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23 July 2008 Large fully retractable telescope enclosures still closable in strong wind
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Two prototypes of fully retractable enclosures with diameters of 7 and 9 m have been built for the high-resolution solar telescopes DOT (Dutch Open Telescope) and GREGOR, both located at the Canary Islands. These enclosures protect the instruments for bad weather and are fully open when the telescopes are in operation. The telescopes and enclosures also operate in hard wind. The prototypes are based on tensioned membrane between movable but stiff bows, which fold together to a ring when opened. The height of the ring is small. The prototypes already survived several storms, with often snow and ice, without any damage, including hurricane Delta with wind speeds up to 68 m/s. The enclosures can still be closed and opened with wind speeds of 20 m/s without any problems or restrictions. The DOT successfully demonstrated the open, wind-flushing concept for astronomical telescopes. It is now widely recognized that also large future telescopes benefit from wind-flushing and retractable enclosures. These telescopes require enclosures with diameters of 30 m until roughly 100 m, the largest sizes for the ELTs (Extreme Large Telescopes), which will be built in the near future. We discuss developments and required technology for the realization of these large sizes.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Felix C. M. Bettonvil, Robert H. Hammerschlag, Aswin P. L. Jägers, and Guus Sliepen "Large fully retractable telescope enclosures still closable in strong wind", Proc. SPIE 7018, Advanced Optical and Mechanical Technologies in Telescopes and Instrumentation, 70181N (23 July 2008);


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