Friday, May 20, 2011

Zooming in on PALM-3000

Here are three photos that show off the PALM-3000 adaptive-optics system.

The first is a wide shot of the 200-inch Hale Telescope:

In this view the only easily noticeable changes to the telescope are the hoses and cables hanging from the telescope's south side. The instrument itself is housed in the telescope's Cassegrain cage and can be seen in this wide-angle photo:

The photo gives a feel for some of the complexity of the system through the number of cables visible, but there is much more that the image does not capture. At the heart of the system is the new 3388 actuator higher order deformable mirror. Here you can see the back end of it here:

The weather has not been favorable for the first two nights of commissioning the instrument. The forecast for tonight looks good. Let's hope that the weather cooperates as tonight is the third and final night for this observing run. On Saturday the instrument comes off the telescope until their next observing run in June.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great information and images. This is a real technological breakthrough.