18 July 2014 Polishers around the globe: an overview on the market of large astronomical mirrors
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Abstract
Astronomical mirrors are key elements in modern optical telescopes, their dimensions are usually large and their specifications are demanding. Only a limited number of skilled companies respectively institutions around the world are able to master the challenge to polish an individual astronomical mirror, especially in dimensions above one meter. This paper presents an overview on the corresponding market including a listing of polishers around the globe. Therefore valuable information is provided to the astronomical community: Polishers may use the information as a global competitor database, astronomers and project managers may get more transparency on potential suppliers, and suppliers of polishing equipment may learn about unknown potential customers in other parts of the world. An evaluation of the historical market demand on large monolithic astronomical mirrors is presented. It concluded that this is still a niche market with a typical mean rate of 1-2 mirrors per year. Polishing of such mirrors is an enabling technology with impact on the development of technical know-how, public relation, visibility and reputation of the supplier. Within a corresponding technical discussion different polishing technologies are described. In addition it is demonstrated that strategic aspects and political considerations are influencing the selection of the optical finisher.
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Thorsten Döhring, Thorsten Döhring, } "Polishers around the globe: an overview on the market of large astronomical mirrors", Proc. SPIE 9151, Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation, 915110 (18 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055523; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2055523
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