UBC Faculty Research and Publications

LAMA prototype telescope. Hickson, Paul


As a step toward the Large-Aperture Mirror Array, the LAMA telescope consortium is planning the construction of a prototype telescope. Intended as a test bed for the required technologies, the LAMA Prototype Telescope (LPT) would be a coherent array of six 6.15 meter liquid mirrors. Like the LAMA telescope, each telescope would be provided with tracking optics, path-length equalization, phase tracking and adaptive systems. The beam combiner, consisting of six concave adaptive mirrors, would have the Fizeau geometry enabling wide-field interferometric imaging. In order to facilitate construction, testing and operation, the LPT wil be located at or near a developed astronomical site in the continental United States. While the primary purpose of the facility is to develop and prove the LAMA telescope concept and technologies, it will also be a powerful instrument for scientific research. With a light-collecting area equivalent to that of a 15-m telescope, the LPT would be capable of interferometric imaging with the resolution of a 20-m telescope. The telescope would be provided with an infrared imaging camera. This paper describes the telescope design and discusses the main technical challenges that must be faced. Copyright 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

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