that was developed by the IVT. Then we briefly describe the RAS and COSTAR optical systems and the test setup. Finally, we present the results of the test and compare our results with results obtained from optical analysis and from image tests with the BIA.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1994
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2198, Instrumentation in Astronomy VIII, (1 June 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.176735
Show Author Affiliations
Pamela S. Davila, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
William L. Eichhorn, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark E. Wilson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2198:
Instrumentation in Astronomy VIII
David L. Crawford; Eric R. Craine, Editor(s)

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