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Proceedings Paper

LBTO’s long march to full operation: step 3 (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Christian Veillet

Paper Abstract

The long march of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory to full operation is a long journey, which is both exciting and challenging. Step1 (2014) outlined a six-year plan aimed at optimizing LBTO’s scientific production while mitigating the consequences of the inevitable brought on by the considerable complexity of the telescope and the very diverse nature of the LBTO partnership. Step 2 (2016) focused on the first two years of implementation of this plan, presenting the encountered obstacles (technical, cultural, and political) as well as the commissioning milestones. Step 3 (2018) will give us an opportunity to reflect on the first four years of the plan initially devised nearly five years ago. Significant progress was made and important milestones reached, such as the completion of the first generation instrument commissioning in all their modes, the full use of the telescope in binocular mode for the past eighteen months, the routine observations as a 23-m telescope through nulling and Fizeau interferometry with LBTI, the end of the commissioning phase of the ARGOS ground-layer AO system, or the reshaping of the user experience thanks to a new suite of software. Metrics were developed to track the efficiency of the observatory and its scientific productivity. In spite of these undeniable successes, one must face the fact that some of these progresses were slower than anticipated. Though by no means out of the ordinary, especially at a relatively new observatory pushing technology to its limits with (too?) limited resources, this fact must be analyzed to better prepare for the coming decade with a good dose of realism while keeping great aspirations. After all, the next generation telescopes are late too! In spite of the setbacks (we will talk about them too!) which slowed down the pace of the observatory long march over these past four years, we are preparing an ambitious plan which will make LBT shine in a unique way as a pair of 8-m telescopes and as the first of the ELTs while these ELTs will still be in their construction phase. This new plan, which highlights unique capabilities and includes new instruments and observing modes, will be presented as a conclusion to this presentation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 July 2018
Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 107041T (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2314337
Show Author Affiliations
Christian Veillet, Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10704:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Chris R. Benn, Editor(s)

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