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28 September 2004 The Hobby-Eberly Telescope: performance upgrades, status, and plans
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The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) is a fixed-elevation, 9.2-m telescope with a spherical primary mirror and a tracker at prime focus to follow astronomical objects. The telescope was constructed for $13.9M over the period 1994-1997. A series of extensive engineering upgrades and corrective actions have been completed recently, resulting in significantly improved delivered image quality and increased operational efficiency. The telescope's Spherical Aberration Corrector (SAC) optics were recoated with a highly reflective and durable broadband coating at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The software mount model that maintains optical alignment of the SAC with the 11-m primary mirror array was recalibrated and improved. The acquisition and guiding optics for both the High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) and the Low Resolution Spectrograph (LRS) were reworked and improved, allowing for better focus and SAC alignment monitoring and control. Recoating of the primary mirror segment array was begun. Telescope images of 0.82 arcseconds have been recorded for sustained periods in preliminary testing following the engineering upgrade, an improvement of 50% over previous best performance. Additional engineering upgrades are scheduled to consolidate these performance gains and to continue improving delivered image quality, throughput, and telescope operational efficiency. The HET is now capable of the science performance for which it was designed.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John A. Booth, Mark T. Adams, Edwin S. Barker, Frank N. Bash, James R. Fowler, John M. Good, Gary J. Hill, Philip W. Kelton, David L. Lambert, Phillip J. MacQueen, Povilas Palunas, Lawrence W. Ramsey, and Gordon L. Wesley "The Hobby-Eberly Telescope: performance upgrades, status, and plans", Proc. SPIE 5489, Ground-based Telescopes, (28 September 2004);


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