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  • richardmitnick 2:55 pm on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO E-ELT, Xavier Barcons interview   

    From Science: “Top astronomer on the challenges of building the world’s largest telescope, and what’s next” 

    AAAS
    Science

    1
    New ESO chief Xavier Barcons (above) takes over from Tim de Zeeuw after a 10-year term. ROMAN G. AGUILERA/EFE/Newscom

    Sep. 15, 2017
    Daniel Clery

    Spanish astronomer Xavier Barcons took over the reins this month of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the world’s foremost international astronomy organization. It is currently building the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), destined to be the world’s largest when completed in 2024.

    In the 1980s Barcons set up the first x-ray astronomy group in Spain at the University of Cantabria. He is a specialist on active galactic nuclei, superbright galactic cores thought to be caused by giant black holes sucking in and heating up quantities of gas and dust. To study them, he’s been heavily involved in European x-ray space telescopes such as XMM-Newton and the forthcoming Athena, due for launch in 2028. Barcons has also worked at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, Spain’s Council for Scientific Research, and served as chair of ESO’s council from 2012 to 2014.

    He joins ESO in a period of high activity as the organization embarks on the E-ELT, its biggest project so far. But a shadow hangs over the €1.1 billion facility: Because of a shortfall in funding, the ESO council has only approved a first phase of construction, which will produce a working telescope but with certain desired components delayed until extra funding can be found. Those components include 210 of the 798 segments that make up the 39-meter main mirror, back-up mirror segments, some lasers for the adaptive optics system, and a few instrument components.

    Meanwhile, ESO’s current main facility, the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in Chile, continues to be the world’s most productive ground-based instrument, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a new radio observatory built jointly with North American and East Asian countries, is opening up this previously little-studied window on the universe.

    ESO/VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    Barcons spoke with ScienceInsider by phone from his office at ESO headquarters in Garching, Germany. His responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

    Q: What is happening at the E-ELT site in Cerro Paranal right now?

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    A: In the past few months we handed over the mountain to the construction company that will build the E-ELT structure. Earlier a road was built and the top was flattened and a power line to the Chilean grid was installed. We’re now well placed for construction. There is a lot going on in industry, too, starting the fabrication of mirror segments and instruments.

    Q: What are the prospects for finding extra funding so that the second phase of construction can be completed?

    A: We’re looking for options. We could expand the number of member states [now 15 European nations plus Chile]; we’re actively discussing with two European countries and have signed a cooperation agreement with Australia. Australia will only be part of VLT but it will help with our finances. We wish Australia would become a member state. It has so much to offer; its astronomical community is very skilled. It’s a win-win situation. We’re also exploring other options: reducing costs, finding synergies.

    Of the several items in phase II, the most critical is completing the mirror. Although it will retain its 39-meter outer diameter, phase one will leave a hole in the middle. In June the council approved design work for the full mirror and we’re hoping for authorization to build it. We need to make that happen. Of the other items [in phase two], none are time critical at the moment. They’re modular, we can decide later.

    Q: Originally, Brazil joining ESO was to have provided the necessary E-ELT funding. Are there any signs of that happening?

    A: The Brazilian parliament ratified the [accession] treaty in 2015. The procedure is completed. It’s up to the government to decide when to implement it. I haven’t seen much progress recently but it’s at the top of my list to conclude this process in the near future. No projects depend on it happening.

    Q: With facilities getting increasingly large and expensive, might ESO collaborate again globally as it did with ALMA?

    A: That could be possible for some projects. I’m extremely proud of ALMA. It’s a really unique machine and we couldn’t have done it alone and neither could the other partners. I’m sure there will be opportunities to collaborate on other projects but we’re very busy, we can’t start any new significant opportunities until E-ELT is well underway.

    Q: One of E-ELT’s rivals, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), is struggling to secure its site on Mauna Kea in Hawaii because of local opposition.

    TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    If the project collapses, what impact will the absence of a giant telescope in the Northern Hemisphere have for astronomy?

    A: It would not be a catastrophe; we only have ALMA in the south. But it would be much better to have two in the south [E-ELT and the Giant Magellan Telescope] and one in the north, in Hawaii or elsewhere.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    [The TMT has identified the Canary Islands as a possible alternative.] We’ve offered all possible help to assist [the TMT] to make it become a reality. But purely from a scientific point of view, it’s better to have north and south coverage.

    Q: After E-ELT, what’s next for ESO?

    A: I don’t know at the moment, although astronomers dream about this night and day. There are some ideas on the table, including a reasonably sized spectroscopic telescope, a large submillimeter antenna to supplement ALMA, and maybe an expansion of the VLT interferometer. We have no opportunity to start anything in the near future, but I’m sure there will be a good battery of proposals when the time comes.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on September 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Grand Presentation, , , , , ESO E-ELT,   

    From Ethan Siegel: “A New Record Nears: The World’s Largest Telescope Prepares For Completion” An Excellent Presentation… 

    Ethan Siegel
    9.13.17

    …With a Bit of a Premature Title

    1
    This artist’s rendering shows a night view of the Extremely Large Telescope in operation on Cerro Armazones in northern Chile. The telescope is shown using lasers to create artificial stars high in the atmosphere. ESO/L. Calçada

    If you want to learn more about the Universe than you ever have before, there’s only so much you can do. You can improve your optics and your seeing, making your mirrors smoother and defect-free than ever before. You can improve your conditions, through adaptive optics or optimizing your observatory’s location. You can work on your camera/CCD/grism technology, to make the most of every single photon your telescope is capable of collecting. But even if you do all that, there’s one improvement that will take you beyond anything you’ve ever accomplished before: size. The larger your primary mirror, the deeper, faster, and higher-resolution you’ll be able to image anything you look at in the Universe.

    Currently, there are a number of 10-meter (33-foot) diameter optical telescopes in the world, with the Giant Magellan Telescope, at 25 meters (82 feet), poised to break that record in just a few years.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile

    But an even more ambitious project, the 39 meter (128 foot) diameter Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), began construction in 2014. By time the mid-2020s come around, it will blow everything else away.

    3
    The construction design for the ELT, revealed in 2016, was the basis for this artist’s rendition of what the completed telescope, with the dome open, will look like in approximately 7 years. ESO/L. Calçada/ACe Consortium

    Not only will it take images that are 16 times sharper and with 256 times the light-gathering power than Hubble, but it will enable us to do science that’s unfathomable with our current instruments. We can directly detect light from extra-solar planets — planets around other stars beyond our own — and break it up spectroscopically, discerning what’s in their atmospheres. For the largest planets of all around the closest stars, we’ll even be able to take the first direct images of those worlds. It will also take unprecedented images of the most distant, earliest galaxies in the Universe; of supermassive black holes at the centers of other galaxies; will enable the detection of water and organic (carbon-based) molecules in protoplanetary disks around newly forming stars; and it will probe the nature and properties of dark matter and dark energy. With a telescope this large and high-quality, so much new science becomes possible.

    4
    The evolving protoplanetary disk, with large gaps, around the young star HL Tauri. ALMA image on the left, VLA image on the right. With the ELT, new views of a protoplanetary disk like this, including in the optical, will become possible at last. Carrasco-Gonzalez, et al.; Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky VLA, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA

    But the key to it all is the size and quality of the primary mirrors. I had the opportunity to speak with Marc Cayrel, the project manager of the optics — the eyes of the telescope — for the ELT. In order to build a telescope this large, you need to build an effective surface that’s properly shaped to focus the incoming light across an area 39 meters in diameter with a large hole in the center: the equivalent of 1000 square meters. (For comparison, Hubble’s area is 4.5 square meters.) The surface needs to be smooth down to an incredible 7.5 nanometers: just 1/100th the size of the wavelengths of light it will collect. You cannot build a single mirror that large to that level of smoothness, so the only option is to do it in segments. With material manufactured by SCHOTT, made out of their unique, low-expansion ZERODUR® material, and then polished by SAFRAN-REOSC, the ELT will boast the largest primary mirror of any optical telescope in humanity’s history.

    5
    This aerial image shows a 1:1 scale model of the European Extremely Large Telescope’s primary mirror, assembled next to the Asiago Astrophysical Observatory near Asiago, Italy. The segmented structure is necessary for a telescope of this size and weight, particularly at the desired optical accuracy. ESO/Sergio Dalle Ave & Roberto Ragazzoni (INAF-OAPD)

    In an incredible technical achievement, the primary mirror will be built out of 798 hexagonal segments, each one 1.4 meters in size, as measured from corner-to-corner. Each segment is a mere 50 millimeters (about two inches) thick, with the mechanics underneath, forms a complete assembly that can be moved in-and-out of the telescope. Each individual segment can be polished to a smoothness of 7.5 nanometers (where that’s the root-mean-square smoothness), achieving the optical goal. The big advantage to that smoothness is image quality, since you need to be that tiny fraction of the light’s wavelength you’re collecting in order to do high contrast imaging, particularly for objects that are so far away. A special reflective coating is then physically added to the top, to make the most of every photon that comes in and strikes the primary mirror.

    6
    A completed, cut, and polished 1.4 meter segment for the ELT primary mirror. © SCHOTT

    Manufacturing, polishing, and constructing these mirrors and the assemblies will take approximately seven years, as the ELT needs around 800 of them. Because they’re hexagonal (six-sided) mirrors that need to make a completed mirror of a particular geometric shape, that means that there are 133 unique shapes you need to complete the mirrors: 798 ÷ 6 = 133. If you didn’t produce them with the required gradient in your mirror shapes, you’d wind up with optical aberration, which was the original flaw with the Hubble Space Telescope! But the coatings themselves are delicate and temporary, and must be done on-site. So that means you need a dedicated production facility, where you can crank out about one mirror coating every day; even at that, it will take over two years to get all the individual mirrors telescope-ready.

    7
    The before-and-after difference between Hubble’s original view (left) with the mirror flaws, and the corrected images (right) after the proper optics were applied. NASA / STScI

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Being present here on Earth, the reflective coatings on the mirror are subject to wear-and-tear. Even though the optical quality of a mirror is stable over timescales of decades, the additional layers only last for about 18 months until they need maintenance. That means stripping the mirror coating completely and applying a new coat on a continuous basis. Even if you could replace one or two every day — because the telescope is only used at night — you couldn’t possibly keep all the segments in continuous operation with just the 798 mirrors you have for the telescope. Instead, you need to manufacture an “extra” 133 mirrors, one of each unique shape, so you can replace the mirror you need to repair-and-recoat without jeopardizing the full telescope mirror, for a total of 931 mirrors.

    This means, of course, that you need an extra storage facility for 133 mirrors, an on-site segment stripping and recoating facility, and to basically turn your observatory into a factory whenever you’re not viewing the sky. The plan for the ELT is to have it be in a state of continuous maintenance every day, where a mirror is removed and replaced with a newly recoated one, which means that it can be in a state of continuous operation every night.

    8
    This diagram shows the novel 5-mirror optical system of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Before reaching the science instruments the light is first reflected from the telescope’s giant concave 39-metre segmented primary mirror (M1), it then bounces off two further 4-metre-class mirrors, one convex (M2) and one concave (M3). The final two mirrors (M4 and M5) form a built-in adaptive optics system to allow extremely sharp images to be formed at the final focal plane. ESO

    Even with 798 perfectly configured, polished, and coated mirrors, your challenges aren’t over. You don’t just need that high accuracy surface for each mirror segment, you need that same accuracy between all of the mirrors combined, and at once. In order to get the tolerance between mirror segments down to that level of precision, you need to account for Earth’s gravity, which will deform the mirrors, and temperature differences and fluctuations. Three position actuators can align each segment assembly for height, tip, and tilt, which will align the mirrors relative to one another continuously: up to four times per second. But the other necessary alignments come from a nine-actuator warping harness that’s on the underside of each mirror segment. These actuators apply torques to compensate for the distortion of each mirror, where the shape and curvature can be optimized, producing required nanometer-level accuracy. Warping adjustments can be done several times per night, as necessary, depending on what’s being observed and what the thermal conditions are.

    9
    It’s not just the assembly structure that needs to be tilted, torqued, and pointed, but the actuators on the reverse side of each mirror. That’s the only way to achieve the required 7.5 nanometer precision not just on each mirror, but between every mirror in the primary array. ESO/H.-H. Heyer

    Next, you need to create the shape of the overall mirror that you want to achieve: what we call a “set point” for the primary mirror. By beginning your night by looking at a star and analyzing the light coming from it after it reflects off the mirror, you can determine how each of the 798 mirrors must be moved, relative to one another, to achieve that perfect focus. Once you’ve done that calibration, the mirrors are all considered phase-locked. During the night, that set point will be used for observations, achieving very good accuracy throughout.

    But to maintain that set point throughout your observations, you need to make tiny, continuous adjustments to the individual mirrors. The air temperature will change; gravity will be present; there will be internal vibrations to the telescope assembly; there will even be wind effects that are substantial. It’s like seeing ripples in a lake or pond due to the wind: if you need a perfectly smooth surface, you have to clean those up. Very small adjustments will be made to each individual mirror about four-to-five times per second, which keeps you phase-locked and at that set point all throughout that night, and at that required 7.5 nanometer accuracy.

    10
    Each mirror begins as a properly-shaped circular disk, with the correct gradient for whichever of the 133 ‘spots’ it will take up in the primary mirror array. Only after polishing down to that 7.5 nanometer tolerance will the mirror be cut to a 1.4 meter hexagonal segment, with the final coating applied subsequent to that. SCHOTT/ESO

    There are also going to be gaps between the individual mirror segments, along with edge effects. There are, after all, 798 mirrors with six edges each; that’s nearly 5,000 edges total! It’s very difficult to polish a mirror evenly all the way to the edge, otherwise you get “turn-down” of the surface near the edges. To overcome that, you polish a disc 1.5 meters in diameter, then carve out your 1.4 meter hexagonal segment, and only then apply your final coating. Still, the hexagonal segments, even with gaps tuned to be only 4 millimeters between each segment, will create an image artifact that can’t be avoided: diffraction spikes. Unlike Hubble, which has four spikes on each star, ELT will have six, due to the hexagonal gaps.

    11
    The star powering the Bubble Nebula, estimated at approximately 40 times the mass of the Sun. Note how the diffraction spikes, due to the telescope itself, interfere with nearby detailed observations of fainter structures. NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team.

    Even at that, there are techniques for helping out on that front. If you image something very distant or wide-field, the spikes are barely perceptible. But if you’re trying to image something faint that’s very close to something bright, that’s when the spikes are a nightmare. By minimizing the gap-space as a function of surface area — 99% of the telescope’s surface is mirror — you help minimize the magnitude of the spikes. And by using shear imaging, where you take two images that are slightly mis-positioned and then subtract them, you can remove most of the effects of those diffraction spikes.

    12
    The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), with a main mirror 39 metres in diameter, will be the world’s biggest eye on the sky when it becomes operational early in the next decade. This is a detailed preliminary design, showcasing the anatomy of the entire observatory. ESO

    The ELT, by the nature of its size, its power, its weight, and its complexity, could never have been a “build-it-and-you’re-done” type of telescope. It needs to be continuously adjusted throughout the night to maintain the optimal mirror shape; it needs to be re-calibrated night-to-night to achieve that perfect set point; it needs to have its mirrors recoated every 18 months to keep that ideal smoothness and reflectivity. But if you do all of that, and you use the optimal techniques and instruments — from pointing-and-tracking to adaptive optics to imaging methodology — the ELT has the capability to outclass every other optical telescope ever built, on Earth or in space. It’s going to be an incredible technical achievement when complete, an achievement that requires continuous work to maintain. But the science we’ll get from it will be unlike anything else our world has ever seen.

    See the full article here .

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    “Starts With A Bang! is a blog/video blog about cosmology, physics, astronomy, and anything else I find interesting enough to write about. I am a firm believer that the highest good in life is learning, and the greatest evil is willful ignorance. The goal of everything on this site is to help inform you about our world, how we came to be here, and to understand how it all works. As I write these pages for you, I hope to not only explain to you what we know, think, and believe, but how we know it, and why we draw the conclusions we do. It is my hope that you find this interesting, informative, and accessible,” says Ethan

     
  • richardmitnick 12:46 pm on June 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ELT Primary Mirror Prepares to Flex its Muscles, ESO E-ELT, Physik Instrumente GmbH & Co. KG   

    From ESO: “ELT Primary Mirror Prepares to Flex its Muscles” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    19 June 2017
    Marc Cayrel
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6685
    mcayrel@eso.org

    Oliver Dietzel
    Physik Instrumente (PI) GmbH & Co. KG
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    Tel: +49 721 4846-2032
    O.Dietzel@pi.de

    Peter Grimley
    ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6383
    pgrimley@partner.eso.org

    1

    ESO has signed a contract with the German company Physik Instrumente GmbH & Co. KG, based in Karlsruhe, to construct the position actuators (PACTs) that will adjust the positions of the 798 hexagonal segments of the primary mirror of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

    The segments that make up the ELT’s enormous 39-metre main mirror will be connected to the main telescope structure via a support system (ann15003), of which the PACTs are fundamental components. Each segment, some 1.4 metres across and weighing 250 kg will be mounted on three PACTs — meaning 2394 in total. The PACTs will support the segment and actively control its position in three directions, known as piston, tip and tilt. The control system of the ELT primary mirror will initiate tiny adjustments to the PACTs to maintain the mirror’s overall shape, correcting for deformations which may be caused by changes in telescope elevation, temperature and wind forces, as well as limiting the effects of vibrations.
    More Information

    Physik Instrumente has worked with ESO before, providing the hexapods that align the subreflectors to the large main reflectors of the radio telescopes that make up the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

    See the full article here .

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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
  • richardmitnick 12:09 pm on May 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO E-ELT, ESO Signs Contracts for the ELT’s Gigantic Primary Mirror   

    From ESO: “ESO Signs Contracts for the ELT’s Gigantic Primary Mirror” A Happy Day, Indeed. 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    30 May 2017
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    Contracts for the manufacture of the 39-metre primary mirror of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) were signed today at a ceremony at ESO’s Headquarters near Munich. The German company SCHOTT will produce the blanks of the mirror segments, and the French company Safran Reosc will polish, mount and test the segments. The contract to polish the mirror blanks is the second-largest contract for the ELT construction and the third-largest contract ESO has ever awarded.

    2
    The contracts to manufacture and polish the ELT primary mirror segments were signed on 30 May 2017 by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and senior representatives of SCHOTT and Safran Reosc, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, in the presence of key ESO staff members. In this picture the first contract is being signed with SCHOTT. Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General, appears in the centre, with Thomas Westerhoff, Director Strategic Marketing Zerodur for SCHOTT, to the left and Christoph Fark, Executive Vice President Advanced Optics of SCHOTT on the right. Credit:
    ESO/M. Zamani

    3
    The contracts to manufacture and polish the ELT primary mirror segments were signed on 30 May 2017 by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and senior representatives of SCHOTT and Safran Reosc, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, in the presence of key ESO staff members. In this picture the second contract is being signed with Safran Reosc. Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General appears on the right and Philippe Rioufreyt, Chief Executive Officer, Safran Reosc on the left. Credit: ESO/M. Zamani

    4
    The contracts to manufacture and polish the ELT primary mirror segments were signed on 30 May 2017 by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and senior representatives of SCHOTT and Safran Reosc, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, in the presence of key ESO staff members. This picture shows key members of the contract teams, from both ESO and SCHOTT. Credit: ESO/M. Zamani

    5
    The contracts to manufacture and polish the ELT primary mirror segments were signed on 30 May 2017 by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and senior representatives of SCHOTT and Safran Reosc, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, in the presence of key ESO staff members. This picture shows key members of the contract teams, from both ESO and Safran Reosc. Credit: ESO/M. Zamani

    The unique optical system of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope consists of five mirrors, each of which represents its own significant engineering challenge. The 39-metre-diameter primary mirror, which will be made up of 798 individual hexagonal segments each measuring 1.4 metres across, will be by far the largest ever made for an optical telescope. Together, the segments will collect tens of millions of times as much light as the human eye [1].

    The contracts to manufacture and polish the ELT primary mirror segments were signed today by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and senior representatives of SCHOTT and Safran Reosc, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, in the presence of key ESO staff members. The first contract was signed with SCHOTT by Christoph Fark, Executive Vice President Advanced Optics, and Thomas Westerhoff, Director Strategic Marketing Zerodur. The second contract was signed with Safran Reosc by Philippe Rioufreyt, Chief Executive Officer.

    Tim de Zeeuw expressed his delight at the current progress with the ELT: “This has been an extraordinary two weeks! We saw the casting of the ELT’s secondary mirror and then, last Friday, we were privileged to have the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, attend the first stone ceremony of the ELT. And now two world-leading European companies are starting work on the telescope’s enormous main mirror, perhaps the biggest challenge of all.”

    The 798 hexagonal segments that together comprise the ELT’s primary mirror will be produced from the low-expansion ceramic material Zerodur® [2] by SCHOTT. Previously SCHOTT was also awarded the contracts for the production of the telescope’s giant secondary and tertiary mirrors and the material is also being used for the ELT’s deformable quaternary mirror that is currently under construction.

    Once the mirror blanks are ready they will be passed to Safran Reosc, to design the mounting interfaces, figure and polish the segments, integrate them into their support systems, and perform optical tests before delivery. During the polishing process, each segment will be polished until it has no surface irregularity greater than about 10 nanometres — no higher than a ladybird if each segment were as big as France!

    To meet the challenge of delivering such a large number of polished segments within seven years, Safran Reosc will build up to a peak production rate of one mirror a day. It will set up a dedicated new facility at its Poitiers plant, specialising in the production of high-tech optical and optronic (electro-optical) equipment [3].

    The new contract with Safran Reosc is the second-largest contract for the ELT construction and the third-largest contract ESO has ever signed [4]. Safran Reosc will also design, polish and test the ELT’s secondary mirror and tertiary mirror, and is currently manufacturing the 2-mm thick deformable shell mirrors that will comprise the ELT’s fourth mirror.

    Both SCHOTT and Safran Reosc have long and successful involvements with ESO. Together they manufactured many optical components, including the 8.2-metre main mirrors of the four Unit Telescopes of the ESO Very Large Telescope.

    The ELT is currently under construction at Cerro Armazones near ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, and is scheduled to see first light in 2024.
    Notes

    [1] The ELT primary mirror segments will be installed in a common support structure and equipped with edge sensors — the most accurate ever used in a telescope — that will continuously sense the locations of the ELT primary mirror segments relative to their neighbours and allow the segments to work together to form a perfect imaging system.

    [2] Zerodur® is a sophisticated material which has almost no thermal expansion even when subjected to large temperature fluctuations, is highly chemically resistant, and can be polished to a high standard of finish. The reflective layer, made of aluminum or silver, will be vapourised onto the extremely smooth surface shortly before the telescope is put into operation. Many well-known telescopes with Zerodur® mirrors have been operating reliably for decades, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    [3] Up to 931 segments will ultimately be produced and polished, including 133 in a maintenance set, allowing for segments to be removed, replaced and recoated on a rotating basis once the ELT is in operation.

    [4] The two other contracts are those for the Dome and Main Structure of the ELT and the European ALMA Antennas.

    See the full article here .

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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
  • richardmitnick 9:29 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO E-ELT, First Stone Ceremony for ESO's Extremely Large Telescope   

    From ESO: “First Stone Ceremony for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    26 May 2017
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile


    A ceremony marking the first stone of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has been attended today by the President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet Jeria. The event was held at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, close to the site of the future giant telescope. This milestone marked the beginning of the construction of the dome and main telescope structure of the world’s biggest optical telescope, and ushered in a new era in astronomy. The occasion also marked the connection of the observatory to the Chilean national electrical grid.

    President Bachelet was today received by Tim de Zeeuw, Director General of ESO, Roberto Tamai, the ELT Programme Manager, and Andreas Kaufer, the Director of the La Silla Paranal Observatory. Aurora Williams, Minister of Mining, Luis Felipe Céspedes, Minister of Economy, and Andrés Rebolledo, Minister of Energy, were also present. In addition, the ceremony was attended by many other distinguished international and Chilean guests from government and industry, along with ESO scientists and engineers, and local and international media representatives [1].

    Highlights of the ceremony included the sealing of a time capsule prepared by ESO. The contents include a poster of photographs of current ESO staff and a copy of the book describing the future scientific goals of the telescope. The cover of the time capsule is an engraved hexagon made of Zerodur®, a one fifth-scale model of one of the ELT’s primary mirror segments.

    In her speech, the President emphasised: “With the symbolic start of this construction work, we are building more than a telescope here: it is one of the greatest expressions of scientific and technological capabilities and of the extraordinary potential of international cooperation.”

    Tim de Zeeuw thanked the President and her Government for their continuing support of ESO in Chile and their protection of the country’s unequalled skies: “The ELT will produce discoveries that we simply cannot imagine today, and it will surely inspire numerous people around the world to think about science, technology and our place in the Universe. This will bring great benefit to the ESO Member States, to Chile, and to the rest of the world.”

    Patrick Roche, President of the ESO Council, adds: “This is a milestone in ESO’s history, the ELT will be the most powerful and ambitious telescope of its kind. We have reached this point thanks to the efforts of many people in the Member States of ESO, in Chile and elsewhere, over many years. I thank them all and am delighted to see many of them here today, celebrating on this occasion.”

    With a main mirror 39 metres in diameter, the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world and will take telescope engineering into new territory. It will be housed in an enormous rotating dome 85 metres in diameter — comparable in area to a football pitch [2].

    One year ago, ESO signed a contract with the ACe Consortium, consisting of Astaldi, Cimolai and the nominated sub-contractor EIE Group, for the construction of the dome and telescope structure (eso1617). This was the largest contract ever awarded by ESO and also the largest contract ever in ground-based astronomy. With the laying of the first stone, the construction of the ELT dome and telescope structure has officially begun.

    The ceremony also marked the connection of the Cerro Paranal and Cerro Armazones sites to the Chilean national electrical grid. This connection, which has been made possible thanks to the strong support of the Chilean Government, is managed by the Chilean Grupo SAESA. The new connection will reduce costs and provide greater reliability and stability, as well as reduce the observatory’s carbon footprint.

    The ELT is the latest of many ESO projects that have benefited greatly from the continuing support of the Government of the host state of Chile over more than half a century. The strong support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Energy and the National Commission for Energy (CNE) has been vital in establishing the successful connection of the site to the power grid.

    The ELT site was donated by the Government of Chile, and is surrounded by a further large concession of land to protect the future operations of the telescope from interference of all kinds — contributing towards retaining Chile’s status as the astronomy capital of the world.

    The ELT will be the biggest “eye” ever pointed towards the sky and may revolutionise our perception of the Universe. It will tackle a wide range of scientific challenges, including probing Earth-like exoplanets for signs of life, studying the nature of dark energy and dark matter, and observing the Universe’s early stages to explore our origins. It will also raise new questions we cannot conceive of today, as well as improving life here on Earth through new technology and engineering breakthroughs.

    The ELT is targeted to see first light in 2024. The laying of the first stone marks the dawn of a new era of astronomy.
    Notes

    [1] The ceremony was moved to the Paranal Residencia from the planned site on Cerro Armazones because of very high winds.

    [2] The dome will have a total mass of around 5000 tonnes, and the telescope mounting and tube structure will have a total moving mass of more than 3000 tonnes. Both of these structures are by far the largest ever built for an optical/infrared telescope and dwarf all existing ones, making the ELT truly the world’s biggest eye on the sky.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
  • richardmitnick 8:28 am on May 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO E-ELT, Secondary Mirror of ELT Successfully Cast   

    From ESO: “Secondary Mirror of ELT Successfully Cast” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    22 May 2017
    Marc Cayrel
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6685
    Email: mcayrel@eso.org

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    The casting of the secondary mirror blank for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has been completed by SCHOTT at Mainz, Germany. The completed mirror will be 4.2 metres in diameter and weigh 3.5 tonnes. It will be the largest secondary mirror ever employed on a telescope and also the largest convex mirror ever produced.

    2
    ELT secondary mirror during transport to annealing facility

    ESO’s 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be the largest telescope of its kind ever built when it achieves first light in 2024. A new milestone has now been reached with the casting of the telescope’s secondary mirror (M2), which is larger than the primary mirror of many of today’s research telescopes.

    The mirror blank is the cast block of material — in this case Zerodur® glass-ceramic [1] — that will then be ground and polished to produce the finished mirror. In January 2017, ESO awarded SCHOTT the contract to manufacture the M2 mirror blank (eso1704). ESO has enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with SCHOTT, who also produced the 8.2-metre meniscus main mirrors for the Very Large Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory (ann12015). A manufacturer of exceptional astronomical products to a very high standard, SCHOTT has already delivered the blanks of the deformable thin shell mirrors that will make up the ELT’s quaternary mirror, M4 (ann15055), and will also provide the blank of the tertiary M3 mirror.

    The blank of the secondary mirror now has to go through a slow cool-down, machining and heat treatment sequence over the next year. It will then be ready to be ground to precisely the right shape and polished. The French company Safran Reosc will carry this out, along with additional testing (ann16045). The blank will be shaped and polished to a precision of 15 nanometres (15 millionths of a millimetre) across the entire optical surface.

    When completed and installed, the M2 mirror will hang upside down above the telescope’s huge primary mirror and forms the second element of the ELT’s novel five-mirror optical system. The mirror is strongly curved and aspheric and is a major challenge to make and test.
    Notes

    [1] Originally developed for astronomical telescopes in the late 1960s, Zerodur® has almost no thermal expansion even when subjected to large temperature fluctuations, is highly chemically resistant, and can be polished to a high standard of finish. Many telescopes with Zerodur® mirrors have been operating reliably for decades, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

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    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
  • richardmitnick 10:36 pm on March 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ESO E-ELT,   

    From Universe Today- “Rise of the Super Telescopes: The European Extremely Large Telescope 

    universe-today

    Universe Today

    1 Mar , 2017
    Evan Gough

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile
    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile

    The European Extremely Large Telescope

    The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is an enormous ‘scope being built by the European Southern Observatory. It’s under construction right now in the high-altitude Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The ESO, with its partners, has built some of the largest and most technically advanced telescopes in the world, like the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT.) But with a 39 meter primary mirror, the E-ELT will dwarf the other telescopes in the ESO’s fleet.

    As Dr Michele Cirasuolo, Programme Scientist for the ELT told Universe Today, “The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is the flagship project of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and when completed in 2024 will be the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world. It represents the next step forward and it will complement the research done with the GMT (Giant Magellan Telescope) and other large telescopes being built.”

    ESO E-ELT Interior

    The E-ELT is the successor to the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (OWL), which was the ESO backed away from due to its €1.5 billion price tag. Instead, the ESO focussed on the E-ELT. The site for the E-ELT was selected in 2010, and over the next couple years the design was finalized.

    Like other telescopes—including the Keck Telescope—the E-ELT’s primary mirror will be made up of individually manufactured hexagonal segments; 798 of them.

    Keck Observatory, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    Keck Observatory, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Keck mirror
    Keck mirror

    The primary mirror will be fitted with edge sensors to ensure that each segment of the mirror is corrected in relation to its neighbours as the scope is aimed or moved, or as it is disturbed by temperature changes, wind, or vibrations.

    The E-ELT is actually a 5 mirror system. Along with the enormous primary mirror, and the secondary mirror, there are three other mirrors. An unusual aspect of the E-ELT’s design is its tertiary mirror. This tertiary mirror will give the E-ELT better image quality over a larger field of view than a primary and secondary mirror can.

    The ‘scope also has two other mirrors which provide adaptive optics and image stabilization, as well as allowing more large science instruments to be mounted to the ‘scope simultaneously.

    5
    This diagram shows the novel 5-mirror optical system of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Before reaching the science instruments the light is first reflected from the telescope’s giant concave 39-metre segmented primary mirror (M1), it then bounces off two further 4-metre-class mirrors, one convex (M2) and one concave (M3). The final two mirrors (M4 and M5) form a built-in adaptive optics system to allow extremely sharp images to be formed at the final focal plane. Image By ESO – https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1704a/, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55268266

    The Science: What Will the E-ELT Study?

    The E-ELT is designed for an ambitious science agenda. One of the most exciting aspects of the E-ELT is its potential to capture images of extra-solar planets. The 39 meter mirror will not only collect more light from distant, faint objects, but will provide an increase in angular resolution. This means that the telescope will be capable of distinguishing objects that are close together.

    As Dr. Cirasuolo explains, “This will allow the ELT to image exoplanets nearer to the star they are orbiting. We aim to probe planets in the so called habitable zone (where liquid water could exist on their surfaces) and take spectra to analyse the composition of their atmospheres.”

    The E-ELT has other goals as well. It aims to probe the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and to detect water and organic molecules in protoplanetary disks around stars as they form. It will look at some of the most distant objects possible—the first stars, galaxies, and black holes—to try to understand the relationships between them.

    The telescope is also designed to study the first galaxies, and to chart their evolution over time. As if this list of science goals isn’t impressive enough, the E-ELT holds out the hope of directly measuring the acceleration in the expansion of the Universe.


    Access mp4 video here .

    These are all fascinating goals, but for many of us the most compelling question we face is “Are We Alone?” Dr. Cirasuolo feels the same. As he told Universe Today, “The ultimate goal is finding signs of life. Certainly the next generation of telescopes will provide a huge leap forward in our understanding of extra solar planets and for the search for life in the Universe.”

    The E-ELT won’t be working alone. Other Super Telescopes, like the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope, and even the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, will all be working in conjunction to expand the frontier of knowledge.

    It may be a very long time, if ever, before we find life somewhere else in the Universe. But by expanding our knowledge of exo-planets, the E-ELT is going to be a huge part of the ongoing effort. A few years ago, we weren’t even certain that we would find many planets around other stars. Now the discovery of exoplanets is almost commonplace. If the E-ELT lives up to its promise, then capturing actual images of exoplanets may become commonplace as well.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 12:48 pm on February 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ESO Awards Contract to Polish the ELT Tertiary Mirror, ESO E-ELT   

    From ESO: “ESO Awards Contract to Polish the ELT Tertiary Mirror” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    15 February 2017
    Marc Cayrel
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6685
    Email: mcayrel@eso.org

    Peter Grimley
    Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6383
    Email: pgrimley@partner.eso.org

    1
    ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), scheduled to see first light in 2024, is at the cutting edge of telescope technology. Its optical system will consist of no fewer than five separate mirrors, each of them a significant engineering challenge.

    ESO has now awarded the contract to polish the third mirror in the light path, known as M3, to the French company Reosc [1], a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense. They will receive the blank from SCHOTT, design the mirror and its mounting interfaces, polish the surface, and complete all necessary optical tests before delivery [2]. Reosc were also awarded the contracts to design, polish and test the telescope’s secondary mirror in July 2016, and to manufacture the deformable shell mirrors that will comprise the ELT’s fourth mirror (M4).

    M3 will be a giant 3.8-metre concave mirror — as big as the primary mirror of many of today’s world-class telescopes. It will be an unusual feature, as most current large telescopes such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope use only two curved mirrors, sometimes using a flat tertiary mirror to redirect light to a convenient focus. The curved surface of M3 will work together with the primary and secondary mirrors to deliver a better image quality over a large field of view.

    The structural element of the mirror, before the reflective coating is applied, will be made of a sophisticated material called Zerodur™ from SCHOTT [3]. It will then need to be shaped and polished to a precision of 15 nanometres.

    Notes:

    [1] Reosc, a subsidiary of Sagem, a Safran high-technology company, is a world leader in the design, production and integration of high-performance optics, including for astronomy, space, high-energy lasers and the semiconductor industry. Reosc develops and produces high-performance optics for satellites, large telescopes and high-energy lasers, as well as the semiconductor industry. The company also built the single-piece 8-metre mirrors for ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Gemini international telescopes, the 11-metre mirror for the Gran Telescopio de Canarias, mirrors for Europe’s Nirspec instrument on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, and mirrors for ESA’s GAIA astronomy satellite.

    [2] The contract to cast the M2 mirror blank was awarded on 18 January 2017.

    [3] Zerodur™ was originally developed for astronomical telescopes in the late 1960s. It has almost no thermal expansion even in the case of large temperature fluctuations, is highly chemically resistant, and can be polished to a high standard of finish. The actual reflective layer, made of aluminum or silver, is usually vapourised onto the extremely smooth surface shortly before the telescope is put into operation. Many well-known telescopes with Zerodur mirrors have been operating reliably for decades. They include, for example, ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    Further information about the ELT

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
  • richardmitnick 11:29 am on January 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Contracts Signed for ELT Mirrors and Sensors, , ESO E-ELT   

    From ESO: “Contracts Signed for ELT Mirrors and Sensors” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    18 January 2017
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    At a ceremony today at ESO’s Headquarters four contracts were signed for major components of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that ESO is building. These were for: the casting of the telescope’s giant secondary and tertiary mirrors, awarded to SCHOTT; the supply of mirror cells to support these two mirrors, awarded to the SENER Group; and the supply of the edge sensors that form a vital part of the ELT’s huge segmented primary mirror control system, awarded to the FAMES consortium. The secondary mirror will be largest ever employed on a telescope and the largest convex mirror ever produced.

    The construction of the 39-metre ELT, the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world, is moving forward. The giant telescope employs a complex five-mirror optical system that has never been used before and requires optical and mechanical elements that stretch modern technology to its limits.

    Contracts for the manufacture of several of these challenging telescope components have just been signed by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and representatives of three industrial contractors in the ESO Member States.

    Introducing the ceremony, Tim de Zeeuw said: “It gives me great pleasure to sign these four contracts today, each for advanced components at the heart of the ELT’s revolutionary optical system. They underline how the construction of this giant telescope is moving ahead at full speed — on target for first light in 2024. We at ESO look forward to working with SCHOTT, SENER and FAMES — three leading industrial partners from our Member States.”

    The first two contracts were signed with SCHOTT by Christoph Fark, Executive Vice President. They cover the casting of the ELT’s largest single mirrors — the 4.2-metre secondary and 3.8-metre tertiary mirror — from SCHOTT’s low-expansion ceramic material Zerodur© [1].

    Hanging upside-down at the top of the telescope structure, high above the 39-metre primary mirror, the secondary mirror will be largest ever employed on a telescope and the largest convex mirror ever produced [2]. The concave tertiary mirror is also an unusual feature of the telescope [3]. The ELT secondary and tertiary mirrors will rival in size the primary mirrors of many modern-day research telescopes and weigh 3.5 and 3.2 tonnes respectively [4]. The secondary mirror is to be delivered by the end of 2018 and the tertiary by July 2019.

    The third contract was signed with the SENER Group by Diego Rodríguez, Space Department Director. It covers the provision of the sophisticated support cells for the ELT secondary and tertiary mirrors and the associated complex active optics systems that will ensure these massive, but flexible, mirrors retain their correct shapes and are correctly positioned within the telescope. Great precision is needed if the telescope is to deliver optimum image quality [5].

    The fourth contract was signed by Didier Rozière, Managing Director (FAMES, Fogale), and Martin Sellen, Managing Director (FAMES, Micro-Epsilon), on behalf of the FAMES consortium, which is composed of Fogale and Micro-Epsilon. The contract covers the fabrication of a total of 4608 edge sensors for the 798 hexagonal segments of the ELT’s primary mirror [6].

    These sensors are the most accurate ever used in a telescope and can measure relative positions to an accuracy of a few nanometres. They form a fundamental part of the very complex system that will continuously sense the locations of the ELT primary mirror segments relative to their neighbours and allow the segments to work together to form a perfect imaging system. It is a huge challenge not only to make sensors with the required precision, but also to produce them quickly enough for thousands to be delivered to the necessarily short timescales.

    The signing ceremony was also attended by other senior representatives of the companies involved and ESO. It was an excellent opportunity for representatives of the contractors producing many of the giant telescope’s optical and mechanical components to get to know each other informally as they begin to help create the world’s biggest eye on the sky.
    Notes

    [1] Zerodur was originally developed for astronomical telescopes in the late 1960s. It has almost no thermal expansion, which means that even in the case of large temperature fluctuations, the material does not expand. Chemically, the material is very resistant and can be polished to a high standard of finish. The actual reflective layer, made of aluminum or silver, is usually vaporised onto the extremely smooth surface shortly before the telescope is put into operation. Many well-known telescopes with Zerodur mirrors have been operating reliably for decades. They include, for example, ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    [2] As it is a highly convex, aspherical mirror, fabrication of the secondary is a considerable challenge and the result will be a truly remarkable example of precision optical engineering. As with many elements of the ELT it will be a genuine first in this area of technology. The total weight of the secondary mirror and its support system is 12 tonnes — and since it hangs over the primary great care must be taken to prevent the mirror from falling!

    [3] Most current large telescopes, including the VLT and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, use just two curved mirrors to form an image. In these cases a tertiary mirror is sometimes introduced to divert the light to a convenient focus — that mirror is typically small and flat. However, in the ELT the tertiary also has a curved surface, the use of three mirrors delivering a better final image quality over a larger field of view than would be possible with a two-mirror design.

    [4] The contract for the polishing of the secondary mirror has already been awarded.

    [5] The M2 and M3 cells are complex mechanisms more than 6.5 metres wide and weighing close to 12 tonnes including the mirrors themselves. They provide alignment and tracking capabilities with a high precision hexapod with an absolute accuracy of tens of micrometres. The cells also compensate for mirror surface deformations in the order of tens of nanometres by means of an innovative solution using warping harnesses and lateral supports.

    [6] At this time 3288 have been firmly ordered (for the ELT Phase 1) and an additional 1320 will be included in the ELT Phase 2, making 4608 in total.

    Further information about the ELT
    Further information on SCHOTT
    Further information on the SENER group
    Further information on Fogale and Micro-Epsilon (the FAMES consortium)

    See the full article here .

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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
  • richardmitnick 9:26 am on May 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESO E-ELT, ESO Signs Largest Ever Ground-based Astronomy Contract for E-ELT Dome and Telescope Structure   

    From ESO: “ESO Signs Largest Ever Ground-based Astronomy Contract for E-ELT Dome and Telescope Structure” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    25 May 2016
    Richard Hook
    ESO, Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    Alessandra Onorati
    Media Contact for the ACe Consortium
    Email: A.Onorati@Astaldi.com

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile
    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile

    At a ceremony in Garching bei München, Germany on 25 May 2016, ESO signed the contract with the ACe Consortium, consisting of Astaldi, Cimolai and the nominated sub-contractor EIE Group, for the construction of the dome and telescope structure of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This is the largest contract ever awarded by ESO and also the largest contract ever in ground-based astronomy. This occasion saw the unveiling of the construction design of the E-ELT. Construction of the dome and telescope structure will now commence.

    The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), with a main mirror 39 metres in diameter, will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world: truly the world’s biggest eye on the sky. It will be constructed in northern Chile, on a site that has already been prepared.

    The contract to build the telescope’s dome and structure was signed by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, the Chairman of Astaldi, Paolo Astaldi, and the President of Cimolai, Luigi Cimolai. ESO was delighted to welcome Italy’s Minister of Education, Universities and Research, H.E. Stefania Giannini, to the ceremony, which was also attended by the Italian Consul General in Munich, Renato Cianfarani, the ESO Council President, Patrick Roche, and the Italian ESO Council Delegates, Nicolò D’Amico (who is also President of INAF) and Matteo Pardo, Scientific Attaché at the Italian Embassy in Berlin. The President of EIE, Gianpietro Marchiori, and other guests and representatives of the consortium were also present.

    The contract covers the design, manufacture, transport, construction, on-site assembly and verification of the dome and telescope structure. With an approximate value of 400 million euros, it is the largest contract ever awarded by ESO and the largest contract ever in ground-based astronomy.

    The E-ELT dome and telescope structure will take telescope engineering into new territory. The contract includes not only the enormous 85-metre-diameter rotating dome, with a total mass of around 5000 tonnes, but also the telescope mounting and tube structure, with a total moving mass of more than 3000 tonnes. Both of these structures are by far the largest ever built for an optical/infrared telescope and dwarf all existing ones. The dome is almost 80 metres high and its footprint is comparable in area to a football pitch.

    The E-ELT is being built on Cerro Armazones, a 3000-metre peak about 20 kilometres from ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The access road and leveling of the summit have already been completed and work on the dome is expected to start on site in 2017.

    Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General said: “The E-ELT will produce discoveries that we simply cannot imagine today, and it will inspire people around the world to think about science, technology and our place in the Universe. Today’s signature is a key step towards delivering the E-ELT in 2024.”

    Paolo Astaldi, Chairman of Astaldi added: “This project is truly visionary, both in what it represents for the field of astronomy and for construction and engineering. Astaldi and our project partners, Cimolai and EIE Group, are extremely proud to have been selected by ESO through their call for tender to help make their vision a reality. Astaldi is renowned for delivering its best-in-class technical skills, quality construction and strong execution, and we will put the full force of our core strengths behind this project. It is with great excitement that I sign a contract of such astronomical ambition.”

    Luigi Cimolai, President of Cimolai, said: “We are honoured and grateful that our company has been given the opportunity to take part in this technically advanced astronomical challenge. The European Extremely Large Telescope will demand a high degree of quality in engineering and construction and I believe this will definitely contribute to further increase our ability to develop projects of greater and greater complexity.”

    Many other aspects of the construction of the E-ELT are also moving forward rapidly. ESO has already signed agreements for the construction of the first-light instruments MICADO, HARMONI and METIS, as well as the MAORY adaptive optics system for the E-ELT. Contracts for the telescope’s huge secondary mirror will be signed in the near future.

    The light-collecting area of the E-ELT will be bigger than all existing optical research telescopes combined and its adaptive optics system will provide images about 15 times sharper than those from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope at the same wavelength. It offers numerous possibilities for technology and engineering spin-offs, technology transfer and technology contracting. The new contract demonstrates that the E-ELT has the potential to be a powerhouse for economic development, offering contractors in ESO’s Member States an opportunity to lead major projects at an international level.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    LaSilla

    ESO VLT
    VLT

    ESO Vista Telescope
    VISTA

    ESO NTT
    NTT

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    ESO E-ELT
    E-ELT

    ESO APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) Telescope

     
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