Over the past two years, the New York Astronomical Corporation (NYAC), the business arm of the Astronomical Society of New York (ASNY), has continued planning and technical studies toward construction of a 12-meter class optical telescope for the use of all New York universities and research institutions. Four significant technical studies have been performed investigating design opportunities for the facility, the dome, the telescope optics, and the telescope mount. The studies were funded by NYAC and performed by companies who have provided these subsystems for large astronomical telescopes in the past. In each case, innovative and cost effective approaches were identified, developed, analyzed, and initial cost estimates developed. As a group, the studies show promise that this telescope could be built at historically low prices. As the project continues forward, NYAC intends to broaden the collaboration, pursue funding, to continue to develop the telescope and instrument designs, and to further define the scientific mission. The vision of a historically large telescope dedicated to all New York institutions continues to grow and find new adherents.
The Astronomical Corporation of New York has commissioned a study of a 12-meter class telescope to be
developed by a group of NY universities. The telescope concept builds on the basic principles established by the
Keck telescopes; segmented primary mirror, Ritchey Chretien Nasmyth instrument layout, and light weight
structures. New, lightweight, and low cost approaches are proposed for the primary mirror architecture, dome
structure and mechanisms, telescope mount approach, and adaptive optics. Work on the design is supported by
several NY based corporations and universities. The design offers a substantially larger aperture than any existing
Visible/IR wavelength telescope at historically low cost. The concept employs an adaptive secondary mirror and
laser guide star adaptive optics. Two First Light instruments are proposed; A High resolution near infrared
spectrograph and a near infrared Integral field spectrograph/imager.
Technologies of modern optical telescopes with large primary mirror are based on adaptive optics. These telescopes
operate with many small mirror segments, so that all the segments work as a large piece of a reflective curved plate, i.e.
a paraboloid. Each mirror segment is independently attached to a support structure via adjustable warping harnesses. A
support structure is required to be extremely rigid in order to maintain the reflective surface. This paper describes the
conceptual approach for the design of such support structures. A system proven to fulfill these requirements with
efficient structural material use is a node-and-bar system,
so-called space frame. The rules for geometry of space frame
structures are based on the system of the five 'platonic solids': The edges of the conceptually assembled solids can be
replaced by the bar members of a space frame to achieve maximum stiffness. This conceptual approach is demonstrated
with examples in the paper, by illustrating the determination of the geometry and examining the deformation due to the
telescope rotations during operation. This paper also demonstrates design solutions for other issues relevant to space
frame geometry, such as effects of gradient thermal load and redundancy of the structures.