4 August 2010 New phase compensating secondary mirrors for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility
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Abstract
The NASA Infrared Telescope Facility is engaged in a long-term program to improve the image quality of the telescope. One element of the program is to minimize the static aberrations. The largest static aberration is spherical aberration, although aberrations caused by zonal polishing rings and support-pad print-through on the primary mirror are also significant. To correct these static wave front errors, a new secondary mirror is being fabricated with a custom, phase compensating surface. Since the as-built optical specifications for the IRTF mirrors have been lost, a configurable multimode instrument was fabricated for use at both the prime and Cassegrain foci to characterize the primary mirror and to measure the wave front errors at both foci. The instrument modes include a focal plane camera, a knife-edge tester, a pupil viewer, a Hartmann wave front sensor, a calibrator, and an on-axis guider. Test results from the prime focus show that the primary mirror has an incorrect conic surface and is poorly supported, which results in a fixed amount of spherical aberration and variable amounts of astigmatism, coma, and trefoil. Cassegrain focal plane results show that the original secondary mirror mount system also induces aberrations. Two new secondary mirrors have been made and at least one of the mirrors will have a custom surface, using ion beam polishing methods, to correct these static aberrations. An analysis is presently underway to determine the optimum compensating surface to be applied by ion beam polishing.
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Eric V. Tollestrup, Eric V. Tollestrup, Alan T. Tokunaga, Alan T. Tokunaga, } "New phase compensating secondary mirrors for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility", Proc. SPIE 7733, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes III, 77331K (4 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858071; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.858071
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