CLIENT: ESO (European Southern Observatory)
SERVICES: Design, fabrication, assembly, integration and delivery
IDOM has been contracted by ESO for the development and the supply of a Prefocal Station for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).
The Prefocal Station for the ELT, located on one of the Nasmyth platforms on either side of ELT’s tube structure, is the last opto-mechanical component before the light from the giant telescope comes to a focus. The mission of the Prefocal Station is twofold. On the one hand, this high precision opto-mechanical and optical sensing device propagates the light collected on the telescope into science instruments and other test equipment. On the other hand, by means of three sensor arms, it picks and adapts the light from up to three the guide stars for its use in the Acquisition, Guiding & Wavefront Sensing.
Since the information from the focal imaging detectors is used to control the telescope to render a steady image and the information from the wavefront sensing detectors is key to apply the adaptive optics technologies to obtain a sharp image, the Prefocal station is a critical ELT subsystem. The information gathered by the sensor arms is also used to control the active optics system that keeps the telescope’s optics aligned and produces optimum image quality despite the constantly-changing effects of wind and other disturbances on the telescope.
The contract covers the design, fabrication, assembly, integration and delivery of this new component for the ELT. The Extremely Large Telescope is an astronomical observatory and the world’s largest optical/near-infrared extremely large telescope now under construction. Part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agency, it is located on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.