Integration and Installation

Daily events and images of the installation of the BBSO New Solar Telescope.

17 April 2008 The NST secondary mirror is mounted on its hexapod in the coudé room for testing. We are testing the wavefront sensor system which will adjust the secondary position during observations. The hexapod will handle telescope focus as well as alignment.
6 May 2008 The new storage building is under construction next to the Mudd Cottage. This building will be used to store mirror handling and other equipment for NST.
12 May 2008 The completed NST storage building.
26 September 2008 Major NST parts packed on truck leaving DFM for BBSO.
29 September 2008 The NST arrives at BBSO. The parts are placed on the causeway, waiting for the crane.
The soleplate is installed on the pier. The crane arrives late in the day.
30 September 2008 Most of the large parts of the telescope were installed today.
01 October 2008 The secondary tower was installed today. All the crane work was completed, except for installing the primary mirror. This will not happen for some time yet.
06 October 2008 Today the DFM crew were ready to begin assembly of the mirror cell. The first step is to install the levered counterweights which support the mirror as the telescope moves to follow the Sun. NST uses a combination of these passive weights as well as active computer controlled acutators to control the shape of the primary mirror. A set of Teflon pads is installed to initially support the mirror as it is installed in the cell.
08 October 2008 The dummy mirror is hoisted up and will end up on the black pads on top of the yellow posts.
Before the dummy mirror is set down on the yellow posts the actuator rods are attached to the back. On the real mirror the rods will be attached to the "pucks" glued to the back of the glass. At the same time work has started on the primary mirror cover.
After the mirror is set down on the yellow posts the mirror cell is hoisted up around the mirror. The actuator rods must go through the holes in the back of the mirror cell. The weight of the mirror is transferred to the Teflon pads in the mirror cell as the cell is lifted up. Then the cell with the mirror inside is placed on the other yellow cart, the mirror cell insertion tool. On the left we see the actuator rods inside the mirror cell with the dummy mirror attached to them. The dummy mirror is resting on the Teflon pads. On the right we see that the cable wrap carriers have been installed on the polar axis. The cables to go on the telescope will be inside the black plastic carriers.
Yesterday the sunshade was installed. The sunshade keeps sunlight from falling on the central box structure of the mount and changing its temperature.
20 October 2008 Tonight the telescope drives should be operational enough that we can begin polar alignment. In this process we will use a small (about 3-inch) telescope attached to the mount to do drift scans of bright stars. Information from those will be used to adjust the polar axis on the pier. The mirror cell with the dummy mirror is now on the telescope. There is a weight installed in place of the secondary and hexapod.
21 October 2008 It turns out that there were problems with the telescope drive that prevented drift scans last night.
03 November 2008 The primary mirror was installed today. We obtained first light images with a video camera at prime focus of the star Altair tonight. The mirror needs to be adjusted in the cell to put the focus of the mirror in the correct location. The first images were far off axis and as expected showed a lot of astigmatism because of this.
05 November 2008 The primary mirror was installed today. More star images were obtained. The primary mirror is now close enough to the correct position that we can begin mounting the secondary and hexapod.
15 January 2009 Today the primary and secondary alignment were judged good enough to begin working with the Sun. The heat stop was installed and the closed-cycle chiller system was connected.
To be doubly sure nothing would be damaged for this first attempt we installed a full-aperture Mylar filter on the sun shield. Normally NST will not need this.
If you look closely you can see the filtered sunlight falling on the heat stop. Next time we may run without the Mylar filter.
16 January 2009 Today we imaged the Sun without the Mylar filter. Some test images were acquired with the PCO camera at the Nasmyth focus.

© BBSO/NJIT - Last modified: January 16, 2009.