2010

Large Telescope Segmented Primary Mirror Alignment

A document discusses a broadband (white light) point source, located at the telescope Cassegrain focus, which generates a cone of light limited by the hole in the secondary mirror (SM). It propagates to the aspheric null-mirror, which is optimized to make all the reflected rays to be normal to the primary mirror (PM) upon reflection. PM retro-reflects the rays back through the system for wavefront analysis. The point source and the wavefront analysis subsystems are all located behind the PM. The PM phasing is absolute (white light) and does not involve the SM.

A relatively small, aspheric null-mirror located near the PM center of curvature has been designed to deliver the high level of optical wavefront correction. The phasing of the segments is absolute due to the use of a broadband source. The segmented PM is optically aligned independently and separately from the SM alignment. The separation of the PM segments alignment from the PM to the SM, and other telescope optics alignments, may be a significant advantage, eliminating the errors coupling. The “point source” of this concept is fully cooperative, unlike a star or laser-generated guide-star, providing the necessary brightness for the optimal S/N ratio, the spectral content, and the stable on-axis position. This concept can be implemented in the lab for the PM initial alignment, or made to be a permanent feature of the space-based or ground-based telescope.

This work was done by Mayer Rud of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category. NPO-47032

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Large Telescope Segmented Primary Mirror Alignment (reference NPO-47032) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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