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1 March 2006 Daytime use of astronomical telescopes for deep-space optical links
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Tests at the 200-inch Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain have demonstrated this telescope's ability to withstand considerable thermal stress, and subsequently produce remarkably unaffected results. During the day of June 29, 2005, the Hale telescope dome was left open, and the telescope was exposed to outside air and direct sunlight for 8 hours. During this time, portions of the telescope structure in the telescope's optical path experienced temperature elevations of 30 C, while the primary mirror experienced unprecedented heating of over 3 C. The telescope's measured blind pointing accuracy after this exposure was not noticeably degraded from the measurements taken before exposure. More remarkably, the telescope consistently produced stellar images which were significantly better after exposure of the telescope (1.2 arcsec) than before (1.6 arcsec), even though the conditions of observation were similar. This data is the first step in co-opting astronomical telescopes for daytime use as astronomical receivers, and supports the contention that deleterious effects from daytime exposure of the telescope can be held to an acceptable level for interleaved communications and astronomy.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
W. Thomas Roberts, Gerardo G. Ortiz, and Timothy A. Boyd "Daytime use of astronomical telescopes for deep-space optical links", Proc. SPIE 6105, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XVIII, 61050G (1 March 2006);


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