30 January 2003 The eye of the beholder: designing the OWL
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Preliminary requirements and possible technological solutions for the next generation of ground-based optical telescopes were laid down at ESO in 1998. Since then, a phase A study has been commissioned, the objective of which is to produce a conceptual design compatible, to the maximum possible extent, with proven technology, and establish realistic plans for detailed design, site selection, construction and operation for a 100-m class optical, diffraction-limited telescope. There was no doubt about how daunting such a challenge would be, but, somewhat surprisingly, it turns out to be firmly confined to adaptive optics concepts and technologies. The telescope itself appears to be feasible within the allocated budget and without reliance on exotic assumptions. Fabrication of key subsystems is fully within the reach of a properly engineered, industrialized process. A consolidated baseline is taking shape, and alternative system and subsystem solutions are being explored, strengthening the confidence that requirements could be met. Extensive development of wavefront measurement techniques enlarges the palette of solutions available for active wavefront control of a segmented, active telescope. At system level, ESO is developing enabling experiments to validate multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MAD for Multi-conjugate Adaptive optics Demonstrator) and telescope wavefront control (APE, for Active Phasing Experiment).
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Philippe Dierickx, Philippe Dierickx, Jean-Louis Beckers, Jean-Louis Beckers, Enzo Brunetto, Enzo Brunetto, Rodolphe Conan, Rodolphe Conan, Enrico Fedrigo, Enrico Fedrigo, Roberto Gilmozzi, Roberto Gilmozzi, Norbert N. Hubin, Norbert N. Hubin, Franz Koch, Franz Koch, Miska Le Louarn, Miska Le Louarn, Enrico Marchetti, Enrico Marchetti, Guy J. Monnet, Guy J. Monnet, Lothar Noethe, Lothar Noethe, Marco Quattri, Marco Quattri, Marc S. Sarazin, Marc S. Sarazin, Jason Spyromilio, Jason Spyromilio, Natalia Yaitskova, Natalia Yaitskova, "The eye of the beholder: designing the OWL", Proc. SPIE 4840, Future Giant Telescopes, (30 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.459939; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.459939


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