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Proceedings Paper

The VLTI auxiliary telescopes: measured performances
Author(s): B. Koehler; M. Kraus; J. M. Moresmau; K. Wirenstrand; P. Duhoux; R. Karban; L. Andolfato; F. Gonte
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Paper Abstract

The Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)1 that coherently combines the four VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescopes (UT's) is on the point to be fully equipped with its dedicated array of Auxiliary Telescopes (AT's). This array includes four 1.8-m telescopes which can be relocated on thirty observing stations distributed on the top of the Paranal Observatory. This array, albeit less sensitive than the array of UT's, is a key element for the scientific operation of the VLTI. Indeed, it will provide the best imaging capability thanks to the many possible baselines (up to 200m), it will be used for the Narrow Angle Astrometry mode which requires long term monitoring and the longest baselines not accessible with the UT's, and it will enable full-time use of the VLTI facilities even when the UT's are used for stand-alone observation. The Auxiliary Telescopes have been designed, manufactured and tested in Europe by the company AMOS (Belgium) under ESO contract. After acceptance in Europe, ESO takes over the responsibility for the transport to Paranal, reassembly and final commissioning. Currently the first three AT's have been put into operation on Paranal while the fourth one is scheduled to arrive at the observatory in August 2006. This paper presents the actual performances of the Auxiliary Telescopes, as measured during the commissioning of the first three AT's. An emphasis is given to the requirements dictated by the interferometer needs, including the ease and accuracy with which the telescopes can be relocated, the excellent image quality, and the nanometer-level stability for Optical Path Length.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 June 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6268, Advances in Stellar Interferometry, 626841 (28 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.670639
Show Author Affiliations
B. Koehler, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
M. Kraus, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
J. M. Moresmau, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
K. Wirenstrand, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
P. Duhoux, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
R. Karban, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
L. Andolfato, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
F. Gonte, European Southern Observatory (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6268:
Advances in Stellar Interferometry
John D. Monnier; Markus Schöller; William C. Danchi, Editor(s)

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