Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope Enclosure (DKIST)
The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), formerly the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), is a 4-m class domed solar telescope located at the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory in Maui, Hawaii, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and coordinated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).
Being the largest solar telescope in the world, it will provide unprecedented abilities to view details of the Sun. Using adaptive optics technology, DKIST will be able to provide the sharpest views ever taken of the solar surface, which will allow scientists to learn even more about the Sun and solar-terrestrial interactions.
IDOM was in charge of the design and construction of the telescope Dome. The DKIST Enclosure, a large structural-mechanical system approximately 22m [72ft] tall and 26.6m [87ft] in diameter, is one of the observatory’s key subsystems.
While it performs many functions in common with other observatory enclosures, the DKIST Enclosure is unique in that it positions the optical system’s first aperture stop and tracks the sun’s motion with millimetre-level accuracy, protecting observatory components from excess insolation which would degrade performance.
Monitoring of the king star with pinpoint accuracy
In addition, the azimuth systems and altitude of the dome are driven by specially designed mechanisms to achieve a uniform motion and constant speeds for tracking the sun’s movement. In particular, the shutter motion is accomplished utilizing an innovative solution for driving large moveable structures, the “crawler” mechanism patented by IDOM.
Furthermore, the main mechanisms, altitude and azimuth, proved to operate very accurately in terms of uniform and constant movements at both maximum (2º/s) and minimum (0.004º/s) operation speeds.