27 July 2016 A primary mirror metrology system for the GMT
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Abstract
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)1 is a 25 m “doubly segmented” telescope composed of seven 8.4 m “unit Gregorian telescopes”, on a common mount. Each primary and secondary mirror segment will ideally lie on the geometrical surface of the corresponding rotationally symmetrical full aperture optical element. Therefore, each primary and conjugated secondary mirror segment will feed a common instrument interface, their focal planes co-aligned and cophased. First light with a subset of four unit telescopes is currently scheduled for 2022. The project is currently considering an important aspect of the assembly, integration and verification (AIV) phase of the project. This paper will discuss a dedicated system to directly characterize the on-sky performance of the M1 segments, independently of the M2 subsystem. A Primary Mirror Metrology System (PMS) is proposed. The main purpose of this system will be to he4lp determine the rotation axis of an instrument rotator (the Gregorian Instrument Rotator or GIR in this case) and then to characterize the deflections and deformations of the M1 segments with respect to this axis as a function of gravity and temperature. The metrology system will incorporate a small (180 mm diameter largest element) prime focus corrector (PFC) that simultaneously feeds a <60” square acquisition and guiding camera field, and a Shack Hartmann wavefront sensor. The PMS is seen as a significant factor in risk reduction during AIV; it allows an on-sky characterization of the primary mirror segments and cells, without the complications of other optical elements. The PMS enables a very useful alignment strategy that constrains each primary mirror segments’ optical axes to follow the GIR axis to within a few arc seconds. An additional attractive feature of the incorporation of the PMS into the AIV plan, is that it allows first on-sky telescope operations to occur with a system of considerably less optical and control complexity than the final doubly segmented Gregorian telescope configuration. This paper first discusses the strategic rationale for a PMS. Next the system itself is described in some detail. Finally, some description of the various uses the PMS will be put to during AIV of the M1 segments and subsequent characterization will be described.
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A. Rakich, "A primary mirror metrology system for the GMT", Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 99062O (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2234480; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2234480
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